Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 956

MELANESIA

1) Australia’s South Sea Islander community launches campaign for united government lobby group
By Online Editor
12:19 pm GMT+12, 31/03/2014, Australia

Australian South Sea Islanders are meeting in the Queensland town of Mackay to work on ways to improve Federal Government recognition of their community.

The WANTOK Australian South Sea Islanders National Forum, a gathering of descendents of Melanesian labourers brought to Australia in the 1800s, is discussing the structure of a new national body to lobby the government on behalf of South Sea Islanders.

They are continuing discussions on a push to be included as a separate ethnic group in Australia’s 2016 national census.

President of the interim national body for Australian South Sea Islanders, Emelda Davis, says it’s important the community is seen as distinct from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, with whom they’re sometimes grouped.

“We’ve got various types of identity that people use in terms of how they identify as Australian South Sea Islanders,” Davis said.

“Some are specifically South Sea Islanders, some like to be called Kanak, and there’s a number of other terms that are used. So it’s just getting a general agreeance on what term will be used on the census form.”

Davis says the national forum is aiming to get consensus on what the term should be.

Davis also says South Sea Islanders need to take a “bureaucratic stance” on the way they lobby the Commonwealth for funding of programs within their community.

“The need for a formal structure (for the community) is that the Government cannot speak to individual organisations. We need to have a united voice – one voice, one mob. That will assist with understanding that all the organisations across Australia — because we’re nationwide now, Australian South Sea Islanders are in every part of the country — they need to have a united voice and something that’s agreed on as to how we move forward,” Davis said.

“Australian South Sea Islanders are as disadvantaged in all areas as our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.”

Australia’s South Sea Islander community was recognised as “a distinct ethnic group” in Australia by the Commonwealth Government in 1994. At the time, the Government acknowledged the history of the community, including the indentured labour system, and the severe disadvantage of the descendants of those slave labourers.

Davis says little has been done in the 20 years since.

“Nothing has truly been followed through. There aren’t meaningful programs and services for our elders, education, [economic] development, health issues. We’re still behind the eight ball,” she said.

SOURCE: RADIO AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS

2) Solomon Islands foreign minister meets with EU in Brussels
By Online Editor
3:42 pm GMT+12, 31/03/2014, Belgium

The Solomon Islands Foreign Minister has met with European Union officials to discuss the economic partnership agreement and prospects for free visa access for Solomon Islanders in the Schengen area.

The Schengen Area is the area of 26 European countries that have abolished passport or any other type of border control between their common borders.

Clay Forau Soalaoi met with the head of the Asia-Pacific Division of the European External Action Services, Viorel Isticioaia-Budura, in Brussels.

He highlighted the importance of the visa free access into the Schengen area as a positive step in enhancing the relationship between Solomon Islands with the EU.

He says it would make travel more convenient and less costly as the current practice is to obtain visas in Canberra or Port Moresby before travel.

Viorel informed that the EU will upgrade its office in Honiara and will be headed by an Ambassador.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

3) Solomons’ Development Fund Requirements To Change: Secretary
Constituency funds under fire as ‘slush fund’ for MPs

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, March 29, 2014) – The implementation of Solomon Islands Constituency Development Funds (CDF) will be done in accordance with the requirements of the new Public Financial Management Act (PFMA) and its subsidiary financial instruments.

That’s according to the Permanent Secretary for Finance and Treasury, Shadrach Fanega.

Mr Fanega said these instruments include the Interim Financial Instructions (IFIs) and Procurement and Contract Administration Manual (PCAM).

He said Government is looking at streamlining the procurement requirements and processes to ensure efficient and effective implementation of CDF projects.

Mr Fanega added the extensive consultations are being undertaken between the Ministry of Rural Development (MRD) and Ministry of Finance and Treasury (MOFT) to help clarify the rules, requirements and processes under the PFMA.

He said that a three-day intensive training workshop was conducted by his ministry for Ministry of Rural Development (MRD) staff and Constituency Development Officers earlier this week.

“And the main outcome of the workshop has been the preparation of tender documents which are being put out in the media to invite expressions of interest from potential suppliers bidding to be preferred suppliers for commonly procured CDF project services/materials/inputs,” Mr Fanega said.

“This will allow evaluation and selection to be done in the next couple of weeks, so that the actual procurement of goods and services can be undertaken as from next month.”

Mr Fanega explained that the preferred supplier arrangements will then be fully compliant with the new PFMA requirements since it would have gone through the rigours of the normal pre-qualified tender process albeit only once.

“It will be more efficient because MRD will be able to purchase from any of the preferred suppliers for certain goods and services, without having to go through the process each time they go out to procure, thus expediting implementation of these CDF projects.”

Mr Fanega expressed appreciation to the Government and Members of Parliament for their commitment to the goals of the public financial management reforms in abiding by the principles and provisions of the PFMA and its subsidiary instruments.

“By executing CDF projects under the new PFMA and the procurement rules, they are actually putting into effect the policy intention to enhance transparency of and improve accountability for the use of public funds.”

Solomon Star

4) Vanuatu daily news digest | 31 March 2014

by bobmakin

  • The first work to re-upgrade Bauerfield airport started last Friday following a “ground-breaking ceremony launched by Prime Minister Carcasses,” Radio Vanuatu News informs us this morning. The VTDL company which has previously been called Vanuatu Trade Development Limited when it was planning to grow tobacco on Tanna is now Vanuatu Transport Development Limited, but always VTDL. No loan is neededfrom the Vanuatu Government any more. VTDL will use its own resources to carry out the upgrade. It is now eight months since the concession was signed with VTDL without any tenders being called. After completion of the Bauerfield work, VTDL will build a “greenfield” international airport (presumably at much discussed Rentabau) even though there has been no major call for such a facility from the tourism or export industries. VTDL will also upgrade Pekoa, Whitegrass and Norsup airfields those attending the ground-breaking at AVL learned.
  • Mr Odo Tevi, former Governor of the Reserve Bank, who was controversially terminated after being re-appointed to the post recently, has now been appointed Ambassador to the United Nations. A formal appointment ceremony will take place at State House tomorrow. The central banking skills of Odo Tevi have been regionally applauded, most notably lately by his work for the MSG on the possibility of a single Melanesian currency. Tevi had brought court action against the government for his termination but this is presumably lifted in view of his acceptance of the New York position recently vacated by Independence leader Donald Kalpokas.
  • The National Geothermal Task Force met with villagers and Emau islanders on Saturday to discuss an Environmental Impact Assessment for the project at Takara with the chiefs, families and land owners. Environment Director Albert Williams was present and a large attendance including many women (almost a quarter of the gathering) was encouraged to voice all its concerns about dangers posed by the project, whether from the energy unleashed or from damage to gardens. All were heartened by the answers provided by Geodynamics’ senior representatives. The area needing to be occupied by the power generating facility will be considerably smaller than that needed for fossil-fuel generation and the power source, very hot saline water, will be returned to the soil after the heat has been used.

5) Vanuatu daily news digest | 28 March 2014

by bobmakin

There’s still not a lot of hard news as such, the cyclone Lusi and last minute moves of parties and candidates taking up much of the space. But campaigning has begun and real issues should soon start making headlines.

Breaking news … TVL have just hooked into the cable. Well done, TVL! – and vanuatudaily sources.

  • Contracted nurses salaries continue to be a huge problem. Post says outstanding pay was to be received by mid-month, but still has not all arrived. Complications have been found in the administration of appointments. Health DG Santus Wari said his staff are working hard to clear the backlog whilst also working on a new plan for a “roadmap for long-term health planning policies.” Their existing policy of “the health services go to the patient, rather than the other way around,” has certainly proved unworkable, but administrative staff time would most assuredly be best spent presently in ensuring their 100 contracted professionals at VCH are fully paid.
  • Don Paterson has been appointed inaugural Chairman of the new Land Planning and Management Committee on the recommendation of the Malvatumauri. Having been responsible for the drafting of the original customary land tribunals act, Professor Don is Vanuatu’s “foremost legal expert on land matters,” according to Minister Regenvanu and has continued to lead academic discussion on the topic, hosting a summer school on lands during the last USP break.
  • I ought to have mentioned yesterday the South Pacific Tourism Organization’s “Pacific Regional Tourism Strategy 2015 – 2019” which places Vanuatu in the same category as Fiji. Vanuatu stakeholders have taken issue with this categorisation in view of Fiji receiving more than twice as many visitors annually as Vanuatu. Stakeholders have been making their points of view known to the SPTO, Daily Post reported yesterday.
  • Australian High Commissioner Jeremy Bruer has described the work carried out by the NDMO during cyclone Lusi as “highly professional,” VBTC News reports today. AusAid gave help to the relief activity by funding helicopter costs for shipment of materials to the worst flood-affected places. NDMO is continuing its assessments this week.

Air Vanuatu has welcomed the resumption of code sharing with Qantas after new IOSA certification and inspection of Air Vanuatu’s operations by IOSA.

Luganville Municipal Council has closed a poultry farm at Side River following complaints from residents of the area, Daily Post tells us today.

POLYNESIA

6) Radio Australia To Broadcast Live From Samoa
ABC’s Pacific morning program will focus on tourism

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, March 29, 2014) – ABC Radio Australia will broadcast its Pacific morning programme live from Samoa for the first time from next Wednesday to Friday 4 April at the cultural village at the Samoan Tourism Authority in Apia.

Coinciding with the Samoa Tourism Exchange, Radio Australia presenter, Phil Kafcaloudes will focus on some of the recent successes and current challenges facing Samoan tourism.

Assisted by local Samoan co-hosts; Mata’afa Keni Lesa, Editor of the Samoa Observer and Lady Lala, presenter at 89.1 My F.M., Phil will also explore the ever-changing Samoan lifestyle and culture with a focus on sport, education, development and local food.

The 3-day broadcast will include live interviews with some fabulous Samoan guests and we’re anticipating the Samoan Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegao might also join us. Some of the live interviews will include Australian High Commissioner, Sue Langford; Chief Executive Officer Samoa Tourism Authority, Papali’i Sonja Hunter; Vice Chancellor for the Centre for Samoan Studies at the University of Samoa, Professor Asofou So’o and CEO Samoa Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee, Fa’amausili Taiva Ah Young.

Some of Samoa’s top athletes going for gold in this year’s Commonwealth Games will also drop by, and in between interviews, Phil will demonstrate his support for healthy living by loosening up and shaking it at a live zumba class on Thursday followed by live local music performances on Friday.

“I’m really excited to be broadcasting – for the first time – the Radio Australia Mornings program live from Samoa,” said Phil Kafcaloudes.

“We’ll be covering all the action, excitement and colour of this vibrant Pacific community and taking it out across the rest of the Pacific and to Australia.

“I’d love to see and hear from as many people as possible during the broadcasts to give Samoa that loud, bright voice it deserves.”

The live broadcasts will occur on Wednesday 2nd, Thursday 3rd and Friday 4th April from 11.30am – 2pm at the big cultural Fale at the Samoan Tourism Authority in Apia and be transmitted across the Pacific through ABC Radio Australia’s network of 16 24-hour Pacific FM transmissions.

You can wake up every morning listening to Radio Australia on 102FM in Apia with the ABC’s leading Pacific and Australian news and current affairs programs Pacific Beat and AM, followed by Mornings with Phil.

Radio Australia F.M. services available across the Pacific are:

Papua New Guinea – Port Moresby 101.9FM & Lae 102.1FM; Solomon Islands – Honiara 107F.M; Vanuatu – Port Vila & Santo 103FM; Fiji – Suva & Nadi 106.6F.M; Samoa – Apia 102FM; Tonga – Nuku’alofa 103FM; Cook Islands – Rarotonga 93F.M; Kiribati – Tarawa 90F.M; Palau – Koror 91.5FM; FSM – Phonpei 88.1F.M

Samoa Observer

7) Am. Samoa Hospital’s Primary Care Clinic To Remain Open
Threats to close clinic raised concern in Fono

By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (The Samoa News, March 28, 2014) – Senators are pleased with the LBJ Medical Center board decision not to close the useful services of the Primary Care Clinic, but have noted that it will continue instead under the leadership of the Medical Clinic.

