Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 958

MELANESIA

1) Port Vila By-Eleksen Kampen

Olgeta –

KAMPEN T-shet:
Yu save kam long ples blong kampen, o sipos no long reception blong Ministri blong Lands, blong pem wan kampen T-shirt blong Andrew blong 1000 vatu.
NAOIA TU yu save pem tu long Beverley Hills General Store (hemia narasaed smol park long en i go long Freswota 5).

KAMPEN Posta:
Yu save daonlodem mo printim-aot o yu save sendem long email posta blong Andrew Napuat, kandidet blong yumi, long ples ia.

Statistik form:
Sipos yu wantem givim sapot long GJP mo yu wantem mifala save yu, kam long long ples blong kampen o long reception blong Ministri blong Lands blong pikimap wan statistik form blong fulumap nem blong yufala mo givimbak bifo by-eleksen.

PROGRAM BLONG TASDE 3 EPREL KASEM EN BLONG KAMPEN:

Tosde 3 Eprel
5:30pm: Simbolo Red Laet
7.30pm: Namburu Park

Fraede 4 Eprel
12pm: Malapoa waetwud
5:30pm: Stade Basketball Kot
7.30pm: Chik Kau Store, Fresh Wota 1

Satede 5 Eprel
2pm: Ohlen Freshwind (Jif Malachai)
3.30pm Beverly Hills (bae i gat fandresing tu long taem ia)
7.30pm: Jif Francis Nakamal, Fresh Wota 6

Sande 6 Eprel
1pm: Santo restoron, Bladinière
2.30pm: Etas shograon
4pm: Etas haf-rod
5.30pm: Teouma Ville Shopping Senta

Mande 7 Eprel
12pm: Manples Market
5.30pm: Ohlen Mataso
7.30pm: Manples Kokoriko

Tyusde 8 Eprel
12pm: Shanghai mama’s market (Petanque eria, Sea Front)
5:30pm: Seaside Paama
7.30pm: Seaside Tongoa

Wednesde 9 Eprel
11am: Market Haos
5.30pm: Blacksand
7.30pm:  Switi

Tosde 10 Eprel
5:30pm: Emae komuniti opposite New Covenant Jioj (Sheperd studio eria)
7.30pm: Bladinière; nakamal blong Patrick

Fraede 11 Eprel
11am: Sea Front Stej
5.30pm: Fresh Wota 5 T-Junction
7.30pm: Vao komiuniti (St Paul Senta, Freswota)

Ta, MP Ralph Regenvanu

2) Vanuatu daily news digest | 2 April 2014

by bobmakin

Crystal Shores seeking investors for Erakor and Eratap

  • One of the earliest land projects under the new reforming lands legislation will involve the entire populations of both Erakor and Eratap, jointly and together. South Pacific Ltd, a company of George Winslet, Ric Buckton and Jack Dihm, with project experience in Vanuatu, Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Canada and California, is intending selling shares and leases to investors to almost all of the land between the Erakor Lagoon and Teouma River. Two thousand hectares are involved. Their brochure shows plans for lagoon and island resorts and golf courses, and investors can even purchase a casino licence for two million dollars.
  • “Crystal Shores” is the name of the undertaking. No Environment Impact Assessment has been sought nor application made to the new Land Planning and Management Committee. Indeed, out of 6 people from Erakor and Eratap addressed Monday, not one was aware of what South Pacific Ltd intends to do with their land. All could identify their own land within the plans for the project but none had been approached to sell it, despite Crystal Shores seeking investors to purchase their subsistence gardens. Some felt their land was being stolen.
  • The Crystal Shores Land Acquisition Plan shows certain large areas marked as “untitled parcels”, rather suggesting Winslett and Dihm (both resident) feel they could easily obtain these areas. They must surely be aware of the earlier attempts to build a much smaller hotel complex at Etmat Bay which had a permanent road built to it from the main road to Erakor, later closed because of the division the project caused in the community. Erakor is marked as Stage One. Eratap is called Stage Two and a somewhat demeaning “Indigenous Reserve” has been set aside for the Eratap people even though they own all of Stage Two themselves, whether or not there are leases over certain parts of their land. Indeed, Eratap villagers have been in court during the week over a major land matter.
  • Potential Asian, American and Australian interested investors, possibly with CIIP status, receive brochures showing golf clubs and beach resorts. The printed material allegedly demonstrates the promoters’ expertise in creating such places, starting with Breakas, Pango. The Master Plan has provision for beach, lagoon and island resorts, townhouses, bungalows, hilltop, country and oceanfront lots, and forest estates.
  • It is not known whether this “project” is intended to join another, rumoured to be in the planning stage, located just the other side of the Teouma River. This would be in close proximity to the “greenfield” airport the government wants to build, allegedly at Rentabau.
  • None of these projects have been the subject of awareness discussions involving important environmental and sea level discussions and the populations whose lands and birthright would become the principal asset in the investment. Anyone thinking of investing should note that they can purchase copies of the most recent lands legislation from the Lands Department for VT 900. Not quite as lavish a document as the Crystal Shores brochure for investors it is, never-the-less, essential reading for everyone intending to lease anywhere in Vanuatu – an essential component in due diligence.

POLYNESIA

3) Samoa first Pacific country to complete global sustainable programme

By Online Editor
09:44 am GMT+12, 03/04/2014, Samoa

Samoa has received a boost to its international tourism credentials by being the first Pacific country and the second country worldwide to complete a sustainable tourism programme.

The Global Sustainable Tourism Council says their Early Adopter Programme is a way to help countries to put sustainability high on the priority list for tourism ventures.

The programme was implemented by Sustainable Travel International and managed by its Senior Director of Marketing and Communications, Jeremy Sampson.

Sampson says Samoa have long demonstrated good sustainability practices and set up its own monitoring unit back in the 1990s.

“Samoa actually has demonstrated leadership in sustainability practices for a long time. They really have a great baseline in place for destination management and I think they should be recognised for that. They have a vision for Samoa to be recognised as the leading sustainable tourism destination in the region.”.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

4) Samoa and American Samoa delegates meet to set agenda for May talks

By Online Editor
3:30 pm GMT+12, 02/04/2014, American Samoa

Trade and investment talks between Samoa and American Samoa this week will be a prelude to the two-Samoa talks in May.

American Samoa’s Director of Commerce Keniseli Lafaele says the two days of talks in Tafuna focus on the economy.

Issues to be discussed include economic integration, opportunity for investments in both countries, and ways to ease doing buisiness..

Samoa’s deputy prime minister Fonotoe Lauofo Pierre is leading Samoa’s delegation which will include Samoa’s ministry of commerce, labour, and industry and ministry of foreign affairs and trade CEOs and their key staff.

Also attending are representatives from Samoa’s private sector and non-government organizations.

The American Samoa delegation comprises members of the two Samoa task force that was appointed by governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga last year.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

MICRONESIA

6) Proposed legislation could make it easier for Guam residents to obtain firearm permits

By Online Editor
08:56 am GMT+12, 03/04/2014, Guam

More residents in Guam may soon be able to carry concealed firearms if a bill introduced into its legislature is passed.

The bill, which has bipartisan support, was introduced into Parliament by Senator Tony Ada.

Co-sponsor of the bill, Senator Aline Yamashita, has told Pacific Beat that at present 50 per cent of residents in the US territory who apply for a permit to carry a concealed firearm are unsuccessful.

She says the Second Amendment to the US Constitution says people shall have the right to bear arms and the proposed legislation would mean more Guam residents would be able to exercise this right.

Senator Yamashita says if the bill is passed people wanting to apply for a licence to carry concealed firearms would have to undergo safety training.

“They should absolutely be trained for a concealed weapon and so there is a variety of training courses that they would have to complete,” she said.

The bill also proposes that those who are given a licence to carry a concealed firearm in Guam are not mentally impaired and do not have a criminal conviction.

Senator Yamashita says applicants will be screened by police.

A public hearing on the proposed legislation is expected to be held in about a month.

source: RADIO AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS

7) Report: CNMI Minimum Wage Hikes Offset By Price Spikes
Average inflation adjusted earnings show meager 1% increase

By Haidee V. Eugenio

SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, April 2, 2014) –A 114-page U.S. Government Accountability Office report released yesterday showed that increases in CNMI employees’ earnings as a result of minimum wage hikes have been largely negated by consumer price increases, including fuel. The CNMI’s current minimum wage of $5.55 an hour will increase by another 50 cents to $6.05 an hour on Sept. 30 this year.

Employees’ average earnings increased by 3 percent from 2011 to 2012, but prices increased by 2 percent.

This means the inflation-adjusted average earnings of those employed increased only by 1 percent, says the GAO report.

GAO is the U.S. Congress’ investigative arm.

From 2006 to 2012, average inflation-adjusted earnings fell by about 2 percent. This was a result of about 29-percent increase in average earnings that was offset by an about 31-percent increase in prices in the same period.

But minimum wage was not as important a concern as the potential loss of foreign workers after Dec. 31, 2014, when the transitional CW program expires, and a halt to Russian and Chinese tourists’ parole into the CNMI, the GAO report says.

Meanwhile, the Inos administration said yesterday that Gov. Eloy S. Inos’ proposed fiscal year 2015 budget takes into consideration this year’s scheduled Sept. 30 minimum wage increase of 50 cents an hour.

“The impact on this budget proposal for the salary adjustments to a total of 189 employees is estimated at $220,000,” press secretary Angel Demapan told Saipan Tribune.

As of 7 last night, the Legislature had yet to receive the governor’s proposed 2015 budget. But the governor had until 11:59pm last night to do so.

GAO’s report, “American Samoa and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands: Economic indicators since minimum wage increases began,” cites the impact of minimum wage increases since 2007.

The 2007 U.S. law requires the CNMI and American Samoa to increase their minimum wage by 50 cents every year until it reaches the federal wage floor of $7.25 an hour.

But subsequent laws allowed the CNMI to skip a 50-cent hike in 2011, 2013, and 2015 amid concerns about their impact on the economy. The CNMI will reach the current U.S. minimum wage on Sept. 30, 2018.

Since the sizeable garment industry left the CNMI, the territory has relied on its lone industry, tourism.

The GAO report says the minimum wage “was not as important a concern for discussion group participants as the potential loss of the foreign labor force.”

“For hotel representatives we spoke with, providing easier access for Russian and Chinese tourists by having the Department of Homeland Security continue to parole these individuals into the CNMI was a greater concern than the minimum wage,” the GAO report says.

Workers on both Saipan and Tinian “feared that prices would increase along with the minimum wage, as they said had occurred at the time of previous increases.”

