Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 946

MELANESIA

1) A step forward for Fiji

Fiji Export Council
Wednesday, February 19, 2014

How else will our traders reap the full benefits of the Melanesian Spearhead Group Free Trade Agreement and have all inexplicable paradoxes curtailed?

The decision about who is going to be Fiji’s Trade Commissioner in Papua New Guinea, together with the immediate establishment of Fiji’s trade office, will definitely be the solution to maximise Fiji manufacturers’ advantages.

2014 has brought us to “the apex of Fiji’s dawning civilisation”, where the South Pacific leaders are not limiting their interdependence mostly on the usual “routine Pacific-styled diplomacy” but are bee-lining their focuses on positive and supportive political and economic developments, communicating with “diplomatic candour”, bearing in mind that positive considerations for “wealthy-cum-healthy cheque book diplomacy” is the latest fashion nowadays.

As we, in small island nations watch with awe as international economic giants create and actually swim in teetering economic downturns, we harness numerous economically-sourced savvy reinforcements, working closer and stronger together, re-engaging and improving ways and means whereby we may be able to defend, protect and continue to escalate the growth of our economies.

Economic falls have multiple inter-connected factors. Unfortunately, their effects continue to affect us since they do stunt the economic efficiencies of countries like the islands of the South Pacific.

For a small economy like ours, we need to piggy back on Papua New Guinea’s steady financial standing that has continued to be stable for the last 13 years. Their unequalled high-yielding has again attracted our traders who undoubtedly also want some share of the gained profits.

This is one main reason behind why there is great interest for the opening of the trade office.

Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama has allocated $464,000 for the establishment of the trade office in Papua New Guinea at the beginning of 2014. This information was heralded by Fiji traders, especially when it is common knowledge that the port of Lae is the “economic pulsating centre” of the South Pacific nations with goods to the value of 1 billion kina arriving over the port annually. The Asian Development Bank continues to finance the further extension of the port although it is already as large as Australian and New Zealand ports, unmatched by other Pacific Island nations.

* Disclaimer: This is a regular contribution from the Fiji Export Council. Email: info@fijiexportcouncil.com.http://www.fijitimes.com/

MICRONESIA

2) Palau To Step Up Border Security To Stem Illegal Drugs
Rise in methamphetamine use spurs investigations

By Peter Erick Magbanua

KOROR, Palau (Island Times, Feb. 17, 2014) – With the rise of incidents that involves the distribution of illegal drugs such as crystal methamphetamine hydrochloride commonly known as “ice”, the Bureau of Public Safety together with other law enforcement agencies are doubling their efforts in guarding Palau borders.

According to BPS director Ismael Aguon, they are investigating individuals who are believed to be involved in bringing in and distributing “ice” in Palau. Aguon said it is a great challenge for them to put a stop to this illegal trade and bring to justice people who are involved in the said trade.

“We encourage the public to be vigilant also and to report such activities. We are intensifying our efforts and we are working closely with the Division of Customs, the office of the Attorney General and other government agencies to put a stop to this,” Aguon explained.

He added that they are monitoring closely the port of entry to Palau such as the seaport, airport and the post office. He stressed that they also need the public’s help to resolve the issue and all information that will be given to them will be treated anonymously.

“Once you get addicted to this illegal drugs it is impossible to reverse its effects and that is why we are trying to identify these persons involve in this trade and arrest them,” Aguon added.

Island Times: www.islandtimes.us

NEW ZEALAND

3) New Zealand lawyer says authorities ‘perverse’ for sending Tongans back home

By Online Editor
10:22 am GMT+12, 18/02/2014, New Zealand

A lawyer for Tongan overstayers says deporting people with medical conditions to an area devastated by a cyclone is perverse.

Cyclone Ian caused widespread damage to the Ha’apai island group in the kingdom last month, destroying more than 800 homes.

The immigration lawyer, Richard Small, says the New Zealand authorities are wanting to send overstayers back to the area, and he has 30 such cases on his books.

Small says some of the islands are far from medical help in Ha’apai’s main centre.

“Forty-six kilometres, across largely open ocean, in a small craft, to get medical assistance, to a capital of Ha’apai that has been all but flattened. To return people to that situation is perverse to being any kind of a good neighbour.”

