Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 937


1) MSG Summit in doubt?
By Online Editor
6:08 pm GMT+12, 06/02/2014, Fiji

No dates have been set yet on when leaders of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) will meet to discuss the thorny issue of West Papua.

Islands Business magazine’s Letter from Suva is reporting that Fiji has objected to Vanuatu’s hosting of the proposed special MSG Leaders’ Summit.

“Initial dates of February 10 to 15 were deemed untenable by some Melanesian leaders,” said the Letter from Suva column, which is penned by Islands Business’ editor-in-chief Laisa Taga.

“In addition, Fiji reportedly had objected to the hosting of the summit by Vanuatu. Protocol it argued dictates that the current chair of the MSG should play host, and since the FLNKS hierarchy has indicated it was not ready to do so, they had approached Fiji to be the host instead.”

Fiji’s claim to host the special summit is being disputed however by some other MSG members.

The magazine is also reporting that the special summit is strictly for full members of the MSG only. No observer representatives will be invited. Pro-independence movement in West Papua, the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation (WPNCL) is an observer with the MSG, as is the government of Indonesia which treats West Papua as one of its provinces and names it Irian Jaya.

FLNKS leader Victor Tutogo is the current chair of the MSG and he had called the special meeting to discuss the outcome of an MSG fact-finding mission to West Papua last month. Vanuatu had objected to the agenda of the mission, complaining that its objective had been hijacked by Indonesia.

Instead of it being to investigate the application of the WPNCL to become a full member of the MSG, Vanuatu claimed the fact-finding mission led by Fiji’s Foreign Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola had been changed to look more into trade and economic ties with the Asian nation.

When Fiji chaired the MSG in 2012, Indonesia was admitted as an observer member of the MSG.

There are claims that if the MSG is not careful, Indonesia could dominate its agenda because it has the clout and money to do so.


2) Vanuatu daily news digest | 6 February 2014 (1)

by bobmakin

  • Altered schedules rather complicated the issuance of a vanuatudaily bulletin yesterday, for which apologies. However, there are likely to be two bulletins today.
  • The Vaturisu Council of Efate chiefs has presented a six-point petition to the government. It is claimed the petition will assist development and was presented to PM Carcasses last weekend. An Efate land management area, aspects of the historical ownership of Efate, participation in the ownership of big projects related to the island of the capital and a Vaturisu nakamal are amongst the points mentioned by Chief Meameadola in handing over the council’s petition. Radio Vanuatu News this morning said PM Carcasses promised the petition would go to the Council of Ministers during this week and there should be an answer soon. The Vaturisu is assisting the work ofland reform legislation on the most difficult island in this regard.
  • Dengue cases are now being reported from Santo and officers concerned with public health are reminding the public of the need to reduce what could become breeding places for mosquitoes.
  • Two important diplomatic posts have been filled. Long-serving MP for Santo, Sela Molisa, has been endorsed as ambassador to China by the Head of State. And Nikenike Vurobaravu becomes High Commissioner in Fiji after a working life devoted to the aspirations of the independent Vanuatu.
  • Santo Justice Oliver Saksak returning to the full bench of the Supreme Court in Port Vila at the end of March means there will no longer be a resident judge in Santo.This was mentioned in the speech of the Chief Justice to open the court year. The centralisation of the court registers means it will be necessary to send judges to Luganville from time to time. The move has been criticised in VBTC News by a resident Santo legal practitioner who did not wish to be named.
  • There is the possibility of a Port Vila by-election on 15 April to fill the vacancy left by the death of Patrick Crowby Manarewo. Justice Fatiaki has continued to hear the electoral petition relating to the Tanna election. Double voting and improper proxies are involved and 27 witnesses.


3) Palau’s president says the Pacific island nation will ban commercial fishing, promote tourism
By Online Editor
10:24 am GMT+12, 06/02/2014, Palau

The president of Palau declared Tuesday that his Pacific island nation will ban commercial fishing and become a marine sanctuary.

President Tommy Remengesau Jr. said in a keynote address to a UN meeting on “Healthy Oceans and Seas” that once current fishing contracts with Japan, Taiwan and some private companies expire only fishing by island residents and tourists will be allowed in its 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone.

Remengesau said establishing “a 100 per cent marine sanctuary” will enable Palau to preserve “a pristine environment” and promote snorkeling, scuba diving and ecotourism as an alternative way to grow its economy.

“It will make a difference if it’s just a matter of feeding ourselves and feeding the tourists,” he told a news conference. “As it is right now, we’re feeding the tourist and ourselves plus millions of people outside the territory.”

Palau’s population of about 20,000 people is spread across 250 islands. It shares maritime boundaries with Indonesia, the Philippines, and Micronesia.

The country announced in 2009 it was creating the world’s first shark sanctuary by banning all commercial shark fishing in its territorial waters. It has also adopted the most restrictive law against bottom trawling. In 2012, its Rock Islands Southern Lagoon was named a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Remengesau, a fisherman, said he has seen fish stocks dwindle and the size of fish grow smaller around his island nation.

With a marine sanctuary, he said, “we will do our part of making sure that there’s a healthy stock of fish in Palau that then can migrate to other places.”

Remengesau said snorkelers and scuba divers come to Palau to see sharks, which can live up to 100 years.

According to a study, he said a live shark is worth US$1.9 million as a tourist attraction compared to a dead shark which is worth several hundred dollars for its fins for shark fin soup, which is an Asian delicacy.

To enforce the ban on commercial fishing, Remengesau said Palau is working with potential partners to obtain radar equipment and drones to monitor its waters.

Remengesau said climate change and global warming have been having a serious impact.

“For us in Palau and the Pacific islands, there’s been a tremendous amount of what we call unpredictable weather patterns that brings typhoons and storms and all kinds of destructive forces to the islands,” he said.

“We have other problems of sea level rises.”

Palau is also urging the United Nations to adopt a new goal to clean up the world’s oceans, restore fish stocks and bring some equity to resources being taken by others.

Remengesau said “the fishing revenue has been breadcrumbs — it’s been nothing compared to, or in fairness to the billion dollar industry that this whole fishing industry is.”.



4) History made at Te Tii marae

6 February 2014

Women have been allowed to speak at Waitangi’s Te Tii marae for the first time with two women and a young girl taking part.

Annette Sykes.

In 1998, then Labour leader and future Prime Minister Helen Clark cried when Nga Puhi activist Titewhai Harawira objected to her being given permission to speak.

Mrs Harawira was on Wednesday given the opportunity to break the gender ban, but instead conferred the role to Annette Sykes, the co-president of son Hone Harawira’s Mana Party.

Ms Sykes said the honour did not belong to just herself.

“I think I am part of a continuum of women like Titewhai, like Dame Mira Szaszy, who argued for human rights for Maori women to be extended beyond the kitchen, beyond inside the wharenui out on to the marae area.”

Green Party co leader Metiria Turei also spoke on the paepae, after checking with kuia that they didn’t mind her doing so.

Earlier, the mokopuna (grandchild) of Waitangi marae elder Te Hape Ashby spoke and asked that future generations not have the struggles she had seen elders go new zealand.

5) PM seeking resolution on goods ban

6 February 2014

The Prime Minister has arrived in Australia on Thursday where he will raise the problem of supermarkets effectively banning New Zealand goods from their shelves.

John Key says it is not clear whether the approach is legal under the Closer Economics Relations agreement with Australia, but it clearly breaches the spirit of the deal. He will meet with Prime Minister Tony Abbott in Sydney on Friday.

