Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 938

MELANESIA:

1) Melanesian Spearhead Group’s West Papua Meeting In Doubt
Fiji allegedly objects to Vanuatu as host for leaders’ summit

By Samisoni Pareti

SUVA, Fiji (Islands Business, Feb. 6, 2014) – 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.

Islands Business Magazine: http://www.islandsbusiness.com

2) Vanuatu daily news digest | 8 February 2014

by bobmakin

Radio New Zealand International reports opposition MP Willie Jimmy, former ambassador to China, saying there are insufficient safeguards for the Capital Investment Immigration Plan – CIIP – which never underwent a proper tender process. Only 25% of the USD 310,000 charged for the citizenship application will come to Vanuatu, he says.

  • Islands Business has the new category of citizenship being sold to foreigners defended by Lands Minister Regenvanu as it will not allow successful applicants to own land, vote or run for public office. Regenvanu says unlike ni-Vanuatu and naturalised citizens the rights of the new category of citizenship can be altered through legislation. The country’s first opposition leader, Vincent Boulekone, however, says it goes against the beliefs of the founders of Vanuatu. The Citizenship Commission has not yet announced its position in the matter and the fate of people who have operated outside the system, including allegedly an advisor to Prime Minister Carcasses, still has to be decided.
  • Meanwhile Daily Post carries a p.1 headline today claiming four containers of roofing iron (600 pieces in each) have arrived from China, allegedly for distribution to MPs, It seems they will be sharedbetween PM Carcasses, Minister Toara Daniel and MP Arnold Prasad and possibly the PM’s parliamentary secretary Silas Yatan. The Prime Minister passes this off as a party-to-party arrangement between the Communist Party of China and the Vanuatu Green Confederation.
  • The fishermen are giving the government two weeks to resolve the issue of theiroutstanding claims of approximately VT 3 billion going back to 1989. Their leader Reme Kunuan, fearful of yet another promise of yet another commission of inquiry to do the rounds of Justice Ministry, PM and Council of Ministers again, says they will take the government to court if it fails to comply with existing court orders to settle. And so they should.
  • There is, however, some good news in that despite pressure to reduce the price of its much vaunted fibre optic means of transition, Interchange, the submarine cable company, is confident the new cable will continue to exceed expectations. Daily Post explains in detail.
  • The Teouma Farmers Association is doing its bit towards climate change by training members in food preservation techniques. They have built a sustainable solar-powered food dryer, with the help of SPC-GIZ, and can produce a range of fruit, nut and vegetable products. Also jams, juices and chips. So threats of jumbo jet airfields have not yet entirely banished all agricultural pursuits.
  • And Odo Tevi, former Reserve Bank Governor, is to be our man at the UN, going with the goodwill of all.

POLYNESIA:

3) Samoan Chief Claims Hydropower Station Polluting Waters
Ta’elefaga leader says village’s lagoon has turned brown

By Iliā L. Likou

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, Feb. 6, 2014) – High chief Leuta Sialafau Valoaga of the Ta’elefaga village at Fagaloa, Samoa, has had enough.

He and others from the village say they have put up with the “worst” smell from one of the country’s hydropower stations for the last ten years. Further, he says people working at the Electric Power Corporation (E.P.C) have told “lie after lie” about the problem, with nothing solved.

He claims that pollution from the station has seen the village’s lagoon turn brown and river rocks turn red with sediment. Hydropower is considered one of the country’s energy success stories, with up to 40 per cent of electricity needs supplied through this renewable energy source. But, far from the bright lights of Apia, Ta’elefaga villagers grow increasingly angry about the impacts on their health from years of stinky air and water.

Now, according to Leuta, they are taking action – and are setting a deadline for a solution tomorrow. Tired of waiting, last Friday they took the first step.

“Our village went last Friday to the E.P.C. office and the Acting General Manager told us that the Minister of E.P.C was in Savai’i for an opening,” says Leuta. “It was last night (Tuesday night) that I received a call from the General Manager of E.P.C. at around eleven o’clock.”

Asked what they talked about, he refused to comment. “No, I can’t.” However, he said that another meeting has been promised.

“This coming Friday will be the deadline for the E.P.C, the Minister or whosoever is coming to meet with our village.”

“The E.P.C. told us to meet up with them, but we have already given more than enough time. We are not going to go over to their office anymore, E.P.C. should come and see us.” Having already visited them last Friday, there’s no need for the village leaders to go all the way back.

“We don’t want to wait for the Minister, we don’t care about that anymore, Ta’elefaga wants to straighten things out.”

Leuta suspects that the Minister is being used as an excuse. “I think the E.P.C. is trying to scare us away with the Minister,” he sighed.

But they are beyond caring about scare tactics. “Our village is looking at its own ways of solving this problem on Friday.” Leuta stated that “today, tomorrow we will still be open to the E.P.C. and their final say regarding this problem. But “after Friday? Sorry! No more discussion.”

Their visit last Friday was the latest of previous attempts to get government to pay attention to problems from the smell. “I remember we reported the issue before, to the Prime Minister, but sadly up until now it is getting worse.

“The sea and the river have already turned brown and the rocks have turned red.

“Even though no one in our village has currently been reported to have experienced any food poisoning from catches from the sea, this is an issue that could possibly arise in the future if we allow this ongoing problem to continue.”

His concerns were backed up by Ta’elefaga village mayor, Fuiavailili Masani Leiataua, who confirmed concerns yesterday about a strong stench downstream from the hydropower station going back more than ten years now. “It’s still going, right up to this point, and the village is looking for its own ways to resolve the problem,” he said.

Leuta says that every time they report the problem, the E.P.C. comes up with more excuses. “Some of the excuses were to do with the main pipeline that comes from Lalomauga.”

“They also said that they are waiting for some parts, or an engineer, from overseas and so on and so forth.” “At the end of the day, Ta’elefaga villagers suffer from the stench.”

“We are worried about the health of our people, especially the children.”

“No one wants to live in a place like this, we just want to get things moving because we also want to live in a safe and clean environment.”

“That’s all I can say, Friday is the deadline, whether they are coming or not, we won’t wait.”

He is asking that media not interview anyone from the village but to wait for him to get back with a decision from this Friday’s meeting. It is not yet confirmed whether the meeting will be held at Ta’elefaga village or at the E.P.C. but Leuta is sure the village is ready to make its final decision. And what will that final decision be? “We will see on Friday,” he said.

E.P.C. General Manager, Tologata Tile Tuimaleali’ifano, was at a meeting and not available for a comment, according to his office yesterday.

Samoa Observer: www.samoaobserver.ws/

MICRONESIA:

4a) CNMI House Approves Extension To Public Land Leases
Only those of Northern Marianas descent qualify

By Haidee V. Eugenio

SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, Feb. 7, 2014) – A watered-down Article 11 initiative that passed the CNMI House of Representatives by a thread yesterday would, if also approved by the Senate, ask voters in November whether they want to extend the current maximum 40-year lease of public lands to 99 years—but only for persons of Northern Marianas descent (NMD).

These include NMD corporations whose board of directors is composed of 100 percent NMDs, among other things.

By a vote of 14-4 with two absences, House Speaker Joseph Deleon Guerrero’s (Ind-Saipan) House Legislative Initiative 18-5, House Draft 1 passed at 12:10pm yesterday after a lengthy and heated debate.

Because it was a legislative initiative and only 18 House members were present, it needed at least 14 votes to pass, which it did.

The four members who voted “no” were Reps. George Camacho (R-Saipan), Janet Maratita (Ind-Saipan), Felicidad Ogumoro (R-Saipan), and Roman Benavente (Ind-Saipan).

Reps. Ray Tebuteb (Ind-Saipan) and John Paul Sablan (Cov-Saipan) were absent.

The Article 11 initiative is now headed to the Senate, which may hold a session next week.

Article 11 of the NMI Constitution partly states that public lands “may not transfer a leasehold interest in public lands that exceeds 25 years including renewal rights. An extension of not more than 15 years may be given upon approval by three-fourths of the members of the Legislature.”

HLI 18-5 was initially expected to pave the way for a constitutional change to allow investors—whether NMDs or non-NMDs—to lease public lands up to 99 years instead of only up to 40 years.

This is especially because some major hotels such as Hyatt Regency Saipan, Marianas Resort & Spa, and Fiesta Resort & Spa have only 10 years or less remaining on their maximum 40-year leases.

But after the speaker and other members, with the aid of their counsels, further reviewed both Articles 11 and 12 of the NMI Constitution, they concluded that more than 55-year leases to non-NMDs would violate Article 12.

This is because in Article 12’s restriction to persons of Northern Marianas descent, the term “permanent and long-term interests” in real property includes “freehold interests” and “leasehold interests” of more than 55 years.

“As the counsel was explaining, for non-NMDs, it doesn’t give it to 99 years, only NMDs, because Article 12 restricts long-term interest of lands, including leases. So Article 12 prohibits non-NMDs from leasing more than [55 years],” he told Saipan Tribune.

The speaker acknowledged that it’s not easy to pass an initiative of this kind.

“It got through a very big hurdle. This house is very conservative in the past. I think this is the first time something like this has passed one house. I don’t know how it’s going to do in the Senate but really, all this is about is to put it forth to the voters and let them decide,” he said.

If the Senate also passes HLI 18-5, HD1, the initiative will be on the ballot in November.

House members said that unless Article 12 is amended, non-NMDs would still not be able to lease public lands for more than 40 years.

A separate Senate initiative, introduced by Sen. Paul Manglona (Ind-Rota), seeks to amend Article 12 to, among other things, change the definition of NMD corporations to permit minority interests by non-NMDs.

But the Senate has yet to tackle Manglona’s initiative.

While the maximum lease term for public lands is 40 years, the maximum lease term is longer for private lands—55 years.

Proponents of the Article 11 initiative said hotel investors are holding off investing more money in renovating or upgrading their hotels because they are not sure if their leases would be renewed.

Ogumoro, during debate on the initiative, said she wants to make sure “that our public lands remain in the hands of people of Northern Marianas descent.”

“My question is, ‘what is wrong with the present system?’ [Are] businesses telling us that they are not making any money with the present system? Elaborate. I am for extending [leases] just as long as the lands continue to be in the hands of people of Northern Marianas descent,” she said.

Rep. Roman Benavente, who also voted “no” to the initiative, said constitutional provisions on land are “sacred” and that members should first see studies or proper accounting that the Department of Public Lands, the government, or the investors leasing have in fact been financially hurting because of the current 40-year maximum lease.

“We want to see tangible figures or studies before we try to change the Constitution,” Benavente said.

Maratita, after voting “no,” suggested that a constitutional convention be created to review proposed changes to the Constitution.

She said she does not see a problem with the current language of Article 11 because it does not stop any party from negotiating a renewal of lease.

“For me it is a stable policy. I think Article 11 is working. Let’s not reinvent the wheel,” she added.

In the midst of the lengthy and heated discussions, the speaker offered an amendment to his Article 11 initiative.

Under his amendment, which the House adopted, “any lease for more than 25 years requires approval by three-fourths of the members of the Legislature.”

Attempts to increase the lease term for public and private lands to 99 years have failed over the years.

Saipan Tribune http://www.saipantribune.com

4b) Remengesau Declares Palau Waters ‘100% Marine Sanctuary’
President announces total ban on commercial-scale fishing

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Feb. 6, 2014) – Palau’s President Tommy Remengesau hasdeclared the Pacific nation will become a marine sanctuary, where no commercial fishing will take place.

Mr Remengesau has told a UN oceans conference Palau’s 200 nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone will be a “100 per cent marine sanctuary,” and commercial operations will be banned within the Pacific nation’s territorial waters.

“We have no choice – the ocean is our way of life,” he said.

“It’s our livelihood, it’s our culture, it’s our economy – I always say the economy is our environment and the environment is our economy.”

“You may ask why, why are you doing this? It makes every sense for our sustainability as a people, as an island nation, and as a community.”

Palau currently has commercial fishing contracts with Japan, Taiwan and several private companies, which will be allowed to expire.

Mr Remengesau says locals and tourists will continue to be able to fish, but no commercial scale operations will take place.

“I may not be the best fisherman, but I am a fisherman,” he said.

“I can tell you that in just my generation I’ve seen stocks of fish dwindle down, I’ve seen the sizes of fish taken become more smaller.

“This is something that is far more than the economical loss of revenues for companies or other countries – you’re talking about a livelihood that’s really going to be decimated if we don’t take the responsible action.”

The marine sanctuary follows the declaration of a shark sanctuary in Palau in 2009.

