Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 939

MELANESIA

1) Special MSG meeting on West Papua put back two weeks

10/2/14

The chairman of the Melanesian Spearhead Group, Victor Tutugoro, says the group’s special meeting to discuss the outcome of a visit to Indonesia’s West Papua has been put off until the end of this month.

The trip, which was boycotted by Vanuatu, was meant to discover more about the West Papuan National Coalition for Liberation, which is seeking MSG membership.

The meeting had been scheduled for this week but Islands Business reported last week that Fiji was unhappy Vanuatu was to host the meeting.

Mr Tutugoro, who represents the New Caledonian Kanak group on the MSG, has not explained the reasons for the delay but he says the meeting will be held on the island of Santo in Vanuatu’s north, rather than at the MSG secretariat in Port Vila.C/- Radio New Zealand.

2a) Fiji’s Tavola Defends MSG Meeting In Indonesia
Ambassador says it was opportunity to ‘seek bilateral agreements’

By Shalveen Chand

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Feb. 10, 2014) – Fiji used the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) fact-finding mission to Indonesia as an opportunity to address bilateral issues.

Ambassador for the 2014 Trade Pasifika Kaliopate Tavola said while the aim of mission was for the MSG to look at the situation on West Papua, it was also an opportunity for Fiji to seek bilateral agreements.

The visit was mandated by the MSG leaders to assess the application of the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation (WPNCL) to become a member of the MSG.

Coalition head Andy Ayamiseba had said the fact-finding mission fell short of its mandate.

“To me and the West Papuan National Coalition for Liberation (WPNCL), the so-called Melanesian Spearhead Group ministerial delegation visit to Indonesia and West Papua was a conflict of interest for Fiji and the Solomon Islands,” Mr Ayamiseba told Vanuatu Daily Post.

Although Mr Tavola did not have details of the bilateral agreement, he said any bilateral assistance to Fiji would be useful, especially coming from Indonesia, a country that had a lot of potential.

“Fiji was the leader of the delegation that went across and apart from the MSG mandate. The gain for Fiji is obviously the gain through the bilateral agreement that were carried out, as well as what will emanate from the West Papua situation,” he said.

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

2b) Vanuatu daily news digest | 10 February 2014

by bobmakin

  • According to Radio Vanuatu News, mid-day today, Vanuatu authorities are saying that two-day kava, wild kava and wichmannii kava can cause liver cancer in those people drinking kava made from these varieties. The Food Technology Unit at Tagabe under the Ministry of Trade has made the outrageous claim which has been announced by the Minister for Trade, Toara Daniel, in urging people to only grow species good for human consumption. The Minister made the announcement as if the research had been undertaken long ago. The Minister said that the Food Technology Unit had tested all the varieties of kava and proved that the liquid produced by these varieties causes liver cancer. This is, quite simply, not true, as is confirmed by Vanuatu’s resident expert, Vincent Lebot. There have been no clinical trials undertaken at all and Lebot is of the impression that the Food Technology Unit has tried to link the warning to the specious claims given by Germany many years ago concerning hepatitic cases discovered in patients drinking kava and alcohol in that country which brought about the German ban on kava. There is absolutely no proof that the three varieties of kava mentioned cause liver cancer even though it makes very good sense to drink only the recommended ‘noble’ varieties.
  • In other mid-day Radio Vanuatu news the Minister for Education is explaining the teaching assistance from Fiji as enabling Vanuatu to have a better concentration on science subjects. This is certainly needed when Vanuatu is giving out clinical information concerning cancers without performing any clinically supervised tests.
  • Daily Post leads today with Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Natapei joining the Fiji Ministerial Contact Group engaged in meetings with Fiji’s Attorney General and Government ahead of the elections to be held there. If work towards free and fair elections proceeds there for September voting that country’s suspension from the Pacific Islands Forum will not take effect.
  • Ifira leaders are stating that the failure to hold a lands consultation there last week was due to a communications breakdown. Minister Regenvanu is holding such awareness meetings with the custom land owners of Efate and they have been announced on Radio Vanuatu and been well attended, except on Ifira.

MICRONESIA

3) Delegation From CNMI Visits Palau
Officials seek ways to strengthen relationship

SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, Feb. 7, 2014) – A delegation of officials from the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands is currently in Palau, seeking ways to strengthen the working relationship between our two communities.

The delegation includes Rep. Ramon Tebuteb, Rep. John Paul “JP” Sablan, Northern Marianas College Community Development Institute director Floyd Masga, and NMC dean of Administration and Resource Development David Attao.

While in Palau, the officials will meet with members of the Micronesian Voyaging Society to discuss non-instrument navigation program and ways in which the CNMI can join the training. The delegation will also tour the facilities of the Palau Community College School of Career & Technical Education and the Palau Tourism & Hospitality School of Excellence where they will observe students in classrooms and laboratories. Finally, the CNMI delegation will tour the PCC Research & Development Station in Ngermeskang and the Multi-Species Hatchery in Ngermetengel, both in Ngeremlengui State.

Saipan Tribune: http://www.saipantribune.com

AUSTRALIA

4) AusAID cutback

Nanise Loanakadavu
Monday, February 10, 2014

AUSAID staff will be invited to have a look at redundancy packages if they want to apply, says Australia acting High Commissioner Glen Miles.

Mr Miles said the Australian Government had announced that AusAID and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) would be integrated.

And he said it was important to emphasise the importance of voluntary redundancy packages.

“Voluntary is very important because that’s what they are, people will have a look at the package and decide if they want it,” Mr Miles said.

“It’s a normal sort of voluntary package, it depends on the length of services, and of course we’ll follow Fiji’s labour laws as well.”

Although Mr Miles could not give a specific amount, he emphasised that it was not only for staff in Fiji but across the world.