“The fundamental message will be it’s an Australasian market. We think Australian supermarkets who have complete and utter dominance when it comes to selling to consumers in this space really should play ball with both New Zealand and Australia,” Mr Key said.

The Labour Party said Mr Key needs to assert the rights of exporters during his talks with Mr Abbott.

The Food and Grocery Council says Australian supermarkets Coles and Woolworths are refusing to renew contracts with New Zealand suppliers for the sole reason that they are not Australian.

Labour says the decision by the grocery giants is a fundamental threat to exporters, affecting exports worth more than $400 million a year.

Trade spokesperson Phil Goff says a soft approach by Mr Key during the talks isn’t good enough and he needs to tell Mr Abbott to end these actions.

“The Australians wouldn’t tolerate that if New Zealand supermarkets were doing that to their goods, nor should we tolerate that action on the part of the two big supermarkets in Australia. And John Key has to simply lay it on the line.”

Another sensitive issue the Prime Minister will raise with Tony Abbott is the treatment of New Zealanders living in Australia who are unable to access all benefits in that country.

However, Mr Key says that is a matter for Australia and he has no leverage to force its government to change its stance.

He has raised the point with Mr Abbott and former Labor Prime Minister Julia Gillard in the past, but has failed to win any concessions.

Nor is Mr Key likely to force Australian supermarkets to change their approach, given that CER is an agreement between governments.

Travelling with John Key are six Cabinet ministers and a delegation of 47 business new zealand


6) Bougainville Peace agrimen planti pipol ino save gut long en

Updated 6 February 2014, 16:43 AEST
John Papik

Moa Aawareness imas kamap long tokim pipol long Bouganville long dispela peace agrimen em planti ol ida na pipol ino klia tumas long en

Odio: NBC nius man Augustine Kinna i toktok wantaim John Papik

Wokabout blong PNG Praim Minista Peter O’Neill igo long Bougainville las wik ibin wanpela gutpela trip blong en igo long Autonomous rijon.

NBC niusman long Bougainville Augustine Kinna itok dispela wokabout blong Praim Minista O’Neill i givim em jans long lukim em yet
wanem nau ol wok development imas kamap long Bougainville.

Dispela raun blong Praim Minista ibin kisim em igo long North,Central na South Bougainville.

Wanpela long ol bikpela samting ibin kamap  long dispela raun blong Mr O’Neill em  long luksave gut long Peace Agriment
namel long National gavaman na Bougainville .

Dispela wokabout blong Praim Minista O’Neill i opim tu eye blong planti national lida na hau national gavaman imas traim wok wantaim ol lidas blong Bougainville long lukim olsem dispela driman blong ol Bougainville pipol long kisim referendum blong independent i kamap tru bihainim dispela tok orait.

Narapela bikpela wari em dispela peace agrimen namel long PNG National gavaman na Bougainville planti pipol planti ol lida long rijon na ol pipol inogat klia save tumas long en.

Augstine Kinna itok bikpela wok istap nau em long imas gat  planti ol Awareness olsem ol pipol na ol lida igat klia save long wanem ol bikpela tingting istap insait long dispela agrimen na oli ken wok hat long bihainim ol tingting insait long australia


7) PNG: le gouvernement n’est pas pressé d’annuler les baux agricoles spéciaux

Mis à jour 6 February 2014, 15:24 AEST
Caroline Lafargue

97% des terres sont des terres coutumières dans le pays. Les 3% restants sont loués par l’Etat pour le développement agricole, souvent ces terres sont transformées en plantations de palmiers à huile.

En PNG, les baux agricoles spéciaux sont souvent attribués à des compagnies qui déforestent.

Ou alors, les développeurs s’arrêtent en chemin, une fois les arbres coupés et vendus, et laissent derrière eux des terres nues, et de gros problèmes d’érosion pour les villageois du coin.

En septembre 2013, une commission parlementaire a remis un rapport  au Premier ministre Peter O’Neill, dont le verdict est sans appel : 90% de ces baux agricoles spéciaux ont été obtenus par les exploitants, qu’ils soient papous ou étrangers, grâce à des pots de vin.

Mais depuis maintenant 5 mois, Peter O’Neill n’a pris aucune mesure, et n’a toujours pas annulé les baux obtenus illégalement. Tout au plus a-t-il monté une équipe chargée d’étudier les recommandations de la commission.

Une situation qui provoque l’indignation de l’ONG Act Now et réclame l’annulation immédiate des baux agricoles spéciaux.

8) Australie: mieux “payé” qu’un Premier ministre

Mis à jour 6 February 2014, 15:05 AEST
Caroline Lafargue

C’est le pire cas de détournement de fonds depuis la création des sociétés aborigènes.

Mercredi la Cour Fédérale a condamné Damien Matcham à 1,2 million de dollars d’amende. En 2007, Damien Matcham a pris la présidence de la société du peuple aborigène Katungul, chargée de la gestion des services de santé aux Aborigènes de la côte sud de la Nouvelle-Galles du Sud.

Pendant quatre ans, il en a profité pour détourner des fonds, se gratifiant de très généreux bonus, et de paiement d’heures supplémentaires, affirmant même qu’il avait déjà travaillé 24 heures non stop pour la société. En 2010-2011, son salaire a dépassé celui d’un Premier ministre australien.

Le détournement de fonds a cessé quand Damien Matcham a mené la société du peuple aborigène Katungul à la banqueroute – à la fin il ne restait que 2400 dollars sur ses comptes. Elle a du fermer l’une de ses trois cliniques, et le nouveau Président explique que les services de santé ont du être réduits pour tous les patients, y compris les diabétiques.


10) Obamacare tipped to cut US workforce

6 February 2014

The US Congressional Budget Office says Obamacare will cut the workforce by the equivalent of more than two million workers.

CBO budget analysts said on Tuesday the reductions will begin in 2017 after the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act takes full effect.

Lower-income employees will be hardest hit, limiting their hours to avoid losing federal subsidies.

The CBO said work hours would be reduced by the equivalent of 2.3 million full-time workers in the United States by 2021. The BBC reports it had previously estimated the new law would result in 800,000 fewer workers.

Some businesses may also decide to reduce their workforce to fewer than 50 full-time employees to avoid having to provide health insurance as mandated under the law.

The report also found workers nearing retirement may opt to work shorter hours to retain healthcare subsidies until they qualify for Medicare, a federal health programme for the elderly.

“The middle class is getting squeezed in this economy, and this CBO report confirms that Obamacare is making it worse,” House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner (Republican) said in a new zealand.

11) More flooding in England

6 February 2014

After weeks of bad weather, another storm has hit parts of England.

Winds of nearly 150km per hour have been recorded, along with heavy rain and unusually high tides.

A section of the sea wall in Dawlish, Devon, collapsed and left a railway to Cornwall suspended in mid-air.

More residents of homes on the Somerset Levels were evacuated.

The BBC reports police used a helicopter to advise the occupants of more than 150 properties in Fordgate and Northmoor to leave their homes.

Prime Minister David Cameron announced an extra £100 million for flood works.

At Prime Minister’s Questions he pledged £75 million for repairs over the next year, £10 million for urgent work in Somerset – where several rivers have flooded – and £15 million for maintenance.c/- radio new zealand.

12) Snow storm cancels flights in US northeast

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Update: 9:23AM Treacherous snow and freezing rain have struck the northeastern US, disrupting thousands of flights and causing traffic chaos for millions of Americans.

