Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 944

MELANESIA

1) Solomon’s PM Defends Traditional Dolphin Hunting
Lilo supports seasonal ‘harvesting,’ opposes export of live dolphins

By Jeremy Inifiri

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Feb. 17, 2014) – Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo says the government does not oppose the traditional hunt for wild dolphins.

What it is against is the export of live dolphins overseas.

Mr Lilo clarified this when interviewed for a documentary on dolphin hunting recently shot and documented here in the country by internationally renowned journalist, Drew Ambrose of Aljazeera English Television.

“Dolphin hunting or rather calling of dolphins is indeed a seasonal traditional practice that has been passed from generation to generation especially by our people residing in the Lau Lagoons of Malaita and also Walande and Fanalei Islands,” Mr Lilo said.

“We do not see it as hunting dolphins, but more preferably as harvesting dolphins from the wild.

“Basically because the meat and teeth of dolphins are of great importance to our people of Malaita,” the prime minister said.

Prime Minister Lilo then explained the importance of dolphin teeth in Malaita custom.

Mr Lilo was also asked if the practice can be stopped or control, especially with activists and researchers reports of the decreasing number of dolphins in the Solomon Island waters.

“The practice is not a day to day thing, it is done seasonally. Our people harvest only within the seasons that are right for hunting dolphins.”

Mr Lilo also reaffirmed that the government is not against the people hunting or harvesting dolphins but is against the trafficking and export of live dolphins overseas.

Solomon Star

POLYNESIA

2) WTO Trade Review Shows Backlog Of Reforms In Tonga
Modernization of legal, regulatory frameworks necessary for development

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Feb. 16, 2014) – An important review of Tonga’s Trade Policy by the WTO in Geneva, Switzerland, from February 11-13 found that the Pacific island nation faces a backlog of reforms that are required to modernize and streamline its legal and regulatory frameworks for economic development.

Tonga’s imports continue to outstrip its exports by a factor of at least 10:1 annually and over 50% of the imports are for fuel and food.

The review of the trade policy was the first since Tonga joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in July 2007.

The review examined the impact of Tonga’s trade policies and practices on the WTO multilateral trading system.

The review was based on reports submitted by the WTO Secretariat and the Government of Tonga.

Trade initiatives

Tonga, a member of the Pacific Islands Forum, participates in a number of initiatives to expand trade in the region, such as the South Pacific Regional Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement (SPARTECA); the Pacific Island Countries Trade Agreement (PICTA); the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER), and PACER Plus.

Tonga, as a member of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) has been negotiating an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), with the European Union EU since 2004. However, none of these ongoing negotiations has been concluded so far.

At present SPARTECA appeared to be the only one that is providing some tangible tariff preferences to Tongan exports to New Zealand and Australia.

Exports from Tonga may be eligible under the Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP) schemes of the EU, the United States, and Japan.

Meanwhile the WTO framework for rules and Most-Favoured-Nation tariffs thus “continues to provide the basic parameters for Tonga’s trade and economic policies.”

Market access

The review also stated that Tonga does not regulate market access through tariff rate quotas, and provides no preferential tariffs to any trading partner.

“Trade restriction appear to be motivated by the need to protect human, animal or plant life or health; public morals; national security; cultural heritage; the conservation of exhaustible natural resources; and to uphold intellectual property rights. Tonga does not levy export taxes on any goods.”

The Tongan economy, one of the smallest among WTO Members with a GDP of about US$500 million, is based “on agriculture, fisheries, a small mainly domestically oriented manufacturing sector, and tourism and other services.”

Tonga is classified as a middle-income developing country, and remittances from expatriates provide a major boost to the local economy.

Tonga’s imports outstrip its exports by a factor of at least 10:1 annually. More than 50% of Tonga’s imports consist of fuel from Singapore and food, mainly from New Zealand and Fiji. Tonga’s exports are mainly squash, root crops, coconuts and marine products.

Tonga derives an increasing share of government revenue from excise taxes and a broad-based consumption tax. In 2012/13, the Government raised almost TOP$55 million in revenue from the consumption tax on imports and domestic production, compared with nearly TOP$30 million from excise taxes, and TOP$14.7 million from import duties.

Killed local fishery

In 2011, the Tongan waters were re-opened to foreign tuna-fishing vessels, with the intention of reviving the fishery industry, but instead it killed the local fishery, as the local fishing companies could not compete with the government subsidized foreign fishing vessels. The outcome of this exercise is a sudden drop in the number of local commercial fishing operations from 26 to only one today.

Besides issuing fishing licenses to foreign fishing vessels, government also streamlined its business licence regulations in 2012, allowing a single licence to suffice for individuals and enterprises engaged in more than one business activity, easier filing, faster processing, and reduced fees, particularly for electronic registrations.

Concerns

The WTO report also noted that although banks and foreign exchange dealers are supervised by the National Reserve Bank of Tonga, the insurance sector and other financial services suppliers are not regulated by any authority. “Similarly, Tonga has yet to establish an independent regulator in the telecoms sector.”

The Tonga Telecommunication Sector was also a matter of great concern because of Tonga’s high termination rates for international telephone calls, which led for these calls being rerouted, and that weakened Tonga’s connectivity to the rest of the world.

“Overall, Tonga is faced with a backlog of reforms to modernize and streamline its legal and regulatory frameworks, including in the area of agriculture and related Sanitary/Phytosanitary measures, air and maritime transport, and telecommunications.”

Uncertainty

There is also a sense of uncertainty over which government ministry is responsible for trade in Tonga. The Ministry of Commerce, Tourism and Labour was responsible for foreign trade policy matters until mid-2012, when the trade portfolio was transferred to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs without a corresponding transfer of staff. Meanwhile, the “old” trade ministry is still in charge of trade related matters.

Tonga’s delegation to the Trade Policy Review in Switzerland was led by the Minister of Labour, Commerce and Tourism, Hon. Dr Viliami Latu, the Secretary for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Va’inga Tone; Lepaola Bloomfield Vaea, from the Ministry of Revenue and Customs; Viliami Kami from the Ministry of Agriculture; ‘Aminiasi Kefu, the Solicitor General and Tevita Lautaha from the Ministry of Labour, Commerce and Tourism.

Matangi Tonga Magazine: www.matangitonga.to/home/

3) American Samoans Illegally Filing Taxes Off-Island: Treasurer
Attempts to receive U.S. Earned Income Credit a ‘serious issue’

By Joyetter Feagaimaalii-Luamanu

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (The Samoa News, Feb. 16, 2014) – American Samoa Treasurer Dr. Falema’o “Phil” M. Pili has issued a stern warning to members of the public who are filings taxes off island — “its illegal”. The announcement was made during the Cabinet meeting Thursday morning at the ASCC Lecture Hall. Pili said they have consulted with the governor on this serious issue.

“We are experiencing a very serious issue with our tax filing this year, right this time last year we had taken in six- seven thousand tax filings, yet right now we have received only 2,000 tax returns.” He also stated they have set up people from the tax office over at the canneries, yet they had to close it down, because hardly anyone was filing.

Pili said, “This is because people are filing off island to take advantage of the EIC — Earned Income Credit — it’s dangerous and wrong and the consequences are very severe, whoever is helping our people to file off island they need to stop.”

He reiterated that the territory’s people will be faced with severe consequences once the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) comes down here to conduct an investigation.

During the cabinet meeting, Director of the Department of Homeland Security, Utuali’i Iuniasolua Savusa noted his investigators have been working with the IRS to track down people who have been filing off island.

In a statement issued by the Treasurer late Friday afternoon, he noted there’s a considerable amount of local tax payers filing their local income tax returns off island with the IRS. “This is being done to take advantage of tax credits; particularly the Earned Income Credit and other benefits that you are not neither authorized nor entailed to receive.”

Pili stated, “This is a violation of the tax laws of American Samoa and the United States,”

He pointed out that currently there is a collaborative effort with the IRS to identify individuals who have filed improperly and to stop accepting future returns.

The Treasurer warned if its determined that anyone “did in fact file inappropriately, you will be required to repay any money received, along with interest and penalties and other punitive actions may also be imposed against you.”

He said the Treasury Department is processing individual income tax returns and refund disbursements for the Tax Seasons 2014. “All local tax payers are required to file their respective 2013 wages and earnings in the territory. Payment of taxes is the responsibility of all American Samoan citizens, legal residents and those that do business here.”

According to the statement, he said as Treasurer its his duty to warn the general public of the severity of the consequences that will impact individuals and their families who continue to file off island.

“This warning notice is also directed to the preparers of these tax returns of the bad consequences that will impact you once the appropriate federal agency catches up with you, regarding these wrongful activities,” said.

Pili said to avoid potential delinquency on your part, you must file in accordance to where you earned your wages. “The law is clear, if you earned wages or income in American Samoa you pay taxes in American Samoa.”

The Samoa News: http://www.samoanews.com/

4) Samoan Women Encouraged To Assume Power At National Level
Gender conference seeks to empower women beyond traditional roles

By Kerstin Ofisa

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, Feb. 16, 2014) – Lawyer Maiava Visekota Peteru says women need to move beyond their traditional roles in the community and get used to gaining power at the national level.

Speaking at the Pacific Gender Justice Knowledge Exchange conference held at the Tusitala on Friday, Ms. Maiava stressed the importance of women in communities and their representation in politics.

“As women, we are still seen as the person with the burden of looking after the children”. “Other women don’t want matai titles because of their role as a mother and the fact that they are entitled to the men”.

But, she said, “Politics is about representation of your constituency. It’s not about the qualifications.” In her speech, Maiava discussed some of the perspectives on women in politics.

“The government of Samoa has now recognized the potential of women to contribute at the highest level of decisionmaking”, said Ms. Maiava. She also spoke about the Constitution Amendment Act and how it would empower women in the future.

“The Constitution Amendment Act 2013 provides a unique quota system to ensure that women of Samoa to enter politics”, said Maiava.

With 10% of seats in parliament reserved for women, Ms. Maiava believes that it is necessary for more women to be involved with the country’s decision-making. “We all need it, and with a quota such as this, it will ensure that women can have the same responsibility as the men”, she said. Participants at the conference welcomed her comments, and the knowledge shared at the conference.

“Basically this conference has boosted my knowledge and capacity as a young woman to be able to go out to communities and share what I know and what I have learned”, said Jolly Tuna Papali’i, a representative of the Ministry of Women.

“It was also a pleasure to hear from high icon women in the country and their perspectives on women in politics, the dream of raising awareness regarding status of women in Samoa and through the world”. Maiava spoke upon the need of women to be empowered.”I encourage women to become matai, to serve their families, villages, and country”, she said.

Samoa Observer: www.samoaobserver.ws/

5) Former Am. Samoa Immigration Officer Convicted Of Fraud
Savea provided fake documentation for 2 Chinese women

By Joyetter Feagaimaalii-Luamanu

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (The Samoa News, Feb. 16, 2014) – Former Immigration Officer Polone Savea convicted of forgery in connection with the issuance of fake immigration identifications to Chinese women was sentenced to serve 12 months in jail, as part of his seven years probation before the High Court last week.

Savea, whose family was present for support during sentencing, was initially charged in connection with two criminal cases.

The first case is based on allegations that he issued fake immigration identifications to two Chinese women, of which he faced two counts of forgery and public servant acceding to corruption.

Also in this case, Polone is charged with Matagi Lelilio, who is facing bribery of a public servant — his case is currently pending in the high court.

The second case against Polone charges him with two counts of forgery and one count of public servant acceding to corruption, and his co-defendant was Jin Hua Sullivan (aka Nunu). However, the government has since dismissed the case due to lack of evidence.

In a plea deal with the government, Savea pleaded guilty to one count of forgery, while the remaining was dismissed as part of the plea offer from the government.

During sentencing the defendant apologized to the court, the government, Immigration, his extended Savea family in Matu’u, his CCCAS Church in Matu’u, his wife and children for his wrongful actions, which has disgraced his family and church.

“I fell into temptations by the devil,” he said.