Small says New Zealand should introduce a two-month moratorium on deporting people to Ha’apai, on humanitarian grounds
SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

TOK PISIN

4) Ol loa sumatin blong Melanesia iken kisim save long MSG offis

Updated 19 February 2014, 17:15 AEST
John Papik

Final yar loa Sumatin long USP blong Melanesian kantRI  iken NAU attach long MSG offis long wok experience

Offis blong Melanesian Spearhead Grup long Vanuatu nau igat gutpela tingting istap we ol final year law sumatin long University blong Souht Pacific .

Sapos oli kam long foapela Melanesian kantri, Vanuatu,Solomon Islands, PNG na Fiji ol iken igo attached  long offis long kisim wok exprience blong ol.

Peter Forau Director General blong MSG Sekretariat itok oli bin sainim pinis wanpela tok orait or Memorandum of Understanding wantaim University blong South Pacific  Law Students Internship Program  long opim rot blong dispela tingting long kamap tru.

Emi tok dispela plan i blong ol final yar law sumatin blong University blong South Pacific.na moni blong sapotim dispela program em lain Ausaid bai baim long en.

Bikpela tingting blong dispela sapot blong Ausaid em long halivim Vanuatu gavaman strongim ol wok program blong university blong halivim ol sumatin long jastis sekta. Dispela idea bai dil wantaim ol Melanesian sumatin oa ol sumatin blong ol arapela kantri tu long ol wok experieince long wok oli stadi long en.

Dispela attachment program tu i blong lukim olsem ol sumatin ino attach tasol wantaim MSG ol arapela offis tu long Vanuatu long wok experience blong ol.Radio Australia

5) Ol bank long PNG isave sasim bikpela bank fee

Updated 19 February 2014, 15:21 AEST
John Papik

Bikpela ol bank fee long Papua New Guinea i mekim PNG palimen ilaik kamapim loa long waus  long dispela pasin blong ol bank.

Gavana blong PNG National Kapital District Powes Parkop nau i autim wari blong em long bikpela bank long Papua New Guinea long  iwok long apim bikpela fee long  banking sevis oli givim igo long ol pipol.

Mr Parkop itok emi taim nau long PNG gavaman long kamapim sampela kain loa i putim eye long ol bank long dispela kain pasin blong ol.

Long bekim dispela toktok treasurer Don Poyle itok  ol Commercial bank long PNG imas lukim olsem  sevis oli  i givim igo long ol pipol i stret na noken mekim pipol i painim hat long laif blong ol.

Mr Parkop itok dispela pasin ol bank isave mekim long sasim ol kain kain fee long sevis blong ol igo long ol pipol na dispela ilukim ol bank iwok long kisim bikpela moni tru long ol pipol.

Sampela ol fee olsem taim ol bank i lukautim account blong pipol, igat sas long en tu long dispela sevis.

Maski pipol igat planti moni oa liklik moni Mr Parkop itok fee blong ol i wankain.

Long tok piksa Mr Parkop itok wanpela famili memba blong en ibin gat K200.00 long account blong en, em ino bin wokim sampela diposit oa withdrawl.

Tupela mun bihain olgeta dispela moni bank ibin kisim olgeta olsem bank fee. Em nau Mr Parkop itok i bikpela wari pipol igat long ol bikpela bank long Papua New Guinea.Radio Australia

FRENCH

6) Manus: « fermez ce goulag! »

Mis à jour 19 February 2014, 14:46 AEST
Caroline Lafargue

C’est l’appel de Christine Milne, la Présidente des Verts australiens. Mais les gouvernement australien et papou tiennent à garder le centre de rétention de Manus, malgré l’émeute mortelle de lundi soir.

« Nous allons recenser le nombre de demandeurs d’asile actuellement à Manus et nous gérerons les transferts en fonction. Mais tous ceux qui sont au centre de rétention de Christmas doivent être prévenus : ils seront soit transférés sur Nauru, soit sur Manus, parce que c’est notre politique. »

C’était le ministre australien de l’Immigration, Scott Morrison, en conférence de presse hier mardi. L’émeute mortelle de lundi soir au centre de rétention des demandeurs d’asile ne changera rien à la politique de fermeté de l’Australie.

