Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 940

MELANESIA

1)Special MSG meeting on West Papua put back two weeks
By Online Editor
8:21 pm GMT+12, 11/02/2014, New Caledonia

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.

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.
SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

2) Papua Fishermen Reported Missing After Crossing PNG Border
PNG soldiers allegedly told 10 men to jump ship, then burned boat

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Feb. 10, 2014) – Five Indonesian fishermen remained missing on Sunday after military officers in neighbouring Papua New Guinea allegedly told them to jump off their boat before setting it on fire.

The Jakarta Globe reports 10 fishermen from the Papua district of Merauke were on board a fishing boat searching for sea cucumbers, near the border between Indonesia and PNG, on Thursday, when they were accused of breaching the border.

Dozens of PNG military soldiers stopped the boat, and brought the men on board the military ship, before setting the boat on fire.

The Papua Police spokesman Senior Commander Pujo Sulistyo, says the fishermen were then told to jump into waters approximately five kilometers away from the coast.

He says five were able to reach the shore but the whereabouts of the other five are unknown.

On Sunday, a joint team from the Indonesian Navy, the National Search and Rescue Agency and local volunteers were searching for the five missing fishermen.

The commander of the Indonesian Navy’s Merauke office, Brigadier General Buyung Lalana, says the Navy is investigating the matter.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

3) Chiefs Say Solomon Islands Airstrip Will Remain Closed
Gwaunaru’u leaders say contracts awarded outside agreement

By Charley Piringi in Auki

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Feb. 11, 2014) – Chiefs of Gwaunaru’u have maintained their stand for the Solomon Islands Ministry of Aviation to investigate the awarding of maintenance contracts to parties not agreed on in the agreement to reopen the airstrip.

Chief Oscar Lufi and Robert Kwalabal who represent the two land disputing parties said despite a meeting the premier of Malaita had with the Ministry, they will not allow the airport to reopen.

Speaking to the Solomon Star in Auki, chief Lufi said it is a simple issue that can be resolved easily.

“The airstrip will remain closed, until the ministry through the permanent secretary explain why he awarded contracts to parties the community did not support.

“It is plain and simple; that the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between us in 2012 has been breached.

“Contracts were awarded to people we do not agreed on in the MOU.

“We signed the document for the closure and we’ll not revoke it as requested many times.”

He said the two parties late last year prior to the airstrip closure realized that there were two individual members of disputing tribes residing in Honiara who reached an agreement with the Ministry without their knowledge.

“The two individual were James Orisma (Rofa/Toloabu tribe) and Vincent Anisi (Biranakwao/Fulisisila tribe).”

“Signing of such agreements should not be done in Honiara, and supposed to be done by the tribal chiefs who represent their people. Not tribal members as these two individuals living there in Honiara did with PS Francis Lomo.

“They breached the original agreement and unless they come back to our original MOU, we will not open the airstrip,” Chief Lufi added.

He asked why the premier had to go over to Honiara to meet PS Lomo, other than coming down to the community where the concerned people are.

“Such move was clear that they want to deal with issues on the upper level forgetting all about where the real issue originated.

“Before Premier Suibaea left to Honiara last week, I called at his office and advised him not to talk about anything about the airstrip issue with PS Lomo unless they come down to talk about it in our community.”

When contacted, Mr Suibaea said they have discussed the issue in Honiara with the parties that signed the new agreement together with PS Lomo and they have agreed to revoke the closure as soon as he talk with the tribal chiefs.

“I will try to talk with the two tribal chiefs to revoke the closure for the airstrip’s normal operation.

Earlier, Civil Aviation Permanent Secretary Francis Lomo said that the closure was illegal.

“It’s a serious criminal offence to shut down such vital government infrastructure”.

Solomon Star

4) Fiji Methodist Church President dies
By Online Editor
8:12 pm GMT+12, 11/02/2014, Fiji

The President of the Methodist Church in Fiji Reverend Tuikilakila Waqairatu has passed away after a short illness.

FBC News understands Reverend Tuikilakila passed away at the CWM Hospital at the age of 66.

Reverend Tuikilakila is survived by his wife Joana and a daughter.

According to the procedures of the Methodist Church, the former President, in this case Reverend Ame Tugaue will act as the Interim President until a new President is elected.
SOURCE: FBC NEWS/PACNEWS

POLYNESIA

5) Broadband Internet Access Planned For Samoa’s Government
Minister says broadband will help sell country to SIDS delegates

By Nanai Laveitiga Tuiletufuga

APIA, Samoa (Talamua, Feb. 10, 2014) – All Samoan government ministries and corporations will access a new broadband network by March. Described as government’s biggest IT investment, the network will make available data and information for Government services at all times.

It will see schools, hospitals, and health centers, police and all government emergency services and all ministries and corporation communicating instantly.

The launching, according to Telecommunication’s Minister Tuisugaletaua Sofara Aveau is an asset to Samoa hosting the Small Island Development States (SIDS) Conference in September.

“With 193 countries attending SIDS, we want to show our overseas guests that our government is keeping up with the rest of the world when it comes to telecommunication.

“This is why the broadband project is one of the government’s priorities because communication technology is a powerful tool to improve the delivery of basic services, enhance development and take part in the global economy.

“That is the message we want our overseas delegates to witness and spread the word to their respective countries.

“It’s all about profiling Samoa because the SIDS event, is a once in a lifetime opportunity which we must capitalise on to promote our country as a tourism destination and a safe and friendly place for business investments.”

“But that is just the first phase of project with bigger things to come,” continued the minister.

“The second phase to be commissioned a year from now will be extended to our business community and general public.

“There is no internet component in the first phase because the current internet network is sufficed.

“But we will build up the system’s capacity to ensure that information is available at all times.

“All government agencies in Apia and around the country will be connected to the network for easier and quicker exchange of information.

Fibre optic cable

Also on Tuisugaletaua’s desk is a list of four to five options on which fiber optic cable network suitable for Samoa.

The Minister will be meeting with officials from the World Bank and Asian Development Bank funding the cable to pick the best option for Samoa.

He said that the ASH Cable from American Samoa that Samoa is connected to, has four years remaining before its obsolete.

Said Tuisugaletaua: “Since the 1990’s, our government prioritizes the expansion of information technology to open up opportunities for our people in all facets of development whether it’s in education, health or tourism.

“It’s not lost on government and it’s apparent that we are now living in a fast moving world with improving interconnectivity systems.

“It’s therefore crucial for government to keep up with the changes of the times.”

Samoa took a huge leap in her telecommunication abilities when the telecom market as liberalized in July 2009.

Some of the accomplishments made since include:

95% cellular mobile coverage for the whole country;
5 Internet Service Providers;
Use of mobile phones to transfer money and to pay bills;
98% of Government ministries, corporations and authorities have websites;
Feso’ota’i Centres so that citizens can access ICT from around the country;
More than 10 internet cafes in Apia and around the country;
IP TV service for more channels in addition to satellite TV and local TV content;
E-Rate programme providing primary schools computers and internet connection;
ASH Submarine Fibre Cable launched in May 2009 that resulted in a 40 fold increase in internet access speed.
Talamua: http://talamua.com/index.php

6) Cook Islands 2000 Superannuation Law Found Unlawful
Lawyer hopes officials can cooperate to amend act before deadline

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Feb. 10, 2014) – A Cook Islands lawyer says he’s hopeful a recent judgment will improve people’s control over their life savings.

In a ruling in the High Court last week, Chief Justice Thomas Weston, upheld lawyer Tim Arnold’s argument, that the existing Cook Islands National Superannuation Act of 2000, is unconstitutional.

