Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 958b


1) Eight children among 15 people confirmed dead

Updated 6 April 2014, 16:54 AEST

Eight children are among 15 people confirmed dead in flash flooding in Solomon Islands, with as many as 52,000 people affected by the disaster.

The National Disaster Council says in a statement that six boy and two girls under the age of seven were killed in the floods. Six women and one man are also confirmed dead. Other agencies, including Oxfam, are reporting at least 18 dead.

Audio: Oxfam says logistical issues are hampering relief efforts (ABC News)

The council says 40,000 people in Guadalcanal and 12,000 people in the capital Honiara are estimated to have been affected by the disaster. The city and the whole of Guadalcanal province were declared a disaster area on Friday.

Many residents remain without running water, as disaster management officials struggle to look after those people sheltering in evacuation centres.

Flash flooding has swept away entire residential districts and at least 30 people are missing.

Joanne Zoleveke from Solomon Islands’ Red Cross says the organisation’s volunteers have reported extensive damage especially in the eastern parts of Guadalcanal. They were expected to send assessment teams into the area early Sunday.

Ms Zoleveke says her focus remains in Honiara and the people in the 16 evacuation centres.

“We really need to get on top of helping these people live comfortably and hygienically, and (ensure they) are being fed and looked after well. That’s our greatest concern now here in Honiara,” she said.

She says the extent of the flooding has been a big shock for many Solomon Islanders.

“We really didn’t expect it to be this damaging and I think the people in the evacuation centres especially are obviously traumatised by all this. So, it’s affecting everybody… and everybody seems to be concerned for those who are having a hard time at the moment,” she said.

Gallery: Honiara hit by flash flooding after torrential rains

Video: Solomon Islands floods disaster ‘worst in living memory'(ABC News)

Major infrastructure including the sewerage system and water supplies have been badly damaged or destroyed. Electricity and communications have also been severely affected. The Mataniko bridge – the major bridge connecting east and west Honiara – was declared unsafe for use on Friday. The Old China Town bridge completely collapsed on Thursday.

Flights remain suspended at Honiara’s Henderson International Airport due to debris on the runway and damage to navigation and lighting systems.

Aid workers fear outbreaks of disease in the city and are waiting for Honiara airport to reopen so emergency relief supplies can be flown in.

The National Disaster Management Office says its focus is on distributing food and water to people sheltering in evacuation centres.

Further Australian aid

The Australian government has announced it will provide $AU250,000 in emergency relief supplies to the flood-hit country, in response to a request for assistance from the Solomon Islands government.

Australia’s Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, says she has conveyed Australia’s condolences to Solomons’ Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo for the loss of life.

She says the funding builds on the $50,000 in emergency assistance announced on Friday.

In addition, Australia will provide engineers and two Australian Government Rapid Response Team members to assist the Solomon Islands’ government and aid agencies responding to the floods.

Ms Bishop’s told ABC Insiders Mr Lilo wants supplies rather than cash, and also asked for teams of relief workers.

“We have got two RAAF flights leaving full of equipment. One will be taking engineering equipment to set up their airport, which has been devastated, so we’ve got lights and equipment and engineers. And then another will be filled with humanitarian supplies and relief workers,” she said.

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has updated its travel advice for the Solomons warning of road closures and delays at Honiara’s Henderson International Airport.

External Link: Solomon Islands hit by flash floods after torrential rain (World Vision Solomon Islands)

Tropical Cyclone Ita

The low pressure system that caused the deadly flooding in Solomon Islands has formed into Tropical Cyclone Ita over the northern Coral Sea.

The Solomon Islands Meteorological Service has issued a tropical cyclone watch advice for Rennell and Bellona, Western, Russells and Guadalcanal provinces.

Winds of between 30 and 40 kilometres an hour, increasing to 55 kilometres an hour are expected over Rennell and Bellona, southern Guadalcanal, Russells and Western and Choiseul provinces. Seas will be moderate to rough, with potential for coastal flooding.

The Australian bureau of meteorology reported that Tropical Cyclone Ita was situated 1070 kilometres east-northeast of Cairns at 10am Sunday eastern Australian time, moving in a westwards direction and intensifying.

It says the tropical cyclone is expected to remain well offshore for the next few days and poses no immediate threat to the Queensland coast.

ABC http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

2) Cyclone Ita threatens Solomon Islands

6 April 2014

As the the recovery operation gets underway on Guadalcanal in Solomon Islands following days of destructive flooding, the tropical low at the centre of the disturbance has become a cyclone.

The Solomon Islands Met Service has issued a tropical cyclone watch for several provinces, including Guadalcanal.

Cyclone Ita is a category one storm but intensifying as it moves away from the country.

Early this afternoon it was about 500 kilometres west south west of Bellona Island.

The forecast is for winds up to 30 knots and a threat of coastal flooding.

Meanwhile the country’s main airport Henderson Field in Honiara has re-opened after the flooding dumped debris on the runway.

Tomorrow morning a New Zealand Air Force cargo plane is due to fly in relief supplies and emergency response staff from government agencies and aid organisations.

Our correspondent Dorothy Wickham says while the clean-up is starting, the people on Guadalcanal have a number of critical concerns.

“I think access to clean water and that the power supply comes back to normal. That [the power] has basically been achieved here in Honiara but the outskirts still have a problem. Transport, you know, we lost a few bridges. The food gardens, all the farmers have been affected so it is also an economic problem for Honiara.”Radio New Zealand Int

3) Students pray for families

Dawn Gibson
Sunday, April 06, 2014

SOLOMON Island students in the country remain on edge with many of them in a state of shock and missing classes following news of the terrible weather conditions facing their families and friends in Honiara.

According to Solomon Islands Students Association president at USP, Roylex Sitana, a number of students missed their mid-semester tests on Friday as they tried their best to contact families, some of whom they believed to have been washed away by the flooding.

Mr Sitana, a 27-year-old USP student, said at the moment there was a lot of worry for more than the 930 Solomon Island students at the university.

“Everybody’s worried to be honest, students didn’t attend classes today (Friday) and they’re very scared about the welfare of their families in Honiara,” Mr Sitana said.

“I’ve been talking to the students and some of them say that their mother and father have been washed away in the flooding, so we’re trying to keep everyone calm right now.”

According to Mr Sitana, there are about 1600 Solomon Island students in Fiji.Fijitimes

4) State ready to help

Nasik Swami
Sunday, April 06, 2014

THE government says it will stand in unison with and support the Solomon Islands following flash floods in the Melanesian nation that have caused severe destruction and death.

In a message to his Solomon Islands counterpart Gordon Darcy Lilo, Prime Minister Rear Admiral Voreqe Bainimarama conveyed the sympathies of the Fijian people.

“Our condolences also go to the families of the victims, and we pray to the Almighty God to give them patience and fortitude, and to grant all the souls eternal rest,” PM said.

He said Fiji knew from past experience the terrible damage that flooding and similar disasters could wreak not just on land and houses but on the lives of those affected.

“The government and people of Fiji, therefore, are with you at this difficult time and my government will lend you and the people of the Solomons whatever support we can in the coming weeks.”

The severe flooding has claimed 16 lives AND displaced thousands of citizens in most parts of the country, mainly in the nation’s capital, Honiara.Fijtimes

5) Flood warning

Serafina Silaitoga
Sunday, April 06, 2014

PEOPLE living in low-lying areas of the Northern Division have been reminded to move to high ground if the water level rises as a result of heavy rain.

The plea from acting commissioner northern Alipate Bolalevu follows heavy rain warning in force for eastern Viti Levu, Vanua Levu, Taveuni and nearby smaller islands, Yasawa, northern Lau and the Lomaiviti group.

Mr Bolalevu said his team had also been monitoring the weather situation.

“We are working with the police and government departments and we are carrying out our own monitoring,” he said.

“Right now, it’s just a warning of heavy rain to the North and we are reminding people to move to high ground when the need arises. And it is also important for them to move during daylight because it will be much safer.”

Mr Bolalevu also urged the people not to cross flooded creeks or rivers.

“We don’t want any reports of fatalities as a result of unnecessary action and we hope people will be careful during this weekend of heavy rain.”http://www.fijitimes.com/

6 ) Port Vila By-Eleksen Kampen

Olgeta –

PROGRAM BLONG FRAEDE 4 EPREL KASEM EN BLONG KAMPEN:

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)

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.

Ta, MP Ralph Regenvanu.