Aujourd’hui le gouvernement papou a indiqué que le demandeur d’asile mort lundi soir était Iranien. On n’en sait pas plus. Les deux gouvernements ont tous les deux ouvert une enquête sur ce qui s’est passé lundi soir. Un migrant, qui souffre d’un traumatisme crânien, a été transféré dans un hôpital de Brisbane mardi. Et trois autres sont soignés à Port-Moresby, dont un qui a reçu une balle dans une fesse. 12 autres demandeurs d’asile sérieusement blessés reçoivent des soins au centre de rétention.

Ni le gouvernement papou ni le gouvernement australien n’ont confirmé les dires de la Coalition d’Action pour les Réfugiés, qui affirmait hier que des habitants de Manus et la police papoue avaient attaqués le centre de rétention. Scott Morrison :

« Pour le moment je peux juste vous dire que nos gardiens ont entendu deux coups de feu qui auraient été tirés par la police papoue, mais cela ne signifie absolument pas que les policiers papous ont tiré sur des demandeurs d’asile. »

Les émeutes ont débuté dimanche après-midi quand les 1340 demandeurs d’asile détenus à Manus ont appris que ni la Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée, ni l’Australie ne les aiderait à obtenir un titre de séjour dans des pays tiers comme la Nouvelle-Zélande ou le Canada, s’ils étaient reconnus comme d’authentiques réfugiés. En clair : ces migrants sont condamnés à vivre en Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée.

Pourtant la semaine dernière, le ministre papou des Affaires étrangères Rimbink Pato a nommé un groupe de sages pour déterminer si la Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée peut accueillir ces réfugiés ou pas. Sachant qu’en l’état ce n’est pas possible, il n’existe pas de statut de réfugié, il faudrait légiférer pour en créer un. Rimbink Pato a indiqué que les sages étudieront aussi l’option du transfert des réfugiés dans un pays tiers.

Mais les versions diffèrent selon les pays, car le Premier ministre australien Tony Abbott a confirmé que les réfugiés resteraient en Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée.

Quant à l’opposition travailliste australienne, elle soutient le gouvernement libéral et indique qu’il faut sauver coûte que coûte le centre de rétention de Manus. Richard Marles est chargé des Affaires étrangères au sein du parti travailliste:

« Nous ne pouvons pas nous passer du centre de rétention de Manus. C’est le pilier de la stratégie de l’Australie pour réduire le flux d’immigrés venus en bateau d’Indonésie. C’est parce qu’ils ont peur de finir à Manus que moins d’immigrés tentent la traversée vers les eaux australiennes. Les statistiques baissent. C’est pour ça qu’il est important de bien comprendre ce qui se passe sur Manus. »

Le consensus est donc très large en Australie sur l’utilité de la détention des demandeurs d’asile à Manus, à l’exception des Verts, dont la Présidente, Christine Milne, a demandé la fermeture immédiate de ce « Goulag » à Manus. Même demande du Conseil Australien des Réfugiés, la fédération qui regroupe 180 associations et ONG, dont on écoute le porte-parole, Paul Power :

« Les deux partis majoritaires sont responsables de cette situation, qui est le résultat de la politique lancée par le parti travailliste quand il était au pouvoir et savait pertinemment quelles seraient les conséquences de cette politique. Le gouvernement libéral national continue la même politique, en l’appliquant encore plus durement. »

En août 2012, le rapport d’un panel d’experts recommandait au gouvernement de Julia Gillard de rouvrir les centres de rétention en Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée et à Nauru. Ce qu’il a fait. Mais il a oublié d’autres recommandations utiles du même rapport, estime Paul Power :

« Les gens qui sont sur Manus ont soit été enfermés là sur l’ordre du gouvernement australien, soit ils sont payés par le gouvernement australien pour y travailler. Donc il n’y a aucune supervision indépendante. Le panel d’experts sur les demandeurs d’asile avait pourtant recommandé qu’une autorité indépendante encadre l’examen des demandes d’asile, sur place à Manus. Et ce n’est pas du tout ce qui se passe. »

130 gardiens supplémentaires ont été envoyés à Manus pour assurer la protection du centre. 100 autres sont en réserve en Australie, prêts à monter dans l’avion en cas de problème. L’entreprise privée de sécurité qui les emploie, G4S, a diffusé des offres d’emploi pour Manus la semaine dernière, présentant le job de gardien comme « un emploi excitant ». Radio Australia

WORLD

7) Edward Snowdon chosen as student representative for Glasgow uni

Updated 19 February 2014, 12:24 AEST

Glasgow university students have chosen former US intelligence analyst Edward Snowdon as their new rector.