Commerce Secretary Sixto Igisomar, in a comment letter to GAO’s David Gootnick, said key challenges faced by CNMI businesses range from “uncertainties surrounding the availability of qualified workers or a labor force, pending a decision from U.S. Department of Labor on contract workers (CWs) program extension.”

He said the CNMI governor continues to urge U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez to extend the CW program.

Igisomar also said businesses are predisposed to a high cost of transacting business in an isolated economy that is dependent on imported goods to operate the lone tourism service industry, among others.

He said the cost of fuel locally and globally affects local utility and transportation costs, as well as the opportunity for airlines to service the CNMI tourism industry.

“Although the CNMI does not have a specific disposable income ratio, the average income should negotiate the cost of basic necessities, which it does not. Our residents must cope with the additional burden of high utility and health care costs,” the Commerce secretary said.

This year, the CNMI government and its employees must cover a more than 30-percent increase in the government employee health insurance plan premiums, while government retirees saw a 25-percent pension cut.

“This hurdle for government employees is dwarfed by the complete lack of health insurance coverage in the private market for new insured lives in the year 2014—due to implications of the Affordable Care Act,” Igisomar told GAO’s Gootnick.

GAO says the CNMI’s gross domestic product decreased by approximately 36 percent from 2006 to 2012. It has remained relatively flat since 2009.

Population declined from 69,221 in 2000 to 53,883 in 2010.

The total number of people employed fell by some 6 percent or from 25,229 in 2011 to 23,720 in 2012, based on CNMI government tax data.

From 2006 to 2012, the number of people employed went down by 45 percent or from 43,036 to 23,720. Decreases prior to 2009 reflect the closures of garment factories, which employed thousands of foreign workers.

CNMI hotel occupancy and room rates have increased in recent years, but industry representatives that GAO spoke with characterized the recent growth as “an opportunity to recover and reinvest in their properties.”

From June 2011 to June 2013, the median wage among workers employed by CNMI hotel industry questionnaire respondents increased by 10 percent—from $5.33 to $5.86 an hour, the GAO report says.

Future minimum wage increases would affect the wages of 94 percent of current workers in the CNMI hotel industry by the time the minimum wage reaches $7.25 in 2018.

GAO says that based on the wages workers currently earn, minimum wage increases would increase the average annual cost per worker in 2018 by $3,051 since June 2013.

In 2018, payroll will be representing 31 percent of hotels’ total operating costs compared to some 26 percent in 2012.

Hotels representing the majority of all workers employed by respondents to GAO’s questionnaire attributed past cost-saving strategies and price increases to minimum wage increases.

The GAO report says hotels also attributed their actions to other increased costs and changes to U.S. immigration law, which reduced the number of available permits for foreign workers in the CNMI.

Saipan Tribune

AUSTRALIA


8) Australian foreign affairs public servants on collision course with their bosses

By Online Editor
3:23 pm GMT+12, 02/04/2014, Australia

Public servants at the merged foreign affairs department are on a collision course with their bosses after left-leaning AusAID trade unionists crushed their conservative DFAT colleagues in an internal power struggle.

The electoral rout of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade officials sets up a clash with departmental bosses as the heavily unionised AusAIDers prepare to defend generous entitlements built up before their agency was abolished.

As the Community and Public Sector Union’s national leaders called for the feud to be left in the past, one DFAT public servant fired a parting shot at the victorious AusAIDers, accusing them of issuing a ”hardline Bolshevik manifesto” in their hour of triumph.

Bad blood between the two groups has been simmering since the uneasy marriage of Foreign Affairs and overseas aid departments was announced last September.

Cultural differences have emerged starkly as management struggles to integrate the two departments.

In the ballot for a head of the merged department’s CPSU ”section”, AusAID veteran Aileen Croghan easily brushed aside DFAT stalwart Christopher Lang 466 votes to 149 with ballots falling along departmental lines.

It was widely expected the more heavily unionised AusAID workers would dominate the vote, but now delegates from the scrapped agency face wage talks with management dominated by DFAT bosses.

In her victory email Croghan hit back at claims that AusAID union delegates were too close to the left wing of the Labor Party. ”Suggestions circulated to members and the media prior to and during the election about a takeover or link to party politics in these decisions are simply untrue,” the newly elected section secretary wrote.

But one DFAT insider said the basic distrust between the two camps was still there.

The foreign affairs official described Ms Croghan’s email as a “hardline Bolshevik manifesto”.

“They say one thing and do another so the hypocrisy is still there,”’ the DFAT worker said.

Another foreign affairs official simply said; “’They broke it, they now own it”’.

Lang refused to speak publicly about his defeat and the CPSU leadership saidCroghan was not available for interview.

A key source of friction between the two departments has been the perception in DFAT that AusAID conditions, particularly on overseas postings, are more generous than those of their new colleagues. They are expected to be a sticking point in the enterprise bargaining talks.

DFAT’s media operation failed to respond to questions before deadline on Tuesday.

CPSU deputy secretary Rupert Evans played down the rift between the factions, saying it was good to see so many union members voting.

“The key focus of CPSU members and delegates now is fighting to protect jobs and services and dealing with the Abbott government’s highly aggressive bargaining framework,” Evans said…..

SOURCE: CANBERRA TIMES/PACNEWS

9) Australian Immigration Minister Morrison to be briefed on Manus incident

By Online Editor
3:32 pm GMT+12, 02/04/2014, Australia

The Australian immigration department will brief minister Scott Morrison on the latest findings into the death of an asylum seeker at Manus Island.

The department has received an interim report into the violence at the detention centre last month that left 23-year-old Iranian asylum seeker Reza Barati dead.

It comes as Morrison prepares to visit Papua New Guinea this week for an update from local police on the progress of investigations into the incident.

A spokesperson for Morrison said he would be briefed on the progress report, adding the government was following the same processes as Labor did when the Nauru centre was burned down last year.

“The final report will be released, consistent with those same processes,” the spokesperson told AAP in a statement.

The spokesperson said Labor did not release the report into the riot at Nauru in July 2013 until after the election, and had delayed other similar reports.

A review into the violence at the Manus Island centre is being conducted by former secretary of the Attorney-General’s Department, Robert Cornall.

Labor has been pushing for the release of the interim report, arguing the government must take all precautions to prevent any future incidents.

“(The government) now needs to release the report to make sure whatever safeguards are needed can be put in place to avoid such a tragic incident occurring again,” opposition immigration spokesman Richard Marles said.

The government has also copped criticism for not sending Australian police to assist PNG with the investigation.

SOURCE: AAP/PACNEWS

TOK PISIN

10) Woning long taim nogut bilong win, ren na si bruk long Solomon Islands

Updated 3 April 2014, 11:23 AEST

Gina Kekea

Odio: Gina Kekea ripota long Honiara i ripot long taim nogut bilong ren na win

Ol woning blong Solomon Islands Meteorology Sevis i tok ol pipol imas wuas gut taem ol igo aut long ren na imas banisim gut haus blong ol long displa ol taem nogut.
Gina Kekea i tok dispela  strongpla win na ren i karamapim olgeta hap blong Solomon Islands na tu long kapital Honiara.

Em i tok taim em ibin go long wok long moning em i ken pilim na lukim dispela taim nogut i kamap antap long ol bik rot na ol wara long ol eria long Honiara.

Em i tok main haiwei long Kukum long East Honiara i pulip long ol rabis ol bik rot na tu ol pipal i igo leit long ol wok bilong ol.

Gina Kekea i tok dispela bed weta i National Secondary Svchool long Guadalcanal i pilim impek bilong dispela bad weta we ol sumatin na tisa i fesim bai oli kisim ol igo aut long skul or evacuation.

Emi tok wan wik tasol pastaim long School holide long Easter tasol dispela bed weta bai mekim ol i out wan wik pastaim long holide i stat. http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

11) Vanuatu president agensim salim bilong Vanuatu passport

Updated 2 April 2014, 15:48 AEST

President blong Vanuatu i givim aut strongpela toktok long ol diplomat blong Vanuatu imas NOKEN salim ol passport blong Vanuatu.

Odio: President bilong Vanuatu Johnson Abbil na niupela ambassador Odo Tevi i toktok

President Iolu Johnson Abbil itok em i no bin harim sel blong Vanuatu passport long UN ofis, tasol dispela kain pasin i nap bagarapim nem blong kantri na em i mas stop.

Mr Abbil i mekim dispela toktok  taim em i apointim Odo Tevi, gavana blong Reserve Bank blong Vanuatu bipo olsem niupela Vanuatu Ambassador long United Nations.

Long taim em ibin  komisenim Odo Tevi President i tok emi makim Vanuatu long narapela kantri na wok bilong em i bilong soim gutpela nem bilong kantri.

President i tok, dispela longwanem ol ibin tokaut long Vanuatu pinis igo long wold olsem Vanuatu i “happinest place on earth” na i laikim oli kipim dispela gutpela nem bilong kantri.

Wanpela samting i givim nem nogut long Vanuatu em long oli save salim hait passport bilong kantri na i askim niujspela Ambassador na ol narapela i makim Vanuatu ovais long wok halivim gutpela nem bilong kantri.

Long toktok bilong em niupela ambassador i tok namba-wan samting bilong em long United Nations long tgupela ailan, Hunter na Mathews long ikam kamap hap bilong Vanuatu na narapela em long wok Vanuatu i mekim bilong kisim mak bilong divelopment em i kamapim nau bilong mitim Milenium Divelopment Gol. http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

FRENCH

12) Le comité de la décolonisation rend compte de sa mission en Nouvelle-Calédonie

Par Elif Kayi
Publié le 03/04/2014 | 16:27

En visite en Nouvelle-Calédonie du 10 au 15 mars, le Comité de la décolonisation des Nations-Unies a rendu compte de sa mission. Pour les Calédoniens, rien de nouveau cependant dans ce rapport préliminaire.