A state of emergency was declared in the states of New Jersey and New York, where dwindling reserves of salt – used to melt snow and road ice – was a problem.

By late January, New Jersey had already used 277,000 tonnes of salt, 18,000 more than during the entire previous winter.

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy on Wednesday ordered all non-essential employees to stay home and a number of schools were also closed.

Huge snowfall was expected across a swath of the northeastern of the country, arriving in New England from the central US. Snow will be followed in several places by freezing rain, forecasters say.

More than 2400 arriving and departing flights were cancelled on Wednesday, with more than 1280 others delayed.

Hardest hit were airports in Boston, New York and Chicago.

Weather forecasters have warned that yet another winter storm is liable to hit at the weekend.


13) 313 recorded dengue cases in Vanuatu
By Online Editor
5:54 pm GMT+12, 06/02/2014, Vanuatu

The Vanuatu Ministry of health has reported that since the outbreak of dengue was announced, dengue is now wide-spread throughout the whole of Port Vila town and spreading to Luganville, Santo, where 10 cases were confirmed last week.

During the week of  January 20 to 26, 157 dengue cases, of which 24 were  confirmed by rapid test were  recorded in Port Vila.

Most of them were notified by Vila Central Hospital but several private clinics  have also reported cases.
The number of cases reported has increased compared  to the week before and cases recorded from all suburbs  seem to indicate that dengue is now wide-spread over  the whole town.

In Luganville, 10 confirmed cases have been reported since last week.

Up to January 30, the total number of cases recorded for Vanuatu since the beginning of the out break is 313 of which 71 were confirmed.

At the moment, the Ministry of Health has activated enhanced surveillance in health facilities in Port Vila and the main towns in the country. With support from World Health Organisation, case management capacity has been  strengthened in the Vila  Central hospital and the laboratory provided with rapid  tests.

Most cases will recover  after few days but dengue  could also evolve to a severe  form of disease. It is important that patients with warn ing signs such as extreme  fatigue, abdominal pain,  persistent vomiting, bleeding from the gums, nose, stools or urine are admitted to a hospital.

Communities all around Port Vila are being informed  and educated on the best way to destroy mosquito  breeding sites around their homes to reduce exposure to  the dengue mosquito.

To help reduce mosquito breeding sites communities  are instructed to clear their yards of unwanted items and rubbish including tyres, buckets, bins; seal or screen water holding containers including rainwater tanks, drums, freezers; Use sand in plant buckets, vases, pot plants, trays and fill tree holes and keep things that can hold water undercover  or turn them over.

Ministry of Health and partners are now developing  a comprehensive one month response plan including  focalised spraying of insecticide to prevent a larger outbreak

14) ‘Autonomy’ Planned For Solomon Islands National Hospital
CEO says hospital currently lacks flexibility in service delivery

By Daniel Namosuaia

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Feb. 5, 2014) – A top administrator, Dr Manimu, has welcomed Solomon Islands Government plans to turn the National Referral Hospital (NRH) in Honiara into an “autonomous” national hospital.

Dr George Manimu, who is also NRH’s chief executive officer, said the plan if implemented would boost the hospital’s service delivery.

“The plan to do this might bring a lot of public views but the primary idea of an autonomous hospital is essentially to bring effective and efficient delivery of health services to the people,” Dr Manimu said.

Government plans to begin working on a legal framework for this new system starting in May this year.

This is in response to the health issues raised in the 2009 parliamentary report, which until today has never been attended to.

Dr Manimu said as it is now, NRH is run by the Ministry of Health and controlled by the government.

“Under the current set up, there is no flexibility and drive to deliver a much efficient and effective health services.

“For instance, anything the hospital requires has to go through a lengthy process before we could get it.

“This does not work well for a hospital that should be fully resourced with manpower, infrastructure, equipment, and medical facilities necessary to provide the best services for people.

“But under an autonomous system, the decisions are made by the board on the basis of the management’s recommendations on what needs to be done.

“So when there is need for any change, the change can be done quickly.

“With the current system, changes cannot be made as quickly as needed due to the inflexibility and lengthy process that takes ages before any changes can be done,” Dr Manimu pointed out.

He added that under an autonomous system, any donor funding is given direct to the hospital and not through the Ministry of Health.

The hospital would also manage its own budget.

Dr Manimu also explained that if the hospital becomes autonomous, some services may have to be charged at a reasonable rate to cover operational costs.

He said the national government will continue to fund the operations of the hospital even if it becomes semi-independent institution.

Dr Manimu said those who may form a negative view about this new system could be described as “primitive.”

“The attitude of certain people today is to continue to complain and express negative views about the current health system.

“So what do we want? Do we want to continue complaining and accept the status quo or do we want to see positive changes?” Dr Manimu questioned.

He said the country cannot wait to feed from foreign advices that will never work here.

He stressed that it is the sole responsibility of qualified technical people in the country to make collective decision as to how this system could work best for us.

“So by giving some power or authority to the hospital, it will enable the management to quickly fix a pressing issue or solve a need in time to ensure the provision of efficient and effective health services.”

Dr Manimu added those who opposed the idea should not compare Solomon Islands with other countries.

“There is no one autonomous system that can be transplanted elsewhere in the world.

“Solomon Islands can do its own.

“It is us who will make our own decisions and drive ourselves forward. We cannot adopt a foreign concept that never works for us,” Dr Manimu said.

He added the country has the qualified technical people to put in their contributions towards a workable system for the country.

Dr Manimu expressed his appreciation to the government for recognising that the health system needs a drastic change.

“If this current health system remains, people will continue to complain and expect more health problems.”

Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health Dr Lester Ross said they wanted to see a hospital that offers quality and efficient service to the people.

Solomon Star

15) Hi-tech healthcare on offer in growing Australian medical tourism market

Updated 7 February 2014, 0:26 AEST
Kesha West

A growing number of medical tourists are flying into Australia to take advantage of hi-tech healthcare.

Australia is fast becoming a popular destination for the growing Asian middle class seeking the latest technology and high quality health care. It’s a lucrative export market which both Australia’s hospitals and the government are keen to exploit. (Credit: ABC)

Over the last decade Australians have been heading overseas in droves, to places like Thailand, India, South Korea and Malaysia for medical treatment.

It’s often cheaper, and patients can combine a holiday with plastic surgery or dental work.

But as Australians fly out, a growing number of medical tourists are flying in — from New Zealand, the United States and increasingly from Asia.

Professor John Catford is medical director at Epworth, the largest private hospital group in Australia’s southern state of Victoria.

He says there’s “a burgeoning middle class” in Southeast Asia.

“Tens of millions of people actually for the first time having resources they can use to improve their well-being,” he told Australia Network’s Newsline.

Epworth looks after about 600 international patients every year from over 30 different countries including the Pacific Rim, Singapore and Indonesia.

It is Australia’s high quality, hi-tech healthcare which is most in demand — including robotic surgery, in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatments and cancer care.

It is difficult to assess just how many patients actually travel to Melbourne specifically for treatment, but Professor Catford believes the numbers are growing and the economic potential could be enormous.

“If you think of international education, how important that is to the Australian economy, in Victoria it’s the number one export, in Australia it’s the third leading export. I think international healthcare could rival that in a decade or two.”

In 2011 Australia’s Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism commissioned Deloitte Access Economics to conduct a study on Australia’s viability as a destination for medical tourism.

Lynne Pezzullo, a director and lead partner of health economics and social policy at Deloitte Access Economics, was the lead author.