Shark sanctuaries have since been declared in several other countries, including the Maldives, Honduras, Marshall Islands and French Polynesia.

Mr Remengesau says a dead shark is worth several hundred dollars, but a live shark is worth $1.9 million in tourism during its life span.

He says his country will promote scuba diving, snorkeling and eco-tourism as an alternative income to commercial fishing.

“We’re not just closing our waters and throwing away the key,” he said.

“We’re closing our waters because we will do our part of making sure that there’s healthy stocks of fish in Palau that can migrate to other places, and that there are other options to grow the economy.

“These are important ways to make a living and at the same time preserve the pristine environment that we have been blessed with in Palau.”

Enforcement of the commercial fishing ban is expected to be a challenge, as the country only has one patrol boat to cover its economic zone which is roughly the size of France.

Last year it trialed unmanned drones, and is also looking for other technology partners to help enforce the ban.

Sustainable Development Goal

Palau is also urging the United Nations to adopt a new Sustainable Development Goal to protect the world’s oceans.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) are a follow-up to the Millennium Development Goals, which pledged countries to reduce poverty and improve health and environmental protection by 2015.

Stuart Beck, Ambassador of the Republic of Palau for Oceans and Seas, says the proposal for a ‘stand alone’ goal has three parts.

“One: healthy oceans – let’s clean up the plastic gyre, let stop dumping garbage,” he said.

“Two: restoration of our fish stocks – we can actually achieve that in our lifetime if we’re smart about it.

“Three: bring some equity to the current resources being taken from these oceans by others.”

Mr Remengesau says the health of oceans affects countries in a variety of ways, from rising sea levels, to ocean acidification and unpredictable weather.

“It doesn’t matter where you live around the world; we are all connected somehow and are impacted by what we do to the oceans and the health of the oceans and the seas.

“And so it is important that the United Nations in the next Millennium Development Goals, really put a stand alone policy on this.”

Deputy Secretary-General with the UN, Jan Elliason, has paid tribute to the Pacific and other island countries for raising awareness of the issue.

“They have an acute sense of the dangers of climate change and the level of sea rise – becoming an existential threat for them,” he said.

“They are a bit like the canaries in the coal mine, the canaries that warn us that now the oxygen is [running] out…they’re the first ones to leave.

“We should listen to those states.”

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

AUSTRALIA:

5) Live: Fire crews battle bushfires burning across Victoria, South Australia

Updated 9 February 2014, 17:08 AEST

A number of properties in Victoria have been lost as the state battles through its most severe fire threat since Black Saturday in 2009.

Officials say they have major concerns for areas in Melbourne’s outskirts including Craigieburn, Warrandyte and Gisborne where the fast-moving fires are in built-up areas.

Emergency warnings are in place for areas including East Gippsland and the La Trobe Valley.

Temperatures reached 40 degrees Celsius in some regions, with a gusty wind change moving across the state during the day.

Meanwhile in South Australia, a large blaze continues to burn out of control at Bangor in the Southern Flinders Ranges where an emergency warning remains in place.

Follow the latest developments in Victoria and South Australia with our live blog. http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

6) Victoria bracing for worst fire conditions since Black Saturday; warnings current in South Australia

Updated 9 February 2014, 11:13 AEST

Fire authorities have urged Victorians to prepare for the most severe fire threat since Black Saturday in 2009.

Hundreds of firefighters are on stand-by as Victoria faces its most severe fire threat since Black Saturday in 2009.

Temperatures are forecast to reach 40 degrees Celsius in some regions, with a gusty wind change moving across the state later in the morning.

Several fires have been burning out of control overnight, including two huge fires in East Gippsland, where residents have been told to activate their emergency bushfire plans.

An emergency warning is current for Buchan, Buchan South and Sunny Point and evacuation notices had been issued to some residents in the area.

There is an out of control bushfire travelling in a south-easterly direction from Timbarra and Gil Groggin towards Buchan and surrounds, says the Country Fire Authority (CFA).

An emergency warning has also been issued for Goongerah and Martins Creek, also in East Gippsland, where there are fast-moving, out of control bushfires travelling in a south-easterly direction.

James Todd from the State Control Centre says it’s too late to leave those areas.

“If they’re still in that area, they should be finding safe places to shelter but also being aware of the ember attacks or whatever may come with the fire,” he said.

Another emergency warning is in place for Hiawatha, Jack River, Madalya, Staceys Bridge areas.

The CFA says the fast-moving bushfire is, out of control and is travelling in a southerly direction from Egans Road towards Staceys Bridge.

Residents are warned it is too late to leave and the safest option is to take shelter indoors immediately.

Mr Todd urged people to stay tuned to information through their local radio and the ABC, as well as via the Victorian Bushfire Information Hotline (1800 240 667) and on the CFA website.

The CFA’s Tony Bearzatto says over 600 firefighters are the battling Gippsland blazes and 200 trucks and multiple aircraft have been deployed.

“The conditions are pretty horrendous at the moment with very strong winds and those winds will continue and even once the change comes through this afternoon through the Gippsland region,” he said.

“Then those winds will continue for a couple more hours yet. So we really need to be aware the whole day and not just wait for the cool change to come.”

Victorian Emergency Services Minister Kim Wells says the danger should not be underestimated, and that extra firefighters had been brought in from New South Wales and New Zealand.

“This weather on top of prolonged heat and the combination with fires that are already burning significantly heightens the fire danger risk,” he said.

“Every operational person in the state is on full alert. They’ve been working around the clock, we have rotational in place.”

For more information check the CFA website www.cfa.vic.gov.au.

SA homes under threat

Firefighters worked through the night to try to contain a large blaze burning out of control at Bangor in the Southern Flinders Ranges.

An emergency warning has been issued for the fire and the CFS says homes and lives in Beetaloo, Beetaloo Valley, Gladstone, Laura, Stone Hutt and Wirrabarra are under threat.

Patients at the Laura Hospital have been evacuated.

CFS state coordinator Brenton Eden says there are unconfirmed reports that some houses were lost overnight.

“Once crews can get safely back on the fire ground and once we’ve got aircraft overhead, we’ll have a very clear indication of that fire spread,” he said.

The Bangor fire has been burning for 25 days and Mr Eden says he believes it will take some time to bring the fire back under control.

“The fire behaviour yesterday was as bad as we have ever seen in the last 25 days, so history would show that if it’s taken us that long to bring this fire under control it will be a considerable time before we can again bring it under control,” he said.

“Really what is typical in that area is that fire will remain a concern to us until we get significant rain over the fire ground.”

Meanwhile, the CFS’s Mark Thomason described the difficulties in containing the fire.

“What’s concerning is that we haven’t been able to do any direct attack on the north-eastern flank of the fire because of the terrain and thick vegetation,” he said.

Police say the fire is one of several that they believe were deliberately lit in the area on Saturday.

For information about bushfires, check the CFS website www.cfs.sa.gov.au or call the Bushfire Information Hotline on 1300 362 361.

No relief for fire crews as conditions deteriorate

The CFA says warm conditions overnight brought no relief for crews working to contain the fires.

Fire Services Commissioner Craig Lapsley says days of extreme heat have increased the state’s fuel load.

“Sunday will be the worst fire conditions that Victorians have faced since 2009, it’s a very serious position that we’re in,” he said.

“It’s all due to the fact that we’ve had extended heat periods.”

Meanwhile, Richard Carlyon of the Bureau of Meteorology says the winds are about to strengthen across Victoria.

“Wind change is right on our western border at the moment, between the western border and Portland, and we should start to see that move through the south-west reaching central areas during the middle of the day and eastern areas this afternoon,” he said.

“Very gusty south westerly wind to follow. Not much rain with the change either.”

Fire authorities earlier warned that today’s fires would be fast moving and furious.

“We’ve got 1,290 stations and we’ve already moved a number of them in and out of Melbourne in the outer Metropolitan area, so we’re at full capacity,” Mr Lapsley said.

“We’ve got all our vehicles, MFB, CFA, Parks Victoria and DEPI vehicles all crewed and available to go either to fires or to new starts.”

The whole state is under a total fire ban for the entire weekend and a heat health warning.

Sunday will be the worst fire conditions that Victorians have faced since 2009, it’s a very serious position that we’re in.

Fire Services Commissioner Craig Lapsley

“A fire could start anywhere in the state and if one starts, it will travel fast,” Chief Officer Euan Ferguson said.

“Now is the time to talk to your family and friends, make your plans and prepare.

“If you’re thinking of travelling somewhere this weekend, be aware of the conditions in that area and stay informed.”

Elsewhere across the state, the fire rating is extreme in the North East, Northern Country, North Central, Central Victoria and West and South Gippsland.

There is a severe warning for Wimmera and Mallee.

Melbourne falls short of overnight record

Melbourne failed to set a new record for its hottest overnight temperature.

The minimum temperature was forecast to be 30C, create the chance of beating the 30.6C record that was set in January 2010.

But a small band of showers crossed south of city, pushing cooler air over Melbourne and causing the temperature to drop to 25C at midnight.

But the relief was short-lived; the mercury had climbed back to 32C by 3am. http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

TOK PISIN:

7) PNG kastom i stopim loa long kalabusim ol pipol i kilim meri: Philma Kelegai

Updated 7 February 2014, 14:53 AEST
AFP/Bethany Keats

Amnesty International i autim bikpla koros blongen long Papua New Guinea long em i slo tumas long bringim long kot, ol pipol i kilim nating wanpla meri, em ol i ting ibin iusim sorcery long kilim narapla wanpla yar igo pinis.

February 6 i makim wanpla bihain long dai bilong Kepari Leniata, meri oli kukim em long Mount Hagen bihain long oli ibin sutim tok igo long em long sorcery.

Nius long kilim dai bilong em ibin go raun long wol na tu, ol foto bilong em long ol laspla minit bilong em i stap laif.

Philma Kelegai, President blong Leniata Legacy na itok em i wanbel wantaim displa toktok blong Amnesty International.

Em i tok taem ino gat wanpla bikpla mas ol i lukim long 2013, planti tok save na kempein igo het iet long ol violens na trabol ol meri i save bungim oltaem insait long Papua New Guinea.

“Wai displa i slo tumas long ol loa i mekim save long ol pipol i kilim Leniata, mipla ino save tasol, kalsa na pasin blong ol pipol long ples we displa kaen pasin blong paitim meri i sava kamap oltaem, ating i mekim loa i slo.”

Kate Schuetze blong Amnesty International Pacific i tok em i kirap nogut long wai ino gat wanpla man oa meri i kamap long kot oa igo kalabus long displa kaen kilim dai.

Ol ripot long las yar i tok tupla ol ibin sasim tupla pipol tasol Amnesty itok ino wanpla igo kalabus.

Black Magic kilim dai iwok long kamap bikpla insait long Papua New Guinea.

Displa indai na pasin we ol ibin kilim Kepari Leniata long las yar, Ms Kelegai ino ting olsem Death penalty mekim save bai ino stopim ol pipol i kilim dai pipol.

“Long tingting blong mi iet, mi no ting death penalty bai ino kamapim wanpla sanis na displa Gavaman imas skelim gut loa na ino ken sot kat long death penalty,” em ibin tok. http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

8) PNG skul moni i kamap

Updated 7 February 2014, 16:34 AEST

Sampela skul long PNG em oli mis aut long gavaman subsidy blong 2014  nau bai kisim moni blong ol.

2014 skul yar long sampela skul long Papua New Guinea ino bin go long wei ol titsa ibin laikim long en.

Seecretary blong Education Dr Michael Tapo itok dispela long wanem sampela  ol skul ino bin givim stretpela ol information igo long Education department olsem na oli mis aut nau long namba wan payment blong dispela skul yar.

Tasol Dr Tapo itok oli askim ken ol dispela skul long salim ken ol raitpela information na sapos oli mekim, bai oli nap kisim 2014 skul subsidy blong ol.

Em i tokim Michael Tapo i tok bikos long sampla heve wantaim dipatment na Gavaman, em ibin hat long givim kuik displa ol mani igo long ol skul.

‘Sampla skul i pas olgeta, sampla skul i stap longwe tru long bus na ol inogat benking sistim long kisim moni blong ol.”

Displa em sampla long ol heve i mekim Skul moni ino kamap long sampla skul. http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

FRENCH:

9) Kiribati: un ministre macho et violent

Posté à 7 February 2014, 14:48 AEST
Caroline Lafarguehttp://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

Boutu Bateriki est poursuivi pour coups et blessures sur son ex-femme.