Edward Snowden, the former US National Security Agency analyst who revealed US surveillance of phone and Internet communications, has been elected rector of Glasgow University in Scotland.

The analyst was nominated by a group of students at the university who said they had received his approval through his lawyer.

The largely symbolic post of rector mainly involves representing the university’s students. The successful candidate is expected to attend meetings with the governing body and other authorities.

The group said: “We are incredibly delighted to see Edward Snowden elected as the new rector of Glasgow University.”

The statement said the institution had a “virtuous tradition of making significant statements through our rectors”.

It added: “Our opposition to pervasive and immoral state intrusion has gone down in the records.

“What is more, we showed Edward Snowden and other brave whistleblowers that we stand in solidarity with them, regardless of where they are.”

Snowden received temporary asylum in Russia in August — a move that infuriated the United States — and is believed to be living in the Moscow area.

Previous holders of the rector’s post at Glasgow University include Winnie Mandela and Israeli nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu.

The current holder is former Liberal Democrat party leader Charles Kennedy.

Snowden defeated former champion cyclist Graeme Obree, author Alan Bissett and a local vicar.

AFP

MEDIA

8) PNG’s National Newspaper slap with K471, 000 fine
By Online Editor
10:10 am GMT+12, 19/02/2014, Papua New Guinea

The Papua New Guinea National Court in Waigani has awarded more than K400,000 (US$156,400) in damages, in PNG’s first and highest in amount, in a defamation case instituted by a judge against a media company.

Justice Catherine Davani awarded the damages plus cost of the proceeding against Pacific Star Limited, who also runs the newspaper “The National”, after the case was started seven years ago.

Deputy Chief Justice Gibbs Salika started the case in 2007, claiming his reputation as a judge of the National Court – as he then was, had been tarnished and destroyed, following publication of a news article by the newspaper.

A November 2006 publication of the newspaper had alleged Justice Salika, of deliberately and corruptly delaying hearing of a custody case of a mother who had her children taken away from her, by the father.

The court found, that Justice Salika did suffer and is entitled to damages, after holding that there is no value to a damaged reputation.

The article also indicated that Justice Salika was sitting on the case which he had a conflict of interest with, and that he was unfit and unworthy to be a judge because of his actions.

However, the court found that the newspaper had failed to confirm whether Justice Salika was presiding over the case, which he never had, and did not even bother to retract the article or make a public apology.

Judge Salika is now the country’s Deputy Chief Justice, with an eminent reputation nationally, regionally and internationally.

Justice Davani says the article was insulting and without consideration of the effects to be suffered by the judge, and is a blow to her colleague’s pride.

The court awarded K471, 143 (US$ 184,217) in damages which includes an 8-percent interest and K50, 000 (US$19,550) in aggravated damages.

SOURCE: NBC PNG/PACNEWS

9) New Online News Website For PNG Launched
PNG Edge aims to ‘promote public service journalism’

By Donald Willie and Gorethy Kenneth

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Feb. 18, 2014) – A new online news company has entered the Papua New Guinea media industry, targeting the growing demand for internet access. PNG Edge is headed by one of the country’s senior journalists, Titi Gabi.

The company is operating out of Port Moresby with a staff of over 30 including regional correspondents contributing content from the other towns and centres for online users in PNG and around the world.

Ms Gabi said, “In the coming months we will work towards expanding our correspondent base as the stories that people would want to know about are out there in towns and district stations; and less of what’s happening in Port Moresby and Waigani for that matter.”

Ms Gabi says the company aims to promote “public service journalism”, bringing across real time stories of human interest to the fingertips of its audience.

“It’s all about customers and how to make access to information quick and more suitable through the use of innovative technology.

“We need to be on par with the rest of the world and our move is a step towards making information affordable and more convenient through the use of internet service particularly for mobile phone users. You can view our stories online by going to www.pngedge.com.”

Access to the website doesn’t require smart phones. It’s accessible anywhere in the country where there is mobile coverage.