“We’ve got over 10,000 people coming to Australia for medical tourism. There are though 5.5 million tourists a year in Australia so that only represents 0.23 per cent of our total tourist base. So clearly there would be a lot of work to do to expand that in to a really sizeable market,” Ms Pezzullo said.

State government push

The Victorian State Government, in particular, is keen to market Melbourne as a healthcare destination.

“We see inbound tourism of that type as just one part of a broader health export strategy that the state is developing and that would include conferences and would include inbound research support and inbound investment,” Victorian Health Minister David Davis said.

Professor John Catford says red tape could obstruct those seeking to take advantage of Australia’s high quality healthcare.

“We need a supportive government framework that actually encourages it and actually sorts out particular barriers or obstacles. A typical one would be visas so people can come in easily, with their families support, to receive medical care,” he said.

Capacity and superbug concerns

However Steve Hambleton, the President of the Australian Medical Association (AMA), says it would be a mistake to grow the industry too quickly.

“It is entirely appropriate that a first world country should be thinking about exporting expertise just like this but we have a problem here about training the next generation of doctors for our own domestic needs and when we have surplus capacity is when we should be looking overseas,” he said.

While the growth of medical tourism in Australia would bring with it obvious financial benefits, for public hospitals the challenge will be ensuring that with that influx of wealthy international private patients there’d be no reduction in the level of service and quality of care available for local public patients.

That’s not something the Victorian Health Minister is worried about.

“I think what will be seen is greater public capacity because if you’ve got additional revenue flows coming into our health system in Victoria that can help fund additional capacity and also fund the additional research streams that are very important,” David Davis said.

The AMA says there’s also a risk that medical tourists could bring with them drug resistant “superbugs” prevalent in many Asian countries.

“The reality is that if you live there there’s a good chance you will be carrying those multi-resistant organisms and when you go internationally you will take them with you,” Steve Hambleton said.

“Now the problem occurs when you have surgery, major surgery, maybe a hip replacement or knee replacement and therefore you’re quite sick or quite stressed by that physically, that organism that you could be carrying with you could become invasive and if it does we won’t be able to treat it either and of course there’s a chance that organism will be left behind and we’ll actually see those multi-resistant organisms take up residence here too.”

Medical tourism is already big business for many other countries and Australia will have to work hard to catch up to exploit the lucrative healthcare market and those willing to pay top dollar for it.


16) Fiji awards scholarships to 15 PNG students

By Shayal Devi
Thursday, February 06, 2014

Update: 12:07PM THE FIJI National University on Tuesday welcomes 15 students from Papua New Guinea who have been awarded Fiji Government scholarships.

They will pursue their studies at FNU’s School of Tourism and Hospitality.

FNU public relations officer Ana Niumataiwalu said the scholarships awarded to the students was an initiative of Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama following meetings with his PNG counterpart in the late 2012 and early 2013.Fijitimes


17) Concerns held for independence of Fiji’s new Electoral Commission

6 February 2014

The leader of Fiji’s Labour Party is concerned that the recently appointed Electoral Commission could suffer a similar fate to that of the now disbanded Constitution Commission.

Last month the Fiji government announced a seven-member Electoral Commission to supervise the elections promised for September.

The Labour leader Mahendra Chaudhry will be raising a number of issues with the Commission, such as the government issued decrees which he says place severe restrictions on a party’s ability to campaign.

Mr Chaudhry hopes the Commission will be able to operate without government interference.

“As you know what happened to the Constitution Commission of Yash Ghai, they were brought in, given a piece of work to do, they did it, then the regime rejected it because they didn’t like it so they wrote up their own constitution. We are justifiably concerned that this commission may suffer a similar fate.”

Mahendra Chaudhry.

The Commission has agreed to a meeting with political parties next week to discuss the election.c/- radio new zealand.

18) Solomon Islands Facing Difficult Elections: Academic
Terence Wood says new technologies mean difficult logistics

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Feb. 5, 2014) – An Australian National University researcher says this year’s Solomon Islands general election is likely to be its most challenging yet.

Terence Wood is a PhD student at the university’s State Society and Governance in Melanesia Programme.

Mr Wood says Solomon Islands is facing some logistical challenges in the lead-up to the election as the country shifts to a new biometric electoral roll for voters.

“All of a sudden you need to have laptops and power sources for those laptops at every polling station, which as you can imagine in a country made up mostly of small islands is difficult logistically. They haven’t even started collecting information for the roll yet and with an election scheduled sometime for the last quarter of this year things are already starting to look a little close.”

Terence Wood says officials previously collated the electoral roll by visiting as many villages as possible but the new roll will require people to visit regional island centres to register.

Voting registration is scheduled to begin on March the 10th.

Radio New Zealand International:

19) Vanuatu political leaders to discuss stability
By Online Editor
6:02 pm GMT+12, 06/02/2014, Vanuatu

Leaders of all political parties around the country gathered in parliament to discuss an issue that has been hampering the country’s development for over a decade.

Prime Ministry Moana Carcasses said he had written to presidents and leaders of all political parties around the country to participate in today’s discussion on the country’s political stability.

“The meeting aims to get all political parties to discuss and agree on a system that can allow stability once a group is formed so they can run the government for the allocated period of four years,” said Prime Minister Carcasses.

Carcasses said the issue cannot be discussed only by parliamentarians due to its importance and the fact that not all political parties have representatives inside the current legislature.

Although heading a government of more than 2/3 majority, the number required to amend the constitution, Carcasses wants the involvement of all political leaders to agree on a system that can put an end to political instability.

Instability entered Vanuatu politics when the two major political groups, VP and UMP first experienced fragmentation deriving the increase of political groupings.

The more political groups get fragmented, the more unstable governments get over the years with some past governments in the last 16 or so serving only months in office.

With over 2/3 majority, the Carcasses led coalition has the parliamentary powers to change the constitution to address the issue.

While he said the democratic leadership will be respected, Prime Minister Carcasses said a mechanism must be put in place to allow governments to complete their term of four years before people can make their judgment.


20) Passport report to be discussed by Vanuatu Council of Ministers
By Online Editor
5:55 pm GMT+12, 06/02/2014, Vanuatu

The findings into the alleged sale of the Vanuatu passports have been completed by the Commission of Inquiry.

The Report was submitted to the Minister of Justice, Jonas James, who subsequently presented the report to the Prime Minister.

Daily Post understands that the report is shortly to be discussed by the Council of Ministers and appropriate actions taken against those involved in the alleged sale of the Vanuatu passports.

At this stage the full content of the report remains confidential until the decision is made by the Council of Ministers before being made public pending the findings in the report.

Meanwhile, an opposition MP in Vanuatu says he doesn’t expect the foreign ministry to act on a recent report on the alleged illegal sale of Vanuatu passports to Chinese nationals.

The MP for Port Vila and the former ambassador to China, Willie Jimmy, says the report implicates people in power and the foreign minister, Edward Natapei, is too much of a coward to take action.

Jimmy says since his return from China in 2012, there have been allegations of fraud and the processing of visas from outside the embassy.

He says leaders have a conflict of interest as they employ expatriates and non-citizens, which is in itself unconstitutional.

“I don’t have any faith at all in Natapei to take any action on those who are labelled in the report to do illegal activities. I don’t trust Mr Natapei, and his director general, Johnny Koanapo. Those people are coward and naive to take any action on those who acted illegally.”.


