Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 955


1) Preserving dying languages with a swipe of the smartphone

Updated 13 March 2014, 14:16 AEST

From the highlands of Papua New Guinea to the mountains of Nepal, a group of academics is harnessing the power of the smartphone to try to save languages at risk of disappearing forever by the end of the century.

The mountains and forest of the Papua New Guinea highlands are so rugged that they kept people isolated from each other for sometimes hundreds of years.

As a result, the region is also home to a startling diversity of languages.

Of the 7,000 languages of the world, nearly 1,000 are spoken in New Guinea alone. That linguistic diversity is under threat as, like many indigenous languages around the world, the ones spoken here are rapidly dying out.

A group of academics is working to keep them alive by documenting these languages before they are lost forever.

Dr Stephen Bird from the University of Melbourne has been working with a number of remote communities around the world, helping to preserve dying languages, including those in Papua New Guinea.

He says they’re fighting to save much more than just words.

“What’s lost is the knowledge that’s been passed down over generations about how to live sustainably in a place,” he says.

“But they also have a unique perspective on the world. They’ve named all of the items in their environment and the names they give to things tell us something about how they carve up the world in their mind.”

Several years ago, he and his team decided to trade in their traditional recording devices for a simple smartphone. With its built-in microphone, the smartphone works as a networked recording device that can also transfer recordings when in range.

Since then, they’ve developed special software for the phones that can be used by easily and intuitively, even if the user can’t read.

By using the smartphone instead of a heavy digital recorder, he and other researchers have seen subjects relax and even feel comfortable taking the device with them on short walks, hopefully providing opportunities to record even more linguistic examples.

The end result of the project is to collect as many endangered languages as possible, translating those examples into the major world languages.

It’s something Dr Bird and his team are extremely passionate about.

“I really got excited about the prospect of giving people a voice. There’s so many isolated and disenfrachised people whose voices are being lost. And here is a way using new technology combined with cutting edge research to really help others.” ( Phils Opinion: Thank you Dr Bird and Team to come up with this great idea.Melanesian Government/NGO or members of the community, PLEASE help prevent our wonderful indigenous languages from dying out )

2) MSG Trade Agreement Not Benefiting Vanuatu, Meeting Told
Small country ‘cannot compete with the larger neighboring countries’

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, March 18, 2014) – A meeting was held on Thursday 13th March 2014 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs between the Director General of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Johnny Koanapo and members of the Vanuatu Manufacturers & Exporters Association (VMEA) and Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), on the impact of the MSG Trade Agreement on the local industries and the Vanuatu Economy as a whole.

The main concerns raised by the members of the VMEA were that the conditions of the MSG Trade Agreement are not favorable to the private sector especially the local manufacturers and also to the Vanuatu Government in terms of revenue collection. Vanuatu is a small developing country and it cannot compete with the larger neighboring countries in the region due to many reasons including its high cost of doing business and its small domestic market.

The meeting also looked at the absence of a Negative List resulting in ALL products manufactured within the MSG region being allowed to be imported into the country duty free resulting in a trade imbalance, deficit, of approx. VT2b/annum under the Agreement. This same issue was raised during the recent Industrial Bill consultation meeting at the Shefa Province.

The DG of Foreign Affairs agreed that the MSG TA does not favour Vanuatu and is aware that it was not the first time the issue was being raised with the relevant offices of the Government. He further informed the meeting that a verbal notice was given in a technical meeting of the MSG TA that Vanuatu is not benefiting from the Agreement and intends to terminate its obligation. This followed a presentation by the VMEA to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade in October, 2013. The matter however, has to be dealt along the legal framework of the Agreement as detailed by an analysis from the State Law Office. This is to protect our two export commodities under the Agreement, Kava and beef.

The DG of Foreign Affairs encouraged the members to adequately document any additional issues and supporting facts relating to damage or injury to the individual local industries and submit to the government to prepare an approach that serves the interest of the country.

Following discussions on the issue, all present agreed to establish a technical working committee comprising of both Government and private sector (VCCI and VMEA) which will prepare a technical paper that will be presented by the Government when negotiating the MSG TA3 later this year in Port Vila.

3) MSG Police Commissioners agree to share initiatives and experiences they undertake
By Online Editor
09:57 am GMT+12, 19/03/2014, Fiji

The 4th Melanesian Spearhead Group’s (MSG) Police Commissioners Conference ended in Nadi Tuesday with considerable progress made on a number of key initiatives.

Co-chair and Fiji’s Acting Commissioner of Police Ravi Narayan said significant progress had been made on the set up of a Regional Police Academy to train and enhance the knowledge, leadership and operational skills of officers from the MSG region.

He said funding was a key issue although the exact amount needed for a permanent base at Nabukavesi, Namosi, is not conclusive yet, with the national Police Academy in Nasova to be used as an interim arrangement.

“The funds needed would be substantive and we are still finalising issues such as the areas of training and contribution towards the academy by MSG members,” Commissioner Narayan said.

He said the MSG’s respective Police forces were also keen to share critical information to enhance border security.

“We are going to work on a request by the Papua New Guinea Police to assist with community policing in their region,” Commissioner Narayan revealed.

Permanent Secretary for Defence Osea Cawaru also noted this issue and called for efforts to achieve a framework towards a Police Women’s Network.

The next MSG Police Commissioners Conference will be held in the Solomon Islands.



4) Tropical cyclone Mike starts to weaken

20 March 2014

The Fiji Meteorological Service says the cyclone which developed near the Cook Islands is now starting to weaken.

Tropical cyclone Mike, a category one cyclone, was 407 kilometres south-southeast of Rarotonga at 6.30 this morning.

A Fiji Meteorological Service forecaster, Amit Singh, says the cyclone has winds of 35 knots close to the centre with momentary gusts of 50 knots.

He says the cyclone is now beginning to weaken.

“We still have a special weather bulletin for some islands of the Southern Cooks which will will be cancelling in the next five to six hours. It is over the ocean now and it won’t affect any land areas the whole of its life and it will weaken out in the waters.”

Amit Singh says they have not received any reports of damage from the Cook Islands.C/- Radio NZ

5) Niue Opposition Concerned About Government Shutting Out Media

MP: Government doesn’t like questions Radio New Zealand is asking

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 18, 2014) – An opposition MP says the Niue government’s decision to stop talking to a faction of the media is a concern, especially leading up to next month’s elections.

The secretary to the government Richard Hipa has told Radio New Zealand International, it won’t answer anymore questions about the approval of a grant to the son of an MP, or on any other matter until further notice.

Mr Hipa says they believe the recent tone of stories run by RNZI may be damaging to the government and distortion of the facts.

But the opposition MP Terry Coe says if the government disagrees with information run in the media they should be big enough to counteract that.

“Speak up on it but to say nothing and we’re not going to talk to you anymore I think is totally wrong and I think that’s happened in the Assembly it’s the same, people are not willing to speak up and stick up for the government of the day, says Coe.

The secretary to the government didn’t give specific examples when asked to elaborate on stories they were unhappy with.

Radio New Zealand International


6) OECD warns of rising poverty in Australia as GFC fallout continues

Posted 19 March 2014, 16:08 AEST
By business editor Peter Ryan

Anyone thinking the global financial crisis is over or at worst an unpleasant distant memory might find the latest report from the OECD an unsettling reality check.

More than five years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers took the financial system to the brink of meltdown, the economic and social fallout is far from abating.

In its latest snapshot of society post the Great Recession, the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) says high rates of unemployment and income losses are worsening social conditions in many countries.

Much of this pain is being felt in the eurozone, which has been reeling from the ongoing sovereign debt crisis that has left nations such as Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain in an economic and social mess.

These countries – once branded the PIIGS economies – have largely fallen off the radar, at least in Australia, now that the threat of a eurozone breakup has moved to the sidelines.

Not in the background, but very much in the foreground, the social pain is likely to be long-lasting, as governments to try balance fiscal consolidation with cuts to public spending which, according to the report, risks “adding to the hardship of the most vulnerable groups” and may “create problems for the future.”

These key lines from the OECD’s study go to the dismal outlook for Europe:

Growing numbers now say that they have problems making ends meet;
In three of the eurozone members – Greece, Ireland and Spain – the number of people living in households with no income from work has doubled;
Across the OECD area, children and young people were hardest hit by income poverty.

The report goes on to warn that perhaps most worrying is the prospect that these problems may continue to shape people’s lives for many years to come.

This impact is referred to as “scarring”, or the danger that young people who suffer long periods of unemployment, inactivity or poverty face a lifetime of diminished earnings and weakened job opportunities.

The outlook for Europe and emerging economies in Asia is in stark contrast to the United States which is showing signs of a recovery that appears to be widespread and sustainable.

As the OECD optimistically says, “the prospects for both the world economy and the OECD area look brighter than they have for some time.”

However, the message from the OECD about what the recovery is looking like is far from bullish.

“Encouraging as this may be, it risks seducing us into believing that all is now going well and that, over the next few years, a rising economy will lift all boats,” the report warns.

“The evidence of the recent past, dating even to before the financial crisis, suggests otherwise.”

Australian poverty on the rise

The message is relevant to Australia, which weathered the worst of the financial crisis and maintained an enviable record of more than two decades of unbroken economic growth.

The OECD notes that poverty is on the rise in Australia with 14.4 per cent of the population unable to make ends meet, compared with the OECD average of 11.3 per cent.

Child poverty has increased along with youth poverty – although rates for those 65 and over decreased, possibly because of an increase in the aged pension.

Ten percent of Australians say they cannot afford to buy enough food, which is lower than the OECD average of 13.2 per cent.

The OECD says the “strong increase” in public spending between 2007 and 2012 is down to higher aged pensions, but leaves many families with children behind.

The report also signals that tightening household conditions are challenging the perception of generosity in Australia:

67 per cent of Australians donated to a charity in 2012 – well above the OECD average of 44 per cent;
At the same time however, Australians have reduced donations to charities, cut time spent on volunteering and helped strangers less between 2007 and 2012;
However, compared to the rest if the world, the OECD says Australians are more tolerant of migrants, ethnic minorities, gays and lesbians.

The OECD’s snapshot is a timely remind that the world remains fragile after the self-imposed crisis of September 2008 and that few households, especially those in Europe, have been spared from the fallout.

The report is also a reminder that without China’s demand for Australian resources, and solid regulation of the local banking system, Australia might be in similar dire circumstances.

Follow Peter Ryan on Twitter @Peter_F_Ryan and on his Main Street blog.Radio Australia

7) Rorting of Australia’s tough foreign property rules ‘prevalent’, insider warns

Updated 19 March 2014, 22:11 AEST
By Elysse Morgan

Australia has some of the toughest rules for foreigners to buy residential property but industry insiders say rorting is prevalent.

Data on who is buying what is also sketchy, making the Government’s inquiry into foreign investment in real estate a difficult task.

The House Economics Committeehas released the terms of reference for its inquiry into foreign buyers, which was launched in response to fears that locals are being priced out of the market by cashed-up foreigners.

Bill Fuggle, the head of financial services at global law firm Baker MacKenzie, says Australia has greater restrictions than many comparable countries.

“If we compare ourselves to our peers in places like New Zealand, the US, Canada, UK … those countries have very little restrictions,” he said.