7) Vanuatu daily news digest | 5 April 2014

by bobmakin

  • Daily Post leads today with Parliament being summoned for the Second Extra-Ordinary Session for this year on Friday this week. The main item is seen to be the Promissory Notes for the Greenfield airport for Vanuatu and the Opposition has expressed its grave concern in the matter. [The Greenfield airport is what has previously been discussed as the Rentabau airport for the superseded Boeing 747 jumbo jets.] This is to be constructed by Vanuatu Trade Development Limited. Approval for a government guarantee and loan are being sought through the parliamentary sitting even thoughthere has been no Environment Impact Assessment for the project or tourism industry demand. Custom land owners have not been consulted as the legislation requires. There must be legal – or political – reasons why the sitting of Parliament is planned for immediately prior to the election on April 15.
  • Access to national broadcaster air time for the forthcoming Port Vila by-election is determined by the amount of any party or candidate’s payment according to VBTC News this morning. The report spoke of the considerable manpower the station would need to employ to undertake its task.
  • Who is running for the Moderates may well continue to be in doubt come election day, it seems. Originally UMP President Vohor proposed local accountant Ephraim Songi, but Songi has been forced to campaign as an Independent following the establishment of a Port Vila Moderate Alliance (PVMA) which favoured Saby Natonga of the National Community Association. Green Confederation leader Moana Carcasses, however, on his return from overseas, decided for Jean-Yves Chabod who seemed to be winning when Vanuatu Times went to press. PVMA’s Alick Noel was, however, reported to be doing excellently. PM Carcasses saw Chabod as a winning element in the unity stakes. All Moderate leaders stressed unity despite not uniting on a preferred candidate.

Recently appointed Governor of the Reserve Bank Simeon Athy takes issue with the National Integrity project of Transparency Vanuatu in Post. He sees the methodology of the US Millennium Challenge as giving “a better result” because it provided Vanuatu with “the construction of two national roads.”

Mr George Winslett has had his chance to say that the Erakor / Eratap Crystal Shores project of South Pacific Limited is no scam but just a feasibility study in Daily Post this morning. He urges everyone to get behind the government and start backing its progressive actions. This is the first suggested proof, if one can believe Winslett, of government involvement in the scam which like the Greenfield airport has had no EIA or custom owner approval.

The Championing Change National Youth Congress is taking place today at the Freswota Park. Prime Minister Carcasses and other leaders will discuss a great variety of topics including those of special youth interest and concern to women.

Under ‘infant industry’ provisions consumers are having to pay inflated prices for the local chicken product, Chiko, presently in financial difficulties. A winding-up petition is to be heard on Wednesday.

8) Vanuatu daily news digest | 4 April 2014

by bobmakin

The main stories as yet un-reported here. Others are still to come.

  • The major item in today’s Daily Post is buried on page 6. Illegal appointments are becoming too common in Vanuatu is the headline, Transparency observes. Not one of the new AVL board of directors follows the legal appointments procedure.Transparency is concerned about these and other appointments to statutory bodies where there are clear outlines as to eligibility for appointment. The item points out that a court ruling would have to find the appointments illegal since all members are picked from outside article 76 of the AVL Act, one new member even being the chairman of Air Vanuatu which is a client of AVL, clearly suggesting allowing a conflict of interest. Furthermore, they are being made at a time when government is seeking an extra-ordinary sitting of Parliament in advance of the end-month ordinary sitting to obtain approval of the huge financial guarantee for the VTDL Rentabau / Greenfield airport project which has not been requested by the tourism industry, and which will interfere with the custom owners’ heritage, contrary to the provisions of the government’s just introduced lands legislation.
  • PM Carcasses was on Tuesday warning civil servants against working contrary to the government’s interests. His saying that the VTDL new Greenfield international airport, together with other airport works (like the long overdue work on Bauerfield), is aimed at elevating the economy and providing employment for people. Government is apparently committed to the Greenfield airport from other points he made. No Environment Impact Assessment or tender was ever sought for this project of a few Asian businessmen who came to Vanuatu to establish a tobacco plantation. The idea for the airport was cooked up by political appointees and the Asian business people.
  • At least VBTC (national radio and television) gets the Prime Minister’s support for working with government interests, in yesterday’s Daily Post. The Board of VBTC was congratulated on all the hard work they have put in to develop and run VBTC they were told on Tuesday when the PM visited Brodkas Haos and staff. The Government has a “next vision” for VBTC. “We are progressing with the new plan to ensure it is done right, because we believe that the investment involved should double the current level of service by VBTC to the whole of Vanuatu,” Carcasses said. He did not explain, or it was not reported, what this vision encompassed and whether it would include replacing the failing transmitters.
  • Daily Post yesterday revealed that the Crystal Shores project to turn the area between Erakor Lagoon and the Teouma River into a 2,000 hectare subdivision for casinos and hotels and wealthy foreigners was a scam. No Environment Impact Assessment was ever sought for such a venture, contrary to Vanuatu legislation, although investors are woo-ed by the lavish and lying brochure in circulation. Tim Kalmet of Erakor revealed the project as fraudulent to Buzz FM 96. Another real estate developer and lawyer advised Prime Ministerial political adviser Gilles Daniel that the foreigner posing as a front man in the Crystal Shores scam was demanding his appearance fee. One of those involved in the scam has resided in Vanuatu for over ten years and in 2002 was convicted of failing to declare his drug offences in Australia to the Vanuatu authorities.

POLYNESIA


9) French Polynesia president loses parliamentary immunity
By Online Editor
07:08 am GMT+12, 04/04/2014, French Polynesia

The French Senate has lifted the parliamentary immunity of French Polynesia’s president, Gaston Flosse, who in February was charged with abuse of public funds by arranging free water supply to his residence.

The decision in Paris means he can be detained for questioning and may be banned from communicating with other people charged over the same issue.

He is alleged to have deprived the township of Pirae of more than US$100,000 US dollars a year by securing free water for himself and 22 other nearby villas.

Gaston Flosse, who was the mayor of Pirae for 35 years, was charged along with his son-in-law, Edouard Fritch, who succeeded him in 2001.

His parliamentary immunity has been lifted several times and he has been repeatedly convicted for corruption, but all sentences are being appealed.

The next ruling affecting the president is due in June when the court will decide whether he abused public funds over the purchase of Anuanuraro atoll.

SOURCE: RNZI/ PACNEWS

10) Tonga minister says no concerns about passport processes
By Online Editor
4:12 pm GMT+12, 04/04/2014, Tonga

Tonga’s Justice Minister, Clive Edwards, has dismissed concerns about the sale and issuance of passports.

Last month, TVNZ reported an investigation in Tonga highlighted major weaknesses in the country’s immigration office.

The report also raised questions about the role of the Prime Minister, Lord Tu’ivakano, in the issuing of some passports.

Edwards says the Auditor General, Dr Pohiva Tu’i’onetoa, had no right to make public what he says were incomplete documents that the Cabinet is yet to sight.

He confirms that the prime minister is regularly asked to sign off on passport requests and this is all above aboard and on the recommendation of officials.

“Look the government and cabinet are quite satisfied that things are being done properly and these stupid reports, and political reports, that are being bandied around by the media, it’s nonsense.”.
SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

MICRONESIA


11) Marshall Islands college president questions accreditation process
By Online Editor
09:13 am GMT+12, 04/04/2014, Marshall Islands

The College of the Marshall Islands’ president has criticized a United States-based accreditation body for not discovering fiscal problems at the Majuro-based institution until they were already being fixed.

College President Carl Hacker raised concerns that the Western Association of Schools and Colleges did not discover serious financial problems at the college in the late 2000s and only put the college on “warning” status well after it began solving those problems. Hacker delivered his concerns to presidents and officials from colleges around the region at the Pacific Post-secondary Education Council meeting held recently in Honolulu, and also in a widely circulated report issued Wednesday.

“During our report on accreditation (at the meeting), I mentioned that we were placed on ‘warning’ primarily concerning our finances,” said Hacker. “I reported that our unaudited year-end figures do show a dramatic improvement over previous years and that we have replenished our Contingency Fund.”

Deficits and lack of money in the Contingency Fund were two items red-flagged by the Western Association of Schools and College for immediate action by the college.

But Hacker expressed concern over a WASC process that didn’t discover the problems in a timely manner, commenting that “the accreditation process did not catch what was happening at CMI when CMI was racking up major deficits, and now that we are solving this problem we are placed on sanction and those who were responsible do not have to provide answers (and are) not (held) accountable.”

He said he raised the issue with WASC during a visit to Majuro a year ago, pointing out that the college had submitted financial reports nearly two years before hearing anything back from WASC and by then, the problem was on its way to be solved.

“This did not absolve CMI from tackling the problem, but those who were responsible for this finance situation have effectively gotten away with poor transparency and financial management and the accreditation process picked up nothing,” he said.

Unaudited financial records for the fiscal year that ended September 30, 2013 show the Majuro college generated its first financial surplus in more than six years.

As a result of the “warning” sanction, a two-person WASC team will visit the College of the Marshall Islands from April 15-16 primarily to address financial concerns the accreditation body listed in its earlier sanction.