Primary Care service was one of the many issues discussed during a more than 90-minute Senate LBJ/Health Committee hearing on Tuesday chaired by Sen. Mauga T. Asuega. LBJ witnesses at the hearing were board chairman Mase Akapo, chief executive officer Joseph Davis-Fleming and chief medical officer Dr. Iotamo Saleapaga.

Sen. Galeai Tu’ufuli recommended to LBJ not to close Primary Care, saying that this planned move had already prompted many public complaints and is a “big disappointment to me” as well as his colleagues in the Senate.

He noted that Primary Care provides easy and faster access to a physician by residents, including elderly senators, instead of going to the Medical Clinic unit where there is along wait of two-to-four hours, to see a physician.

He recommended that LBJ continue the Primary Care unit, even if it’s transitioned into another hospital department so that this important service can continue for the community.

Mase then shared the good news with senators, saying that the Primary Care Clinic will continue, but under the leadership of the Medical Clinic. He also explained that Primary Care will take over seeing patients from the Emergency Room if there is a long line for the ER.

He explained that patients at the ER, who are considered by the attending physician as not serious and non-emergency patients will be referred to Primary Care.

What was not asked during the hearing was whether or not the clinic would continue to make appointments to allow patients to see it’s doctors, i.e. not turn into a ‘first come, first serve” service, which is typical of the ER and other medical clinics of the hospital.

Planned closure of the Primary Care caused a flurry from lawmakers in both the Senate and House and strong criticism from the community who believed that the hospital would be doing an injustice to resident’s medical needs by shutting it down.

Drama over the Primary Care unit surfaced in January this year when Saleapaga recommended to the LBJ board closure of the clinic, alleging low patient numbers, overstaffing, repetition of what the medical clinics are doing, and not being “cost effective”.

Dr. Sean A. Stracensky, who headed the Primary Care at the time, dismissed claims by Saleapaga, but subsequently tendered his letter of resignation on Feb. 26 with his last day on the job, Mar. 12. He has since left the territory, and Samoa News has received many calls about the hospital’s ‘great loss’ of a physician who cared for his patients.

Samoa News was told that Stracensky always took the time to talk to his patients about their illnesses, and always put them at ease regarding any medical condition they had. They trusted him.

The Samoa News

8) U.S. Provides Water Catchment Systems To Samoa
87 tanks in Savai‘i to mitigate shortages during drought

By Deidre Taotua Fanene

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, March 28, 2014) – Savai’i is celebrating the installation of new 87 new rainwater tank systems for four villages, with help from the United States.

Community leaders from the Savai’i villages of Asau, Auala, Falealupo and Sapapali’i met yesterday morning in Auala, alongside officials from the United States government and Samoa government to mark the successful delivery of new rainwater catchment infrastructure for their respective communities.

The rainwater catchment and storage infrastructure provided through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), will help to mitigate shortages of fresh water during prolonged drought.

Water scarcity, a result of climate change, is a critical concern of this community, said Charge d’ Affaires of the U.S. Embassy Samoa Peter Ganser.

“Climate change impacts all of us in the United States but more so here in the Pacific Islands and in Samoa where things like climate change and the love of the ocean means the intensity of storms has an enormous impact

“So it is in our best interests to work in a partnership with the villages of Samoa and with the government of Samoa and to share what we know with the people of Samoa in this partnership.

“In this particular case we have through our AID Program a ten village $1.2 million tala program.

“This morning we dedicated four of those projects.

These villages wanted the ability to collect rain water in a clean and efficient fashion. Those four projects cost a total of 500,000 tala, he said.

“It was engineered by fellow Pacific Islanders to take into account the things that we don’t know about in the United States but your fellow Pacific Islanders and Samoans know about.”

Mr. Ganser said there was a vision behind and beyond the water project, based on increasing urgency around climate change. “Secretary John Kerry who is our Secretary of State has stated that this is his number one priority,” said Mr. Ganser.

“Secretary Hillary Clinton who came before Secretary Kerry made women’s issues her number one issue.

Secretary Kerry is going to hold on and keep that as an important issue but he’s going to raise up climate change as a very important issue and this is going to be his corner stone effort. He noted that the United States has just announced the US$24 million Pacific American Climate Fund.

“We will be bringing that information here and we’ll be working with Non Government Organizations and Civil Society Organisations to ask for their input, to ask for them to submit plans and through that method we are going to expand what we’re doing here.

“So we look forward to the results of that programme.”

Etepo Poloma a Mayor of Asau village acknowledged the U.S. Government for their generosity.

“Asau is a big village and a lot of the people have moved to where the mountains are, but the water hardly reached there, so that is why our village really needs this rainwater catchment, he said.

“Even though there are twenty five rainwater catchments has been provided to our villages I still think it is not enough, because there are a lot of families that need these.

“So if the U.S. Government can provide another twentyfive or thirty of these for us that would be wonderful but as for now, we are very thankful for all that they have provided for us. U.S.A.I.D. through its Coastal Community Adaption Project (C-CAP) has provided nearly 87,000 litres of increased rainwater storage capacity to each village via a combination of free standing rainwater catchment and storage systems for household use, and polyethylene tanks that are attached to existing structures for shared community use. In total, 87 tanks were distributed amongst the four villages.

Samoa Observer

MICRONESIA


9) Marshalls Islands President names new Finance Minister

By Online Editor
3:44 pm GMT+12, 31/03/2014, Marshall Islands

The Marshall Islands President has named Jack Ading as the new finance minister, following last week’s resignation of Dennis Momotaro.

Momotaro’s resignation was due to fallout from the nomination of the former Lebanese security chief Jamil el-Sayed as the Marshall Islands Ambassador to UNESCO.

Momotaro was the only Cabinet member to break ranks during a vote of no confidence brought against the Cabinet over the nomination earlier in March.

Ading served a full four-year term as Finance Minister under two presidents from 2008 to 2012.

He was credited with stabilising the Marshall Islands loan payments to the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in 2008 and improving the country’s fiscal position.

Momotaro is the fifth Cabinet member in the 35 years of constitutional government to resign his post.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

10) CNMI Congressman Wants Warning On Federalization Transition
Sablan asks U.S. Labor Secretary for clarity on foreign workers

By Emmanuel T. Erediano

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, March 31, 2014) – U.S. Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan again urged U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez to announce whether the federalization transition period will be extended beyond Dec. 31, 2014.

During a U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce hearing on Wednesday, Sablan said Perez should make a decision “sooner rather than later.”

“Because leaving the decision to the last minute leaves businesses uncertain whether they will have an adequate number of workers,” Sablan said. “Leaving the decision to the end of the transition period also leaves a smaller number of consumers in the Northern Marianas. So [businesses] don’t invest. They don’t create more jobs. And that plays hell on an economy trying to pull itself out of a deep recession.”

Sablan told Perez, who appeared before the committee, that since the beginning of the transition period, the number of foreign workers has gone down from 17,245 to 9,617.

He cited the Government Accountability Office report quoting the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as saying that as of October 2013, there were 9,617 nonresident workers in the CNMI.

“That’s the economic argument,” Sablan said.

Then there’s the humanitarian concern:

“Because waiting until the last minute leaves 9,617 foreign workers hanging in the breeze. Many of these people have lived in the Northern Marianas for decades. They have families and homes there. If they have to be gone by the end of this year, we owe them the courtesy of letting them know — as soon as possible. They need to start looking for work elsewhere, selling their belongings, and moving their families, their kids.”

Sablan added, “Mr. Secretary, I know the Northern Marianas does not have an admirable history when it comes to foreign workers. [California Congressman George] Miller will tell you that himself. It is possible your department does not trust that the Northern Marianas will replace foreign workers with U.S. workers — that we are just buying time.”

But Sablan noted that this time, the annual number of foreign workers permitted to work in the CNMI is no longer a decision to be made by the commonwealth government.

He said it is DHS that now sets the number, and federal law requires fewer and fewer guest workers each year.

“I also want to remind you that my office has reached out to your department to ask that you provide technical assistance to the Northern Marianas and advice on how to train U.S. workers.

“We want your help. We want to complete the transition that Public Law 110-229 [the federalization law] requires. But we need to do it in a way that keeps our economy whole and does not put the jobs of U.S. workers in that economy at risk. And the uncertainty — in the absence of your decision — is not helping. I hope you will take my words to heart. I’m not asking a question, sir, I am just making a statement, hoping that you’d hear us out and make a decision soon,” Sablan told Perez.

Sablan expressed full support for increasing the federal minimum wage rate to $10.10 as proposed by President Obama.

“I know that may sound strange coming from someone who asked for a delay in the minimum wage in my district. I did so because in my view the rate of increase in the Northern Marianas since 2008 needed to be tempered.

“But I have never wavered in my commitment to see workers in the Northern Marianas receive the full minimum wage. And I know they will be glad to see it increase to $10.10 per hour.”

In a separate interview, Gov. Eloy S. Inos echoed Sablan’s concerns.

He said the congressional delegate raised a valid concern because businesses in the CNMI need to know if they will have an adequate number of workers after this year.

Sablan has introduced H.R. 4296 which requires a five-year extension of the immigration transition period.

He said the bill has the same language contained in his Omnibus Territories Act, H.R. 2200, and its Senate companion, S.1237.

“Both of those bills are moving slowly because they contain other changes to territorial law, some of which are controversial. So I have decided to improve chances of enacting the transition extension with a stand-alone bill, H.R. 4296,” Sablan said.

“This is the same strategy that worked with the transfer of ownership of submerged lands. The transfer was originally part of H.R. 2200 and S.1237, but it was a free-standing bill, S. 256, that moved more quickly and became law on Sept. 18, 2013. Extending the transition period by five years will protect our tourism industry by preventing claims of asylum in the Northern Marianas by persons who enter under parole status.”

In his newsletter, Sablan said: “We do not have 9,716 local workers to replace those CWs by the end of this year. If those workers all have to leave, businesses will close and the local workers they employ will be out of a job. We need to continue the steady reduction in foreign workers. But, as the Government Accountability Office has advised Congress ‘any substantial and rapid decline in the availability of CNMI-only work permits for foreign workers would have a negative effect on the economy.’ ”

Marianas Variety

11) 52 Criminal Charges Filed In RMI Hospital Bribery Case
Pharmacy owner allegedly attempted to win medical contracts

By Giff Johnson

MAJURO, Marshall Islands (Marianas Variety, March 31, 2014) – The Marshall Islands attorney general filed 52 criminal charges against the owner and manager of a Majuro-based pharmacy who, the AG said, bribed Majuro hospital officials on multiple occasions to win bids for medical equipment, supplies and maintenance.

Attorney General Jack Jorbon said charges against Marshall Islands government workers involved in the scheme will be filed in the coming weeks.

Genesis Island Enterprises RMI owner Herminio Alfonso and manager Ariane Jay Demayo were both charged Thursday with 52 criminal counts — 13 each of bribery, theft by deception, securing execution of documents by deception, and criminal conspiracy.

Only Demayo was on island and present at an initial hearing Friday before Chief Justice Carl Ingram. He was ordered to hand in his passport to the clerk of courts and a preliminary hearing is scheduled for April 3.

Private attorney Witten Philippo was initially retained by Demayo, but Deputy Public Defender Karotu Tiba took over handling the initial hearing minutes before it started.