Mr Arnold, acting for several businesses in Rarotonga, says the current Act goes too far in restricting people’s enjoyment of their property rights.

He says while the Act was originally written with good intent, the government exercises too much control over the scheme and yet will not guarantee the funds.

He says he’s hopeful politicians can work together to amend the Act before a September 2014 deadline, set by the Chief Justice.

“We’re feeling pretty optimistic that if the government, the opposition and Norman George as the sole Independent Member come together; then it should be possible to deliver, for the people of the Cook Islands, National Superannuation in a form that’s significantly better than the flawed model that we have now,” he says.

Tim Arnold says he’s waiting now to see if the Crown will appeal the case.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

7) Floating Coral Nursery Project Applied In American Samoa
Academic from Israel college teaching techniques on Leone

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Feb. 10, 2014) – A world specialist in coral reef restoration is teaching American Samoan villagers how to restore their coral reefs by building numerous coral nurseries using recyclable materials.

Dr Shari Shafir, a professor with Israel’s Oranim Academic College of Education, developed a special nursery that can float.

And in Leone Dr Shafir is applying an advance method of his invention by changing the depth of the nursery so that villagers do not need to dive to care for the corals.

He hopes the villagers in Leone will take what they have learned to other parts of the territory.

“The people of the village are so engaged in it. I give them lectures about coral biology and how to make nurseries and how to make new coral, but not just talking. More important they are doing it themselves and hopefully there are other places in American Samoa that need this restoration – those people here from the village will be the teachers,” he said.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

8) News Release
Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environmental Programme
Vava’u, Tonga

Monday, February 10, 2014

Researchers To Study Biodiversity In Vava’u Archipelago

Much more will be known about the plants and animals of the Vava’u archipelago in Tonga by the end of February, after the most ambitious study ever undertaken in the island group.

“A team of experienced biologists, which includes several Tongan specialists, will participate in this major expedition to conduct rapid biodiversity and ecological assessments (BIORAP) of both land and marine sites throughout the archipelago,” said Ms. Lupe Matoto of the Department of Environment.

The expedition will be a unique collaboration between the Government of the Kingdom of Tonga, the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and the Waitt Foundation.

The main objective is to identify sites within the archipelago that have high conservation value and could be added to Tonga’s protected area network. The survey will also make a major contribution to the conservation of Tonga’s ecosystems, endemic and native species, as well as land and seascapes.

The project has been formulated to contribute to Tonga’s protected area system, and provide a practical demonstration of its commitment to the Convention for Biological Diversity’s Island Biodiversity Programme of Work.

“What this study will do is provide the Government of Tonga, resource owners and communities with the information needed so they can establish ways to protect and manage their biodiversity and ecosystems,” said Mr. Bruce Jefferies, SPREP’s Terrestrial and Ecosystems Management Officer.

“The resource owners and communities will be the key groups to make decisions and carry out actions to protect the biodiversity of Tonga, and having up-to-date, readily accessible and scientific information will help their decision making.”

The Waitt Foundation is making available its flagship research vessel, a 164-foot expedition ship that was originally built in Australia as a hydrographic survey vessel, but has since been refitted as a craft with capabilities to perform marine focused scientific surveys.

“We’re really pleased to have such strong support and interest from all partners involved in this venture and we are looking forward to the outcomes.”

The BIORAP will take place in Tonga from 13 to 28 February 2014.

About the partners:

The Ministry of Lands, Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources (MLECCNR) is the Government of Tonga’s principal natural resource planning and management agency. The Ministry’s programmes and objectives are managed and implemented to support the Government’s National Priorities. The Ministry’s mandate is to ensure the protection and proper management of the environment and the promotion of sustainable development for Tonga’s present and future generations, through coordinated environmental management and protection, and climate change mitigation and adaptation.

SPREP is a regional, intergovernmental organisation comprising 25 members, consisting of 21 Pacific Island Countries and Territories and five developed countries with direct interests in the Pacific region. SPREP aims to promote cooperation in the Pacific islands region and to provide assistance in order to protect and improve the Pacific environment and to ensure sustainable development for present and future generations.

The Waitt Foundation is based in San Diego, USA, and supports a variety of national and international programmes with a primary focus on ocean conservation. By raising global awareness through scientific research, education, media, social and policy change, their goal is to reverse the current decline of ocean life while inspiring humanity to make informed choices that contribute to a healthy marine ecosystem.

MICRONESIA

9) Guam Governor Signs Home Defense Bill Into Law
Law allows for deadly force against home intruders

By Jasmine Stole

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Feb. 11, 2014) – Yesterday evening, Gov. Eddie Calvo signed the Castle Doctrine into law, about a week after a majority of Guam lawmakers voted in favor of the bill’s passage.

The law states that the use of deadly force, by people who presume themselves to be in fear of their life in the event of an intruder attacking them inside their home or car, is permissible. Should the intruder file any criminal prosecution or civil action, immunity is explicitly provided for the individual who used deadly force.

“When an intruder forces his or her way into a home, he takes away the security a home symbolizes. The law is now on the side of the families’ right to protect themselves,” Calvo said.

The bill was scrutinized prior to its passage, as opponents were wary of the possible widespread and unrestrained use of guns by the public. The bill found enough supporters in the Legislature on Feb. 1, however, and passed with 10 senators in favor of the measure.

Guam now joins more than 20 states including Florida, Texas, California and New York, all of which have enacted varying Castle Doctrine laws.

Last month, local National Rifle Association instructor Darren Alvarez said in an earlier presentation that the bill was modeled after the Castle Doctrine law passed in Florida.

Like Florida, Guam law allows for residents to stand their ground and use deadly force without looking to retreat to avoid confrontation first. Such is not the case in New York, where residents are only allowed deadly force if they knew with certainty that the intruder could be avoided by retreating.

The bill was first introduced in June 2013 by Sen. Tony Ada who wrote the legislation in the wake of recent high-profile crimes last year involving home invasions and burglaries.

Pacific Daily News: www.guampdn.com

NEW ZEALAND

10) New Zealand to deport 771 illegal Fijians

Nasik Swami
Tuesday, February 11, 2014

FIJIANS residing illegally in New Zealand could soon face deportation.

And the New Zealand Government has identified a total of 771 Fijians staying illegally in New Zealand.

Responding to questions from this newspaper, Immigration New Zealand said overstayers, regardless of nationality must appreciate that if there were no special circumstances that called for the grant of a visa, they were expected to leave NZ or face deportation.

“In 2012/13 Immigration New Zealand deported over 790 people whose visas had expired were unlawfully in New Zealand or who had committed offences and were deported directly from prison,” Immigration NZ said.

“Immigration NZ advises that all individuals residing in New Zealand unlawfully have a legal obligation to depart.”

Immigration NZ said those residing unlawfully in New Zealand should contact them to discuss their circumstances and determine the best option available.

“If an individual has any information about the whereabouts of people unlawfully in New Zealand, we encourage them to contact us.”

The highest number of Fijians living illegally in New Zealand was 1055 in the year 2011.

Pacific Island countries, Samoa and Tonga top the illegal immigrants list with 2686 and 2889 people respectively.Fijitimes

11) New Zealand Funds Updated Vanuatu Navigational Charts
New charts expected to make marine navigation safer

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Feb. 10, 2014) – New Zealand’s high commissioner in Vanuatu, Bill Dobbie, says his government is providing US$400,000 to help pay for the production of new high quality electronic navigational charts for Vanuatu.

Mr Dobbie says Vanuatu has a vast maritime area and the updating of its charts will result in safer navigation for all commercial shipping, bringing the country economic and social benefits.