“No one will be affected because it’s a voluntary process,” he said.

However he added it was too early to reveal the number of Fiji staff that would apply.

The decision to integrate the two organisations made by Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot to streamline and make the operations more efficient.http://www.fijitimes.com/

5) Toyota to close: Thousands of jobs to go as carmaker closes Australian plants by 2017

Updated 10 February 2014, 17:44 AEST
By political correspondent Emma Griffiths

Toyota has announced it will stop making cars in Australia in 2017, bringing an end to the nation’s car manufacturing sector.  About 2,500 workers will lose their jobs.

Toyota Australia president and CEO Max Yasuda, and Toyota Motor Corporation president and CEO Akio Toyoda, broke the news to employees at the company’s Altona plant this afternoon.

“This is devastating news for all of our employees who have dedicated their lives to the company during the past 50 years,” Mr Yasuda said in a statement.

Follow all the reaction to Toyota’s announcement in our live blog.

Mr Yasuda blamed the “unfavourable Australian dollar”, high costs of manufacturing and low economies of scale.

He also cited increased competitiveness due to current and future free trade agreements as factors that have made it “not viable” to continue making cars.

“We did everything that we could to transform our business, but the reality is that there are too many factors beyond our control that make it unviable to build cars in Australia,” Mr Yasuda said.

“Although the company has made profits in the past, our manufacturing operations have continued to be loss making despite our best efforts.”

Union warns of recession across east coast as job losses sink in

The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union says the decision is devastating and could cause an economic recession.

Key facts: carmakers exit Australia

Toyota

Started Australian manufacturing in 1963
Will close by 2017
Employs more than 4,000 people Australia-wide

Holden

Began as an Australian saddlery business in 1856
To close Australian operations in 2017
Almost 3,000 to lose their jobs

Ford

Opened in Australia in 1925
To close Australian operations in 2016
Closure to cost 1,200 jobs

“This decision will see thousands of jobs exit Australia – not only at Toyota directly but all the way down the supply chain,” national AMWU vehicle secretary Dave Smith said in a statement.

“The magnitude of this decision in the community cannot be underestimated. We are looking at a potential recession all along the south-eastern seaboard.”

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten says the closure is an “unmitigated disaster”.

“The car industry has died under the Abbott government – it’s a disgrace,” he said.

Earlier PM said he had no ‘knowledge of any major announcement at this time’

Prime Minister Tony Abbott says “nothing we say or do can limit the devastation that so many people will feel at this point”.

“The important thing to remember is, while some businesses close, other businesses open, while some jobs end, other jobs start.

“There will be better days in the future.”

At a media doorstop after the Toyota announcement, Mr Abbott said he had a “brief conversation” with Toyota senior management earlier today.

That seemingly contradicts a statement the Prime Minister made in a press conference just before the Toyota decision came to light that he did not “have any knowledge of any major announcement at this time”.

In December, following Holden’s decision to stop making cars in Australia in 2017, Toyota warned that it was facing “unprecedented pressure” on its ability to continue.

At the time Mr Abbott ruled out giving the Japanese carmaker any extra taxpayers’ money.

He said the Federal Government wanted “Toyota to continue” and revealed he had personally spoken to Mr Yasuda.

Holden announced in early December that it would stop making cars in Australia by 2017 due to a “perfect storm” of poor economic conditions.

Its decision will put 2,900 Holden employees out of work – 1,600 from the manufacturing plant in South Australia and 1,300 in Victoria.

Ford announced early last year, when Labor was in government, that it would stop making cars in Australia by 2016. http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

NEW ZEALAND

6) Students call for Te Reo recognition

10/2/14.

Students from two kura kaupapa Maori from Otaki and Porirua have joined a hikoi to press for Te Reo to be put on an equal footing with English.

They delivered their message at the first hui on consultation for a new government-led Maori language strategy.

Maraea Hunia helped lead a roopu from Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Te Rito in Otaki.

She says English is the language of status and Te Reo Maori does not enjoy the same prominence – despite being an official language.

Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Maori – the Maori Language Commission – receives money to promote the language, funding Ms Hunia says risks being wasted.

People then switch on mainstream television and radio to hear broadcasters, politicians and Prime Minister John Key making a complete hash of the Maori language, she says.

Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Te Rito year 13 student Manihera Ropata-Tehi has a vision for how New Zealand should treat Te Reo, saying it should be used more widely in all schools, kindergartens, universities, shops and stores, instead of the language being restricted to the Maori world.

The Maori language strategy consultation hui moves to Rotorua on Tuesday.C/- Radio New Zealand.

FRENCH

7/8/9) PNG: un an après, rien n’a changé

Mis à jour 10 February 2014, 14:52 AEST
Caroline Lafargue

Vendredi dernier on célébrait le triste anniversaire de la torture et de l’assassinat de Kepari Leniata, soupçonnée de sorcellerie.

Le 7 février 2013, cette jeune mère de famille de 20 ans a été brûlée vive après avoir subi des tortures. La foule l’accusait d’avoir usé de ses pouvoirs de sorcellerie pour provoquer la maladie et la mort d’un petit garçon de Mont Hagen, dans les Hauts-Plateaux.

L’ONU a condamné les meurtres justifiés par des soupçons de sorcellerie. Le meurtre de Kepari Leniata a poussé le Parlement à supprimer la loi sur la sorcellerie de 1971, qui reconnaissait les soupçons de sorcellerie comme une circonstance atténuante dans les affaires de meurtres. Mais un an après, la justice papoue n’a toujours pas puni les coupables et Amnesty International dénonce le laxisme du gouvernement.