Chief Public Defender Russell Kun said he will be representing Demayo going forward.

The charges list 13 instances between June 26, 2012 and June 26, 2013 when Genesis staff are said to have paid bribes ranging from $500 to $5,000 to associate hospital administrator Francis Silk in exchange for his “using his influence to steer bids toward Genesis by communicating confidential information to Demayo, usually by email, regarding potential MOH orders, and Genesis in turn would provide a ‘padded’ price quotation for the needed item. Silk also aided Genesis by using his influence as associate hospital administrator to recommend sole sourcing to Genesis and not provide an adequate number of price quotations from other vendors.”

Financial documents from Genesis that are included as evidence with the charges against Alfonso and Demayo include a check register that lists payments to people under the headings, “incentives to Dr. Eleuterio Magtangob,” or “Sir Francis incentive,” or “activity for Sir Baines.”

A Genesis “profit and loss” statement for 2013, included as AG’s evidence exhibit number two, lists nine individuals receiving over $93,000 as “incentives” in 2013.

The 52 charges against Alfonso and Demayo state that Genesis bribes were used to accomplish orders from the hospital for x-ray film and numerous laboratory supplies and equipment.

One of the a bribes was for a maintenance contract, the AG said, adding: “although the contact was paid in full, the CT scan was not properly working.”

The charges stated that the Genesis pair “deceived other health officials who signed on purchase requisitions” to believe the documents were “legitimate and urgently needed.”

If Chief Justice Carl Ingram finds good cause to move to trial at the April 3 preliminary hearing, the two will be asked to enter pleas of guilty or not guilty at that time.

Marianas Variety

AUSTRALIA

12) Australia PM Declares 100 Days Without Asylum Seeker Boat
Abbott declares Operation Sovereign Borders a success

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, March 30, 2014) – Prime Minister Tony Abbott has declared “the way is closed” for people smugglers as the Government marks 100 days since a boat arrived in Australia’s territory.

Standing next to a sign comparing the number of boat arrivals under Labor and the Coalition, Mr Abbott congratulated Immigration Minister Scott Morrison on progress with Operation Sovereign Borders, which has been tasked with stopping asylum seeker arrivals.

The Prime Minister said Mr Morrison had done an “outstanding” job.

“This is the result of … full and methodical implementation of the policies that the Coalition took to the last election,” Mr Abbott said.

“It is too early to declare that the job is done, but nevertheless I think we can safely say that the way is closed.”

The Opposition said it was too early to “proclaim victory”, but welcomed the reduction in boat arrivals.

The Government said with the monsoon season coming to an end, the number of boats attempting the journey to Australia might increase.

But Mr Morrison said the first two phases of the operation – 100 days of a reduction in arrivals and the same amount without any arrivals – had been successfully completed.

He said Operation Sovereign Borders would now enter a new phase as the Government focused on the 30,000 people still in immigration detention.

“We now go into the third phase where we move into the post-monsoon period and the risks are just as great,” Mr Morrison said.

“We will maintain the intensity of all of our operations in all areas of Operation Sovereign Borders, both with our offshore processing, with what we are doing at sea and through our disruption and partnership operations all the way up through the region back to source.

“We need to work through the settlement arrangements there and the return of those who are found not to be refugees.”

Mr Morrison has released figures showing 606 people have now either voluntarily returned or been forcibly returned to their place of origin since Operation Sovereign Borders began.

The Government says for the first time since 2008 the number of people returning home is exceeding the number arriving.

Opposition immigration spokesman Richard Marles said the arrangements struck by the previous Labor government had been the main factor in the slowdown in boats.

“It’s too early to proclaim victory. This is not a footy match – this is not about scoreboards and banners and slogans. This is about serious public policy addressing a very, very complicated issue,” he said.

Morrison refuses to comment on Manus Island investigation

Meanwhile, Mr Morrison has refused to comment on reports Papua New Guinea police are investigating two Australian suspects in the recent killing of an asylum seeker on Manus Island.

Fairfax Media has reported witnesses to the violent death of detainee Reza Barati in February have identified two employees from security contractor G4S.

Mr Morrison said it was not appropriate to discuss the police inquiry.

“That matter is still before the Papua New Guinean police and as I said I’ll be in PNG this week to get a further update on where those investigations are at,” he said.

“Our own inquiry is also continuing under Mr [Robert] Cornall and when those matters are brought to a conclusion, if there are any requests that are made obviously we’ll work through those requests as appropriate.”

Radio Australia

TOK PISIN

13) Askim long ol kantri i wok bung long visa bilong ol seasonal wokas.

Updated 31 March 2014, 15:24 AEST
Caroline Tiriman

Ol gavman blong Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands na Vanuatu long  helpim em i stretim gut ol wokbung wantem Australian gavman long saed blong ol visa blong ol seasonal wokas.

Odio: Askim igo long ol kantri i wok bung llong visa bilong ol seasonal wokas.

Despla toktok ibin kam long Emmanuel Bani, wanpla bisnisman blong Brisbane, long Queensland husat isave kisim ol wokas ikam long despla tripla kantri.

Mr Bani itok emi laikim planti wokman-meri long kam wok long Australia, tasol emi save hard long wonem long ol strongpla loa blong visa.

Em i tok wanpla samting emi save bagarapim nem blong PNG na solomon Islands em pasin blong kamapim trabal na spak.

Emmanuel Bani wanpla bisnisman blong PNG long Queensland i tok sapos ol gavman bilong tripela kantri i sapotim em, dispela bai i mekim em i painim maket bilong ol long bringim ol seasonal wokas ikam long Australia.

Em i tok long luksave bilong em long ol yar igo pinis, em givim tok piksa olsem rikrutment bilong seasonal wokas long Papua New Guinea olsem wanpela bikpela bot. Nek bilong em i liklik na bel bilong em i bikpela. Emi soim olsem i gat planti pipal i laik igo wok long Australia tasol oli save kisim liklik namba tasol aninit long dispela sistem.

Em i tok em i lukim olsem stat long taim em i bin kisim ol wokman namri bilong Solomon Islands na Vanuatu i kam wok long Australia, i bin givim bikpela haiivim igo long ol.

Emmuanuel Bani i tok taim em ibin igo long Solomon Islands long mekim awenes long seasonal wokas, em i bin lukim olsem, ol dispela ibin ikam long Australia na igo bek, ibin nap long ronim teksi, sola lait na ol narapela gutpela wok long halivim sidaun bilong ol- Radio Australia

14) PNG i gat planti liklik bisnis em ol pipal bilong ovais i papa long ol.

Updated 31 March 2014, 15:49 AEST
Pius Bonjui

Sasindra Muthuvel , Gavana bilong West New Britain Provins long Papua New Guinea i tok, i gat planti liklik bisnis we ol pipal bilong narapela kantri i papa long ol na isi long ol i karim ol samting igo insait long kantri.

Odio: TPI_smolbisnis_20140331

Emi tok em i no kirap nogut long save olsem sampela long ol i nap bringim hait ol fresh mit na ol plant igo insait long kantri.

Dispela ino stret aninit long import laws bilong kantri longwanem, sapos i gat ol binatang or sik long ol kain samting oli bringim igo insait long kantri bai givim birua igo long ol enimal na plant bilong kantri.

Tu Gavana Sasindran i tok em i laik lukim ol  ovasis bisnisman ino ken kisim na lukautim ol smol bisnis em ol Papua New Guineans iet i mas papa long ol.

Gavana bilong West New Britain Province, Sasindra Muthuvel i tok 99 pesent bilong ol smol bisnis i stap long han bilong ol pipal bilong narapela kantri na oli no gat dreka kontrol long ol.

Oli save kisim tok orait ikam long Idipendent Promosen Otoriti long kirapim bisnis bilong ol na tu oli ino save diklerim ol samting oli bringim igo insait na i save putim kost bilong ol igo daun or under vavlued.

Gavana Sasindran bilong West New Britain i tok planti taim ol ovasis liklik bisnis man meri i save diklresim ol win olsem bia na bringim igo insait na why dispela ino mekim ol peim takis.

Gavana i tok em i wanpela long ol samting bai rait igo long gavman na askim longwanem tru oli ino luksave na putim takis long wain.

Em i tok dispela ol wain import nau i wok long givim heve igo long ol pipal bilong provins longwanem oli baim na drink.Radio Australia

FRENCH

15) Franck Bainimarama fonde Fiji First

Posté à 31 March 2014, 14:53 AEST
Caroline Lafargue

À Fidji, le Premier ministre par intérim et ancien putschiste Franck Bainimarama vient de créer son parti politique.

C’est sous les couleurs de Fiji First que Franck Bainimarama se présentera aux élections du 17 septembre prochain, premier scrutin démocratique depuis 2006. Franck Bainimarama a baptisé son parti dimanche. Et il entame désormais une tournée dans les provinces de Fidji, pour réunir les 5000 signatures et les 5000 dollars nécessaires au dépôt des statuts de son parti Fiji First.

Par ailleurs, la Nouvelle-Zélande a levé officiellement les restrictions de voyage qui pesaient sur les dignitaires du régime de Franck Bainimarama, emboîtant ainsi le pas à l’Australie. Car Fidji a fait des progrès vers la démocratie en organisant ces élections en septembre, souligne Murray Mc Cully, le ministre kiwi des Affaires étrangères, qui se réjouit particulièrement de la nomination de commissaires électoraux. Radio Australia

16) 67 listes en compétition pour le second tour des municipales

Par Elif Kayi
Publié le 26/03/2014 | 11:06, mis à jour le 27/03/2014 | 10:00

67 listes ont été officiellement annoncées pour le second tour des élections municipales de dimanche prochain en Nouvelle-Calédonie.

© NC1ÈRE

67 listes ont été déposées ce mardi à 18 heures. Les tractations sont allées bon train et on note 15 fusions de listes, par rapport aux résultats du premier tour de dimanche dernier.

Du côté de Nouméa, Gaël Yanno et Gaby Briault avaient déjà annoncé lors de leur conférence de presse commune mardi à 14h la fusion de leurs deux listes. La liste menée par Gaby Briault obtient 8 places, dont 4 éligibles. Briault se retrouve en septième position sur la liste de Gaël Yanno, “Union pour Nouméa”. Marie-Claude Tjibaou n’a pas appelé à voter pour Sonia Lagarde (“Avec nous, ça va changer”), mais contre la majorité sortante. Pas de consigne de vote des autres candidats évincés au premier tour, Jean-Raymond Postic et Bertrand Cherrier.

A Païta, la liste Calédonie Ensemble, conduite par Frédéric De Greslan et arrivée en seconde position dimanche dernier 26%, a été rejointe par Silipeleto Dit Fiu Muliakaaka, dont la liste « L’unité dans la diversité pour vivre ensemble » avait crée la surprise dimanche en recueillant 8,40%. Muliakaaka obtient trois places sur la liste de De Greslan (“Pour un soufffle nouveau à Païta”) et arrive lui-même en septième position. Louisa Bréhé, qui avait recueilli 7,55% dimanche dernier, a quant à elle apporté son soutien au maire sortant Harold Martin (“Païta pour tous”).

Au Mont-Dore et à Dumbéa, pas de changement par rapport à ce qui avait été laissé entendre jusque-là : triangulaire au Mont-Dore et quadrangulaire à Dumbéa.
Au Mont-Dore, aucune alliance n’a été mise en place et les listes menées par Eric Gay (“Front pour l’Unité/Le Rassemblement UMP”), Monique Jandot (Calédonie Ensemble) et Jean-Irénée Boano (“Bien vivre au Mont-Dore pour une Nation Arc-en-Ciel”) se sont maintenues, comme attendu. On attend les consignes de vote de la candidate Chantal Courtot, évincée au premier tour.
A Dumbéa, les candidats avaient laissé entendre au lendemain du premier tour qu’il n’y aurait pas d’alliance. Une situation qui a été confirmée lors du dépôt des listes ce mardi. les quatre listes, menées par le maire sortant Georges Naturel (“Plus loin pour Dumbéa”), Bernard Marant (Calédonie Ensemble), Gil Brial (“L’Union pour Dumbéa”) et Muriel Malfar (“Passionnément Dumbéa”), passées au premier tour se maintiennent donc.