Last year, WASC put CMI on warning because of ongoing financial deficits and the college’s limited reserve fund. In response, the college has submitted both a 51-page follow-up report and a 23-page special report on “fiscal stability” at CMI.

The two-member WASC team coming to Majuro will be headed by Dr. Sharon Hart, president of Northern Marianas College, who will be joined by Milton Higa, Vice chancellor of Kapiolani Community College in Honolulu.

The WASC team will present a report from the review of CMI to the WASC commission that meets from June 4 to 6.

SOURCE: MARIANAS VARIETY/PACNEWS

AUSTRALIA

12) CFMEU alleges 457 visa workers exploited at Rinehart’s Roy Hill

Updated 5 April 2014, 10:00 AEST

The Federal Government is being asked to investigate claims that 457 work visas are being abused at Gina Rinehart’s $10 billion Roy Hill iron ore project in the Pilbara.

The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union says there are up to 200 white collar 457 visa workers employed by contractor Samsung C&T on the project.

The union says the workers are doing low-level clerical work for Roy Hill’s main construction contractor.

CFMEU national secretary Michael O’Connor says he has written to the Employment Minister Eric Abetz calling for an urgent investigation.

“We’ve got a whistleblower who has informed the union that there’s up to 150 to 200 Korean workers who have been brought in, that they are being exploited,” he said.

“The allegation is that they’ve been brought in to do certain types of work and then they are being allocated other types of work in breach of their visa conditions.”

Aside from being asked to do work outside their visa conditions, the CFMEU alleges many of the staff are working more than 84 hours a week and being paid as little as $16 an hour.

“Those workers have been exploited by working long hours, and not being appropriately paid for them,” added Mr O’Connor.

Audio: Listen to Pat McGrath’s report for PM (PM)

“So we have a situation where local jobs haven’t been offered to people here in Western Australia, and then 457 workers are being utilised and those 457 workers are being exploited, and that’s a situation that we think is outrageous.”

However, a spokesman for Gina Rinehart’s Roy Hill project has rejected the allegations.

Roy Hill spokesman Darryl Hockey says Samsung has assured the company it is meeting all of its industrial relations and visa legal requirements.

“This is an independent company. We don’t have the right to go through their books. What we have asked of them is an assurance that everything is OK, and they have given us that assurance,” he told the ABC’s PM program.

“Samsung is an outstanding company with great integrity, with a worldwide reputation, and when a company of that stature makes a commitment like that we are duty bound to accept it.”http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

13) WA Senate election results show swing away from major parties

Updated 6 April 2014, 10:30 AEST

The Greens and the Palmer United Party (PUP) have emerged as the big winners after Western Australia’s Senate election re-run.

On projected results the Greens have picked up a 6.7 per cent swing, which would ensure Scott Ludlam retains his Senate seat.

PUP also looks to have picked up a seat with a swing towards the party of about 7 per cent.

The projected data from the ABC’s election analyst Antony Green showed the Liberals and the ALP had falls of 5.6 and 5 per cent respectively.

“The overall balance between the two parties, it looks like it’s going to be exactly the same as it was last September,” he said.

The Liberals appear to have secured two seats with Labor reduced to one.

WA Senate election results

As counting continues in the election re-run, you can find all the numbers on the ABC’s results page.

Mr Green said it appeared swings away from the two major parties had transferred to the Greens and PUP.

The outcome for the sixth seat remains unclear and the Australian Electoral Commission says it may be weeks before the final results are known.

The blame game has already begun to determine what caused the swing away from the two major parties, with a backlash against union involvement in the Labor Party and a protest vote against the Government appearing the key factors.

Greens Senator Ludlam lost his seat in the first count in September, but regained it on the second count when the lost votes were not included.

He said he was “tremendously proud” looking at the early results.

“Our campaign isn’t funded by the coal industry or gas industry,” he said.

We had a strong online campaign backing up the most motivated grassroots face-to-face campaign that I’ve ever seen.

Senator Scott Ludlam

“The only way to compete with the major party financing by big business or Clive Palmer buying seats, is people power.

“We had a strong online campaign backing up the most motivated grassroots face-to-face campaign that I’ve ever seen.”

Former Labor senator Chris Evans said the Greens had run a good campaign.

“The Greens certainly won the campaign in the sense that they were able to promote an image through their candidate,” he said.

“They were creative. And quite frankly both the major parties looked a bit dull in comparison.

“As I say there was nothing at stake. And people I think were prepared to shop around and look around at alternatives for the major parties because government wasn’t at stake.”

What are your thoughts on the projected results from the Senate election re-run? Have your say.

Union involvement in ALP’s preselection process under scrutiny

As attention turned to what caused the swing away from the major parties, Mr Evans was critical of Labor’s preselection process.

The decision to put the former union heavyweight Joe Bullock ahead of sitting Senator Louise Pratt on Labor’s ticket was publicly criticised within the party at the time.

“In my view there’s no question that the Labor Party has a serious problem with its preselection processes, particularly in Western Australia,” Mr Evans said.

Photo: Joe Bullock waits for fellow Labor candidate Louise Pratt to vote below the line in the WA Senate election. (ABC News: Jessica Strutt)

“We had a situation where two large unions were able to make a decision about the candidates.

“They’re not necessarily producing the best candidates and they’re not allowing the party rank and file to be empowered.

“That’s something the Labor Party has to fix. But I think the reality of this election… was the fact that the Greens and the Palmer United, I think they were the biggest spending parties, but they were able to do something that was interesting and gave people a chance to give the major parties a bit of a whack without having to have any consequence if you like.”

Federal Labor MP Alannah MacTiernan said she was pleased to hear Mr Evans supporting a view she had held for some time.

“I am not opposed to union movement in the Labor Party, I absolutely understand and appreciate the importance of unions in delivering a sort of fair and just Australian society,” she said.

“What I have been a great critic of and will continue to be a great critic of is the concentration of power in the hands of a few union secretaries.”

You know the last two days of the campaign have been a bit of a distraction but they have by no means been a dominant feature.

Senator Louise Pratt

Senator Pratt said the media attention given to a speech made by Mr Bullock last year was little more than a “distraction”.

In the speech, Mr Bullock made derogatory statements about Senator Pratt and ALP members.

“We have been campaigning on health and education and Tony Abbott’s cuts and people’s very real concerns about the cuts Colin Barnett has made, and the fact that Tony Abbott wants to go even further,” Senator Pratt said last night.

“The last two days of the campaign have been a bit of a distraction but they have by no means been a dominant feature.”

Deputy Liberal leader Julie Bishop made mention of Senator Pratt’s decision to vote below the line rather than follow the party’s advice and vote above the line.

“I took the luxury of voting for myself,” Senator Pratt said.

“Joe said: ‘Of course you should vote for yourself’. We are both candidates.”

Liberals blame protest vote for swing against Government

Meanwhile, Liberal Party members have downplayed the swing against them.

Ms Bishop said a protest vote was expected.

…they know that by voting today, they would not change the Government in Perth or in Canberra and as a result, they feel more comfortable in spraying their votes around.

Senator Eric Abetz

“The Greens are the protest party and so in a by-election, particularly where people in Western Australia are voting for the third time in 12 months, they’re going to protest and so the Greens would be the beneficiary in a vote like this,” she said.

Liberal Senator Eric Abetz said state issues had played a role.

“There is no doubt that the West Australian Liberal Government or Coalition Government is going through some tough times,” he said.

“We had that cynically orchestrated strike by teachers in the week in the lead-up.

“All those things do add to a negative view of the Government in the short-term and the consequences then flow and they know that by voting today (Saturday), they would not change the Government in Perth or in Canberra and as a result, they feel more comfortable in spraying their votes around.”

There had been questions through the campaign about the visibility of PUP’s lead candidate Dio Wang, with advertising focused on the party’s founder Clive Palmer.

But Mr Wang said he had been out meeting people face-to-face in regional parts of the state.

“What I’m focused on as a politician is you need to talk to people and to understand what they think,” he said.

“And regional Australia has been suffering a long time because of the noise from the Liberal Party and the Labor Party.”

When asked if he would vote for the repeal of the carbon tax: “I will definitely vote for it, if there’s nothing else fishy in the Bill.”http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

FRENCH

14) Fidji: le discours raciste d’un chef coutumier

Mis à jour 4 April 2014, 17:24 AEST
Caroline Lafargue

Le chef coutumier Ratu Timoci Vesikula a mis en garde Franck Bainimarama,

Ratu Timoci Vesikula en plein discours raciste, sur Fiji TV.
À Fidji, l’unique chaîne de télé privée, Fiji TV, est sous le coup d’une procédure pour avoir diffusé des propos racistes. Ceux du chef coutumier Ratu Timoci Vesikula, qui a mis en garde Franck Bainimarama, sous l’œil des caméras, contre les Indo-Fidjiens, lors d’un meeting public.