L’année dernière, la torture et l’assassinat de Kepari Leniata a fait la une des médias internationaux, qui ont découvert par la même occasion le problème des violences faites aux femmes en Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée. Même si des hommes, en moindre proportion, sont aussi victimes de tortures quand ils sont soupçonnés de sorcellerie.

D’après Kate Schuetze, chargée du Pacifique à Amnesty International, les meurtres motivés par des accusations de sorcellerie concernent aussi les fillettes, dès 8 ans. Selon la Rapporteuse spéciale des Nations Unies sur les violences faites aux femmes, la sorcellerie est souvent utilisée comme prétexte pour maltraiter les femmes.

La semaine dernière, la ministre australienne des Affaires étrangères a annoncé qu’elle débloquerait de l’argent pour financer un foyer pour les victimes de violences familiales et sexuelles à Lae, la deuxième ville de Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée. Une nouvelle qui réjouit sa fondatrice et directrice, Lady Winifred Kamit.

Elle est très critique de la décision du gouvernement de Peter O’Neill d’appliquer la peine de mort pour les coupables de crimes au nom de la sorcellerie, mais aussi de viols et d’assassinats:

« Pour moi, la violence est un problème qui relève des droits de l’homme. Donc nous devons trouver des alternatives à la peine de mort, à la légalisation de la violence. Ce n’est pas une solution. Cela a peut-être fait baisser la criminalité dans d’autres pays, mais il y a beaucoup d’arguments contre la peine de mort. Des innocents ont été exécutés dans beaucoup de pays. Je serais très surprise que les femmes qui luttent contre la violence en Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée, soutiennent cette violence d’Etat, légale. »

Alors qu’Amnesty International dénonce le laxisme du gouvernement de Peter O’Neill, qui n’a toujours pas retrouvé et puni les tortionnaires et meurtriers de Kepari Leniata, la solution pourrait passer par une meilleure représentation des femmes en politique, estime Lady Winifred Kamit :

« Avoir plus de femmes députées, ce serait très bien. Elles réussiraient à se faire entendre. Mais les violences domestiques, ce n’est pas un combat qui peut être gagné uniquement par les femmes, il faut que les politiques hommes s’investissent plus dans ce combat. Les femmes papoues sont aussi capables que les hommes. Elles font de bons politiques. Mais je ne suis pas d’accord avec l’argument selon lequel elles doivent faire comme les hommes, mettre sur pied une équipe, trouver de l’argent et partir en campagne pour gagner les élections. La société papoue n’est pas prête pour ça, étant donné la place de la femme dans notre société, et les violences et le manque de respect dont elles sont victimes. Il faut donc des lois de discrimination positive pour la représentation des femmes au Parlement. »

Le débat sur la représentation des femmes au Parlement a calé l’année dernière. Le projet, approuvé par le Parlement, n’a jamais été appliqué.

« Je suis pour que la moitié des sièges au Parlement soient réservés aux femmes. Mais cela ne passera jamais. Donc je suis en faveur de la solution des 22 sièges réservés. Il me semble que la loi sur la parité est toujours en suspens, il manque le décret d’application, qui a été bloqué en troisième lecture. C’est très décevant. »

Lady Winifred Kamit, la fondatrice et directrice du foyer pour les victimes de violences familiales et sexuelles à Lae, répondait aux questions de Richard Ewart sur Radio Australie. http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

10) PNG: des pêcheurs attaqués par des douaniers

Posté à 10 February 2014, 14:25 AEST
Caroline Lafarguehttp://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

5 pêcheurs indonésiens sont toujours portés disparus à la frontière entre la Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée et la Papouasie indonésienne.

D’après le quotidien « Jakarta Globe », des militaires de Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée auraient mis le feu au bateau des pêcheurs papous indonésiens jeudi dernier parce qu’ils étaient entrés dans les eaux de la Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée.

Avant d’incendier le bateau, les militaires auraient demandé à ces 10 pêcheurs de concombres de mer de sauter à l’eau. La scène s’est passée à 5 kilomètres de la côte. Cinq pêcheurs ont réussi à la rejoindre à la nage, mais cinq autres sont portés disparus. C’est en tout cas ce qu’affirme la police indonésienne.

Dimanche, la marine indonésienne, l’agence de recherche et de sauvetage nationale et des volontaires ont patrouillé la zone sans succès. Les autorités de la Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée n’ont fait aucun commentaire. Radio australia

11) Vanuatu: le scandale du trafic de passeports diplomatiques

Posté à 10 February 2014, 14:37 AEST
Caroline Lafargue

Willie Toama affirme n’avoir jamais délivré de passeport depuis le consulat à Beijing.

Le chargé d’affaires du consulat vanuatais en Chine nie toute implication dans le trafic de passeports diplomatiques. Willie Toama affirme que tous les passeports vanuatais, qu’ils soient ou non diplomatiques, sont faits au ministère des Affaires étrangères à Port-Vila.

C’est un nouvel épisode d’un scandale qui s’éternise depuis des années. En octobre dernier, l’opposition réclamait la démission du Premier ministre, Moana Carcasses, accusé d’être à la tête du trafic de passeports diplomatiques.

L’opposition affirme que ces sésames qui offrent l’immunité à leur porteur, étaient vendus jusqu’à 69 000 dollars pièce, par le ministre des Affaires étrangères Edward Natapei et son directeur général,. Johnny Koanapu. Accusations niées par les intéressés.

En 2011, un rapport sur la gestion de l’ambassade vanuataise en Chine pointait déjà les pratiques corrompues des fonctionnaires en poste. Mais le gouvernement de l’époque n’avait rien fait. Radio Australia

WORLD

12) Severe flood warnings issued in Britain

10/2/14.

The British Environment Agency has issued 16 severe flood warnings for areas where there is a danger to life.