  • Le « comité de la décolonisation » des Nations-Unies (de son nom complet : Comité spécial chargé d’étudier la situation en ce qui concerne l’application de la Déclaration sur l’octroi de l’indépendance aux pais et aux peuples coloniaux, aussi appelé) a rendu compte de sa récente mission qui s’est tenue en Nouvelle-Calédonie du 10 au 15 mars dernier.
  • Le Vice-Président du Comité, Amadu Koroma, originaire de Sierra Leone, a rendu compte, dans un rapport préliminaire, de la mission qu’il a conduite et qui a été était suivie d’une rencontre avec des responsables gouvernementaux français à Paris, le 17 mars dernier.
  • Si la mission traitait de manière générale de l’examen de la situation politique, économie et sociale du pays, un des points phare portait sur l’analyse des problèmes de la liste électorale spéciale pour les prochaines élections provinciales, qui se dérouleront le 11 mai.
  • Pour les Calédoniens, le rapport n’apporte cependant aucune nouveauté. Amadu Koroma a ainsi relevé une différence dans la compréhension des dispositions de l’Accord de Nouméa en ce qui concerne les conditions d’une liste électorale spéciale. Il rappelle dans le rapport que si certains estiment que la liste électorale ne peut comprendre que les personnes bénéficiant d’au moins de 10 ans de résidence en Nouvelle-Calédonie au moment de l’Accord de Nouméa en 1998, d’autres jugent que cette liste doit être complétée de toutes les personnes ayant atteint 10 ans de résidence, même après 1998.
  • Autre élément pouvant faire office de lieu commun sur le Caillou, mais qui semble apparemment attirer l’attention hors de ses frontières : Amadu Koroma a tenu à indiquer qu’il avait rencontré des Européens en faveur de l’indépendance, ainsi que des Kanaks souhaitant rester Français. http://nouvellecaledonie.la1ere.fr/

13) Le “Collectif la ville dans la tribu” pourrait ne pas obtenir gain de cause

Par Elif Kayi
Publié le 03/04/2014 | 15:00, mis à jour le 03/04/2014 | 16:57

L’affaire des “cases Mwa Ka” a été présentée ce jeudi matin au Tribunal Administratif de Nouméa, en Nouvelle-Calédonie. Le “Collectif la ville dans la tribu” avait demandé la condamnation de la mairie de Nouméa pour la destruction des cases. Le rapporteur public a conclu au rejet de cette demande.

© NOUVELLE-CALÉDONIE 1ÈRE. CÉDRIC MICHAUT

Le “Collectif la ville dans la tribu” , qui avait demandé la condamnation de la mairie de Nouméa à hauteur de 11.580.000 francs CFP, suite à l’évacuation et la destruction des “cases Mwa Ka”, ou “cases Moselle”, pourrait ne pas obtenir gain de cause.

L’audience publique s’est déroulée ce jeudi matin auprès du Tribunal Administratif de Nouméa.

Si le rapporteur public près le Tribunal Administraif a bien conclu que la mairie de Nouméa avait commis une faute en utilisant du personnel communal pour détruire les dites “cases Mwa Ka”, ou “cases Moselle”, il a aussi souligné que la jurisprudence indique que leur construction illégale sur le domaine public déchargeait la commune de toute infraction.

Notre correspondant Sylvain Duchampt a assisté à l’audience ce jeudi matin :

La demande du Collectif de faire condamner la mairie a donc été rejetée par le rapporteur, dont les conclusions vont à présent être mises en délibéré. Les résultats du délibéré devraient probablement tomber sous quinzaine.

Construites en 2012 sur la place du Mwa Ka, à la baie de la Moselle de Nouméa, les cases traditionnelles devaient représenter les différentes aires coutumières de Nouvelle-Calédonie. Conçues pour la célébration du 24 septembre, elles devaient être immédiatement démontées après la célébration de la fête de la citoyenneté.

Une pétition, qui aurait recueilli plus de 10.000 signatures, avait cependant rapidement circulé, demandant le maintien des neuf cases.

Une délégation du Sénat coutumier s’était rendue sur les lieux pour demander aux membres du collectif d’évacuer les lieux. Mais le collectif avait rejeté toutes les recommandations d’évacuation. Leur argument : l’absence de légitimité d’une institution coutumière “issue du système colonial”.

Des propositions avaient aussi été faites pour reloger les cases. Le conseil d’administration du Port Autonome, présidé par Gilbert Tyuiénon vice-président du gouvernement de Nouvelle-Calédonie, avait voté à l’unanimité la mise à disposition d’une portion du quai Fed pour l’installation des cases.

Finalement, le 12 novembre 2012, les forces de l’ordre étaient intervenues pour évacuer les cases.

Dans le camp politique, les réactions n’avaient pas été unanimes. A commencer par le camp indépendantiste, au sein duquel les prises de positions divergeaient. Le porte-parole du FLNKS, Victor Tutugoro, avait montré peu de compréhension à l’égard du collectif : “Il fallait s’attendre à une telle opération même s’il a été un peu brutale”. Les propos avaient par contre été plus vindicatifs du côté du Parti Travailliste. “C’est une grande déchirure pour les Kanak” avait déclaré Louis Kotra Ureigei, qui avait qualifié l’intervention des forces de l’ordre de nouvelle “humiliation” pour le peuple kanak. Du côté non indépendantiste, seule Calédonie Ensemble avait parlé de “gâchis”, alors que les autres composantes semblaient satisfaites de l’intervention. http://nouvellecaledonie.la1ere.fr/

14) Manus: G4S refuse de coopérer

Mis à jour 2 April 2014, 15:56 AEST

Caroline Lafargue

En Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée, les responsables de G4S refusent d’être interrogés par la police papoue.

C’est en tout cas ce qu’affirme le numéro 2 de la police papoue, Simon Kauba. Mais les dirigeants de G4S assurent avoir coopéré. G4S est la société de sécurité privée embauchée par le gouvernement australien pour garder le centre de rétention de Manus.

Or le 17 février dernier le centre a été attaqué, 62 demandeurs d’asile ont été blessés, et l’un d’entre eux, Reza Barati, un Iranien de 23 ans, est mort sous les coups dans des circonstances que la police papoue tente d’éclaircir. Même si des demandeurs d’asile affirment que des policiers papous faisaient partie des assaillants le 17 février.

G4S n’est plus chargée de la sécurité du centre de rétention, la société a passé la main à Wilson Security la semaine dernière. L’Australie et la Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée mènent chacune leur enquête sur ces violents affrontements du 17 février. http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

15) Majuro: l’Australie participe du bout des lèvres au Dialogue de Carthagène

Mis à jour 2 April 2014, 15:53 AEST

Caroline Lafargue

Les Îles Marshall accueillent cette semaine la conférence du Dialogue de Carthagène.

  • Ce groupe réunit une quarantaine de pays développés et en développement, qui se sont rassemblés après l’échec du sommet du climat à Copenhague en décembre 2009, pour faciliter la poursuite des négociations sur la lutte contre le changement climatique. Les Îles Marshall sont très vulnérables au changement climatique. Début mars, elles ont subi les pires grandes marées depuis 30 ans .
  • Parmi les pays du Dialogue de Carthagène, on trouve, aux côtés des pays latino-américains, la Grande-Bretagne et l’Australie, les deux moteurs de cette initiative. Or depuis 2010 l’Australie a basculé dans le camp libéral, et le Premier ministre Tony Abbott va supprimer la taxe carbone. Il a déjà supprimé la commission australienne du climat, quelques jours seulement après son élection.
  • À Majuro, le ministre marshallais des Affaires étrangères, se dit très déçu par le désengagement de l’Australie dans la lutte contre le changement climatique. Tony de Brum se plaint aussi de l’envoi d’un représentant insignifiant par l’Australie à cette conférence du Dialogue de Carthagène. Le ministre australien de l’Environnement ne fera pas le déplacement.

La conférence du Dialogue de Carthagène est un tour de chauffe en vue du Sommet du Climat organisé par l’ONU à New York en septembre, qui lui-même préparera la signature d’un accord sur les réductions d’émissions à Paris fin 2015. http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

PASIFIK

16) Regional ministers urged to work together to address transparent transport and energy ideas

By Online Editor
09:23 am GMT+12, 03/04/2014, Fiji

Regional minsters from Pacific were urged to share information, ideas and experiences in the areas of transport and energy.

This was relayed by Fiji’s Minister for Labour and Industrial Relations Jone Usamate at the official opening of the “Second Pacific Regional Meeting of Ministers of Energy and Maritime Transport” in Nadi Wednesday.

“The theme has been chosen because it captures the nerve centre of our vulnerability as a small island states in the Pacific in the middle of the Pacific Ocean quite far away from our major source markets,” Minister Usamate told participants.

“Energy and transport key drivers of our economies but they are also the two sector that pose the greatest challenge to our sustainable development as a nation because the cost of providing these two essentials service to our people is huge,” Minister Usamate said.

Minster Usamate highlighted that the Pacific Plan gives leaders some strategies direction on how to address this problem as it also focuses on sustainable development as one of its key pillars in its framework.

Sharing similar sentiments, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community director Dr. Collin Tukuitonga pointed out although the maritime transport sector is critical for the Pacific region development efforts and is the backbone to the regional international trade.

“For many Pacific Island communities domestic shipping s the only means of international connectivity and access,” Dr Tukuitonga said.

“To address the development of regional coordinated approach to improve port state control in the Pacific would be an essential part of addressing the leaders concern,” Dr Tukuitonga said.

Dr Tukuitonga said the meeting provides an important platform to address the relationship between energy supply and transportation sector. He said that regional ministers should use the meeting to exchange ideas and present challenges and opportunities.

SOURCE: MINFO/PACNEWS

WORLD

17) Chile earthquake and tsunami: Thousands return home after mass evacuation

Updated 3 April 2014, 8:12 AEST
Thousands of people evacuated from Chile’s low-lying coastal areas returned home on Wednesday morning (local time) as damage from a massive overnight earthquake and tsunami seemed mostly limited.

The magnitude 8.2 earthquake struck off the coast of northern Chile yesterday, killing six and triggering a tsunami that pounded the coastline with two-metre waves.

The quake hit shortly before 9:00pm (local time) on Tuesday at a relatively shallow depth of 10 kilometres, and was centred 86 kilometres north-west of Iquique in northern Chile.

The first waves struck Chile’s northern coast within 45 minutes of the quake, with roads left gridlocked as residents abandoned their coastal homes for higher ground.

More than 900,000 people were evacuated from the coastline – many still with fresh memories of the deadly magnitude 8.8 earthquake in February 2010 that struck the country’s central-southern regions.

Many slept outside on hillsides away from the coast after the tsunami warnings.

Chile’s president, Michelle Bachelet, has been flying over some of the affected areas and has declared parts of the country’s north a disaster zone.

She visited Iquique and praised people’s orderly response to the emergency.

“We are here to recognise the calm behaviour of the people of Iquique who showed great civic responsibility, as did those of Arica,” she said.

“I think you have given us all a tremendous example.”

Authorities are still evaluating the full extent of damage, and Ms Bachelet has promised troops and police reinforcements to maintain order while damage is repaired after landslides blocked roads.

An unusually large number of tremors that preceded Tuesday’s quake had unnerved residents, who emptied beaches, rushed to buy emergency rations, and prepared for an eventual evacuation.