21) Fiji Electoral Commission To Hold Meeting With Parties
SODELPA, NFP, FLP confirm communication from commissioner

By Vuniwaqa Bola-Bari

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Feb. 5, 2014) – Fiji’s Electoral Commission is expected to meet with political parties next week.

The date and venue has not been confirmed, but it is understood that the commission chairman, Mr Chen Bunn Young, contacted parties to arrange for a meeting.

This is a welcomed development for parties with only 238 days left to the promised 2014 elections scheduled to be held by 30 September.

National Federation Party (NFP) president, Mr Raman Singh, confirmed to FijiLive that he received a call from Mr Young today.

“He is asking to meet us next week and he will be sending us letters soon to formally invite us to the meeting,” Mr Singh said.

Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) general secretary Pio Tabaiwalu also confirmed being called by Mr Young for the meeting.

“I have only received a call from Mr Young advising us of the meeting, but they have not confirmed a time,” Mr Tabaiwalu said.

[PIR editor’s note: Meanwhile, FijiLive reports that SODELPA is expected to name their party leader and elections candidates by the end of February. The Fiji Sun also reports that there may be a rivalry for leadership between Ro Teimumu Kepa and former Fiji prime minister Sitiveni Rabuka.]

Fiji Labour Party (FLP) leader, Mr Mahendra Chaudhry, echoed the same sentiments, saying they received a letter from the commission acknowledging their request for an audience with the commission who was also equally keen for a meeting with all parties next week.

FLP president Lavinia Padarath confirmed they wrote to the commission asking for a meeting to highlight their concerns on the upcoming elections.

“We wrote asking for a meeting to raise party issues, we want exactly that, just discussions on the supervisor of elections and the election regulations as we feel it’s coming a bit too late,” Mrs Padarath said.

People’s Democratic Party (PDP) interim general secretary Sat Narayan said they would attend if invited.


22) Australia prepared to work with any government in Fiji
By Online Editor
6:04 pm GMT+12, 06/02/2014, Australia

The Australian government has indicated it will work with any government that will be voted to power in Fiji in this year’s election.

Senator Brett Mason, Australia’s parliamentary secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs told Radio Australia the Abbott government was delighted with the political developments in Fiji.

“Well, Australia will clearly work with the government of Fiji whoever that is after the election, if it’s the current Opposition or the current government or whoever, that’s what we do.

“There are Opposition groups and I think the Foreign Minister simply is keen that we enhance our engagement prior to the election, and, of course, then there’s a free and fair election and that’s due for what, I think about September, this year.

But at the moment, the signs are very good. Certainly in early 2014, they are,” he said.

Mason says Australia also welcomed the appointment of Fiji’s Electoral Commission.

“We were delighted to learn that there had been an appointment of Fiji’s Electoral Commission in early January and what that really shows is that’s a really positive step towards Fiji holding elections later this year.

So I think thus far, in 2014, the signs are very good and I think the Foreign Minister would believe that enhancing our engagement with Fiji is occurring steadily,” Senator Mason said.



23) Contemporary Pacific Island art on show in annual Maketi Ples exhibition in Sydney

Updated 6 February 2014, 17:26 AEST
Jemima Garrett, Sydney

The latest in contemporary Pacific Island art is on show in Australia, after the opening of the annual Maketi Ples exhibition in Sydney.

From tattooing to a coconut fibre ‘Lady Gaga’ dress, the latest in contemporary Pacific Island art is on show in Australia, after the opening of the annual Maketi Ples (‘market place’) exhibition at Shapiro Gallery, Sydney.

The artists come from cities as well as remote atolls and mountain villages but the one thing they have in common is the quality of their work.

‘GoGo Gaga’ is a figure hugging coconut fibre sheath decorated with shells.

“I created this dress because in 2012 there was this Pacific Island Leaders Summit in Japan, so it’s just my way of showing Japan and the whole world that we can do it, something unique back in the islands,” said Tongan aritist Sione Maileseni.

The name of the dress made it a hit in the Pacific, as well as in Japan, with Miss Papua New Guinea choosing to wear it to compete in the 2013 Miss South Pacific pageant.

Artists exhibiting at Maketi Ples come from Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Fiji, Samoa, Cook Islands and Marshall Islands as well as Tonga.

Contemporary paintings and drawings are hung alongside more traditional work such as carving from the Trobriand Islands in PNG.

Female artists featured

PNG bilum-wear artist Florence Kamel is exhibiting a translucent indigo maxi-dress made from tightly knotted fibre.

She is a frequent exhibitor in Australia but many of the other bilum artists, from the Goroka Billum Weavers Association and the Őmie artists collective live in remote regions.

The Őmie artists, immortalised in Drusilla Modjeska’s 2012 novel ‘The Mountain’, number over 100 and come from 12 isolated villages in the eastern mountains of Oro Province.

They are best known for their bark cloth painting but bilums (characteristic PNG woven bags) are creating new income and respect for women says Ruth Choulai, the Creative Director of Maketi Ples.

“Not every woman can be a bark cloth painter but every woman can weave a bilum,” she said

Cultural revival

From Fiji, the Rako Pasifika Artists, Dancers and Musicians Collective is showing its new fine masi (bark cloth) lampshades.

“What drove this project was reviving our cultural skills,” said collective member Paul Dominiko.

Each locality has its own masi patterns but many are being lost as making and printing skills die out.

The lampshade designs featured in Sydney come from the island of Moce, home to the Collective’s lead dancer.

“It was very emotional for us to see her making her first masi material and printing her first masi design,” Paul Domeniko said.

New economic links with Australia

Building lasting partnerships between Australian and Pacific arts industry businesses based on high-quality art is the aim of Maketi Ples.

“The craftsmanship has to be of a very, very high standard, because we’re trying to change that perception of Pacific artisan work being tourist made only,” creative director Ruth Choulai said.

The strategy seems to be working.

Caroline Sherman, from the famous Sherman Galleries family, stumbled across the exhibition as it was being set up and visited four times before it was open.

“I’m blown away by the absolute beauty and just incredible versatility of all the different textures,” she said.

Ms Sherman’s not-for-profit fashion house is investigating ongoing relationships with PNG and Marshall Islands artists.

Samoan Tattooing

Samoan artist Lalovai Peseta has paintings on show but increasingly, in his practice, he is taking his art off the wall and onto the human body.

“I’m a Samoan artist and tattoo is Samoan art. I just love to use it all the time, no matter if it’s on a canvas, skin, on material or even wools,” he said.

Lalovai Peseta’s new wife, Nikki Mariner, is his muse and his canvas. The pair met when Ms Mariner asked him to design a tattoo for her.

She now has a tattooed wedding ring, as well as armbands and a traditional hand tattoo.

“She’s the inspiration, she loves art, she loves my art… so all the art that I’m doing now is not just from my ideas, but also her ideas,” Lalovei Paseta said.

Mr Paseta will be holding four live tattooing demonstrations before the exhibition closes on February 16.

Maketi Ples is a project of Pacific Trade and Invest – the Pacific Forum’s Trade Promotion arm.

24) 2014 Namatan Short Film Festival Launched In Vanuatu
Event sponsored by Australian High Commission, VBTC

By Len Garae

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Feb. 5, 2014) – Acting Australian High Commissioner Tanya Parkin, and Vanuatu Broadcasting and Television Corporation’s Stephenson Liu, officially launched the 2014 Namatan Short Film Festival at The Brewery Bar’s Loft yesterday.