Tout cela, en fidjien dans le texte. Personne n’a interrompu ce chef dans son discours raciste, qui a donc continué en affirmant que les intérêts des Fidjiens et des Indo-Fidjiens étaient incompatibles. « Même si nous vivons côte à côte depuis longtemps, il est impossible de mélanger l’eau et le kérosène », a déclaré le chef coutumier Ratu Timoci Vesikula.

L’Autorité du Développement de l’Industrie des Medias, la MIDA, équivalent fidjien du CSA français, estime qu’il s’agit ni plus ni moins que d’une incitation à la haine raciale, ce qui contrevient au code éthique des media. Fiji TV est donc mis en cause pour avoir diffusé ce discours raciste sans commentaire ni contradiction. Mercredi Fiji TV a donc du diffuser une mise au point de Franck Bainimarama, et devrait sûrement être contrainte de s’excuser auprès des téléspectateurs. La chaîne de télé privée encourt également une amende de 55 000 dollars australiens.

On écoute Samisoni Pareti, le correspondant de l’ABC à Fidji :

« Jeudi la MIDA a déclaré que le discours du chef coutumier Ratu Timoci Vesikula, était un appel à la haine raciale, et que le gouvernement devait maintenant décider si oui ou non il souhaite intenter des poursuites pénales contre ce chef. »

La MIDA a prévenu qu’elle surveillerait de près les media fidjiens, à l’approche des élections démocratiques qui auront lieu le 17 septembre prochain, et qu’elle exigerait des traductions de tous les discours diffusés en fidjien.

Autre mesure, qui semble déconnectée de l’affaire de ce discours raciste: la MIDA rend obligatoire l’enregistrement de tous les journalistes indépendants, leur imposant de déclarer pour quels media ils travaillent – sous pseudo ou pas.

« Les statuts de la MIDA stipulent que toutes les media doivent s’enregistrer auprès de la MIDA. Mais cela veut-il dire que les journalistes indépendants doivent aussi s’inscrire, puisqu’ils sont leurs propres patrons ? Ce n’est pas clair. Et il y a une autre question en suspens : les journalistes indépendants qui sont les correspondants de media étrangers à Fidji et dont le travail est diffusé à l’étranger, doivent-ils eux aussi s’inscrire ? C’est aux avocats de trouver la réponse. »

Samisoni Pareti, le correspondant à Fidji de l’ABC, notre maison-mère. http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

15) Australie Occidentale: « C’est une manoeuvre d’intimidation contre les syndicats »

Posté à 4 April 2014, 17:02 AEST
Caroline Lafargue

La justice s’apprête à saisir les biens de grévistes qui ne peuvent pas payer leur amende.

L’affaire remonte à 2008, lorsque 117 ouvriers syndiqués ont organisé une grève de 8 jours sur le site de production de gaz naturel liquéfié de Woodside à Karratha, sur la côte nord de l’État. Or il s’agissait d’une grève sauvage.

Woodside a donc traîné en justice ses 117 employés récalcitrants. Et en 2013 ils ont été condamnés à une amende de plus d’un million de dollars australiens, pour combler le manque à gagner de Woodside pendant huit jours.

À la suite de quoi, l’amende a été révisée à la baisse, 680 000 dollars. Mais 33 des 117 ex-grévistes n’ont pas pu réunir l’argent pour payer l’amende. Fair Works Australie, l’équivalent du tribunal des prudhommes, a donc ordonné la saisie de leurs biens.

C’est une première dans l’histoire syndicale du pays. « C’est une manoeuvre d’intimidation contre les syndicats », a regretté Mick Buchan, le secrétaire-général du CFMEU, le syndicat du BTP, de l’exploitation forestière, et des mines et des hydrocarbures. Radio Australia

16) PNG: la détention des migrants légalisée

Mis à jour 4 April 2014, 17:23 AEST
Caroline Lafargue

C’était la principale épine dans le pied du gouvernement papou de Peter O’Neill, et du gouvernement australien depuis la réouverture du centre de rétention des demandeurs d’asile à Manus en novembre 2012. La section 42 de la Constitution papoue a été amendée fin mars.

À Manus, les demandeurs d’asile sont désormais exemptés de la section 42 de la Constitution papoue. En clair: ils peuvent être détenus sans voir commis de délit.
Cette section garantissait les libertés personnelles de tout individu, qu’il soit Papou, ou étranger, et cela incluait donc les demandeurs d’asile. D’autre part la Constitution n’autorise pas le gouvernement papou à atteindre aux libertés personnelles, donc à enfermer des étrangers s’ils rentrent légalement sur le territoire papou. Ce qui est le cas des demandeurs d’asile, transférés à Manus sur décision du gouvernement australien dans le cadre d’un accord légal entre les deux pays.

Ces arguments de poids sont utilisés par Belden Namah, le chef de l’opposition papoue, dans un procès contre l’État pour obtenir la libération des demandeurs d’asile et la fermeture du centre de rétention à Manus.

Après une première tentative qui a été contrée par le gouvernement papou, le 29 janvier, Belden Namah a finalement obtenu des juges de déposer un recours. Son avocat plaide l’anti constitutionnalité de la détention des demandeurs d’asile alors qu’ils n’ont commis aucun délit.

Seulement voilà, fin mars le gouvernement de Peter O’Neill l’a pris de vitesse, en faisant passer rapidement un amendement à la fameuse section 42, qui exclut, purement et simplement, les demandeurs d’asile : ils ne bénéficient plus des libertés personnelles dont jouissent les Papous et les autres étrangers sur le territoire papou. Voilà qui rend leur détention légale.

Pour Loani Henao, l’avocat de l’opposition papoue, cet amendement, c’est un subtil aveu de culpabilité de la part du gouvernement papou :

« Il vous suffit d’analyser les circonstances particulières dans lesquelles cet amendement a été voté. Il doit son existence à l’accord passé il y a près de deux ans entre l’Australie et la Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée pour l’accueil, sur le sol papou, des demandeurs d’asile rejetés par l’Australie. Et je suis quasiment certain que si cet accord d’accueil des demandeurs d’asile n’avait pas existé, le gouvernement papou n’aurait jamais songé à faire voter l’amendement. Et j’irai même plus loin : je pense que le gouvernement a bien conscience que la détention des demandeurs d’asile n’est pas légal et contrevenait à l’article 42, et qu’il essaie de légaliser ses décisions après coup. »

Pourtant rien n’indique que l’amendement constitutionnel de l’article 42 ait une valeur rétroactive.

« Il n’est pas dit clairement dans le texte si l’amendement est rétroactif. Donc de mon point de vue, il est entré en vigueur le 11 mars, le jour où le Speaker du Parlement a certifié l’amendement. »

L’avocat de Belden Namah a revu sa stratégie et cible désormais l’amendement constitutionnel lui-même.

« L’amendement de la section 42 n’a pas été fait pour bénéficier aux Papous ni au gouvernement papou. Il a été voté sur l’ordre d’un gouvernement étranger, le gouvernement australien. Et je pense que cela devrait inquiéter tout le monde, car la souveraineté de mon pays n’a pas été respectée. »

Maître Loani Henao, qui représente le chef de l’opposition papoue, Belden Namah, répondait aux questions de Liam Fox, notre correspondant à Port-Moresby.

Notons que d’après Rimbink Pato, le ministre papou des Affaires étrangères, l’accueil à Manus d’une partie des demandeurs d’asile de l’Australie va rapporter 420 millions de dollars australiens à la Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée.  Radio Australia

17) Boxe en Nouvelle-Calédonie: le come back d’Affif Belghecham

Par Angela Palmieri
Publié le 05/04/2014 | 21:44, mis à jour le 06/04/2014 | 17:35

C’est sur un ring de Nouvelle-Calédonie que l’ancien champion de France des poids moyens a repris les gants. Lors de cette soirée de boxe organisée par le comité régional, Affif Belghecham a battu aux points le Samoan Letoa Togasilimai.

Muté en Nouvelle-Calédonie, il y a quelques mois, en tant qu’éducateur à la protection judiciaire de la jeunesse, Affif Belghecham a accepté de remonter sur le ring après trois années sans combat.

Samedi 29 mars, à la salle omnisport de l’Anse Vata à Nouméa, l’ancien champion de France a affronté un samoan fougeux, plus jeune, plus grand et supérieur en allonge, Letoa Togasilimai.

Mais malgré ses 40 ans, Affif Belghecham a démontré son professionnalisme en sachant gérer son combat du début à la fin.
Il a notamment réussi à imposer à son adversaire, un combat de près (in fighting), tout en maîtrisant parfaitement son jeu d’esquive. Seul bémol, Affif Belghecham aurait pu gagner par KO, mais le manque de compétition s’est fait ressentir dans l’absence de précision de certains coups.