He says the areas of Luganville and Champagne Beach on the island of Santo, Wala on Malekula and Bay Omo on Pentecost, will be charted in time for new international regulations coming into force in five months.

“The International Maritime Organisation’s Safety of Life at Sea Convention regulation will require member countries, including Vanuatu, and over time, to start using electronic navigational charts in their waters to ensure the safety of shipping,” Dobbie said.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

TOK PISIN

12) Bikpela lain Pacific soldia i givim gutpela halivim long Aghanistan wo

Updated 11 February 2014, 18:40 AEST
Kenya Kala

Bihain long 20 yar long ripot long ol wo long Pacific, Australia niusman Ben Bohane igo long ol ples blong pait long arapela kantri na ripot long wok blong ol soldia blong Pacific.

Long 20 yar Ben Bohane, wanpla photo-journalist blong Australia, i wok na ripot long  taim blong insait long Pacific Rijon olsem long Bougainville, Solomon islands na West papua.

Tasol nao em i putim ai na camera blongen igo long Afghanistan long lukluk long saed blong Pacific island soljia, husait i wok wantaim ol Armi blong US, British Armi na Australian Defens Fos.

Ben Bohane itok igat 2,000 Fiji nesinol insait long British armi, tasol ino olgeta i stap long Afghanistan.

Planti long ol Pacific soldia i stap long Afghanistan ikam long Micronesia, wantaem 600 soldia olgeta insait long Guam Battalion.

Long 2013,  namel long mun October na November, em igo long Afghanistan na mekim taem wantaim ol nesinol armi blong Britain, Austalia na America  na olsem em i tok , em i taem nao blong lukluk long bikpla contribution oa wok ol Pacific soldia ibin  mekim long hap.

Bikpela wari blong ol soldia blong Pacific em Ben itok em long wanem kondisen blong ol soldia igat long laif blong ol taim oli kam bek long ples blong ol.

Bikpela askim em lain blong ol long ples i redi long lukautim ol sapos ol dispela soldia igat wari long tingting oa mental helt blong ol na kain olsem.

Ol arapela helt wari em sapos ol dispela soldia em oli go longlong we hed blong ol ino stret, karim bikpela bagarap long bodi blong ol ol famili na lain blong ol long ples bai mekim wanem long ol

Olsem na Ben Bohane itok emi bikpela samting long ol gavaman blong Pacific na komuniti igat wei blong dil na luksave long ol kain heve olsem sapos ol Pacific soldia ikam bek long ples wantaim ol dispela wari.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

13) Rabaul PNG bai holim wanpela march agensim pasin nogut long ol pikinini meri

Updated 11 February 2014, 12:42 AEST
Pius Bonjui

Wanpela woman lida long East New Britain Provins bilong Papua New Guinea i askim olgeta pipal long provins i sanap na “walk against Incest na olgeta kain pasin isave kamap wantaim sexual violens”.

Dispela meri lida blong Rabaul na bisnis meri Rosemary Sovek i tok pasin nogut em papa isave slip wantaim pikinini meri ino long taim igo pinis long Volavolo vilis na tu kain pasin nogut ibin kamap long liklik tubuna meri bilong em i mekim em i kamap wantaim tingting bilong holim bikpela protest march long Rabaul na Kokopo.

Rosemary Sovak itok tingting blong holim dispela march long wanem em yet ibin gat wanpela bubu meri em krismas blong em ibin tripela yar tasol bek long 2010 na ol polis ino bin luksave long dispela heve na givim sampela halivim long sait blong wok painim blong ol.

Emi tok long Rabaul na tu sampela provins long PNG emi lukim na harim olsem ol statistics long wok blong polis na kot dispela wari blong papa slip wantaim pikinini meri, brata slip wantaim sista blong em na ol arapela sexual violens olsem reip na arapela ol pasin nogut agensim ol liklik pikinini meri  olsem na emi laik igo pas long dispela kempein.

Em i tok oli no makim iet de bilong dispela mas tasol i ting bai kamap pastaim long Easter wiken dispela yar.Radio Australia

FRENCH

14) Vanuatu: la double nationalité désormais possible

Mis à jour 11 February 2014, 15:41 AEST
Caroline Lafargue

Il a fallu amender la Constitution en novembre dernier pour autoriser cette réforme, que nous explique Ralph Regenvanu, le ministre des Affaires foncières.

Jusqu’à présent un descendant vanuatais devait renoncer à son premier passeport pour devenir ni-vanuatu. Il a fallu amender la Constitution en novembre dernier pour autoriser cette réforme, que nous explique Ralph Regenvanu, le ministre des Affaires foncières :

« Nous avons conçu cette loi en pensant particulièrement à la nombreuse diaspora vanuataise qui vit en Nouvelle-Calédonie, et à ces milliers d’enfants, qui naissent là-bas et obtiennent le passeport français, mais ne pouvaient pas, jusqu’à présent, demander leur passeport vanuatais. Il y a aussi le cas des enfants des couples mixtes qui sont nés à l’étranger et n’ont pour l’instant que le passeport du pays où ils sont nés. Il y a aussi les descendants des victimes du blackbirding en Australie, ces Vanuatais qui ont été recrutés au XIXème siècle pour aller travailler dans les plantations du Queensland, des semi-esclaves. Et ces descendants demandaient depuis des années au gouvernement vanuatais de leur octroyer un passeport vanuatais. Et il y a aussi une diaspora assez importante à Fidji. C’est donc une évolution très positive, qui rétablit les droits des ressortissants de notre pays. »

Les étrangers installés depuis au moins 10 ans au Vanuatu pourront aussi demander un passeport vanuatais.

Autre volet de cette réforme : la citoyenneté payante. Celle-là concerne les gens qui n’ont aucun lien de sang ou historique avec le Vanuatu et qui sont prêts à payer 310 000 dollars américains pour un passeport vanuatais.

« Nous avons fait des recherches, et identifié le besoin spécifique des Chinois qui veulent investir au Vanuatu. Les lois chinoises imposent des restrictions aux hommes d’affaires qui veulent investir dans un autre pays que la Chine – ils doivent aussi avoir la nationalité du pays où ils veulent investir. »

Le ministre vanuatais des Affaires foncières Ralph Regenvanu, au micro de Richard Ewart sur Radio Australie.

Ceux qui achètent le passeport vanuatais ne seront pas citoyens de plein droit, ils n’auront pas le droit de vote, ne pourront pas se présenter à des élections, acheter des terres et leurs droits peuvent être révisés par une simple loi.

Malgré ces limitations, la vente de passeports vanuatais crée l’émoi dans les rangs de l’opposition. Le député Willie Jimmy, ancien ambassadeur en Chine, estime que le processus de vente de la citoyenneté devrait être plus transparent. Un bureau a été ouvert à Hong-Kong pour commercialiser les passeports, mais selon Willie Jimmy l’attribution de ce marché public est restée opaque.

Le député trouve bien réduite la part qui revient à l’Etat vanuatais – seulement 25% du prix du passeport atterrira dans les caisses de l’Etat, les 75% restants, dans les caisses du CIIP, la structure qui gère la commercialisation des passeportsRadio Australia

15) L’Indonésie double ses patrouilles à la frontière avec la Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée

Posté à 11 February 2014, 15:22 AEST
Caroline Lafargue

Cinq pêcheurs indonésiens sont toujours portés disparus.

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

Avant d’incendier le bateau, la marine de Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée aurait 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.