The Australian High Commission and Vanuatu Broadcasting and Television Corporation (VBTC) first launched Namatan in 2012.

Namatan was established to give the people of Vanuatu an opportunity to express their ideas and creativity through film. That first year finalists’ films were screened to over 2000 people around the country.

In 2013 Air Vanuatu joined the Namatan team and the reach of the festival extended to an audience of over 3000 people in four provinces.

In 2014 Namatan is back. It promises to be even bigger and better, with interest in the festival strong, particularly among ni-Vanuatu youth. “I am delighted the Australian High Commission is once again joining with VBTC to run this important festival. We are proud to be involved in promoting creative expression in Vanuatu and have seen the people of Vanuatu embrace Namatan and make it their own. Namatan has grown to become one of the biggest cultural events of the year. Thanks to Air Vanuatu, there are some exciting prizes on offer for the best films.” said Acting Australian High Commissioner, Tanya Parkin.

Namatan is open to Vanuatu citizens of all ages and skill levels. Participants are asked to produce a short film of one to seven minutes, which meets the terms and conditions of entry.

Air Vanuatu’s General Manager for Sales and Marketing, Floyd Smith said, “Air Vanuatu is pleased to sponsor Namatan for the second time, following the success and positive feedback we received last year. We would like to extend our commitment to Vanuatu’s young, talented filmmakers by giving them the opportunity to showcase their skills. Air Vanuatu is interested in giving talented filmmakers the opportunity to produce a variety of short videos for Air Vanuatu. We wish all participants good luck in this year’s festival.”

Each film must contain the 2014 unique item – a boomerang – which is a 10,000 year-old indigenous Australian icon that was traditionally used for hunting. The boomerang was chosen this year to symbolise that what you send out into the world comes back to you.

VBTC, with the assistance of Wan Smolbag, will hold a training course on 24 to 28 February for those interested in entering but who don’t have previous experience in filmmaking. Places are limited and interested applicants must register by 17 February.

“The training program is a great opportunity for those who have never made a film, or even touched a camera, to gain some useful tips on storyboarding, scriptwriting and camera and editing techniques”, said Stevenson Liu, Television Blong Vanuatu Team Leader.

For the terms and conditions of entry, registration forms for the training program and entry forms for the festival, please visit the VBTC office or the Australian High Commission’s website:

Vanuatu Daily Post:

25) Fiji AM radio services to be restored soon
By Online Editor
1:24 pm GMT+12, 06/02/2014, Fiji

The Chief executive officer of the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation, Riyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, says the broadcaster is working to restore Fiji’s AM services with the help of the Japanese government.

Residents on Fiji’s easternmost islands, the Lau group, say they have been struggling over the last year without clear radio reception, especially during the cyclone season.

The FBC says the archaic system died last year and more FM transmitters were erected to boost services to outer islands.

He says people have been told to make the switch to FM.

“Some people, we’ve discovered, are possibly not able to get the FM service because some have only got radios that can only get AM and some are finding it difficult to make the adjustment from AM to FM, but nevertheless the work is continuing and we hope to restore an AM service extremely soon.”

The acting Roko Tui Lau, Joeli Nagera, says FM services were boosted last week and people should switch to FM.


26) Axe Asia network, stream ABC24, says Malcolm Turnbull
By Online Editor
1:26 pm GMT+12, 06/02/2014, Australia

Australian Comunication Minister Malcom Turnbull believes the Abbott government could simply stream the ABC’s 24-hour news service into Asia to cheaply and efficiently replace the $223 million Australia Network broadcasting service.

The government is considering dropping the Asian broadcasting arm of the ABC to save money in the May budget, and no longer using broadcasting as “soft diplomacy” in the region.

The Communications Minister told The Australian yesterday that the “real issue” for the Australia Network was “whether it has been trumped by the internet”.

“The real question is whether around $27m a year in taxpayers’ funds is the most cost-effective method of sending Australian news into the region, given the proliferation of the internet,” Turnbull said.

The minister said the issue of the ABC’s continued running of the Australia Network’s broadcasting into Asia was a matter for Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop and her department, which funds the 10-year, $223m contract the Gillard government awarded to the ABC.

It is likely that the service will be cut and there are no plans to award a new contract or provide a new service.

Turnbull said the tender process for the contract, which the Labor cabinet aborted after overruling two departmental recommendations that Sky News, not the ABC, be given the contract, was appallingly handled.

He said from a business and efficiency point of view, it seemed insufficient consideration was given by the Labor government to whether broadcasting was outdated, more costly and inefficient when compared with internet streaming.

Turnbull has suggested, if the Australia Network is dumped, but Australian news is still to be sent to Asia, lifting the transmission block on ABC News to allow access on screens through Asia.

At the moment a geoblock prevents the transmission of ABC News via computers because of copyright.

“My concerns are issues of value for money and efficiency,” Turnbull said. “When travelling you can read every Australian newspaper and listen to ABC radio through the internet but you are blocked from ABC television news.”.



27) PNG govt served with Singapore Court case papers
By Online Editor
10:00 am GMT+12, 06/02/2014, Papua New Guinea

The chairman of PNG Sustainable Development Program Ltd (PNGSDP), Sir Mekere Morauta, said the company has been informed by the Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs that court papers relating to the dispute between it and the O’Neill Government had been served on the State.

Under the rules of the Singapore Supreme Court, in which the case has been filed, the State has until February 17 to submit a response.

PNGSDP began the action in response to the State’s expropriation, without compensation, of the Ok Tedi mine, and its attempts to take control of PNGSDP and the $US1.4 billion in the Long Term Fund.

The Singapore Supreme Court case seeks to protect PNGSDP’s corporate integrity and to prevent the PNG Government and others from taking action in breach of Singapore laws, the Company’s Articles and Memorandum of Association, and its governing Program Rules.

The Singapore action comes after letters from the PNG Prime Minister and Chief Secretary late last year purportedly terminating the Company’s board, including Sir Mekere as chairman, removing the CEO, David Sode, and appointing a “Transitional Management Team”.

“PNGSDP has a legal and moral obligation to protect its assets and income so that it can continue to fulfil its mandate to provide social and economic development programs in the Western Province of PNG,” Sir Mekere said.

“The Company is especially mindful of the need to protect the US$1.4 billion in its Long Term Fund. The legal action we are taking will ensure that the Company keeps control of the Long Term Fund so that it can be used wisely and effectively for the people of Western Province in the decades ahead.”

The case in Singapore is in addition to the company’s decision to seek international arbitration for the return of the mine or, failing that, full and fair compensation.

The request for arbitration has been formally accepted by the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes in the US.



28) EU parliament backs three climate, energy targets for 2030
By Online Editor
1:34 pm GMT+12, 06/02/2014, Belgium

Members of the European Parliament on Wednesday voted in favour of three climate and energy targets for 2030, rebuffing a Commission plan for just one fully binding goal.

The vote at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, has no legal force, but stokes debate before summit talks between European Union leaders in March on energy and environment policy and its impact on competitiveness.

It endorses fully binding goals for cutting climate emissions, improving energy efficiency and forcing member states to increase the amount of renewable energy they use.

The European Commission, the EU executive, in January presented its views on 2030 policy, calling for one fully binding goal to cut emissions by 40 per cent by 2030 as well as a weaker EU-wide target on green energy, which would not oblige individual nations to act.

That would give member states more freedom to decide how they meet the emission goal, for instance by opting to build carbon-free nuclear plants or bury emissions underground rather than subsidising the installation of new wind or solar power projects.