Kruse sentenced the defendant to seven years in jail and fined him $3,000. The court suspended the execution of sentencing and placed him on probation for seven years and he is to serve 28 months in jail. The court then stayed 16 of the 28 months and ordered the defendant to serve 12 months in jail. He was ordered to remain a law abiding citizen.

The CJ reminded the government of laws for government employees who are convicted of crimes involving moral turpitude.

The government’s case claims that the case against Polone began when the AG’s investigating officer was informed about a situation involving fake immigration cards issued by defendant. Court filings say the immigrations cards in question were issued to two Chinese women, Ruiquin Liu and Jianxing Huang.

Court filings state that inquiries were run on the immigration ID cards used by Liu and Huang and it was discovered the Alien Registration numbers on their ID cards belonged to different foreigners with inactive or closed files.

According to the government’s case, $2,500 was given to Savea to fix their ID and papers.

The Samoa News: http://www.samoanews.com/

MICRONESIA

6) Marshall Islands voids nomination of al-Sayyed to UNESCO

By Online Editor
2:05 pm GMT+12, 17/02/2014, Marshall Islands

The Marshall Islands on Wednesday rescinded a controversial nomination to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization of a former Lebanese security chief who is a suspect in the assassination of Lebanese ex-Premier Rafik Hariri in 2006.

The appointment of former Maj. General Jamil al-Sayyed to represent the Marshall Islands to UNESCO was formally withdrawn on Wednesday, according to acting President Tony deBrum.

Government officials in Majuro initially expressed surprise Wednesday and said they had no knowledge about the nomination of al-Sayyed.

As officials learned Wednesday that the nomination of al-Sayyed had been officially transmitted to UNESCO — apparently in December — they moved quickly to cancel it.

DeBrum said he talked with President Christopher Loeak and Foreign Minister Phillip Muller who are en route to Japan, and a letter rescinding the nomination of al-Sayyed was prepared and signed by Muller who had signed the original letter nominating al-Sayyed in December.

Muller did not respond to a request for comment.

Officials in Majuro said they were unable to locate the original nomination letter that Muller signed in December.

Muller signed another letter Wednesday to UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova cancelling the nomination for al-Sayyed effective immediately.

DeBrum said the initial contact for the nomination of al-Sayyed was made with Marshall Islands leaders during a visit to Palau at the end of September. A follow up visit to Majuro by a representative of al-Sayyed in December resulted in the nomination letter being signed.

International news reports are saying that the Marshall Islands nomination would give al-Sayyed diplomatic immunity allowing him to avoid possible prosecution from the United Nations-supported Special Tribunal for Lebanon that has already begun prosecuting others involved in the Hariri assassination.

Al-Sayyed was arrested following the 2006 bomb attack that killed Hariri and 22 other people in Beirut, and was held for four years until investigators determined they could not develop adequate evidence to prosecute him.

A UNESCO official at the agency’s Paris headquarters confirmed receiving the earlier nomination letter. Sue Williams, a spokeswoman for UNESCO told AFP: “I can confirm that the government of the Marshall Islands sent us a letter indicating that this person would represent it.”

That nomination has now been voided, according to deBrum. The letter voiding the nomination was transmitted to UNESCO by Marshall Islands Ambassador to the United Nations Amatlain Kabua on Wednesday.

“We are putting out this information to assure people that we are being open and frank about what we know,” deBrum said. DeBrum said he anticipated repercussions concerning the nomination, in part because the Marshall Islands has been in the eye of the world’s media the past two weeks over the arrival of El Salvadoran fisherman Jose Salvador Alvarenga, who spent over 13 months drifting from Mexico.

The cabinet is responsible for approving all appointments and nominations for Marshall Islands representation overseas.

Officials in Majuro say that the nomination of al-Sayyed did not follow the usual procedure and offices such as the attorney general, the cabinet and the Ministry of Finance had no documentation or knowledge of the nomination.

SOURCE: MARIANAS VARIETY/PACNEWS

7) CNMI Governor Declares State Of Emergency In Rota
Bad weather preventing regular deliver of good and commodities

By Emmanuel T. Erediano

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Feb. 17, 2014) – Governor Eloy S. Inos on Friday declared Rota under a state of significant emergency due to shortage of food and other commodities.

In his Executive Order 2014-12, the governor said the emergency declaration takes effect immediately and all memoranda, directives and other measures taken in accordance with the declaration will remain in effect for 30 days.

In an interview yesterday, Senate Vice President Victor B. Hocog, R-Rota, said the barge that usually brings goods to Rota has not been coming due to increment weather. The barge that can carry 30 containers, Hocog said, is pulled by tug boat from Rota and Saipan.

In his executive order, Inos said the weather conditions have made it dangerous for barges to enter Rota’s west harbor to deliver goods and commodities.

The last shipment of goods to Rota arrived on Nov. 18, 2013 and the next scheduled shipment has been repeatedly postponed due to dangerous whether condition in the west harbor.

The executive order stated that the stores on Rota are nearly out of stock. Some goods are brought via air transportation, but there are commodities such as gas that cannot be delivered on an aircraft.

The next shipment of goods to Rota is scheduled for Feb. 17 but the high surf advisory issued by CNMI Homeland Security and Emergency Management remains in effect until Feb. 19.

The shortage of goods and commodities has led to a sharp increase in prices “leaving the people of Rota to choose between purchasing food or paying their utility bills.”

Inos said bad water conditions will again impede the scheduled delivery and the people of Rota will be left to wait another month for shipment that may again be disrupted.

Hocog said he will meet with the governor to talk about the company that is willing to send “a good cargo ship” that can carry between six to 12 containers to Rota.

“We are not waiting for this to get worse so we are addressing this issue right away,” Hocog said adding that by April he is hoping that the U.S.-based company can send the cargo ship to Rota.

Marianas Variety: www.mvariety.com

AUSTRALIA

8) Australia to demand greater accountability from overseas aid recipients

By Online Editor
3:50 pm GMT+12, 17/02/2014, Australia

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says the country needs an aid program with a strong culture of accountability.

Bishop has singled out Australia’s second largest aid recipient Papua New Guinea in calling for greater scrutiny of overseas aid.

In a speech at the Australian National University in Canberra, Bishop says Australia needs a “more effective and efficient” aid program.

“I take issue with those who focus on quantity not quality,” she said.

“There are many examples in domestic policies where billions of dollars have been poured into aid programs, only to find that standards have gone backwards.

“When we get it right, we can make a real difference, and we can do this by focusing on our region.”

There will be new mutual obligations requirements with partner countries so that both parties are held accountable for outcomes, and poor performing programs will be reviewed – and if appropriate, lose funding.

Bishop says there are issues across the region for Australian aid funding, but she’s singled out Papua New Guinea.

“(It’s) distressing to know that despite the fact that Australia invests about half a billion dollars each and every year into Papua New Guinea it will not meet one of its Millennium Development Goals. In fact, it is going backwards,” she said.

The Australian Government has cut $4.5 billion over four years from the aid budget, but Ms Bishop is promising the new approach with trade as its focus will be more effective.

“We’ll work with partner governments to build the critical institutions and the policies that they need to facilitate trade and promote functioning economies,” Bishop said.

“This is all part of what I call ‘economic diplomacy’.

“We are still one of the most generous donor nations in the world. We remain amongst the top 10, per capita”.

SOURCE: RADIO AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS

TOK PISIN

9) Vanuatu polis i painim 800 kilogram marijuana

Updated 17 February 2014, 15:23 AEST

Caroline Tiriman

Vanuatu Polis i painim na rausim 800 kilomgrems long marijuana klostu long Port Vila.

Polis long Vanuatu itok i kisim na bagarapim pinis samting olsem 800 kilos blong spak brus oa marijuana.

Tokman blong Vanuatu polis Willy Ben Carlo itok  las wik i bin painim ol despla marijuana diwai klostu long Port Vila International ples balus na nau oli mekim ol  wok painim aut long husat tru i papa long ol despla drugs.

Dispela wok painim blong ol ibin kamap long las wik namba 12 na 13 de blong dispela mun Februari long wanpela eria klostu long Vanuatu international ples balus na ol ibin rausim long gaden 520 ol plants blong cannibis em inap long 760 kilogram na long namba tu de wok blong ol,oli bin painim narapela 114 plantis blong canabis em heve blong em inap long 131 kilogram.

Dispela wok painim ibin namba tu long namba wan oli bin mekim long island blong Malekula.

Long askim blong wanem hap ol dispela marijuana plant ikam long en Superintendent Willy Ben Carlo itok long ol yar blong 1980’s oli ting sampela pipol imas bringim ikam insait long Vanautu, tasol long ol yar blong 1990’s na ikam long yar 2000  oli bin nap painim ol dispela marijuana plant isave grow nabout long planti eria long ol island blong Vanuatu.

Vanuatu, wankaen olsem ol narapla kantri long Pacific rijan nau iwok long traem long stopim na daonim wok blong planim, salim na baem marijuana.

Vanuatu Polis, Superintendent Willy  Ben Carlo, itok lukaut olsem ol pipal husat isave iusim marijuana olgeta taem, inap bungim heve long helt blong ol. http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

10) Vanuatu Polis klostu bai pinisim wok painim long pait long Graon

Updated 17 February 2014, 15:24 AEST

Caroline Tiriman

Vanuatu polis itok klostu nau bai oli pinisim wok painimaut long fait long graon long Malekula.

Polis long Vanuatu itok klostu nau bai oli pinisim ol wok painimaut long fait  long graon long Malekula we samting olsem 500 pipal ibin bungim heve.

Oli tok olsem sampla long ol pipal husat ibin statim despla fait istap nau long kalabus long Lugainville, biktaon blong Santo.

Tokman blong  polis long Port Vila superintendent Willie  Ben Carlo  itok dispela koros na pait ibin kamap namel long wanpela lain wan pisin yet ibin mekim ol i kukim sikspela ten ol haus.

Emi tok tu olsem sampela pipol em oli stap insait long ol dispela pait na trabel em ol yangpela pipol oa Yut.

Ikam inap nau polis ibin go na kamapim arrest pinis long sampela long ol dispela pipol  em oli bin stap insait long ol dispela trabel.

Superintendent Ben Carlo  itok ol wok painim blong polis igo long dispela trabel klostu bai oli pinisim na ol dispela saspek oli bringim ol long kar long Malekula na mau oli stap long han blong polis long Luganville.

Emi tok ol yangpela pipol ibin harim tok blong ol bikman blng ples long igo kamapim dispela ol pait na trabel.

Na olgeta blong ol bai bungim ol sas na bai igo long kot long ol bagarap oli kamapim long ol haus . http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

11) Fiji bai toktok strong long Australia i rausim tambu long travel

Postim 17 February 2014, 11:21 AEST

New Zealand nius meri Dominique Schwartz,i raitim

Fiji ami gavaman bai toktok strong long Australia long imas rausim dispela ol tabel blong travel,we oli tok dispela tambu i bagarap tru ekonomi blong ol.

Long lukluk blong en igo long dispela Pacific kantri las wik Foran Minista blong Australia Julie Bishop itok ol iwok long lukluk long dispela tambu blong travel long ol lain blong Fiji.

Ms Bishop ibin holim toktok wantaim interim Praim Minista Frank Painimarama long bik taun Suva,na givim em ol plan blong stretm gut ken ol wok pren bong tupela kantri

Dispela ol plan ino karamapim rausim ol tambu blong travel long ol gavaman offisel, Australia ibin kamapim stat long taim Commdore Bainimarama ibin kisim gavaman long 2006.

Attoeny General Aiyaz-Sayed Khaiyum itok dispela travel tambu Australia i putim long Fiji i bikpela wari stret.

Emi tokim ABC, emi bagarapim tru ekonomi blong kantri.

Emi olsem wanem na Australia ilaik stopim wanpela kantri long traim kisim gutpela ol save man long halivim na ronim kantri oa lukautim ol kampani blong gavaman em oli save kamapim moni blong kantri.

Ms Bishop itok pastaim olsem ol tambu oli putim long ol gavaman offisel oli bin  slekim sampela hap blong ol pinis.