Most of the warnings are along the River Thames, where the navy has been called in to help build flood defences.

Water levels are also rising in an area of Somerset in south-west England that has been flooded for weeks, the BBC reports.

More heavy rain and gale-force winds are expected over in the next few days.

Forecasters said Monday would be the driest day of the week, but rivers could continue to rise as previous rainfall works its way downstream.

Several Thames gauges are currently showing their highest water levels since being installed in the 1980s and 90s.

Water levels there are expected to rise despite the fact that significant rainfall is not expected during the day.

Armed forces personnel were in the heavily populated area on Sunday night building a 60cm defence to try to divert the river away from homes.C/- Radio New Zealand.

HEALTH

13) Dengue Fever Outbreak Hits Vanuatu
Cases ‘widespread’ in Port Vila, spreading to Luganville

By Godwin Ligo

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Feb. 7, 2014) – The Ministry of Health has reported that since the outbreak of dengue was announced, dengue is now wide-spread throughout the whole of Port Vila town and spreading to Luganville, Santo, where 10 cases were confirmed as of last week.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The ministry of health will provide another update in a week’s time.

The update on the dengue situation was released by the Ministry of Health yesterday.

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

14) Concerns over resurgence of mosquito-borne diseases in Pacific

Updated 10 February 2014, 17:13 AEST

Health officials are warning about the rise in mosquito-borne diseases in the Pacific region this year, including dengue, chikungunya and zika.

Over the past few months, there has been a resurgence of Type 3 dengue in several countries including Fiji, Kiribati and French Polynesia.

In total, there were 11 dengue epidemics across the Pacific region last year.

Dr Yvan Souares, director of the Public Health division at the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beatthat dengue poses an increasing threat to public heath.

“We’re now in the South Pacific in the rainy season – temperatures are high, precipitation [is] high and the current prospect in terms of meteorological forecast indicate increased risk of tropical depression,” he said.

“So to speak, it’s going to be a mosquito fair.”

Audio: Mosquito-borne disease risk continues in Pacific (ABC News)

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation says it is monitoring the situation in French Polynesia which is fighting outbreaks of zika virus and dengue fever.

Dengue, spread by infected mosquitoes, is caused by four types of virus and is at its worst during warm and humid climatic seasons.

Chikungunya and Zika are both closely related to dengue and causes debilitating joint pain, rashes and fever. http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

EDUCATION

15) Nearly 500 Solomon’s Students Lose Scholarships
Tough policy means 495 new students will have chance to study

By Bradford Theonomi

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Feb. 10, 2014) – Four hundred and ninety-five government-sponsored students will not be able to continue after they were removed from the scholarship list this year.

Of this total, 177 were terminated, 149 suspended, and 169 under-load.

Education minister Dick Ha’amori revealed this to the media on Friday.

Mr Ha’amori said these 495 scholarships will instead be given out to high-performing students who have missed out on government sponsorship before.

“Students who are terminated are those who have failed below half the required courses to pass,” the minister explained.

“Suspended students are mostly first year students who have failed two courses.

“Those categorised as under-load are students who failed to perform to the maximum expected and have to do extension to complete their studies.”

This tough new measure took many students who were looking forward to returning to their respective regional universities this year, by shock.

Mr Ha’amori also revealed the Government has offered a total of 432 new scholarships this year, not 99 as appeared of a list the ministry released early this week, and reported in the media.

The minister said the new scholarships will be both for those who will study abroad as well as locally.

“In all, the government is sponsoring a total of 1,375 on-going students and 432 students for this year alone,” Mr Ha’amori said.

He said it cost the government a lot of money to sponsor tertiary students, therefore students must perform to the expected standard.

The minister added the government is concerned that while some students are working hard to achieve better results, others are taking the opportunity for granted.

“Thus the ministry of education, together with the ministry of finance, are taking all necessary measures to ensure we get value for our money.”

Mr Ha’amaori said the ministry would like to see students value the opportunity accorded to them and do their best.

“Someone has to step in to sort things out and it is time that measures are taken seriously and put in place.”

Solomon Star

POLITIC

16) News Release
Solomon Islands Government Communications Unit
Honiara, Solomon Islands


February 10, 2014

Solomon Islands Foreign Affairs Go Online

The Solomon Islands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade (MFAET) has launched its new website last week with the aim of enhancing online access to information about its functions and services.

The development of the website was made possible with funding sourced from the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) program in Solomon Islands.

The EIF is a multi-donor programme under the auspices of the World Trade Organization, dedicated to assist least developed countries to be more active players in the global trading system by helping them address their supply-side constraints to trade.

The website will become a key tool for communication and sharing of information to the public about the services provided by the Ministry and its missions overseas.

The Ministry has the responsibility of promoting and protecting Solomon Islands interests and its citizen abroad. Through its diplomatic missions abroad it seeks to enhance Solomon Islands security and prosperity by promoting political, economic, trade, social and cultural relations between the countries and the rest of the world.

Permanent Secretary of Foreign Affairs Joy Kere said the website will guide officials, as well as the media, civil society and the general public by providing a clear framework and process for accessing and disseminating information.

“It will also help well-wishers of the Solomon Islands to access and spread the information about our country around the globe. It will help promote our people, our products, our tourism, our marine and forest resources around the world,” Mrs Kere added.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade is the country’s first point of contact in our foreign relations and its principle role is to provide the government with appropriate advice on the conduct of its relations and to meaningfully execute its policies.

“In many cases this website will be the first point of contact for people wanting to seek information about the Country and this website will provide the much needed information,” Mrs Kere added.