Boutu Bateriki, le ministre du Commerce, a comparu jeudi, mais son procès a été ajourné jusqu’au 18 févier. Deux députés ont réclamé la démission du ministre violent, soulignant l’hypocrisie du personnage. Comme les autres membres de son gouvernement, Boutu Bateriki a en effet voté la loi de protection des femmes et des enfants contre les violences domestiques.

10) Nauru: 10 migrants portent plainte pour détention illégale

Mis à jour 7 February 2014, 15:00 AEST
Caroline Lafargue

Ils sont enfermés depuis septembre 2012 et n’ont jamais eu accès à un avocat, ni été auditionnés pour leur demande d’asile, ce qui est contraire à la Constitution nauruane, affirment leurs 4 avocats australiens. Cette plainte intervient en plein chaos judiciaire à Nauru.

Jeudi quatre avocats australiens ont déposé une plainte à Nauru, demandant la libération de dix demandeurs d’asile. Leur argument : cette détention est illégale, inhumaine, et surtout, ces migrants sri lankais et iraniens sont détenus depuis septembre 2012 et n’ont jamais eu accès à un avocat, ni été auditionnés pour leur demande d’asile, ce qui est contraire à la Constitution nauruane, affirment les quatre avocats australiens.

En outre l’UNHCR stipule que les demandeurs d’asile ne doivent pas être détenus plus de six mois, le temps qu’une décision soit prise sur leur visa ou leur expulsion.

Rappelons qu’aucune demande d’asile n’a été examinée depuis la réouverture du centre de détention sur Nauru en septembre 2012 par le précédent gouvernement travailliste.

Et cela ne risque pas de s’arranger, au vu du chaos qui règne dans le système judiciaire nauruan, à qui l’Australie a délégué la vérification des demandes d’asile. Ça a commencé il y a trois semaines avec l’expulsion de l’Australien Peter Law le magistrat résident de Nauru – c’est-à-dire qu’il est le représentant du Commonwealth à Nauru. Il était le seul et unique juge sur Nauru. Expulsion décidée par le gouvernement, agacé de l’opposition du juge à l’expulsion de deux résidents australiens.

Il y a eu ensuite l’annulation du visa de Geoffrey Eames, lui aussi Australien, et Président de la Cour Suprême de Nauru.

La réaction du gouvernement libéral australien a été laconique. « L’octroi des visas relève de la souveraineté du gouvernement de Nauru », a déclaré la semaine dernière Julie Bishop, la ministre des Affaires étrangères. On écoute la réaction du porte-parole de l’opposition travailliste, chargé de la justice, Mark Dreyfus :

« Le gouvernement australien affirme qu’il ne peut pas s’immiscer dans les affaires de Nauru, et doit respecter la souveraineté de ce pays. L’Australie ne peut pas se contenter de ne rien faire. Elle a du pouvoir, je vous rappelle  que le système judiciaire de Nauru est étroitement lié à l’Australie, par exemple la Cour Suprême australienne est la cour d’appel en dernière instance pour les citoyens nauruans. En vertu de ces liens, l’Australie a la devoir de faire quelque chose pour rétablir l’état de droit à Nauru. »

Le shadow ministre de la Justice est d’autant plus inquiet que le chaos judiciaire à Nauru risque de s’aggraver :

«Les derniers développements sont très préoccupants, et pire, il semble que le gouvernement nauruan ait le projet de déclarer l’état d’urgence, ce qui lui permettrait de limoger Geoffrey Eames, le Président de la Cour Suprême nauruane. Le gouvernement australien doit vraiment travailler avec les autres pays de la région, particulièrement la Nouvelle-Zélande, pour rétablir l’état de droit à Nauru. »

Mark Dreyfus, le député travailliste chargé de la justice, répondait à Richard Ewart sur Radio Australie.

Et puisqu’il parle d’état de droit et de démocratie, rappelons que les journalistes étrangers sont indésirables à Nauru. Le gouvernement a augmenté le visa pour les journalistes en janvier. Il coûte actuellement 8000 dollars.

Enfin, la semaine dernière le ministre australien de l’Immigration, Scott Morrison, a interdit l’accès au centre de détention des migrants de Nauru à Gillian Triggs, la Présidente de la Commission australienne des Droits de l’Homme. http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

WORLD:

11) Three dead, 500 injured as heavy snow hits Japan

Updated 9 February 2014, 4:19 AEST

The heaviest snow in two decades has struck Tokyo and other areas across Japan, leaving three dead and nearly 500 others injured.

More than 740 flights were grounded as the weather agency issued a severe storm for the capital, while more than 40,000 households lost power.

Around 22 centimetres (8.7 inches) of snow was recorded on Saturday afternoon in Tokyo, topping 20 centimetres for the first time since 1994, the meteorological agency said.

Two elderly women, aged 88 and 90, died on Saturday in a car accident on their way to a nursing home in Ishikawa in central Japan, according to the NHK public broadcasting service. Police suspect one of the cars skidded on the icy road and caused the head-on collision.

A man was also killed in the city of Nagano as a train smashed into his car at a railroad crossing, NHK reported.

The public broadcaster reported that at least 494 people had been injured in snow-related accidents across the nation.

Further snowfall is expected Saturday night and early Sunday in Tokyo, the country’s weather agency said.

The agency issued a heavy snow warning for the capital, the first such warning for the capital in 13 years, advising residents not to go out unless necessary.

It also warned of strong winds and high waves in eastern Japan as a rapidly developing low pressure front was heading toward eastern Japan.

Japanese airline companies have cancelled 742 flights on Saturday due to heavy snow, NHK said, adding that more cancellations are expected on Sunday.

Airports in the western cities of Hiroshima and Kagawa were temporarily closed as operators removed snow from the runways.

Railway operators temporarily suspended services of Shinkansen bullet trains in western Japan, affecting more than 100,000 passengers, news reports said.

Some 43,800 households lost power in large areas of central and eastern Japan because of the heavy snow, the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper reported.

A few sections of expressways mainly in central Japan have also been closed due to the snow.

In Tokyo, several universities delayed the starting times of their entrance examinations for the new academic year starting in April.

AFP

12) New Delhi urged to rethink traffic limits after study suggests smog ‘worse than Beijing’s’

Updated 9 February 2014, 15:58 AEST
South Asia correspondent Michael Edwards, wires

Authorities in New Delhi are being urged to consider traffic restrictions, after new research suggested the city’s air was more harmful than Beijing’s.

This winter, India’s capital has been shrouded in smog leaving a blanket of dust and causing a high rate of respiratory problems.

It smells of smoke and leaves a layer of gritty dust upon almost everything out in the open.

It slows down traffic and even forces the airport to shutdown at times.

The winter smog is so bad that many are saying Delhi is worse than Beijing when it comes to air pollution.

Most of the smog is generated by the eight million cars on Delhi’s roads.

Audio: Delhi smog capital of the world (AM)

But it’s also exacerbated by construction dust, open fires people burn for warmth, and hundreds of brick kilns in the outskirts of the city.

Chandra Bhushan, from New Delhi’s Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), says the air quality in Delhi this winter has been “very, very bad”.

“If the same kind of air quality was there in some of the European countries, they would have stopped the city,” he said.

There has been much scientific debate over the past few weeks about the accuracy of the city’s monitoring standards.

Mr Bhushan stands by his group’s claims about the smog and he says Delhi has the unwanted honour of being one of the world’s most polluted cities.

“It’s a very bad honour to have,” he said.

“In fact, what we see in the last 10 years that Beijing has tried to do much more to combat air pollution, largely because of huge international media highlighting the issue about Beijing air pollution.”

According to Yale University’s Global Environment Performance Index, a study of 178 countries released last month, Delhi had the highest concentration of harmful small particles less than 2.5 micro metres in diameter (PM 2.5) followed by Beijing.

Because PM2.5 particles are very small in size, they can easily enter the body and interfere with the functioning of the lungs.

They are also associated with increased rates of chronic bronchitis, lung cancer and heart diseases.

The CSE found that this winter many more people, especially the old and very young, checked themselves into hospital suffering from respiratory problems.

People stay indoors when they can and if they have the option.

Delhi resident Shailly Arora does her best to not expose her young son to the pollution.

“I have a young child who is about five-and-a-half years old, and it is hard when you go out and see all the smog and the pollution and you don’t know what’s going in,” she said.

“So I think from a health perspective, it is a bit dangerous.”

Roshni Hegerman, who had previously lived in Beijing for two years, said the pollution in Delhi was “much more dense” than in the Chinese capital.

Environmental groups are urging Delhi’s government to act. They want authorities to consider pollution reduction measures, including a restriction on the number of cars and trucks allowed onto the roads.

A World Bank report last year which surveyed 132 countries ranked India 126th for environmental performance and last for air pollution.

ABC/AFP

13) Spain’s Princess Cristina testifies before judge over allegations of tax fraud, money laundering

Posted 8 February 2014, 23:42 AEST

Princess Cristina of Spain, the youngest daughter of King Juan Carlos, has been questioned by a judge in Majorca over allegations of fraud.

It is the first time since the Spanish monarchy was restored in 1975 that a member of the royal family has appeared in court as part of a criminal investigation.

Cristina faces accusations of tax fraud and money laundering linked to her use of funds from a shell company she co-owned with her husband Inaki Urdangarin, who is accused of embezzling 6 million euros of public money.

Almost 400 reporters gathered outside the court, along with around 200 police officers, as the princess, 48, arrived to face dozens of questions from a judge in a closed-door hearing.

Urdangarin, a former Olympic handball player, is alleged to have using his royal connections to win generous no-bid contracts from the Balearic government to put on sports and marketing events during the boom years before a 2008 property market crash, when local governments were awash with cash.

He and his partners in a consulting firm called the Noos Institute are accused of overcharging, and of charging for services never provided.

The court gave the princess – accused of using Noos Institute proceeds to pay for items such as an expensive remodelling of her Barcelona mansion – special permission to be driven to the courthouse door, citing security reasons.

The decision sparked public outrage because it allowed the princess to dodge hundreds of television cameras and further heated a debate over whether she has been given favourable judicial treatment.

She was driven down the ramp and walked the last few steps to the courthouse, smiling at the press.

Spanish broadcasters have incessantly replayed footage of her grim-faced husband walking into court along a pedestrian ramp when he went before the judge last year.

“I’m a monarchist, but if they have done wrong they should return what they stole and be exposed just like the rest of us,” said Angel Rodriguez, an 80-year-old pensioner passing by the court.

The scandal has run parallel to a prolonged slide in the popularity of the once-revered King Juan Carlos after a series of gaffes showed his high-flying lifestyle to be woefully out of step with a nation suffering economic hardship.

An opinion poll released last month put the king’s popularity at a record low, with almost two thirds of Spaniards wanting him to abdicate and hand the crown to his son.

ABC/wires

14) India to introduce online visa application system in a major overhaul of its border controls

Updated 7 February 2014, 15:12 AEST

Tourists from 180 countries will no longer have to queue at Indian consulates to obtain visas after New Delhi announced an overhaul of its border controls.

Tourists travelling to India from 180 countries will no longer have to queue at their local consulates to obtain visas after New Delhi announced a “very significant” overhaul of its border controls.

Most foreigners currently have to wait several weeks before learning whether they will be allowed to enter India after submitting their applications at visa processing centres, a major deterrent for potential visitors.

Under the new scheme, set to come into force later this year, tourists will be able to apply online and then receive the green light within five days, before getting their visa at an airport on arrival.

“It is a very, very significant step that we are taking forward,” Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid told reporters in the capital on Thursday.

“We want to welcome more people to come to India and to make it more convenient for tourists to come to India.”

Planning Minister Rajiv Shukla announced the “historic” changes late on Wednesday, after a meeting of top foreign ministry, tourism and other government officials agreed on the overhaul.

India’s intelligence agencies also recently approved the changes, which were first mooted last October, although only for 40 countries.

Citizens from eight countries – Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, Sri Lanka and Sudan – have not been included in the changes for security reasons.

Mr Khurshid said the list of countries excluded from visas on arrival would be reviewed “periodically”.

The government hopes to have the necessary infrastructure in place, including at the country’s airports, by October in time for the start of the peak tourist season, officials said.

“Of course it requires a lot of logistics because people coming, arriving at airports will need to be processed very quickly,” Mr Khurshid said.

“I’m sure that those arrangements are being made.”

India currently issues visas on arrival to visitors from 11 foreign nations, including Japan, Finland and Indonesia.

Despite its cultural attractions, beaches and mountains, India attracts relatively few foreign holidaymakers – 6.58 million in 2012, which was about a quarter of Thailand or Malaysia.