La marine indonésienne a dépêché une frégate pour poursuivre les recherches. Le brigadier général indonésien se dit sidéré de la réaction de la marine papoue, car selon lui les 10 Indonésiens avaient leurs visas en règle. Radio Australia

PASIFIK


16) Pacific Islands ministerial group expected to visit Fiji this week

By Online Editor
8:22 pm GMT+12, 11/02/2014, Fiji

The Pacific Islands Forum Ministerial Contact Group is to visit Fiji this week, ahead of the general elections promised for September.

The group is expected to arrive on Friday for a two-day visit.

No other details are available.

Fiji was suspended from the Forum in 2009 after the regime, led by Commodore Frank Bainimarama, reneged on a 2007 promise to return the country to democracy.

The Forum group last visited Fiji last April, when it told the Fiji government that the international community had clear expectations about the lead-up to the general elections.

The group emphasised the need for citizens and political parties to be able to nominate for elections, campaign openly and to participate without hindrance in the political process and public debate.
SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

WORLD

17a) 50.3pc voters back immigration quotas

Bbc News
Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Swiss voters have narrowly backed a referendum proposal to bring back strict quotas for immigration from European Union countries.

Final results showed 50.3 per cent voted in favour. The vote invalidates the Swiss-EU agreement on freedom of movement.

Fiercely independent Switzerland is not a member of the EU, but has adopted large sections of EU policy.

Brussels said it regretted the outcome of the vote and would examine its implications.

A Yes vote of more than 50 per cent was needed for the referendum to pass.

The BBC’s Imogen Foulkes in Geneva says the vote has shown up traditional divisions, with French-speaking areas against the quotas, German-speaking regions divided, and the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino firmly in favour.

A Yes vote means Swiss ministers will have some tricky explaining to do in Brussels, our correspondent says.

In a statement, the European Commission said it regretted that an “initiative for the introduction of quantitative limits to immigration has been passed by this vote.

“This goes against the principle of free movement of persons between the EU and Switzerland. The EU will examine the implications of this initiative on EU-Swiss relations as a whole.”

17b) UK flood crisis as Thames waters rise

11 February 2014

Flooded homes in south-east England are being evacuated and thousands more are at risk after the River Thames burst its banks.

The Environment Agency issued 14 severe flood warnings – meaning lives are at risk – for the Thames in the counties of Surrey and Berkshire to the west of London.

Some areas are already under water, including parts of the Great Windsor Park, near the Queen’s castle at Windsor, which itself is built on higher ground.

London itself is protected by the Thames Barrier, although a suburb to the south of the capital, Croydon, announced plans to divert rising floodwaters caused by heavy rain away from homes and businesses by pumping them into a pedestrian underpass.

Fire crews, who have been rescuing people from their homes in Staines, told the BBC they have never known waters so deep or a flood rescue operation on this scale. In Windsor, Councillor Colin Rayner pleaded for help from police and the army.

Parts of the southwest of England have been under water for weeks after the wettest January since 1766, with more bad weather expected over the coming days.

There has been a growing tide of criticism at the official response, which has erupted into a full-blown political row, AFP reports.

Many people in Somerset, one of the hardest-hit counties in the southwest, blame the devastating floods on the failure of the Environment Agency – a government body – to dredge local rivers.

Communities minister Eric Pickles joined the attack on Sunday, suggesting the government “perhaps relied too much on the Environment Agency’s advice” on flood prevention.

Chris Smith, the head of the Environment Agency, hit back on Monday and accused ministers for holding back vital funds.

The Prime Minister David Cameron last week announced £130 million in extra funding for emergency repairs and maintenance.

Mr Cameron paid his first visit to Somerset, where the Royal Marines have been deployed to help with sand-bagging, on Friday and on Monday was due to tour storm-affected areas in the southwest counties of Devon and Cornwall.c/- radio new zealand.

18) BRIEFLY

Agencies
Tuesday, February 11, 2014

11 dead

BANGUI, Central African Republic – A weekend of violence and looting in the Central African capital has left at least 11 people dead, including two Muslims who were gruesomely lynched and a lawmaker gunned down in a drive-by shooting. Fighting flared up on Saturday evening between Christian vigilantes and Muslims in the west of Bangui.

Hijack bid

ISTANBUL – An Istanbul court has charged a Ukrainian man over his failed attempt to force a Turkish airliner to land in Sochi where the Winter Olympics opening ceremony was under way. The Dogan news agency said the man had been placed in provisional detention, but did not specify the charge against the 45-year-old Ukrainian identified as Artem Kozlov.

Mudslide kills 4

LA PAZ, Bolivia – Local officials in Bolivia say heavy rains have caused a mudslide that has buried a small settlement, killing at least four people. Another nine people are missing. Rescue squads were working on Sunday in hopes of finding more survivors.

Snap election

SARAJEVO – Two parties in Bosnia’s ruling coalition have called for early polls to defuse mounting anger over corruption and unemployment that has sparked violence not seen since the 1992-1995 war. The move came as 1000 people gathered in front of Bosnia’s tripartite presidency building in downtown Sarajevo, demanding the resignation of rulers.

Jews boycott

BUDAPEST – Hungary’s largest Jewish organisation Mazsihisz says it is pulling out of a Holocaust memorial year, accusing Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government of “ignoring” the sensitivities of survivors. “Under the current circumstances, Mazsihisz (Federation of Hungarian Jewish Faith Congregations) is withdrawing from the government’s Holocaust 2014 program,” the group said in a statement.

HEALTH

19) Limbs off

Nasik Swami
Tuesday, February 11, 2014

AMPUTATION rates in Fiji have reached alarming levels.

And those suffering from diabetes have been urged to visit their nearest health facilities to get screened and avoid losing a valuable part of their body.

A three-year survey conducted by Diabetes Fiji revealed that a total of 938 amputations were performed at the country’s largest referral centre, CWM Hospital, from 2010 to 2012.

Organisation administration officer diabetes and researcher Kishan Kumar, who presented his findings at a public seminar at FNU’s Pasifika Campus yesterday, said of all the amputations, digit, knee, above knee and forefoot amputations were the most common.

Mr Kumar said of the 938 amputations, the highest (71 per cent) belonged to iTaukei men and 26.2 per cent were statistics from Fijians of Indian descent over 45 years of age.

“Digit amputation is removal of one finger.

“The main problem associated with amputations are foot problems — ulcers and one of the identified or recognised problem is poor glycaemic control — when patients do not have controlled sugar,” Mr Kumar said.

He said with diabetes being the biggest contributor to the high amputation rates, one out of every eight patients who had an amputation was not aware that he/she was diabetic.

“Similar findings were done in 2002 where there were 16 per cent of Fiji’s population were diabetic and out of which 50 per cent were unrecognised diabetics.

“One screening is not a good factor to say you are not diabetic — you need to get screened at least thrice in a month.”

He said factors leading to amputations were health seeking behaviours of patients and late presentation to hospitals.

“Our study showed that health care is not a problem. We did not find any major difference. The patients are coming at a late stage so amputation or surgery has to be done to save the life of the patient.”

He said to address the problem people should get themselves screened early, diabetic patients should take control of their sugar levels and look after their feet.

http://www.fijitimes.com/

20) TB cases on the rise

Dawn Gibson
Tuesday, February 11, 2014

MORE tuberculosis cases were recorded last year with 67 registered cases of the disease in the fourth quarter.

This is a significant increase from the fourth quarter of 2012, an operational research has revealed.

The increase in cases however is a reflection of improved services in detecting the air-borne disease, the research observed.

“The significant increase (40 per cent) in TB cases notified compared to 2012 indicates an intensified effort in detecting active cases and that the current strategies in place are effective and beneficial to the TB program,” the summary report read.