At the time, environmentalists criticised the Commission for listening to industry and lacking ambition, especially when the European Union has already nearly met a 2020 goal of cutting greenhouse gases by 20 per cent compared with 1990.

They welcomed Wednesday’s vote, as did Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard, even though it clashed with the Commission’s January decision.

It sent “a clear signal to EU governments to support a 40 per cent greenhouse gas target”, her official Twitter feed said.

Whatever Europe decides will have a major influence on the international debate. Developing nations say the developed world must take on a big share of the work of cutting global emissions as part of a new U.N. deal on tackling climate change, expected to be agreed next year.

The Commission hopes that summit debate in March, followed by further summit talks in June, will produce political agreement on 2030 policy, but has said it does not expect to produce a formal legislative proposal until after parliamentary elections in May and a changeover of Commissioners later this year.

Within business, there are many shades of opinion. The renewables industry argues a mandatory target on how much green energy EU member states should use is essential.

Ninety European associations and companies, including Alstom , Dong Energy and Acciona have written an open letter calling for a legally binding target for renewable energy.

Utilities, such as Germany’s E.ON, favour a single binding target on cutting carbon emissions, which they say is the most effective way to ensure a stronger carbon market that will engineer a shift away from coal, the most polluting form of power generation.


29) Education vital for ending violence against women in PNG

6 February 2014

Amnesty International says the Papua New Guinea government must take immediate and basic steps to curb ongoing violence directed at women.

The organisation says one year after 20 year old Kepari Leniata was burned alive in a sorcery attack her killers have not been brought to justice.

It says this is just one of many violent attacks on women from which the perpetrators continue to escape justice.

Amnesty’s Pacific researcher Kate Schuetze says the government has a responsibility to use education to end the high rates of violence.

And she says police need to be properly resourced and facilities step up as safe houses for women.

a lot of women are at high risk of violence, or they have been attacked and they have no means of escaping their village or their community and getting to safety. There’re not enough women’s shelters, there are no fully Government funded women’s shelters in Papua New Guinea.”radio australia

30) Youths Can Lead Communities In Solomons: Policewoman
Justina Fationo serves nation as a family violence officer

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Feb. 5, 2014) – Solomon Islands police officer Justina Fono Fationo doesn’t accept the old argument that young people can’t be leaders in their community.

“Its important to have young women leaders like myself, because we are strong, and our mindset is not like the elder age.”

She points out that the younger generation have dreams and visions for the future but they are not represented in arenas like national Parliament.

“They say we are still in a junior age… (but) my own perspective is that I’m strong enough to fit this level of leadership.”

Ms Fationo moved into leadership roles after joining the Solomon Islands Police force where she now works as a Family Violence Officer. She has done courses in human rights, including women’s and children’s rights, and she’s passionate about using her skills to help future generations of Solomon Islanders.

The issues that I’ve been passionate about are… like now I see back in my country, children now are brought up in a broken family, involved in most crime because they are brought up in a broken family, a violent home… So that makes me like to engage them in a good way or teach them or advocate them about what their rights (are), and what… violence is about, so that our children, or our youths to become better leaders in the future like us now.”

In her daily work as a Family Violence Officer she spends a lot of time interacting with local communities, through sports and other activities. This, she says, is important in building trust and breaking down fear of the police.

“We talk about crimes, the effect, the penalties for the crimes, and… violence against women and children, child abuse, we just go and advocate in the communities”

She says that it’s particularly important to gain the trust of women, who are generally reluctant to come to the police when they are victims of gender based or domestic violence. Having female officers is also important.

“Most women who are victims usually come to seek… female officers because female officers see the side effects and sympathise with the victims. We are there to assist and we want the husband to be penalised for what he is doing.”

Ms Fationo says that while her job is sometimes tiring, her thoughts and feelings are with the women and children who are victims of violence. “If I’m not doing my job these people are going to be neglected or dead or someone useless.”

“If they need me I have to do it because there is importance in that woman or that girl. That’s why I like to do my work, professionally too.”

Justina Fono Fationo spoke with Heather Jarvis at the Twelfth Triennial Conference of Pacific Women in Rarotonga, Cook Islands. She is also a member of the Pacific Young Women’s Leadership Alliance (PYWLA).

Radio Australia:


31) PNG PM impressed with 2015 Pacific Games village
By Online Editor
2:00 pm GMT+12, 06/02/2014, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill was overwhelmed with the progress of the construction work at the 2015 Pacific Games village at Waigani and the Taurama Aquatic Centre during a brief visit Wednesday.

The Prime Minister said: ‘I am extremely grateful and honoured with the work carried out by the China Railway Engineering Construction (CREC), Curtain Brothers and Fletcher Morobe who are doing a tremendous job.

“The progress has been great over the past six months with the construction frame work of the buildings and let us show our Island neighbours that we can deliver and make it the best ever Games in the Pacific.

“My government is committed at bringing infrastructure development projects in the country and we are not doing it only for Port Moresby but also doing for other centres as well.

“PNG will be hosting the APEC meeting in 2018 so let’s show what we are capable of doing,” he said.

Sport and 2015 Pacific Games Minister Justin Tkatchenko said: “The village will not only accommodate four thousand athletes during the Games but it will leave a lasting legacy for the country.

“The accommodation blocks will be constructed in materials that are durable as they will be subject to very heavy wear and tear.”

“The facilities will be used as a multipurpose entertainment resource suitable for events such as graduations, assemblies and cultural presentations for UPNG programs”. The construction work is ahead of schedule and will be completed in April 2015.

The Prime Minister also visited the Taurama Aquatic Centre and Indoor Complex where he was briefed by the Fletcher Morobe project manager Geoff Hall.

Hall said: “We are committed to what we are doing and we work 24/7 to keep within the time set but nevertheless we will deliver by April, 2015.

The Aquatic Centre will consist of a standard 50m Olympic pool and a 25 meter training pool and other infrastructures required for an international standard.

The Indoor complex is designed as a multipurpose hall and will consist of six international standard courts which will have three volleyball and three basketball courts.

Training facilities for martial arts and a central building to accommodate functions related to the sports hall and aquatic centre a gymnasium and fitness centre are also included.

Pacific Game Authority chairman Kostas Constantino said tenders for the construction of the Rita Flynn netball courts at Boroko will be ready in March.


32) FRU sign $40 million sponsorship deal
By Online Editor
5:41 pm GMT+12, 06/02/2014, Fiji

Fiji Rugby Union (FRU) Thursday confirmed that it has signed a sponsorship deal with Vodafone.

FRU chairman Filimone Waqabaca announced the details of the $40million sponsorship, spreading over a five-year period saying it will ensure Fiji Rugby’s 12 products which includes local competitions are not undersold.

Waqabaca said the sponsorship package which is in cash and kind will better meet its needs likewise the players’ needs.

Negotiations are ongoing with additional sponsors who have shown interest to sponsor FRU as well.

The agreement starts this weekend via the Fiji 7s team with Fiji Airways partnering with Vodafone – the team will be known as the Fiji Airways 7s team.

The Flying Fijians will be known as the Vodafone Fiji Airways. The deal will be reviewed after 3 years.

Vodafone leads a consortium which includes Fiji Airways, CJ Patel, HFC, Telecom and Fijian Holdings. Details of the sponsorship will be released when the FRU convenes its Special General Meeting in Nadi this Saturday.