Visitors can search for information on Solomon Islands regarding investment opportunities, travel advisory and general information about the government by visiting http://www.mfaet.gov.sb

17) PNG Opposition Leaders Calls For Repeal Of Mining Act
Government should not act as shareholder and regulator: Namah

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Feb. 10, 2014) – Opposition leader Belden Namah wants to repeal the Mining Act for the benefit of landowners in project areas.

He recently told reporters in Bulolo, Morobe, that it was wrong for the Government to be the regulator and shareholder at the same time not only in mining and petroleum projects but in forestry, fishery and agriculture.

He wants the law amended to stop that.

Namah said the law was adopted from Australia where the State owned the land. He said this was not suitable for Papua New Guinea where the land was owned by the people.

He said a good example was the state of Bulolo and other mining districts which had not seen any changes in the many years of mining activities.

“When the Government takes up shares in the projects, it can’t be a fair regulator,” he said.

“The Government is playing the role of the investment partner and regulator and I believe the entire Mining Act should be repealed.

“I will push for the change in law so that the State should not be a shareholder in any major project. The State must only be the regulator and make laws and collect taxes. Only the landowner must partner the developer.

“Our resource is our collateral and the resource owner must be the direct participant in the project. How can the State say it will hold shares on behalf of the resource owners?”

The National: www.thenational.com.pg/

18) Second PNG Leaders’ Summit Kicks Off In Port Moresby
PM calls for ‘united and collective effort’ at political level

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Feb. 10, 2014) – The 2014 Leaders’ Summit gets under way in Port Moresby today.

This summit follows the inaugural one held in 2013, and will be held at the beginning of every year to kick start the government’s annual programme.

The summit was initiated by the O’Neill Government, aimed at getting heads of government agencies and leaders together to identify priorities and projects, and how they can be delivered during the next three to five years.

During the 2013 Summit, 82 government agencies (departments, statutory bodies, SOEs) identified 228 projects, and the 22 provincial governments identified 66 projects to be prioritised, funded and delivered in the three to five-year period.

In the Summit today leaders’ will be briefed on the progress of the implementation of these projects, and the challenges and constraints identified that government needs to overcome to deliver them.

Some of these projects have been funded since 2012, while others will get funding consideration in 2015, 2016 and 2017 budgets.

“Identifying our priorities and projects we need to deliver, and setting target dates, is important if we are to achieve tangible results to progress our country,” Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said.

“Our country has a lot of development challenges to overcome at all levels – that is why it is important that, given our limited resources, we set priorities and work towards achieving them.

“We have made some real progress since 2012, but we need to do more. A united and collective effort is needed at the political level if we are to deliver the outcomes to progress our country and change the lives of our people for the better.”

The National: www.thenational.com.pg/

MEDIA/FILM+

19) Journalist Meet In New Caledonia To Learn About Tuna Industry
Regional initiative hopes media will take greater interest in ‘tunanomics’

By Laufaleaina Lesa, Onelook Communications

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, Feb. 9, 2014) – Journalists from around the Pacific, including Samoa, are gathering in Noumea, New Caledonia, for two days this week. The topic of the meeting is “tunanomics.”

And what is “tunanomics?” Well, it is a term used to explain the economic dimensions of developing and managing tuna fisheries in the region. Getting journalists interested in reporting on tuna fisheries is the goal behind a regional media and tuna reporting workshop called Tunanomics Media Initiative.

It hopes to support business reporting on Tuna Fisheries. The workshop is part of the Pacific Media Summit also held in Noumea at the same time, under the theme – Constructive Engagement for a Strong and Responsible Media.

The workshop is organized by the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) and funded by the European Union’s DEVFISH II project led by FFA and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) in partnership with the Pacific Islands News Association (PINA).

It will be co-facilitated by FFA’s Media Officer, Lisa Williams-Lahari, and Islands Business Magazine’s, Robert Matau.

Participants from about 10 Pacific island nations, including Samoa, will learn more about accessible resources developed by and for media workers to help grow the national and regional conversation on tuna fisheries and development. The aim is to generate quality reporting of tuna fisheries by mainstream media and to form effective information networking relationships between national fisheries and media stakeholders.

Journalists will get the chance to see firsthand Noumea’s tuna fisheries industry during a series of field trips, as part of the workshop.

Expert presentations at the workshop will give journalists an insight and introduction into the global demand for tuna and its evolution as an industry across the region.

There will also be a focus on the importance of agency collaboration in terms of regional fisheries management organizations and other stakeholders as well as species, fishing methods, current research trends to watch and treaties, mechanisms and events guiding Pacific tuna fisheries.

Journalists will get a chance to share what works and what doesn’t when it comes to covering tuna fisheries in their communities and learn ways to access information and data to help improve their access and analysis.

One of the major outcomes of this initiative is the compilation of a Tunanomics handbook for Pacific media, which participants will play a pivotal role in producing and compiling.

Samoa Observer: www.samoaobserver.ws/

New Caledonia ‘Nickel’ Documentary Wins Top Prize At Film Festival
Marshalls ‘Nuclear Savage’ takes prize at French Polynesia festival

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Feb. 10, 2014) – A New Caledonian entry has won the top prize at the Pacific Documentary Film Festival, or FIFO, in French Polynesia.

The film ‘ Nickel – the treasure of the Kanaks’ was made by Anne Pitoiset and Laurent Cibien and tells of the way Kanaks in the north managed to take control of the area’s main resource, nickel.

The jury’s special prize went to the film ‘Nuclear Savage’ about the nuclear weapons tests of the United States in the Marshall Islands.

The prize of the public was awarded to a local film ‘Annanahi, tomorrow’ which is about a reggae group in the Marquesas islands.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

BUSINESS

20) Resort is third most romantic island in the world

Ropate Valemei
Monday, February 10, 2014

ONE of Fiji’s private islands in the Mamanuca group was named as the third top ‘Most Romantic Island’ in the world by the ISLANDS magazine.