Sur le ring, le Samoan donnait l’impression d’être plus agressif, mais en réalité la plupart de ses coups étaient parés.
Sans compter qu’ Affif, en bon stratège, a attendu la fin de chacune des six reprises pour marquer des points lorsque son adversaire était fatigué..

Originalité de ce combat que nous vous proposons de voir en intégralité, ces deux boxeurs ont une fausse garde (poing droit en avant).

L’intégralité de ce combat (20mn) entre Affif Belghecham et Letoa Togasilimai avec des images signées Louis Palmiéri.

http://nouvellecaledonie.la1ere.fr/

18) Nouméa: un mort et un blessé grave au coeur du quartier de Magenta (MAJ 19h00)

Par Gonzague de La Bourdonnaye
Publié le 05/04/2014 | 07:21, mis à jour le 05/04/2014 | 20:09

Que s’est-il passé dans une rue paisible de Magenta ? Difficile encore d’expliquer les circonstances du drame, mais une bagarre s’est terminée dans un bain de sang avec un mort et un blessé par balles. Un fait divers sanglant qui intervient en plein débat sur l’usage des armes en Nouvelle-Calédonie.

Les circonstances du drame qui s’est déroulé cette nuit (nuit de vendredi à samedi), au domicile d’un particulier, rue de Prony, à Magenta, sont encore floues. Ce qui est sûr, c’est qu’une bagarre a dégénéré et s’est soldée par la mort d’un homme que les pompiers, dépêchés sur place, n’ont pas réussi à réanimer.

Selon le journal “Les Nouvelles”, qui apporte cette précision, une deuxième personne aurait ensuite été blessée à l’épaule après un tir de fusil de chasse. Elle a aussitôt été évacuée vers le CHT Gaston Bourret.

Alcool ? Pas alcool ? Il est encore trop tôt pour déterminer les causes de ce nouveau fait-divers sanglant, qui a eu lieu en plein coeur de la ville. Plusieurs personnes ont été appréhendées et sont toujours entendues par la police.

Ce fait divers, avec arme à feu, intervient au moment où le gouvernement de la Nouvelle-Calédonie vient de refuser le décret de limitation des armes proposé par l’Etat. L’Etat, qui avait laissé il y a 4 ans s’appliquer en Nouvelle-Calédonie une loi particulièrement permissive, libéralisant la vente d’armes, s’était brutalement ravisé à la fin de l’année dernière. Depuis, les fait divers impliquant l’usage d’armes à feu, y compris en ville, se sont multipliés et ont placé, si besoin en était, l’insécurité au coeur des différentes campagnes électorales en cours.

MAJ 19h30 : A suivre les derniers développements de l’enquête, en images , ce samedi soir avec le reportage de Sheïma Riahi et Maurice Segu (Montage Bernard Caba):

http://nouvellecaledonie.la1ere.fr/

WORLD

19) Fire razes more than 1,000 homes in Philippines slum

Updated 6 April 2014, 11:59 AEST

A huge night fire has destroyed more than 1,000 homes in a slum in the Philippines’ largest southern city, sending residents running for their lives, officials said.

Davao city’s skyline lit up as firefighters battled for more than five hours against flames that leapt swiftly from one shanty to another in the depressed coastal neighbourhood of Isla Verde on Friday night, witnesses said.

“I’m back to zero. I don’t know how I can recover,” grocer Norayna Serad said.

The 28-year-old lost her store and merchandise worth 100,000 pesos ($2,225) that she had paid for with three years worth of savings from working abroad.

“Maybe I will need to go back to Kuwait and work as a maid again,” she said.

The blaze was finally under control early yesterday but by then more than 5,000 people were left homeless, local civil defence officials said.

All that was left of the homes were charred or blackened posts, according to an AFP photographer at the scene.

Children scavenged for twisted metal and corrugated iron sheets among the ruins to sell for scrap.

“These were houses made of light materials. They were all razed to the ground,” Jimmy Martinez, an official of the civil defence office for the Davao region, said.

Some of the houses had rested on stilts that stuck out of the coastal waters, and firefighters said they had difficulty moving through the narrow, winding alleyways between the shanties, he said.

More than 1,000 families sought refuge at a government schoolhouse that escaped the blaze.

Mr Martinez said the slum sat on a previously vacant government lot that had been gradually settled by impoverished migrants to the city of 1.5 million people – a common phenomenon in Philippine urban centres.

The fire was apparently started when an untended candle in one of the homes tipped over in the early evening, Davao fire investigator Ramil Gillado said.

AFP

HEALTH

20) Medicine shortage

Mere Naleba
Sunday, April 06, 2014

HEALTH Minister Dr Neil Sharma finds it hard to believe people in Lau are not getting full medical treatment because of a shortage of medical supplies in certain health and nursing stations.

During the government tour to the Lau group, the issue of people not receiving medical treatment was raised in a number of villages.

“There are only two growth (population) areas, one is Kadavu and the other is Lomaiviti,” Dr Sharma said.

“In the rest of Fiji, the population is going down, so I find it hard to believe the substantial complaint.”

Dr Sharma said in most cases where nursing stations or health centres faced a medicine shortage, it was because nurses and doctors stationed there did not send in reports stating which medical item they did not have.

“What can I do? Whose fault is it?,” he said

“If the doctors and nurses don’t put in their supply properly, if they don’t make the orders, how do you expect us to read their mind?

“There is a system whereby they can make emergency inquisition.”

The issue was raised by Kabara district rep Qalo Lelea during a talanoa session at Naikeleyaga Village on Kabara and by villagers of Vanuavatu and Oneata and Vunuku Village on Moala.

“The system is well tuned in for people to respond, when you are falling short of something then you place your order,” Dr Sharma said.

“You know your geographical isolation. If you don’t place your order and everything finishes, then you turn around and say you haven’t got the supply, who is to be blamed then?

“You tell me who is to be blamed?

“Is the doctor there and the nurses there or the pharmacies over here?”

Dr Sharma said the distribution islands was updated and the question that should be asked was why medical officers stationed in such areas did not place their orders on time.

“If you look at the distribution all the distribution is up to date.

“So, if they are falling short of a certain item, then that means that items are not on the list and if there is a shortage, why aren’t they placing their orders?”

Dr Sharma said the medicine shortage was a tiny issue blown out of proportion by the media.Fijitimes

POLITIC


21) Fiji Labour Party leader Chaudhry convicted, released on bail
By Online Editor
4:21 pm GMT+12, 04/04/2014, Fiji

Former Prime Minister and Fiji Labour Party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry has been found guilty of all three charges of breaching the Exchange Control Act by Judge Justice Paul Madigan in the High Court in Suva and convicted accordingly.

Chaudhry was also unanimously found guilty of all three counts by the four assessors earlier today.

The mitigation and sentencing submission date has been set for 01 May, 2014 as Chaudhry’s defence counsel is not available before this date.

He has been granted bail on the condition that he not access his funds overseas directly or indirectly and he surrenders his passport to the court. The state prosecution did not object to bail.

Chaudhrry faces a sentence of two years imprisonment or a fine of AUD$4.5m (three times the amount owned by him in Australian banks). He was charged with three counts of breaching the exchange control act.

On the first count, he was charged 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 was 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 third 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 $AU1.5million 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.

SOURCE: FIJI LIVE/PACNEWS

MEDIA


22) Call for regional media advocacy
By Online Editor
12:18 pm GMT+12, 04/04/2014, Fiji

Information is power and people rely on what’s available through various news media to make better choices and decisions.

This was the sentiment of Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) president Moses Stevens at the recent Asian Development Bank Pacific Business Media Summit in Australia.

“In the same manner, our news and documentary programs help our donor partners in their monitoring process of their aid assistance to our islands,” he said.

“I believe we can create a media-friendly environment in the Pacific through education and advocacy on the role of the media, and equally significant if we expand the scope of the media sector in our various localities.

“The more news and information outlets there are, the more chances there are for our people to access information from different perspectives.”

Given the small sizes of media organisations in the region, he said journalists ended up doing general reporting duties.

With this scenario, Stevens said, there was no consistency in reporting economic news and other significant sectors in mostly smaller island countries.

“If the media organisations are empowered to have enough manpower, they could have specialised reporters in different fields of their editorial coverage.”

He said this would allow the news organisations to become consistent and progressive in their coverage and reporting of development activities.

SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

23) Fiji Media Authority Finds Fiji One News Guilty Of ‘Hate Speech’
Fiji TV ordered to apologize for broadcasting Chief’s public talk

By Anna Majavu

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (Pacific Scoop, April 3, 2014) – The Fiji state-controlled Media Industry Development Authority (MIDA) has ruled that a Fiji Television is guilty of “hate speech” and could be fined for broadcasting a public meeting at which politicians spoke.