India tightened entry restrictions in 2009 in the wake of revelations that David Headley, a foreign militant who helped plot the 2008 attacks in Mumbai, regularly stayed in India on long-term tourist visas.

AFP

HEALTH:

15) Health waiting issue

Mere Naleba
Sunday, February 09, 2014

Health Ministry spokewoman Evlyn Mani said the Ministry of Health has put in place strategies to minimise the waiting time for patients not just in Valelevu but in health facilities across the country.

This, after members of the public seeking medical attention at the Valelevu Health Centre on Monday waited for more than six hours before they were seen by a doctor, while others simply returned home.

People, mainly from the Nasinu area began arriving at the health centre at 7am but had to wait for more than half a day before they could be attended to.

“The ministry has increased the number of medical personnel at major health centres in populated areas such as Valelevu to cater for an increasing demand in health services,” Ms Mani said.

She confirmed that three doctors were assigned to the Valelevu Health Centre but they were rostered to various shifts in a day.

“While the usual process of patient referrals is carried out, there will always be cases where doctors will attend to critical cases including emergencies,” she said.

When this newspaper visited the health centre on Monday, some people were returning home, tired of waiting.

Nadawa resident Taivaita Rokoadi and her five-year-old son were at the health centre at 7am.

Ms Rokoadi suspected dengue fever as the cause of her son’s sickness.

But when the team from this newspaper arrived at the centre at 12.45pm, Ms Rokoadi and her son had still not been attended to.

“It’s really frustrating,” she said.

“I brought my son early in the morning, up until now he still has not been seen.

“They told us there were no more numbers to be given out and that they would give out the numbers at 11am.

Frustrated Nadera resident Nazreen Rehana and her son left the hospital for a private medical clinic.

“There are no more numbers for us, and we’ve been here since 7am,” Ms Rehana said.http://www.fijitimes.com/

EDUCATION:

16) Some Kiwi students to get Australian loans

8 February 2014

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has made a concession on student loans for New Zealanders living in Australia, but is not about to extend it to other benefits.

The announcement came after he met New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key in Sydney on Friday.

Under the proposal, New Zealanders under the age of 18 will be eligible for tertiary education or vocational training loans provided that they entered Australia as a dependent minor at least 10 years before applying.

John Key said he had been worried that the new government might reverse the decision and pleased by the commitment.

Tony Abbott said he could not take credit for the decision, as it was made by the previous Labor Government before last year’s federal election. But he said given it is so important to New Zealand, he will let the decision stand.

“We welcome Australia’s decision to ensure that some young Australians who are born to parents that are not residents or citizens here in Australia will now have access to higher education and student loans. We think that’s a sensible and progressive step and we thank you for doing that.”

Mr Key said it was in the best interests of both countries to provide educational opportunities for young people.

But Tony Abbott was not giving ground on New Zealanders’ eligibility for other benefits, saying New Zealanders enjoy our unique privilege of being free to work and live in Australia without approval.

“I’m pleased that we extend this particular prerogative to our brothers and sisters across the Tasman, but knowing just how industrious our brothers and sisters across the Tasman are, when they come to Australia I expect them in Bob Menzies’ immortal phrase to be lifters not leaners. Thank God, the vast majority of them have been and will continue to be – and that’s as it should be.”

John Key said there won’t be any immediate change, but his Government will continue to press Australia to provide other benefits, including disability care to New Zealanders living across the Tasman.

A New Zealand woman living in Queensland said the concessions don’t go far enough. Filipa Payne, who has three eligible children, told Radio New Zealand’s Checkpoint programme that Tony Abbott has merely thrown a bone and there has been no substantial efforts to deal with discrimination against New Zealanders.

Close partnership

John Key said New Zealand and Australia shared one of the closest economic partnerships in the world and it was critical that they continued to deepen the economic and business links between them.

Mr Abbott stressed the closeness of the relationship with New Zealand, referring to Mr Key as his brother Prime Minister. He said it was for that reason he invited New Zealand to participate in the G20 meeting of advanced economies in Brisbane later this year.

New Zealand businesses will be involved in Australasian Business Week as part of the build-up to the G20 meeting, a move Mr Key described as exceptionally generous because Mr Abbott could have restricted the event to simply promoting Australia.

Mr Key said the Australian prime minister had also agreed to refer to a tax review the idea of scrapping double taxation of dividend payments for trans-Tasman businesses.

The leaders also announced that international visitors will only need one visa to attend matches in the 2015 Cricket World Cup being co-hosted by New Zealand and Australia.

NZ food ban matter for watchdog – Abbott

Access of New Zealand products to Australian supermarkets was given focus at the talks, after revelations last week that Australia’s two big supermarket chains, Coles and Woolworths, were taking Kiwi goods off the shelves.

New Zealand food producers will have to take their case to watchdog the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) in an effort to stop supermarkets banning their goods.

John Key raised the matter with Tony Abbott during their talks on Friday. Mr Abbot said his immediate instinct is to say that is a commercial matter, but had this advice for New Zealand businesses.

“Anyone who does feel that he or she has been aggrieved by competition policy here in Australia, they can apply to the ACCC and anyone who thinks that our competition policy needs to be improved can make a submission to the competition review which is going to be underway shortly.”

Meanwhile, New Zealand supermarket chain Countdown said on Friday it has received complaints from customers. The company owned by Woolworths Australia has had a backlash from some shoppers on social media.

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

Meeting outcome embarrassing, says Cunliffe

Mr Cunliffe said on Friday that John Key has got nothing out of the meeting and is showing his desperation by re-announcing an old decision. He said the deal to extend student loans to children of New Zealanders who are long-term Australian residents was made by the Government in June last year.

Labour Party leader David Cunliffe says the Prime Minister should be embarrassed with the outcome of his meeting with Tony Abbott.

Mr Cunliffe said it is humiliating and not a good way to start the Government’s relationship with the Liberal Government. “I think they have an inferiority complex when it comes to Australia.”

He believed John Key should have been pushing to improve social welfare for New Zealanders living in Australia, who he says are treated as second-class citizens.

http://www.radionz.co.nz/

17) Questions hang over uni report

Source:
The National, Friday February 7th, 2014

By MALUM NALU
AN unreleased Commission of Inquiry report into the troubled University of Technology (Unitech) in Lae has surfaced after the council’s decision to bring back deported Vice-Chancellor, Dr Albert Schram.
The report was completed at the end of last May and a copy has already been given to Prime Minister Peter O’Neill but has never been publicly released.
The government ordered the inquiry after a split between the management and the board at the university sparked rioting by students in 2012.
It appointed Justice Mark Sevua to investigate the power struggle between the then-university council, led by Philip Stagg and lawyer Ralph Saulep, and the former vice-chancellor Albert Schram.
Saulep, who has read the Sevua Report, said Schram had not been cleared of all allegations as Unitech Chancellor Sir Nagora Bogan stated.
“The statement by Sir Nagora Bogan that ‘the investigations cleared Albert Schram of all allegations levelled against him’ is not true,” he said yesterday.
“It makes me wonder whether Sir Nagora read the report at all, because if he had done so, he would have discovered that the report did not clear Schram of the allegations.
“The statement by Sir Nagora that Schram is ‘vindicated by the findings of the Sevua Report against baseless allegations questioning his qualifications and credentials’ is misleading and incorrect.
“The Sevua Report’s findings on this issue fail entirely because they never adequately dealt with the terms of reference.
“It was never dealt with properly in the report because Schram refused to attend the hearings and refused to produce originals of his alleged doctorate.
“This is the subject of review by the proceedings,” Saulep said.
“Again, the fact that this statement was made by Sir Nagora clearly means he has not seen, let alone read the report.”
Saulep challenged the council’s decision to allow Schram to resume duties.

18) Mobile phones boost learning

Source:
The National, Friday February 7th, 2014

By LAZARUS BIRA
MOBILE phones can play a vital role to boost the knowledge of elementary school teachers and students in rural areas of Papua New Guinea.
This was revealed by a report on the innovative mobile phone research project implemented by Voluntary Services Overseas in partnership with the Department of Education under the AusAID economic and public sector programme.
The trial project called SMS Story sent phonics stories and lesson plans to elementary one and two teachers to help them teach.
“The SMS technology, using Frontline SMS over Digicel mobile network, was effective in reaching the teachers in elected remote schools in Madang and Chimbu provinces last year,” the report said.
The text messages contained short stories and lesson plans on pronunciation and teaching new words to students. The report said students, in the selected in the provinces, improved their reading skills compared with students who did not access the SMS Story.
It showed that 80% of the teachers in the schools that received SMS Story had stories for the children everyday while 20% of teachers in schools with no SMS Story had no stories for the students.
“The text messages to teacher improved students’ ability in decoding, fluency, reading familiar high frequency words and reading phonetically correct nonsense words,” the report said.
The report said there was little progression and low reading comprehension skills of the students.
VSO recommended that the SMS Story be scaled up, improve story and lesson plans based on learning from the trial, conduct further research into variations of the methodology and use stories and lesson plans in other reading interventions.
Mobile communication research consultant of economic and public sector programme Dr Amanda Watson said since there was no internet access in rural areas, mobile phones could play a vital role in education of rural people.
“SMS Story support teachers and improve the children’s reading skills,” Watson said.
It supports the teachers in rural and remote schools which do not have the reading books.

19) Foreign students to pay more

Nasik Swami
Sunday, February 09, 2014

FOREIGN students studying at government-funded schools will have to pay a different fee, according to Education permanent secretary Dr Brij Lal.

He said foreign students would have to pay four times more the fee charged by schools.

“Any overseas student has to pay times four whatever the fee we charge here,” he said.

Dr Lal said the fee structure for foreign students attending government schools has been in place since Fiji became independent in 1970.

“If you go to New Zealand and there fee is $10,000 per class, you will never be admitted for $10,000.

“They will say you are an overseas student and you will have to pay more.

“It is the same whether you go to university or anywhere.” http://www.fijitimes.com/

POLITIC:


20) Australia, PNG consider new border management systems
By Online Editor
10:20 am GMT+12, 07/02/2014, Papua New Guinea

The Australia and Papua New Guinea governments are currently considering a new border management system that would be compatible with New Zealand’s to enable greater people mobility.

Speaking at a breakfast meeting hosted by the Australia-Papua New Guinea Business Council in Port Moresby, Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said New Zealand and Australia have integrated their border and immigration systems, which enables authorities to have instant access to criminal records, family court records and other data.

She said the integration process took years to put in place and is a critical element which enables New Zealand passport holders to travel to and from Australia or vice versa. Discussions have already started with a view to set up a similar system for PNG.

“The example of New Zealand is often put to me because Australia does not have a waiver system for visas with any country in the world but government points out to me that it seems to be easier to get from New Zealand to Australia and vice versa.

That’s because over decades we’ve managed to integrate our behind-the-border systems and access to criminal records, to family court records, whole range of records that exist that otherwise have to be checked and visa processed. This has been in existence for many, many years,” Ms Bishop said.

“And I have enquired whether there is some sort of technological solution that we could come up with that would enable PNG and Australia to have similar arrangement. We’ve spoken to some experts they have offered to have a look at it to ascertain what PNG would need to do to be in the same position as New Zealand is in relation to the arrangements with Australia. So I think I think that is a step forward and we certainly going to pursue that.”

Visas continued to dominate the discussions during Ms Bishop’s visit to Port Moresby and Lae, but the Australian Foreign Minister was determined to sell the online visa application process as the best solution to Papua New Guineans needing a visa to travel to Australia.

“So what we have offered Papua New Guinea and it’s the first offer we’ve made to any country in the world is the ability to apply for a visa online now that means you got to have access to a laptop or a PC of course….

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

21) New connections between Australia and PNG
By Online Editor
10:14 am GMT+12, 07/02/2014, Papua New Guinea

Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop, has announced further details of support for the Australia-PNG Network.

This initiative, agreed at the Australia-PNG Ministerial Forum last December, is a key element of plans to strengthen economic and social ties between our two countries.

It will encourage stronger relationships between Australia’s and PNG’s businesses, entrepreneurs and students.

The Australian Government will provide $1 million over three years for the initiative that will be hosted by Australia’s Lowy Institute and PNG partner organisations.

The partner organisations will have strong links across business, civil society and academia in both Australia and Papua New Guinea. The Network will include an interactive online hub to foster new partnerships and to share knowledge and experience, using social media channels to maximise its reach.