A Bourail, quatre listes restent en lice pour le second tour. Les deux candidats, Nadir Boufeneche (“Bourail, Uni pour le changement”) et Julien Boanemoi (FLNKS), arrivés respectivement troisième avec 21,33% et quatrième avec 17,81%, s’étaient deux déclarés ouverts aux négociations. Il n’y aura cependant pas d’alliance avec les deux autres listes, arrivées en tête, et conduites par Patrick Robelin (“Intérêt communal de Bourail”) et Brigitte El Arbi (“Unis dans la diversité”).

A Yaté aussi, quatre listes se maintiennent au second tour. La liste du FLNKS, menée par Adolphe Kamebo Digoue, était arrivée en tête dimanche dernier avec un résultat de 38,81%. Elle sera opposée aux trois autres listes “Entente pour un renouveau municipal à Yaté” d’Eliane Ouetcho, la “Liste Coordination Commune” d’André Vama et “Yaté autrement” de Roger Tara.

A Ponérihouen, où trois recours ont été déposés dès dimanche soir, quatre listes restent en lice pour le second tour : l’UC-Palika conduite par Pierre-Chanel Tutugoro – qui a déposé deux recours contre la liste de Fabrice Pouyé pour bulletin non conforme, mais aussi contre Astrid Gopéa -, “Union progressiste de Mélanésie – Union nationale pour l’indépendance”, de Pouya Meray, la liste du Parti Travailliste menée par Hubert Naaoutchoue et “Vivre ensemble à Ponérihouen” de Fabrice Pouye.

A Koumac, le maire sortant Wilfrid Weiss, qui avait obtenu 33,35% avec sa liste “Pour le Progrès communal”, s’était retrouvé au coude à coude au premier tour de dimanche avec celle de Pierre Delhumeau, “Tous pour Koumac”, qui avait récolté 31,06% des voix. S’ajoute la liste “Koumac Démocratie” d’Eric Gravina, qui avait été créditée de 12,53%. La liste FLNKS, conduite par Jean-Charles Monefara au premier tour, et qui avait obtenu 23,04%, ne se présente pas au second tour mais a annoncé avoir trouvé un accord avec Wilfrid Weiss dans la liste “Unis pour le progrès communal”. Monefara ne figure cependant pas sur cette liste.

A Kouaoua, les cinq listes participant au premier tour dimanche dernier, et qui avaient toutes franchi la barre des 10%, se maintiennent au second tour de dimanche prochain : le FLNKS Unitaire, conduit par Fredy Chagui, “Terre, commune et avenir de Kawiipa”, d’Alcide Ponga, “Kouaoua, une commune pour tous”, de Jean-Pierre Brumoere, “Diver-Cité Kawipa”, de André Diainon et “Union, progrès, avenir” de Wiliam Nomai.

Triangulaire à Maré avec la liste “Dynamique autochtone – FNLKS”, conduite par Basile Citre, “Dynamique unitaire Nengone” de Pierre Ateroy Ngaiohni et “Entente citoyenne” de Charles Yeiwene.

Triangulaire aussi a Ouégoa, avec “Union citoyenne”, conduite par Joël Carnicelli, “Ouégoa pour tous” de Fernand Martin et la liste “FLNKS Ouégoa”, conduite par Jacques Wahio.

Même configuration à Poya, avec l’Union FLNKS de Poya, conduite par François Meandu-Poveu, qui sera en lice aux côtés des listes “Poya Nekö-Horizon 2020”, conduite par Yasmina Metzdorf et l’ “Union nationale pour l’indépendance dans la diversité” d’Isaac Meandu-Poveu.

A Boulouparis, trois listes se font concurrence : “Boulouparis en mieux”, menée par Pascal Vittori, “Dynamique nationaliste de Boulouparis” de Gaston Poiroi et “Boulouparis en action” d’Alain Lazare.

On reste dans les triangulaires à Ouvéa et Voh. A Ouvéa, on retrouvera dimanche prochain la liste « Palika Iaai pour tous » de Boniface Ouno, “Agir pour Ouvéa – UC FLNKS” de Maurice Tillewa et la liste du Parti Travailliste conduite par Cédric Meaou. A Voh, ce sont les listes “Voh de demain”, de Jean-Luc Chenu, “Dynamique Vôôk-S’unir pour agir autrement”, de Rose Nassaie Wacalie et l’”Union nationale pour l’indépendance” de Guigui Dounehote qui seront opposées au second tour de dimanche.

Dernières triangulaire avec Pouébo, Pouembout et Touho. A Pouébo, la liste du Palika, conduite par Rodrig Tiavouane sera opposée à “Pouébo, avenir pour le défi du changement” avec Rock Doui et la liste de l’Union Calédonienne, conduite par Jean-Baptiste Dalap. A Pouembout, “Unis pour un destin commun”, de Jean-Doui Naouna sera opposée au “Mouvement citoyen” de Robert Courtot et à la liste de l’Union Calédonienne, conduite par Martine Bertoni. A Touho, la liste FLNKS Commune Océanienne, conduite par Alphonse Poinine sera opposée à l’”Union citoyenne pour le changement” de Daniel Poigoune et “Tha Paladjä” de Sylvain Nea.

A Houailou, la liste nationaliste unitaire (UC-UNI-Parti travailliste-FLNKS), conduite par Pascal Sawa sera opposée à la liste “Waai Oi Luu 2014, pour un changement durable”, conduite par Francis Euriboa. La maire sortante Valentine Eurisouké, qui avait obtenu 17,95% avec sa liste UNI-Palika au premier tour, se retrouve en 14ème position sur la liste nationaliste unitaire de Pascal Sawa.

A Kaala-Gomen, la liste “Entente communale”, menée par Alain Levant sera opposée à la liste “Ensemble ! Travaillons pour Kaala-Gomen” d’Hervé Tein-Taouva. A Poum, l’Union citoyenne, menée par Henriette Hmae, sera opposée à la Dynamique Unitaire FLNKS de Jean Vara. Deux listes aussi en compétition à l’île des Pins : la liste FLNKS, menée par Nicodeme Kouathe, et le liste Rassemblement-Knuie, conduite par Hilarion Vendegou.

Toutes les listes en compétition pour le second tour des municipales en Nouvelle-Calédonie à voir ici (PDF).http://nouvellecaledonie.la1ere.fr/

17) Z comme… Zircon, l’atout d’Eramet contre Glencore

Alain Jeannin
Publié le 28/03/2014 | 17:10, mis à jour le 30/03/2014 | 14:20

Si loin, si proche de Nouméa. Dans quelques jours, le projet minier de Grande Côte au Sénégal sera opérationnel. Il est conduit par TIZIR l’entreprise commune d’Eramet à 50 % avec la société australienne Mineral Deposits Limited.

Dans un monde où les projets des entreprises comptent presqu’autant que leurs résultats, le producteur franco-calédonien marque un grand coup.

L’investissement est de 650 millions d’euros. Son achèvement permet le démarrage des opérations de production de sables minéralisés. La montée en puissance de l’exploitation minière se traduira d’abord par la production des concentrés de minéraux lourds qui seront traités dans une usine de séparation.

Exploité par Grande Côte Opération (GCO), le gisement, présenté comme le troisième plus important au monde, permettra de fournir 7 % du total de la production mondiale de Zircon, un minerai utilisé dans les écrans plasma, les matériaux de construction, l’industrie aérospatiale…
La mine produira aussi de l’ilménite qui sert dans l’industrie chimique, notamment pour produire du plastique et du papier. Les produits ainsi obtenus seront transportés par voie ferrée jusqu’au port de Dakar, d’où ils seront expédiés vers les clients dans le monde entier.

Un projet séduisant

Avec ce projet, Eramet devient un acteur majeur de l’industrie des sables minéralisés. Ce projet a séduit les investisseurs financiers. Société Générale est redevenue positive sur le titre qui a gagné plus de 20 % à la bourse de Paris. Le projet sénégalais contribue par son importance à améliorer la capitalisation boursière du spécialiste des alliages et donc celle de sa filiale calédonienne, la SLN. Car c’est bien le nickel, la production phare d’Eramet en Nouvelle-Calédonie, qui reste source d’inquiétude malgré la remontée des cours.

“On ne fait pas de spéculation dans le vide”

Au LME de Londres, les cours ont perdu près de 500 dollars depuis le début de la semaine. Rien d’inquiétant pour le moment, les investisseurs ont pris leur bénéfice en clôture du mois de mars, après une hausse de 15 % des cours du métal. La spéculation devrait pouvoir reprendre en avril, même si la hausse des stocks du LME est de 26 000 tonnes de nickel toujours depuis le 1er janvier. La contradiction entre la hausse des réserves et le prix du métal qui reste élevé n’est qu’apparente. Didier Julienne, le spécialiste des matières premières nous précise: ” Pour développer la spéculation à la hausse des prix du nickel, il faut du volume, on ne fait pas de spéculation dans le vide.”

Une fusion au 16 avril

Le géant des matières premières Glencore et son voisin le groupe minier Xstrata ne pensent pas autrement. Avec un bénéfice net en baisse en 2012 de 17 % pour Glencore et de 37 % pour Xstrata, il est urgent pour eux de finaliser une fusion mainte fois retardée et qui est désormais agendée au 16 avril prochain. Une fusion d’autant plus nécessaire qu’Eramet a démontré sa capacité à rebondir en s’associant avec un partenaire australien dans son projet sénégalais de Grande Côte.

http://www.la1ere.fr/

POLITIC


18) Alotau Accord dead: PNG Political Parties
By Online Editor
3:40 pm GMT+12, 31/03/2014, Papua New Guinea

Political parties in Papua New Guinea have accused the ruling People’s National Congress (PNC) of using the noble intentions of the Alotau Accord to increasingly strengthen its grip on power and to systematically manipulate the State to advance its interests.

The parties said in a joint communiqué signed during an emotional and highly-charged meeting in Port Moresby on Saturday.

They called on sacked former treasurer Don Polye and members of his Triumph Heritage Empowerment (THE) Party, as well as sacked Petroleum and Energy Minister William Duma and his United Resources Party, to pull out of government because of the way they had been treated by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and his PNC.

Spokesman and Social Democratic Party general secretary David Dom told reporters the Alotau Accord had outlived its usefulness.

“The Alotau Acord has served its purpose well for the ruling coalition partner and its leadership,” he said.
“It served to extend the grace period to four years.

“Thus, it has delivered the desired political stability or more precisely protection and continuity in office for the ruling coalition partner.

“This effectively emboldens and enables the PNC and its leadership to do whatever pleases them anytime without fear of any opposition or scrutiny whatsoever.

“The Alotau Accord, having served its purpose, is no longer useful. It has outlived its political use by date for all the signatories.

“It is no longer something which a politician or coalition partner can continue to worship or uphold or pledge loyalty to.”

Dom said some coalition partners and individual MPs such as Polye had been “mistreated, mishandled, humiliated, or intimidated by the ruling coalition partner”.

“PNC and its leadership shamelessly continue to deny the no-win situation they have found themselves in,” he said. “Instead, they continue to shamelessly brag about a non-existent need to uphold the Alotau Accord. It is apparent that they do this purely out of fear.

“The dominant coalition partner – the PNC and its leadership – are now sacking and replacing, and in the process humiliating quality ministers, civil servants and coalition partners at will.