The most recent statistics have shown that of the 67 cases, 345 were from the Central Division, 19 from the Western Division and 13 from the North.

In presenting her research paper titled Demographic and Clinical Profile of TB Patients in Fiji, TB nurse co-ordinator Central/Eastern Anna Alo said they had a success rate of about 80 per cent.

“My data from 2010-2012 came to about 80 plus percentage of treatment success rate and then we have default rates, so we’re fortunate in Fiji that there are no multi-drug resistance strands,” Ms Alo said yesterday.

She said in Fiji, the most common form of TB was known as pulmonary TB, which was TB of the lungs.

“This is important because these are the people that are spreading the disease, because when people cough, it spreads through the air.” Fijitimes.

EDUCATION

21) 3D printer for USP

By Torika Tokalau
Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Update: 1:02PM THE University of the South Pacific launched its new 3D printer this morning.

The printer, which cost $45,000, prints physical objects into three dimensions using ceramic powder.

USP vice chancellor Professor Rajesh Chandra said the 3D printer will now allow the university to excel more in various fields of study, especially engineering and architecture.Fijitimes

22) PNG Parliament Panel To Investigate Teachers’ Grievances
Salaries, leave fares and other issues to be considered by MPs

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Feb. 10, 2014) – A parliamentary committee will investigate discrepancies in salaries and leave entitlements for teachers around Papua New Guinea.

The committee chaired by Wabag MP Robert Ganim has been advised by Speaker Theo Zurenuoc to look into the complaints by teachers on their leave fares, salaries and other issues on their welfare.

Ganim, a former senior education adviser, confirmed last Friday that Zurenuoc had given him the green light to conduct the nation-wide inquiry into the teachers’ issues.

Committee members include Goilala MP Daniel Mona, Eastern Highlands Governor Julie Soso, Sandaun Governor Amkat Mai and Jimi MP Mai Dop.

In a letter dated January 21, to him, Zurenuoc said: “The committees of parliament play an important role in keeping the executive government along with government departments and line agencies accountable for whatever policy decisions or legislations formulated.

“Parliamentary Committees have the powers to conduct inquiries into issues of public importance through their own initiative as provided under the Permanent Parliamentary Committee Act 1994.

“This is the way forward for the parliamentary referral committee on education to conduct an inquiry into the Department of Education.

“I believe this inquiry will influence other committee chairs. The parliamentary committee secretariat will provide necessary assistance and support in coordinating this inquiry. I assure you that Parliament will stand ready to support your committee.”

Some teachers in Madang are still fuming over the late notification of their postings after schools resumed classes last week.

PNG Teachers Association bran­ches in five highlands provinces had raised similar complaints.

Ganim said: “It’s chronic and has been on-going for far too long and needs to be investigated and something needs to be done about this.

“Of the K15 billion [US$5.77 billion] in the 2014 national budget, the Government allocated K1.5 billion [US$577.08 million] to the education sector. It teachers are unhappy, it signals bad management in the department which rightly calls for investigations.”

The National: www.thenational.com.pg/

MEDIA


23b) PINA to work with indegenous media outlet in New Caledonia

By Online Editor
8:25 pm GMT+12, 11/02/2014, New Caledonia

The customary chiefs of New Caledonia today gave their blessing to the Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) to establish a working relationship with indigenous media outlets in the country.

Sixteen chiefs from the country today accepted a traditional presentation from the PINA board at their customary senate at Nouville.

PINA president Moses Stevens told the chiefs they are very much aware of the plight of the Kanaky people and their struggle for independence.

He added PINA is now inviting all indigenous media outlets in New Caledonia to become members of the regional organisation so that their voices can be heard in the Pacific.

The President added their decision to bring the PINA summit to Noumea is a way to show that the indigenous Kanaky people are part of the Pacific family.

The chiefs said they felt humbled by the PINA gesture.

SOURCE: FIJI TV/PACNEWS

23b) Changes at Radio New Zealand

Updated at 5:35 pm on 11 February 2014

Radio New Zealand management have confirmed that several changes are underway at the station.

One involves moving Morning Report presenter Simon Mercep to front a new afternoon programme. No decision has been made on who will replace him.

In addition, a new drive time format is being developed which will build on the strengths of Checkpoint and The Panel, which currently airs on Jim Mora’s Afternoons show.

Morning Report is also being strengthened.

The changes have been subject to media speculation in the past few days.

Radio New Zealand’s chief executive Paul Thompson said on Tuesday they are part of a series of changes intended to keep the station’s current radio programming strong, while reaching out in new ways to new audiences.

Further details will be made available as final decisions are made.Radio New Zealand.

POLITIC

24) Vanuatu Government defends changing constitution to allow dual citizenship

Posted 11 February 2014, 13:04 AEST

The Vanuatu Government has defended changes to the country’s constitution allowing residents to hold dual citizenship.

The government says it is coming inline with the rest of the world, but the opposition says part of the plan is going against the wishes of the nation’s founding fathers.

Under the Capital Investment Immigration Plan foreigners can buy Vanuatu citizenship but they won’t be allowed to own land, vote or run for public office.

Vanuatu opposition member Willy Jimmy says a citizenship application will cost $US310,000.

He has told Pacific Beat the new scheme is about raising fund for the government.

“That’s the basic reason that the task force that was set up by the government,” he said.

“They think that the government can make a lot of revenue through the scheme of dual citizenship and selling passports.”

However Vanuatu’s lands minister Ralph Regenvanu says this is only part of the change.

Indigenous ni-Vanuatu born overseas, as well as those who move away can now obtain dual citizenship.

“The children of the substantial ni-Vanuatu population living in New Caledonia for example, which is the biggest ni-Vanuatu population living outside of Vanuatu, all of those kids there thousands of them are being born and having French passports,” he said.

“Because of this constitutional restriction (they) can not become Vanuatu citizens even though they are indigenous ni-Vanuatu people, simply because we have this constitutional restriction.”

Mr Regenvanu says the changes are also allowing people who are descendants of those taken from Vanuatu to work on plantations in Australia in the late 19th Century – a process known as ‘Blackbirding’ – to regain a part of their heritage.

“We see this as a very positive move to enhance our citizens rights and privileges and give them the normal rights you would expect coming from a country, that you don’t actually have to lose your citizenship or lose the citizenship you already have, simply to regain a national identity in Vanuatu,” he said.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

25a) USTKE demonstrates against New Caledonia tax bill for SMSP

11 February 2014

Unionists in New Caledonia have held a demonstration outside the government building in Noumea in protest at a tax bill given to the SMSP nickel company.

About 200 members of the mainly Kanak USTKE union, using about 30 trucks, have warned that reclassifying SMSP as a financial holding company could cost 1,200 jobs.

The action comes after SMSP was given a 57 million US dollar bill at a time of a depressed nickel market.

One union leader says the policy is aimed to kill off SMSP as the pro-independence Kanaks’ company.

SMSP has lodged a challenge against its reclassification in court.

Formed in 1990, SMSP is a majority shareholder in the huge Koniambo plant set up with Glencore of Switzerland while building a plant with Posco in South Korea. Radio New Zealand.

25b) Fiji trade unionists feel targetted while PM free from scrutiny

11 February 2014

The Fiji Trades Union Congress says trade unionists are being targetted for their political involvement, while the Prime Minister and military commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, is free to do whatever he wants.

The Fiji Broadcasting Corporation reports that the government is looking into the possibility of strengthening certain laws within the Political Parties decree after unionists made public their association with political parties.

Under the decree, public officers, which include trade unionists and military officers, are not allowed to publicly express political views or hold office in a proposed political party.