PNG Post-Courier: http://www.postcourier.com.pg/

10) New Zealand Foreign Minister Calls For Debate, Free Media In Fiji
McCully says free and fair elections depend upon openness

By Vuniwaqa Bola-Bari

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Feb. 16, 2014) – Political debate and freedom of the media are an important part of a free and fair election, says New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully.

McCully was in Fiji as chair of the Pacific Islands Forum Ministerial Contact Group during their round of meetings with top government officials, political parties and NGO’s.

He confirmed concerns received from political parties on the level of restrictions in Fiji in terms of media freedom, freedom of assembly and freedom of speech.

“Those were the sort of sentiments reflected in our discussions and we have tried to look beyond those things as progress has been made towards putting an election machinery in place and simply draw government’s attention to some of the areas where assessment of whether the election are free and fair are going to be judged by these things,” McCully said.

He said though the meeting on election preparatory works with the Attorney General was encouraging, the Forum Ministers insisted a level playing field must be created to encourage and engage the Bainimarama government, political parties and the media in a debate.

“We’d like to see that more improvement is made towards the election,” McCully said.

Fijilive: http://www.fijilive.com

BUSINESS

11) Fiji-PNG bilateral relationships a plus for exporters

Ropate Valemei
Wednesday, February 19, 2014

FIJI’S Trade Commissioner to Papua New Guinea will secure the “normalcy” of the Fiji-PNG bilateral relationships.

With the continuance of building economic ties that encourage economic development in Fiji, Fiji Export Council says this will experience “multiplier effects” from this compelling economic growth with sizzling monetary gains.

Fiji already has a diplomatic office in Papua New Guinea which was announced during the 2014 National Budget.

“The Trade Commissioner will closely observe formulated policies of the Fiji Government as well as those of the PNG Government to boost the economies of both countries.

“This would be a plus for our exporters since there are numerous trade issues that need to be looked into to alleviate existing problems. This was reiterated by Pacific Batteries general manager Diwakar Dubey: ‘Fiji’s Trade Commissioner in PNG can assist us by analysing our constraints, understanding them and finding someone in authority to address the issues that need to be solved’.”

It said it would be able to evaluate existing vulnerabilities that had been condoned and unsolved for many years and to prepare contingencies for Fiji traders’ short-term and long-term effects of economic downturns, particularly when they face tough financial situations.http://www.fijitimes.com/

12) Air Niugini upgrades airplanes, Changes board members


By Online Editor
10:12 am GMT+12, 19/02/2014, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea’s national flag carrier, Air Niugini Limited is set to continue its retrofit program in 2014.

This was announced by Air Niugini’s board chairman Sir Frederick Reiher Tuesday.

Sir Federick said the company had been upgrading all its airplanes in its Boeing fleet.

He said he was confident the retrofit program on its B767 and B737 fleet would be completed in time for the Pacific Games in July next year.

He said yesterday’s event was also to witness the delivery of the first of three of its B737 fleet, which had returned with a refurbished interior.

All improvements had been designed to making travel for its customers more relaxing and memorable, he said.

Sir Frederick said the exercise included improvements to the aircrafts’ interior cabin in both the business and economy class, in-flight entertainment system, toilets and galleys.

“Inseat screens have been installed in both the business and economy class seats with movies in early genere, premier and family classics, TV documentaries, games, music and other applications.”

Sir Frederick said the plane that had just returned had a total of 144 seats, of which 128 were in the economy class cabin, and 16 in the business class.

“The business class has lie flat seats with lumbar support, foot rest and larger leg room.

“The newly designed cabin also provides larger and spacious overheads bins/lockers for carry on luggage,” Sir Frederick said.

Meanwhile, PNG Public Enterprise Minister Ben Micah has announced changes to Air Niugini Limited’s board.

Micah also reaffirmed the Government’s intention to have the national flag carrier enlisted on the stock exchange.

All these were made during an event at Jacksons International Airport, jointly hosted by Air Niugini and the Pacific Games Organising committee.

Micah said among the changes that Sir Frederick Reiher, who in 2013 served the board as deputy chairman, had since been confirmed to the post of chairman, taking over from Garth McIllwain.

He said businessman Sir James Tjoeng assumed office as the board’s deputy chairman while the directors would include Ian Tarutia (Nasfund), Ken Harvey (Remington Group of Companies) and Garry Tunstall (Nambawan Super).