“This is not in accord with the letter and spirit of the Alotau Accord.

“Nevertheless, they will continue to dish out the same treatment whether partners like it or not.

“There is no stopping them for the grace period gives them a sense of power, security, and infallibility.”.

Meanwhile, the  Organic Law on Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates (OLIPPAC) is not working, political parties say.

Dom said the OLIPPAC was instituted for the dual purpose of preventing political instability and developing and strengthening a party-based political culture in the country.

“For a brief period, it served its purpose as intended, especially during the tenure of the then Prime Minister Sir Mekere Morauta,” he said. “However, a Supreme Court interpretation on the OLIPPAC rendered among others, Section 45 unconstitutional and was annulled forthwith. This was the crucial provision which annulled political stability.

“With it being annulled, candidates and parties could switch their allegiance at will. To this day, no attempt has been made to re-establish the power and purpose of the OLLIPAC.

“Thus, it remains a gigantic law without teeth and strength.

“In our opinion, this reflects a government leadership lacking either the will or having ulterior motives or both.”

Dom said the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties realised the need to maintain political stability and good governance, and in consultation with registered political parties, proposed changes to the OLIPPAC.

“The proposed changes were submitted to the current government for endorsement after it went through the compulsory vetting process,” he said. “For reasons now known, the proposed amendments have not been endorsed for Parliament to enact.

“The reason was that the dominant coalition partner (People’s National Congress) and its leadership has an alternative agenda.

“It was to amend the Constitution on the back of the Alotau Accord to accomplish its own version of political stability.

“On the other hand, the gradual and systematic weakening and decimation of its coalition partners and even the Opposition parties through intimidation, cleverly-disguised blackmails and application of divisive tactics.”.

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

19) Fiji govt welcomes Australia, NZ’s decision to lift travel sanctions
By Online Editor
3:51 pm GMT+12, 31/03/2014, Fiji

The Fijian Government has welcomed Australia and New Zealand’s decision to lift all existing sanctions against Fiji.

Government in a statement said it has always believed that the sanctions were ill conceived and served only to discourage talented and qualified individuals from serving the Fijian people.

“We have always maintained that our three governments can work together if it is on the basis of a mutual respect for national sovereignty and on equal terms.

The removal of sanctions is a positive step towards restoring normal relations between our governments. The relations between our peoples has never weakened.

We now look forward to working with Australia and New Zealand on a number of areas of shared interest,” a  government statement said.

Fiji will go to the polls on Wednesday, September 17, 2014 to elect its new Government.

Four political parties have already registered for the general election while Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama Sunday announced his proposed Fiji First political party in Suva.

In another development, Fiji’s newly appointed Supervisor of Elections, Mohammed Saneem has assured the public that the Elections Office is independent and will uphold its core rights.

Saneem said the immediate task would be to see that the mechanics of the Elections Office is in place and there are plans of extensive voter education.

He also announced that Electronic Voter Registration for overseas voters will resume in the second week of May.

Meanwhile, New Zealand’s Foreign Minister, Murray McCully, says while all is not perfect in Fiji, he says the government believes it’s more constructive to provide assistance, as Fiji prepares for the September election.

McCully says the government wants to recognise the progress that’s been made towards free and fair elections.

“No-one is pretending the position in Fiji is perfect. I think it’ a significant step forward if we have got an election date established, a framework for elections, political parties registered. The question is how do we best re-inforce that progress and that’s the judgment we’ve made,” McCully told Radio New Zealand.
SOURCE: MINFO/ FIJI LIVE/PACNEWS

20) Ethnic differences will remain in Fiji, says Former Vice President
By Online Editor
3:47 pm GMT+12, 31/03/2014, Fiji

Former Fijian Vice President Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi says there is no guarantee that ethnic differences won’t arise in the upcoming elections.

Speaking at the National Federation Party’s annual congress in Nadi at the weekend, Ratu Joni said eight years was not enough to eradicate the issue of race.

“Eight years is a relatively short time in which to expect monumental changes in voting patterns i.e. as in an end to ethnic voting. However, the stars appear to be favourable.” He said the 2014 general election is a significant milestone for a number of reasons.

“Firstly, it will be our first election in over eight years since the previous government was removed by force. Second, it will be the first non-racial election in our history, although there is no guarantee that ethnic considerations will be absent from how the electorate decides to vote,” Ratu Joni said.

He said the natural targets would be youths as in those under 35 years of age and the iTaukei together with members of other communities; each has its own set of peculiarities and the NFP has to consider, within an overarching set of principles which the NFP stands for.

“It is not an exercise in double standards or a matter of appealing to sectarian sentiments, although there is often a fine line distinguishing the recognition of special interests and seeking to play on the fears of a particular interest group. It is recognition that in our society there are common interests which bind all of us as in our love of country, and particular factors that smaller numbers may identify with as in ethnicity, religion, age group, institution or other criteria.”

“To them the message must be the NFP’s willingness to embrace a more inclusive and non-racial type of politics that is more substantial than merely having an iTaukei of renown as president of the Party,” he said.

Ratu Joni told NFP that they needed to convince iTaukei people that the party was more than just that of Fijians with Indian descendants.

“I am aware the Party was founded by AD Patel and Swami Rudrananda as a secular political organisation based in the cane belt. But that is neither here nor there, because perceptions are everything in our society. For most iTaukei of a particular age, the NFP is an Indo Fijian party and nothing anyone could say would change that perspective. How does one go about changing that? Several means come to mind.”

“The most obvious is recruiting more iTaukei to NFP ranks. If at all possible, it should be in numbers. A critical mass allows positive reinforcement and encouragement. It lessens the sense of isolation or being cut adrift from ones moorings. What it also does is encourage others because of the security derived from the group. To do this, one has to mitigate the strong sense of group identity that they have.”

“It is a feeling of connectedness if you will. That is achieved in part by giving them a sense of reassurance: validating what they esteem i.e. their land, culture, religion and identity. Further, that this identity is co-extensive with their citizenship of this country and not mutually exclusive.”.
SOURCE: FIJI LIVE/PACNEWS

21) Bainimarama Launches New ‘Fiji First’ Political Party
PM says he ‘wants a new Fiji’ as he launches his campaign

By Siteri Sauvakacolo

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, March 31, 2014) – Fiji Prime Minister Rear Admiral Voreqe Bainimarama’s proposed political party is known as Fiji First.

He made the announcement in Suva yesterday and also launched his campaign bus.

Rear Admiral Bainimarama said the proposed party’s name was derived from his belief that Fiji is “where every Fijian regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, status, colour, gender and creed is considered equal — where every Fijian is put first in relation to our collective progress, success and growth as a nation”.

“My political movement and I are getting ready to take each one of you on a journey — whether you be a commoner or a chief; a shopkeeper or a consumer, a landowner or a farmer, an office worker or a labourer, a woman or a man, a pensioner or a youth, a city dweller or someone living in our maritime or rural areas. We have to travel together to become the pride of the Pacific and the world.

“I want a new Fiji where we have basic amenities for everyone, jobs for all Fijians, an educated Fiji, a smart Fiji and a happy and successful Fiji for all Fijians.”

Rear Admiral Bainimarama said his government still had much more to do and he called on the people for their support to ensure it stayed in power to complete the work.

“No longer do the interests of a select few come before what is good for all Fijians. We must put Fiji first.”

He takes leave from work this week to officially start his campaign. His campaign includes a two-day tour of Viti Levu during which he will collect signatures for his proposed party. He will also travel to Vanua Levu.

Rear Admiral Bainimarama said he would announce further details as soon as he collected the needed signatures required to register his proposed Fiji First party.

Fiji Times Online.

22) Solomons Court Declares Panga Still Premier Of Guadalcanal
Vote of no-confidence ruled null and void

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, March 31, 2014) – Stephen Panga is still the premier of Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands.

This was after a High Court ruling on Friday, which declared Wednesday’s assembly meeting, in which Mr Panga was ousted in a vote of no-confidence, null and void.

The ruling came after Mr Panga’s lawyer, Gabriel Suri, challenged the legality of the meeting in the High Court.

The court ruled the meeting was illegal and every proceeding associated with it null and void.

This means Mr Panga remains the premier of Guadalcanal, despite commanded a minority government.

At Wednesday’s vote, 12 members of the 21-member assembly voted in support of the motion, tabled and moved by Rollen Seleso.

Mr Panga and his nine executive members boycotted the meeting.

Despite their action, speaker Joel Arambola allowed the meeting to go ahead.

The no-confidence motion was moved in the absence of Mr Panga, who was accused of abusing provincial funds amongst other allegations.

A meeting supposed to be called yesterday to elect a new premier could not go ahead because of the court challenge.

The court ruling means Mr Panga remains in power, and the speaker will have to reschedule a meeting again.

Meanwhile, the province faces dissolution because it has yet to pass its new budget for this year.

Provincial Government Act requires every province to submit their budget for approval to the minister by March 31 each year.

Due to the crisis gripping the province, members are yet to meet and pass the budget.

Solomon Star

23) New Caledonia Elects First Woman Mayor Of Noumea
Largarde to step down from French National Assembly seat

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 29, 2014) – New Caledonia’s capital has elected its first woman mayor in the second round of the municipal elections.

According to preliminary results, Sonia Largarde of the Caledonia Together Party has improved her result of the first round and won the Noumea race against Gael Yanno of the alliance linked to the French UMP.

She replaces Jean Leques of the rival traditional anti-independence group who had been at the city’s helm since 1986.

As a result of her success, Mrs Lagarde will have to quit the seat in the French National Assembly she won two years ago.

One of the territory’s members of the French Senate, Hilarion Vendegou, has lost the Isle of Pines mayoralty to his challenger of the pro-independence camp.

In French Polynesia, attention in today’s run-off is focussed on the contest for the mayoralty of Papeete.

Radio New Zealand International

MEDIA


24) Pacific media body calls for more investment in small media businesses
By Online Editor
09:33 am GMT+12, 31/03/2014, Australia

The President of the Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) has called for more investment in small media businesses.

Moses Stevens was at the Asian Development Bank Pacific Business Media Summit last week in Sydney and said there were a lot of ideas shared about business models, but says some small media outlets would love to have a better media model themselves.

He says there’s lots of investment in other small businesses in the Pacific, but if fledgling media outlets are going to help promote them, they too shouldn’t be outside that scope.

Stevens says the ADB is implementing microfinancing schemes for those who can’t afford start-up costs, and media groups also should be included.

“I think in the media sector if media are going to be a significant partner in disseminating information and exposing the needs there then I think they should be empowered as well and they should make some funding available for them to start off businesses in the media industry.”.
SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

25) Do your job or quit ABC, Turnbull tells board members

By Online Editor
3:56 pm GMT+12, 31/03/2014, Australia

Australian Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull says ABC board members who do not want to get involved in ensuring news content on the public broadcaster is accurate and impartial should get off the board.

Revealing he receives hundreds of complaints about the ABC each week, Turnbull said “the law of the land” couldn’t be clearer — the board needed to take responsibility for addressing issues of accuracy and impartiality.

“Some people have said to me, ‘The directors don’t want to get involved’, so I said to the directors, ‘Look, if you don’t want to get involved you don’t have to be on the board’,”  Turnbull told The Australian.

“Section 8 of the ABC Act says one of the board’s duties is to ­ensure the ABC’s news and information services are impartial and accurate, according to the standards of objective journalism.

“It couldn’t be clearer.

“My very strong view is that the ABC board must take ­responsibility.”

The ABC board is reluctant to involve itself in issues around impartiality and news content. Sources say it does not believe it is “obliged” to ensure editorial policies are upheld. It admits it has the power but says it is not obligated.