“By contrast, if you want to buy an established property you essentially have to be a resident here.”

Foreign investors can only buy newly-built properties, which is the Government’s way of boosting construction.

But there is scepticism with some real estate agents suspecting that rules are being bent.

Ballard Property Group’s Bill Bridges sells multi-million-dollar established homes in Sydney’s eastern suburbs and says he has seen a big jump in interest.

He says he always asks whether paperwork is in order and “the main answer to that is they say ‘Well, we’ll take care of that, that’s not a problem'”.

Mr Fuggle says buyers can easily circumvent the rules by getting a resident to buy property on their behalf.

I’m not sure that the policing is that real.

Banking analyst Martin North

“And that would be very difficult to detect and I think it would be quite difficult to police … anecdotally it seems to be a relatively prevalent activity,” he said.

Australian banks are also allowed to offer products which facilitate foreign nationals to circumvent the rules.

To qualify for residency under the Significant Investor Visa program, $5 million must be invested in Australian Government approved products for four years.

Real estate is not an approved product.

But Macquarie Bank is lending the $5 million back to investors, which Mr Fuggle says can then be legitimately put into real estate.

“Proceeds of that loan are essentially unregulated money so they invest that wherever they like,” he said.

The Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB), which is responsible for making sure people are playing by the rules, did not find one problem last year.

Banking analyst warns regulation is weak

Banking analyst Martin North says this shows regulation is weak.

“I’m not sure that the policing is that real. It’s a process that everybody goes through but if you think about the 6,000 applications they receive every year, are they really going to look at every one?” he said.

The Government inquiry will examine policing of the rules and look at the economic benefits of foreign investment.

Audio: Listen to Elysse Morgan’s report for PM (PM)

But it is very difficult to get cold hard facts on who is buying what, for who and for what purpose.

A recent report on Chinese investment by Credit Suisse estimates that the Chinese are purchasing more than $5 billion of Australian residential property each year.

Based on information pieced together from the FIRB, Department of Immigration and the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the report estimates a further $44 billion will be spent over the next six years.

Figures from FIRB can be more than a-year-and-a-half out of date by the time they are released, and Mr North says they lack crucial detail.

“The FIRB numbers will record as a single application 100 new units being built on a site but that’s counted as one application and yet there are a whole bunch of individuals buying those properties,” he said.

“We don’t actually have data of the number of people who actually buy under one of those umbrella approvals.”

Lack of information fanning fears

The lack of information is fanning fears in the community, according to the Australia China Business Council’s Jim Harrowell.

“I would hope that this committee, although the terms are very general, will actually get to the facts,” he said.

The inquiry is also assessing whether construction has benefitted from pushing investors toward new stock, which Mr Harrowell says is certainly the case.

“There’s no doubt that some apartment blocks are being built now because of this demand … that wouldn’t otherwise be built,” he said.

Regardless of the inquiry’s findings, Mr Fuggle says there will be no let-up in the money pouring out of China and into Australia.

The committee is calling for submissions, which must be received by Friday May 9.Radio Australia

8) Digital detox program to raise awareness of cyber-bullying

Updated 19 March 2014, 22:37 AEST
By Sajithra Nithi, Melbourne

An Australian organisation that works with victims of bullying is calling on teenagers to participate in a ‘digital detox’ this weekend.

The 48-hour Digital Detox Program was launched by Bully Zero Australia Foundation to recognise the National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence on Friday.

Many students from schools across Melbourne have signed up for the campaign, which asks participants to disconnect from all forms of social media for two days.

The money raised from their pledge will go towards cyber-safety training at their schools.

Oscar Yildiz, the founder of Bully Zero Australia Foundation, says one in three social media users in Australia is affected by cyber-bullying, especially teenagers.

“They’re so engaged with their social media, to the extent where there’s a new phenomenon called FOMO – fear of missing out,” he said.

“There are a lot of young teenagers basically sleeping with their mobile phones and iPads, and iPods, because they want to get the goss before going to school the next day.”

Mr Yildiz says it’s not just youth who are hooked on social media – adults check their phone messages up to 122 times a day.

“In fact, a recent study revealed that after 15 minutes the first thing we do when we wake up is checking our Facebook… and before we go to sleep we’re looking at our Twitter account and making sure there are no LinkedIn messages or email or text messages that we haven’t responded to.”

Apart from addiction, this unprecedented level of being connected also has tragic consequences at times, with some teenagers even taking their lives after being bullied over the Internet.

The death of Australian presenter and former model Charlotte Dawson has also brought the issue of bullying via social media back into the spotlight.

“Some of our victims that have been cyber-bullied have received messages such as ‘Why don’t you go hang yourself, everyone at school hates you, you’re fat, you’re ugly, go and have look at yourself in the mirror’,” Mr Yildiz said.

“That sinking feeling of not being included in a group or not wanting to open a text message – they’re the things that are going on at the moment.”

The Bully Zero Australia Foundation has helped hundreds of people affected by cyber-bullying, even saving the lives of 12 people by referring them to help.

Raising funds and awareness

Mr Yildiz said the Digital Detox Program, inspired by a video by Best Enemies, aims to raise awareness of cyber-bullying and to help address it.

Students from Essendon Keilor College, in suburban Melbourne, are among those taking part in the campaign.

Many have first-hand experience cyber-bullying.

“I was affected myself and a lot of friends as well… I sought help from parents and they helped cut it out,” said Tyson Windus, a Year Seven student.

Year 10 student Ryan Bagaric says the Internet makes it easier for people to target others.

“It’s a more easy form, instead of actually confronting the person.”

The students say they will spend their Internet-free weekend mostly outdoors – playing cricket, cycling and catching up with friends.

“By pledging they’re basically raising money for their organisation,” Mr Yildiz said.

“That money stays at their organisation, and through our partner at Best Enemies we deliver cyber-safety training and cyber-safety resources.”

Mr Yildiz added that he hopes the detox would promote change.

“It’s about people [pledging] that they’ll be a bit more mindful and a bit more empathetic about the messages they’re sending,” he said.

“If you wouldn’t say it to someone in a face-to-face situation, don’t send them a text message, don’t write them an email.”

The 48-hour Digital Detox begins March 21 at 9:00am (AEDST).Radio Australia.

9) Western Sydney Wanderers beat Kawasaki Frontale 1-0 in Asian Champions League

Updated 19 March 2014, 22:25 AEST

A Labinot Haliti strike has handed Western Sydney a 1-0 victory over Japanese side Kawasaki Frontale, boosting their hopes of progressing to the Asian Champions League knockout phase.

It took less than three minutes for the Wanderers to make their mark with Haliti’s early goal giving the hosts a dream start at Parramatta Stadium.

Despite a second half assault from Kawasaki – a side featuring several of Shinji Ono’s former Japanese international teammates the likes of ex-EPL star Junichi Inamoto – the Wanderers’ desperate defending ensured they held on for the win to consolidate second spot in their group.

Popovic made no less than nine changes to the starting side that drew 0-0 to Adelaide on Saturday while for Kawasaki only had three players back up from their side’s 4-3 defeat to Omiya Ardija at the weekend.

A fresh Wanderers side struck early when Kwabena Appiah provided a great through-ball to Tomi Juric, the forward passing it to the feet of the waiting Haliti who put the Wanderers in front.

But despite the strong start there were few chances in the opening half.

The only other shot on target was courtesy of Jun Kanakubo who stung Wanderers keeper Ante Covic’s palms with a powerful strike.

It was a much more attacking Kawasaki who took to the field after the break.

Coach Yahiro Kazama brought on Kengo Nakamura in the second half and the star playmaker had an instant impact testing the Wanderers defence from the get go.

Kentaro Moriya forced a save from Covic moments later while Yu Kobayashi and Ryota Oshima also threatened.

But the most spectacular chance of the match was created by Wanderers striker Juric, who’s impressive bicycle kick off Aaron Mooy’s corner had Kawasaki keeper Yohei Nishibe scrambling to just get a hand to it.

Desperately looking for an equaliser Kazama brought on Yoshito Okubo, the J-League’s golden boot last season, with just over 20 minutes remaining.

Okubo looked like levelling twice in the dying minutes but the Wanderers managed to hold on for victory.

“Delighted with the result, it was tough and we played a very good opponent,” Wanderers coach Tony Popovic said.

“All the A-League sides have shown we can compete at this level, Central Coast beating J-League champions Sanfrecce, Victory winning last night over Yokohama and us tonight… it’s a good step forward for the A-League.”



10) Manus Island detentsen senta ” iluk poret”, PNG jadge i karim aut wok painim long human rait itok

Postim 19 March 2014, 8:52 AEST
Liam Fox long Manus Island

Wanpela jadge  blong Papua New Guinea i karim aut ol wok painim long sait blong human rait long detentsen senta blong Australia long Manus Island itok lukluk blong ol pipol insait long en olsem oli poret.

Aninit long loa blong Papua New Guinea Supreme kot iken kamapim tingting long kamapim ol wok painim igo long ol wari blong human raits.

Jastis David Canning ibin mekim dispela  bihain longol pait na trabel blong las mun we i kamapim dai blong wanpela asailam sika na planti ol arapela ibin kisim bagarap.

Em nau igo lukluk long dispela senta na itok namba wan samting em ibin lukim em bikpela namba blong ol sekuriti offisa kamap na soim pes blong ol.

Em i tok long lukluk blong en ol wokman na meri imas stretim gut ol samting long sotpela taim long ol exercise na ol dormitories blong ol asailam sika ,

Emi tok em ino toktok wantaim sampela blong ol asailam sika tasol itok oli bin traim autim koros blong ol igo long em olsem ol toilet na shower rum  oli bin stretim na klinim gut redi long lukluk blong em.

Jastis Canning itok long medikel eria oli luk klin na olgeta samting oli stretim gut, na ol asailam sika yet i luk gut nogat sik na tu oli no luk angere.

Narapela samting emi tok em ol asailam sika lukim orait,kaikai gut na oli  dress australia

11) Ol bisnis long PNG Highlands i wari long rot kondisen blong Highway

Updated 19 March 2014, 15:52 AEST
Jessy Bendene

Planti pipol na business i lusim bikpla moni tru long wanem road kondition blong higlands highway i bagarap tru.

Dispela toktok i kam long wanpela Senia Lecture blong Univerity blong Goroka John Wanis.

Em i tok o rod i save halivim ol  bikpla economi oa bisnis blong kantri na gavaman mas luksave na hariap long givim halivim igo long ol pipol.

John Wanis itok long taim blong en bikpela wari isave kamap long ol papa blong ol liklik kar long wanem ol kain bagarap isave kamap long ol na moni blong baim ol spia part isave bikpela tru.

Long lukluk blong John Wanis emi tok tupela bikpela samting emi lukim isave kamapim ol dispela heve.

Wanpela em ol drain oa baret blong ol wara i ron long en  ino save gutpela,na sapos igat bikpela ren, wara isave pulap na bikpela long en isave kapsait ken igo ol bik rot blong ol kar i ron long en na tu karim oa wasim ol karanas aut long pes blong rot.