Emi tok taim oli kisim gavaman oli stat givim aut ol visa igo long ol dispela pipol em oli applai long ol.

Emi tok oli bin tok orait long ol visa long samting olsem 56 ol visa wantaim tu ol blong  ol gavaman Minista na ol senia offisel.Radio Australia

12) Buai nao i tambu long salim ol long Honiara strit long Solomon Islands

Updated 17 February 2014, 16:09 AEST

Bethany Keats.

Wok kempein blong klinim Honiara city long Solomon Islands ibin stat tede long mekim pipol noken salim ol samting wantaim tu buai arere long ol rot long city eria.

Ol wokman blong kaunsel long Honiara long Solomon Islands nau iwok long mekim wok patrol long ol strit long putim eye long pipol isave salim ol samting long rot

Dispela emi wok operation  blong ol oli kolim Klinim Town,na tu wanpela awareness kempein long strongim loa blong stopim pipol i salim ol samting arasait long ol bildings,wantaim tu ol buai.

Mr Kelly itok bikpela samting em kaunsel ilaik strongim dispela loa blong em bihainim ordinance blong city kaunsel.

Dispela kempein blong ol emi tok oli kisim halivim ikam  long polis, loa enforcement offisa blong kaunsel, environment helt blong kaunsel, works division, i raun long olgeta strit kona blong city eria na toktok wantaimpipol isave salim ol samting arere long ol strit wantaim tu ol pipol isave salim ol buai.

Bikpela wari blong city clark em taim pipol isave ol samting blong ol arere long ol strit,oli save kamapim planti pipia arere long ol rot, na narapela wari em planti long ol pipol oli nogat laisens long wokim ol kain bisnis olsem arere long ol strrit.

Mr Kelly itok offisel stat long dispela wok kempein blong klinim taun ibin stat tede moning..

Emi tok oli kamapim tupela  grup long dispela wok patrol blong ol, zone 1 igo raun long West Honiara, narapela igo long East Honiara we oli toktok wantaim pipol long noken salim ol samting long ol strit na kamapim pipia long boundry blong city yet. http://www.radioaustralia.net.au

FRENCH

13) Australie-Fidji: dégel sous les tropiques

Mis à jour 17 February 2014, 15:39 AEST

Caroline Lafargue

« Chaleureux et très positif »: C’est ainsi que Julie Bishop a qualifié son entretien avec Franck Bainimarama, la première rencontre australo-fidjienne à ce niveau depuis 2008.

Les relations entre l’Australie et Fidji se dégèlent. La semaine dernière, Julie Bishop, la ministre australienne des Affaires étrangères, a eu un tête-à-tête avec le Premier ministre par intérim Franck Bainimarama. Une première depuis son arrivée au pouvoir à la faveur d’un coup d’Etat. Un entretien jugé « chaleureux et positif » par Julie Bishop.

La ministre des Affaires étrangères a indiqué qu’elle était en train de réviser les restrictions de visas imposées aux représentants de ce régime non démocratique. Mais aucune décision n’a été prise, bien que Fidji réclame la suppression de ces restrictions depuis des années, l’Australie se borne à faire du cas par cas.

Ainsi, depuis l’arrivée au pouvoir des Libéraux en septembre 2013, plus de 50 visas ont été accordés à des Fidjiens proches du régime. 1 seul a du être refusé, pour ce que l’Australie appelle des « raisons techniques », sur lesquelles on n’a pas plus de détails. Le ministre fidjien des Affaires étrangères, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, a bénéficié de cet assouplissement et a ainsi pu faire soigner son fils en Australie. Mais pour lui, ce n’est pas suffisant :

« C’est une abomination. Comment un pays peut-il imposer de telles restrictions à l’heure de la mondialisation, qui s’appliquent aussi à des gens qui sont apolitiques et qui n’étaient pas impliqués dans les événements du 5 décembre 2006. C’est une forme de sabotage économique, car ces restrictions de visas détournent nos meilleurs cerveaux du service public, et des conseils d’administration des entreprises publiques. Alors oui les visas sont accordés au cas par cas, mais il n’y a eu aucune annonce claire sur ce régime des restrictions des visas. Du coup il y a encore beaucoup de Fidjiens qui refusent de travailler pour le gouvernement parce qu’ils ont peur de ne pas pouvoir voyager en Australie. Et ce sont des gens non partisans, qui pourraient contribuer à construire notre pays. »

Les « événements » auxquels Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum fait pudiquement référence, c’est le coup d’Etat de Franck Bainimarama le 5 décembre 2006.

Pas encore de réponse claire sur les restrictions de visa, mais Julie Bishop a redit qu’il était important de normaliser les relations entre l’Australie et Fidji. Une normalisation qui passe par le renforcement des échanges commerciaux, de l’investissement et du tourisme, mais aussi une coopération militaire, sans oublier les saisonniers fidjiens qui viennent travailler en Australie.

Une annonce qui réjouit le ministre fidjien des Affaires étrangères, mais le diable se cache dans les détails, et il y reste quelques sujets épineux entre les deux pays. Celui, par exemple des escargots géants d’Afrique, ce mollusque peut atteindre 20 cm pour un poids de 1.5 kg, et s’adapte à tous les menus : il peut se nourrir de 500 espèces de plantes. Il grignote aussi le plâtre des maisons, qui lui fournissent du calcium pour sa coquille. L’escargot géant d’Afrique porte aussi des petits vers ronds qui peuvent provoquer des méningites chez l’homme. Fidji est classé par l’Australie sur la liste des pays envahis par le mollusque prédateur. Une erreur qu’il faudrait corriger, estime Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum :

« Fidji n’est pas envahi par l’escargot géant d’Afrique. Mais comme nous sommes une plaque tournante pour le transport des marchandises dans le Pacifique, il nous arrive de découvrir un de ces gastéropodes dans des marchandises venues du Vanuatu et transitent par Suva en direction de l’Australie. Dans ce cas-là, nous tuons les escargots géants d’Afrique et nous en informons les douanes australiennes. Résultat : la bureaucratie australienne a conclu que Fidji était envahi par ces escargots. Ce n’est pas vrai. Or cela a un impact énorme sur nos exportations vers l’Australie, rallonge considérablement les procédures aux douanes, etc. Il y a un autre problème à régler entre nos deux pays, et dont j’ai parlé avec Julie Bishop. Il s’agit de notre convention de prévention de la double imposition, qui a expiré en 1995 et rien ne s’est passé depuis. Et aussi, le prélèvement des impôts à la source par le fisc australien est plus élevé pour les Australiens installés à Fidji que pour les Australiens qui font des affaires dans d’autres pays. Donc cela n’incite pas les Australiens à venir créer une entreprise à Fidji. On a aussi discuté de ce problème avec Julie Bishop. »

Le ministre fidjien des Affaires étrangères, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, répondait à Dominique Schwartz sur Radio Australie.

La convention fiscale relative à la double imposition est un traité entre deux pays qui vise à éviter la double imposition des personnes et des entreprises.

Pour l’instant le gouvernement australien n’a fait aucun commentaire sur ces problèmes qui freinent les échanges économiques entre Fidji et l’Australie. http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

14) PNG: évasion collective du centre de rétention de Manus

Mis à jour 17 February 2014, 15:37 AEST

Caroline Lafargue

Dimanche soir, 35 demandeurs d’asile ont fui le centre de rétention installé par l’Australie sur l’île de Manus, au nord du pays.

1300 demandeurs d’asile sont détenus sur l’île de Manus. Certains y sont depuis novembre 2012.

Mais ils ont été recapturés au bout d’une heure, précise Scott Morrison. Ce matin le ministre australien de l’Immigration s’était borné à parler d’un « incident » au centre de rétention.

Le député papou de Manus, Ronnie Knight, affirmait quant à lui qu’il ne s’agissait que d’une bagarre violente entre demandeurs d’asile et non d’une évasion. Finalement, d’après le ministère de l’Immigration, il s’agirait des deux : une rixe violente entre migrants, qui se serait terminée par la fuite de 35 demandeurs d’asile. 8 ont été arrêtés, et 19 ont reçu des soins médicaux. On ne sait pas comment ils se sont blessés.

L’origine de la bagarre reste floue, mais d’après la Coalition d’Action pour les Réfugiés, l’ONG australienne qui milite contre la rétention des demandeurs d’asile, cette explosion de violences serait due à la frustration des détenus qui ont eu besoin de se défouler – les uns sur les autres. La rumeur court en ce moment au centre de rétention qu’aucun demandeur d’asile reconnu comme authentique réfugié ne serait transféré dans un pays tiers et tous devraient rester vivre en Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée.

L’Australie offre en effet trois options aux clandestins de Manus : le retour volontaire dans leur pays d’origine, le transfert dans un pays tiers genre Canada, Nouvelle-Zélande, etc., et si aucun pays ne veut les accueillir, alors les réfugiés devront rester en Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée. Ce matin le Premier ministre Tony Abbott a déclaré qu’il n’y avait aucun changement à ce dispositif.

L’examen des demandes d’asile des 1300 migrants détenus à Manus a bel et bien débuté, mais il prend beaucoup de temps. Certains sont enfermés depuis novembre 2012 sur cette petite île papoue. http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

15) La longue dérive d’Alvarenga est plausible

Mis à jour 17 February 2014, 15:40 AEST

Caroline Lafargue

Telle est la conclusion des océanographes de l’université de Hawaï, qui ont vérifié les courants et les vents sur les 13 derniers mois.

Ces 13 mois pendant lesquels le chasseur de requin salvadorien parti du Mexique, a dérivé, à la suite de la panne du moteur de son bateau. José Salvador Alvarenga a dérivé sur 12 500 kilomètres à travers le Pacifique, conduit par les vents et les courants jusqu’à l’atoll d’Ebon, aux Iles Marshall.

Le pêcheur miraculé est arrivé au Salvador mardi dernier, où il a été accueilli par le ministre des Affaires étrangères. Il était en chaise roulante, mais pourrait sortir de l’hôpital aujourd’hui. José Salvador Alvarenga est en bonne santé pour quelqu’un qui s’est nourri pendant 13 mois de poissons et d’oiseaux, et abreuvé de sang de tortue et d’eau de pluie.

Mais il est désormais terrifié par l’océan, et souffre d’un trouble de stress post-traumatique. http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

PASIFIK

16) China warships in Pacific raise alarm

By Online Editor
2:07 pm GMT+12, 17/02/2014, China

Three Chinese warships have sent dark new clouds scudding over Australia’s strategic horizon, adding to growing unease across the region as Beijing flexes its muscles through the Indian Ocean to the western Pacific.

The sudden appearance near Australia of the guided missile destroyers Wuhan and Haikou, in company with the advanced, 20,000-tonne landing ship Changbaishan, led to the RAAF Orion patrol aircraft being scrambled and sent north of the continent.

Although operating legally in international waters, the unannounced passage of the ships through the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra to the Lombok Strait off Bali has been seen as a clear message that China is now a major maritime power operating wherever it wants to go.

The series of 10 exercises between Indonesia and Australia was also a demonstration of China’s increasing might, reach and sophistication as the emerging superpower ramps up its territorial claims.

The implications have triggered concern also in India, Japan, Southeast Asia and the Philippines, and raised further questions about Beijing’s increasing presence in the South Pacific – particularly its development and expansion of ports in Tonga and Papua New Guinea.

The United States has already responded with a shift in its naval emphasis to the region, increasing its marine presence in Australia and the intention to base 60 per cent of its warships in the Asia-Pacific region by 2020.

By that time China’s navy will have become even more formidable. Funded by an economy that is now the world’s second-largest and on track to become the biggest, Beijing’s US$110 billion defence budget is exceeded only by the US.

Its sole aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, bought from Ukraine and refurbished, will be joined by an 80,000-tonne nuclear-powered vessel within six years, with plans for four more. As well as a larger, advanced surface fleet, China’s ballistic and attack submarine force will also be significantly expanded.

Chinese warships are rapidly gaining new potency through advanced technology. This month a Song class diesel-electric attack submarine slipped past screening US warships to surface within striking range of a US aircraft carrier. That set the alarm bells ringing.