But the president of the Fiji Trades Union Congress, Daniel Urai, says Commodore Bainimarama has not been limited in what he can say or do in politics.

“When will Frank himself step down from his role as Prime Minister? When will he resign to campaign for his political party? And any minister in this government for that matter. Those are the things that we need to look at. What we see now is trade union is being targetted while they are free to do whatever they want to do, while they are being paid by tax-payers funds, and they are public officers in general. So these are things we need to have clarified.”

Daniel Urai.

Commodore Bainimarama said earlier this year that he would resign as the head of the military at the end of the month. http://www.radionz.co.nz/

25c) Fijian and Kiribati President Hold Bilateral Talks
By Online Editor
8:17 pm GMT+12, 11/02/2014, Kiribati

Fiji’s Head of State President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau held talks Monday with his Kiribati counterpart, President Anote Tong.

The President expressed the Fijian Government’s gratitude towards the continued support demonstrated by the Kiribati Government over the years.

The two Heads of State discussed various options of boosting relations between the two island nations and added that a potential area could include fully utilizing available resources within the two countries.

President Tong, praised the leadership of the Fijian Government and the progress that were taking place in the country.

During their talks, the two leaders exchanged cultural gifts. Fiji’s President also presented a copy of the 2013 Constitution to President Tong.

The Fijian President is currently on a State Visit in Kiribati and will hold talks with other senior officials later this week.

Meanwhile, the President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau and the First Lady Adi Koila Nailatikau were last night hosted to a reception by the Fijian Community in Kiribati.

During the function held at the residence of General Manager of Punjas, Virendra Kumar, the President reminded the Fijian community on their role as ambassadors of Fiji whilst living in Kiribati.

He also stated that the Fijian Government would assist Kiribati and that they had a role to play in this assistance.

“The Prime Minister has made the pledge that we will assist Kiribati wherever we can and you are part of the team at the forefront of that statement by the Prime Minister.”

He also prompted them of the high expectations of the Government about the work of the Fijian community in Kiribati.

Ratu Epeli also expressed the warm greetings of the people of Fiji and acknowledged the links between the two countries.

“These islands have a very close link with us historically and although the visit is short, it is timely and appropriate that we make the visit from time to time and we have the privilege to make the visit on behalf of Fiji.

SOURCE: MINFO/PACNEWS

26) More Complaints Sent To Fiji Anti-Corruption Body In 2013
10,428 complaints reportedly registered with FICAC last year

By Vuniwaqa Bola-Bari

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Feb. 10, 2014) – Fiji’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) recorded an increase in the number of complaints they received last year compared to the previous year.

The commission received 10,428 complaints in 2013, an increase of 554 complaints when compared to 9,874 received in 2012.

FICAC’s public affairs officer Cegu Babana said 2013 was also a year that saw positive changes taking place within the commission one of which saw the streamlining of management layers and spans to shorten the distance between those in leadership and those in the frontline.

“Some of our departments and sections within those departments changed priorities, while others were initiating new programs to tackle corruption to enhance organizational effectiveness,” she said.

“Some positions were eliminated in the process and we also added new positions to accommodate the new programs initiated in 2013.”

New programs initiated by FICAC in 2013 included the introduction of the Corruption Prevention and Risk Reduction Assessment.

The first assessment was conducted on the Ministry of the Lands and subsequently a report that outlined all the recommendations from the assessment was submitted to the Lands Ministry Permanent Secretary for implementation in September.

“At the end of the day, we strive to put into action a system of good governance that works for the good of all people and try to encourage others to do the same”, says Babana.

In April, the commission also met with the media as a means to foster a positive working relationship.

“The media’s role is not only to inform the public about facts and statements, but it can be active in public education and supporting the fight against corruption and they can do this by reporting on corrupt behaviors by public officials, putting corruption on the public agenda, and covering corruption from various perspectives. So yes, we need the media in order to promote our agenda,” Ms Babana said.

As a result she said there was a significant increase in media coverage in radio, website, published articles and TV. In August, the commission conducted its first ever national annual seminar.

The three-day event was to find ways of preventing the mismanagement of public funds and resources, fraud and corruption during the procurement of goods and services and project implementation.

A communiqué that was drafted, moved and adopted by the seminar participants was sent to all permanent secretaries for their necessary action.

Ms Babana says one of the recommendations from the seminar which is to establish a working committee will be finalised in the coming weeks.

This committee will be responsible for the implementation of the other recommendations in the communiqué in their various ministries.

The commission ended the year with the International Anti-Corruption Day 2013 with the theme “Fight Corruption for Economic Prosperity and Progress in Fiji.”

Fijilive: http://www.fijilive.com

BUSINESS

27) PNG PM blasts state-owned businesses for wasting billions of taxpayers’ money

Updated 11 February 2014, 17:26 AEST
By Liam Fox

Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister Peter O’Neill says state-owned corporations have wasted billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money.

In a speech at the National Leaders’ Summit in Port Moresby, Mr O’Neill said the history of government-owned businesses was “absolutely appalling”.

“The amount of scarce public money – taxpayers’ money – that has been wasted, stolen and misused by state-owned corporations over the almost forty years since Independence runs into billions of kina,” he said.

“The result has not just been money wasted, it has been poor service delivery, and service delivery that is increasingly costly.”

Mr O’Neill told the gathering that reforming the entire public service was a priority for his government this year.

“Our government is absolutely determined to change, and change forever, not just the way state-owned enterprises function, but we will also change the environment in which they function,” he said.

“This is all aimed at positioning Papua New Guinea to get the best outcomes from trade and investment relations with the Asian region, and the Asia-Pacific region.”

But in his wide-ranging speech, Mr O’Neill didn’t give any indication as to what the reforms would be, or when they would be implemented.

His claim of massive waste will come as no surprise to many Papua New Guineans who have lived with poor government services for decades.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

28) Lepani: Treaty can change balance of trade
By Online Editor
8:09 pm GMT+12, 11/02/2014, Papua New Guinea

The balance of trade continues to be in Australia’s favour and it is hoped that this will change with the policy on economic cooperation treaty which is being worked on by the governments of Australia and PNG.

This was from PNG’s envoy to Australia, Charles Lepani, who was among the host of dignitaries who had attended the second Leaders’ Summit, which was staged in Port Moresby Monday.

Lepani said the current trade flow was K12.9 billion (A$5 billion), which was in favour of Australia – with K7.74 billion (A$3bn) going to Australia while K5.16 billion to PNG. He said since independence, PNG continued to rely heavily on aid from Australia.

He said it was pleasing to note that the policy on the economic cooperation treaty was being worked on.

With the earning soon to be reaped from the PNG LNG Gas Project, that (the policy) would help in cutting down on PNG’s dependency,Lepani said.

However, he stressed that the policy should improve the country’s trade rather than aid.

He said most of the exports to Australia were mostly from the extractive industry, while agriculture does not export a lot because of quarantine issues.

Lepani said the little Australia was getting from PNG’s agriculture sector was coffee.

He said PNG was receiving about K31 million annually from that export, which was relatively small compared to other major producers like Kenya and Brazil.

The trade potential in the agriculture sector was high but the quarantine issues would have to be worked on.

“There is a huge potential in the agriculture sector as there is a demand for organically grown produce.

“However, in light of Australia’s tough stance on quarantine, we will have to ensure that our produce are processed properly and certified to their required standards,” he said.

Meanwhile, PNG Minister for Petroleum and Energy William Duma has assured everyone that the Liquefied Natural Gas Project is ready to send its first shipment to the international market by the third quarter of this year.

He made the remarks at the 2014 Leaders’ Summit in Port Moresby at the Gateway Hotel.