“The government of Chile has been working hard to improve the awareness of people living along the coast to the threat from tsunamis and on what to do if one is approaching,” said Steven Godby, an expert in disaster management at Nottingham Trent University in Nottingham, England.

“Several tsunami drills have taken place since the (earthquake and) tsunami that killed an estimated 500-plus Chileans in February 2010, and recent earthquakes in the region have helped to keep the threat firmly in people’s minds.”

Kevin McCue from the Australian Seismological Centre says the aftershocks could go on for months and could be as strong as magnitude 7.

Mines in Chile, the world’s number one copper producer, appeared to be undamaged.

Angamos, a key copper exporting port in northern Mejillones, escaped major damage, but workers were evacuated as a precaution, port union leader Enrique Solar told Reuters.

Fact file: Earthquakes and tsunamis

About 80 per cent of tsunamis are caused by an earthquake at or below the sea floor.
Earthquake causes a large area of the sea floor to either lift up or drop down.
The ocean water above the displaced sea floor then rises or falls abruptly. This results in a tsunami wave on the surface of the ocean which travels out in all directions.
The upthrust or downthrust of the ocean bottom can occur over hundreds of square kilometres. This pushes up the water above creating a huge mass of water like a hill.
As the wave approaches shallow water the front of the wave slows down. The height of the water behind increases as it tries to catch up and leads to the wave breaking.

Source: ABC Science- http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

HEALTH

18) Scholar says Papuans should lead local response to HIV/AIDS

3 April 2014

An Australian researcher says NGOs led by indigenous Papuans should play a bigger role in the response to HIV/AIDS in the Indonesian province.

Jenny Munro is a cultural anthropologist at the Australian National University, and been involved in recent studies on HIV/AIDS in West Papua.

She says government studies have shown HIV affects about 2.5 percent of the indigenous population, although some scholars believe it could be much worse.

That compares to about 1.8 percent of the migrant Indonesian population.

Ms Munro says one of the factors is that most Papuans tend to live in rural areas.

“There really are very limited HIV information and testing and treatment services outside major cities, another big issue is that sort of the Indonesian perspective and international models often put forward by donors are still setting the agenda so to speak.”

Jenny Munro says Papuan NGOs have the community links and cultural expertise to deliver more effective prevention and treatment programmes.http://www.radionz.co.nz/

19) Mosquito-borne virus epidemics sweeping Pacific region have social and economic costs

Updated 3 April 2014, 12:00 AEST

Catherine Graue

Political leaders in the Pacific are being warned that mosquito-borne viruses could have serious social and economic costs for the next five years.

The region is dealing with an unprecedented chain of dengue fever, zika virus and chikungunya epidemics.

The chief medical officer for the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, Dr Yvan Souares, says countries could have been better prepared as they watched their neighbours grapple with outbreaks.

Dr Souares says rapidly growing international air travel is the main driver of the epidemics, as exemplified by the emergence of zika virus in French Polynesia and its spread to neighbouring New Caledonia via passengers on direct flights.

“New Caledonia has been documenting imported cases from French Polynesia non-stop since late November, and they’re currently facing an epidemic of zika virus,” he said.

Dr Souares says regional governments will have to deal with the impact of the current outbreaks for several more years if a similar situation among Indian Ocean countries several years ago is any indication.

“It took… four years for the Chikungunya virus to go around the islands of the Indian Ocean, by the way generating 1.4 million cases in those four years,” he said.

Dr Souares says if Pacific health experts had been consulted, the current outbreaks sweeping the region could have been forseen.

But he says the emphasis now has to be on increased action and cooperation.

Dr Souares suggests better surveillance of incoming passengers from countries experiencing outbreaks of dengue fever, zika or chikungunya. http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

POLITIC

20) Bougainville passes Public Finances Act

By Online Editor
08:59 am GMT+12, 03/04/2014, Papua New Guinea

The Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) unanimously passed the Bougainville Public Finance (Management and Administration) Act 2014 during its special parliamentary sitting Wednesday.

According to the ABG Minister for Finance, Planning and Treasury, Albert Punghau, the Act is very important as it will enable the ABG “to make sure that we take responsibility in managing our own affairs in terms of finance.

“Under this Act, it has strict compliance in terms of public finance management. This means that the government and the people of Bougainville must make sure that public finances must be managed in an accountable and transparent manner so that goods and services can be delivered to the people of Bougainville,”Punghau said.

“This Act also talks about internal audits and audits of public finances. This is very important in terms of good governance of public finances and expenditures. “It also talks about the budgetary process in this Acts as to how we will formulate future budgets under this law.

“These future budgets will be done in a manner that will be all inclusive; people must participate, the local level governments, the council of elders must also participate in budgetary formulation.” Punghau said this Act will also address the responsibility of good governance especially in relation to the delivery of goods and services down to the ordinary people in the districts, instead of being centered and used up at headquarters level.

Punghau however, said the passage of this Act also comes with responsibilities.

“When we passed this Act, we have also put ourselves huge responsibilities. Laws are passed for compliance. If we have to the pass laws, we will not blame any other person now.

“We will not blame PNG for mismanagement and for corrupt practices that is taking place in Bougainville.

“These corrupt practices and mismanagement of public funds will be the responsibility of this government now.” The Act will come into effect following approval of a date set by President John Momis and the Bougainville Executive Council (BEC).

Apart from this, the other laws that were also unanimously passed by ABG yesterday are the Bougainville Contracts and Tenders Act 2014 and the Bougainville Public Service (Management and Administration) Act 2014. The contracts Act which was also tabled by Mr Punghau contains strict guidelines associated with the awarding of contracts in Bougainville.

According toPunghau, it will also put an end to the awarding of contracts to those who are not qualified to be awarded the contracts. Currently nearly all major contracts in Bougainville have been awarded by the Central Supply and Tenders Board, with Mr Punghau pointing out that this has resulted in a lot of corrupt practices taking place.

“People without any wheelbarrows are also getting the contracts. This is ridiculous, it is not on.

“This law we have passed will make sure that all this things do not happen in Bougainville,” Punghau said.
SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

21) Reports of shots fired at protest in West Papua

3 April 2014

There are reports emerging of heavily armed police breaking up a student protest in the Indonesian province of West Papua that was calling for the release of political prisoners.

The protest in West Papua’s capital, Jayapura, is said to have begun at 8.30am local time, before armed police turned up 3 hours later to try and disperse the crowd.

The students retaliated by throwing stones at police.

The police retaliated by firing several shots, before the students fled.

No further information is currently available.http://www.radionz.co.nz/

PNG Coalition Members Urged To Abandon O’Neill Government
Ministers sacking means Alotau Accord ‘failed’

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, April 1, 2014) – Members of the Triumph Heritage Empowerment Party and United Resources Party have been urged to walk out of the Coalition Government led by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.

Pangu Pati general secretary Morris Tovebae said on behalf of the political parties during the signing of a joint communiqué on the failed Alotau Accord last Saturday that the leaders of the two parties were sacked by O’Neill.

He said their Cabinet ministers and MPs should leave O’Neill and the coalition after he sacked Don Polye and William Duma.

“If their leader is sacked, the party is sacked. They should do the honourable thing by walking out of the government,” Pati said.

“If they don’t do that, they are representing no one’s interest in the Government.”

The National

22) UN hoping for more women in Vanuatu political leadership roles

3 April 2014

A United Nations womens’ advocate is hoping a workshop being held in Port Vila this week will encourage more women into national political roles.

Dr Rosina Wiltshire says despite signing the CEDAW convention, Vanuatu has one of the lowest levels of womens’ participation in leadership.

She says five of the women trained in a previous visit are now in office at the provincial level and a quota system has helped to achieve this.

“And I want to say that I congratulate the government and people of Vanuatu for establishing a quota for women at the provincial level. And we hope that that will also happen at the national level. Everybody in Vanuatu is going to benefit from their participation.”

Dr Rosina Wiltshire.http://www.radionz.co.nz/

23) FLNKS Wants Thousands Struck Off New Caledonia Voter Rolls
Pro-independence group files over 7,000 challenges to names

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, April 2, 2014) – New Caledonia’s pro-independence FLNKS movement has lodged more than 7,000 court cases to demand that thousands of voters be struck off the roll for next month’s provincial election.

Voting will be restricted to long-term residents in line with the decolonisation process which, after the election, opens the way for a possible independence referendum.

The FLNKS insist that people who arrived in New Caledonia between 1988 and 1998 are only allowed to vote if they were also enrolled in 1998.

Special commissions assisted by magistrates from France’s highest court have been revising the rolls for a month and refuse to remove any voter, which has now prompted the court action.

The FLNKS says in its submission that neither the law nor the constitution is changed by any declaration on the subject, even if it is by the prime minister.

The loyalists are fiercely opposed to the FLNKS stance and have formed an association to assist those threatened to be removed from the roll.

Radio New Zealand International

24) New Caledonia opposed to tighter gun laws

Updated at 8:49 pm on 3 April 2014

The New Caledonian government says it’s opposed to tighter gun laws as France suggested a limit of four hunting rifles per person.

Paris vowed last year to restrict gun ownership by March but the government of Harold Martin says such a step will only cause more political problems.

After the law change was signalled last year, the French high commissioner Jean-Jacques Brot said sales had doubled while the local press said weapon sales had grown tenfold.

There are suggestions that now more than 100,000 rifles are in circulation.

There have been several shooting incidents in public as well as homicides, which a leading politician, Philippe Gomes, says has raised New Caledonia’s armed crime rate to three times that of France.http://www.radionz.co.nz/

25) Bainimarama above the law – Fiji Law Society

3 April 2014

The Fiji Law Society says not much can be done to hold Rear Admiral Frank Bainimarama accountable for breaking his own decrees until a parliament is put in place post-election.

Rear Admiral Bainimarama has been accused of breaching the Political Parties Decree for campaigning and appointing candidates before his party has been registered.

The breach is punishable with prison.

The Law Society president, Dorsami Naidu, says the regime has given itself the power to be above the law, by interpreting the law in a way that suits it.

“It’s very unfortunate when we are being told on the one hand that these decrees will be enforced, that we want a democratic election, it’ll be transparent and open and accountable. But it seems not to be the case. It’s a case of one rule for the citizens and others, and one rule for the regime.”

Dorsami Naidu says when a parliament is formed, elected parliamentarians will be able to speak out and influence change.http://www.radionz.co.nz/

26) Party website now online

Naik Swami
Thursday, April 03, 2014

THE Fiji Labour Party is now online.

Labour leader, Mahendra Chaudhry said members of the public could visit the website on www.flp.org.fj for an insight of the party’s history, policies and achievements.