Simon Foo, who in 2013 served as one of the directors to the board, has since been appointed as the airline company chief executive officer.

Micah said was pleased with the board’s new composition.

With regards to Air Niugini’s listing on the stock exchange, the minister said the Government was seriously considering that move, adding it was looking at having it happen this year.

“The prime minister has reflected this in his speech. The aim is to have all state owned enterprises listed on the stock exchange so that it is owned by the citizens and not by the Government,” he said.

Micah said it should be made profitable first.

He that had already happened, with the company recording in 2012 a turnover of K1.2 billion. Of that, the company made a net profit of K100 million, in which it paid a dividend to the government.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

LAW&ORDER

13) Me’ekamui Defence Force talks law and order with Bougainville President Momis

By Online Editor
10:18 am GMT+12, 18/02/2014, Papua New Guinea

A senior member of the Me’ekamui Defence Force has met with Bougainville President John Momis to discuss law and order issues.

Steven Ona, second in command to General Moses Pipiro of the Me’ekamui Defence Force in Panguna, travelled to Buka from his mountain stronghold on Tuesday to speak about setting up a region-wide civilian security force.

Such a meeting between the two leaders would have seemed an impossibility only a short time ago.

Ona told Post Courier newspaper that the Prime Minister and President’s recent visit had inspired the Panguna people, including his Me’ekamui faction, to open up to the rest of Bougainville.

The historic visit also motivated his people to “clean up their backyard”. They now plan to train youths as security guards to help maintain the rule of law throughout the region. “We plan to train the youths up in Panguna first,” the commander said.”We want Albert Magoi from the United Bougainville Training Institute to conduct this training.”

Magoi who has served with both the PNG military and Bougainville Revolutionary Army has been training ex-combatants and disaffected youths in Bougainville since the end of hostilities.

Ona says Bougainville police are currently struggling with manpower issues.

“Nowadays there are all kinds of law and order problems coming up,” he said.

“Youths are the main ones causing problems the drunks, those who take homebrew, smoke marijuana and the police are currently not able to deal with all of these problems.

They are not as strong as they could be. That’s why we want to support them.” Mr Ona stressed that the security force  be trained to work under the command of the local constabulary. “We don’t want to put the police down, put their work down.

We just want to work behind them to help them in our communities. You could say we will just boost their manpower, support them.

“So we want to set up security all through Bougainville. Have them go through proper training and go back to their places and help the police keep law and order.

“We want to support the police so if we train youths properly, change their thinking, they can look after the place properly.”

Ona said the president Momis  was in full agreement with the concept. “He has been thinking the same thing there must be security training.

He has talked strongly about this. He has concerns on law and order and wants security to be set up. He wants to kickstart this quickly,” Ona said.

Ona gave his assurance that the security force will not come under the command of the Me’ekamui.

“No, it’s a private monitoring system,” he said. “They will report to the district officer who will report to the president.”.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

SPORT

14) England rugby union coach welcomes Burgess

Afp
Wednesday, February 19, 2014

LONDON – England rugby union coach Stuart Lancaster says Sam Burgess will be a “great asset” in the 15-man game following his high-profile move from rugby league.

The 25-year-old will join English Premiership side Bath on a three-year contract in October from Australian rugby league side South Sydney Rabbitohs, with the ambitious aim of trying to gain a place in Lancaster’s squad for next year’s Rugby World Cup in England.

While England’s 2003 World Cup-winning wing Jason Robinson was a notable success following his move from league, several Great Britain or England league internationals have struggled in union since the advent of professionalism.

But Lancaster is in no doubt Burgess can succeed as a union player.

“Sam’s carrying game will be easily transferable,” Lancaster said on Monday after news of Burgess’s move was made public.

“His understanding of running lines and defence are skills that he’ll be able to transition, although I wouldn’t say it’s easy.

“The big difference comes in and around the breakdown and the difference in gap between the defensive lines, which is obviously closer in rugby union, so timing is obviously an issue.

“In terms of overall rugby skill set, he has a very strong skill set.

“So I think he’ll be a real asset, but there’s a lot of learning to be done as well.”