Narapela wari em ol bikpela trak i karim ol bikpela ol masin oa equipment igo antap long LNG Projek long Southern Highlands em heve oa weight blong ol i bikpela moa na sapos igat liklik hole long rot istap na taim dispela bikpela trak wantaim ol bikpela heve igo antap long ol, dispela nau i mekim dispela liklik hole igo bikpela moa yet na mekim rot igo bagarap olgeta.Radio Australia


12) Vanuatu : Contrat de Bonne Gouvernance et de Développement (CBGD)

Posté à 19 March 2014, 8:47 AEST
Pierre Riant

Un contrat signé avec l’Union européenne qui porte sur 12 millions d’euros échelonnés sur 3 ans.

En échange de ces 12 millions d’euros, le Vanuatu s’engage à suivre les principes de la bonne gouvernance et à mettre en place toute une série de réformes relatives à la gestion des finances publiques.

Le gouvernement du Vanuatu devra aussi faire des efforts pour améliorer les secteurs de la santé et de l’éducation, veiller à l’entretien des infrastructures dans les îles périphériques, favoriser l’égalité entre les hommes et les femmes, lutter contre la corruption et faire preuve de transparence dans la gestion des finances publiques…Radio Australia

13) Précarité dans le Pacifique

Posté à 19 March 2014, 8:25 AEST
Pierre Riant

Selon la dernière étude de la Banque mondiale, 20% des populations de la région du Pacifique sont en situation de précarité et ne peuvent pas répondre à leurs besoins les plus élémentaires ; comme acheter suffisamment de nourriture ou des médicaments.

Une rue de Papeete à la nuit tombée…. [Christophe Serra Mallol]

Les ménages de plus de 3 enfants, ceux dirigés par des personnes âgées et les personnes avec un faible niveau de scolarité sont parmi les plus vulnérables à la précarité.

Nous avons parlé avec Melissa Adelman, économiste à la Banque mondiale et auteur de ce rapport intitulé : «  Hardship and Vulnerability in the Pacific Island Countries », que l’on pourrait traduire par : Détresse et vulnérabilité dans les nations océaniennes du Pacifique.

Nous avons tout d’abord voulu savoir si la précarité est en train de s’aggraver dans la région du Pacifique.

ADELMAN : « C’est une question incroyablement importante mais malheureusement nous n’avons pas assez de données pour y répondre. Il n’y a pas eu beaucoup d’études dans le Pacifique et nous ne pouvons pas établir les tendances à travers le temps.

Mais ce que nous pouvons dire, c’est que les difficultés sont très répandues et que les risques s’agrandissent et dans ce sens les gens deviennent plus vulnérables. »

Mais de quoi parle-t-on quand on parle de risques qui s’aggravent ?

ADELMAN : « Le rapport se penche sur toute une palette de risques. Les risques naturels, comme les catastrophes naturelles. Les risques d’ordre économique et les risques en matière de santé qui sont très importants dans le Pacifique.

Les risques d’ordre économique représentent des défis toujours plus grands dans le Pacifique, comme la crise mondiale des prix des produits de base. Quant à la santé, la crise des maladies non transmissibles dans la Pacifique progresse très rapidement. »

Résumons : les catastrophes naturelles, les difficultés économiques et les risques posées à la santé sont autant de facteurs qui contribuent à cette précarité dans laquelle se retrouvent 20% des populations de la région du Pacifique. Ce rapport mondial avait pour but de faire un état des lieux pour ensuite soumettre des recommandations aux gouvernements régionaux pour qu’ils prennent en compte tous ces défis et difficultés dans l’élaboration de leurs politiques.

Que recommande ce rapport ?

ADELMAN : « Le rapport propose des recommandations dans 3 grands secteurs. Le premier étant le rôle du gouvernement pour aider les ménages à mieux gérer les risques et les difficultés.

Et pour cela un gouvernement doit comprendre que des réseaux d’aide traditionnels existent mais qu’ils ne peuvent pas à eux seuls solutionner tous les problèmes.

Le gouvernement peut aussi fournir davantage d’outils aux ménages pour qu’ils puissent mieux gérer les risques et les difficultés. Cela peut-être l’accès à des financements, des opportunités de migration ou des systèmes de sécurité sociale pour les plus vulnérables. »

Les gouvernements doivent donc venir en complément des réseaux d’aide traditionnels du Pacifique. Les gouvernements doivent aussi se montrer judicieux quand ils investissent l’argent des contribuables. Dans la mise en place, par exemple, d’un système de protection sociale comme une caisse de retraite ou une pension d’invalidité.

ADELMAN : « Dans le contexte du Pacifique, l’espace fiscal est très étriqué et les investissements doivent être le fruit d’une profonde réflexion. Il faut bien cibler ses objectifs en fonction des personnes qui en ont le plus besoin. Ces programmes doivent être bien gérés pour que les résultats obtenus face à l’argent investi soient satisfaisants.

Et il y a de [bons] exemples dans le Pacifique. Kiribati notamment qui a mis en place un fonds d’aide aux personnes ayant dépassé un certain âge. La Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée et les îles Salomon propose des programmes d’emploi express visant les populations vulnérables à l’agitation sociale.

Ces types de programmes peuvent fonctionner. S’ils ont été bien conçus et s’ils sont bien gérés, ils donneront des résultats qui justifieront l’investissement. »Radio Austalia


14) 4900 jobs to go

Thursday, March 20, 2014

FRANKFURT – German telecom giant Deutsche Telekom will cut 4900 jobs over the next two years from its IT and consultancy unit T-Systems.

A company spokesman on Tuesday said: “We will cut 2,700 jobs this year and 2,200 jobs next year in Germany,” confirming a report by daily Frankfurter Allegemeine Zeitung.

T-Systems has struggled for years to turn a profit, competing with IBM, EDS and other IT giants to provide companies with their computer network systems.

The subsidiary says it currently employs about 50,000 people, but the spokesman said the layoffs were only planned in home-market Germany for now.

“We are now looking at our reach in the rest of the world and we have yet to conclude on a way forward,” the spokesman added.

T-Systems generated revenue of around 9.5 billion euros ($F29.3b) in the 2013 financial year.

15) DeepFace is just as creepy as it sounds
Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Update: 4:44PM FACEBOOK owns the world’s largest photo library, and it now has the technology to match almost all the faces within it. Yes, even the ones you dont tag.

Facebook announced last week that it has developed a program called DeepFace, which researchers say can determine whether two photographed faces are of the same person with 97.25 per cent accuracy.

According to Facebook, humans put to the same test answer correctly 97.53 per cent of the time only a quarter of a per cent better than Facebook’s software.

The takeaway: Facebook has essentially caught up to humans when it comes to remembering a face. The program was developed by three in-house Facebook researchers and a professor at Tel Aviv University.

As an example, the developers show in a paper on the program that DeepFace can successfully recognise that this is Academy Award winner Sylvester Stallone.

In order to better match faces, the researchers created a neural network in its software meant to imitate animals central nervous system.

For now the program, first reported on by the MIT Technology Review, is only a research project and will not affect the 1.23 billion people who regularly use Facebook.

But CEO Mark Zuckerberg has expressed deep interest in building out Facebook’s artificial intelligence capabilities when speaking to investors in the past. His ambition actually stretches beyond facial recognition to analysing the text of status updates and comments to decipher mood and context.

Theres a business purpose behind all this intellectual enthusiasm: Understanding all the information we post on the social network is central to Facebook’s business model, which leverages data to personalise ads so you’ll be more likely to click on them.

Facebook’s growing ability to recognise you when a friend uploads photos from a vacation together has caught the attention of privacy advocates and government officials alike.

For example, more privacy-conscious European governments have already forced Facebook to delete all of its facial recognition data there.

16) Air pollution in China hurting recruitment of foreign executives

Posted 19 March 2014, 23:45 AEST

A business survey finds China’s poor air quality is making it difficult to attract top executives to the country.

China’s smog is making it harder for foreign firms to convince top executives to work in the country, the American Chamber of Commerce in Beijing said, offering some of the strongest evidence yet on how pollution is hurting recruitment.

Some 48 per cent of the 365 foreign companies that replied to the chamber’s annual survey, which covers businesses in China’s northern cities, said concerns over air quality were turning senior executives away.

Pollution is “a difficulty in recruiting and retaining senior executive talent”, the report said.

The 2014 figure is a jump from the 19 per cent of foreign firms that said smog was a problem for recruitment in 2010.

However, China’s slowing economy remained the top risk for companies.

Foreign executives increasingly complain about pollution in China and the perceived impact it is having on the health of themselves and their families.

Several high-profile executives have left China in recent years, citing pollution as the main reason for their decision to go.

Pollution problem

Almost all Chinese cities monitored for pollution last year failed to meet state standards, but northern China suffers the most.

It is home to much of China’s coal, steel and cement production. It is also much colder, relying on industrial coal boilers to provide heating during the long winter.

The capital Beijing, for example, is surrounded by the big and heavily polluted industrial province of Hebei. It is also choked by traffic.

By contrast, China’s commercial capital Shanghai, in the south, suffers less air pollution.

Indeed, a similar survey conducted by the American Chamber of Commerce’s Shanghai branch did not ask if pollution was affecting recruitment.

Premier Li Keqiang “declared war” on pollution at the opening of the annual session of parliament this month, part of a push to wean the world’s second biggest economy from credit-fuelled growth to more sustainable development.

China also pledged to make 60 per cent of its cities meet national pollution standards by 2020.

Lulu Zhou, associate director of the Beijing Office of international recruitment agency Robert Walters China, said some foreign executives were using pollution to negotiate higher salary packages.

“We have seen some senior level professionals… who are concerned about relocating to Beijing because of the pollution,” she said.

In a sign of the growing corporate concern over pollution, Japanese electronics firm Panasonic Corp has told its unions it will review the hardship allowance paid to expatriates in China because of the air quality, a spokeswoman said.

And a state-owned Chinese insurer said this week it would offer Beijing residents insurance cover against health risks caused by air pollution, promising to pay out $US 240 to policy holders hospitalised by smog.

Beijing’s official air quality index (AQI), which measures airborne pollutants including particulate matter and sulphur dioxide, routinely exceeds 300, and sometimes hits levels higher than 500.

Slowing economy a concern

Despite the concerns over pollution, China’s cooling economy, which is projected to grow this year at about 7.5 per cent, posed the greatest risk to companies.

The survey found firms increasingly reported a stagnation or contraction in operating margins compared with previous years.

As a result, more foreign firms saw China “as just one of many investment possibilities”.

Nevertheless, a majority of companies surveyed remained optimistic about the business outlook for the next two years.

“This optimism is driven by our membership’s confidence in their own ability to adjust and deal with the challenges,” Mark Duval, China president of the American Chamber of Commerce, said.

Many members had high expectations that recently announced economic reforms might deliver, Mr Duval added.

But two in five respondents to the Beijing survey said the business climate had become less welcoming for multinationals, with a similar number saying foreign firms were being singled out in a series of pricing and corruption investigations.

Respondents also chafed at perceived state enterprise favouritism, with 77 per cent believing policies benefiting state-owned firms had negatively impacted their business.

“My judgement is that the biggest area that drives (this response) would be market access,” Mr Duval said.