Minister Duma said that work was almost complete and that the first shipment out of the country would put PNG on the stage with other top oil and gas producing countries.

“We will be able to compete with the best fiscal regimes in the region, competing with our neighbouring countries like Australia to sell our gas in the Asian market,” he said.

He said that two main factors that were outstanding were the national Government’s commitment to provincial governments and resource owners. He assured them that their deals would be done genuinely.

Minister Duma also stated that clan vetting was an issue that would need to be resolved to ensure the smooth flow of the project.

He said the K780 million gas proposal in Western Province was currently conducted by Horizon Limited, and would start as soon as the draft gas agreement was completed by March this year.

“Upon completion of the draft gas proposal agreement, it will be presented to the Cabinet for sanctioning and by the end of March this year, PNG should have its third LNG project. “We are working to negotiate a better package for every stake holder to benefit from.”

Duma emphasised that the oil and gas sector, for the first time, was ready to implement downstream processing.

“For the first time in the country we will now be able to conduct downstream processing of the oil and gas. “This will cover all facets of processing.

“We will now have upstream, mid stream and down-stream of all the oil and gas in our country, just like other oil and gas producing countries in the world,” Minister Duma said.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

REFUGEE/ASYLUM

29) Australian Minister ‘Greeted’ By Protestors On Manus Island
Refugee advocates say January demonstrations continue to grow

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Feb. 10, 2014) – Asylum-seekers on Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island have reportedly greeted the Australian foreign minister, Julie Bishop, with chants of ‘freedom’ and placards.

The group, the Refugee Action Coalition, says daily protests began on Manus Island in late January and reports say they continue to grow.

In an effort to calm the protests, a handful of lawyers was brought from Australia arriving on the island last Thursday, but Mr Rintoul says the protests have continued and there is still no indication of when refugee assessments will begin.

Mr Rintoul says last week guards tried to disperse protesters, but later withdrew after angry defiance, to be replaced by police.

Advocates say the lack of processing and an future for asylum-seekers is fuelling the protests which have also attracted support from Manus Island locals opposed to any expansion of the detention centre.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

CLIMATE CHANGE/CONSERVATION & ENVIROMENT

30) Rising Ocean Disturbs Gravesite In Fiji’s Yasawa Islands
Human remains found washed up along beach on Nacula

By Repeka Nasiko

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Feb .10, 2014) – The discovery of human bones on the beach — and the hair-raising feeling that spirits now dwell in their midst — has forced a village in Fiji’s Yasawa Islands to begin the relocation of 100 graves already under threat from rising sea levels.

When this newspaper’s team arrived at Navutua Village on Nacula Island this week, the grave site had already been disturbed, with six of the eight graves usually totally submerged during high tides relocated to higher grounds.

The remaining two graves are that of brothers Ovini Caqusau and Aporosa Nasusu who were laid to rest in 1990 and 1968 respectively.

Seawater has washed away cement, leaving the tombs exposed and vulnerable. Their skeletal remains have turned a shade of orange as seawater seeps into the grave site.

Turaga ni Koro Petero Nadriva, Mr Nasusu’s son, was at the site supervising the reopening of his father’s grave. He said the relocation began a few weeks ago.

“We started burying human remains just after New Year’s Day when we found that some bones and human skulls on the beach had been washed up by the waves,” he said.

“Some of the bones were spread across the beach where our grave site is, so we had to find and collect the bones and bury them in a safer area.”

Mr Nadriva said the new grave site was located about 100 metres from the beach.

“In one grave we have about six skeletons. In the other, we collected about four.

“We couldn’t put all of the remains in individual graves because the skeletons were not intact.”

Mr Nadriva said the villagers were shocked when they first discovered the human remains on the beach.

“We did not expect the tides to be this strong but it’s our reality now,” he said.

Turaga ni Vanua Ratu Peniasi Vu said the village needed help from the authorities.

“Other graves are still in danger,” he said.

“We need a sea wall built to protect the graves.”

Mr Vu said about two rows of the grave site had been destroyed.

“There is a need to protect the ones that have not been destroyed and we need that barrier urgently because a few other graves are still in danger.”

He said the gravesite was founded in the late 1800s.

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

31) East Honiara Residents Face Food Shortage After Flooding
762 families near Burns Creek affected by loss of crops, gardens

By Stephen Diisango

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Feb. 10, 2014) – Solomon Islander families who are being affected by the recent bad weather and flooding in the Burns Creek area, East Honiara, are appealing for assistance.

A representative and the chairman of the Burns creek community John Seti Iromea made the call following what he claimed, the families are facing food shortage after their food gardens were destroyed.

He estimated that more than 762 families were affected by the recent flooding.

He said given the desperate situation he appealed to responsible authorities and government to speed up their assessment and submit their report to the responsible authorities for assistance.

“The people are badly affected and suffered long enough due to lack of food.”

The recent bad weather had caused the Lungga and nearby creeks to burst their banks heavily flooded the low lying areas and damaged crops, food garden and animal farms.

“Most of our families are seriously affected because their food crops and other properties have been washed away by the heavy flooding.

“Government should consider us on humanitarian ground,” said Iromea.

The former councillor added that because of the problem, families cannot market their produce for money, and children are going to school without food.

“Please do not turn deaf ears on us,” said Iromea.

Sisto Takofilia a member of Burns Creek community said they depended on cassava, potatoes and vegetables for their survival.

He said for a 20kg bag of potato or cassava they earn between SBD$60-$70 [US$8.14 to US$9.50] a day.

He added that their gardens are supporting their families to meet school fee and other basic needs.

Takofilia said that at the moment they depended on Tenaru coconut plantation to sell dry coconut for money.

National disaster management office (NDMO), chief operational officer George Baragamu when contacted said that the recent bad weather affected many communities around the country.

He said that some of the provinces have already received relief supplies.

In the city, the Honiara City Council is currently carrying out assessment into communities and homes which have been affected.

“As soon as we receive the report from them, support will be given. At the moment no food supplies will be given as we are still waiting for the assessment reports.”

The NDMO official also noted the need for the people to learn from past flooding incidence and moved out from low lying areas.

“A lot of awareness have been carried out last year in that area and people should adhere to our advice.

“We need to learn how to adapt to such natural hazard,” said Baragamu.

He said that people should learn from their past situation and should move out from hazard zones.

Attempts to reach Honiara City Council Disaster Office were unsuccessful yesterday.

Solomon Star

32) News Release
Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environmental Programme
Apia, Samoa

Monday, February 10, 2014

SPREP To Host Climate Change Stock-Taking Workshop

A stocktake on how well we ‘walk the talk’ is a key part of the Pacific Islands Framework for Action on Climate Change (PIFACC) – the Pacific island region’s 10-year strategy to address the climate change issues faced by our islands.

Endorsed in 2005 by Pacific Leaders, the vision of this framework is ‘Pacific Island people, their livelihoods and environment resilient to the risks and impacts of climate change.’

The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) is hosting a three-day workshop this week in Apia, Samoa, to assist in the monitoring and evaluation of targets committed to by countries under the regional climate change framework.

“An important element of our work on PIFACC is in monitoring and evaluation. Together we need to check if we are doing what we said we’ll do, and also achieving what this framework set out to do,” said Mr. David Sheppard, Director-General of SPREP, at the opening of the workshop.

“This is largely done through the Pacific Climate Change Roundtable, which brings together countries, stakeholders, academia and partner agencies working together on climate change every two years, and also through the respective working groups of this Roundtable. This workshop is an opportunity for countries to become familiar with some monitoring and evaluation tools developed by SPREP and to become confident in using these.”