MIDA chairman Ashwin Raj said at a press conference in Suva today he was taking legal advice about the kind of fines that he might levy against Fiji One News, and that the television station would have to issue a public retraction after he ruled that the TV station was in breach of the Media Industry Development Authority (MIDA) decree.

Fiji faces a general election to restore democratic rule on September 17.

Fiji One News recently broadcast a public meeting at which Verata chief Ratu Timoci Vesikula first asked Fiji’s Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama for guarantees that his community’s land would be protected, and then told Bainimarama that race was still a “fact of life” in Fiji.

Without the support of the country’s indigenous people, Bainimarama would “never return to power after the general elections”, Ratu Timoci said.

Ratu Timoci also said certain sections of the population (which according to Fairfax , implied Indo-Fijian) would want to appease and pacify Bainimarama just to have their aspirations met.

The Fiji Times quoted Ratu Timoci telling Bainimarama that indigenous Fijians “were living in poverty” and “simply living in a bad state”.

Ratu Timoci was also guilty of “hate speech”, said Raj, as he had contravened the 2009 Crimes Decree provisions which barred anyone from “urging political violence”. The maximum fine for this is 10 years in prison.

A video of the meeting has been uploaded to Facebook and is in wide circulation.

Official complaint

After the meeting, Bainimarama laid an official complaint against Fiji One News, which MIDA said it would investigate.

Apart from announcing that the investigation had found that Vesikula’s statements amounted to hate speech, Raj hit out at the media for giving “unfettered prominence” to Ratu Timoci’s speech.

Ratu Timoci had said that different races in Fiji were “like water and kerosene”, Raj said.

He said Ratu Timoci had “breached the bill of rights” by casting slurs on Indo-Fijians and that his statements amounted to him “threatening racial hatred”.

Raj denied that he was impinging on the freedom of the media by ruling against Fiji One News and said the TV station should not have broadcast information likely to “promote communal discord”.

He told journalists that their “subjectivities” should not get in the way of their work, and lashed out at journalists from different media houses for writing “unsubstantiated statements”.

Raj said he was not a “lackey of the regime” and said that “laws need to be respected at all times”. He warned the assembled journalists that there would be “consequences” if they did not adhere to Fiji’s media decrees.

[PIR editor’s note: An audio broadcast of the MIDA press conference can be found here.]

Warning to politicians

He also said that the MIDA investigation would serve as a warning to other politicians who might want to make similar statements to Ratu Timoci in the months leading up to the election.

Raj again lashed out at “freelance” journalists who had not registered with the government, saying if they did not register with MIDA soon, he would seek recourse against them in line with the media decrees.

The freelance journalists “distort a ton of things” and were guilty of “sheer recklessness”.

“I have to deal with that. They cannot be the law and the transgression” he said, labelling the freelance journalists as “rogue elements”.

No journalist could operate in Fiji without registering, or else they would face fines of up to F$100,000. Raj also said the government had spent a lot of money on workshopping journalists on issues like hate speech and that it was about time the media “got the hang of it”.

“The media industry in this country needs to grow up,” Raj said.

Even members of the public, and not just the media, needed to be “very, very careful” about how they conducted themselves, Raj said.

MIDA, which was established by a military order, has been in the news lately for announcing that three New Zealand and Australian journalists would remain banned from Fiji because of alleged negative reporting on the regime.

Pacific Scoop
All editorial and news content produced under the principles of Creative Commons. Permission to republish with attribution may be obtained from the Pacific Media Centre – pmc@aut.ac.nz

BUSINESS

24) Microfinance provider helps 1200 women in business

Jone Kalouniviti
Friday, April 04, 2014

THE South Pacific Business Development Microfinance Limited has helped fund the businesses of 1200 women in the Western Division so far.

And it also covers life insurance for as much as $5000 to $10,000. Those businesses, which range from small village canteens, handicraft centres, baking and sewing ventures, have helped improve the lives of many families.

SPBD general manager Elrico Munoz said the company had worked hand-in-hand with the Ministry of Women and Social Welfare and stakeholders to administer unsecured business loans for women.

“We usually cluster groups of women in communities or villages into groups of 10 to 35 so they can help each other out, and loans are administered depending on the type of business they would like to set up,” Mr Munoz said.

SPBD has offices in Sigatoka and Lautoka.Fijitimes

25) Women in PNG still have barriers in business
By Online Editor
09:51 am GMT+12, 04/04/2014, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea is experiencing exceptional economic growth with large new investments in communication, construction, real estate and more notably in the PNG-LNG.

Road infrastructure is in stages of improvement and has started to link remote areas.

These investments have spilled over into other sectors that have created more opportunities in employment and expanding exciting business says the Patron of the PNG Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry Patron and wife of Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, Lynda Babao.

Speaking during a breakfast meeting staged by the PNG Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Port Moresby  this week Babao said the opportunities in PNG to now be endless as PNG has yet to capitalise and specialise in many industries including tourism and agriculture like other countries have.

However, she said there to also be barriers that still need to be overcome particularly for women of PNG whom she also hailed as “an untapped resource” in doing business an achieving financial independence.

She said while some commendable initiatives have been undertaken both by government and the private sector, there needs to be more social and legislation changes.

Babao said the major obstacle for women to be education and knowledge, access to funds especially to start up business, law and order, government officials and lack of strong supportive business network.

She said education and knowledge to be key in the lack of often results in low self-esteem which further hinders confidence in negotiating or seeking appropriate assistance to establishing a business.

Babao said a strong supportive business network where women can have access to professional help such as lawyers, accountants and law enforcement officers to also be another important factor in women in doing business and achieving financial independence.

“A network of advocates mentors and role models that can inspire, motivate and guide women through the stages of business. I cannot emphasis how important a supportive network is for I believe it played a significant part in establishing and growing my business,” she said.

Despite these challenges Ms Babao said she to be confident the future to hold promise.

She said initiativs undertaken by governments through its policies including free education, free health, Family protection Bill, its support to the National Development Bank and the efforts from private sector and other partners to be factors that would enable the women of this country to realise their dreams.

“We should take note of what initiatives are working and replicate them.

“Professional such as lawyers and accountants should be made to do a certain pro-bona every year as part of their lisencing to practice their profession in the country.

“In line with government policies I see a next generation of PNG business women being educated, confident, having the support from both their male and female counterparts and being able to have a choice in numerous financial facilities that cater to their specific needs enabling them to contribute to the formal sector,” she said.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

26) European Union supports Pacific enterprises at regional trade show
By Online Editor
09:55 am GMT+12, 04/04/2014, Fiji

Four enterprises from the Pacific have been supported by the European Union to showcase their products to international buyers at Trade Pasifika 2014.

The enterprises – Liman TL and Maubere Mountain Coffee, both from Timor-Leste; Women in Business Development Inc. from Samoa; and the Crab Company (Fiji) Ltd from Fiji – are just four of the many enterprises from the Pacific that are exhibiting at this year’s trade show, which  is currently under way at the Vodafone Arena, Suva, Fiji.

Support for the four enterprises has been facilitated through the European Union-funded Increasing Agricultural Commodity Trade (IACT) project, which works with private sector enterprises in strengthening the export capacity of Pacific countries in the agriculture, forestry, aquaculture and livestock sectors. This project is implemented by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC).

The trade show features the best of agriculture, aquaculture and tourism products from 17 Pacific Island countries.

IACT project Team Leader, Samu Turagacati, said that Trade Pasifika is a valuable opportunity for small and medium enterprises looking to export overseas.

“The remoteness of some of our Pacific enterprises puts them in a challenging position when it comes to gaining access to larger offshore markets for their products. Trade Pasifika provides a platform for these enterprises to meet with buyers who they otherwise may not be able to meet, foster business relationships, and secure market leads for their products,” he added.

Turagacati said that European Union’s support for enterprises at trade shows is vital in helping the Pacific to become a recognised provider of high quality, consistent, safe, clean products.
It is expected that exhibitors will be able to establish key business contacts that may lead to trading opportunities at the three-day event.

These contacts, Turagacati says, can either be people who want to buy and distribute products, or those who are part of the distribution chain and can provide valuable information about the export market

He explained that a careful selection process was followed by the IACT team to select enterprises to exhibit at Trade Pasifika. Expressions of interest were sent to enterprises that met the criteria and were export ready, or already exporting. Out of this, he said, four enterprises came back confirming their participation.

Turagacati says that Trade Pasifika also provides exhibitors with the opportunity to learn from each other, especially in the areas of product branding, packaging, promotion, distribution and pricing.