Mr Chaudhry said the website would feature candid views on political, social and economic developments and other issues of interest in the lead-up to the general elections.

“The FLP website has been reconstructed and upgraded,” he said.

“It has a clean, uncluttered look, is informative, well organised and user friendly with easy reference to an extensive news archives categorised according to subject headings, chronologically arranged.”

Mr Chaudhry earlier said the website would give space to the public to contribute issues which they were not able to do in the media.Fijitimes

27) Commonwealth offers technical support for Fiji election

By Online Editor
12:42 pm GMT+12, 02/04/2014, United Kingdom

The Commonwealth has welcomed recent developments in Fiji and has made known it remains willing to offer any technical expertise needed to assist the conduct of the 2014 Elections in September.

In a statement, Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma today welcomed the announcement that elections will be on 17 September 2014.

In particular, he noted the gazetting of the Electoral Decree and the appointment of a Supervisor of Elections.

He welcomed the provisions of the relevant decrees that seek to create an enabling environment for the free and fair conduct of elections on a level playing field.

He reiterated the importance of the Commonwealth values of human rights, the rule of law and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of the media, freedom of expression, association and assembly.

The Secretary-General emphasised the need to work together to create an environment based on tolerance and respect, that would safeguard transparency and inclusivity throughout the election process.

He further said that the Commonwealth would collaborate with its partners to support Fiji’s return to civilian and constitutional democracy.

SOURCE: FIJI LIVE/PACNEWS

28) Fiji Labour Party Leader’s counsel calls for no case to answer

By Online Editor
3:33 pm GMT+12, 02/04/2014, Fiji

Fiji Labour Party Leader Mahendra Chaudhry’s defence counsel QC Peter Bodor today called for no case to answer in his trial at the Supreme Court saying there was insufficient evidence from the State to charge his client.

Chaudhry is charged with three counts of breach of the Exchange Control Act. State Counsel QC Clive Grossman, a Hong Kong Criminal defence Barrister told the assessors that the Exchange Control Act ensures the country’s safety that Fiji residents only bring in Foreign Currency that was needed.

“To ensure that the best can be done where Fiji residents has funds overseas, they are bound to bring back to Fiji these funds,” Grossman told the assessors.

Chaudhry’s first count was Failure to surrender Foreign Currency where he breached Section 4 of the Exchange Control Act, the court heard.

The court heard Chaudhry had AUD$1.5million in various banks in Australia and New Zealand. In his second count, He was charge for dealing without permission.

The court heard that the five banks in Australia and New Zealand were unauthorised dealers in Fiji.

In the third count, He was charged with delaying the repatriation and continuing with the investment with unauthorised dealers.

Chaudhry pleaded not guilty to all three counts.

The State only had one witness, the Board Secretary of the Reserve Bank of Fiji (RBF), who was called into the witness box this morning. The agreed facts were read out to the assessors before the witness was examined.

When examined by the State counsel, the state witness, said to open an account overseas, a Fiji resident would need approval from the Reserve Bank of Fiji.

In this case, the witness said Chaudhry didn’t write to RBF and it was only after Siwatibau and Sloan lawyers had written to him on their status as RBF lawyers did Chaudhry reply to Sada Reddy.

When cross examined by QC Bodor, the witness said authorised dealers are those licensed by RBF and are located in Fiji.

She told the defence that for anyone to take FJD $20,000 (US$10,826) out of Fiji, they need approval but if it was to be less than $20,000 than they would need to go through the authorised dealers.

She added to take foreign currency out of Fiji, it has to be equivalent to FJD$10,000 (US$5,514) but for Fijian currency, it can only be up to $500. She added information on this was available at the RBF.

State Counsel Grossman after the cross examination closed the prosecution case to which the defence counsellors said that came too early and there should be a no case to answer.

SOURCE: FIJI LIVE/PACNEWS

29) Former Fiji PM Chaudhry’s Case Begins Tomorrow
Labour Party leader accused of violating foreign currency laws

By Vuniwaqa Bola-Bari

Four assessors were sworn in today before Justice Madigan during which he reminded them of their responsibilities.

Justice Madigan reminded the assessors that the case will have extensive coverage from the media and their decision should not be based on what they hear or read.

Madigan told assessors that the trial may take four to five days based on the evidence.

Chaudhry is being charged with three counts of breach of the exchange control act.

Chaudhry is charged on the first count with ‘failure to surrender foreign currency,’ between November 1, 2000 and July 23, 2010, contrary to the Exchange Control Act.

For the second count, he is charged with ‘dealing in foreign currency’ otherwise than with an authorised dealer without the permission of the RBF, between November 1, 2000 and July 23, 2010.

On the last count the charge is of ‘failure to collect debts’, between November 1, 2000 and July 23, 2010 being a Fiji resident and having the right to receive AU$1.5million from financial institutions in Australia and New Zealand, he allegedly caused the delay of payment of the said sum, in whole or in part, to himself by authorising the continual re-investment of the said sum, together with interest acquired, back into the said financial institutions without the permission of the Reserve Bank of Fiji.

Fijilive

LAND/BIRTH RIGHT+


30)  Land concerns

Ana Madigibuli
Thursday, April 03, 2014

THE iTaukei Land Trust Board general manager Alipate Qetaki was asked about government’s role in the iTaukei Land Trust Board by the Tailevu Provincial Council member.

They said many decisions were being made according to government’s decision rather than what the landowners needed.

Provincial council member Ratu Isoa Tikoca also asked whether government contributed financially to the board.

“I would like to highlight this because even though government does not contribute financially to TLTB their decisions in running the trust board is immense,” Ratu Isoa said.

“For them to make huge decisions within TLTB and to change the various laws and regulation is a concern for us here at the provincial council.”

He raised his concerns on the Native Land Amendment Decree Number 31 of 2009 and the Native Land Amendment Regulation on 2010 on removing special entitlement of chiefs and turaga ni mataqali from the share of rents and royalty and there is also the Landuse Decree number 36 of 2010 to bring, select areas of Native land directly under government control was also raised.

Mr Qetaki said TLTB hoped to meet members of the council who looked after the land issues to address the concerns highlighted on native land.

He added there was a new unit called the Landowners Affairs unit which looked after all landowner’s grievances regarding iTaukei land.Fijitimes

31) Call for iTaukei protection

Ana Madigibuli
Thursday, April 03, 2014

VERATA chief Ratu Timoci Vesikula has requested that Prime Minister Rear Admiral Voreqe Bainimarama explain if all people are now known as “Fijians” and indigenous Fijians now called “iTaukei Fijians” — what is it exactly that the iTaukei Fijians owned?

This was one of the numerous concerns raised by the chief, who addressed the Prime Minister at the Tailevu Provincial Council meeting earlier this week.

Ratu Timoci explained that people living in the villages were living in poverty and were becoming non-religious, lazy and refusing to partake in village activities.

The chief said people were simply living in a bad state.

He said this was what life looked like in various villages in the province and he questioned the Prime Minister about the existence of the laws which were supposed to protect them.

He told the Prime Minister that before the general election, he needed to put in place village laws which would help leaders in various villages within the province.Fijitimes

MEDIA:

32)  Fiji TV station investigated over Bainimarama story

Updated at 4:44 pm on 3 April 2014

A Fiji television station is being investigated by the country’s media watchdog over alleged unfair reporting of a visit to his home province by the regime leader Rear Admiral Frank Bainimarama.

The government has laid an official complaint against Fiji Television with the Media Industry Development Authority citing a breach of the Media Decree’s code of ethics and practice.

Fiji Television says it has received the complaint which relates to comments by the Tailevu chief, Ratu Timoci Vesikula, during a visit by the prime minister earlier this week.

The chief is reported to have questioned the leader’s stance on indigenous affairs.

The broadcaster reports the government has complained he was not given the right of reply.http://www.radionz.co.nz/

BUSINESS

33) PNG urged to narrow gap between rich and poor

2 April 2014
Papua New Guinea has been warned of the need to narrow the gap between rich and poor with skyrocketing growth predicted for next year.

This comes in a major new report on the region’s economy.

Sally Round reports.

“The Asia Development Bank’s flagship economic report forecasts a record 21 percent growth rate for PNG in 2015. The rapid growth is due to the start of gas exports later this year and the first full year of production next year. But the bank warns the nearly 40% increase in government spending over the last year on infrastructure, health, education and law and order is not having the effect it could. And it says marginalised provinces in PNG in particular are missing out because of poor prioritising by local governments and unpredictable funding from national coffers. The ADB recommends improving the accountability of local authorities and better systems to get services to the people.”http://www.radionz.co.nz/

34) New Caledonia province in new nickel venture

3 April 2014

New Caledonia’s southern province has approved a deal with two major nickel companies to explore a huge ore deposit.

The province’s memorandum of understanding with Eramet of France and Vale of Brazil provides for a four-year study of the Prony and Pernod deposits in the south of the main island.

A joint venture company, in which the provincial government is the biggest shareholder, is to examine estimates that the deposits contain three million tonnes of nickel which could be mined over 50 years.

Should a processing plant be built, the province will have a 10 percent stake plus a small share of the value of the nickel sold.

The opposition is critical of the deal, saying it is rushed as only six weeks remain before the provincial election.

The deal is to be formally signed off by the head of Eramet and Vale at the end of the week.

The two companies each have a large nickel plant in the southern province.http://www.radionz.co.nz/

35) PNG to experience record economic growth, concerns over who will benefit

Updated 3 April 2014, 12:45 AEST

Jemima Garrett

Gas developments to provide unprecedented economic growth in PNG amid concerns about wealth distribution.

An Asian Development Bank economist has warned that despite unprecedented economic growth forecast for Papua New Guinea, the gap between rich and poor will widen.

The latest Asian Development Outlook report has predicted growth of six per cent this year, leaping to 21 per cent in 2015.

The Asian Development Bank’s PNG economist, Aaron Batten, says the boom will come mostly from the onset of liquid natural gas exports.

But Mr Batten cautions that outside of the mining and petroleum industries the PNG economy is slowing dramatically.

“What we do expect to happen is that over the next couple of years as growth becomes more concentrated in the mining and petroleum sectors is a slowing of that job creation and new income earning opportunities in PNG,” he said.

Mr Batten says the benefits of the massive economic growth expected in PNG may only be felt by a lucky few involved in the resources sector.

However, the ExxonMobil PNG LNG project, which will come on line later this year, may produce tangible benefits for all Papua New Guineans.

Aaron Batten says a fund set from the PNG LNG project’s royalties should lead to more spending on public services.