This comes after the magazine’s editors considered recent trips over the years to rank the top 10 romantic islands.

“We’ve been to Fiji many times over the years, staying at private islands and other resorts that capture the romantic feeling of being in the South Pacific.

“Likuliku Lagoon Resort captures much of what’s romantic about Fiji: quiet beauty, exotic flavors, luxury villas, and the feeling that you have all the time in the world together,” the magazine reports.

Ahura Resorts is the management company operating two of Fiji’s most popular and well-known resorts — Likuliku Lagoon Resort and Malolo Island Fiji.

The magazine ranked the Island of Tahiti as the top Most Romantic Island in the world.

“You can never really see all of the Islands of Tahiti — though we have absolutely tried over the decades here at ISLANDS. We’ve come pretty close, from Bora Bora to Moorea to the Tuamotu Islands to the Marquesas and more.

“So many of them are romantic in their own way but for that classic romantic getaway to Tahiti, you have to stay in an overwater bungalow on the lagoon overlooking Mount Otemanu.”

It said everybody loved that and couples remembered the ultimate romantic trip forever.http://www.fijitimes.com/

21) Pacific Fisheries Cooperation Lauded For Curbing Illegal Fishing
FFA adviser says Islands lead the way for effective regulation

By Dawn Gibson

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Feb. 10, 2014) – Pacific Island countries have for a number of years led the way when it comes to good regional co-operation in attempting to curb bad fishing practices.

This was word from Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) legal adviser Professor William Edeson who said in all the regions he had worked in, the South Pacific showed particularly admirable regional co-operation in terms of their approach to illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

“You have to go back to 1988 when driftnet fishing was a huge problem in the Pacific.

“It was the actions of the Pacific Island states that led to a convention known as the Wellington Convention on Driftnet Fishing and it had a dramatic impact,” he said.

“It not only led to the stopping of driftnet fishing in the Pacific, but it led the UN General Assembly to adopt a resolution which requested countries to adopt regulations or laws to stop it and eventually driftnet fishing was cut out.”

He said because fisheries was an important resource in the South Pacific, island states tended to be leaders in the area.

“The FFA had set up a regional register long before other regions had even thought about it and now it’s commonplace to have registers or records as they’re now called,” he said.

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

CLIMATE CHANGE,CONSERVATION & ENVIROMENT

22) News Release
FSM Information Services
Palikir, Pohnpei, FSM

February 10, 2014

FSM Joins Regional Partnership To Seek Climate Change Funds

The FSM, like many small island countries, has limited resources to adapt to the serious impacts of climate change.

As impacts become more pronounced and adaptation requirements continue to extend beyond national resources, external funding will be even more critical to addressing such requirements.

Global funding for climate change adaptation has increased over the past few years and yet these resources continue to elude small countries like FSM. It is the aim of a partnership between FSM Office of Environment and Emergency Management and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community under an EU-funded project to build capacity of stakeholders in FSM to better access climate adaptation funding.

National, state government officials and NGO representatives gathered in Pohnpei on Feb. 3-6 to participate in the first of a series of project proposal writing workshops being held in each of the four states of the FSM.

The objective is to increase participants’ ability to secure project funding and raise awareness on climate change issues in the local communities as well as improve their skills in project proposal identification, writing and project management. “Skills in writing proposals are among the top areas that FSM is lacking,” says Andrew Yatilman, director of the Office of Environment and Emergency Management.

These workshops are part of the Global Climate Change Alliance: Pacific Small Island States Project that is being implemented by the government of FSM and eight other Pacific Island countries with the assistance of SPC and funded by the European Union.

More specifically, the workshops are introducing the logical framework approach to project proposal development and management. This project methodology is commonly used and encouraged by development partners.

23) Scientists: Stronger Winds In Pacific Explains Global Warming ‘Pause’
Australian-led team thinks winds churning cold water to the surface

By Jake Sturmer

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Feb. 10, 2014) – Scientists say stronger than normal winds in the Pacific are the explanation for a pause in global warming, which has long been a point of contention raised by climate change sceptics.

Over the past 15 years the rate of global warming has slowed – and more recently almost stalled.

Sceptics say the slowdown suggests warming is not as bad as first thought, while most climate scientists say it is just a natural climate variability.

Now an Australian-led team of researchers has found strong winds in the Pacific Ocean are most likely to be behind the hiatus.

The study found that the winds were churning the Pacific like a washing machine, bringing the deeper colder water to the surface and pushing the warmer water below.

But University of New South Wales (UNSW) researcher Matthew England, part of the team which carried out the research, said he did not expect the effect to last.

“The phase we’re in of accelerated trade winds particularly lasts a couple of decades,” Professor England said.

“We’re about 12 to 13 years in to the most accelerated part of the wind field.

“It’s important to point out there’s a cycle we expect to reverse and when they do reverse back to their normal levels, we’d expect global warming to kick in and start to rise.”

Professor England rejects the argument from sceptics that the slowdown suggests global warming is not as bad as first thought and that the climate models are not working.

“We want the community to have confidence in the climate models,” he said.

“They are very good but in this instance the wind acceleration has been that strong and that much stronger than what the models projected.”

Scientists used satellite measurements and an array of floats in the Pacific to observe two-decades worth of temperature and current information.

The CSIRO’s Steve Rintoul said understanding the oceans was the key to understanding climate change.

“What’s not commonly understood is that when we talk about global warming, we mean ocean warming,” Dr Rintoul said.

“Over the last 50 years, 90 per cent of the extra heat that’s been stored by the earth is found in the ocean.

“So if we want to track how climate is changing, we need to be looking in the ocean to understand it.”