In the Lombok Strait, the three Chinese warships conducted exercises including fast-response electronic warfare, anti-missile defence, and attack co-ordination.

State television said no advance warning of the mission had been given as “part of the navy’s plan to simulate actual combat conditions”.

Analysts have seen a number of signals in the deployment beyond the demonstration of power, reach and “self-confidence” advocated by policymakers in Beijing.

Among these is the ability to protect the sea lanes vital for its energy imports, and the potential to use alternatives to the Malacca Strait if the key route was closed.

The exercise was also the first to extend beyond the western waters of the Indian Ocean, and to come so close to Australia.

Last October, similar capabilities were demonstrated when Chinese warships, supported by bombers and patrol aircraft, passed through the Japanese archipelago to conduct war games in the western Pacific, alarming Japan.

With tensions already high over the disputed Senkakus/Diaoyu islands, Tokyo increased its defence budget, announcing plans for more strike jets, warships and other hardware.

India is also concerned at China’s operations in the eastern Indian Ocean, worrying that Beijing is placing the crucial waters around the Andaman and Nicobar islands within reach of its military.

China insists that its naval operations present no threat to other countries in the region and that its Lombok Strait exercises were part of annual training plans during which its navy upheld its right to free passage in international waters.

China has also been increasing cooperation within the region, joining US warships for search-and-rescue exercises near Hawaii last year, and sending ships on goodwill visits to Australia and New Zealand. This year it will take part in the huge American Rimpac naval exercise off Hawaii.

Prime Minister John Key has said New Zealand “doesn’t feel concerned by anything [China] might be doing”, a view also expressed after the Lombok exercises by Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.

Noting that the exercises took place in international waters, Bishop said: “The Chinese navy is growing, commensurate with the increase in size and strength of the Chinese economy and its place in the region and its place in the globe.”

Lowy Institute international security programme director Rory Medcalf wrote that there was nothing illegal or fundamentally hostile in the exercises, and that a greater Chinese role in the Indian Ocean was inevitable.

SOURCE: NZ HERALD/PACNEWS

17) Pacific Needs To Collectively Confront Distant Water Fishing Nations
FFA director calls for increased cooperation with French Territories

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Feb. 15, 2014) – There is a urgent need for Pacific nations to rise above national agendas and act regionally, to respond effectively to the economic crisis in the Pacific’s albacore long line fisheries, warns the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency Director-General James Movick.

To make this happen FFA members look to work cooperatively with the Pacific Island territories who are not members of FFA but who share the same demise, he said.

“To make this work we will also need to confront distant water fishing nations to reconcile their narrow fishing interests with their broader role as key strategic and development partners of this region,” Movick told regional journalists attending a two day “Tunanomics” workshop in Noumea this week.

“The time has come to step up the conversations around the economics of tuna and what countries, thinking regionally, are prepared to take—and give—so that we, as a region, can protect our fisheries resource, while achieving our economic aspirations.”

As a regional intergovernmental organization, the FFA secretariat would seek direct bilateral opportunities to work with FFA members and other Pacific territorial stakeholders, as well as in their multilateral discussions, he said.

Movick’s keynote statement, was delivered by FFA Bio-economist Roseti Imo at the launch of the FFA DEVFISH Tunanomics Pacific Media Initiative, in partnership with the Pacific Islands News Association and Secretariat of the Pacific Community.

Over-fishing

Movick reminded the public that despite warnings of a risk of over fishing, the Pacific Islands Forum Fishery Agency members had not been able to agree on effective management of the southern albacore fishery.

“Our lack of unity and resolve has allowed distant water fishing nations to expand their own fisheries and to favour their own fleets,” he stated.

Movick urged the public and decision makers “to see issues more clearly and objectively … So that we, as a region, can protect our fisheries resource, while achieving our economic aspirations.”

Crisis

Since 2012, tuna long line fishing vessels, especially the albacore long line fishery had suffered massive losses in profits; vessels had been moored and workers have been laid off.

“Sadly, the brunt of the impact has fallen mainly on the domestic fleets of FFA members,” Movick stated. He pointed out that a few years ago there were warnings of a risk of over fishing by scientists, fisheries managers and even domestic industry stakeholders, but still “FFA members have not been able to agree on a unified regional cooperative framework to effectively manage the southern albacore fishery across its range.”

The term “Tunanomics” was an attempt “to ensure that when people are talking about Tuna Fishery, they were fully aware of the factors affecting the economic dependence of Pacific Peoples on the wealth from our oceans.”

The Pacific Ocean’s tuna fishery is the biggest tuna fishery in the world today, and the Pacific Islands countries are the principal caretakers of this stock.

He pointed out that because of the reliance of small island economies on tuna fishery to support government revenues and to develop and sustain national economic growth. “That caretaking role prompted Pacific island governments to create FFA in 1979, and their founding aim retains much relevance today – To promote and to assist Pacific Island countries to derive maximum economic benefits from the sustainable harvesting of tuna resources in their EEZs.

Tuna harvest

In 2012, the value of the fishery has been estimated to be 7.2 Billion USD from a total catch of 2.5 million tons of tuna. Members of FFA receive a portion of the returns estimated to be around 8-15% of the value of the catch, an increase from the 5% or less that Pacific Islands countries received before 2010.

He claimed that FFA member countries had successfully improved the value of Pacific Island economies from the harvest of tuna.

During 2012:

The total volume of tuna harvested in the FFA members’ waters was 1.6 million tons of tuna, valued at close to 4 billion USD.
100,000 metric tons of catch is processed domestically in FFA countries annually
Employment in the sector has risen to around 15,000 jobs
Access fees for foreign fishing boats have increased to 220 million USD
Gross Domestic Products contributions have also been estimated at 240 million USD.

The launch of the Tunanomics workshop 10-11 February, was attended by Mr Efstratos Pegidis, the new Head of the European Commissions Office for the Overseas Countries and Territories in the Pacific, SPC’s Manager for the Oceanic Fisheries Program, Dr John Hampton, and the Pacific Islands News Association President Moses Stevens.

Matangi Tonga Magazine: www.matangitonga.to/home/

18) Pacific Forum Delegation Praises Fiji Progress Towards Democracy
Group, including Australia’s Bishop, ‘encouraged’ by visit

By Dominique Schwartz

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Feb. 17, 2014) – A group of South Pacific government ministers has praised Fiji’s progress towards democracy, saying it should be rewarded with greater regional involvement.

Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has been part of the six-member Pacific Islands Forum delegation, which has spent two days gauging Fiji’s progress towards democratic elections.

“Collectively we are encouraged by what we’ve seen and we very much hope that by September this year, Fiji would have held an election deemed by the international community to be free and fair,” Ms Bishop said.

The group says there has been significant progress by Fiji over the past year, with the approval of a constitution, the establishment of an election office and the registration of four political parties and more than half a million voters.

New Zealand foreign minister Murray McCully says Fiji must prove its elections are fair.

“Ministers encouraged Fiji to welcome full international observation of the election to leave no doubt as to its legitimacy,” he said.

The group says Fiji’s ministers should be invited to take part in the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) Plus trade talks, and meetings of forum trade ministers.

It also discussed the possibility of the country’s return to full membership of the forum after elections, due by October.

But it says more work is needed to ensure freedom of speech, assembly and the media.

[PIR editor’s note: Radio Australia also reported that Fiji Labour leaders are waring Pacific Island nations “against rushing to normalise relations with the country before there are conditions for free and fair elections.”]

Fiji has been subjected to widespread international restrictions since military leader Frank Bainimarama seized control in a 2006 coup.

Mr Bainimarama has announced he plans to run in this year’s elections and will stand down as military leader so he is eligible to be a candidate.

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

WORLD

19) Britain braces for more floods

Afp
Monday, February 17, 2014

LONDON – Sodden communities along the River Thames are bracing for more floods as Britain counts the cost of a storm that’s claimed several lives and left tens of thousands of homes without power.

At least three people were killed in separate incidents in Ireland, Britain and the English Channel after violent winds and heavy rain swept in from the Atlantic on Friday.

Pulling down power lines and disrupting transport networks across the region, the storm brought fresh misery to flood-hit communities in Britain, parts of which are suffering their wettest start to the year for 250 years.

Prime Minister David Cameron warned on Saturday that the worst was not yet over.

“What we do in the next 24 hours is vital because tragically the river levels will rise again. So every sand bag delivered, every house helped, every flood barrier put in place can make a big difference,” Cameron said.

20) Japan snowstorm kills 12, strands thousands of motorists

Posted 16 February 2014, 23:35 AEST

A severe snowstorm sweeping across Japan has killed 12 people and left more than 1,650 injured, Japanese media reported, as the extreme weather sparked widespread transport chaos.

At least a dozen people have died in snow-related incidents in seven prefectures after the storm broke records, with Tokyo blanketed in 27 centimetres of snow, according to the Kyodo news agency.

A further 2,150 people have been evacuated from their homes over fears the weight of the snow would cause their houses to collapse, public broadcaster NHK said.

At least 800 cars were stuck on a hillside trunk road in Japan and other roads nearby after they were hit by the snowstorm, officials said.

More than 100 flights were grounded Friday and Saturday and several major rail services were disrupted.

The storm was moving northward and was expected to strengthen by Monday, Japan’s meteorological agency said, warning of heavy snow, blizzards and avalanches as well as high waves in eastern and northern Japan.

National Route 18 that runs through Gunma and Nagano prefectures north of Tokyo was partly closed as hundreds of cars were stuck due to heavy snow, a local official said.

The congestion extended for several kilometres, said the official in the ski resort of Karuizawa in Nagano prefecture.

“We have opened up three community halls nearby for people who were inside the stuck cars, and are now preparing to offer hot meals,” he said.

“Some drivers have run out of gasoline so they need temporary shelter.”

Up to 250 cars were stuck on the road, the Asahi Shimbun reported.

The temperature fell as low as minus 3.6 degrees Celsius in Karuizawa, with accumulated snow about 90 centimetres deep, the weather agency said.

Congestion extended for 30 kilometres on National Route 4 that runs through the northern prefectures of Fukushima and Miyagi, NHK reported.

The transport ministry has started delivering emergency aid including water and portable toilets to drivers of stuck cars, it said.

Snow began falling Friday morning in Tokyo and had piled up to 26 centimetres by early Saturday, a week after the heaviest snowfall in decades left 11 people dead and more than 1,200 injured across the nation.

Most snow in the capital had melted thanks to rain late Saturday and sunshine Sunday.

But forecasters predict more snow again in the region around Tokyo later this week.

AFP

POLITIC

21) Vanuatu opposition claims backing of 3 cabinet ministers

17 February 2014

Reports from Vanuatu say three cabinet ministers have resigned and are supporting a motion for a vote of no confidence in the government of prime minister, Moana Carcasses.

According to the opposition the ministers who have left the government are the minister of youth and sports, Tony Wright, the climate change minister Thomas Laken and justice minister, Jonas James.

The opposition says 27 MPs of the 52 in the House have signed the motion and a vote is expected on Tuesday next week.

The opposition press officer, Jeff Batunvanu, says a key driver for the cabinet ministers to leave the government are investments made by the Vanuatu National Provident in foreign companies which they do not think are in the interests of Vanuatu.

“Which is quite a substantial issue and how the government has accepted to pay this payment out so fast. There are promises [of funding] by the prime minister towards the members of parliament. I think that is some of the issues that have been forwarded in the statement.” c/- radio new zealand.

22) Demands to remove thousands from New Caledonia electoral roll

By Online Editor
3:55 pm GMT+12, 17/02/2014, New Caledonia

The president of New Caledonia’s Congress has demanded that more than 6,700 voters be removed from the electoral roll for this May’s provincial elections.

Roch Wamytan says it is a serious political problem, adding it is not normal to have so many anomalies 15 years after the signing of the Noumea Accord.

To vote in the May election, voters have to have been enrolled since before 1998.

Wamytan, who is a member of the pro-independence movement, says there has been cheating as almost 2,000 young Kanaks are not on the roll.