The workshop is being facilitated by Dr. Netatua Pelesikoti (Director of SPREP’s Climate Change Division), who has reminded participants that while we are reflecting on the climate change accomplishments of individual countries, we must remember that climate change is everyone’s business.

“This workshop is not just about reviewing climate change programmes undertaken by SPREP,” said Dr Pelesikoti. “There is now a wealth of partner agencies working together to address this very important issue and it is through our coordinated contribution that we will see success.”

The three-day workshop will help countries review progress made at the national level in meeting the themes of the PIFACC, finalise climate change country profiles and share and document lessons learnt in implementing the Framework since 2005.

This will also be an opportunity to help strengthen understanding of the new incoming strategy which will further integrate disaster risk management and climate change.

Half a day will be dedicated to fostering awareness on the Asia Pacific Adaptation Network (APAN) and its role in supporting adaptation work in the Pacific.

As an official regional node of APAN, SPREP appreciates the support provided by APAN particularly in capacity building and networking activities related to adapting to climate change. This is the third workshop of its kind that APAN has supported in the Pacific since SPREP became an official node in 2011.

The workshop is an activity funded under a joint partnership between SPREP and APAN with additional funding support provided by the Government of Australia through its International Climate Change Adaptation Initiative.

The workshop is being held at the SPREP campus from 10 to 12 February with participants from American Samoa, Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Niue, Palau, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

WOMAN/YOUTH/CHILD

33) 900 seek therapy

Felix Chaudhary
Tuesday, February 11, 2014

ABOUT 900 women in the Western Division sought counselling at the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre last year.

Centre co-ordinator Shamima Ali said while more women were coming forward and seeking help for domestic violence, rape, sexual harassment and child abuse issues, there was a misconception in the media about the reasons for the high record of cases.

“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,” she said.

“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.”

Ms Ali added that studies conducted by the centre revealed there were changes in women’s attitudes towards reporting abuse.Fijitimes.

EVENTS


34) Australian Government provides support for Pacific Trade Show
By Online Editor
4:32 pm GMT+12, 07/02/2014, Australia

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.

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

Samoan Tattooing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SOURCE; RADIO AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS

SPORTS


35) ONOC, Pacific Games Council set up Committees for Continental Games
By Online Editor
8:07 pm GMT+12, 11/02/2014, New Caledonia

A joint committee, consisting of members from the regions two biggest sporting bodies has been formed to look at how a Continental Games can be organized.

The Oceania National Olympic Committee (ONOC) and the  Pacific Games Council have already had a series of meetings to discuss this.

Pacific Games Council president Vidya Lakhan revealed this at a sports roundtable session at the 3RD (Pacific Islands Media Association (PINA) summit currently underway in New Caledonia.

“The SPG Games Council has considered the option of opening up the SPG to our bigger neighbours”, he said.

If plans fall in place, the proposed Continental Games will see athletes from Australia and New Zealand taking part.

Discussions so far is indicating that selected sports will be on offer to Australia and New Zealand in the first Continental Games if it happens.

They are sports like rugby sevens, weightlifting, judo, karate and boxing where Pacific athletes will be able to compete with the two bigger nations.

Lakhan says both ONOC and SPG Games Council realize that a truly Continental Games is now necessary if one looks at what the Olympics stands for.

He adds a Continental Games will allow Pacific athletes to uplift their standards.

Lakhan says the region receives a lot of money from the IOC but they fail to perform at the Olympic Games.

“The level of funding we are receiving isn’t showing any improvement in the type of athletes the Pacific is producing”, he said.

SOURCE: FIJI TV/PACNEWS

36) France remains on top

Afp
Tuesday, February 11, 2014

PARIS – A devastating burst of 21 points in the opening 15 minutes of the second-half saw France beat Italy 30-10 in their Six Nations clash at the Stade de France yesterday and record back-to-back wins for the first time since November 2012.

Tries by Louis Picamoles, Wesley Fofana and debutant Hugo Bonneval — all converted by Jean-Marc Doussain who scored 15 points in all —saw France pull away from Italy after a dull first-half had seen them lead only 9-3 at the break.

The match descended into an ill-tempered affair by the end with replacement props Rabah Slimane of France and Italy’s Michele Rizzo sent off by Jaco Peyper after the Frenchman reacted badly to the latter’s uppercuts.

It was the first time that two players had been sent off in a Test match since France versus England in 1992 which saw two French players red carded.

The French can travel to two-time defending champions Wales on Friday week with an extra bounce in their step as the last time France beat England and Italy in Paris, in 2010, they went on to win the Grand Slam.

The two teams traded early penalty kicks as France, through Doussain, took a 9-3 halftime lead.

Coach Philippe Saint-Andre must have fired his players up at halftime because within four minutes they had extended their lead by seven points, Picamoles managing to ground the ball despite an excellent tackle by Tommaso Iannone for his sixth try in 40 Tests.

The floodgates had opened and Fofana it was who after a quiet opening 40 minutes showed his class breaking down the blindside from outside the Italian 22 and despite Luke McLean’s despairing tackle he went over for his ninth try in 23 Test appearances.

Doussain converted brilliantly from wide out on the right for 23-3 and the Marseillaise rang out from all round the ground.

It was well deserved as the French came up with a superb third try in the 52nd minute.

Fofana intercepted inside his own 22 and running it back into the Italian half before offloading to Yoann Huget, who was able to get the ball away to Bonneval as he was tackled by Leonardo Sarto and the debutant touched down — Doussain converted for 30-3.

The Italians did get a deserved try at the end as young wing Iannone went over which replacement fly-half Luciano Orquera converted.

37) Warriors confident

Rashneel Kumar
Tuesday, February 11, 2014

THE Fiji Warriors team management is confident the side will be ready for 2014 Pacific Rugby Cup competition.

The 35-member squad joined the training camp in Suva yesterday to start its preparation for the competition which kicks off on February 24.

Fiji Warriors, which is the defending champions, will take on Samoa A, Tonga A, Japan A and Argentina Pampas XV along with the Super Rugby franchise development sides from Australia in this year’s PRC competition.

Team manager Joseph Browne said they have enough time to jell the players and work out a formidable side for the competition.

He said the players that were part of the squad have been playing since last year.

“So it won’t be too difficult to get them into shape. They have been playing consistently since last year and it’s just the matter of jelling them together,” Browne said.

Fiji Warriors will be coached by Tailevu mentor Lance Whippy and assisted by Eroni Vereivalu.

Browne said the players would be working on their strength and conditioning before focusing on the field work.

“We just seek people’s blessing and support.”

Fiji Warriors

Forwards:

Peni Ravai, Jo Dakuitoga, Seremaia Naureure, Michel Wade, Manasa Tuidraki, Leroy Atalifo, Sevuloni Debalevu, Rupeni Nasiga, Mataiasi Ucutabua, Wavisalome Vanakena, Alipate Mataivilia, Aseri Baletamana, Ulaiasi Lawavou, Manoa Tamaya, Filimoni Koroi, Aminiasi Nava, Eremasi Radrodro, Nemani Nagusa

Backs:

Emori Waqa, Jock Liuta, Vilimoni Turagarua, Waisea Luveniyali, Jiuta Lutumailagi, Jovesa Kunawave, Ilisavani Jegesa, Josua Kerevi, Sitiveni Kunaga, Naisa Vatuinaruku, Senivalati Ramuwai, Savenaca Nawaca, Nemani Rinakama, Jone Ramatau, Aporosa Tuqiri, Luke Nadurutalo, Vilive Aria

www.voiceofmelanesia.com

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