The board says the obligation to manage affairs is vested in managing director Mark Scott.

In an interview with The Australian  Turnbull disagreed and noted that section 10 of the act stated that the managing ­director had to “act in accordance with any policies determined, and any directions given to him or her, by the board,” so it is quite clear the board is in charge.

He said the ABC board “can appoint people, they can sack people, it can lay down the policies which the management must follow and the act expressly says to the board, ‘You have the responsibility to ensure that news and information are accurate and impartial’.”

Turnbull credits ABC chairman Jim Spigelman for commissioning audits into the ABC’s coverage of asylum-seekers and the federal election, but said impartiality was the responsibility of the whole board, not just the chairman.

“It’s the duty of the board to ensure that the gathering and presentation by the corporation of news and information is accurate and impartial, according to the recognised standards of objective journalism.

“How much clearer can it be? That’s the law of the land. It doesn’t say to ensure news is ­accurate and impartial when the managing director asks them to look into it,” Turnbull said.

Asked if he felt the board was doing its duty, Turnbull said: “I’ll be discreet about that, but if anyone was concerned that the ABC was not being accurate and impartial, I would be raising it with the board. Write to the chairman and all the directors.”

Turnbull said News Corp Australia newspapers, such as The Australian, had every right to be opinionated, but the ABC as a public broadcaster needed to remain impartial.

While declining to give his personal view, Mr Turnbull said he was aware there were concerns in the community about the ABC’s impartiality.

“I get hundreds of emails and letters every week about the ABC. I am constantly writing to people about it,’’ Turnbull said.

“Of course, I know there are concerns about the impartiality of the ABC, as there are indeed about all media, but of course the difference about the ABC is as I’ve said, The Australian is entitled to be as partial, biased or opinionated as it wants to be. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it, don’t read it.

“The ABC is a national broadcaster paid for with taxpayers’ money and it has to be absolutely accurate and impartial. That’s the deal. That’s the bargain they’ve got with the public.”

The ABC board meets this Thursday. It may address the possible breach of ABC’s editorial policy on impartiality and conflict of interest by Media Watch host Paul Barry.

There have been questions about whether Barry has a bias against News Corp, and whether there is a perceived conflict of interest as he continues to promote his anti-News Corp book on ­Rupert Murdoch, Breaking News: Sex, Lies and the Murdoch Succession, while the host of Media Watch, a role in which he is meant to be an impartial arbiter.

On Thursday, he will join a discussion panel on the topic, “The Murdoch press and its influence on Australian, British and American Politics”, at the Harold Park Hotel in Glebe, Sydney.

Two nights later, he will join another talk on News Corp, questioning whether “Rupert Murdoch, the powerful international media baron” has “too much power”. The official topic under discussion at the Union Hotel in North Sydney is: “Rupert’s Right? Exercising Freedom of Speech or Unmitigated Power?”

On Media Watch last week, Barry appeared to respond to concerns he was obsessed with News Corp by highlighting that News Corp columnist Andrew Bolt had written about the ABC 132 times this year on his blog.

Before the show, he tweeted: “Obsessed??? Who has written 132 stories about the ABC this year, with 125 of them negative?”.

Turnbull would not comment on Barry specifically, but printed out a copy of the ABC Act for The Australian, saying it was up to the ABC board to address ­issues relating to impartiality.

News Corp columnist Terry McCrann said Barry admitted his position on the Murdochs in an ABC radio interview with James O’Loghlin in September, when promoting his book.

“Crucially, he explained that he had started out ‘positive’ on them, but the more it went on, the ‘less I found his (Murdoch’s) behaviour defensible and I moved away from my great admiration’,’’ McCrann wrote in his column.

“That opinion is perfectly legitimate in an individual. But it is a disqualification for the role of host of Media Watch, which purports to independently and objectively assess the media in Australia, including the Murdoch papers.”

McCrann wrote that both  Scott and the ABC board’s failure to discharge Barry has left it in breach of the corporation’s statutory obligations.

Nine chief executive David Gyngell came to Barry’s defence, saying while it was clear Barry had a bias against News Corp, he believed the TV host could separate his personal views from the show he presented.

“Clearly, he’s got a bee in his bonnet about News, but a lot of people do. He’s got the forum to say something about it,’’Gyngell said. “He’s a smart enough and good enough independent journalist. (He can) define the barriers between writing a book on someone and having an ­agenda. I think he’s smart enough to have a differentiation.”

Asked whether Barry’s breach of the impartiality editorial policy would be examined at Thursday’s board meeting, Scott said: “I’m not commenting on board matters and board agendas.

“I’m not commenting on my discussions with the chairman. We discuss matters regularly but I don’t provide public commentary on that. My comment on Paul Barry is I stand by the ABC spokesman on Paul Barry.”

The ABC spokesman said: “Media Watch and its host Paul Barry have the full support of the ABC.”

The ABC’s conflict of interest requirements say external activities of individuals undertaking work for the ABC must not undermine the independence and integrity of the ABC’s editorial content.
SOURCE:THE AUSTRALIAN/PACNEWS

26) Fiji Media Authority Undoing Progress: Educator
Robie says MIDA is sending wrong singles about freedom

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 29, 2014) – A Pacific journalism educator based in New Zealand says the Fiji Media Industry Development Authority is undoing the good work acheived in Fiji in the past.

This week the MIDA announced it would set up a media monitoring unit, to assess whether all media outlets were giving equal weight to each political party leading up to this year’s elections.

The MIDA Chairman, Ashwin Raj, says the unit will be independent, but the Director of AUT’s Pacific Media Centre, Professor David Robie, says he is very sceptical.

He says the authority is going the wrong way about encouraging a free media in Fiji, and is shooting itself in the foot.

“I think really they’re sending the wrong signals. What media is doing is saying, you know, everything is changed, and we’re now having a much freer media environment. That’s the best way, instead of trying to beat various media organisations with a big stick when it doesn’t like something that’s being reported. Forget all of that sort of petty sort of stuff and get on with encouraging free and open debate,” says Robie.

Radio New Zealand International

27) Media alliance in Tonga aims to attract better advertising deals
By Online Editor
09:30 am GMT+12, 31/03/2014, Tonga

A new media alliance in Tonga is aiming to band outlets together to make advertising more accessible.

The publisher of Taimi o Tonga, Kalafi Moala, says the real enemy for media is “out there” and not amongst different outlets.

He says some outlets are so small that their reach is not attractive to advertisers, so three already are pitching to advertisers as one group.

Kalafi Moala says the Taimi o Tonga network has grouped with the Kele’a outlet as well as the New Zealand-based Kakalu o Tonga.

He says he hopes other media will also come on board.

“If we combine those three then our reach will be quite substantial. So here we are forming an alliance and we are going to the advertiser and saying if you advertise with our alliance we can pretty much guarantee you a reach that you’ll be satisfied with. It will go to the whole Tongan community.”

Moala says the alliance may also eventually include the sharing of news stories from independent audiences.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

BUSINESS

28) A new way to send pictures

Ropate Valemei
Saturday, March 29, 2014

FOR smartphone users in Fiji, an application has finally arrived allowing user-to-user photo and video messaging.

Maztaba is a fast-paced evolution for Fiji’s mobile lifestyle.

This was designed locally by Mobimedia, a South Pacific and Asia-wide VAS supplier, (the creators of the www.pacificlists.com trading site).

Mobimedia general manager Keeyan Admana says Maztaba is an application built for photo sharing in which the sender allocates how much time the photo may be viewed by the recipient before being erased from sender and recipient devices.

He said this was intended for individuals to share images and moments with their friends and relatives across the country.Fijitimes

29) Fiji rum is best in the world

By GERALDINE PANAPASA
Monday, March 31, 2014

Update: 3:40PM FIJIS Bounty overproof rum has won a number of significant awards in competition with the worlds best rums at the San Francisco Spirits competition this year.

In a statement this afternoon, Coca-Cola Amatil Limited said Bounty overproof rum was one of the portfolios of Fiji Rum Co spirits brands owned by Coca-Cola Amatils Fiji and Samoa-based alcohol beverage company, Paradise Beverages.

It has just scored at the top of the worlds most comprehensive international spirits competition, it said.

It won best overproof rum, best rum – beating a field of 130 rum brands from all over the world – best aged white spirit and the prestigious double gold medal, which is the highest honour for a brand at the event.

The company said Bounty white rum and Bounty dark rum won a silver medal and Bounty spiced rum a bronze.Fijitimes

30) K3b loan the best deal, PNG must own resources : PM O’Neill
By Online Editor
12:29 pm GMT+12, 31/03/2014, Papua New Guinea

The country has made a saving of $AU400 million from the K3 billion(AUD$ 1.239 billion) UBS loan which Prime Minister Peter O’Neill described as the best deal for Papua New Guinea.

O’Neill, explaining the deal on FM100 talkback show on Friday, said this is not a new loan but one that replaces the IPIC loan with better terms and interest rates without breaking any laws of the land.

He said when the Government under the Somare regime went out in 2008-09 to negotiate for the LNG project, PNG government had no money to pay for its 19.4 percent shares in the project.

He said the government negotiated with the Arabs to get what is now the IPIC loan and in turn mortgage all government assets like Air Niugini, PNG Ports and all other assets held under IPBC and the General Trust.

O’Neill said the agreement was that by March 6, 2014, PNG government was to repay the loan at $AU8.55 per share and to repay the loan also include buying back Oil Search shares.

He said the Central Bank, IPBC and Treasury were tasked to go out and conduct a bidding process from banks to borrow money to buy back those shares.

He said when the bidding process was conducted the Central Bank, IPBC and Treasury recommended to government that they have found the loan from UBS to be most competitive in terms of interest rates,  in terms of repayment and so forth and government gave notice to the Arabs that it now has the money.

O’Neill said the government wanted to buy back but the Arabs wrote back to advising that they wanted to keep the shares. “The government had to find a way to get some shares because our people need to own their own resources, so Oil Search was prepared to go to the market to do their own business transactions with the Gulf Oil project.”

He said said Papua New Guineans have not held any interest in major resource projects such as Lihir, Misima and Porgera mines but have been mere tax and royalty collectors for the last 40 years.

“Papua New Guineans all throughout the country are crying for ownership of their own resources and rightfully so because we have had the experience over the past forty years about resource development in the country. “Many of our citizens feel that we have been deprived of the benefits from these resources that should truly be given back to Papua New Guineans.”

O’Neill said since this government took office, it heard that cry for resource ownership and was trying its best to find a way to increase the benefits that are going to come to Papua New Guinea.

“We don’t just want to be tax collectors, we don’t want to be royalty collectors, we must have ownership of many of our resource developments,” he said. He said that the Government was addressing these cries and did not break any laws in negotiating the loan with the UBS Bank for K3 billion. He said when PNG government went to negotiate the IPIC loan for the LNG project, the government had no money, so the State had to mortgage virtually everything it owns, including all assets of government.

He said by March 6 this year, PNG had zero percent shares in Oil Search due to the IPIC loan arrangements and with the Arabs refusal to sell back the 15 percent shares held in Oil Search.

“Knowing very well that Papua New Guineans want to own resources, the government had to find a way to get some shares, so when Oil Search was prepared to go to the market to do their own business transactions with the Gulf LNG project, they need to raise money to pay for that investment. He said Oil Search went public through the Australian Stock Exchange inviting every other shareholder and since PNG were not share holders, the government negotiated and asked that since the government has been 100 percent at one time, it asked the company to give back some shares to the people.

“I think all in all, you have some savings that PNG must be proud of and we must make sure that Papua New Guineans continue to own resources in their own country. These resources are not renewable resources, once they are taken out of PNG, it will never come back so Papua New Guineans must maximise their benefits.”.
SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

31) Understanding new and emerging export markets
By Online Editor
09:27 am GMT+12, 31/03/2014, Fiji

The Pacific Islands Trade & Invest (PT&I) network, the trade and investment arm of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, is organising a three day workshop from 31 March to 2 April in Suva.