He says he has been to the UN to raise his concerns and a delegation will arrive in New Caledonia to examine the issue.

The provincial assemblies will determine the make-up of the next Congress which can organise an independence referendum.

Meanwhile, journalists at New Caledonia’s only daily newspaper have approved a motion of defiance against its editor, Fabrice Rouard.

The journalist’s organisation accuse Rouard of being offended by last Wednesday’s front page picture of a flag of the pro-independence FLNKS movement.

The organisation says he didn’t want to see the FLNKS flag because it doesn’t match the newspaper’s values.

The journalists say they are against the emergence of a partisan line which would change the territory’s only paper to a propaganda tool.

When the paper was sold to local business interests last year almost half the 44 journalists resigned.

The head of the paper, Philippe Demazel, says there are internal problems in the newsroom and the Kanak flag poses no problem.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

23) Fiji PM’s party manifesto

By Online Editor
2:09 pm GMT+12, 17/02/2014, Fiji

Fiji’s Prime Minister, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama has revealed how his party’s manifesto will look going into the general elections.

He told the Fiji Sun at the Sukanaivalu Barracks in Labasa during a farewell trip to the North as commander:
“My party manifesto is what the RFMF had fought for in 2006 and it is in the new Constitution.”

The Prime Minister said his new party is open to all Fijians.

“It is an inclusive party and the name too will be inclusive,” he said.

When asked if some of the Cabinet Ministers will be the party candidates he said – “It is up to them to join my party and be a candidate for the election.”

He said that his party would continue efficient service delivery for all Fijians.

However he said there was room for improvement.

The new party will continue with the developments the rural areas.

“More new roads will be constructed; we’ll see that all have access to clean water.’’

The new party he said would be launched soon after he had stepped down as RFMF commander at the end of this month.

He said that the Republic of Fiji Military Forces would continue its good work and support the Constitution after he steps down as Commander at the end of this month to form his political party.

“I have been given the assurance from the top brass of the RFMF,” he said.

Meanwhile, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama has described his meeting with Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop, last Friday as fruitful.

When asked about the travel sanctions, he said he had told Bishop that there were still selective sanctions in place and he wanted all travel sanctions to be lifted.

He said as an example that this was affecting people such as judges and board members.

Commodore Bainimarama said he had been given an assurance that Australia would look into this matter.

The Prime Minister said there were other issues they talked about including the elections.

He said more detailed information about their meeting would be released soon.

Commodore Bainimarama aid he had told  Bishop that the new constitution had paved the way for democratic elections.

Speaking to the Fiji Sun at Borron House on Friday night, Bishop said: “I had a very positive meeting with the Prime Minister.”

She said she thought the meeting would last for only 30 minutes but it went on for one hour.

Bishop said they even talked about rugby and other sporting events.

SOURCE: FIJI SUN/PACNEWS

24) Elections win will be a bonus: PM Bainimarama

By Online Editor
3:58 pm GMT+12, 17/02/2014, Fiji

Fiji’s Prime Minister  Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama says winning the elections will be a bonus considering the tremendous work the military has done so far.

Speaking at his farewell church service at the Sukanaivalu Barracks in Labasa, Bainimarama said this was part of his conversation with Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop during their historical meeting last Friday.

“We were talking about elections and I told her , if I win the elections it will be a bonus. The military has done a huge job in changing people’s views to see clearly the dark times Fiji lived in before. We now have a new constitution. A constitution that allows us, who are being paid, to work extra hard and to provide services to those Fijians who rely on us.”

And with less than two weeks left before he steps down as military commander, Bainimarama also told soldiers, the path the military is taking won’t change, despite the change in leadership.

“When I say there will be no change, there will be no change in the government leadership, I will still be the Prime Minister until the elections. The path the military is taking will not change as well. My trust is on the senior officers here that they will lead the military on the direction we are going since 2000.”

Bainimarama is expected to step down as army commander on the 28th of this month.

He will announce his successor as well as his new political movement early next month.

Meanwhile, Australia is keen to assist Fiji with its tourism development plans.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop made this known in her talks with Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama last Friday.

“The Australian people have very affection for the Fijian people. They come here as tourists in their droves, about 300, 000 Australians come to Fiji every year as tourists so we want to normalize the relations that exist between the people of our two wonderful countries. We want to normalize that at government to government level and also ensure that business trade and investment can continue to engage in a very positive manner”.

Australia has also expressed interest in re-strengthening military ties with Fiji and allow Fijians to work in Australia under the Seasonal Workers Programme.

There are also plans to establish an exchange programme of civil servants of both countries.

SOURCE: FBC NEWS/PACNEWS

25) ‘People, parties trying to get the youth vote’

Torika Tokalau
Monday, February 17, 2014

THE new president of the Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) Youth Council, Pita Waqavonovono, says it will be interesting to see how young people determine the next government.

Mr Waqavonovono was elected to the council on Saturday by youths from different constituencies and provinces.

“We feel that all political parties have started working with young people. And that’s an important shift in terms of party politics and it’s important that they incorporate young people into their work,” he said.

Mr Waqavonovono said one of his plans with the SODELPA Youth Council was to try and feed into the national executive committee and policies which would help young people, and get their views translated into policies.

“So, one of the things you see now is that people and parties trying to get the youth vote.”

Mr Waqavonovono advised everyone above the age of 18 years to register to vote for a better future.

“Look for a political party or leader who best suits your interest and who will take your vision and aspiration for Fiji into the election and make it work.

“So start doing your own personal research — as citizens that is what we should be doing.”

He also extended an invitation to young people to find the nearest SODELPA office and pick up the party constitution.

“Find out what we are all about and I encourage you to join us.” Fijitimes

26) 1-day poll ‘achievable’: Bishop

By Online Editor
2:12 pm GMT+12, 17/02/2014, Fiji

The Australian Government believes that while a single day election will be a monumental undertaking, Fiji is well capable of doing this.

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said that there were many things to consider when conducting an election in one day.

“We understand that the government wishes to hold elections on a single day and that hasn’t occurred before,” Bishop said.

“Therefore there are a number of challenges but I believe that the government recognises those challenges, the electoral commission will need to be well resourced.

“The elections office will need to be well resourced and there are the matters including voter registration and voter identification.

However, she said the confidence shown by the people especially in the registration process showed that a single day election were more than just a possibility.

“But that’s my point about the number of people that have already registered — that to me indicates a wide degree of support for the holding of an election.

“And therefore voters are likely to be keen to vote so the fact that it’s being held in one day presents challenges but it’s certainly achievable.”

Bishop visited the country with the Ministerial Contact Group chaired by her New Zealand counterpart Murray McCully who also praised Fiji’s progress towards an election.

“First of all we have recognised the very substantial progress that has been made with preparations for elections, not just the Constitution and the framework but also the substantial electoral enrolment program and all the work that has gone into getting the electoral office ready to prepare for elections,” McCully said

“We’ve welcomed the work that has been done and we’ve reaffirmed our commitment to ongoing support as that process goes forward.”.

SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

27) Julie Bishop’s Fiji shift backed in region

By Online Editor
4:02 pm GMT+12, 17/02/2014, Fiji

Australian foreign Minister Julie Bishop has urged Fiji and its Pacific neighbours to embrace her program of rapprochement with the island nation as the moves to bring Fiji in from the cold won strong support throughout the region.

Foreign ministers from New Zealand and the Pacific Islands have publicly backed Bishop’s Bula initiative to restore relations with Fiji, highlighted by her meeting on Friday with its military ruler Frank Bainimarama.

The Pacific Islands Forum’s six-country Ministerial Contact Group (MCG), including Australia, issued a statement that anticipated “welcoming Fiji’s full participation in the forum” after its elections, which are scheduled for September.

The MCG, which is chaired by New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Murray McCully, and which has suspended Fiji’s participation, at the weekend conducted its final assessment before the election of Fiji’s return to democracy, concluding that it had made “significant progress”.

McCully said the final test would be whether the election was “free and fair”.

He said that New Zealand had already relaxed its own sanctions against Fiji.

Bishop told The Australian in Suva that she had kept Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu, as well as New Zealand, informed of her program for rapprochement with Fiji seven years after its coup triggered its isolation.

“My aim is to see Fiji as a fully functioning, engaged member of the Pacific family, the Commonwealth and the international community, and that the relationship between Australia and Fiji returns to being warm and forward-looking, that reflects the deep affection between our peoples,” she said. Bishop said she took the view that Australia would “never be able to restore the bilateral relationship if we didn’t act now”.

Bishop met at the weekend with the other foreign ministers, the leaders of Fiji’s political parties, including the disenfranchised opposition to Bainimarama now gearing up for the election, and with non-government organisations that had been under frequent fire from the regime.

Bishop said she had expected “a push-back from the parties” against Australia’s new initiative to restore connections with Fiji. “But they agreed that it was a good time to build links, there was quite a warm engagement,” she said.

The NGOs, she said, “were far more critical”, recalling the human rights failings of the regime, particularly the attacks on the freedoms of association, speech and political activity, and urging caution until a free and fair election had been held.

Opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek told The Australian Bishop “must ensure momentum towards democratic reform keeps pace and is not sacrificed as part of moves towards normalisation”.

“Labor wants Fiji to return to democracy and this includes independence of the judiciary, reinstatement of rule of law, democratic elections, freedom of speech, freedom of association, and a free media,” she said.

“This is Australia’s long-held position, is in line with regional and Commonwealth views, and Labor expects Julie Bishop to reinforce it.”

Business strongly backed Bishop’s move. Frank Yourn, the executive director of the Australia Fiji Business Council, said yesterday: “We’ve been advocating a different approach by the Australian government, so this initiative by the Foreign Minister is very welcome.”

Bishop was applauded at an informal meeting with Australian business leaders in Suva just before leaving Fiji.

As an indication of the country’s regionally strategic importance, ANZ Bank launched on Friday its Asian Business Centre in Suva as a hub for fostering greater enmeshment between Asian and Pacific companies.

The Fiji media were awash over the weekend with the story. Her meeting with Bainimarama dominated television and radio bulletins, and the daily newspapers.

The Fiji Times led its weekend edition front page with: “Talks are on — Bishop: Australia keen to mend ‘broken bridges’.”

“Whether this visit can serve as a beacon of hope for the people of Fiji will be known soon,” it editorialised.

“Ultimately though, it is now up to us to determine our destiny.” The Fiji Sun, which has been highly critical of Australia, led with: “Bishop’s promise — Australian Foreign Minister on mission to strengthen Fijian ties before elections.”.

SOURCE: THE AUSTRALIAN/PACNEWS

28) Fiji Keeps Pressure On Australia Over Travel Sanctions
Attorney-General calls restrictions ‘economic sabotage’

By Dominique Schwartz

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Feb. 17, 2014) – Fiji’s military-backed government is keeping up the pressure on Australia to officially scrap its travel restrictions, calling the bans an “economic sabotage”.

During her visit to the Pacific nation last week, Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said the travel sanctions were under review.

Ms Bishop has met with Fiji’s interim Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama in the capital, Suva, and presented him with a plan to normalise bilateral relations.

The plan did not include the lifting of Australian travel bans on government officials, imposed after Commodore Bainimarama seized power in a military coup in 2006.

Fiji’s Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says Australia’s travel restrictions are an abomination.

“It’s an economic sabotage,” he told the ABC.

“Why would you want to deprive a country from not being able to access the best brains available to help run the country or sit on state-owned enterprises?”

Ms Bishop says the restrictions on government officials had been eased significantly.

“Since we became the government, we have issued visas to all those who have applied for them,” she said.

“In effect, we have agreed to visas for about 56 visas including those from ministers and senior officials.”

But Mr Sayed-Khaiyum says while the policy remains formally in place, Fijians will be nervous about trying to visit Australia.

“There are still some people who are reluctant to come on board because of the fact that there has been no general announcement made,” he said.

“So people don’t necessarily want to go through the throes of ‘we’ll deal with these matters on a case-by-case basis’.

“And they do not necessarily understand the extent of the travel ban.”