“The Sovereign Wealth Fund can play a very important role in helping PNG to mitigate some of the adverse effects of its dependency on mining and petroleum projects, particularly in smoothing out some of the volatility that is typical of these types of economies,” he said. http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

36) Solomon Islands warned of declining logging industry

By Online Editor
09:38 am GMT+12, 03/04/2014, Solomon Islands

Solomon Islands country faces a challenging future in terms of its economic growth given the dwindling forestry industry as more natural forests are being logged out.

Asian Development Bank (ADB) economist Milovan Lucich who is looking after Nauru, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu sounded the alarm during last week’s ADB Pacific business media summit in Sydney, Australia.

He said with Solomon Islands relying heavily on logging as its main revenue earner for over many years now, it would affect its revenue when logging stops.

“With the declining logging industry slowly affecting Solomon Islands, it would affect the country’s economy in few years time,” he said.

Currently logging is the third largest revenue earner for the country.

Lucich therefore highlighted the Solomon Islands government needs to prepare and look at other industries to support the economy.

“Its important to support other industries such as agriculture, mining and tourism.”

Currently Gold Ridge in Guadalcanal is the biggest mining operations to have occurred in the country.

The government is also shifting its support to the tourism industry now.

This was evident with the appointment of a Fijian Josefa Tuamoto to head the Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau (SIVB).

Lucich highlighted that creating an enabling environment for sustainable economic growth remains a challenge for Solomon Islands.

Meanwhile ADB said its operation in the country seeks to reduce poverty by promoting equitable private sector-led economic growth through assistance in three core sectors: transport and information and communication technology; public sector management; and energy.
SOURCE: SOLOMON STAR/PACNEWS

37) Fiji calls for stronger intra-regional trade among Pacific Island Countries

By Online Editor
3:45 pm GMT+12, 02/04/2014, Fiji

Trade Pasifika 2014 was officially opened in Fiji Tuesday night with a firm recommendation from host country Fiji for stronger intra-regional trade among Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs).

This, it believes, will provide the best platform for exchange with international trade partners, given the many challenges that characterise business and entrepreneurship in individual countries in the region.

“Intra-regional trade, amongst our Island countries, should be seen as a ‘stepping stone’ and ‘building block’ to trading with international partners. Therefore, there is a need for Pacific businesses and traders to come under one roof to create business linkages and synergies between importers and exporters, in order to facilitate and grow trade and business in the region,” said Fiji’s Permanent Secretary for Industry and Trade Shaheen Ali in his welcome speech at Tuesday night’s opening reception.

“This ties in with our theme – we have to make it our business to create growth through exports and trade – starting with trade amongst ourselves. At the same time, if we are able to come together to develop a ‘common market’, with harmonised customs rules, mutual agreements on biosecurity requirements and facilitation of trade in general, we will become a very attractive market of 9 million consumers for our trading partners,” Ali said.

For those who have been mooting the idea of trade integration in the Pacific, Trade Pasifika is by far the closest the region has come to having Pacific goods and services under one roof.

The inaugural Trade Pasifika was held in Fiji in 2012 with support from most regional organisations such as the Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation (PIPSO), Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS), Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) and the South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) among others.

This year’s event – themed ‘Exporting for Growth. It’s everyone’s business’ – is only the second so far but has already proven popular among businesses in the region with 14 PICs and Territories represented.

Organisers say around 100 entrepreneurs from the 14 PICTs will showcase their goods and services during the three-day expo, up from the 50 that exhibited in 2012. They will be matched with an equally keen interest from some 60 buyers who have come from as far China, Europe, Abu Dhabi and nearby markets Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific to see what businesses here
have to offer.

Link ups between buyers and sellers will take place within the margins of workshops and seminars, lunch and learn sessions and the general exhibition and there are expectations that new deals will be secured. A highlight of this year’s event is the focus on Youth Entrepreneurship and Women in Business and delegations from the region are predominantly made up of women.

The exhibitions begin today (Wednesday) at the Vodafone Arena in the Fijian capital Suva and key trade areas showcased are agriculture, aquaculture and tourism.

SOURCE: ISLANDS BUSINESS/PACNEWS

38) ANZ reaffirms commitment to supporting Pacific trade and investment

By Online Editor
09:41 am GMT+12, 03/04/2014, Fiji

ANZ has announced its commitment to helping Pacific countries build long-term trade and investment links amongst each other and the rest of the world.

ANZ Head of Commercial Banking for the Pacific, Saud Minam, highlighted this at Trade Pasifika 2014, being held in Suva, Fiji, from 2-4 April.

ANZ is the Gold Sponsor of the regional trade event with the theme ‘Exporting for Growth, It’s everyone’s business’, showcasing Pacific agriculture, aquaculture and tourism products from 17 Pacific island countries.

“In the Pacific, we are a bank that follows trade and investment flows across our 33 markets in the Asia Pacific region, Australia, New Zealand, Europe and America,” said Minam.

“We do this to help our customers progress, and to help country economies grow, with a specific focus in the Pacific on supporting key areas of natural resources, infrastructure and agriculture, with a selective focus on tourism in certain countries, the predominant being Fiji.”

Minam added that ANZ was also very keen to help grow Pacific SMEs.

“We understand that today’s SME is tomorrow’s large corporate, and possibly someday a multinational enterprise,” he said.

Minam also highlighted the opportunity provided by China’s shift towards higher private consumption and income growth providing new opportunities for the Pacific tourism sector.

“ANZ’s economic insights point to tourism from China representing a massive market, where from 2009 to 2012 outbound tourists from China increased only from about 3.6 per cent of the population to about 6.1 per cent. This represents a shift from 50 million people to about 90 million people seeking tourism destinations abroad.”

Arrivals into the Pacific topped 1.5m visitors most recently, with Fiji absorbing about 40% of those flows.
“For Fiji, where tourism accounts for about 37.8% of GDP (2013), and indeed for the rest of the region, we must turn our attention to investment to ensure countries can tap into China’s rising tide of tourists, as well as the traditional tourism markets of Australia and New Zealand,” said Minam.

Minam added that as a bank with a 130-year history in the Pacific, with the largest geographical footprint of any bank in the region across 12 Pacific markets, servicing nearly half a million customers and employing about 2000 staff, ANZ understand the importance of tapping into the opportunities that global trade and people flows have to offer.

SOURCE: ANZ/PACNEWS

39) Tanoa Group Abandons Tonga’s International Dateline Hotel Renovation
Fiji company pulls out of planned $9 million investment

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, April 1, 2014) – The Tanoa Hotel Group of Fiji has pulled out from its proposed take over of the International Dateline Hotel, Tatafu Moeaki, the CEO for the Ministry of Finance and National Planning told the Tonga Chamber of Commerce yesterday, March 31.

Moeaki did not elaborate on why the take-over negotiations came to a sudden end, other than to stress that the Tonga government did not revert over what it initially put on the negotiation table. He said that after a hand-shake with enthusiasm to move forward, the Tanoa Group had come back and said that they were pulling out.

Moeaki said that government, as the land owner, had offered a 75-year lease, and the Tanoa Group was willing to invest TOP$18 million [US$9 million] in renovating the property.

The hotel had been closed since February 28, to enable the Tanoa Group to start the $18 million pa’anga reconstruction work.

Moeaki said that the hotel would remain closed while negotiations would resume with the other bidders to take over the reconstruction and the running of the International Dateline Hotel. He said they would also be talking to the Tanoa Group.

During his presentation, for the members of the Tonga Chamber of Commerce, there was an assumption that the Tanoa Group was not happy with the government taxation regime, which discourages investments.

Lisiate ‘Akolo, who was Tonga’s Minister of Finance during the negotiation with the Tanoa Group, expressed his surprise that they had pulled out. He believed that there were only a few legal matters to be agreed on before a final agreement was to be signed, and he was disappointed that the Tanoa Group pulled out.

The International Dateline Hotel was established in 1966 on the Nuku’alofa seafront. It has 126 rooms.

Matangi Tonga Magazine ( Isa, Hope someone help renovate the hotel, I stayed there in 1982 and again in 2012! Beautiful piece of work it is! Maalo! )

LAW&ORDER

40)  Fiji steps up border control systems

By Online Editor
3:35 pm GMT+12, 02/04/2014, Fiji

Fiji is stepping up its game to counter criminal activities and catch illegal immigrants by improving border control systems at Nadi Airport.

The Immigration Department has spent close to $50,000 (US$27,097) to improve its computerised Integrated Border Management System by installing two new servers.

The system was launched by Defence Minister, Joketani Cokanasiga Tuesday.

“The need to improve border security, facilitate the mobility of people and to guard against irregular migration are national objectives which every sovereign country shares. Fiji is no exception. The launching of these IBMS servers today is proof of the Fijian government’s commitment to the fulfillment of this objective on a national level.”

The launching of the two Integrated Border Management System severs at Nadi Airport will improve border security says Director Immigration, Major Nemani Vuniwaqa.

“The IBMS which was launched and implemented on 11th of April last year it’s now 12 months down the line the system is an integrated system whereby all the different modules passport modules permit modules visas all different modules are integrated we want all these modules to be talking to each other communicating to each other but along the lines we found out that there were some teething problems.”

The new purchase servers would help boost data retrieval and from today the system is more advanced.

Meanwhile, smuggling of drugs can be expected as Fiji is the hub of the Pacific and has developed at a very fast rate.

Assistant Fiji Police Commissioner Rusiate Tudravu says criminals are looking at different ways of transporting drugs.

However, he says that has not deterred police from investigating cases.

“What we have so far has been fruitful in detecting all these substances that have been coming in which are now under analysis for the proven of alleged hard drugs.”…

SOURCE: FBC NEWS/PACNEWS

41) Indonesian ‘Fugitive’ Has Big Construction Plans For Port Moresby
Djoko Tjandra (Joe Chan) plans to build 2 skyscrapers in PNG capital

By Gorethy Kenneth

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, April 1, 2014) – Port Moresby’s K1 billion [US$353 million] skyscraper will go ahead despite coming under the scrutiny of the Ombudsman Commission and moves within the Government to stop its construction. This was revealed in an exclusive interview yesterday with Indonesian fugitive Djoko Tjandra, aka Joe Chan, who owns the company Central Lands Limited which proposes to build and manage the 32-floor office complex in Waigani.

Chan is currently in Port Moresby after travelling in from Singapore on his private jet on March 26 to inspect his multi-billion kina business operations. This was his first media interview after fleeing Indonesia in 2009, hours before the Indonesian Supreme Court convicted him of embezzling $US62 million. The man has strong connections with several PNG cabinet ministers, MPs and government department leaders as well as a big following and partnerships with other multi-million kina corporations in PNG. Speaking to the Post-Courier yesterday, he said he has successful businesses all over Asia but most of his interests are in PNG.