The research is published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

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

WOMAN/YOUTH/CHILDREN

24) No end to abuse

Nasik Swami
Monday, February 10, 2014

A TOTAL of 1183 women were victims of domestic violence, rape and sexual harassment last year compared with 1044 the year before.

And the trend has not stopped, says the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre.

Centre co-ordinator Shamima Ali said women continued to seek assistance from the centre on a daily basis.

“There were 45 cases of rape compared to 36 in 2012, 45 cases of sexual harassment compared to 30 the previous year and 566 other cases compared to 645 for 2012,” she said.

“In total, there were 1905 new cases that the centre and its branches dealt with in 2013.”

Ms Ali said while recent figures appeared to be an alarming increase over the past 30 years, it was important to understand the statistics and interpret them correctly.

“Many people and even some media outlets continue to report that there is a rise in cases of domestic violence and related cases in the country.

“This is not true.

“Figuratively yes, numbers have gone up but I’ve said this time and again, cases have been there, it’s only now that women are bold enough to come forward and report what’s being done to them.

“If you look at our national survey that was released last December, you will find that many women even prefer not to report these cases because they fear victimisation and for some, they’ve even accept beatings as normal.”http://www.fijitimes.com/

EVENTS+

25) Fiji Hip Hop Dance Group Heading To World Championship
KVT 679 wins place in Las Vegas competition

By Shalveen Chand

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Feb. 10, 2014) – A local hiphop dance group called KVT 679 has won a place at the Hip Hop World Championships in Las Vegas in August.

All it took was just one video for KVT 679 to impress the selection panel and secure a place in the championship.

The group is led by Jiuta Vucago Tigarea, who formed KVT 679 just three weeks ago.

“It’s a funny story how we started. I was dancing with Vou and they have a policy that their dancers are not to have tattoos,” he said.

“I think there was a miscommunication between VOU director Sachiko Soro and myself.

“Instead of covering up, I had a quarter sleeve done.

“Sachiko told me that if I still wanted to dance, I would need to form a group and try to make it to international dance competitions. And that’s what we’ve done.”

Since there were no qualifying rounds anywhere in the Pacific, the group sent a video to the organisers. And organisers were impressed with what they saw.

The biggest obstacle the group faces now is finances. The group needs at least $50,000 for the trip.

They hope they have enough time on their hands to meet their target and in true Fijian style, make waves at the championship.

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

SPORTS

26) Team failed to spark

Maciu Malo
Monday, February 10, 2014

VODAFONE national 7s skipper Osea Kolinisau said the team did not play its natural game resulting in their semi-final loss in Wellington last weekend.

He said the boys finally got their rhythm and later bounced back to beat England for the third spot.

Kolinisau said defence was also another area that let his team down against the Bliztbokas.

“We just gave the game away to South Africa because we didn’t play our natural game in which South Africa capitalised on,” he said.

“We need to work hard on our defence and most importantly to tune ourselves well before the game.

“We need to be in the right mind-set before and during the game, the quarter-final against Argentina was really good but against South Africa we failed to spark and never followed the gameplan required.”

“South Africa played well to the condition unlike us.”

Kolinisau commended his troops for their effort despite falling short of their target.

“We have been improving on every performance, we fell short in Las Vegas but we bounced back to win the Bowl. In Wellington the boys reacted to the loss and played well against England.

“I think the game we need to play in the semi-final was against England.”

Team manager Paula Biu said unfortunately the boys failed to win the tournament but the side had improved compared to Las Vegas.

“Unfortunately we didn’t achieve what we wanted to achieve for the two tournaments to win both the tournaments but there was a turnaround from the bowl win in Las Vegas,” said Biu.

“Again it was a turnaround from the game against England after we had lost to South Africa and we still maintain our third rank in IRB series points table.” Fijitimes.

27) Surf club aims to develop sport at grassroots level

Maciu Malo
Monday, February 10, 2014

FIJI’s newest surf riding club Club Vodo Ua Board attracted more than 240 people to Natadola beach in Nadroga yesterday in its effort to promote surfing.

Organiser Ian Muller said the program was aimed at reviving the sport from grassroots level.

He said participants were taught the basics of surfing at the same time children were educated on various ways to protect reefs and the environment.

Muller said he was impressed with the response from interested people.

“This is just the start and the club is not focusing only about surfing,” said Muller.

“It’s surfing against destruction — its about protecting our reefs and beaches. It’s about giving back to the community, the land and qoliqoli owners.

“We have introduced training program on the basics of surfing, the rules and regulations at the same time create awareness on the significant protecting the environment.”

Muller said surfing was an eco-sport that needed to be looked at in a holistic approach.

“Nobody is driving surfing here in Fiji and nothing is being done to put something back in the sport so we want to give local people the opportunity to learn about the sport.

“We are planning to also hold more training in the near future and it’s an amazing feeling to see most children got to ride their first ever wave at Natadola on Saturday.” Muller added the club would host two programs per month with the next to be held at Wailoaloa Beach in Nadi.

28) Cricket Fiji selects squad for East Asia Pacific event

Arin Kumar
Monday, February 10, 2014

CRICKET Fiji has named 26 players in their senior men’s high performance squad in preparation for this year’s East Asia Pacific Twenty 20 tournament.

Nine of the players are overseas-based and the local players are required to attend a fitness test at Albert Park on Friday.

High performance manager Joe Rika said the overseas players who had been named would be contacted with reference to their fitness tests and performance statistics.

“Selection of the squad was based on current performance in the local leagues as well as with the intention to develop players by the likes of Saimoni Tuitoga, Masi Elder, Sagaitu Konusi and Laisa Koroi who for the first time make it into the senior men’s training squad,” he said.

Rika added the squad will be amended following the completion of the local club competition depending on performance.