The Pacific Path to Market Workshop – a first for Fiji, will address market compliance constraints and highlight specific solutions to enhance exporters’ capacity. The importance of branding, cost-effective packaging, dealing with logistics and having an effective supply chain will also be discussed.

The ‘Pacific Path to Market Workshop’ is specifically designed to respond to the exporters’ current and future needs. The programme has been developed based on consultations with a number of businesses in Fiji over the past year to assist in increasing their exports.

The workshop is funded by the European Union through the European Development Fund, under the Pacific Integration Technical Assistance Project (PITAP) implemented by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat. PITAP is a component of the Strengthening Pacific Economic Integration through Trade (SPEITT).

The Pacific Islands Trade & Invest network has brought industry experts and international speakers from China and New Zealand to give a first-hand account of doing business in these markets. Export promotion staff from the PT&I offices in Auckland, Beijing and Sydney will be presenting opportunities in these markets for Fiji exports.

More than 80 businesses have confirmed attendance. This high level of interest shown by Fiji businesses is an indication of the drive that Fiji’s private sector has to explore new and emerging opportunities.

The Pacific Path to Market Workshop is expected to be organised in other Forum island countries later in the year. Representatives from some of the Pacific island countries are attending as observers at this workshop.
SOURCE: PIFS/PACNEWS

LAW&ORDER


32) Indonesia fugitive Tjandra issued second passport in PNG
By Online Editor
3:39 pm GMT+12, 31/03/2014, Papua New Guinea

Indonesian fugitive Djoko Tjandra has been issued a second PNG passport superseding the first under Joe Chan, which has been cancelled.

And the State and Immigration Department may face the Ombudsman Commission to explain the irregularities surrounding the issuance of a second passport to the fugitive, who is wanted in his country over fraud charges, when the first one was in question.

Tjandra’s first PNG passport was annulled and cancelled when Prime Minister Peter O’Neill called for an investigation into how the passport was issued against all immigration laws. Immigration has since issued him a second PNG passport, under a different number but same name because internationally, the number of the first passport is on a “wanted” list all over the world issued by Interpol.

On March 24, Tjandra returned from Singapore to PNG using his passport as confirmed by Government officials.  He is here to operate multi-million kina projects he has secured with some government ministers, MPs and leaders.

Last Friday, the Ombudsman Commission confirmed the office was taking up the issue but could not elaborate further.

The Post-Courier posed questions to immigration and the Government on the issuance of the second passport and why it was done. No one was able to respond but a senior government officer at the Attorney General’s office said the matter was still under investigations.

The Indonesian Government already has news of the second passport issued to Tjandra and last week, in Indonesian media, it was reported that the Government will soon write to the PNG Government to have an update of the fugitive they still need back in their country to answer fraud charges
SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

33) PNG Man Arrested For Smuggling Drugs From Asia
Man detained at airport after arriving from Hong Kong

By Gorethy Kenneth

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, March 31, 2014) – A Papua New Guinea man is in police custody for smuggling into the country drugs worth millions of kina from Asia. The man, from the Highlands (named), flew in from Hong Kong last week and was caught at the by airport officials, police and government officials said. The Government and airport officials detained the drug smuggler for questioning and arrested him for having in his possession dangerous drugs.

Airport officials and Customs could not disclose a lot of information last Friday and police told the Post-Courier it is a very sensitive issue and that they could not release information about. The officials also said they needed to gather more information on the drugs, the person and the process in which airport authorities in Hong Kong failed to detect the drugs. One senior government officer said over the weekend that the drug smuggler may have connections to the PNG woman that got caught in Australia early this year for smuggling ice from Port Moresby to Australia. The officials said it could be a time to uncover the major drug syndicate operating in Port Moresby and linked to dealers all over Asia, Australia and the Pacific.
PNG Post-Courier

34) PNG MP Sentenced To 9 Years Hard Labor For Misappropriation
Tiensten ordered to repay $3.8 million

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 29, 2014) – A Papua New Guinea MP, Paul Tiensten, has been sentenced to 9 years in prison with hard labour – one year less than the maximum sentence.

The Pomio MP has also been ordered to repay a sum of 3-point-8 million US dollars that he was found guilty of misappropriating.

EMTV reports the National Court judge, Justice Gibbs Salika said the case stood alone with over 10 million kina being misapplied, whereas other MPs – who served between 1 and 5 years in jail – only misapplied less than 150 thousand kina.

The amount was allegedly paid to Travel Air, an airline owned by Kokopo businessman, Eremas Wartoto, during Tiensten’s time as Minister for National Planning and Monitoring.

This was one of the first cases investigated by the anti-corruption Task Force Sweep after it was established by the Government in August 2011.

Radio New Zealand International

REFUGEE/ASYLUM+

35) Lawyer Attempting To Represent Manus Asylum Seekers Deported
Australian Jay Williams not licensed to practice in PNG

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, March 29, 2014) – An Australian lawyer representing 75 detainees on Manus Island has been forced to leave PNG after being threatened with arrest.

The ABC understands Sydney-based lawyer Jay Williams initially refused to leave because there was no court order justifying his deportation.

PNG’s attorney-general Kerenga Kua said yesterday Mr Williams did not possess a license to work in the country.

“What it means is that if you’re an admitted lawyer but don’t have a current practising certificate for 2014, you cannot practise law in this country,” he said.

Last week the PNG National Court judge Justice David Cannings granted Mr Williams access to the Manus Island detention centre to meet his clients, but he was ejected when he arrived.

Justice Cannings set up a human rights inquiry earlier this month to examine the conditions of asylum seekers at the Australian facility.

The PNG government put the inquiry on hold on March 21 after it obtained a stay order from the supreme court.

Justice Cannings responded by initiating a new inquiry.

The PNG government is seeking to appeal against Justice Cannings’s refusal to disqualify himself from the inquiry over allegations of bias.

Radio Australia

CLIMATE CHANGE,CONSERVATION AND ENVIROMENT

36) Land data

Siteri Sauvakacolo
Monday, March 31, 2014

DEVELOPERS and potential investors will soon have a better idea of places deemed good for development in Fiji with the introduction of the Geospatial Information System Management (GISM).

Land ministry permanent secretary Tevita Boseiwaqa said the ministry was working with stakeholders to come together with their respective data which would all be preserved as one.

“This data will keep a record of everything the public may need to know,” Mr Boseiwaqa said.

“From before, respective organisations kept a record of their own data which made it hard for the public to access.

“This will include data from the Lands ministry, other government ministries, USP and the Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC).”

“Currently, there is none to guide us on this. Many developed countries have their own system which deals with capturing different sorts of data, physical, social or economical.” said Mr Boseiwaqa Fijitimes

37) Global warming dials up our risks, UN report says
By Online Editor
3:46 pm GMT+12, 31/03/2014, Japan

Global warming is driving humanity toward a whole new level of many risks, a United Nations scientific panel reports, warning that the wild climate ride has only just begun.

Twenty-first century disasters such as killer heat waves in Europe, wildfires in the US, droughts in Australia and deadly flooding in Mozambique, Thailand and Pakistan highlight how vulnerable humanity is to extreme weather, says a massive new report from a Nobel Prize-winning group of scientists released early Monday.

The dangers are going to worsen as the climate changes even more, the report’s authors say, adding that no one is immune.

“We’re all sitting ducks,” Princeton University professor Michael Oppenheimer, one of the main authors of the 32-volume report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said in an interview.

After several days of late-night wrangling, more than 100 governments unanimously approved the scientist-written 49-page summary – which is aimed at world political leaders. The summary mentions the word “risk” an average of about 5 1/2 times per page.

“Changes are occurring rapidly and they are sort of building up that risk,” said the overall lead author of the report, Chris Field of the Carnegie Institution for Science in California.

These risks are both big and small, according to the report. They are now and in the future. They hit farmers and big cities. Some places will have too much water, some not enough, including drinking water.

Other risks mentioned in the report involve the price and availability of food, and to a lesser and more qualified extent some diseases, financial costs and even world peace.

“Things are worse than we had predicted” in 2007, when the group of scientists last issued this type of report, said report co-author Saleemul Huq, director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development at the Independent University in Bangladesh.

“We are going to see more and more impacts, faster and sooner than we had anticipated.”

The problems have gotten so bad that the panel had to add a new and dangerous level of risks. In 2007, the biggest risk level in one key summary graphic was “high” and coloured blazing red. The latest report adds a new level, “very high,” and colours it deep purple.

You might as well call it a “horrible” risk level, said report co-author Maarten van Aalst, a top official at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

“The horrible is something quite likely, and we won’t be able to do anything about it,” he said.

The report predicts that the highest level of risk would first hit plants and animals, both on land and the acidifying oceans.

Climate change will worsen problems that society already has, such as poverty, sickness, violence and refugees, according to the report. And on the other end, it will act as a brake slowing down the benefits of a modernising society, such as regular economic growth and more efficient crop production, it says.

“In recent decades, changes in climate have caused impacts on natural and human systems on all continents and across the oceans,” the report says.

And if society doesn’t change, the future looks even worse, it says: “Increasing magnitudes of warming increase the likelihood of severe, pervasive, and irreversible impacts.”

While the problems from global warming will hit everyone in some way, the magnitude of the harm won’t be equal, coming down harder on people who can least afford it, the report says. It will increase the gaps between the rich and poor, healthy and sick, young and old, and men and women, van Aalst said.

But the report’s authors say this is not a modern day version of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Much of what they warn of are more nuanced troubles that grow by degrees and worsen other societal ills.

The report also concedes that there are uncertainties in understanding and predicting future climate risks.

The report, the fifth on warming’s impacts, includes risks to the ecosystems of the Earth, including a thawing Arctic, but it is far more oriented to what it means to people than past versions.

The report also notes that one major area of risk is that with increased warming, incredibly dramatic but ultra-rare single major climate events, sometimes called tipping points, become more possible with huge consequences for the globe. These are events like the melting of the Greenland ice sheet, which would take more than 1,000 years.

“I can’t think of a better word for what it means to society than the word ‘risk’,” said Virginia Burkett of the US Geological Survey, one of the study’s main authors. She calls global warming “maybe one of the greatest known risks we face.”

Global warming is triggered by heat-trapping gases, such as carbon dioxide, that stay in the atmosphere for a century. Much of the gases still in the air and trapping heat came from the United States and other industrial nations. China is now by far the No 1 carbon dioxide polluter, followed by the United States and India.

Unlike in past reports, where the scientists tried to limit examples of extremes to disasters that computer simulations can attribute partly to man-made warming, this version broadens what it looks at because it includes the larger issues of risk and vulnerability, van Aalst said.

Freaky storms like 2013’s Typhoon Haiyan, 2012’s Superstorm Sandy and 2008’s ultra-deadly Cyclone Nargis may not have been caused by warming, but their fatal storm surges were augmented by climate change’s ever rising seas, he said.

And in the cases of the big storms like Haiyan, Sandy and Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the poor were the most vulnerable, Oppenheimer and van Aalst said. The report talks about climate change helping create new pockets of poverty and “hotspots of hunger” even in richer countries, increasing inequality between rich and poor.

“Rich people benefit from using all these fossil fuels,” University of Sussex economist Richard Tol said. “Poorer people lose out.”

Huq said he had hope because richer nations and people are being hit more, and “when it hits the rich, then it’s a problem” and people start acting on it.

Part of the report talks about what can be done: reducing carbon pollution and adapting to and preparing for changing climates with smarter development.