Protection of trade secrets and company name theft were among other issues worrying businesses.

Half of all respondents said that protecting confidential company data was a concern while other difficulties were a lack of clarity and inconsistency in the application of laws and regulations.


17) Polling starts on Venice independence

18 March 2014

Voting has begun in Venice and the surrounding region on whether to break away from Italy.

Recent opinion polls suggest that two-thirds of the four million electorate favour splitting from Rome but the vote will not be legally binding.

The poll was organised by local activists and parties, who want a future state called Republic of Veneto.

This would be reminiscent of the sovereign Venetian republic that existed for more than 1000 years, the BBC reports.

A focal point for culture, architecture and trade, Venice lost its independence to Napoleon in 1797.

The vote received very little coverage in Italy’s national media but the organisers said they expected as many as two million people to take part.

Online voting is due to continue until Friday.C/- Radio NZ.


18) Fiji dengue outbreak expected to affect 24,000 people

By Online Editor
3:23 pm GMT+12, 19/03/2014, Fiji

Fiji’s Ministry of Health says up to 24,000 people in the country will experience dengue fever during the current outbreak, the worst recorded since 1975.

Twelve people have died and 11,359 cases recorded since October.

The Ministry’s communicable diseases advisor, Mike Kama, says 1,000 people have contracted dengue every week for the last six weeks.

Dr Kama says this has put a strain on hospitals.

“In terms of the management of the masses that flock to the health centres at this point and time – we’ve had to build some extra facilities especially for the outpatient department. We’ve had to bring in some volunteers from our NGOs to work in our triage section. We’ve been managing quite well, considering the burden.”

Dr Kama says the ministry has a three-month plan underway to stop the outbreak, focusing on surveillance, clinical management, prevention and clean-up.



19) Matevulu College to host Chinese Secondary School

Posted on March 19, 2014 –

Harrison Selmen

Discussions are underway between the Chinese Panyu Xiangjiang Educational Group Ltd, Matevulu College and the Ministry of Education for Matevulu College to host a Chinese Secondary school.

Matevulu College has a land mass of around 700 hectares the College was reportedly using around only 20 Hectares. The land space, the environment are some key factors that has convinced the Chinese Group to target the College as a suitable site.
However, Minister of Education, Bob Loughman, during the discussions said the Ministry’s Priority is the education of Ni-Vans and the Ministry will make sure the Project is beneficial to Matevulu College and its students.

Chinese Translator, Shen Haihua, told the Minister that the new Vanuatu Immigration changed of policy will benefit their project and the establishment of their secondary school should support the College in terms of Human Resources, facilities and renovation of the college.

Principal of Matevulu College, Henry Wass, told local Media that the project could be beneficial to the College especially during the financial crisis the college is facing. He said the students and the College staff of the two institutions can exchange cultures and learn different skills.

The whole concept of the project is to build a secondary school in Vanuatu that could host Chinese students to study in a different Country than in China. The education system in China is difficult for many students due to the huge population. This means Chinese students must pass and have good grades to be eligible to go into a University in China whereas studying in a different country outside from China although having score a low grade they can still excel to any University due to the Permanent residency they own.

The project will see teachers exchange during teaching sessions from the two institutions and their level of performances can also be monitored here.
The discussions was only a proposal to the Vanuatu Government choosing Matevulu as a suitable site while the paper works is in process.
If the project can be successful the first intake of students was reported to travel to Vanuatu by September this year. The Chinese Group told the Minister that they are ready to build and renovate before the first intake comes.

If the project is successful it will be the first type of project in Vanuatu, a Chinese Secondary school and Vanuatu College working in partnership together to develop the Education Sector of the two countries.

20) PNG’s University Of Technology Faces Closure
Long-running student protest keeps classes from meeting

By Malum Nalu

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, March 17, 2014) – The University of Technology in Lae, Morobe, faces closure if protesting students refuse to return to classes, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill says.

That is in support of the call by Higher Education Minister Delilah Gore for Unitech students to return to classes.

There have been no classes since the beginning of this year as students are staying away to support their demand for the return of former Vice Chancellor Dr Albert Schram.

“Students have got no right to appoint or demand vice chancellors. The University Council does that,” O’Neill told reporters.

“The National Executive Council will deliberate on this matter next (this) week. If it means that there’s an option of shutting down the university, we will.”

“If people are not serious about their education, we are serious about their education. We want to educate people who want to learn and become better citizens. Return to class or we will make some decisions. It may be tough, unfair on your parents, unfair on the government that is paying for many of these students.”

“They get allowances, they get full scholarships, we pay for the teachers to be there, we build the university for them, we’re putting in another K500 million to build all the tertiary institutions in the country, we don’t need this to continue. I think it’s up to the students to make their decision.”

“If the new council feels that Schram is the rightfully qualified person, they will employ him, if not somebody else.”

“We will be recommending to the new council that they hire an international HR firm to recruit the best person to be vice chancellor. I think that is the fairest thing to do under the circumstances.”

The National


21) West Papua Separatist Reportedly Killed By Indonesian Military
Patrol has ‘shootout’ with ‘illegally armed men’: 4 arrested

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 18, 2014) – A joint police and Indonesian military patrol has reportedly killed a suspected separatist and arrested four others in Papua province.

The Papua Police chief Inspector General Tito Karnavian is quoted in Indonesian media as saying the patrol encountered a group of illegally armed men in Kota Mulia, a regency of Puncak Jaya.

He says the group started shooting at the patrol which security forces claim included West Papuan separatists.

General Karnavian says that in the ensuing shootout, one of the illegally armed men was wounded in the encounter and died en route to a local hospital, adding that two of four had also been injured.

Radio New Zealand International

22) Pruaitch back in role as PNG’s Treasurer

19 March 2014

The Papua New Guinea government has named Patrick Pruaitch as the new Treasurer.

The appointment comes after Don Polye was sacked as Treasurer last week by the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.

Mr Pruaitch is the leader of the National Alliance party, which is one of the key coalition partners in the O’Neill-led government.

He previously held big portolfios such as Finance and Treasury in the former Somare government.

Mr Pruaitch was suspended as Treasurer in 2010 after being referred to a leadership tribunal over allegations of misconduct in office.

As part of the cabinet reshuffle which sees Mr Pruaitch take up the Treasury portfolio again, he vacates the position of Forestry Minister which is to be taken up by Douglas Tomuriesa.

Mr Tomuriesa is from the Triumph Heritage Empowerment Party of Don Polye.c/- radio NZ

23) Another cabinet reshuffle in PNG soon
By Online Editor
3:24 pm GMT+12, 19/03/2014, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill is expected to make another minor Cabinet reshuffle this week.

The National has been reliably informed that O’Neill has asked the Triumph Heritage Empowerment (THE) Party and the United Resources Party (URP) to submit names of their candidates for the number of ministries they lost in the recent changes.

THE Party lost the treasury and labour and industrial relations ministries last week when party leader Don Polye and deputy leader (Southern) Mark Maipakai were sacked.

URP lost the petroleum and energy ministry last month when its leader William Duma was sacked by O’Neill.
O’Neill told a caucus meeting of his People’s National Congress (PNC) Party on Sunday that he would appoint new ministers from the two parties in accordance with the Alotau Accord.

According to government insiders, Polye is unlikely to be considered for other ministry, while Duma may be given another portfolio to appease URP.

The removal of Polye and Maipakai has left two vacancies in Cabinet. O’Neill is the acting treasurer, while Deputy Prime Minister Leo Dion is acting labour and industrial relations minister.

It is understood that O’Neill may offload the key treasury ministry to a trusted coalition partner like National Alliance (NA) Party, whose leader Patrick Pruaitch has been tipped for the post he previously held in the former Somare regime.

Government insiders believe that a mutual agreement may have been reached during O’Neill’s visit to Maprik, East Sepik, last week where he took part in a reconciliation ceremony with former prime minister Sir Michael Somare.



24) ‘Rambo’ tops list of popular films in PNG Highlands

Updated 19 March 2014, 14:35 AEST

A report in PNG has revealed some surprising findings about the kinds of movies people are watching.

Researchers have studied content at CD houses, known locally as ‘haus piksas’, in the PNG Highlands.

Report co-author Verena Thomas has told Pacific Beat the most popular movies are a curious mix.

“Number one was Rambo, US action movie,” Ms Thomas said. “And action movies are very, very popular in the haus piksas.

“We also found that people were watching Nigerian movies, Nollywood. So number two was a romantic series called True Love.

“Then number three was Titanic, so a romance from the US.”

With limited electricity in the Highlands, CD houses are small stalls where people gather to watch films.

American productions dominate the list of most popular, making up 14 of the top 20.

Movies from Philippines, China, Hong Kong and India also feature, with action by far the most common genre.

Most popular films in PNG Highlands

Rambo series (USA)
True Love (Nigeria)
Titanic (USA)
Van Damme (USA)
Endless Love (Philippines)
Delta Force (USA)
The Expendables series (USA)
Commando (USA)
Krishna (India)
The Gods Must Be Crazy (South Africa)

The CD house network has become an integral part of the informal entertainment industry in the PNG Highlands.

“It’s a lucrative side business,” Ms Thomas said.

“That means that there’s an informal economy out of this and it means that films are being distributed in the country but we working in the media industry haven’t really realised that potential for distribution.”

Photo: An audience at a CD house in PNG’s Highlands(PACMAS)

The CD houses are often the only places with electricity at night in small villages.

Researchers say they’ve become a hub for community gatherings, with small markets often also part of the set-up.

Lacking local content

Operators charge a small fee to watch the films, which are normally pirated copies of overseas productions.

The study into the CD houses was funded by the Pacific Media Assistance Scheme Innovation Grant and carried out by the University of Goroka.

Researchers were trying to work out what people were interested in and how the whole informal video distribution system works in the Highlands.

“We wanted to find that out because we, ourselves, here at the Centre for Social and Creative Media, are producing media content for education and for social messaging,” Ms Thomas said.

“So we wanted to understand how we could bring these films that we are producing locally to an audience in PNG.”

The first PNG-made film on the list doesn’t appear until number 33.

And with action films dominating the list, there’s concern that children may be exposed to too much violent content.

Photo: Owner Gogula Magee out the font of his CD house (left) and trade store (right) in the town of Ufeka (PACMAS)

Researchers say that isn’t the only worry about young consumers.

“Also the fact that they would spend much time in the evening watching movies and then they might be late for school or wouldn’t spend their time doing other activities in the community,” Ms Thomas said.

Researchers say PNG’s education system needs to have more focus on the way the media industry works.Radio Australia

25) Setting up TV station in Bougainville seen as crucial
By Online Editor
3:16 pm GMT+12, 19/03/2014, Papua New Guinea

The regional member for Papua New Guinea’s autonomous province of Bougainville says setting up a television station is crucial as the province prepares for its eventual referendum on independence.

Joe Lera recently visited Dunedin in New Zealand, where he’s been in discussions with a TV producer to help set up a TV station.

He says since the height of the civil war in the 1990s, the only medium available is Radio Bougainville which only reaches a few people.

He says only people in urban areas own television sets, and most can only access one station from PNG but his plan is to introduce satellite television which would reach the whole province.