He said he has been in PNG since 1972, has set-up a number of businesses since independence and was “not a stranger to the country” as he has been part of its development and walked the changing face of PNG through his and his family’s businesses. “I wasn’t born yesterday. I came to PNG in 1972 and I have been in business with PNG since then,” he said and added he was not a fugitive and had cleared his name in Indonesia. “I am a Papua New Guinean. I am not a bad man. I am a harmless man and like any other Papua New Guinean businessman, I deserve to be treated the same way,” he said.

When asked what would happen with Indonesia continuing to push for his deportation, he said: “I am in Papua New Guinea; I am a Papua New Guinean. I travel in and out of Singapore and PNG without any problems”. The proposal to construct the multi-million kina building and the PNG Central Government multi-office complex will go ahead, he said as he owns the title and the land in Waigani.

Another building – a 50 storey skyscraper – will be built at Ela Beach, he said as he talked about his investments in PNG. A rice project in the Central Province, registered under the Naima Group of Companies, will also be launched soon, according to the Indonesian.

This newspaper first met Chan at an office in the Pacific Place building in Port Moresby and followed him to the Central Government Office where one of his proposed buildings will be constructed. Very quiet and reluctant to speak at first, the interview with the wanted Indonesian was interspersed with accusations aimed at his opponents and humour. Central Lands Limited occupies the ground floor of the Central Government Office and has approval from the Department of Personnel Management according to Chan. His employees met him upon his arrival at the project site yesterday and during the interview revealed that the Waigani project will employ up to 1500 workers and Ela Beach 2000-2500. More investments are planned for the NCD.

In a new twist to Chan’s PNG citizenship and passport saga, the PNG Chief Migration Officer Mataio Rabura issued a statement yesterday to advise that the Indonesian’s application for an APEC Business Travel Card had been approved against his PNG passport number B330971. Speaking to this newspaper to clear the air on the Indonesian, Mr Rabura said Chan was issued with a new PNG passport because of his frequent overseas travels and he had run out of pages with his current one.

In a bid to justify the decision by the authority to issue Chan with another passport, the Chief Migration Officer said a report by the authority’s committee of review into the cancellation of Chan’s first passport found that the action was unjustified and he could use it to travel into and out of PNG. “Accordingly, Mr Joe Chan was informed on May 30, 2013 that he could continue to use his PNG passport number B330971 for travel and identification purposes as a citizen of PNG, consistent with the decision of the Committee of Review,” he said. Chan, who denied that he travels with VIP clearance, said he flies in his private jet with his two pilots and is never in a queue because he is just one man “with nothing to hide”. It is understood he will soon travel out of PNG to check on his other business interests abroad.

PNG Post-Courier

REFUGEE/ASYLUM+

42 ) Australian Immigration Minister Morrison to be briefed on Manus incident

By Online Editor
3:32 pm GMT+12, 02/04/2014, Australia

The Australian immigration department will brief minister Scott Morrison on the latest findings into the death of an asylum seeker at Manus Island.

The department has received an interim report into the violence at the detention centre last month that left 23-year-old Iranian asylum seeker Reza Barati dead.

It comes as Morrison prepares to visit Papua New Guinea this week for an update from local police on the progress of investigations into the incident.

A spokesperson for Morrison said he would be briefed on the progress report, adding the government was following the same processes as Labor did when the Nauru centre was burned down last year.

“The final report will be released, consistent with those same processes,” the spokesperson told AAP in a statement.

The spokesperson said Labor did not release the report into the riot at Nauru in July 2013 until after the election, and had delayed other similar reports.

A review into the violence at the Manus Island centre is being conducted by former secretary of the Attorney-General’s Department, Robert Cornall.

Labor has been pushing for the release of the interim report, arguing the government must take all precautions to prevent any future incidents.

“(The government) now needs to release the report to make sure whatever safeguards are needed can be put in place to avoid such a tragic incident occurring again,” opposition immigration spokesman Richard Marles said.

The government has also copped criticism for not sending Australian police to assist PNG with the investigation.

SOURCE: AAP/PACNEWS

43) ) Fiji coup snitch under lock in Australia

By Online Editor
09:32 am GMT+12, 03/04/2014, Australia

What  was supposed to be a routine bridging visa evaluation (BVE) check for  Fiji 2000 coup whistleblower Maciu Naqari Navakasuasua ended up in him being detained at the Maribyrnong Immigration Detention Centre for deportation.

And he has called on Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison to conduct an investigation into how he was “tricked” to delay his evaluation for a day that got him detained as an overstayer.

For the past 10 years, Navakasuasua had been living in Australia under Bridging Visa E, which allowed him to stay and work legally following his release from Nukulau Prison in 2003.

As a Bridging Visa E holder, Navakasuasua was to report to the Immigration Department after every three months.

Navakasuasua — an explosives expert who joined a nationalist movement and was jailed for three years for his involvement in the 2000 coup that removed the Mahendra Chaudhry-led Fiji Labour Party government from power — claimed in 2005 that George Speight was only a frontman and that some businessmen were involved in the plot.

He fears for his life if he returns to Fiji, saying he had been warned.

He said he was supposed to report to the immigration office in Melbourne on March 5 but received a text message from an immigration officer on March 4 advising him to report on March 6.

He said after receiving the message, he contacted the officer at the Immigration Office who confirmed the change of dates.

When reporting to him on March 6, he was advised that he had overstayed for a day and would be detained automatically.

“I’ve been technically tricked but my hands are tied. I just have to follow the law,” a disappointed Navakasuasua said this week.

“I clearly told my case officer that had he told me that I would be arrested upon my arrival, I would still have the courtesy to report to the Immigration Office, something I had been doing faithfully for the past 10 years.”

Navakasuasua, who uses the name Maciu Naqari while in Australia, said the officer told him that he would cancel his Bridging Visa E based on character grounds under Section 501 of the Immigration Act.

“I’ve been living legally in Australia and contributed so much to the economy. Now I’ve been considered a criminal,” he said.

He said he would seek all legal avenues to stay in Australia.
Upon arriving in Australia, Navakasuasua confessed and apologised in the media about his involvement in the 2000 coup that was led by Speight and extremist nationalists.

He named a number of high-profile people, including businessmen, who he claimed to have had a hand in plotting the overthrow of the FLP government.

He maintained that he would be killed if he returned to Fiji.

“I would rather kill myself here than return home,” he said.

SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

CLIMATE CHANGE,CONSERVATION AND ENVIROMENT

44) Severe flooding hits Solomons’ capital

3 April 2014

Torrential rain in and around Honiara, the capital of Solomon Islands, over the past two days has caused widespread damage.

There is also an unconfirmed report of one death resulting from the flooding.

The director of the National Disaster Office, Loti Yates, says a depression, sitting over the country for the past two days, has caused the worst flooding in the region in eight years.

He says the Matanikau River which runs through the centre of Honiara, flooded, destroying houses and gardens.

“Just talking to the mayor of the city and he estimated that about 100 houses have been swept away. A lot of properties have been destroyed. The old Bailey bridge was under water, so yes, it has had a lot of impact on people living along the river banks.”

Loti Yates says there is damage throughout the city with flooding in all the gullies.

He says many businesses and schools have been closed and there have been reports of looting.http://www.radionz.co.nz/

45) Remote Vanuatu residents call for more early cyclone warning systems as climate changes

Updated 3 April 2014, 13:55 AEST

Sen Lam

A Vanuatu aid worker says the South Pacific nation’s outlying islands are most at risk from changing weather patterns brought on by climate change.

Port Vila’s market house collapsed during Cylcone Lusi (Credit: ABC licensed)

There’s growing concern on the South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu about the effects of climate change.

This week’s report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change highlighted the impacts of rising sea-levels and ocean acidification as a result of global warming caused by human activity.

Vanuatu’s climate youth ambassador and CARE field officer Mala Silas says climate change is also bringing about increasingly erratic weather patterns that are hitting remote island communities hard.

Ms Silas says last month’s Cyclone Lusi that swept through Vanuatu, killing 10 people, has raised concerns the world’s changing climate could mean more severe storms more often.

She’s just returned from examining the impact of Cyclone Lusi on remote Futuna Island and says it’s highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

Ms Silas says locals are concerned about the impact on agriculture, on which they rely for income from exports as well as for their own food supply.

She says the residents of Futuna urgently need better communication systems, as the current radio network is inadequate and the mobile network is all but non-existent in some villages.

Ms Silas says more effective early warning systems would allow locals to respond to imminent cyclones by preparing shelter and storing food before they’re hit. http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

46) ) ‘We don’t want to be wiped off the map’: Marshall Islands govt

By Online Editor
09:34 am GMT+12, 03/04/2014, Marshall Islands

Ambassadors and climate negotiators from around the world will see the realities of climate change “on the ground” while meeting this week in Majuro, the country’s foreign minister said on the eve of the opening of the Cartagena Dialogue.

The group representing about 40 nations is focused on increasing traction for a global climate treaty at its four-day conference that opens Tuesday in Majuro, a low-lying necklace of coral islands most of which rise less than a meter above sea level.

Four weeks ago, high tides flooded parts of Majuro, the third inundation of the capital atoll in the last 12 months by tides that caused damage to homes and government facilities.

“My low-lying atoll country is on the frontline of the battle against climate change,” said Marshall Islands Foreign Minister Tony deBrum.

“In early March, we were hit by the highest king tides in more than 30 years, which displaced more than 1,000 people and forced our government to declare a state of emergency.

“Even the most conservative scientific predictions suggest my country risks being wiped off the map by the end of this century,” deBrum said.

To prevent this, the Marshall Islands has “put climate change at the top of our country’s political and diplomatic agenda, and we are determined to do what we can to ensure that we do not have to abandon our homes and our precious Marshallese culture and way of life,” deBrum said.

Marshall Islands officials see the Cartagena Dialogue gathering in Majuro as an opportunity to gather momentum on the road to U.N. Secretary-General Ban-ki Moon’s Climate Leaders Summit this September in New York.

DeBrum said many countries in the process are focused “on the inking of a new global climate agreement in Paris at the end of 2015.

“We believe this is an opportunity for those countries truly committed to an ambitious and effective global treaty in 2015 to set the pace of negotiations through to Paris. Here in Majuro, on the frontline of climate change, there is no better place for this process to start.”

DeBrum said the anticipated imminent release of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report will “undoubtedly paint a bleaker and more serious picture than ever before of the worsening impacts of climate change.”