The Network will help to ensure that other existing arrangements such as the Emerging Leaders’ Dialogue, scholarships, volunteering and twinning initiatives are connected and complementary.

Meanwhile she also announced new Australian support for Papua New Guinea to combat family and sexual violence in its second largest city, Lae.

Research suggests that an estimated two in three Papua New Guinean women have experienced domestic violence, affecting their health, human rights, freedom of movement and ability to work.

Australia will continue to deliver broad-ranging assistance to help Papua New Guinea to provide essential services to survivors of family and sexual violence.

Australia will fund a new PNG Family and Sexual Violence Case Management Centre in Lae, with a team of individual case workers to ensure women and children receive medical support as well as the immediate shelter, legal support and other services they need. The team will train other service providers, and advocate for more effective services.

The new Centre builds on Australia’s assistance for essential services, including:

•Supporting the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary (RPNGC) to establish 11 Family and Sexual Violence Units in Metropolitan Police Stations, including a unit in Lae.

•Consultations leading to the preparation of Papua New Guinea‘s Family Protection Bill in 2013, and

•Training for senior magistrates and district court clerks to improve the issuance of protection orders to prevent further violence in the home and in the community.

The Australian and Papua New Guinea Governments will also co-fund the redevelopment of the Lae ANGAU Memorial Hospital, which houses a Family Support Centre to meet the immediate health needs of survivors of violence. In 2010, the centre helped 530 survivors of sexual violence, including 192 cases involving children.

Australia will provide A$3 million to the Centre over three years from 2014. The Centre is a new PNG organisation supported by Oxfam Australia and the Australian National University.
SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

22) Former PNG Ombudsman takes grace period law to court
By Online Editor
1:13 pm GMT+12, 07/02/2014, Papua New Guinea

A five  men Supreme Court bench will be convened on 24 February to determine former  Papua New Guinea Chief Ombudsman Ila Geno’s standing to challenge the constitutionality of  Parliament’s amendment of the constitution which protects the government for 30 months from motions of no confidence.

Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia fixed this date on Tuesday when the matter went before him for directions.

Geno based his challenge on the belief that the amendment was unconstitutional because it suppresses and prohibits the people’s right to keep the executive arm accountable on a timely basis through their representatives on the floor of Parliament. The law provides for a dictatorial government sanctioned by the Constitution itself, he said. It has effectively changed a democratic style of government to an autocratic and or even dictatorial govern-ment.

He will be asking the Supreme Court a number of questions regarding this amendment.

He will ask if Parliament expressed the wishes of the people when pushing through the amendment. He said he will also ask if we still have the peoples’ Parliament?

“No. It has become the executive arm’s Parliament used as a convenient rubber stamp,” he said.

“If a Parliament, unlike any before, comprised of seasoned top lawyers allow such a draconian law to be passed, then who can save this country?”

In August last year Geno wrote to the Ombudsman Commission, Law Reform Commission and his own provincial executive and provincial assembly asking them to test the law in court but no one has shown any interest.

“The law has changed the course of the nation. We must bring it back on course,” he said

He said citizens can no longer stand idly by and watch the interest of politics and a few elites fiddle with the foundations of the nation that brings and binds us together from diverse backgrounds.
SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

23) Government Reveals Plans To Expand Honiara Skyward
Landowners allegedly won’t allow growth past current borders

By Daniel Namosuaia

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Feb. 6, 2014) – The Solomon Islands government is pursuing plans to expand Honiara upward due to resistance from landowners to allow the city to expand beyond its existing boundary.

Permanent secretary of the Ministry of Lands Stanley Wale revealed this yesterday.

“We are now looking into the legal framework that would allow us to expand the city vertically,” Mr Wale said.

He said this is being done in consultation with the Attorney General’s chamber.

Mr Wale said the plan is still in its initial stage but added it’s an issue they are seriously pursuing.

“Landowners have already made it clear that they won’t allow Honiara to expand beyond its current borders.

“So we have to pursue other options and one is to expand vertically.”

The Solomon Star understands Guadalcanal landowners have submitted their claims to the government in past years. Some of which to settle dues claimed for the lease of existing Honiara town boundary.

But Mr Wale said all Honiara land titles are owned by the commissioner of lands and whatever claims landowners are demanding from the government, they have the right to take it through the right channels.

The permanent secretary said the government wanted to get this new law done so that when the other option fail, they will pursue expanding upwards.

He said it is the wish of the government that this plan is fulfilled this year.

However, he said if this does not happen, the next government can implement it.

“There are demands for commercial, industrial and residential developments and the government wants to put in place laws so that people can own the airspace thus increasing new opportunities.

“This will apply to all the urban areas around the country,” Mr Wale added.

He pointed out that with the current problem the government is facing now with customary land issues, this would be the way forward.

But he said the government has taken a new strategy to work with land owners as their major partner in development.

He said the Office of the Prime Minister has taken the leading role with customary land issues as it wants to engage and treat landowners as its major partners in development.

He added the government wanted to see landowners get a fair share of any deal not like before when land owners were robbed of their resources.

“The government wants to see that as major partners in development, they should not dwell and depend on land rentals or royalties.

“But to be industrious and get involved in economic developments to get the maximum benefits off their land from the spinoffs which are more than what they could get from royalties,” Mr Wale said.

Solomon Star

24) Council Of Ministers Approves Port Vila By-Election Date
By-election budget of $13.5 million vatu also announced

By Jonas Cullwick

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Feb. 6, 2014) – A date for the by-election in Port Vila to fill the parliamentary seat left vacant after the death of late Patrick Crowby in December went to Vanuatu’s Council of Ministers last Friday and was subsequently approved, says the Principal Electoral Officer, Charles Vatu.

Although the Principal Electoral Officer would not release the date until it was officially declared by the Head of State, President Iolu Abil, some media reports quoting a “reliable source” said the polling date is April 15, 2014.

Vatu says the Electoral Office is now waiting for the President to declare the polling day already approved by the Council of Ministers, and that the State Law Office is preparing the order for the President to sign to declare the date of the by-election.Approval of the polling date by the Council of Minister (COM) has also set in motion logistical arrangements for the holding of the by-election.

“These include preparations to make public announcements to open lodging of applications for candidature and opening of publication of proxies for those registered voters who will not be in Port Vila on polling day to come to the Electoral Office in person to sign their proxies,” PEO Vatu said.

“Once applications are received, screening will start in compliance with CAP 146, the Representation of People’s Act, which lists those people who are eligible to contest a parliamentary election and includes those who do not have outstanding bills with the government including land rents, business licenses, expired drivers licenses and so on,” he continued.

Meanwhile, the COM papers approved last Friday includes a total budget estimate for the staging of the by-election of Vt13.5 million [US$139,175]. The money will cover all expenses including printing of ballot papers, engaging and briefing of polling clerks and presiding officers, and public messages and announcements in the media.

“It will also cover transport and holding of the by-election in Noumea, New Caledonia,” Principal Electoral Officer Charles Vatu added.

He said once the President declared the polling date, which hopefully will be this week, the Electoral Office anticipates February 19 for publication of candidatures to open.

Port Vila constituency has six parliamentary seats. The other five are held by Vanuatu Green Confederation’s Moana Carcasses, Vanua’aku Pati’s Edward Natapei, Graon and Jastis Pati’s Ralph Regenvanu, Union of Moderate Party’s Tony Wright and Vanuatu Liberal Democratic Party’s Willie Jimmy.
Vanuatu Daily Post: http://www.vanuatudaily.com

25) Vanuatu minister says new dual citizenship law creates distinct categories
By Online Editor
10:24 am GMT+12, 07/02/2014, Vanuatu

The Vanuatu lands minister has defended the move to change the constitution to allow Vanuatu citizenship to be sold.

Ralph Regenvanu says the new category of citizenship to be sold to foreigners will not allow successful applicants to own land, vote or run for public office, and says unlike ni-Vanuatu and naturalised citizens, their rights can be altered through legislation.

Opposition MPs and former MPs have criticised the constitutional amendments made last November.

The first opposition leader after independence in 1980, Vincent Boulekone, says it goes against the beliefs of the founders of Vanuatu.

But Regenvanu says there are clearly two different categories.

“I am confident that the changes that were made were made in such a way that we have preserved the original rights of citizens as were enjoyed under the original constitution.”

Regenvanu, also says the council of ministers has yet to decide on the fate of the people who have obtained citizenship outside due process.

An opposition MP, Willie Jimmy, says ministers won’t act on the report as there are many non-citizens working for them.

He says Gilles Daniel, the French national and adviser to the Prime Minister Moana Carcasses, is not a citizen, but Regenvanu disagrees and says action will be taken.

“There’s a list of those people, there’s a list of other people who have been given diplomatic passports who should not have been because that is illegal, to obtain diplomatic passports. And so the government will now, having only received the report last week, will consider what it is going to do and what measures it’s going to take.”

Meanwhile, Jimmy says the company set up by Vanuatu to issue passports in Hong Kong needs more checks and balances.

Willie Jimmy, who is a former ambassador to China, says he disagrees with last November’s constitutional amendment to allow dual citizenship.

He says there are not enough safeguards for the Capital Investment Immigration Plan, the CIIP, and there should have been a transparent tender process before the company was appointed.

Jimmy says a citizenship application will cost US$310, 000, but only 25 percent of the amount will come to Vanuatu, while 75 percent is managed by the CIIP.

“It should have gone through a tender process and we should have picked out the best company that knows how to manage this programme but they have just handpicked. I am not really sure whether the whole revenue that will be collected or will actually arrive at the treasury here in Vanuatu.”

Jimmy says the aim was to boost revenue for the government, but he is not sure if that will be achieved .

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

26) New Caledonia Defers Provincial Elections By One Week

Previously announced May 4 date was never made official

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Feb. 6, 2014) – New Caledonia’s provincial elections are now tipped to be held on May the 11th – a week later than previously suggested.

The French high commissioner, Jean-Jacques Brot, is quoted by the website Caledosphere as saying that May the 4th was widely expected to be election date but it had never made official.

The one week deferral is attributed to the number of polls, with municipal elections due next month and European Union elections another two months later.

The provincial elections will choose three provincial assemblies, out of which a new 54-member Congress will be formed that will be tasked to implement the last five-year term of the 1998 Noumea Accord on greater autonomy.

There is an apparent consensus emerging to try to avert an outright independence referendum and instead create a new arrangement to formalise ties with France.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

27) Labour Hopes Fiji Regime Won’t Meddle With Elections Body
FLP’s Chaudhry cites case of former constitutional commission

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Feb. 6, 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,” Chaudhry says.

The Commission has agreed to a meeting with political parties next week to discuss the election.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

28) SODELPA Mulls Internship For Aspiring Politicians In Fiji
Political party wants to groom youth, support women in politics

By Vuniwaqa Bola-Bari

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Feb. 6, 2014) – Fiji’s Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) is looking at offering internship to young and aspiring politicians’ as a means to create a better pathway going forward.

SODELPA general secretary Mr Pio Tabaiwalu told FijiLive that they would like to start recruiting young men and women who are keen to pursue politics as a career.

“Every party should seriously look at that, that’s the way forward because this hit and miss won’t get us anywhere,” Mr Tabaiwalu said.

“When they join we will start grooming them and in time they’d be matured, be aware of issues that matter to all Fijians, and be able to relate better to the people.”

Mr Tabaiwalu said the idea was born after they realised that women in professional fields were reluctant to stand in elections.

“We would like women to contest, but so far there has been very little interest from women,” Tabaiwalu said.

“There have been suggestions about having a quota for women, but first things first, they first must be just as interested as the men.

“We’re looking for women with merit, those women who can go on campaigns just as hard as man, go door to door like the men and the party wants to make sure that the women get just as much votes as the man.

“And a lot of these potential women are working and we understand that most of them are not applying because politics is a very risky profession.”

As a result of that, the party has decided to defer the due date for expressions of interest to encourage more women to put in their applications.

“It’s very difficult so we believe it would be ideal to bring them in early if they want to be future politicians so we can get them to meet the council of elections because by the time of the next election, we’ll have matured politicians,” Mr Tabaiwalu said.

“No party has done that and this is why SODELPA is looking at professional people to come in early.

“The best way is internship to prepare youths for the future.” To this end, the party is organising a youth forum in Suva next Saturday.

“You’re the future and you should be there to determine that future,” Mr Tabaiwalu said.