“So that my people can have television to easily access information on all aspects of government and development and that sort of thing. In light of the referendum I think it will play a major role in awareness to the people.”

Lera says grants from the national government would fund the project.

Bougainville is to conduct the referendum some time after 2015.


26) FBC signs MOU with Turkey Radio and TV
By Online Editor
3:15 pm GMT+12, 19/03/2014, Fiji

The Fiji Broadcasting Corporation has added yet another International Broadcaster to its list of MOU’s signed with national and reputable international broadcasters.

The latest in the list is Turkey Radio and Television Broadcasting (TRT).

The MOU was signed on behalf of FBC by Fiji’s Ambassador to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Countries, Ambassador Robin Nair on Monday.

The MOU will mean that FBC and TRT will now exchange material and training for radio and TV.

This MOU comes on the back of other’s signed with Korean Broadcasting Giants – KBS and EBS.

The national broadcaster says it is looking forward to moving ahead in the spirit of the MOU in the near future.



27) Australian franchises keen to operate in PNG
By Online Editor
12:27 pm GMT+12, 19/03/2014, Papua New Guinea

Several franchises in Australia have indicated interest in partnering with National Development Bank (NDB) to bring in businesses to support locals in setting up businesses, bank managing director Moses Liu said.

He said negotiations were on-going.

NDB Investment Ltd (NDBIL), a subsidiary of NDB, was seeking reputable international franchises to support its Stret Pasin Business Scheme (SPBS).

NDBIL was looking at bringing in franchises such as McDonalds, KFC, 7-Eleven convenience stores, NightOwl and Starbucks.

“We did approach McDonalds, but they are not prepared to come yet.”

Liu and NDB Investment acting chief executive Desmond Yaninen were in Australia recently and met with some of the franchises who indicated interest in setting up businesses in PNG.

“We went to Australia to explore franchise operations and met with those interested to set up shops here.
“The franchise owners we talked to were interested and said they will progress in the next stage where initial agreement may be signed.

“But at this time, it was basically exploratory.”

Yaninen earlier said: “Since NDBIL is not a specialist in running restaurants or hotels, but we will bring in reputable international franchises to operate in PNG.”

He said successful individuals who passed all stages to qualify for SPBS will be put in charge to run those franchises.

“They will run them and could eventually own them.

Yaninen said NDBIL would bring in the franchises and would operate them as the master franchisee.

“That will also depend on whether they will be viable to operate in PNG market,” Yaninen said.

He said there are many advantages, including:

* Avoiding unnecessary trial and error period in starting and operating a new business;
* Lower financial risk compared with other ventures as investment costs are lower and profit margins are higher; and
*Opportunity to run a proven business concept.


28) New farm opens door to food security in PNG
By Online Editor
09:45 am GMT+12, 19/03/2014, Papua New Guinea

A multi million kina agro-farm was officially opened by the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill outside Port Moresby Tuesday.

The farm was developed in partnership with the LR Group’s company called Innovative Agro Industry limited, an Israel-based company.

Housed on the land availed by the Jesus Christ Halfway House at Nine Mile, the farm is a modern, high intensive vegetable farm which is presently growing large quantities of cucumber, tomatoes, capsicum, zucchini and lettuce.

Unlike a traditional farm where these vegetables would be grown in the ground, they are being grown in materials which feed the roots system with the necessary nutrients and in a controlled environment.

The farm aims to take a leading role in the PNG vegetable market, offer an alternative to imorts by locally produced affordable, fresh quality products, establish a sustainable market driven facility,through the implementation of advanced high intensive agro technologies, introduce and transfer new agro-technology and how to the PNG Agro-sector, and train and empower the youths of the Halfway house as well as residents in the surrounding community.

The event proved significant in that it to be a sure step in aiding government in reducing its level of agriculture imports.

The event was witness by a host of dignitaries including O’Neill’s wife Lynda Babao, Minister for Agriculture and Livestock Tommy Tomscoll, Governors Paias Wingti (Western Highlands) and Anderson Aigiru (Southern) PNG’s Honorary Consul to Israel Dr Jacob Weiss, the group’s PNG representative Ami Lustig.

Also present for the event were representatives of the Jesus Center Half Way Haus namely Pastor Charles Lapa and Mel Togolo who are the legal owners of the land in which the farm is housed.

O’Neill said the opportunities and benefits of the project to be many.

These being employment, food security which the prime minister said to be key to a nation’s success and in the long run achieve government’s intention of import replacement.

He said there to be plans already in place to partner with this Israeli company to open up a project in the Markham Plains, in Central province at the once thriving Ilimo Poultry Farm.

He added dairy produce to also be another area they will also be venturing into.

“Through import replacement, we will then be able to reduce government spending, keep the money in country and see a reduce prices we as customers pay on these items,” he said.

Wiise said the project to have been mooted when the prime minister was then the country’s treasurer.

He said the talks had resulted in the Israeli firm being brought on board and with partnership of other partners including the PNG Sustainable Development, Western Highlands Development Corporation made a reality.

Ami Lustig from ISRPNG said the project would among other things strengthen the bond between the two countries.


29) 71 Ni-Vanuatu Seasonal employer needs seasonal workers

By Online Editor
3:21 pm GMT+12, 19/03/2014, Vanuatu

A total of 71 Ni-Vanuatu workers will be recruited to begin work as fruit and vegetable pickers on five different farms at the Maroochy SunShine, Pacific Crop Harvesting PTY LTD in Australia by Tuesday next week.

Vanuatu’s Department of Labour, through its Recognized Seasonal Employment (RSE) Scheme has encountered another milestone that it believes should keep the ‘ball rolling’ for recruitment to Australia.

The Commissioner of Labour, Lionel Kaluat, was pleased to inform everyone from Torba to Tafea that another seasonal employer from Australia is interested in recruiting workers from Vanuatu on a trial and if Vanuatu proves itself reliable and honest then he (the employer) would consider increasing the number of workers.

Emmanuel Bani is a Papua New Guinea national with dual Australian citizenship. He is a director of the Pacific Crop Harvesting, a specialist farm-work labour hire company; employing people from different countries globally with a majority from the Australian South Sea Islanders (ASSI) communities.

The Commonwealth of Australia accredits Pacific Crop Harvesting and is the only company out of many others in Australia that was permitted for recruiting in Vanuatu.

In his recent trip from Australia to meet the commissioner, Bani said shortage of laborers at the farms has prompted him to recruit workers from neighboring Melanesian countries-Papua New Guinea, Solomon and Vanuatu.

He said he initiated Pacific Crop Harvesting in 2009 for his Melanesian brothers.

Referring himself as a Melanesian, he said: “ I have come for everyone and I wanted that the whole population must benefit a 100% from this arrangement.

“I know there is a large population out there on the islands and Vanuatu is already participating in the RSE Scheme and at a fast phase not like the Solomon Islands and PNG are slow.

“We (Melanesians) need this business. However, Ni-Vanuatu workers must also bear in mind that unlike New Zealand, there is tougher competition in Australia; workers who want work in Australia must know the language of Sydney, Bundaberg or Canberra.

“Before I came to Vanuatu, I did not have the mindset about history that our Melanesian blackbirded descendants through their sweats have prepared everything in advance as erecting roads and farms. The government of Australia owes us.

“Whilst the Australian Government is not responding yet, by this scheme, we are receiving back benefits and communications would open up between Vanuatu and ASSI”.

Vanuatu has waited long enough for Australian market, said the commissioner.

He assured the Australian Employer that his department would work with the agents to make sure that by March 25, his requested 71 workers are identify, orient and arrange as suitable workers to send to Australia.

Commissioner Kaluat has approved David Abel from the Vete Co operative Savings &Loan Sty Ltd and Johnston Tau from the Vanuatu Labour Market to operate for employers as seasonal employment agents for Bani in Vanuatu.

Both the commissioner and Bani warn all Ni-Vanuatu RSE workers plus those people who may be fortune to be part of these 71, against drunken behavior as this scheme is of best benefit for Vanuatu with indication it can expand in the next years.


30) PM Lilo pleased to meet seasonal workers in NZ
By Online Editor
3:19 pm GMT+12, 19/03/2014, Solomon Islands

Solomon Islands Prime  Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo says he was pleased to meet locals working under the Pacific Seasonal Workers Scheme in New Zealand during his visit last week.

Speaking on his arrival on Monday, Lilo said he had visited a farm just outside of Wellington and was overwhelmed by the owner’s encouraging sentiments that the local workers are well behaved and hardworking.

And to see how the scheme has provided employment opportunities for Solomon Islanders who have engaged in the workers scheme.

“I believe it is a win-win situation whereby it benefits both the Solomon Islands and NZ economies,” Mr Lilo said.

PM said he reminded the workers to work to help their families and the country.

He stressed that benefits the two countries share through the seasonal workers scheme is important for both countries’ economies.

However, he said both countries have agreed that there is still room for improvement to lift the standard of such arrangements in the future including other issues like policing, defence and national security.

PM Lilo highlighted that such arrangements are important to continue to build the strategies and plans to engage positively to benefit both countries and their people.


31) Council dwells on democracy, unity

Geraldine Panapasa
Thursday, March 20, 2014

FMF Foods Group CEO Ram Bajekal and FHL CEO Nouzab Fareed at the Fiji Indigenous Business Council symposium yesterday. Picture: GERALDINE PANAPASA

ONLY a democratic government elected by the people of Fiji will bring about stability, confidence and unity to grow businesses in Fiji, says Fiji Indigenous Business Council president Ulai Taoi.

Speaking at the two-day FIBC symposium in Suva yesterday, Mr Taoi said the priority of the new government should focus on developing appropriate policies, which were permanent and sustainable.

“More iTaukei children and young people must be given the opportunity to learn, understand and pursue entrepreneurial ventures as their future way of life. This means that future government policies must be tailored to promote an integrated approach within the various arms of government. By doing this, we will be able to achieve a critical mass, which will help reduce reliance on government assistance, offer a pathway out of poverty, contribute to a higher economic growth for our nation and foster equitable distribution of wealth.”

Attorney-General and Minister for Industry and Trade, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, said Fiji’s relations with its Melanesian counterparts presented opportunities for the council to explore.Fijitimes

32) Fiji’s Minimum Wage Now In Effect: Labour Minister

$2 per hour wage geared towards alleviating poverty

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, March 18, 2014) – Fiji’s new minimum wage of $2 [US$1.07] per hour announced by the government last month came into force on March 1, confirms the Minister for Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Jone Usamate.

Usamate in a government statement said the National Minimum Wage (NMW) Regulations had been gazetted and all relevant employers must adjust their workers’ wage levels and employment conditions to comply with the NMW Regulations and the Employment Relations Promulgation 2007 (ERP).

“The NMW rate of $2 will cover all employers in the informal sector, including employers in the formal sector not covered under the 10 current Wages Regulations Orders (WROs). It will benefit a total of at least 72,000 workers,” Usamate said.

“The overarching objective of this major wage policy is to alleviate poverty among the most marginalised workers in the informal and formal sectors. It is to build a better Fiji for these workers, who have been disadvantaged and disregarded for a long period of time.”