He hopes that the meeting in Majuro, where a person can stand in the road and see the lagoon on one side of the island and the ocean on the other, will be “an opportunity for negotiators to see with their own eyes what this means on the ground for countries like my own.”.

SOURCE: MARIANAS VARIETY/PACNEWS

47) Vanuatu Community Told, Geothermal Energy Risks Minimal
Meeting in Takara about planned thermal energy project reassuring


By Bob Makin

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, April 1, 2014) – The dangers associated with the planned thermal source of energy at Takara are not great.

Over 100 people, many of whom were women, from the region and Emau island, learned of the negligible danger posed by testing of this source of energy, and the worst a power station could mean, at a public meeting at Takara on Saturday.

Chiefs of the area hosted the meeting to move the important development further on, from the land ownership dispute stage to that of discussing the advantages and disadvantages of a geothermal project for Efate’s electricity at Takara.

There were – and still are – many questions, but the gathering got answers to many worries. The meeting was effectively the launch of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) which is the very next step.

Brian Phillips of the Geothermal Task Force was present and Albert Williams, Head of the Environment Department, along with Tim Hewatt, Vanuatu representative, and Geoff Ward, the CEO, of Geodynamics Limited.

There is no likelihood of any sort of volcanic disturbance, eruption or lava flow, or any explosion from the energy source. Indeed, hot saline water is the only thing to emerge from the source, and then it goes back down into the ground from which it came. This seemed to be the primary concern, that the energy could be harmful.

Another major fear was the size of the area of land required for the testing, drilling and for the ultimate construction of power plant facilities. The ultimate power station, the meeting learned from the Geodynamics pair, if all the tests prove the location at Takara as ideal, will still only be small in size, geothermal energy not needing the huge space of the carbon-hungry kinds of electricity generation such as we presently have at Tagabe. And pipes of not huge diameter can deliver the hot water between the source and factory quite easily.

For Albert Williams and Geothermal Task Force leader Brian Phillips, the main purpose of the meeting was to hear all the concerns the community, land owners and residents, might raise. Williams is putting Donna Kalfatak, Efatese scientist, at the disposal of the people of Takara to hear and evaluate any further concerns as the EIA goes ahead. There is limited time for this, but all environmental questions must be raised.

The meeting learned of the sorts of drill-holes needing to be bored for testing and then the means by which sources of geothermal power will be accessed. Drilling will possibly go down to 2,000 metres.

There was discontent expressed by some, especially as regards the signatories to the agreement which allows the environmental and social impact study to proceed. Custom ownership thereby raised its possibly disrupting character.

The EIA, to be conducted by professionals in a company called SLR, will be concerned with existing marine and land-based life – the animals and plants including natongtong – and the areas of garden land used by people for their livelihoods. Already there has been considerable study undertaken, and specialised mapping, and this will increase with the EIA, to which the government is committed.

Then it is hoped by those at Saturday’s meeting that the entire population, custom owners and non, will come back to approve the EIA to enable work to begin. It can only win with the approval of the community.

Saturday’s meeting at Takara was a precursor of the kind that can now be expected under the new lands legislation: the entire community was invited to be present. There was a large presence of women (nearly a quarter of the gathering). Those who disagreed with aspects of the project were present along with those who want it to proceed. Comments were invited from everyone. It was indeed a community consultation, and no ministers or politicians were present.

Vanuatu Daily Post

48) ) Solomons Symposium Focuses On Community-Based Resource Management
Communities, supporting partners share experiences

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, April 1, 2014) – In a rare opportunity, agencies that support community-based resource management (CBRM) came together last week from across Western Province to share their experiences and ideas in a three-day symposium.

It was hosted by WorldFish through the CGIAR Research Program Aquatic Agricultural Systems and funded by Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research. Western province hosts many community managed sites and support partners and has a long history of community-based management.

The organisers of the symposium said that Western province was the ideal place to better understand what has succeeded and what challenges still remain – lessons that could help communities across Solomon Islands improve the management of their natural marine and terrestrial resources.

During the symposium, participants discussed the achievements and potential of community-based resource management – their discussion led to plans to work more closely together to better support community efforts.

Representatives had experience with marine, forestry and agricultural resource management, which meant a variety of perspectives on CBRM practice were heard.

CBRM is a way for communities to safeguard the future of their natural resources, and is a nationally supported approach.

The reason CBRM is so important in Solomon Islands was summed up by Agnetha Vave-Karamui, from the ministry of environment, climate and disaster management who said “Why is CBRM such an important focus? Because people own, can manage and must benefit from managing their own resources.”

CBRM recognises that Solomon Islanders are the owners and custodians of their resources, and it draws strongly on customary tenure and existing traditional knowledge. Through support and information provided by partner agencies (such as those represented at the symposium) CBRM can empower communities to better address resource decline, and improve sustainability.

This symposium was an important milestone for CBRM support agencies to come together, and the meeting prompted the development of a common vision for Western province.

The importance of supporting community management efforts across all scales, from the community level through to the national level was emphasized by the agencies that attended.

Representatives were from community-based organisations, NGOs, provincial departments and national government ministries.

Attendees included WorldFish, Kolombangara Island biodiversity conservation association, Solomon Islands community conservation partnership, World Wide Fund for nature, Roviana conservation foundation, Tetepare descendants association, Marovo resource management areas network, natural resources development foundation, Marovo island nature biodiversity and livelihoods trust, provincial fisheries, provincial agriculture extension, ministry of fisheries and marine resources, and the ministry of environment climate and disaster management.

Solomon Sta

SPORTS

49) New Vanuatu coach looking for dream start

3 April 2014

Vanuatu beach volleyball coach Jason Lochhead says qualifying for the Youth Olympic Games in August would mark a perfect start to his new role.

The ex World Tour regular has replaced Lauren McLeod in charge of the Vanuatu programme.

He’s in Thailand with the Vanuatu boys team who are vying for one of six places at the Youth Olympics in August in Nanjing, China.

“Hopefully I don’t really know what the competition is like for the Youth Olympics but hopefully we can get the boys in which will be a huge start for the boys programme. Then for the girls the first two are Asian event Tours and we will definitely be trying to win those and then two World Tour events and two tops will be our aim for that.”

The Youth Olympic qualifier begins on Thursday with the elite women’s pairing of Henriette Iatika and Miller Pata in action from next week.http://www.radionz.co.nz/

50) Athletics Fiji saga continues

By Online Editor
3:52 pm GMT+12, 02/04/2014, Fiji

Albert Miller has responded to media reports that elected committee members remain as executives of Athletics Fiji.

And despite an annual general meeting over the weekend in Nadi whereby new office bearers were elected, Miller, the Athletics Fiji president, stated that the present committee remains.

“I need to reassure the athletics public that the plans and developments in Fiji are on course and we the constitutionally elected committee are still in control,” he said in a press statement.

Athletics Fiji vice-president Joe Rodan Jr said they would try to solve the matter for the benefit of the sport.

“There are many questions in regards to the authority, mandate and procedural matters that basically renders the Saturday meeting unconstitutional and illegitimate but above all does not represent the voice of the affiliated clubs to Athletics Fiji,” said Rodan Jr.

“There is current discussion on how this should be rectified but our priority is development and support for athletics especially with important competitions coming up like the Easter games and the secondary school athletics to name a few.

“Our main role as an organisation is to protect the sport and the interest of the clubs affiliated to it so we cannot allow individuals or groups with self-interest to undermine the work we have built together for so many years.

“There is currently attempt by Athletics Fiji to resolve the issue and there is optimism that some amicable solution will be reached soon for the benefit of the athletes.”

SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

51) Change to Pacific Nations Cup format

By Online Editor
3:50 pm GMT+12, 02/04/2014, Fiji

The 2014 Pacific Nations Cup will be played in two groups for the first time ever.

With the addition of Samoa, who skipped the tournament last year, the 2014 title will be contested between Canada, defending champions Fiji, Japan, Samoa, Tonga and the United States.

The North Pacific Conference sees Canada, the USA and Japan do battle.

In the South Pacific Conference, Vodafone Fiji, Samoa and Tonga will face-off.

Fiji’s first match is against Tonga on June 14 before playing Samoa on June 21.

The final of the tournament will see the winners of the two pools clashing in November.
SOURCE: FBC SPORTS/PACNEWS

52) ) Non-Oceania players to feature for OFC teams

By Online Editor
3:49 pm GMT+12, 02/04/2014, Fiji

The influx of non-Oceania players in the OFC Champions League football competition just compliments the tremendous talent that is around the region.

These are the words of OFC Media and Communications head, Gordon Glen Watson, who believes the 2014 edition of the Champions League, will be no different.

Team playing the in the Group Stages, to be played in Ba and Lautoka, has recruited from all over the world to bolster their teams.

However, Watson says the Oceania players are the ones to look out for.

“The impact Alick Maemae has had in Vanuatu, of course he is from the Solomons. Benjamin Totori and Roy Krishna, who has made a lot of success for himself at Waitakere United, which led to a contract with Wellington Phoenix. The international players come in and add something in my opinion. But of course it works in microcosm in our region. Some of the examples I spoke of earlier show that.”

Meanwhile, 2011 OFC Champions League finalist, Amicale FC is confident about its chances in this season’s edition of the regional competition in Fiji.

With players from different parts of the world and a newly appointed Australian coach, the top Vanuatu club is ready to play to their full potential.

Coach Nathan Hall believes the extensive pre-tournament build up his side has played will help them in the matches against defending champions Auckland City, Nadi and AS Dragon.

“We have made some pretty big changes to the squad and brought in lots of new players so combinations and getting players to understand each other takes time,” he told OFC Media.

All in all, there is a lot of desire, determination and hunger within the squad at the moment and here’s hoping we can carry that energy into the OFC Champions League Group Stage and do the people of Vanuatu proud.”

2011 golden boot winner Fenedy Masauvakalo will again be leading the attack for the side while veteran goalie Chikau Mansale will be guarding their goalmouth.

Fijians; Ilaitia Tuilau, Esava Naqeleca and Shivan Swamy together with Alick Maemae, Nelson Sale and Jack Wetney of Solomon Islands add flair and depth to their squad while three Serbians and last season’s golden boot winner, Nigerian Sanni Issa add further experience.

“Myself and the players know that we need to get off to a good start and that one or two mistakes could make the difference between winning the group and/or finishing third or fourth,” Hall added

In its recent friendly matches, Amicale beat Fiji’s current National League leader Suva twice and drew one match.

The Champions League gets underway in Ba on Monday and the next day at Lautoka’s Churchill Park.

source: fbc sports/ fiji live/pacnews

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