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

MEDIA

29) PINA board re- elected

By Online Editor
11:05 am GMT+12, 17/02/2014, New Caledonia

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) president Moses Stevens
from Vanuatu, is in for his third term as the PINA president.

During its Annual General Meeting at Koniambo, in New Caledonia’s northern Province, acting PINA secretariat manager Makereta Komai said from the advice of their lawyers,  Stevens and his deputy Michael Jackson, from Niue, had to continue to ensure a smooth transition since PINA is now a Company Limited by Guarantee

Also reappointed to the board are:

* Anish Chand (Fiji) representing television industry

*Janet Kwalahu (Papua New Guinea) representing radio industry

*Evelyn Toa (Vanuatu) representing national media bodies

* Leone Cabenatabua (Fiji) representing print industry

Meanwhile, the Suva-based regional news media organisation Pacific Island News Association (PINA) is now a Company Limited by Guarantee (CLG).

This was passed during the PINA annual general meeting (AGM) in New Caledonia on Friday afternoon.

“We will now be known as PINA Limited,” acting PINA secretariat manager Makereta Komai said.

Fiji Media Industry Development Authority director and former PINA manager Matai Akauola told delegates at the AGM that the resolution of turning PINA into a CLG was from a Maximise Report in 2005.

“The report was backed by the then PINA board and we continued on with the process until it was finalised by the lawyers,” he said.

PINA president Moses Stevens said this was the forward for the organisation.

“We faced a lot of challenges but continued on regardless,” he said.

“By making PINA a CLG means accountability and transparency, which is essential when it comes to attracting major donors.”

Stevens urged PINA critics to pay up their subs and be engaged in the development of PINA.

“There’s no point talking from the outside. Join the family and be part of the solution,” he said.

PINA, the original Pacific Islands news media organisation, has in recent years faced splits in membership and the emergence of other regional media groups.

SOURCE: FIJI SUN/PACNEWS

30) Kundu TV to broadcast FIFA World Cup

By Online Editor
4:24 pm GMT+12, 17/02/2014, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea state broadcaster National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) has signed a historic partnership agreement with Official TV rights holder Click Pacific Limited to broadcast all matches of the 2014 FIFA Soccer World Cup.

At a signing ceremony in Port Moresby NBC’s managing director Memafu Kapera and Click Pacific’s Richard Broadbridge signed the partnership arrangement, which will see all 64 matches of the tournament in June this year being broadcast solely on NBC’s Kundu Television.

The agreement allows for Click Pacific to raise all sponsorship revenue for both partners and providing all TV and radio content from Brazil and revenue share of sponsorship monies to Kundu TV.

“We’re thrilled to be partnering with NBC.

This agreement will ensure the people of Papua New Guinea view all sixty four matches ‘live’ with a daily highlights package for those who can’t watch a full match”, Broadbridge said.

“Our team will now be approaching potential sponsors who would like the opportunity to place their products beside the greatest show on earth.

The FIFA World Cup is no doubt the largest event of 2014 and we’re proud that the people of PNG will be part of this great spectacle,” he added.

Click Pacific Limited also of PNG acquired Pacific Island TV rights of this year’s football world cup and is sublicensing rights across the region with Fiji, Samoa and now PNG in the bag.

“The World Cup of Soccer is a major global event and the partnership between NBC and Click Pacific will now enable viewers and listeners to receive this great content in the provinces and districts of Papua New Guinea,” Kapera said.

Click Pacific says other territories like Solomon Islands and Vanuatu are yet to make formal offers but there has been some interest in those countries.
SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

BUSINESS/Trade+

31) American national held with 1.6million in ‘illegal’ currency

By Online Editor
2:02 pm GMT+12, 17/02/2014, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea authorities are holding an American man who tried to smuggle into Bougainville 1.6 million Bougainville kina from the United States on Saturday.

American citizen Barry Keith Webb flew in from Manila on Air Niugini flight PX 011, which arrived at 5am on Saturday with bookings to transit to Buka on Air Niguini flight PX 251 the same day. Airport authorities detained Webb after going through his documents and baggage, which included a brief case full of newly printed Bougainville kina totalling 1.6 million.

The airport authorities consisting Customs, Immigration, National Airport Corporation and Air Niugini alerted responsible government authorities including police and the central bank, who interrogated the man, who claimd to be an executive of the International Organisation of Economic Development (IOED).

The United States Embassy was also alerted and their officials were also present at the airport during the interrogation, which almost took four hours at the Jackson International Airport on Saturday morning.

According to Webb, he was travelling to Bougainville on an invitation from authorities in Bougainville, specifically from the Corner Pinati Avenue, King Square, Tonu City.

He had in possession documents and a letter from those in Tonu, which he handed to Government authorities as proof.

In one of the documents which the Post-Courier is in possession of, Tonu City leaders wrote to Webb in November 12, 2013 advising him that he had won a permanent position to represent the central bank of Bougainville as the minister for international monetary relations.

The letter was signed by a King David Peii II as the head of state, Sir Peter Lising as the governor of the Central Bank and Roger Renaud as the secretary of State on his permanent appointment with details of his job descriptions.

“As the Minister for International Monetary Relations for the Central Bank of Bougainville to represent the Central Bank of Bougainville for the purpose of developing relationships internationally with Central Banks of other sovereign nations and /or commercial banks and additionally for the purposes of developing corresponding accounts and facilitating exchange relationships for Bougainville’s Kina (BVK) with other currencies worldwide,” they advised Webb.

Under this decree, your responsibilities shall include, but not be limited to the following:

*OPEN accounts in other central banks for the purpose of facilitating relationships with those sovereign nations;
*ACT as primary signatory in the establishing and maintenance of said accounts;
*MAINTAIN relationships with the central banks where accounts are located;
* FACILITATE contracts for exchange of Bougainville kina with other currencies;
*ACT as facilitator and/or signatory in the process of the issuance and/or monetisation of any sovereign guarantee issued by the Government of Bougainville and/or the central bank of Bougainville;
* ACT as facilitator and/or signatory in the process of the development of the monetary system of Bougainville; and
*FULFILL any and all decrees issued under the authority of or by King David Peii II.

But Bank of PNG Governor Loi Bakani told the Post-Courier that the money was illegal and that the central bank lawyers were looking at possible penalties and working on the charges to be laid today.

“The money is illegal. If you look at the 100 Bougainville kina note, it has the kina name on it but different features and pictures, therefore it is illegal,” Bakani said.

“Also the legal tender is in Papua New Guinea kina and the change of the design also has its own penalties.”

Bakani, who was also at the airport for the questioning, said the Bank Act was breached and he has instructed his lawyers to work on the charges to be laid on Webb today, including other penalties.

Customs Commissioner Ray Paul confirmed the incident but said he is waiting for full details from all government authorities before he could comment.

He said the Customs office will hold a press conference today about the matter.

Immigrations officials also told the Post-Courier last night that Webb would face penalties but said they would rather have the police and other authorities announce the consequences he would face today. Police advised they will respond today when they all meet to determine the next course of action.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

32) Nautilus ends deal with PNG govt

By Online Editor
10:57 am GMT+12, 17/02/2014, Papua New Guinea

Nautilus Minerals Limited which is currently operating the world’s first Sea Bed Mining in Papua New Guinea has announced, it is terminating its agreement with the State of PNG.

The government is understood to be aware and the Mining Minister Byron Chan could not be reached for comment.

A statement released by the company last week stated that contrary to the arbitrator’s award of October 2, 2013, the Independent State of Papua New Guinea had failed to complete the purchase of its 30-percent interest in the Solwara 1 Project.

It stated that in accordance with the State Equity Option Agreement signed by the parties in March 2011, Nautilus has terminated the Agreement and will now claim damages.

Nautilus  said it continues to seek an amicable resolution of the dispute with the State.

The company is here to explore the ocean floor for polymetallic seafloor massive sulphide deposits.

It was granted the first mining lease for such deposits at the prospect known as Solwara 1, where it is aiming to produce copper, gold and silver.

It has also been granted its environmental permit for this site.

The statement further reads that the company also holds approximately 500,000 square kilometers of highly prospective exploration acreage in the western Pacific in PNG, the Solomon Islands, Fiji, Vanuatu and Tonga, as well as in international waters in the eastern Pacific”.

A Canadian registered company, Nautilus is listed on the (TSX:NUS) stock exchange and (OTCQX:NUSMF). Its corporate office is in Brisbane, Australia.

Its major shareholders include MB Holding Company LLC, an Oman based group with interests in mining, oil & gas, which holds a 28% interest, Metalloinvest, the largest iron ore producer in Europe and the CIS, which has a 20.75% holding and global mining group Anglo American, which holds a 5.95% interest.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

33) Plans For International Investment, Trade Forum In Vanuatu Underway
Investors from French Territories invited to explore opportunities

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Feb. 15, 2014) – Initial discussions are taking place for Vanuatu to host a first ever international Investment and Trade Forum in Port Vila June 2014.

A Steering Committee has been setup to look into the logistics involved. The first meeting of the Steering Committee took place in December last year at the conference room of the Ministry of Agriculture. In the meeting the Director General of the Ministry of Agriculture Mr Howard Aru confirmed that the Vanuatu Government will support the initiative and make sure the forum takes place as planned.

“I can confirm to you now that there is political will. I will do what I can to see it happens”, said DG Aru.

The objective of the Forum is to facilitate potential investment opportunities between companies from the French territories of New Caledonia, Wallis and Futuna and the French Polynesia to meet face to face with existing businesses, and especially indigenous Ni-Vanuatu entrepreneurs who might be in need of cash injection to help fund their expansion plan. It is an opportunity for foreign businesses to sit down with local counterparts to discuss possibilities for joint venture arrangements.

Some awareness had already taken place both in New Caledonia and Vanuatu with some potential participants in the two countries showing interest.

The Investment and Trade Forum targets especially the productive sector (agriculture, livestock, fisheries, aquaculture, forestry and manufacturing), but other sectors will also be considered.

The project was initiated in 2012, by Mr Gaston Wadrawane, who was seconded to the Vanuatu Investment Promotion Authority (VIPA) by ADECAL (Agence de Developpement Economique de la Nouvelle Caledonie) of New Caledonia in collaboration with Mr François Japiot, Adviser. Mr Wardrawane spent a year with the VIPA.

The plan to host the forum in 2012 fell through due to unavailability of funds and Government support.

The second meeting of the Steering Committee took place on February 3. DG Aru again stressed that there is political will to support the planned activity but he emphasized the need to have all the stakeholders, including Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Trade, VIPA and Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, to carry out some important tasks they have been assigned to do to in preparations for the event.

The meeting gathered representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture, the Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), Department of Agriculture, VIPA and Adviser Mr François Japiot. The Ministry of Trade is yet to appoint a representative to the Steering Committee, as their presence and contribution in organizing the event vitally is important.

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

34) ANZ Asian Business Centre launched in Fiji

By Online Editor
10:53 am GMT+12, 17/02/2014, Fiji

ANZ has announced the launch of the ANZ Asian Business Centre in Fiji, marking a first for Fiji and the Pacific.

The Centre will provide personalised service and attention to the business needs of ANZ’s Asian business customers.

“Customers will receive the dedicated support of our highly experienced Asian Banking Relationship Managers,” said ANZ CEO Fiji and CEO Pacific, Vishnu Mohan.

“As a strong and established business in the region, with super regional connectivity to 33 markets around the world, including 12 in the Pacific and 15 in Asia, we understand the unique needs of our various customer segments, including our valued local and off-shore Asian customers.”

Mohan said that through the Asian Business Centre, ANZ would support intra-regional links of trade, investment and people, to help Fiji and the Pacific grow.

“We are dedicated to providing deep local insight and connectivity to businesses operating in and around the Pacific region, including Cash, Trade, Markets, and Relationship Lending products in sectors of expertise such as tourism, manufacturing and infrastructure,” said Mohan.

He added that the ANZ Asian Business Centre would also serve as an avenue for business customers who wish to trade directly in Renminbi, also known as Chinese Yuan.