This historical initiative is in line with government’s commitment under the Peoples Charter for Change, Peace and Progress (PCCPP) on reducing poverty to a negligible level by 2015 while enhancing workplace and national productivity.

Usamate cautions employers not to pay below the NMW ($2 per hour) rate and encourages employers to adopt a productivity-based performance system. He said the workers’ rights stipulated in the NMW Regulations were in addition to their rights under the Employment Relations Promulgation .

“All entitlements and fundamental principles of rights at work under the ERP are still applicable to all workers covered under the NMW Regulations. For example, workers entitlements such as annual leave, public holiday leave, maternity leave, sick leave, bereavement leave and all other benefits provided under the ERP must be fully awarded when due,” he added.

Under the regulations all employers are required to display a written NMW notice in their workplaces for the purpose of informing and educating the workers.

The minister reiterates that on the spot fine of $100 will be issued if employers refuse to follow any part of the NMW Regulations and further penalties will be issued upon breach of the Regulations. On conviction, an employer is liable to a fine of $20,000 or two years imprisonment or both.

The ministry in its effort to provide efficient and effective supportive role for the implementation of the NMW has established a Wages Unit which will provide professional secretariat support to the 10 WROs.

Usamate said his ministry would continue to promote the fundamental social justice principles and rights at work with the implementation of the various components of Labour Reforms including the realisation of decent wages, decent conditions and decent work environment that promotes dignity in the workplace for all types of work.



33) Selling the Pacific dream
By Online Editor
3:12 pm GMT+12, 19/03/2014, Fiji

Marketing our tourism to the world

By Dionisia Tabureguci

Would you believe that out of the over 900 million international tourist arrivals registered by the United Nations’ World Tourism Council in 2012, only 1.6 million visited the shores of 16 Pacific Islands countries (PICs) that are members of the South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO)?

That’s a miniscule 0.1 percent share of international tourism in that year.

For perspective, look at how the Caribbean fared. The Caribbean is a region with similar climate, environmental and cultural diversity as the Pacific but that, unfortunately, is where the similarities end.
We got 1.6 million tourists. They got over 25 million tourists in 2012, according to the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO), which has some 30-member countries.
Both regions are close to bigger and more developed economies, yet, global international tourism statistics are revealing how difficult it has been for the Pacific to drive its scattered islands nations into the minds and hearts of the global tourist.
This may be the end of the rainbow in tourist heaven, where gold can be found in a life of great abandon and natural abundance but peel off the layers of paradise and the success of selling it as an ideal tourist destination is as elusive as its best kept secrets.

Economic driver

“The challenge that we have here is how to address the very diverse needs of our member countries,” said Ilisoni Vuidreketi, chief executive officer of SPTO.
As a regional organisation, it is mandated by its 17-member countries (16 Pacific Islands countries and Timor Leste) to play a two-pronged role of promoting them in the global market and assisting in the sustainable development of their tourism industries.
In doing that, SPTO is at the forefront of tourism in this part of the world and is acutely aware of the challenges faced at regional level, especially when marketing its member countries to the world, which hasn’t been easy.
“You have small, isolated countries like Tuvalu with one flight a week and then you have ones like Fiji, which gets something like three flights a day to Australia and New Zealand.
“So you have countries with very limited capacity in tourism, they’re totally isolated and infrastructure is poor, and then you have those that are more developed.
“What we do is we try to provide services that benefit and suit these very different countries and you can just imagine the difficulties. The Caribbean’s biggest advantage is they’re just next door to the U.S and Canada while our biggest challenge here is accessibility. You don’t have the frequency of air services or flights coming to our parts of the world as they do in the Caribbean,” Vuidreketi said.
Tourism is undoubtedly one of the few things that countries in the region have going for them. It isn’t a secret that our small islands economies suffer from geographical isolation.
Most are resource-based, the smaller ones heavily dependent on their fisheries and a few agricultural commodities for export income. All are high consumers of imported goods, with fuel comprising a big chunk of their import bill, followed closely by imported food items.
A select few have been able to sustain a manufacturing industry but with most raw materials having to be imported, even maintaining a manufacturing industry is costly business. Add to that the chronic low level of foreign investments and you get an idea of how economic growth across PICs has been as unhurried as the swaying palm fronds that lend shifting shades to their sultry sandy beaches.
Economists familiar with PICs believe they all could do much better.
But tourism has been an exception, being an industry common to all of them irrespective of size or level of economic development.
In fact, it is estimated that tourism contributed 10.7 percent of the region’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2012, according to a presentation by SPTO in last year’s Pacific Islands Forum Economic Ministers’ (FEM) meeting in Tonga.
In 2010, tourism accounted for 56 percent of Palau’s GDP, 44.4 percent of Cook Islands’ GDP, 34.1 percent of Vanuatu’s GDP and 23.4 percent of Fiji’s GDP.
In most PICs, it continued to be the mainstay of the economy. Global data by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) in 2012 showed that the total (direct, indirect and induced) contribution of tourism to PICs economies was 2.7 percent of total GDP (US$46.7bn) in 2012, and it was forecast to rise by 1.8 percent in 2013. It has also been a significant employer for most PICs, accounting for 11.7 percent of Fiji’s employment, 7.6 percent for Kiribati, 4.8 percent for Tonga and 4.1 percent for Solomon Islands in 2012.
There is little doubt in anyone’s mind of the importance of tourism to Pacific Islands economies.
But with the profile of global tourism being as it is—over 900 million tourists (and counting) visiting international destinations in one year, are we satisfied with the comparatively paltry 1.6 million visitors that we get?
Even with 1.6 million visitors, it is obvious that the benefits are not fairly distributed throughout the 16 PICs members of SPTO.
Fiji appears to be the only one reaping the cream of these movements, registering over 600,000 tourists in 2012 while PNG, at second place, recorded just over 160,000 tourists, according to SPTO data.
If indeed the Pacific is what tourist brochures claim it to be—pristine, primordial, undiscovered and many other things that the world has lost track of—then why aren’t the tourists coming?


“It’s the lack of infrastructure and lack of investments in the tourism sector. These are the two biggest impediments in the growth of tourism in this region,” said Vuidreketi.
“The lack of airports, lack of hotels, etc. You land in an airport of one of these countries and you see a dog crossing the runway, you see people riding their bicycles and waving to you—there are no fences. In some countries, as soon as the plane takes off, the tarmac becomes a volleyball court.
“There is also a general lack of investments when there should be more tourism projects…so when you have a combination of lack of infrastructure, products and investments, it does give rise to the difficulties of growing the industry. Then there is the lack of support at government level. A lot of verbal support is coming from them but when it comes to putting money where their mouth is, things could be different,” Vuidreketi added.
Typically, each SPTO country has a government-funded national tourism office set up for the express purpose of marketing that country as a tourist destination.
And typically, each SPTO country gets annual tourist numbers that range from a few thousand to a few hundred thousand, with Australia and New Zealand being the dominant source markets for most due to their proximity.
Those are the constant factors that typify Pacific tourism. More often than not, the national tourism offices work within the constraints of a very limited budget which means most of their marketing activities are focused on their traditional markets.
But when it comes to infrastructure—or the lack of it—the dilemma of maintaining reliable international air services to the islands comes under the radar.
As it is, most PICs are struggling with aviation issues of their own for their population, trade cargoes and more importantly, for their tourism industries.
The matter is so serious that at one point, there were attempts at regional level to move PICs towards a seamless airspace, where they all could be provided air links to each other and to major markets under a free market concept. It hasn’t materialised because it was seen as a threat by PICs who have their own national airlines.
But there is a general view that a well developed tourism industry locally, with good airports, hotels, supporting activities, services and products to suit the different types of tourist market segments—such as honeymoon, weddings, family, backpacking and flashpacking to name a few—will ensure that tourists come and therefore create the demand that will attract airlines to fly Pacific islands destinations.
This however is where the dilemma is because not all PICs have achieved that level of tourism development.
The bigger PICs like Fiji, PNG, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu with their own national airlines flying to and from international markets are better placed. Yet, it hasn’t necessarily translated to tourist traffic to the smaller islands countries. Neither has it translated to tourist traffic to other smaller islands within their own archipelagos.
Tourists when they do visit are usually confined to a few locations within the mainland or main tourist centres and very few make it to other parts of the country. The Pacific may boast of widely scattered islands and being the lesser traversed slice of civilisation but the provision of transportation for tourists to actually go there and experience the unexplored is usually too costly or simply unavailable.

Tough sell

Then there is the issue of what exactly there is to sell. Because SPTO members occur on a spectrum of least developed tourist market to the more sophisticated, they constitute a regional diversity that is difficult to promote.
Fiji, the Goliath of Pacific tourism, has little trouble in raising its visibility in the international markets but a tiny nation like Kiribati with its 32 atoll islands that make up just 800 sq kilometres scattered over 3.5 sq kilometres of national ocean space is virtually lost internationally because apart from fishing, birdwatching, wreck diving and an under-explored marine life, there is little else for tourists.
Except, that is, if you want to catch a glimpse of a country that may not be around twenty years from now because it is sinking from rising sea levels and climate change.
Kiribati is such a country. With some success, it has turned this unfortunate predicament into a tourist attraction but it still isn’t enough to get tourists in. Kiribati in a year barely manages to attract 5,000 tourists.
A stone throw away, Cook Islands, which is a quarter the size of Kiribati in land area and population, records over 100,000 tourists in a year. Marketing this type of diversity as well as coming up with suitable tourism development programmes for PICs, which is one of SPTO’s primary functions, require careful planning based on thorough research and analyses of what’s available in individual countries and what the needs are.
“We have to play a balancing act on getting activities that benefit small island states and also maintaining services that we provide the bigger member countries,” said Vuidreketi.
“So we do a lot of research, we go to the individual countries to find out what their exact needs are and we work on that to come up with programmes to help them.
“So things have to be suitable for the different countries. In our marketing for example, we cannot just go to the big countries and market the small countries there because they will get lost. We go to events like the fisherman’s trade show in Australia or New Zealand and promote places like Kiribati or Tuvalu there because these events are very relevant to them.”
From SPTO’s experience, it’s hard for individual PICs, with the exception of one or maybe two, to go to the world and raise their visibility because they are too small and are relatively unknown in non-traditional markets.
And this is where the organisation comes in. It complements the work done by the national tourism offices in its member countries who tend to focus their resources on marketing their tourism in their traditional source markets.
The major tourism markets for the region are Australia and New Zealand, which account for over 50 percent of total arrivals, according to SPTO. North America and Europe contribute 30 percent of our tourism followed by Japan and Asia accounting for 9 percent. The rest is attributed to intra-regional (within Pacific) travel.