Fijilive: http://www.fijilive.com

LAND/GROUND/GIRAON/GRAON:

29) Vanuatu Governments Allegedly Abused Landowners’ Funds
Vaturisu Council of Chiefs calls for independent probe into trust

By Len Garae

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Feb. 6, 2014) – The Efate Vaturisu Council of Chiefs said former Vanuatu Governments since 1980, might have misused billions of vatu in the Custom Owner Trust Account (COTA) for other purposes, while the money was to be paid to the custom landowners.

The Vaturisu said it drew its conclusion on an admission by the Minister for Lands, Ralph Regenvanu, in parliament last month in which he was reported to have said when he took over the portfolio, there was no money in the COTA and that he has just started filling it up again, the current amount of which stands at Vt650 million [US$6.7 million].

Chief Meameadola thanked the Minister for his honesty saying it was clear past Governments had used the money. He said the money that should have been placed in trust for leases signed in Efate rural and other islands throughout the country should be worth not millions but billions. This money is to be used to pay rightful custom landowners when they are identified.

Vaturisu has mandated the Chairman of the Vaturisu Land Reform Commission, Levi Tarosa, to carry out an independent probe into all the moneys that had been paid into the trust account on behalf of custom land owners on Efate since July 30 of 1980.

“When we think about all the rural land leases signed since 1980 and there have been many ever since, we feel that the amount of Vt650 million is not correct. You should be talking billions, not millions,” Chief Meameadola said.

In the Vaturisu Conference in Epau last year, Tarosa was also mandated to look into the issue of COTA to protect the interests of the custom landowners on Efate.

He said another issue is that those who claim to be custom landowners of the land where Vila Town is located want to claim part of COTA.

“There is a misinformation here as the money for Vila Town has to be found by the Government from somewhere else because this is urban land.

“The money that goes into COTA comes out from rural leases only. If the Government identifies the custom landowners of Port Vila Town, the Government will have to find the money from elsewhere to compensate the landowners as COTA is reserved for rural custom landowners who are the concern of the Vaturisu,” he said.

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

30) Landowners, Developer At Loggerheads Over Fiji Mine Project
Locals say promises haven’t been kept for Namosi Joint Venture

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Feb. 6, 2014) – Landowners from a district in Fiji near Suva where a gold and copper mine is planned say their relationship with the company behind the venture has gone from bad to worse.

The Namosi Joint Venture is a partnership between the Australian mining company Newcrest and Japanese interests and has been held up at various stages due to environmental concerns.

A landowner, who wishes to remain unnamed, says they don’t know whether the Environment Impact Assessment has been completed yet, and says it’s hard to get any information from the developers.

“Our relationship is not too good at the moment, lots of miscommunication is happening. We told them to listen to landowners, they did not want to listen. We won’t give Namosi to be mined, no.”

The man says the developers have reneged on promises during the exploratory stage and landowners don’t trust them any more.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

31) Pacific land grab among worlds worst says expert

An international expert on land-grabbing says the Pacific has some of the world’s worst examples of the practice.

Listen to the audio

Land-grabbing happens when, usually foreign companies, buy or lease large tracts of land for a pittance robbing traditional owners of a birthright that has been theirs for generations and which should be providing an economic future for their children.

In Vanuatu, almost all the waterfront land on the main island of Efate has been lost to traditional owners and much of the inland has been handed over to farming companies.

In Papua New Guinea the scandal over Special Agricultual and Business leases has seen 5 million hectares leased out, much of it without landowner permission.

Award-winning British science and environment writer, Fred Pearce, travelled to the epicentre of land-grabbing in Africa, and to Asia, South America, and Australia.

He says the land scandal in Papua New Guinea, which saw 11 per cent of the country’s land mass leased out in less than a decade, is up there with the worst.

Presenter: Jemima Garrett

Speaker: Fred Pearce, author, ‘The Landgrabbers: The new fight over who owns the Earth’

PEARCE: Land grabs in Africa are huge but I don’t think many countries would get as far as 11 per cent but there are some exceptions. South Sudan when it became a new nation a couple of years ago had already leased out 10 per cent of its land, even before it was formed the interim government had done that. In Liberia, in West Africa, according to some analyses, three quarters of the land is leased out in some form to foreign companies, whether they are rubber plantation companies or loggers or mining companies. So some Afric an countries are doing things on the scale of Papua New Guinea.

GARRETT: The way land-grabbers go about their business is very different in Africa. What do people in Papua New Guinea have to learn from the experience there?

PEARCE: I think if you are looking at Africa you see the dangers of having unclear law. There are many examples in Africa, where communities in theory have rights to their land but there are also other claimants and other people who can show bits of paper or other people who can wave a different law and say ‘no we have the rights’ so there is a great deal of confusion in many parts of Africa. Communities think they have control of their land but it turns out that they don’t. And that is a real difficulty. So you have a problem with bad law and then a failure to enforce what law is available. And those are precisely the circumstances in which large land grabbers can use the muscle, their financial muscle, to take control.

GARRETT: In Papua New Guinea much of the land under the Special Agricultural Business Leases has been alienated for the first time ever. NGOs, academics and others are calling for revocation of suspect leases. How important is that, if the original traditional landowners are to maintain the rights they do supposedly have under law?

PEARCE: It is essential certainly to clarify the law but obviously to clarify the law in favour of the traditional claimants of the land, who ought to after all have the prior rights even if there has been some confusion, subsequently. It is their land. A big problem in Africa is that in the 1960s and the 1970s after independence a lot of the land was taken over by the state, usually with socialist agendas, ‘we’ll take over the land for the benefit of the people’. And many communities were happy with that. They thought that was reasonable in the optimism of independence but now they are finding governments are leasing out this land to foreign corporations. The land that they took to benefit the people is now being leased to foreign corporations in the name of some rather dubious ideas about how to do economic development. So there are real problems when governments do that.

GARRETT: A recent study by the ANZ bank suggests that Papua New Guinea will need to double the land it has under agriculture in the next few years to meet their 2030 targets. What are the risks with such a big increase in the area of land under agriculture?

PEARCE: The risks of having an agenda driven by the desire to increase food production, is that you hand over the land to foreign corporations who will say ‘we will increase the productivity, we will increase the yields, we will invest in the land’. So many governments are desperate for investment in their land in their agric land that they will do almost anything to encourage a foreign company to come in and do that. The truth is that governments very often should be investing in their own people, in the skills of their own people, in their small holders and others who can deliver the yields just as well. But in Africa, especially over the last 40 years since independence, there has been very little investment in small holder agriculture so it is lagging behind, it desperately needs investment but I think governments should be investing in their own people rather than leasing out land to foreign corporations whose ultimate obligations after all are to their shareholders in foreign countries and not to the countries in which they are investing.

GARRETT: Often when governments take these steps it is to increase jobs, to provide jobs in agriculture. Can small-holder agriculture provide those jobs?

PEARCE: Small holder agriculture provides a lot more employment, a lot more livelihoods than most foreign investment. Most foreign investors want to do mechanised agriculture, they don’t want to use labour even when it is available. And when they use labour they frequently bring in labour from outside, because they perceive probably quite rightly, that their kind of investment is going to create conflict with local communities. Local communities are going to start demanding things in return and they don’t want to be in that kind of relationship. They want a labour force which is acquiescent which they can move out if it starts getting angry about anything. So as I saw all across Africa and elsewhere, what you see is foreign investors bringing in their own labour force. If you go to places in Indonesia, I was in Sumatra, they bring in labour from a different island because they don’t want to work with the locals, or a different country in parts of Africa or a different part of the country. They really don’t want to employ the locals because the locals can demand more than an acquiescent shipped-in workforce.

See more at: http://farmlandgrab.org/post/view/23139-pacific-land-grab-among-worlds-worst-says-expert#sthash.ogY9KVH7.dpuf

BUSINESS:

32) Barclays Bank customer data ‘stolen’

8/2/14.

Investigations have been launched after a report that thousands of confidential files with details of Barclays Bank customers had been stolen and sold.

It reportedly covered money and health matters and attitude to risk, national insurance and passport numbers.

The Mail on Sunday said a database of information on up to 27,000 customers was sold to “unscrupulous brokers”.

Barclays said it had contacted regulators and would help authorities in “pursuing the perpetrator”.

The newspaper said the leak was exposed by an anonymous whistleblower who handed it a memory stick containing personal data belonging to 2000 Barclays customers.

He said data belonging to a further 25,000 was on sale for £50 per customer.

The report said the data included earnings, savings, mortgages, insurance policies, health issues and attitude to risk, as well as national insurance and passport numbers, and was “worth millions on the black market because it allowed unsuspecting individuals to be targeted in investment scams”.

The BBC reports the customers in question had originally contacted the bank seeking financial advice from Barclays Financial Planning, which was shut down in 2011.

The Information Commissioner’s Office said it would be working with the newspaper and police who were seeking more details.http://www.radionz.co.nz/

33) PNG Government to raise tax threshold
By Online Editor
10:10 am GMT+12, 07/02/2014, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has indicated a possible increase in the tax threshold of ordinary workers from the current K10,000 to K20,000 (US$3,934 – US$7, 869).

He said workers currently earning K1 to K10,000 are exempted from paying any taxes and that can be increased to K20,000 threshold after the review team comes in with its recommendations.

But there is a catch here. Before doing that the Government needs to increase its revenue base to cater for any further tax relief to the ordinary workers, he said

The PM said the current taxation review headed by Sir Nagora Bogan will consider all these taxation issues and tighten up loopholes that allows tax evasion by business houses.

Speaking on FM100’s Talk-back show yesterday, the Prime Minister encouraged all young Papua New Guineans to go into the “savings culture” to save for the future.

“The tax review team headed by Sir Nagora is already in place and I know that we have given tax relief to workers earning money from K1 to K10,000 per annum,” he said.

“Yes we can increase it a little bit further; I think there is a need to increase that say an increase of up to K20,000 where Papua New Guineans earning up to K20,000 cannot pay tax.

“I want to stress this very carefully I know that the tax we are paying is fairly high, the only way we can reduce the tax is when the government has got a bigger revenue base.

“There are some people who are in business out there who are deliberately avoiding paying tax and we need to catch them, not the mums and dads and kids who are working but there are some business people who are making millions of kina are not paying their fair share of the tax.

“What we are now doing is changing the rules saying that if you are going to open up a company account in the bank or wherever you must have a tax file number, if you want to transfer money out of the country you must have a tax clearance first before you do that.”

He said a lot of people doing business are involved in activities such as transfer pricing where they buy high invoices overseas and send their money out but sell at low cost in the country to avoid paying tax.

“We are now tightening up the way in registering and doing business in the country so as to capture everybody, some companies have been making loses for many years but are still operating, so those kind of people we will do tax audits, go back and reassess the value of their taxes over the last few years, so we will go back and governments can do that, they think they are smart now but we will catch up with them.”

“So we are tightening up all the loopholes so that every person living and working in this country pay their fair share of tax so we can build better roads, better infrastructure to benefit the whole lot of us.”

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

34) Bishop discusses trade relations

Source:
The National, Friday February 7th, 2014

AUSTRALIA is Papua New Guinea’s largest trading partner with Australian investment in the country worth more than $A19 billion – almost equalling Australia’s investment in China.
Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop said it was an example of the push on foreign investment Australia was doing in countries in the Asia and Pacific region, including PNG.
She said it covered areas of military, capacity building, economy and trade.
Bishop was addressing members of the Lae Chamber of Commerce and Morobe government during a luncheon at the Lae Yacht Club.
Bishop said the relationship with PNG in the past 40 years was based on aid which had seen A$520 million coming in yearly. This would now be changed to economic partnership.
She said the Government must compliment foreign investment by improving its infrastructure and its capacity.
“Yes we are the 12th largest economy in the world and 53rd largest population, we are facing challenging times with the global economy not recovering the way some would like,” she said.
“And in Australia we have to make sure that we create an environment that grows our economy and ensure prosperity.”
Bishop said PNG would benefit from trade agreements but should change from its approach just like the Australian government had done.
“Foreign investment is essential to drive economic growth, Australia was built on direct foreign investment.
“The private sector is the fundamental driver of economic growth.”

35) Australian Government provides support for Pacific Trade Show
By Online Editor
4:45 pm GMT+12, 07/02/2014, Fiji

The Australian Government today announced its support worth AUD$25,000 for Trade Pasifika 2014.

The regional trade event will be held at the Vodafone Arena in Suva, Fiji from 2-4 April 2014 with the theme “Exporting for Growth, It’s everyone business”.