“This doesn’t limit us from getting other players, meaning selection into the national team is still open.”

Squad: Colin Rika, Vuli Turganikoro, Greg Browne, Saimoni Tuitoga, Cakacaka Veretaki, Iliesa Navatu, Laisa Koroi, Kitione Tavo, Sagaitu Konusi, Sakaraia Lomani, Giles Smith, Masi Elder, Metuisela Beitaki, Noa Acawei, Jack Smith, Sakiusa Dokosobau, Rukesh Patel.

Overseas-based: Kunaal Kumar, Viliame Yabaki, Sekove Ravoka, Simon Jepsen, Rabici Lesuma, Maciu Gauna, Imran Khan, Jikoi Kida, Tukana Tavo.http://www.fijitimes.com/

29) Liverpool stuns Arsenal

Afp
Monday, February 10, 2014

LIVERPOOL – Liverpool have demonstrated that their Premier League title credentials are alive and kicking with a stunning 5-1 demolition of leaders Arsenal at Anfield.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers had claimed during the week that the best his side could hope for was a top-four finish, but the claim rang hollow after the hosts scored four times in the first 20 minutes against Arsene Wenger’s shellshocked Arsenal.

The opening goal, after 51 seconds on Saturday, set the tone for a half of complete Liverpool domination, with Martin Skrtel scoring twice and Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge also finding the net to raise serious questions about Arsenal’s own ability to win the league.

The opening minute saw Per Mertesacker haul back Luis Suarez to concede a free-kick that Steven Gerrard curled menacingly into the six-yard area, where Skrtel volleyed past Wojciech Szczesny with his knee.

That electrifying start had the passionate Anfield crowd in fine voice and Arsenal looking increasingly baffled and on the back foot, especially when Sturridge tested Szczesny with a couple of low shots.

After 10 minutes the lead was doubled, with another set-piece exposing the glaring deficiencies in the Arsenal defence.

Gerrard’s right-wing corner was met by the unmarked Skrtel, who placed a perfect glancing header over the leaping Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and into the top-left corner.

It should have been three moments later when Philippe Coutinho and Suarez combined intelligently to send Sturridge clean through on goal, only for the usually efficient striker to chip wide with just the goalkeeper to beat.

Then Suarez latched onto a clever Gerrard corner and connected with a thunderous 20-yard half-volley that crashed against the Arsenal post.

Mertesacker headed just wide from a Santi Cazorla corner as the Gunners momentarily threatened, but the game was effectively over as a contest as early as the 16th minute when Sterling made if 3-0.

Suarez, just before the interval, and Sturridge, just after it, threatened to add to the rout, but any suggestion that Liverpool would settle for their four-goal lead was removed in the 52nd minute.

Kolo Toure’s lobbed pass sent Sterling clean through on goal and the winger converted at the second attempt after Szczesny had blocked his initial effort.

Sterling should have completed his hat-trick three minutes later, but he failed to turn in Gerrard’s free-kick, while a magnificent 25-yard free-kick from Suarez was flying into the top corner until Szczesny made a superb save.

Gerrard’s trip on Oxlade-Chamberlain finally allowed Arsenal to put themselves on the scoreboard as Mikel Arteta successfully converted a 69th-minute penalty, before forcing Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet into a fine save soon afterwards.

Liverpool might have won even more handsomely, however, with Coutinho and

30) Chelsea leads EPL

Afp
Monday, February 10, 2014

LONDON – Eden Hazard scored a hat-trick as Chelsea capitalised on Arsenal’s crushing defeat at Liverpool by beating Newcastle United 3-0 to claim top spot in the Premier League yesterday.

Arsenal’s 5-1 demolition at Anfield earlier in the day handed their nearest rivals an opportunity to leapfrog them at the top of the table and Chelsea took full advantage at Stamford Bridge.

Manchester City were unable to follow suit, however, drawing 0-0 at Norwich City and slipping to third place in the process.

Hazard broke the deadlock in the 27th minute with a first-time finish from a Branislav Ivanovic pass and the Belgian added a second seven minutes later following a neat back-heel by Samuel Eto’o.

A foul on Eto’o by Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa presented Hazard with an opportunity to complete his first Chelsea hat-trick from the penalty spot in the 63rd minute and he duly obliged by sending Tim Krul the wrong way.

“I know today we are top of the league, but I look to fifth place,” said Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho.

“When we are far from fifth and have a Champions League position under control, then it will be time to look at Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool and see where they are and see the distances.”

Victory took Chelsea a point above Arsenal and two points clear of City, who were unable to repeat their 7-0 annihilation of Norwich from earlier in the season.

31) England back on track

Afp
Monday, February 10, 2014

EDINBURGH – England got their Six Nations campaign back on track with a crushing 20-0 Calcutta Cup victory over Scotland at Murrayfield.

Luther Burrell and Mike Brown, as they’d done in defeat by France last weekend, both scored tries as the 132nd edition of international rugby union’s oldest fixture saw Scotland rendered pointless by England for the first time since a 15-0 loss at Murrayfield in 1978.

Had not fly-half Owen Farrell missed several goalkicks, the final scoreline might have been even more lopsided.

“Losing to France last week was massively frustrating and we wanted to show a reaction this week,” Brown told the BBC.

“We’ve definitely done that. I’m ecstatic to score a try. The pitch isn’t in the best condition but I thought we played at a great tempo.”

For Scotland, it was a match to forget, with replacement scrum-half Chris Cusiter admitting: “Nothing worked. We couldn’t get anything going.

“It is massively disappointing. The setpiece was malfunctioning and the line-out wasn’t going well.

“If that is not working then you won’t win a Six Nations game.”

www.voiceofmelanesia.com

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