The sponsorship package also includes the age grade teams, local competitions including the Island Zone, Farebrother and the provincial XVs competition.

Fiji Airways Managing Director and CEO Stefan Pichler says they are delighted to partner with Fiji Rugby.

Confirming FRU’s sponsorship announcement earlier this afternoon, Mr Pichler said “it’s a matter of great excitement for us.” “We are able and ready to promote one of Fiji’s greatest assets- it’s rugby players – and this will also benefit Fijian tourism.

“Fiji Rugby now takes flight with Fiji Airways and the entire team at our National Airline is thrilled.” Fiji Airways’ sponsorship agreement gives them rights over the national 7s team for the popular Wellington, Hong Kong and Gold Coast 7s tournaments, as well as engaging with five other partners included in the consortium throughout the rugby season.

“We plan to use this to boost our profile in key tourism source markets. By doing so, our goal is to increase visitors to Fiji, directly contributing to Fiji’s economy.”

Meanwhile, a high court in Suva has today denied an injunction sought by Digicel aimed at blocking the Fiji 7s team from donning the Fiji Airways and Vodafone branded jerseys when they take to the field for the Wellington 7s which starts Friday.

High Court Judge Justice Kamal Kumar said with the sponsorship having been signed between FRU and the consortium led by Vodafone, the court was not in a position to undo the signing and approve the injunction request.

The matter will be heard next on Thursday afternoon, 13 February after FRU has been given time to file an affadavit on Tuesday and Digicel given time to respond to it on Wednesday.


33) Fiji looking to capitalise at Wellington Sevens
By Online Editor
2:01 pm GMT+12, 06/02/2014, New Zealand

Fiji are synonymous with Rugby Sevens, they’ve been a powerhouse since the World Series conception in 1999, but have won just one of those. They’re hoping to take out the Wellington competition this weekend, but with the nature of the modern game, they know trophy could be anyone’s.

They’re patriotic and passionate and will need both those qualities if they’re to achieve their goal this weekend.

“So we stick with South Africa and New Zealand because they are starting to pull away, so we are rating this tournament as a make or break point,” says Captain Osea Kolinisau.

Fiji currently sit third on the series ladder, 21 points adrift of the Kiwis and South Africans.

“I don’t want that gap to get any bigger between us and first and second place that’s for sure,” says Coach Ben Ryan.

They’re led by ex-England coach Ryan who brings a wealth of experience to the role and they need it.

Fiji are the second-least capped team in the tournament and are nowhere near as well-resourced as some of their counterparts.

“What we do have is Fiji is the most passionate sevens country on the planet, the boys will do everything for the shirt – there are hundreds of boys back on the islands who are world class Sevens players waiting to be found,” says Ryan.

He’s just four tournaments in, but the team are responding well to Ryan’s style and he says gone are the days when the series winner was a foregone conclusion.

“Six or seven sides on their day, Argentina included, and Kenya, can win a series one-off, I still think to be number one, in that consistency you’re looking at two or three sides,” he says.

Fiji easily have the natural talent to be number one – they just need a big result in Wellington to stay on track.


34) David Beckham to launch major league soccer team in Miami

Updated 6 February 2014, 8:38 AEST

Former England soccer captain David Beckham says he’s buying a US team to play Major League Soccer in the city of Miami.

Beckham announced his plans alongside MLS commissioner Don Garber, who said Beckham and the league would work with Miami Dade county to build a world class stadium for the club.

“I wanted to create a team where we can start from scratch,” Beckham said, explaining his decision to bring the expanding league’s 22nd soccer club to Florida.

“I know there was a team here 10 years ago that unfortunately folded, but I know that Miami is ready for football again.

“I wanted to create a team that would be very personal to me.

“We’re planning to bring a team that will be a global team.”

Beckham says that in the past 10 years American soccer has made huge progress as both a sport and a business.

Beckham thanked Garber and Miami Dade’s Mayor Carlos Gimenez, and said he would not seek public funding for the team’s stadium, having raised money from private partners.

He said one of his partners would be British pop music and television impresario Simon Fuller, who managed Beckham’s wife Victoria when she sang with the Spice Girls.

The former Manchester United and Real Madrid star, who also played for the Los Angeles Galaxy, retired as a player last May and holds a $US25 million option in his MLS contract to start a new franchise.

Officials say Beckham’s investment group has narrowed its stadium search to five possible sites in and around downtown Miami.

The sites include a 25-acre waterfront lot next to the port of Miami’s cruise ship terminals, potentially putting the new team at the forefront of Miami’s tourism landscape.


35) Love or hate him

Rodney Duthie
Thursday, February 06, 2014

IF Fiji fans thought they had seen the last of Rasta Rasivanghe, think again.

The South African referee, who was criticised for his poor control of Fiji’s losses against Australia and New Zealand in Las Vegas, will control Fiji’s games again this weekend.

IRB referees manager Paddy O’Brian says the 2013 Rugby World Cup Sevens referee had owned up to his mistakes.

“I guarantee the Fijian team and the people of Fiji that Rasta will be refereeing Fiji again this weekend,” O’Brian said.

“Rasta did not have a good game in Vegas according to his high standards and he did not get a quarter-final match.

“But he will bounce back. He had some issues, put his up and owned up to them and we expect a big turnaround from him this week.”

O’Brian said there were processes put in place for referees and coaches to work on improving the sevens game.

“We review our refs after every day and every tournament and the teams give us feedback.

“We’ve looked at the tackle area and some areas of foul play which we want to get rid of.

“The coaches have also looked at it and we’ve come to an agreement about the tackle rolls and other areas of the game that we can improve on.”

O’Brian commended Fiji coach Ben Ryan for his professional approach to the Rasivanghe errors.

He added that they would not be “sidetracked” by critics.

“Ben Ryan put in a very comprehensive coach’s report and we’ve addressed it with him.

“We can’t be sidetracked by people that have no knowledge (of the rules of the game). We need to stick to our main task and that is consistent refereeing.

“We need to keep improving and we’re very hard to improve the game.”Fijitimes

36) England unchanged for Six Nations clash

Thursday, February 06, 2014

The England squad is unchanged for Saturday’s Six Nations game against Scotland, with scrum-half Ben Youngs one of 10 players released.

Gloucester wing Jonny May is fit to play despite breaking his nose in the narrow defeat to France, while Courtney Lawes has overcome cheekbone bruising.

Owen Farrell is the only specialist fly-half with Bath’s George Ford and Gloucester’s Freddie Burns released.

Leicester’s Youngs has slipped behind Danny Care and Lee Dickson at nine.

Coach Stuart Lancaster says the same players deserve a second chance after coming back from 13 points behind to lead 24-19 in the second half in Paris, before losing out 26-24 to a late Gael Fickou try.

“We were disappointed by the result against France, but very proud of many aspects of the performance,” he said.

“We want to give the same 23 the opportunity to build on that against Scotland.”

England squad:

Forwards: David Attwood (Bath Rugby), Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints), Joe Launchbury (London Wasps), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints), Joe Marler (Harlequins), Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins), Henry Thomas (Sale Sharks), Billy Vunipola (Saracens), Mako Vunipola (Saracens), Tom Wood (Northampton Saints), Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers).

Backs: Brad Barritt (Saracens), Mike Brown (Harlequins), Luther Burrell (Northampton Saints), Danny Care (Harlequins), Lee Dickson (Northampton Saints), Owen Farrell (Saracens), Alex Goode (Saracens), Jonny May, (Gloucester Rugby), Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs), Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby).


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