The IACT project is considering several other trade shows for its enterprises in key export markets this year. These include the Fine Food shows in New Zealand and Australia and the SIAL Food Fair in Paris, France.

The support provided for the four enterprises to exhibit at Trade Pasifika is part of an agreement that was signed last year to strengthen the existing partnership between SPC and the Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation (PIPSO), the parent body responsible for organising Trade Pasifika.

SOURCE: SPC/PACNEWS

27) Natural disaster major threat to Pacific economies

By Online Editor
4:23 pm GMT+12, 04/04/2014, Fiji

The relationship between natural disasters and economies was highlighted at the Second Pacific Regional Meeting of Ministers of Energy and Maritime Transport in Nadi..

Fiji’s Minister for Labour Jone Usamate said the cost of these disasters to Pacific economies especially infrastructure is large and often unsustainable.

“Unexpected events and natural disasters bring destruction to our communities and negatively impact our economic growth and sustainable development as Pacific people,” Mr Usamate said.

“Pacific people share many development problems that are common to all of us problems in the areas of energy and transport services however we are still confident that we can seek and find solutions to our development problems,” Usamate said.

Usamate pointed out that regional integration, partnership and dialogue will be the avenue to address these challenges.

Meanwhile Tokelau’s Minister for Transport and Energy Foua Toloa told participants that his country is the first country in the world to be producing one hundred percent of its electricity from a renewable source—the sun.

“Commitments of this nature define the approach of developing “Pacific solutions to Pacific problems” as we strive to address the impacts of climate change on our island nations,” Mr Toloa said.

“I urge leaders to adopt similar actions and be a beacon to the rest of the world in how to reduce a country’s carbon footprint,” Toloa said.

Toloa said the government of Tokelau has plans to maintain the strong momentum and ensuring that initiatives are maintained.

The meeting ends today with regional countries signing the communiqué on discussions and way forward.

SOURCE: MINFO/PACNEWS

28) PNG Expects Unprecedented Growth, Wealth Gap To Widen
ADB economist says LNG boom to be felt by ‘lucky few’

By Jemima Garrett

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, April 3, 2014) – 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.

Radio Australia

29) Companies Explore Nickel Deposits In Southern New Caledonia
Province enters into joint venture with Eramet, Vale

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, April 3, 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.

Radio New Zealand International

CLIMATE CHANGE,CONSERVATION & ENVIROMENT

30) Contestants talk effects

Mere Naleba
Sunday, April 06, 2014

CLIMATE change is not only affecting countries overseas but also islands in Fiji that are now experiencing rising in sea level because of the effect

The Hibiscus Events Group this year has started auditions for the Hibiscus Festival scheduled for August with those entering the auditions being asked to talk briefly on climate change as the theme this year is “Climate Change Affecting Human Lives”.

The festival, through the partnership of the Fiji School of Medicine and the Health Ministry, will also use the platform to discuss issues regarding climate change leading to non-communicable diseases.

“This year the committee and the contestants will advocate on the theme that has and will continue to affect our home, our Pacific, our world with Climate Change — Affecting Human Lives,” said events chairman Hirdesh Prasad.

“The 2014 Vodafone Hibiscus Festival hopes to create this awareness since climate change has already affected agriculture, human health, ecosystems, water supplies and people’s livelihoods. The effects are experienced from the tropics to the poles, from our small Pacific Islands to the larger continents as well as the wealthiest nations to the poorest one.”

He said the challenges many faced daily was trying to improve local and global health, and to control NCDs and promote the protection of people from the effects of climate change.

“This is the message that the Hibiscus committee wants to take to the nation in this year’s festival and we can only achieve it if we work in collaboration with the Ministry of Health,” he said.

Auditions for the festival had started and will continue on the next two Saturdays.Fijitimes

SPORTS

31) Fijiana thrash Ireland 36-7

By JOSEFA MAKABA
Sunday, April 06, 2014

Update: 6:34AM THE Fijiana team smashed Ireland 36-7 in its final Pool B match in Guanzhou last night.

The Iliesa Tanivula-coached side scored five tries to Asinate Savu (2), Timaima Ravisa, Litia Naiqato, Rusila Tamoi and Ana Roqica.

The team had earlier lost to Australia 24-5 in their second pool game yesterday.

The Fijiana side is now sitting in second spot in Pool B and will now meet Russia in one of the Cup quarter-finals.Fijitimes

Fijiana to appear at Women’s World Sevens in China

5 April 2014

Fiji make their second appearance on the Women’s World Sevens Series later today at the penultimate round in Guangzhou, China.

The Fijiana team won three of five matches in the opening round in Dubai, in November, beating France in the bowl final.

They’ve been drawn alongside England and Ireland in Pool B this weekend as well as joint series leaders Australia, who won the Cup title in Dubai and Brazil.Radio New Zealand Int.

32) Hekari on the road to begin OFC tour in Fiji

By Online Editor
12:53 pm GMT+12, 04/04/2014, Papua New Guinea

Hekari United FC depart Port Moresby Friday for the Oceania Football Confederation champions’ league in Fiji starting on Monday.

They play their first match at 1pm (PNG time) and another on Thursday and the final round robin match on Sunday April 13.

Head coach, Jerry Allen said team preparation has been good despite losing some of their key players who are nursing injuries.

But that will not hinder the 23 men squad from putting their best shot on the field and performing to the best of the ability.

Team manageress, Vonnie Kapinato said: “All the players have the passion for football and they love it both on and off the field and discipline must always be maintained.

“I believe the boys can do it and make it to the finals because they have done it before and have experienced the fact that they can it.”

Franchise owner, John Kapinato said Hekari has already set the standard and the dynamics of the players has risen rapidly.

Kapinato said: “Hekari is representing PNG and it is sad they have received no support from the Sports Minister despite sending a letter and also the PNGFA has given nothing to the team.

“Everyone should be proud of Hekari participating at the tournament because if we win all our matches in Fiji I will ensure that the semi final is played in Port Moresby”.

If Hekari wins the champions league then they will qualify for the world league in Morocco towards the end of this year.

The team is David Muta, Kema Jack. Koriak Upaiga (captain),Leslie Kalai, Godfrey Baniau, Ericson Komeng, Ian Nurphan Yanum, Kilapolena Iaravai, Nigel Dabinyaba, Raymond Gunemba, Tonga Esira, Joachim Waroi, Nicholas Muri Maka’a, Tutizama Tanito, Pita Bolatonga Senibiaukula, Tuimasi T. Kubunavanua Manuca, Jean Kaltack, Scott William Gannon, Brian Kaltack, Neil Samuga Hans, Wilson Giasuau Kila and Daniel Joe.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

33) Tafea FC targets Hekari in first game

Maciu Malo
Sunday, April 06, 2014

TAFEA FC is confident of dethroning the star-studded Hekari United in their first OFC Champions League clash at Ba’s Govind Park.

After a friendly game against Vodafone Shop and Save Nadi on Friday, the Vanuatu-based side has set its target on the champion PNG outfit.

Team manager Stephen Felix said his troops had prepared well for the tournament and they were eager to show their class against Hekari.

He said the boys were in top shape and they are confident of their chances.

“Our aim is like all other teams playing in this competition, we are here for a purpose,” said Felix.

“Our first focus is to do well against Hekari in our first game before we can concentrate on other pool games.

“The boys are also aiming to secure the semi-final spot and they know what is required in the pool stages.”

Felix said the inclusion of some Fijian boys in the Hekari outfit would inspire the side to do well.

But he has faith in his side that they would deliver the goods for our fans here in Fiji and back home.”

“All these boys are local players back home who have proven their worth to be in this team and I am confident they will give Hekari a good run for their money.”Fijitimes

34) Iamo likely to retain PNG Pepes Netball coach
By Online Editor
12:50 pm GMT+12, 04/04/2014, Papua New Guinea

Ani Iamo is likely to be retained as the national Pepes coach and she has in front of her a huge task now to qualify for the World Cup and win a medal at next year’s Pacific Games.

Since Iamo’s appointment as head coach last year the Pepes have produced several improved performances at regional tournaments.

The Pepes finished a surprise second behind Fiji at the Pacific Netball Series in Apia, Samoa, last June.
The highlight of that tournament was a pair of upset victories over Samoa (56-48) and Cook Islands (67-53).
The Pepes then headed to Singapore with the top seeding for the Nations Cup last December.

They held convincing victories over Sri Lanka (76-52), Ireland (66-33) and the USA (72-31), but a 43-44 loss to home side Singapore and a 52-52 draw with Uganda was enough to relegate the spirited Pepes to a third-place playoff which they won.

Iamo, along with her staff, has been credited for rise in the Pepes’ fortunes.

They actively promoted of the next generation of national stars and have made use of Netball PNG’s development and training programmes to develop a playing group that performed consistently over the last 12 months.