At a handover ceremony held today in Suva, Ambassador of Trade Pasifika 2014 and Chair of the Trade Pasifika Steering Committee, Kaliopate Tavola, said the support by the Australian Government will fund a good number of community partners in the region with a particular focus on “Women in Business” and “Youth in Business”.
Acting Australian High Commissioner to Fiji Glenn Miles, said, “Trade Pasifika 2014 is an event that promotes and demonstrates the value of Pacific partnerships in economic growth.”

The Australian Government’s support is specifically for the Women In Business component of Trade Pasifika 2014, “Our Foreign Minister Julie Bishop recently emphasized that 50% of Australia’s aid budget is designed to empower women and girls. In this spirit, our support for this year’s Trade Pasifika will support Pacific women and young entrepreneurs, most of whom are rural based and contributing directly to livelihoods in their communities,” said Miles.

He added that private sector development, aid for trade and empowering women and girls are key contributors to lifting standards of living for the most vulnerable in the region.

Miles also congratulated the Trade Pasifika Steering Committee for allocating scholarships specifically for women and youth from four countries to participate as exhibitors at the event.

“We envisage that women and youth who participate will benefit from the opportunities to network and exhibit their products and services but also depart with new skills from the workshops and seminars that have been tailored for them.”

Tavola said, “In addition to this contribution, the Australian Government through the Pacific Leadership Program will explore opportunities beyond the Trade Show in April specifically for business coalitions and the leadership development of entrepreneurs.”
SOURCE: AUST GOVT/PIPSO/PACNEWS

36/37) Trade focus

Ropate Valemei
Saturday, February 08, 2014

THE Trade Pasifika 2014 is targeting 80 buyers from around the region this year.

Ambassador Kaliopate Tavola said the target was a lesson learnt from the last event in 2012.

“We are going out to get as many buyers as we can and target is 80. We may not reach the target but we if we get 50 that will be great.”

Mr Tavola said they were using all the means to reach all the buyers with the assistance of trade offices and agencies.

Yesterday, the Australian Government-funded Pacific Leadership Program based in Suva contributed $41,000 for the secretariat.

Acting Australian High Commissioner to Fiji Glen Miles said private sector development, aid for trade and empowering women and girls were key contributors to lifting standards of living for the most vulnerable in the region.

“Trade Pasifika 2014 is an event that promotes and demonstrates the value of Pacific partnerships in economic growth,” Mr Miles said.http://www.fijitimes.com/


38) New tourism exchange to bring international interest to the Pacific

7 February 2014

The inaugural South Pacific Tourism Exchange is aiming to expose Pacific tourism destinations to the international market.

The South Pacific Tourism Organisation is hosting the new event in Auckland from May the 22nd to 24th, following the cancellation of the long-running Bula Fiji Tourism Exchange.

The Marketing Manager of the SPTO, Petero Manufolau, says the timing of the event is crucial, as it will follow on from the TRENZ 2014 expo in Auckland.

He says 16 Pacific nations will be represented and 50 international ‘buyers’, or tour wholesalers coming from places like Italy, Belgium, and Scandinavian countries.

“For the South Pacific, having those buyers from the long haul markets is vital for an event like this because most of them (tour operators) have Australia and New Zealand right in their backyards and it’s easy access and we’re always connecting with New Zealand and Australian buyers but hardly any opportunity to have direct contact with the long haul markets and this is an opportune time. ”

The Marketing Manager of the South Pacific Tourism Organisation, Petero Manufolau http://www.radionz.co.nz/

LAW&ORDER ( Western ) 

39) Machines to reduce corruption

Luke Rawalai
Sunday, February 09, 2014

THE soon to be introduced computerised vehicle inspection machines by LTA are expected to reduce chances of corruption and bribery.

Authority CEO Naisa Tuinaceva said the new system will limit the use of manual labour which meant a reduction in the tempering of inspection processes.

“Tests like the tolerance capacity of vehicle brakes, steering and suspension will be done by the machine and no one can go beyond that,” he said.

“Once a vehicle part fails to have the tolerance rate that is recommended by the machine it will automatically fail the vehicle being tested.

“The new system will take around three to four years to be implemented in our main centres.

“The devices were identified following a successful tender.

“A three-member team from LTA visited the USA late last year to inspect the machine and signed a memorandum of understanding with the Worldwide Environment Products, a Californian-based company contracted by the authority to provide, deliver and install the devices.”http://www.fijitimes.com/

40) Kiribati Labour Minister Accused Of Assaulting Former Wife
MPs call on minister Bateriki to step down after breaking the law

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Feb. 6, 2014) – The Kiribati minister of labour is facing criminal charges in relation to beating up his former wife.

The minister, Boutu Bateriki, and his former wife appeared in court yesterday, but their case has been adjourned until February the 18th.

Two MPs, Patrick Tatireta and Tetaake Kwong, have called on the minister to step down, saying he has broken the law.

Mr Tatireta says government has supported the family bill to protect children and women from abusive men and the behaviour of the minister undermines the confidence of people in the government.

The MPs say they are sure the president will deal with the matter accordingly.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

41) Massive Fraud Case Involving PNG Law Firm Adjourned
Despite prosecution’s objection, judge delays Paul Paraka’s case

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Feb. 6, 2014) – The lawyer arrested and charged for fraud in connection with the investigation of Task Force Sweep in Papua New Guinea has been granted a four-month adjournment.

Paul Paraka, who was charged with conspiracy, false pretence, misappropriation, and money laundering, also had his bail extended.

PNG Edge reports Mr Paraka’s lawyer, Stanley Boga, asked for a seven-month adjournment so that the prosecution’s submissions can be thoroughly screened.

The prosecution objected to the request, however the magistrate, Pimson Pindipia, adjourned the matter to May the 31st.

Mr Paraka’s arrest followed investigations by Task Force Sweep into the alleged payment of over US$29 million in state funds to Paul Paraka lawyers.

The investigation is ongoing.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

TRIBAL MELANESIAN LAW & ORDER:

42) Tortured elder dies

Source:
The National, Friday February 7th, 2014

AN elderly man accused of sorcery died after he was tortured by a group of villagers in Taguru, Pangia, Southern Highlands, according to police.
Provincial police commander Chief Insp Sibron Papoto said the seven villagers tortured the man after accusing him of killing a clansman through sorcery.
He said two of the men had been arrested and charged with murder while five others were on the run.
Papoto said the old man went through great pain and eventually died of burns and wounds on his body.
He said the old man was buried on Monday at his village.
“I will send more policemen into the area to arrest five others still at large,” he said.
Papoto warned people against taking the law into their hands and that they should stop these sorcery-related killings.
“The Government has changed the law and imposed the death penalty on sorcery-related killings,” he said.
“I want to warn the people planning to commit crimes (like sorcery-related killing) to think twice before executing their plans.”
Public outcry against sorcery-related killings erupted one year ago when a mother-of-three was tortured and burned alive in public in Mt Hagen city, in the neighbouring Western Highlands.
The media here and abroad highlighted the incident, forcing the Government to propose legislation to address the problem.

43) Amnesty hits out at PNG over sorcery death
By Online Editor
10:38 am GMT+12, 07/02/2014, Papua New Guinea

Amnesty International today hit out at Papua New Guinea for failing to bring to justice the killers of a woman who was burned to death a year ago for sorcery.

Kepari Leniata, 20, was stripped naked, tied up, doused in petrol and burned alive in front of a crowd by relatives of a boy who died following an illness in the city of Mount Hagen in February last year.

The attackers claimed Leniata caused his death through sorcery in a case that sparked global outrage, with the United Nations slamming “the growing pattern of vigilante attacks and killings of persons accused of sorcery in Papua New Guinea”.

“One year since Kepari’s murder made international headlines, it is shocking that those responsible for her torture and killing have yet to be brought to justice,” said Kate Schuetze, Amnesty’s Pacific researcher.
Reports last year said two people had been charged with the murder but Amnesty said nobody had yet been convicted.

“With a reported increase in the number of sorcery-related attacks, particularly against women, it’s clear the authorities need to do much more to deal with these abhorrent crimes.

“This type of violence is destroying families and communities in Papua New Guinea,” Schuetze said.

Amnesty said it had received reports of girls as young as eight being attacked and accused of sorcery, and children being orphaned as a result of one or both their parents being killed after accusations of witchcraft.

Black magic, sorcery and cannibalism have all been reported in impoverished Papua New Guinea, with experts worried that it is on the rise.

The UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women in 2012 found that sorcery is often used as a pretext to mask the abuse of women.

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, currently in Papua New Guinea, said research suggested two in three Papua New Guinean women have experienced domestic violence as she announced funding for a PNG Family and Sexual Violence Case Management Centre in the town of Lae.

The attack on Leniata helped push Papua New Guinea to re-introduce the death penalty for violent crimes including sorcery.

It also repealed the 1971 Sorcery Act, which recognised the accusation of sorcery as a defence in murder cases.

Any black magic killing is now treated as murder punishable by death under sweeping law reforms announced last year that also revived the death penalty in the Pacific nation for a range of crimes.

Amnesty said the reforms had not reduced sorcery-related violence and urged the government to develop urgent measures to protect women at risk, including establishing shelters and providing emergency funds to help them escape.
SOURCE: AFP/PACNEWS

REFUGEE/ASYLUM:

44) Australian lawyers challenge legality of Nauru detentions

8 February 2014

An Australian lawyer says the detention of Australia’s asylum seekers on Nauru to satisfy some Australian political policy is constitutionally improper.

George Newhouse of Shine Lawyers social justice team is one of several prominent human rights lawyers who have launched a constitutional challenge in Nauru.

They say the detention of more than 1,300 people in appalling conditions on the island, in some cases, since September of 2012, is illegal.

Mr Newhouse says under the Nauru Constitution you can only be detained on immigration matters if you are about to be deported.

He says detention to satisfy Australia’s so called no advantage policy is not a legitimate purpose.

“We understand that many of the asylum seekers have had their claims assessed and been found to be in need of protection but that they are not being properly processed, because of the Australian government’s policies – that is quite improper. It is not proper to keep people in detention for a political reason.”

George Newhouse// http://www.radionz.co.nz/

45) Indonesia criticises asylum policy

8 february 2014.

Indonesia’s foreign minister has told a newspaper that Australia’s policy of towing asylum seeker vessels back to Indonesian waters is inhumane.

Marty Natalegawa was speaking after reports a lifeboat carrying 34 people was found drifting ashore in West Java last week.

The ABC aired footage last week of an orange lifeboat carrying refugees being towed by an Australian vessel.

The Jakarta based Kompas newspaper quotes Mr Natalegawa as criticising the Australian government’s policy of having the navy tow asylum seeker boats back into Indonesian waters.

He’s quoted as questioning whether such measures could be considered the policy of a government which upholds human rights and humanity.

Mr Natalegawa told the newspaper he was studying the reports that vessels were towed to Indonesian waters and may summon Australia’s ambassador for clarification.

http://www.radionz.co.nz/

46) Asylum seekers sent back

7 February 2014

Asylum seekers discovered on Wednesday night on the Indonesian coast say they were nearly ready to disembark at Christmas Island when the Australian Navy sent them back.

The asylum seekers say they made it close to Christmas Island when the Australian Navy intercepted them.

All but two were transferred onto an orange lifeboat and sent back to Indonesia, where the craft was beached on the south coast of Java on Wednesday evening.

The Indonesian navy says 34 people were on board the lifeboat.

The ABC says the Indonesian navy this week decided to boost personnel numbers on the southern coast of Java.

http://www.radionz.co.nz/

WOMAN/YOUTH/CHILD:

47) Plans for new shelter for women

Source:
The National, Friday February 7th, 2014

AUSTRALIA will build a management centre to address domestic violence cases in Lae, Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop says.
She said the A$3 million centre would serve as a shelter for victims of domestic and sexual violence.
Lae, the second largest city in the country, has one of the highest rates of domestic violence. It includes ethnic clashes and criminal activities.
Bishop said the A$3 million would be appropriated over a three-year period. The location and time of construction is to be confirmed.
“The centre will provide shelter for abused women,” Bishop said.
“The centre will work closely with the police and courts.”
Bishop said sexual and domestic violence was unacceptable everywhere in the world including Australia and the United States.
Bishop said the Australian government was committed to seeing that violence against women was stamped out.
She said women empowerment was close to her heart and women needed to be empowered economically for a more resilient economy.
Bishop said she met women leaders, including Lae MP Loujaya Kouza, in Port Moresby on Wednesday to discuss the issue.
She said the resource centre would be managed by well-trained people.
She said Oxfam International and a university from Australia should provide support and technical expertise for the centre.