ANZ last year was the first bank in the Pacific to provide its corporate and commercial customers in Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu the ability to trade directly in Renminbi doing business in China.

The new ANZ Asian Business Centre is located on the first floor of the ANZ House Branch in Suva.

ANZ has been in Fiji since 1880 and is now the largest bank in the country with 15 branches and 81 ATMs servicing Retail, Commercial and Institutional customers and employing about 600 staff. Fiji is also the location of ANZ’s Pacific Headquarters, which shifted from Melbourne to Suva in 2013.

SOURCE: ANZ/PACNEWS

35) Too many fishing boats

By Online Editor
2:01 pm GMT+12, 17/02/2014, Fiji

There are simply too many ships fishing within Fiji waters for too little tuna stocks.

This was the message Radhika Kumar, a representative of the Fiji Tuna Boat Owners Association who was a panelist at last week’s public lecture on Fiji’s tuna industry.

Kumar, who is also the general manager of Solander Pacific Limited, said the association would like to see more action taken to create a more even field for locally-owned vessels and those which were highly-subsidised.

“The fundamental problem is that there are too many boats chasing too little fish and that situation is getting worse despite the warning form the science community,” Mrs Kumar said.

“These vessels are very heavily-subsidised, so every day we go to sea, the vessel alongside us are getting as much as $US1000 ($F1884) a day in fuel subsidy alone.”

She said while the association welcomed initiatives by the Fiji Government to help ease the strain on locally-owned vessels, more was needed to be done.

“The Fiji vessel is totally unsubsidised and to ease our situation in Fiji, the government has reduced the licences. But as you are all aware, tuna is a very highly migratory species, so Fiji should now go to our neighbouring countries such as Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Tuvalu and ask them to do the same.”

Meanwhile, this is the time to begin bettering fisheries management — before it becomes more than an economic problem.

This was the sentiment of panelist Bubba Cook at a public lecture earlier this week at USP’s Marine Campus.
Cook, who represented the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) on the panel, said it was a “luxury” that at present the tuna issue was an economic one and not a biological one, and that a combined regional effort was paramount.

“We’re in a situation where we have issues with increased capacity in the region and we’re figuring out ways to deal with that increased capacity and it basically boils down to political will,” Cook said.

“Fiji has shown that political will by reducing the licence numbers here in Fiji’s waters. But reducing it by five or 10, while it’s positive and it’s great we also have to consider the fact that there are over 3000 vessels fishing in this region.”

He said a regional effort to insist that the Western and Central Pacific Fishing Commission (WCPFC) tackle the problem now was necessary.

“And that’s going to take everyone at this table and everyone in this room lobbying the appropriate people to make that happen because it’s not going to happen otherwise. It’s going to take the collective will of the people in this region and the people behind this table to push the WCPFC to take this issue further instead of ignoring it at the WCPFC meetings like it has for the last two years.”.

SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

LAW&ORDER

36) No expat to be top cop: PNG Prime Minister

By Online Editor
10:59 am GMT+12, 17/02/2014, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has stated clearly that the Government will not be hiring a foreigner to become Commissioner of Police once the term of the current police chief expires.

He said he has confidence that a Papua New Guinean will rise up from the 5000 policemen and women to take over the commissioners post.

O’Neill said Papua New Guineans must take ownership of their own country instead of relying of foreigners including the Australian police to lead them.

He also told Parliament that the Government was now implementing recommendations on the Police Report and the Guns Report that was tabled in 2011 under the leadership of former Police minister and current MP for Goroka Bire Kimisopa.

The recommendations were to rebuild and modernise the police and also the implement the Guns Report of 2011 by introducing a Bill for a total ban of guns in the country. The Prime Minister was responding to questions from Komo-Margarima MP Francis Potape who heaped praise on the Government for the arrangement with Australia to bring in the federal police to help PNG.

He asked whether the Government has plans to recruit a foreign police commissioner to improve the police force in the country. O’Neill said the police commissioner plays a very important role in any police force.

“The maturity, stability and respect that that person holds in any force determine where the force is heading to, we have in the current situation in a man who spent well over 40 years as a policeman in the country who has serve with distinction and held in high respect by all members of the force and heading the rebuilding exercise of the police force today,” O’Neill said.

“Police has got a lot of challenges and that was highlighted in a report done by former Minister and now Goroka MP which the government has not adopted and as a result the morale and work of the police was in decline for many years but we have taken on board many of the recommendations of the report inclding improving training, re-open Bomana training college, open up officers joint service college at Igam barracks so lot of work is going on.”

“I appreciate the support by the Australian police but that extension of support is not going to be here for ever, we have to take ownership of issues in this country ourselves, we cannot just continue to wait for outsiders to come and lead our lives, it is important that we build to take charge of our issues ourselves.”

“I don’t think it’s necessary for us to appoint a foreigner to come and head our police force, I think we must have trust and confidence in our own people. Among the 4 to 5000 policemen and women, there must be certainly someone out there who wants to make a difference in his own country.”

“Our job is to find that policemen, before we go to 2017 elections we must have a police force that we must trust, our people must not fear them , that is what is happening today and good signs of improvement happening today.”.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

REFUGEE/ASYLUM

37) Mass Breakout At Manus Islands Detention Center Reported
Unknown number of asylum-seekers knock down fence

By Liam Cochrane

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Feb. 17, 2014) – Refugee advocates and a doctor on Manus Island say asylum seekers have escaped from the Papua New Guinea detention centre.

Health workers at the Manus Island detention centre told a local doctor there has been a “mass breakout”.

They told the doctor to prepare for casualties, but Dr Otto Numan says no injured asylum seekers or guards have been brought to the hospital.

The Australian-based Refugee Action Coalition put out a statement last night saying protests at the centre had escalated earlier that day.

The group says a fence was knocked down in the early evening and a riot squad deployed.

It is not clear what caused the unrest or how many asylum seekers escaped.

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison confirmed there was a “disturbance” at the centre last night.

“I’m advised that staff are reported safe and accounted for and that the centre is reported to be calm,” he said in a statement.

Mr Morrison confirmed that a number of detainees were arrested and that a number had received medical attention.

He also said there was some minor property damage to the centre.

He said more information about the incident will be released once it is confirmed by his department.

Mr Morrison rejected any suggestion that detainees had been informed they would not be resettled in Papua New Guinea.

Opposition immigration spokesman Richard Marles has called for the Government to release details of what happened as soon as possible.

“The last time there was an incident at Manus Island, the first response by Scott Morrison was that this was essentially a matter for Papua New Guinea, that’s obviously not right,” he said.

“This is a facility which is integral to Australia’s asylum seeker policies, a facility where there are many Australians working. It’s very important that the Australian public can be made fully aware as soon as possible.”

There are currently about 1,300 detainees on Manus Island.

PNG’s foreign minister Rimbink Pato says officials have started processing refugee applications.

But the country does not have a visa category for refugees and there has been little public information about how, and where, they might be resettled.

Mr Pato told PNG’s parliament last week that he would seek the help of the Australian Government and the United Nations in deciding whether to resettle refugees within the country.

He said the option of resettling refugees in a third country would also be explored.

“So what the cabinet has decided recently is to appoint a group of eminent Papua New Guineans who will be assisted by relevant expertise from the UN, from the Australian Government, and other responsible stakeholders, to come up with relevant policy framework determining the question whether those asylum seekers will or will not be settled in PNG,” he said.

The Manus Island detention centre was first set up by the Howard government in 2001.

It was closed by the Labor government in 2008 but reopened by them in November 2012.

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

CLIMATE CHANGE,CONSERVATION & ENVIROMENT

38) US Secretary of State Kerry mocks those who deny climate change

By Online Editor
3:47 pm GMT+12, 17/02/2014, Indonesia

US Secretary of State John Kerry has called climate change perhaps the world’s “most fearsome” destructive weapon and mocked those who deny its existence or question its causes, comparing them to people who insist the Earth is flat.

In a speech to Indonesian students, civic leaders and government officials, Kerry tore into climate change sceptics. He accused them of using shoddy science and scientists to delay steps needed to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases at the risk of imperiling the planet.

A day earlier, the US and China announced an agreement to cooperate more closely on combating climate change. American officials hope that will help encourage others, including developing countries like Indonesia and India, to follow suit.

China and the United States are the biggest sources of emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases that cause the atmosphere to trap solar heat and alter the climate.

Scientists say such changes are leading to drought, wildfires, rising sea levels, melting polar ice, plant and animal extinctions and other extreme conditions.

Also in the Jakarta speech, Kerry said everyone and every country must take responsibility for the problem and act immediately.

“We simply don’t have time to let a few loud interest groups hijack the climate conversation,” he said, referring to what he called “big companies” that “don’t want to change and spend a lot of money” to act to reduce the risks.

Kerry later singled out major oil and coal concerns as the primary offenders.

“We should not allow a tiny minority of shoddy scientists and science and extreme ideologues to compete with scientific facts,” Kerry told the audience at a US Embassy-run American Center in a shopping mall.

“Nor should we allow any room for those who think that the costs associated with doing the right thing outweigh the benefits.”

“The science is unequivocal, and those who refuse to believe it are simply burying their heads in the sand,” Kerry said. “We don’t have time for a meeting anywhere of the Flat Earth Society.”

Kerry said the cost of inaction will far outweigh the significant expense of reducing greenhouse gas emissions that trap solar heat in the atmosphere and contribute to the Earth’s rising temperatures.

He outlined a litany of recent weather disasters, particularly flooding and typhoons in Asia, and their impact on commerce, agriculture, fishing and daily living conditions for billions of people.

“This city, this country, this region, is really on the front lines of climate change,” Kerry said. “It’s not an exaggeration to say that your entire way of life here is at risk.”

He added: “In a sense, climate change can now be considered the world’s largest weapon of mass destruction, perhaps even, the world’s most fearsome weapon of mass destruction.”

The solution, Kerry said, is a new global energy policy that shifts reliance from fossil fuels to cleaner technologies. He noted the President Barack Obama is championing such a shift and encouraged others to appeal to their leaders to join.

The US-China statement issued just after Kerry left Beijing on Saturday said the two countries agreed on steps to carry out commitments to curb greenhouse gases, including reducing vehicle emissions, improving energy efficiency of buildings and other measures.

Beijing and Washington launched a climate change discussion last year, promising progress in five areas: reducing vehicle emissions; advanced electric power grids; capturing and storing carbon emissions; gathering greenhouse gas data; and building efficiency.

Kerry was in Indonesia on the last leg of a three-nation tour of Asia that started in South Korea. After leaving Indonesia on Monday, he planned to visit Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.

Before the climate change speech, Kerry toured Jakarta’s Istiqlal Mosque, one of the largest in the world, to pay his respects to Indonesia’s Muslim majority population.
SOURCE: AP/PACNEWS

SPORTS

39) Tevita Kuridrani in Brumbies’ season-opener against Queensland Reds

By Online Editor
4:21 pm GMT+12, 17/02/2014, Australia

The ACT Brumbies are to bring Wallabies centre Tevita Kuridrani straight into the starting line-up for their Super Rugby season opener after the end of his five-game ban for a dangerous tackle.

And Andrew Smith may make a rare appearance at inside centre for Saturday’s clash against the Queensland Reds at Canberra Stadium.

Kuridrani was sent off during the Wallabies’ victory over Ireland on their European spring tour last year for lifting flanker Peter O’Mahony.

His suspension meant he missed the last two games of the tour and all three of the Brumbies’ trial games.

But he is eligible to face the Reds on Saturday and looks likely to be given the No.13 jersey as part of Stephen Larkham’s first Super Rugby back line since being named Brumbies head coach.

Kuridrani established himself as the Brumbies outside centre on the way to a Super Rugby grand final and made his Wallabies debut in the Bledisloe Cup against New Zealand last year.

In all of his eight Tests, he played alongside gun fullback Israel Folau in what turned out to be a break-out year for the pair.

Folau backed the 22-year-old to have a ”bright future”.

”He had a great spring tour last year and I really enjoyed playing with him,” the code hopper said. ”He’s a young kid who’s got a bright future ahead of him.