The report echoes an earlier UN climate science panel that said if greenhouse gases continue to rise, the world is looking at another about 3.5 or 4 degrees Celsius of warming by 2100 instead of the international goal of not allowing temperatures to rise more than 1.2C.

The difference between those two outcomes, Princeton’s Oppenheimer said, “is the difference between driving on an icy road at 50mph (48kmh) versus 90 mph (144kmh). It’s risky at 30, but deadly at 90.”

Tol, who is in the minority of experts here, had his name removed from the summary because he found it “too alarmist,” harping too much on risk.

There is still time to adapt to some of the coming changes and reduce heat-trapping emissions, so it’s not all bad, said study co-author Patricia Romero-Lankao of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado.

“We have a closing window of opportunity,” she said. “We do have choices. We need to act now.”.

SOURCE: AP/PACNEWS

WOMAN,YOUTH & CHILD

38) Women, children vulnerable

Dawn Gibson
Monday, March 31, 2014

WOMEN and children are always particularly vulnerable when dealing with climate change or other pressing issues.

These were the sentiments of US Ambassador Frankie Reed at the launch of the US Government’s $US24million ($F44m) grant to Pacific Island countries to battle climate change impact.

When asked about the importance of this fund to women and children in Pacific Island societies, Ambassador Reed said she saw it as an opportunity for organisations that represented women and children to come forward and apply for funding.

“When I’m travelling also I try and pay particular attention to (women and children) because I think oftentimes, populations of women and children are somewhat overlooked and as a woman, it’s probably easier for me to pick up on that at times,” Ambassador Reed said in an interview.

“When I look at a guest list and there are no women on it, I tend to question it more and so I think in looking at applications, it’s an opportunity for women and those on behalf of children to speak up.

“If you are overlooked and people give you a chance to apply for something, I think you should move forward and identify why your application is exceptional.”

The US Government provided the $44m grant to 12 Pacific Island countries in the hope that it would help mitigate climate change impacts.Fijitimes

SPORTS


39) New Zealand triumph in Hong Kong

By Online Editor
10:40 am GMT+12, 31/03/2014, Hong Kong

New Zealand beat England 26-7 to lift the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens, round seven of the HSBC Sevens World Series.

The win, inspired by captain DJ Forbes, puts them back on top of the Series standings, seven ahead of South Africa who won the Plate with Fiji a further 17 points behind having finished third as the defending champions in So Kon Po.

“It is a great feeling,” said an elated Gordon Tietjen.

“My captain lead so well from the front, he was simply amazing. And also the other players linked in with him, we played a good final.

“That puts us back on top now, it’s topsy-turvy now which means we need to start well in Scotland, but this will certainly help in going towards winning that title.”

Injury-hit SA win Plate

South Africa narrowly held on to beat Wales 19-14 in the final of the Plate to collect 13 valuable Series points thanks to two tries from Jamba Ulengo.

“It was important for us to win that,” said head coach Neil Powell, who lost captain Kyle Brown to injury on day one.

“We knew when we lost to England in the quarter final we needed to win the Plate to get as many points on the Series log.”

Earlier they proved too strong for the USA 24-19 in the first Plate semi final.

Turnbull and Johnstone braces in Bowl final

Andrew Turnbull and James Johnstone scored two tries each in the final of the Bowl as Scotland beat France 31-5.

“Obviously the Samoa game sticks out as a bit of a sore point yesterday but to beat three quality eams today and win the Bowl is great,” said captain Colin Gregor.

“Can’t wait to get home now and for the next round of the Series in Glasgow. It is aways a great tournament and hopefully we’ll be able to give the fans something to cheer about.”

Earlier Scotland proved too strong for Argentina winning 24-12 while Virimi Vakatawa and Renaud Delmas both scored twice in Les Bleus’ win over Samoa.

Injera fires Kenya to the Shield

Collins Injera moved into third in the all-time leading try scorers on day three as Kenya beat Portugal 17-10 to lift the Shield thanks to the Kenyan’s fourth and fifth tries of the weekend.

“We started on the wrong foot and ended up in the wrong place to where we are supposed to be,” said captain Andrew Amonde. “But a positive finish is something we can build on.” .
SOURCE: IRB/PACNEWS

40) No firepower
By Online Editor
10:35 am GMT+12, 31/03/2014, Fiji

Vodafone Fiji 7s coach Ben Ryan says lethargic play resulted in the poor performance of the national side in the final day of the Hong Kong 7s tournament at the Hong Kong Stadium yesterday.

Fiji lost in the Cup semi-final to England 7-17 last night.

Earlier the side struggled to beat United States in the quarter-final 17-5.

Ryan said they lacked the firepower that put the team in good shape after the pool matches.

Fiji defeated Wales 42-7, Sri Lanka 56-0 and Kenya 43-5 in the pool competition.

Ryan said the priority now was to finish on the best possible place in the HSBC Sevens World Series.

“We definitely were a little bit tired there in that game, didn’t get enough go from the start and they got a good lead and it was tough in the end,” Ryan said after the England game.

In the semi-final loss, total ball given away by Fiji was 11 compared to five of England and the side lost two turnovers.

The Osea Kolinisau-skippered side also dominated the error count on two and also conceded six penalties to only one for the English.

England won 10 set piece ball to only two for Fiji and completed 41 passes in the disappointing loss.

Fiji’s strike rate was 41 per cent compared to less than five in the pool game.

“We going to get back at series point. I get them to freshen up a little bit because we certainly looked a little bit lethargic,” Ryan said.

“Fair play to England, they are a full-time professional side and their set piece was good against us.

“They moved us around, I thought we were just a little bit quiet on the field and that’s something I have talked about for two or three weeks really.

“I told them we need to talk a little bit more and that can get us out in lot of problems but still overall we had a terrific few weeks.

“We have only lost one out of the last 14 or 15 games and hope we can finish on a high.’

The team will regroup when they return home this week and plan for the last two tournaments of the 2014 HSBC Sevens World Series in London and Scotland.

SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

41) West Coast Eagles hand Melbourne Demons 93-point AFL thrashing at MCG

Updated 30 March 2014, 18:37 AEST

The Melbourne Demons have slumped to a 93-point loss to the West Coast Eagles at the MCG.

West Coast has laid bare the huge task facing Melbourne coach Paul Roos in the AFL with a 93-point Demons demolition.

SCOREBOARD: MELB v WCE

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A knee injury to star defender Shannon Hurn was the only lowlight for the Eagles in the 18.15 (123) to 4.6 (30) thrashing on Sunday at the MCG.

Luke Shuey and Nic Naitanui starred in the midfield and Josh Kennedy kicked four goals.

It is the biggest loss Roos has endured as a senior coach, beating the previous-worst margin of 73 when he was at Sydney.

By contrast, the Eagles were ruthless a week after also easily beating the Western Bulldogs by 65 points.

Hurn was subbed out in the second term after suffering the injury in the first few minutes of the match.

The Eagles took control from the start and kicked four goals in 13 minutes, putting the Demons out of the contest.

West Coast bullied Melbourne at the clearances, winning them 13-3 in the first quarter.

When the Eagles were not surging forward, Melbourne was compounding its own misery by turning the ball over.

Five of the first eight Eagles goals were direct results of the Demons coughing up possession.

Melbourne kicked one behind in the first term as West Coast took a 40-point lead.

The Demons did not kick their first goal until seven minutes into the second term, through Shannon Byrnes.

He also kicked Melbourne’s second goal at 23 minutes into the third.

While it was a poor day for most Melbourne players, co-captain Nathan Jones again stood out with a gutsy performance in the midfield.

Jones, who has won the last two club best-and-fairest awards, was relentless and finished with a game-high 34 possessions.

AAP

42) Geelong Cats beat Brisbane Lions by 25 points in AFL clash at the Gabba

Updated 30 March 2014, 17:30 AEST

The Brisbane Lions have little to show for another brave AFL effort as they suffered a 25-point loss to Geelong.

Geelong erased memories of last year’s astounding Gabba capitulation by overcoming the Lions by 25 points in the Brisbane wet on Sunday.

SCOREBOARD: BRIS v GEEL

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The Cats produced a near-dominant second half to score their second straight win of the AFL season – 13.15 (93) to 10.8 (68) – in slippery conditions.

Geelong squandered a 53-point lead in their last visit to the Gabba but they were not going to let go of this encounter after gaining control with a momentum-turning three-goal blitz just before half-time.

Steve Johnson finished with a game-high 37 possessions and skipper Joel Selwood had 26 with 13 clearances, while All-Australian defender Andrew Mackie also shone in his 200th match.

The only concern for the Cats was an ankle injury to Corey Enright who was subbed out of the clash midway through the third term when the visitors built up a five-goal lead.

A crowd of 20,933 would still have been mostly impressed by Brisbane’s effort as Dayne Zorko was a stand-out and rising star Sam Mayes finished with four goals.

The Lions, who took the contest to Hawthorn for three quarters in Justin Leppitsch’s coaching debut last week, scrapped hard from the outset as the Queensland drizzle made for a scrappy first half.

While the home side failed to register a major in the opening quarter, it was Brisbane who steadied best in the second with Dayne Zorko producing the best skills in the slippery conditions.

But their 10-point lead quickly turned to an eight-point deficit at half-time as Taylor Hunt, Tom Hawkins and Travis Varcoe all goaled in a bare minute of play.

The Cats carried the momentum through the third term as they showed their superior experience and class to build up a 30-point lead when Selwood punished a soft Jack Redden free kick.

With sub Rohan Bewick providing a spark, Brisbane re-entered the contest at the last change but when Geelong went coast-to-coast – for their sub, George Horlin-Smith, to snap truly – after Brown missed a set shot, the result was virtually sealed.

AAP

43) Canberra Raiders beat South Sydney Rabbitohs 30-18 in NRL clash at Sydney’s Olympic Stadium

Updated 30 March 2014, 16:23 AEST

The Canberra Raiders continued the South Sydney Rabbitohs’ slow start to the season with a 30-18 away win.

South Sydney’s dismal start to the NRL season has continued with Canberra easing to a comfortable 30-18 win at Sydney’s Olympic stadium on Sunday.

SCOREBOARD: SOU 18-30 CAN

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The Raiders were full value for their win with Brisbane-bound full-back Anthony Milford in outstanding form as the Rabbitohs slumped to three successive defeats for the first time since Michael Maguire took over as coach in 2012.

A brace of tries from Reece Robinson and efforts from giant prop Dane Tilse and Milford gave the Raiders a 22-0 lead at half-time – the most points given up in a first-half by Souths since 2011.

In addition to some poor handling and a litany of errors, Maguire will be deeply concerned at the manner of the loss with his players second-best throughout to a Raiders side who looked more committed from the opening kick-off.

Dropped passes from Lote Tuqiri and Adam Reynolds both led to tries for the visitors, with Milford a constant menace from full-back and Terry Campese impressing at five-eighth for Ricky Stuart’s side.

Souths badly missed injured hooker Issac Luke and with the New Zealand international set for a long spell on the sidelines, Maguire must find a way of picking up his side ahead of next Saturday’s clash with St George Illawarra at the SCG.

The second half started positively for the Rabbitohs when Dylan Walker and George Burgess scored in quick succession to reduce the deficit and there were hopes of a fightback when Nathan Merritt looked to have scored a historic try.

However, an offside call by the video referee against Sam Burgess denied Merritt the chance to finally break Benny Wareing’s try-scoring record of 144 that has been held since 1933.

That setback appeared to knock the stuffing from the hosts and Jack Wighton iced the victory when he latched onto a Terry Campese kick and ran underneath the posts.

Jarrod Croker then kicking the extras, before adding a penalty from close range.

Souths did have the final say when Chris McQueen scored on the siren, but it merely papered over the cracks on a disappointing afternoon for the home side.

AAP
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