“South Pacific Dream”

“We go to areas where the need is greater,” said Vuidreketi. “So we go out to the emerging markets. These are countries like the United Kingdom, Europe, China, Canada and the United States. We have to continue promoting the visibility of Pacific islands destinations as exotic destinations for these long-haul markets.
“A lot of them see the Pacific as a special place for them, especially when you look at the attractions that PICs offer, like pristine, natural environment, sun, sand and sea, friendly people, the absence of dangerous animals and the safety that surround us. These are some of the attractions that Pacific destinations do offer but the challenge, I suppose, is PICs need to work hard on strengthening the visibility of this region in those international markets,” Vuidreketi added.
At the end of last year, SPTO embarked on what it calls the “South Pacific Dream”, a new marketing strategy it introduced during a roadshow in the UK. Given the difficulty in presenting PICs individually, the “South Pacific Dream” aims to showcase Pacific destinations in a simple way, without tourists having to wade through the many differences among them.
“Through research, we find that the South Pacific has always been seen as a tropical paradise dream destination that most travellers can only dream of. They dream of coming down to our part of the world because they are attracted to our cultures, the clean, pollution-free environment and also the beach destinations, which conjure up this image of a Pacific dream. So we tag on to that concept,” said Vuidreketi.
Under the “South Pacific Dream”, even the small islands states have as good a chance as the bigger PICs who might already be known in the non-traditional markets.
“If you’re trying to promote yourself individually, you’ll easily get lost because there are hundreds of countries out there and thousands of tourism organisations coming from three different parts of the world. So the ‘South Pacific Dream’ depicts the destinations as a region—the South Pacific. It becomes effective in our marketing in the long haul markets and all our member countries can promote themselves under this umbrella,” Vuidreketi said.
One particular emerging market that unsurprisingly has the attention of SPTO and its members is China, with its increasing interest in Pacific economies and their development aspirations.
“China is one of those emerging economies on our radar and we are fortunate that we have Fiji Airways flying to Hong Kong direct from Nadi. That’s a crucial link to get Chinese tourists to come to this part of the world. China is a massive market so we have to be quite targeted, which is why we have increased our trade shows there to two a year. We start in the bigger areas like Shanghai, Quangzhou and Hong Kong. Over time, we will venture into other areas. If we get at least half a percent of Chinese tourists to come here, that’s huge for us,” said Vuidreketi.
PICs are in luck as the travel patterns of Chinese tourists are said to be changing.
“They are beginning to open up and go outside the Asian region,” Vuidreketi said. “They are coming to Australia, New Zealand and the U.S and with that trend, Pacific islands countries are starting to benefit, so we are responding by increasing our marketing there.”

Cruise tourism—a bright future?

As the issue of international air travel and accessibility is still on the joint agenda of relevant regional authorities, SPTO among them, a window of opportunity is opening for PICs in the form of cruise tourism.
Globally, cruise tourism has grown by over 125 percent with the launching of 143 new cruise ships since 2000, according to a Cruise Market Analysis conducted by SPTO in 2012. This growth has begun to trickle down to Pacific countries that have seaport infrastructure to support cruise liners.
“It’s absolutely a growing market,” said Vuidreketi. “When we attended the cruise liners’ trade show in Miami, we went to see the CEOs of these big cruise liners and they gave us their plans for the next five to 10 years. It’s all growth, growth, growth and they’re building bigger ships with capacity of around 4,000 to 5,000 passengers and up to 1,000 crew.
“The smaller ships with capacity of 1,500 to 2,000 passengers will have to be deployed elsewhere when those bigger ships get into the market. These new bigger ships will go to the bigger ports in Europe and Asia so they will have to move the smaller ships somewhere and they will push them down this way to Australia, New Zealand, PNG and down to the Pacific. So we expect a growth in cruise shipping in the Pacific in the future,” Vuidreketi added.
Cruise shipping destinations in the Pacific are Vanuatu, which has the biggest share of visiting cruises, New Caledonia and Fiji. Growth in visiting cruise liners has also been seen in French Polynesia, American Samoa, Samoa, Tonga and Cook Islands.
It’s one thing however to have these ships come here, it’s another to actually benefit from what they have to offer. Vuidreketi said this is an area that will need a lot of work because when tourists arrive in cruise liners, often staying only for a day or two, there still isn’t very much they can do onshore.
“When I was in Tonga, a cruise ship came in. When I came out of the meeting I was in, I saw tourists walking around and then going back to the boat. What else is there to do? They’ll go back and eat in the boat and just look from there. So there should be more activities on the ground to cater for these cruise ship tourists when they come in,” he said.
Cruise tourism has also created a phenomenon that is giving authorities more headache than encouragement—the fierce competition at ground level when cruise liners are in port.
Taxi operators, handicraft sellers, tour operators and other players fight among each other for business and they give the visitors an unpleasant experience.
“To help manage that, we do port preparedness workshops and they help stakeholders like the city councils, taxi drivers, port authorities, police, etc, on how to handle these tourists,” said Vuidreketi. “We’ve seen the numbers and we know that cruise tourism will grow strongly over the next few years but we have to be ready to cater for that growth. Cruise tourism will benefit if service providers on the ground learn to share these tourists and not compete for them, which is the case right now in some countries,” he added.
The Pacific has a long way to go though, as most countries do not have proper port facilities and support services to host cruise liners. But if properly harnessed, cruise tourism could provide a lucrative alternative for Pacific destinations that still face the unrelenting challenge of securing direct air links to their main source markets……Article from Islands Business Magazine, March 2014 Issue : website-



34) Border reward

Shayal Devi
Thursday, March 20, 2014

A CUSTOMS officer who played a key role in cracking a $1.3milion liquor smuggling and duty evasion operation was yesterday rewarded for his hard work.

At a special recognition ceremony yesterday for seven front line officers, it was revealed that Navneeth Chandra also recovered about $150,000 worth of foreign and local currencies from the suspect’s wife.

The Fiji Islands and Customs Authority said Mr Chandra played an instrumental role in several other investigations, including stopping a local travelling on a passport with different details.

FRCA CEO Jitoko Tikolevu said the authority would reward staff members who were exceptional in their line of duty.

“We want to motivate them to continue to excel in their work and ensure that revenue is collected but, more importantly, that our borders are secure,” he said.

“The authority also rewarded customs officers who won the Fijian Host of the Month awards last year.

“Six FRCA employees won awards for various months in 2013 and the overall winner for the year was Customs officer Deepak Kumar.

“It is important that we continue to improve our services and serve our customers well.

“Customs officers and those who work at the airport are tourism ambassadors and they influence the perception of tourists of Fiji and its people.”Fijitimes

35) Call for investigation into video of alleged PNG police brutality

Updated 19 March 2014, 19:27 AEST

Authorities in Papua New Guinea are being urged to conduct a full and independent inquiry into a video of alleged police brutality.

Amnesty International has urged authorities in PNG to conduct a full and independent inquiry into a video of alleged police brutality. Warning: This video contains images that may disturb viewers. (Credit: ABC)

Authorities in Papua New Guinea are being urged to conduct a full and independent inquiry into a video of alleged police brutality.

The one-minute clip, which has been shared on social media this week, shows men dressed in police uniforms standing next to a police four-wheel-drive, setting their dogs on an unarmed man.

The unverified video appears to have been filmed by a police officer on a mobile phone.

At the end of the film, the man manages to escape and runs off into the distance.

Audio: PNG police dog attack video emerges online (ABC News)

Human rights group Amnesty International says the footage raises serious concerns about torture and other ill-treatment by PNG police.

Amnesty’s Crisis Response Campaign Co-ordinator Michael Hayworth told the ABC he’s appalled by the level of violence shown in the video.

“I’ve never seen anything quite so shocking as alleged members of the PNG police forces setting dogs on an unarmed man,” he said.

“One of the things that stuck with me about the video was the screams of the man as the dogs bit into him and tore his shirt off.”

Mr Hayworth says an inquiry should be launched as soon as possible.

“Certainly the video hasn’t been verified but that just underlines the need for an investigation. We need to see this incident investigated, independently, and impartially by the PNG Government.”

PNG’s Deputy Police Commissioner Simon Kauba says authorities will act once a complaint has been lodged.

“We have not received any report in relation to the issue you’ve quoted,” he said.

“But we would love to get to the bottom of it – if it was reported, we would investigate.”

This isn’t the first time allegations of police brutality have emerged.

Last year an inquiry was launched after a group of police officers used machetes to slash the ankles of more than 70 men involved in a tribal fight in Port Moresby.Radio Australia.

36) People urged to renew passports: Fiji Immigration
By Online Editor
3:22 pm GMT+12, 19/03/2014, Fiji

Fiji’s Immigration Department has advised that passport holders can renew their travel documents before their expiry dates.

Immigration Director Nemani Vuniwaqa says, people shouldn’t wait for their current books to expire than apply for a new one.

He retiterated, the new passports from France has other security features apart from the different pictures of indigenous animals, birds, plants, potteries and war clubs on each page of the passport.

“Apart from those pictures, there are other additional security features which we can confirm to you as a customer, a client as someone holding on to the book, it is safe to hold on to the book, it is a good document to go with and also for travel. It can be guaranteed that you can travel to any port in the world they will accept this particular book”.

Vuniwaqa adds the method of placing the photos on the passbook has also changed.

“Photos are not inserted. Now we have a ghost image of the bearer of the passport. This is an added feature. The last passport the photos were inserted. Now its just a scan and its on the inner page rather than the cover page”.

Vuniwaqa says, they have 30,000 new passports in stock with thousands more arriving later in the year.


37) Fiji Police To Establish New Environment Law Unit
Unit responsible for laws governing conservation of land and sea

By Luke Rawalai

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, March 19, 2014) – The Fiji Police Force will soon set up a special unit tasked to deal with the environment laws governing the conservation of nature on land and sea.

Force chief operations officer Assistant Commissioner of Police Rusiate Tudravu said work on setting up the proposed unit was progressing.

Mr Tudravu said the new unit would focus on aligning the organisation with international best practices in environmental laws.

“We are empowering our officers with the knowledge of all laws through several training courses,” ACP Tudravu said.

“On the same note we are also strengthening networking with other government agencies to see how best we can improve our services.

“This is why we are encouraging other stakeholders who have issues with our services to bring it directly to us so we can solve it.”

The Fisheries Department in the North earlier raised their concerns on the need for police officers in the North to be well versed with the Fisheries Act so that they could enforce it efficiently.

North Principal Fisheries Officer Joji Vakawaletabua said they were working closely with police to ensure that the Fisheries Act was enforced fully.

“The incidents of poaching in the North has dropped and improved so far but we are trying to work closely with police and village headmen that this continues to be the case,” Mr Vakawaletabua said.

Fiji Times Online.


38) Kassman heads Team PNG for the 2015 Pacific Games
By Online Editor
12:45 pm GMT+12, 19/03/2014, Papua New Guinea

The PNG Olympic Committee Tuesday announced the appointment of Richard Kassman as the chef de mission of Team PNG for the 2015 Pacific Games in Port Moresby

PNGOC president, Sir John Dawanincura said the appointment of the Chef de Mission was done by the PNG Olympic Committee Executive Board and added the board had every confidence in Kassman.

“There are not many challenges greater in sports administration than to lead your country on home soil in an event of the magnitude of the Pacific Games,” Sir John said.

“The role of the Chef de Mission is a voluntary one and although some may think it is ceremonial, there is a lot more to it, including critical decision making.

“It is very demanding and you need a very good team around you and the decision making of the position is huge and full of consequences and you need a person who has great judgment and very intelligent.”

He said Kassman will be team leader and spokesman for Team PNG athletes prior and during the Games, and will work with the PNGOC to ensure their preparations are on track.