If re-appointed Iamo will stay in the job for two years seeing the Pepes to the World Cup qualifiers in June and the Pacific Games.

Former assistant coach Mona Lisa Leka, pictured, who also played a part in the Pepes’ rise is expected to be overlooked for re-appointment owing to the fact that she holds the executive post of secretary in the PNG Netball. The National was reliably informed there were other two applicants for the job – both overseas-based Papua New Guineans – but no formal announcement has been made yet.

It is understood the two women are Australian citizens but Papua New Guineans heavily involved with netball. Team manager Lydia Veali has re-applied for the job but a decision has yet to be made also.

PNG Netball president Julienne Leka-Maliaki is currently overseas.

But a special Netball PNG executive meeting was held yesterday and final endorsements will be made by the PNG Olympic Committee.

The train-on squad of 20 players has been training with the group to be trimmed to a final 12 for the regional qualifier in Rarotonga, Cook Islands in June.

The squad is set for a high intensive training camp during the Easter weekend but the unavailability of playing courts is a concern.

The Rita Flynn courts are expected to undergo refurbishment this month for the Pacific Games.

The Sir John Guise indoor stadium is another venue now undergoing redevelopment.

The train-on squad: Tiata Baldwin, Maleta Roberts, Raylene Andrew, Japhet Tulapi, MaryPaul Buehler, Jacklyn Lahari (shooters), Winnie Mavara, Kimberly Alex, Marinama Maha, Nerrie Adula, Cheryl Renagi, Gase Moka, Shannah Dringo (midcourt), Kilala Owen, Susan Wellington, Lua Mavara, Courtney Abel, Tau Galewa, Alice Tai (Defenders).

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

35) Chelsea returns to top of English Premier League with 3-0 win against Stoke

Updated 6 April 2014, 7:29 AEST

Chelsea returned to the top of the Premier League with a 3-0 win at home to Stoke on Saturday in a timely boost ahead of their do-or-die Champions League clash with Paris Saint-Germain.

Jose Mourinho’s side bounced back from their 3-1 mid-week quarter-final first leg loss in Paris to move a point ahead of Liverpool, who will regain top spot if they avoid defeat away to West Ham on Sunday.

“I think the players played well,” Mourinho told Sky Sports. “Normally after a defeat you don’t start confidently but this team today went upwards all the time. After the second goal the game was over.”

Egypt winger Mohamed Salah marked his first Premier League start by giving Chelsea, who welcome PSG on Tuesday, a 32nd minute lead at Stamford Bridge when he turned in Nemanja Matic’s cut-back.

Salah then won a penalty after Andy Wilkinson’s poor challenge and although Frank Lampard’s 61st minute spot-kick was saved by Asmir Begovic, the veteran England midfielder followed up to make it 2-0.

Willian added a third goal with a curling shot in the 72nd minute.

City maintains title challenge

Manchester City maintained their title challenge with a 4-1 win at home to Southampton that left them two points off the summit and still with two games in hand over both Chelsea and Liverpool at the end of this weekend.

Manchester City’s Yaya Toure and Saints’ Rickie Lambert both struck from the penalty spot before Samir Nasri and Edin Dzeko scored in first-half stoppage-time to make it 4-1 to Manuel Pellegrini’s men.

However, controversy surrounded Nasri’s goal with David Silva, who played in the France midfielder, offside when he received the ball.

City substitute Stevan Jovetic added a fourth goal in the 81st minute.

“I haven’t seen it (City’s second goal) yet but it is the referee (Chris Foy) who decides,” said Pellegrini.

“I don’t think the difference between the two sides was just one goal.”

Defeat was made worse for the Saints when Jay Rodriguez, one of their England strikers, was carried off on a stretcher after suffering a first-half knee injury that put a huge question mark against his chances of being selected in Roy Hodgson’s squad for this June’s World Cup finals in Brazil.

United move above Spurs

Juan Mata scored twice as Manchester United moved above Tottenham, who face Sunderland on Monday, and into sixth place with a 4-0 win away to Newcastle.

Following their impressive 1-1 Champions League draw at home to title-holders Bayern Munich, David Moyes’s side took the lead at St James’ Park courtesy of Mata’s curling 39th minute free-kick.

The Spain midfielder doubled United’s advantage five minutes after half-time.

Javier Hernandez then made it 3-0 in the 65th minute after being played in by Japan’s Shinji Kagawa and substitute Adnan Januzaj completed the scoring in stoppage time.

“Mata was terrific and so were Shinji Kagawa and Darren Fletcher,” said United manager Moyes.

The Scot, who made eight changes from midweek, added: “We’ve left a few players at home and not played a few players. We are hoping they will be fit for Wednesday night’s game at Bayern Munich.”

Fulham off the bottom

Fulham moved off the bottom of the table with a 2-1 win away to Aston Villa.

The Cottagers remained in the relegation zone but are now just five points shy of safety with five games left.

Jason Puncheon scored two goals as Crystal Palace moved seven points clear of relegation with a 3-0 win over Cardiff that left the Welsh club in the bottom three.

West Bromwich Albion went five points clear of the drop zone with a 1-0 victory away to Norwich while Hull beat Swansea by the same scoreline at the KC Stadium.

Everton and Arsenal, fifth and fourth respectively, clash at Goodison Park on Sunday.

AAP

36) Matildas lose 1-0 to Brazil with coach Hesterine de Reus under investigation over alleged player mutiny

Updated 6 April 2014, 18:28 AEST

The Matildas have lost 1-0 to Brazil as allegations of a player mutiny against coach Hesterine de Reus are being investigated by the FFA.

Football Federation Australia boss David Gallop says he is looking into allegations of a revolt by the Matildas players against coach Hesterine de Reus.

Gallop was at the Queensland Sports and Athletics Centre in Brisbane on Sunday to watch the Australian women’s side go down 1-0 to Brazil in the first of two tune-up matches against the South Americans ahead of the Matildas’ Asian Cup title defence in May.

That result played second fiddle to revelations that Australian players have allegedly approached union body Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) to take action against 52-year-old Dutchwoman de Reus over her tough disciplinarian line.

Gallop said the governing body was working quickly to investigate the “concerning reports”.

He confirmed that national technical director Han Berger, head of national performance Luke Casserly – who has been with the team this week – and former Matilda and current women’s football co-ordinator Sarah Walsh would put together a report.

“We will put a report together as quickly as possible,” he said.

“We’ll work out how to take it forward from there.

“At the moment we are getting on top of these concerning reports.

“We’ll make sure we do a thorough job on that first.”

Photo: Player mutiny … Matildas coach Hesterine de Reus.(Getty Images: Chris Hyde)

Some of the reported complaints have included being in virtual lockdown at team hotels, being barred from seeing parents and general disenchantment with de Reus’s hardline coaching methods.

Dual international Ellyse Perry, the highest-profile player in the squad, has also been shown the door by the coach who does not believe the 23-year-old can become a world-class footballer as long as she is playing cricket for Australia.

De Reus took her place beside the players’ bench on Sunday, but it remains a distraction ahead of an Asian Cup campaign where the Matildas need a top-five finish to secure a World Cup berth.

If the talk of mutiny against the coach was true leading into the match, it did not affect the Matildas on the field as they banged bodies and took the game to the physical world number six ranked side.

Debora “Debinha” Oliveira broke the deadlock in the 67th minute with a well-constructed play that put her one-on-one with Matildas goalkeeper Brianna Davey, who had repelled several previous raids but was powerless to stop the Brazilian striker in clear space.

Striker Michelle Heyman had a chance to level the scores in injury time but her shot sailed just wide.

AAP

37)  Hurricanes beat Bulls 25-20 in Super Rugby clash in Napier

Updated 5 April 2014, 22:55 AEST

The boot of Beauden Barrett gave the Hurricanes a first Super Rugby win over the Bulls since 2008 with a 25-20 victory.

The Hurricanes made heavy work of it but 20 points from the boot of Beauden Barrett gave them a first Super Rugby win over South Africa’s Bulls since 2008 with a 25-20 victory in Napier on Saturday.

SCOREBOARD: HUR 25-20 BUL

View full stats sheet

The hosts simply dominated the first half but led only 16-13 at the break after Bulls full-back Jurgen Visser scored out of the blue from his own up-and-under to cancel out his opposite number Andre Taylor’s 15th minute effort.

Barrett’s fourth penalty extended the lead 25 minutes into the second half but the Bulls responded immediately through replacement fly half Handre Pollard’s brilliant solo effort, which he converted to put the visitors 20-19 ahead.

Fly half Barrett ensured the Hurricanes would not pay for their first half profligacy, however, kicking two more penalties in the final eight minutes to give his side their third win of the season.

Reuters

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