ART/EVENTS:

48) Annual Contemporary Pacific Art Show Opens In Australia
2014 ‘Maketi Ples’ features artists from seven island nations

By Jemima Garrett

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Feb. 6, 2014) – 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 Peseta said.

Mr Peseta 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.

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

49) Reggae star pays tribute to women

Source:
The National, Friday February 7th, 2014

By NATASHA EMECK
SHAGGY had reggae lovers in Port Moresby jumping and pumping their fists all night long at his show at the Cosmopolitan on Wednesday.
Fans worked up quite a sweat dancing and singing along with the Jamaican-born international star  who put on a thrilling performance for the full house.
The reggae star and his band belted out hits like Bombastic, Wasn’t Me, Angel and Hey Sexy Lady.
He played a Papua New Guinean hit, Kuti Mangi by Kerema musician Robert Oeka and danced along to it as the crowd roared in approval.
On Tuesday, he arrived from the Solomon Islands, his management team expressed concern for his security following a number of threats and warnings they received to stay away from PNG.
Their concerns were visible in the tight security during the show in comparison to Mario’s performance last month.
Shaggy told the crowd that he loved the weather and food in the country and much of it reminded him of his home in Jamaica.
Before performing his breakthrough Strength of a woman, he dedicated it “to all the strong PNG women out there”.  “Just picture if you could what life would be, ain’t much good without a PNG woman,” he sang.
Shaggy wrote the song for his mother who raised him as a single parent.
He taught the crowd how to “whine” like a true Jamaican, showing them how to pull the right facial expression while winding their hips.
Before the end of the night, Shaggy’s team filmed a clip of his performance to put on online and the star posed for an Instagram picture with the crowd.
He only one jam in Port Moresby

SPORTS:

50) Breath-testing ‘an option’ at Sevens

8 february 2014.

Breath-testing people going into Wellington’s Westpac Stadium is an option being considered by the police as they decide how to deal with excessive drunkenness at the Sevens tournament.

Twenty people were arrested and 270 people ejected from the stadium while another 37 people were arrested for drink-related offences in the central city in what the police describe as a night of mayhem.

Police say the constant disorder kept them very busy from 10.30pm on Saturday until 7am on Sunday.

A spokesperson said police were very disappointed by the total number of arrests over the two days.

Those arrested will appear in court this week.

Police say security at the stadium was better on Saturday than Friday, but Inspector John Spence says the levels of intoxication at the stadium were too high, and the police will be assessing what happened and deciding what to do next.

He says part of the problem is people arrive at the stadium having already consumed a lot of alcohol and breath testing could be looked at.

Mr Spence says it’s an option but breath-testing 29,000 people on their way to a stadium may not be possible, or doable.

Wellington’s mayor Celia Wade-Brown says the Sevens tournament was a success for the city and the vast majority of the crowd were well-behaved.

But she says it’s important for bar staff to be vigilant about not serving people if they are intoxicated.

Ms Wade-Brown says ambulance staff report they dealt with fewer incidents than last year. http://www.radionz.co.nz/

51) NSL scores K1 million

Source:
The National, Friday February 7th, 2014

By HENRY MORABANG
TELIKOM PNG has lived up its slogan “Always there” to inject K1 million into the National Soccer League for the next three years, starting this year.
Telikom Board director Cedrick Rondoke said the telecommunication company has been sponsoring the league since its inception in 2007, and its proud of its contribution to take soccer to a whole new level.
Rondoke said soccer is a national sport and Telikom would like to acknowledge the franchise owners who continue to contribute to the professional development of soccer in the country.
National Soccer League Board chairman Isaac Lupari thanked Rondoke and his Board for their continued support to the National Soccer League competition.
He said the company has been with NSL since day one, and the 2014 sponsorship would be the ninth consecutive year for Telikom to sponsor NSL.
The annual donation of K400,000 would come in parts; K100,000 for marketing and advertising while K300,000 would go towards the administration of the semi professional competition.
The sponsorship is part of Telikom’s social obligation to the community, in particular sports.
While accepting the money, Lupari also called on other corporate company to support Telikom PNG. He encouraged all stakeholders involved with the game to contribute meaningfully to the development of the game – with the aim of producing quality players which can help PNG on the world stage.
Lupari said the Board has done its part but it would need more support financially from all stakeholders including Telikom PNG in the future.
Acting president of PNGFA Linda Wonuhali thanked Telikom for sticking with NSL since day one.
She is calling for more sponsors to spread their money by financing the women’s soccer as well.
“The women’s soccer is the champion of the Pacific region, but there was no corporate support,” she said.

52) New Zealand beats India by 40 runs in first Test after Neil Wagner four-wicket haul

Updated 9 February 2014, 16:24 AEST

Neil Wagner captured four wickets at crucial times as New Zealand held off a counter-attacking India to win the first test at Eden Park by 40 runs after tea on the fourth day on Sunday.

India had looked the favourite to win the match for much of the day before Wagner dismissed Virat Kholi (67) and Shikhar Dhawan (115) after lunch then removed Zaheer Khan (17) and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (39) in the evening session when the tourists were in sight of the 407 runs needed for victory.

Dhoni, the architect of a bludgeoning counter-attack after his side had been reduced to 6 for 270 after tea, was the ninth wicket to fall, effectively ending the chase with his side still 44 runs short of their target.

India, which was eventually dismissed for 366, was skittled out for 202 in its first innings, a deficit of 301 runs, but fought back brilliantly with the ball to give themselves a fighting chance of achieving an unlikely victory.

“I’m absolutely out of breath. That was a long hard toil of test cricket but it’s an amazing feeling, one of the best feelings of my career,” Wagner said in a televised interview.

“I’m overjoyed, overwhelmed. I’m also a bit shagged to be honest.

“The boys kept running in and you can see what this means to them as a unit. They toiled hard all day and it’s a great feeling.”

Upper hand alternates throughout final day

The final session typified the ebb and flow of the fourth day, with both sides at times holding the upper hand only for their fortunes to change over by over.

India had earlier looked favourite to win the match after lunch with Kohli and Dhawan well established and ready to guide their team home in the final session.

Wagner dismissed the dangerous Kohli to break a 126-run partnership with Dhawan, then had the opening batsman caught behind to give the hosts hope they could still win the match at Eden Park.

Trent Boult then dismissed Ajinkya Rahane before tea with the first delivery of the second new ball when he trapped the batsman lbw for 18, though television replays showed Rahane had got an inside edge before the ball hit his pads.

Southee then had Rohit Sharma caught behind by Watling for 19 on the first ball after tea to give the wicketkeeper his fifth catch of the innings and the fireworks began.

Ravindra Jadeja produced a beautifully timed off drive for a boundary on the first delivery he faced which sparked the counter-attack.

Jadeja and Dhoni raced to a 54-run partnership in 34 balls and looked to have seized the initiative back before Jadeja produced one shot too many off Boult and the ball flew to Ish Sodhi at mid-on.

Zaheer Khan continued in that vein, throwing the bat at the ball at every opportunity, but when he fell Dhoni was left to try to see his side to an unlikely victory.

When he was controversially bowled by Wagner, television replays suggested the bowler could have been called for a no-ball, India’s pursuit effectively ended before it was finished when Ishant Sharma gave Watling his sixth catch.

The second Test in the series begins at Wellington’s Basin Reserve on February 14.

Reuters

53) Alofa shines in Waratahs victory

Aap
Sunday, February 09, 2014

SYDNEY – All eyes were on Benji Marshall in his first Sydney outing since quitting the NRL, but the former Wests Tigers star was outshone by an unheralded league convert in the Waratahs’ 33-12 Super Rugby trial win at Allianz Stadium.

Twenty-two-year-old winger Alofa Alofa, an ex-Sydney Roosters under-20s player announced himself as a player to watch for the Waratahs this year with a try and several passages of dazzling footwork.

Meanwhile, Kurtley Beale might have started at fullback, but he put his name forward to begin his comeback season at the Waratahs in the hotly-contested No.10 jersey, after igniting the NSW backline with the opening try, some sharp passing and then a brilliant first-half chip-and-chase.

Friday night’s match started as a dour struggle, but soon opened up, with Beale, Israel Folau and rookie flyer Alofa putting together a tidy highlights package to kick-start the Waratahs season.

The former Kiwis captain was steamrolled by giant Waratahs back rower Will Skelton as NSW took an early 14-0 lead.

Marshall was replaced at halftime, coinciding with the benchmark of cross-code stars, Folau taking the field for the opposition – although the NSW fullback made a rare error, fumbling a kick which allowed Charles Piutau to bring the Blues’ back into the match at 21-12.

However, Folau made amends just 10 minutes later when he put Stephen Hoiles over in the corner with the silkiest of flick-passes to put the result beyond doubt.

NSW held the ball for virtually the entire opening 11 minutes of the match, before Beale scooped up a loose pass from halfback Nick Phipps and surged over from close range.

Bernard Foley started at five-eighth and also scored a try, but it was Beale who put the No.10 through a hole in the 13th minute with a pin-point face-ball at the line.

The Waratahs’ backs interchanged positions throughout the night, but the most revealing find of the night was West Harbour product Alofa — who finished off the try of the night in the 67th minute.

54) Rizwan takes golf title

Rashneel Kumar
Sunday, February 09, 2014

MOHAMMED Rizwan won the third round of the BSP Life Summer Cup competition at the Fiji Golf Club yesterday.

The 27-year-old administrative manager, who won the 2013 Fiji Golf Club Championship, won the A-grade title on countback from Duk Sud Oh while Jai Lal managed the third place finish.

In the B-grade competition, Manish Deo took home the top prize followed by Michael Spencer and Sitiveni Rabuka on second and third place, respectively.

Korean B S Yoon clinched the C-grade title while Dharmendra Singh finished second and Ashleigh Matheson in third.

The ladies division one prize was won by Kamini Singh while Mereani Naisara scooped the ladies division two title.

The nearest to the pin prizes were won by Zavir Khan and Marika Naupoto on the second and sixteenth holes, respectively.

Veteran Tomasi Tuivuna finished on top in the professional grade followed by Arvind Lal in second place.

Eighty four golfers took part in the day-long competition which will end next month.http://www.fijitimes.com/

55) BRIEFLY

Afp/Aap/Dpa
Sunday, February 09, 2014

Lawsuit

NEW YORK – Embattled New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez yesterday dropped his lawsuits against Major League Baseball, including one seeking a dismissal of his 162-game doping suspension which will likely cost him $US25 million. The lawsuit was filed after federal arbitrator Fredric Hororwitz upheld the one-season ban for 2014 against the 38-year-old superstar.

Stadium death

MANAUS, Brazil – A worker died on Friday in construction work at the World Cup stadium in Manaus, bringing the stadium’s death toll to four ahead of the tournament which begins in June.

The 55-year-old worker was hit on the head by a falling part during efforts to dismantle a crane.

Bolt undecided

KINGSTON, Jamaica – World record-holder Usain Bolt will not decide until the Jamaican championships in June whether or not he will compete in the Commonwealth Games a month later, his coach Glen Mills said.

The Kingston meet from June 19 to 22 will determine the athletics squad for the Commonwealth showdown in Glasgow, Scotland, where the athletics events will be staged from July 27-August 2.

Bryant injured

NEW YORK – New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis was named yesterday by NBA commissioner Adam Silver to replace injured Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant in next week’s 63rd NBA All Star Game.

Davis, a member of the US gold medal team at the 2012 London Olympics, will make his first appearance at the annual showdown of elite talent in his team’s home arena when the Eastern and Western Conference squads meet on February 16.

Team director

LONDON – South African Gary Kirsten doesn’t want to be considered for the job of England team director because of personal reasons.

The 46-year-old had been tipped by many as a potential replacement for Andy Flower, who resigned last week to allow the team to rebuild after their disastrous tour of Australia, where they lost the Test series 5-0.

Nets victory

NEW YORK – Patty Mills bagged 16 points off the bench but wasn’t able to lift a depleted San Antonio Spurs to victory over the Brooklyn Nets in New York on Fiday night.

A day after playing a key role in the Spurs’ double-overtime NBA win over the Washington Wizards, the Australian guard couldn’t get his side – missing their top four scorers – over the line as the Nets triumphed 103-89.

Top score

CHITTAGONG, Bangladesh – Kumar Sangakkara became the second batsman in history to score a triple-century and a hundred in the same match as Sri Lanka pressed for victory in the second Test against Bangladesh in Chittagong yesterday. The tourists, who led by 161 runs on the first innings, declared their second knock at 4-305 in the post-tea session of the fourth day’s play at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury stadium.

www.voiceofmelanesia.com

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