There have been suggestions that Burgess could play as an inside centre at Bath, and Lancaster warned against the idea of fielding him in the pack, for all the league star’s physical strength, given the technical demands made upon forwards that have no equivalent in league.

“It’s probably not my decision,” Lancaster said. “The easiest way to start is without the complexity of the line-out and everything that goes with it — where there’s work to be done on lifting and line-out and everything in the back row.

15) Transtasman event offers record profits plus Pacific games to widen league future
By Online Editor
1:00 pm GMT+12, 19/02/2014, New Zealand

The New Zealand Rugby League and their Australian counterparts are expecting to find out today whether they will host the 2017 World Cup and, if successful, are promising to deliver the highest profits the world tournament has enjoyed.

The international board were due to vote overnight on who would host the 2017 event with a joint bid from Australia and New Zealand likely to win out over South Africa.

South Africa presented a number of challenges and risks and the international board don’t have the financial resources to take the game’s showpiece to an emerging league nation. It also doesn’t help that the South African government refuses to recognise league and that four of the 10-strong international board due to vote on the host venue are made up by Australians and New Zealanders.

The detail would still be needed to be worked out if the Australia/New Zealand bid is successful but the plan would be for a 14-team tournament based along the same format as last year’s one in the UK and France.

New Zealand would host one of the four pools and at least one quarter-final but would also bid to host a semifinal and possibly even the final. Decisions on this would be made by a working committee set up to oversee the tournament and would be made based on which venue would deliver the best profits.

Another aspect of the bid was to stage one or more games in Papua New Guinea and there has been thought to widen this to Fiji or another Pacific island.

Profits from last year’s World Cup are due to be announced soon and are believed to have surpassed the A$5 million made from the 2008 World Cup hosted by Australia.

“We expect it to be one of the most profitable if not the most profitable World Cup in history,” NZRL chief executive Phil Holden said.

“You would think that South Africa would be a risky proposition. A key thrust of our presentation was that now is the time to consolidate the gains made in 2013 and set up the game forever. Between Australia and New Zealand, we run these events, we know what we are doing and the passion and interest is high in our community.

“The expansion aspects of including Papua New Guinea are really important in terms of growing the reach of the game. That’s another compelling argument.”

Stephen Kearney will be confirmed as Kiwis coach on Friday and his first task will be the annual Anzac test, which is likely to be staged in Sydney on May 2. Some findings from the failed World Cup campaign will also be released on Friday, with most interest around the investigation into the use of sleeping pills and energy drinks by players.

SOURCE: APNZ/PACNEWS

16) Australia and New Zealand to host 2017 Rugby League World Cup, beating ambitious South Africa bid

Posted 19 February 2014, 19:03 AEST

Australia and New Zealand will co-host the 2017 Rugby League World Cup after beating out an ambitious South Africa bid.

Australia will defend its newly-won rugby league World Cup title on home soil, with the announcement that the 2017 tournament will take place in Australia and New Zealand.

The joint trans-Tasman bid beat out an audacious attempt by South Africa to host the tournament.

“This was not a simple decision but with fans of international rugby league buoyed by the recent success of RLWC2013, we were determined to get it right,” Nigel Wood, the vice-chairman of the Rugby League International Federation said.

“Both bids were thoroughly compelling but the joint Australia/New Zealand bid was selected as the one with the greatest chance of success in providing more compelling games in world class environments in front of big, passionate crowds.”

South Africa, who entered a team in the 1995 and 2008 World Cups, have only a fledging domestic game but argued they could help spread the game internationally.

“The bid from South Africa was very strong, prepared professionally and clearly demonstrated a passion for rugby league that is growing by the day in that country,” Wood said.

Meanwhile, the NRL has announced that this year’s mid-season Anzac Test will be in Sydney.

The Kangaroos and the Kiwis will meet for the first time since Australia won last year’s World Cup final when they line up at the Sydney Football Stadium on May 2.

The Test will be part of an exciting round of representative football that also includes the Test between Fiji and Samoa at Penrith on May 3 – with the winner to compete in the end-of-season Four Nations tournament in Australia and New Zealand – as well as the Country vs City match at Dubbo on May 4.

For the first time, a women’s match featuring an All Stars team and Indigenous All Stars team will also be played as the curtain-raiser to the Kangaroos-Kiwis Test.

AAP

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