In accepting the appointment, Kassman said: “To be the Chef de Mission for Team PNG at our 2015 Pacific Games is a great honor and indeed privilege, one made extra special because Port Moresby is the host city.

“I am excited and I look forward to working with our 28 sports to prepare Team PNG.

“We have very committed coaches, managers and administrators focused on preparing Papua New Guinea’s best athletes in their respective sports.

“I have served sports in various capacities including as an umpire, coach, and on the executives of clubs, association and national federations, so I see my appointments as 2015 Chef de Mission as reaching the pinnacle of my sports administration career,” Kassman said.

“We are servants of the athletes and this must be central to our leadership approach and my aim and that of the general team management is to make sure that the athletes are well looked after and are comfortable in the team.

“The Games are on our home ground and we need everyone, from the athletes to the general team management focused so that the team can perform to our very best and reap the rewards,” he said.

Kasman was the chef de mission for Team PNG in 2013 to the successful Pacific Mini Games in Wallis & Futuna where PNG topped the medal tally.

PNGOC secretary general Auvita Rapilla said the Team Evaluation Committee (TEC) will go through the process of finalising all the team managers and coaches in April and a general team management should be in place by June.

39) FASANOC seeks more time to register for Commonwealth Games
By Online Editor
12:41 pm GMT+12, 19/03/2014, Fiji

Fiji Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee (FASANOC) president Reg Sanday has written to the CEO of the Commonwealth Games Federation asking for Fiji to be given time to register teams for the next event.

He expressed his concern that the men’s 7s and women’s netball team would not be able to participate because the accreditation period had passed and the draws were completed before Fiji was fully reinstated.

In his letter to CEO Michael Hooper and Tunku Imran of Malaysia, the president of the Commonwealth Games Federation, Sanday said Fiji was blocked from participating in team sports at the Commonwealth Games.

“While we the sport community and nation of Fiji are elated with the news of the CMAG’s downgrading of Fiji’s suspension from the Commonwealth to allow our participation at the Commonwealth Games, we are concerned with reports that we may not be able to send our men and women’s rugby 7s and our netball teams due to the completion of the draws and the closure of accreditation,” Sanday wrote.

“We would like to appeal through you and the good office of HE President Tunku Imran to allow our Fiji men’s and women’s 7s teams and our netball team to be allowed to compete in Glasgow.”

Sanday explained Fiji’s status in sevens rugby and netball to Hooper and Imran and asked for Fiji’s inclusion and a re-draw of the draws.

“If it requires a re-draw or adding an additional team to make a draw then that is what has to be done.

“The Commonwealth is a family and its off-spring, the CG are known the world over as the ‘Friendly Games’.

“Now is an opportunity to show to the Commonwealth and to the world the principle that all members are treated equally and with respect and that the Commonwealth’s strength is only as good as its weakest link.”.

40) Five bid cities submit Application Files to host 2022 Olympic Winter Games
By Online Editor
12:41 pm GMT+12, 19/03/2014, Switzerland

The Applicant Cities of Krakow (Poland), Oslo (Norway), Almaty (Kazakhstan), Lviv (Ukraine) and Beijing (China) all met the 14 March 2014 deadline for submission to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) of their Application Files to host the 2022 Olympic Winter Games.

The Application Files provide the IOC with an overview of each city’s vision and concept for the Games and form the basis for an initial technical analysis of the bid. It is the principal deliverable of Phase 1 of the bidding procedure.

These files will now be studied by an IOC-appointed working group, which will then submit a report to the IOC Executive Board (EB). The EB will decide which of the five cities will be accepted as Candidate Cities and proceed to Phase 2 at a meeting in July. Following its decision, the working group’s report will be published on the IOC website.

Applicant Cities may make their Application Files public and post them on their web sites as of 15 March.

As the Olympic Games are a unique project, whose size, scope and complexity mean that they are typically the biggest event that cities looking to host the Games will ever undertake, the IOC assists them in a number of ways, including financially and through an extensive transfer of knowledge programme.

The IOC puts at the disposal of the bid cities a significant amount of information and expertise through its Olympic Games Knowledge Management (OGKM) platform, which takes the form of documentation, experts, workshops and personal observation of previous Games. All five Applicant Cities for the 2022 Olympic Games participated in the Sochi 2014 observer programme last month. The programme allows cities to learn the best practices of previous hosts and to adapt those lessons to their own unique context.

Once elected, the IOC continues to support the local organising committees through OGKM, as well as with the regular visits of its Coordination Commissions and experts, who help to guide the organisers, as they develop their Games project. All IOC-related costs (for accommodation, transport, etc.) are covered entirely by the IOC, as is the case during the Games themselves.

The IOC makes a significant financial contribution to the organisation of each edition of the Games, where the budgets of Organising Committees for the Olympic Games are generally privately financed. For example, the IOC and its Worldwide Olympic Partners are expected to contribute around USD 590 million in total to the budget for the organisation of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. To reduce the financial burden on the local organisers further, the IOC also assumes the responsibility and cost of the principal Olympic broadcast signal through its fully owned subsidiary Olympic Broadcasting Services SA (OBS). In Sochi this is expected to exceed USD 150 million.

Applicant Cities who move on to the Candidate City Phase of the bid process have until January 2015 to submit their Candidature Files – in-depth blueprints of the cities’ Olympic projects. The IOC President will then appoint an Evaluation Commission made up of IOC members (who are volunteers) and experts to visit each Candidate City and prepare a technical risk assessment to assist IOC members in electing the host city. This report will be made available to all IOC members ahead of a two-day briefing that provides the members with the opportunity to question the cities directly about their Olympic projects.

In line with the IOC’s commitment to transparency, all documents pertaining to the 2022 bid process are available to the public on

Key Dates:

Phase 1:

* Selection of Candidate Cities by the IOC Executive Board – 7-9 July 2014

Phase 2:

* Submission of the Candidature File & Guarantees – 7 January 2015
* IOC Evaluation Commission visits – February to March 2015
*Evaluation Commission report / Candidate City Briefing for IOC Members – May to June 2015 (TBC)
* Election of the 2022 host city by the IOC Session – Kuala Lumpur – 31 July 2015

The cities are listed according to a drawing of lots carried out by the IOC EB in December 2013.


41) Fiji Warriors thrash Junior Japan 99 – 13
By Online Editor
12:51 pm GMT+12, 19/03/2014, Australia

The Fiji Warriors side fell short of a point to reach a century after nailing Junior Japan 99-13 during its Pacific Rugby Cup match in Brisbane Tuesday.

The Telecom Fiji-sponsored side scored 15 unanswered tries during the 80-minute period. The Warriors led 40-8 at the break.

Winger and former national sevens rep Vilitati Sokiveta scored four tries, nippy halfback Emori Waqa scored a hat-trick and Nadroga hitman Savenaca Rawaca touched down twice.

Warriors team manager Joe Browne said they fell short of scoring a century.

“It was a tough game and we’re happy about the win,” he said.

“We led 40-8 at the break and we just failed to achieve our goal which was to score 100 points.”

He said Japan played a constructive game.

“Japan played a very good game. It was tough, they played very technical but our boys just outsmarted them in all aspects of the match.”

He said the win boosted their chances of retaining the PRC title after the final match against the Pampas XV on Sunday.


42) Chelsea, Real Madrid advance

Thursday, March 20, 2014

MADRID, AFP – Chelsea eased into the quarter-finals of the Champions League at the expense of Galatasaray yesterday, while Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice as Real Madrid completed a comprehensive win against Schalke 04.

First-half goals from Samuel Eto’o and Gary Cahill gave Chelsea a 2-0 victory as they saw off their Turkish opponents 3-1 on aggregate to succeed where fellow Premier League clubs Arsenal and Manchester City failed and make it into the last eight.

Meanwhile, Carlo Ancelotti’s Madrid defeated Schalke 3-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu to advance 9-2 on aggregate and extend their long unbeaten run to 31 games.

The build-up to the game at Stamford Bridge had been dominated by the return of Didier Drogba to the ground where he is still hailed as a hero and the Ivorian — scorer of the winning penalty when Chelsea beat Bayern Munich in a shoot-out in the 2012 final — was presented with a silver boot prior to kick-off. Chelsea’s away-goal advantage from last month’s meeting in Istanbul meant they had no obligation to take the game to Roberto Mancini’s side, but they found themselves ahead on the night inside four minutes.

Oscar’s pass in behind the visiting defence found Eto’o, and the Cameroonian beat the offside trap before sending in a low shot that was too powerful for goalkeeper Fernando Muslera.

As Eto’o celebrated scoring the 30th Champions League goal of his career, Drogba and Galatasaray offered little by means of a response.

John Terry volleyed just over from a Frank Lampard free-kick before Jose Mourinho’s side increased their lead three minutes prior to the interval, Gary Cahill ramming home the rebound after Muslera had blocked Terry’s header at a corner.

43) Stars to watch in Tokyo

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Television broadcaster Nigel Starmer-Smith picks five players to watch out for at the sixth round of the HSBC Sevens World Series in Tokyo.


Amidst all the talent of the All Blacks 7s, it must be Tim Mikkelson who is the most important to Gordon Tietjens. A big man, he has exceptional versatility as a prop, a brilliant midfield centre or wing in Sevens. First selected by Tietjens in George seven years ago, he’s since played 45 tournaments, mostly as a forward, and scored 130 tries. He has a large stride, deceptive pace and his strength makes him difficult to get hold of in the tackle. Still only 27 years old, you can guarantee he’ll be in the mix for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.


There are some exceptionally promising talent among Ben Ryan’s Fiji squad with Samisoni Viriviri, Benito Masilevu or Semi Kunatani shining examples, but Emosi Mulevovo, with eight tournaments to his name, is already destined to be an outstanding star. His first appearance was last year in Hong Kong, where the Fijians won. He was dropped soon after by Alifereti Dere but Ryan recalled him, having recognised a quality scrum-half in 15s.


Only Ben Gollings has played more 7s tournaments than James Rodwell, who has grown further in stature this season. Seldom does he miss the ball at England’s line-out and he also has deceptive power and pace and is strong in the tackle. First selected by Ben Ryan at Murrayfield in 2008, he has played each year since, scoring 65 tries in 48 tournaments.


This is not a favour to my friendly Australian co-commentator, Greg Clark and father of Cameron! In fact his 20-year-old son is fast becoming a top player among not only the Australian squad but the series as a whole. Based as a young man in the Northern Suburbs club of Sydney, he was spotted by coach Michael O’Connor two years ago as a long and lean speedster with raw potential. Injury kept him on the sidelines earlier this season but he’s recovered to play a starring role, not just with his tries but also his vital goal-kicking.

FRANKIE HORNE – South Africa

There may be more glamorous greyhounds in the South African squad — indeed no shortage of spectacular sprinters — but for years now Horne has provided them with the ball, and with remarkable regularity. First selected in Dubai in 2007, big Frankie has played every single World Series tournament since that day — only cruelly missing out on the World Cup in Moscow in June. Otherwise he has proved unstoppable: no injury, never dropped, never missed a tournament in 55 events — remarkable! A rugged forward, strong, very physical, 16 and a half stone but no slouch! Time and again he wins the ball, has handling skills and also averages almost a try every tournament.


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