”Hopefully he does really well this year as well.”

Kuridrani is known for his bash-and-crash style of rugby, with powerful running in direct lines.

But he’s also excellent around the breakdown, which has become a focus of the modern Brumbies game plan.

Folau said Kuridrani’s defence was also top notch. ”His defence is great, he’s really strong and he’s good at reading when teams throw some attacking plays at him,” Folau said.

”His strength is in attack when he runs strong lines and carries the ball strongly.

”Obviously there are things he wants to work on … but he’s got a bright future and he’ll be fine.”

It was thought Kuridrani and Smith would battle it out for the No. 13 jersey, with the latter the favourite given his strong performances in the pre-season trials. But it looks like Smith will get the nod at inside centre.

The Brumbies will be without usual No. 12 Christian Lealiifano until mid-March after he had ankle surgery at the end of the Wallabies tour.

It’s hoped he will be ready for the round-five clash with the NSW Waratahs at Canberra Stadium on March 15.

Pat McCabe and Japan international Harumichi Tatekawa were both in contention to replace Lealiifano, but it is believed the Brumbies are concerned about McCabe’s confidence after two broken necks in the past 15 months. He’s played just 85 minutes since June.

Smith’s inclusion would make for a powerful centre combination as both Smith and Kuridrani are direct runners.

South African playmaker Lionel Cronje is also in line for a spot on the bench against the Reds. The 24-year-old is a versatile back who can play at five-eighth, in the centres or at fullback.

He came to the Brumbies from the Johannesburg Lions and has 11 Super Rugby caps from South Africa and is a former South Africa under-20s representative.
SOURCE: SMH/PACNWS

40) One win, one dream for ambitious Cooks

By Online Editor
4:20 pm GMT+12, 17/02/2014, Cook Islands

In June, the Cook Islands will play the most important game in their short but colourful history, a game against Fiji to determine who will qualify as Oceania 1 for Rugby World Cup 2015 in England.

The Cook Islands is one of the IRB’s 14 Oceania Member Unions and has been in this situation before while attempting to qualify for the 1999 and 2007 tournaments. On the verge of qualification in 1997, they lost to Tonga and Fiji, and in 2006 lost a two-Test series to Tonga.

So excited by the prospect of having another shot at qualifying, the Cook Islands Rugby Union has created a community campaign called ‘One Win, One Dream’. The campaign’s aim is to build community awareness of the match, support the Union’s voluntary work and to raise funds for talent identification, warm-up fixtures, team travel, team camps and preparations.

The Union President Lara Sadaraka reveals: “In 2013, we won the Oceania Cup by defeating Papua New Guinea (37-31), Solomon Islands (39-12) and Tahiti (38-5). This was stage one of the qualifying process for the Rugby World Cup. The next phase of the qualifying process is a one-off Test against Fiji.”

“In essence the Cook Islands are ‘One Win’ away from participating at Rugby’s showcase event. This presents the Cook Islands with a wonderful opportunity and we are excited with the potential this holds for our proud nation. We are not overwhelmed by the task at hand, we are ready and raring to embrace it and give it our very best shot.”

IRB invests in development of Pacific Rugby

It is a big task given that Oceania Rugby has been dominated for many years by Fiji, Samoa and, to a lesser extent, by neighbours Tonga. The Pacific Islands do represent one of the world’s most amazing Rugby nurseries and the IRB is investing significant funds in ongoing development through high-performance programmes in the three senior island nations.

Nonetheless, Rugby has been played in the Cook Islands since the 1920s. In 1954 the Rarotonga Rugby Union was formed but it was only in 1989 that a national body, the Cook Islands Rugby Union, was established in an attempt to centralise the Game in Rarotonga and the other 14 outer islands that make up the country. In March 1995, the Cook Islands Rugby Union became a Full Member of the IRB.

Like many of the Pacific Island nations, a large number of Cook Islanders live and work in New Zealand, where many play Rugby. Many players of Cook Island heritage have played for New Zealand, including most recently, Rene Ranger. And, for such a small nation, they compete at some of the highest levels of the Game. The Cook Islands men’s Sevens team participates each year at various tournaments and has qualified to compete at this year’s Hong Kong Sevens and also the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.

Undaunted by their Fijian opponents, the Cooks have been busy preparing for the qualification match and, according to the team’s manager Cam Kilgour, this campaign will be a strong one.

“The past 10 months have seen big changes in and around Cook Islands Rugby in terms of our structure and the player base. Barry George (Fifteens head coach), Chad Tuoro (Sevens head coach) and myself know how important it is to have the Cook Islands as a tier two nation and we believe we have the talent to do that, both in the Cook Islands and around the world, especially New Zealand.”

Oceania Cup win was the first step

“First and foremost, if we are to succeed in this goal we need to have improved programmes for all our players and set up strong competitions between them. The 2013 Oceania Cup in PNG was the first step and a big step forward for our plan to develop. Now we have the chance to play Fiji in a one-off match.”

“This is our biggest opportunity to date. We have some very good players and, with the amount of players who have now made themselves available to play for the Cook Islands, we believe it’s not a long shot like in the past.”

“Spearheading the challenge will be prop Stan Wright (Auckland, Leinster and now Stade Francais) who, as a professional, has great influence on other overseas Cook Island players. His leadership on and off the field carries huge respect in the Cook Islands community.”

“Hooker Francis Smith (Tasman Makos) and wing Chay Raui (Auckland) bring more leadership and experience to the squad with ITM Cup experience. Other notable players high on our radar are Tim Bateman (NZ Maori), Joe Kamana (Melbourne Rebels) and Sam Anderson-Heather (Otago), plus others in Japan and in Europe.”

Only 80 minutes away from RWC 2015

“We now have great competition for spots and the fact that we are only 80 minutes away from opening Rugby World Cup 2015 against England at Twickenham is a huge incentive. Over the past few weeks we have added Brent Semmons as forwards coach and current Auckland Sevens coach Paul Feeney as our backs coach, adding even more strength to our challenge,” added Kilgour.

Fiji is currently ranked 11th in the IRB World Rankings while the Cook Islands are ranked 46th. Fiji has 8,500 registered senior male players compared the Cooks’ 500 spread across 29 clubs. So you can see why the Cooks Islands are excited by the challenge of having the opportunity to play Fiji and to qualify for RWC 2015. If they pull it off it would be a major but welcome surprise, the realisation of a dream that begins and ends with one win….

SOURCE: IRB/PACNEWS

41) Cowboys overcome Broncos to win NRL Nines

By Online Editor
4:25 pm GMT+12, 17/02/2014, New Zealand

North Queensland have won their first ever title in beating Brisbane 16-7 in the final of the inaugural Auckland Nines.

The Cowboys led 10-0 at halftime on the back of tries to Antonio Winterstein in the fifth minute who whizzed past two Broncos defenders with some light stepping close to the line and Curtis Rona who also crossed out wide in the eighth minute.

Broncos playmaker Ben Hunt closed the gap with a five-point try in the 16th minute before one of the players of the tournament, Rona, burst away for the match-winner with one minute to play to the delight of his teammates.

Earlier, the Cowboys toppled hot tournament favourites the Warriors in an 8-0 semi-final upset.

Spurred on by rapturous home-town support the Warriors had set the tournament alight, with captain Shaun Johnson and Sam Tomkins starring, but were stopped in their their tracks by a determined Cowboys outfit.

The free-scoring Warriors looked out of sorts in the tournament’s penultimate match and Johnson admitted as much post-game.

“It was a disappointing way to go out, we started off poorly it was the worst we played all day,” Johnson said.

“We were excited before the game, just gutted we couldn’t get through. We were just a bit off.”

Aucklanders embraced the event with 89,003 fans passed through the gates of Eden Park over the two days.

Warriors owned Eric Watson said the Nines had created almost unprecedented interest in rugby league in New Zealand.

“It is very special. We all have dreams but to imagine having all 16 teams playing together at Eden Park is incredible,” Watson said.

The event has pumped over $5 million into the New Zealand, which Duco Events Director David Higgins, the brains behind the tournament, said had exceeded expectations.

“It’s been a fantastic thing for Auckland and a fantastic thing for rugby league and will be around for years to come,” he said.

A season ending injury to Cowboys fullback Lachlan Coote took some gloss off the Nines’ success.

Coote ruptured his ACL on the first day of the tournament and will miss most of the NRL season, while Manly winger David Williams has also suffered a suspected ACL injury. The former Kangaroos flyer is due to undergo scans on Monday.

While South Sydney playmaker Luke Keary also faces an extended period on the sideline with a shoulder complaint.

Wests Tigers utility Curtis Sironen (foot) is out for six weeks, Newcastle pivot Jarrod Mullen will miss around four weeks with a hamstring injury, while Cronulla playmaker Todd Carney is in doubt for the NRL season start with a hamstring complaint.

The North Queenslanders take home a $370,000 winner’s prizecheck after two enthralling days of Rugby League which saw 256 NRL players contest 31 nine-a-side matches played over nine-minute halves.

A total of 89,003 enthusuastic fans attended Eden Park over the two days – with 43,600 spectators yesterday on day 1 (Saturday) and 45,403 today (Sunday) .
SOURCE: TVNZ/PACNEWS

42) Sam Burgess leaving NRL after 2014 season, joins English rugby union club Bath for three years

Updated 17 February 2014, 12:04 AEST

Rabbitohs star Sam Burgess will leave the NRL for English rugby club Bath after the teams agreed to a three-year deal.

Sam Burgess will leave the NRL at the end of the 2014 season after agreeing to a three-year deal with English rugby union club Bath.

Burgess is crossing codes with the aim of becoming a dual-international and taking part in England’s 2015 Rugby World Cup campaign.

The South Sydney Rabbitohs confirmed in a statement the star forward had been granted a release from the last two years of his contract “after long discussions”.

Despite the fact his looming departure will no doubt be a major talking point all year, Burgess was adamant his mind would be solely in Redfern in 2014.

“I’m happy this has all been sorted out before the start of the season so that I can concentrate on my game and the team without any other things in the way,” Burgess said in the Rabbitohs statement.

“An opportunity presented itself to head back home to England and to pursue a chance to represent my country in two different sports.

“With 2015 being a Rugby World Cup, it was an opportunity I had to pursue and I thank the Rabbitohs for allowing me to make this move and start the next chapter in my sporting career.

“But all of that starts next season.

With 2015 being a Rugby World Cup, it was an opportunity I had to pursue and I thank the Rabbitohs for allowing me to make this move.

Sam Burgess

“We have a great opportunity in front of us now as a group and I’ll be doing my best every week to help us win each game and hopefully improve on what we’ve been able to achieve in the past two seasons.”

South Sydney said the signing was for an undisclosed fee but it has been reported Bath will pay the South Sydney Rabbitohs 500,000 pounds ($A926,405) to buy out the remaining two years of Burgess’s contract.

The deal looked in trouble last week when England’s Rugby Football Union said it did not want to share the cost of the transfer fee with the Somerset club.

Bath is clearly hoping for big things from the 25-year-old, eventually deciding to take the full fee out of the club’s pocket.

“I’ve known Sam since his rugby league days in England and he is an exceptionally talented athlete,” head coach Mike Ford said in a statement on Bath Rugby’s website.

“He’s hard working, a huge presence both on and off the field, and an ambitious young Englishman, all of which are qualities that we are building our squad around.

“I’ve no doubt Sam will fit in seamlessly here at Bath and we’re looking forward to having him join us and start making the transition.”

Burgess has been one of the form players of the competition since arriving from Super League club Bradford in 2010.

The England international’s star status was only elevated when he was joined at the Rabbitohs by older brother Luke and younger twins George and Tom to create a formidable family forward pack.

He did, however, lose some shine after facing accusations of dirty play after a string of on-field incidents towards the end of the 2013 NRL season and through the Rugby League World Cup.

The deal means the NRL will lose two of its biggest stars after this season with Sonny Bill Williams also returning to rugby union at the end of 2014 – setting up a potentially mouth-watering 2015 World Cup clash. http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

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