Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 967


1) Vanuatu daily news digest | 21 April 2014

by bobmakin

With considerable assistance from the Finance Ministry the Pacific Institute of Public Policy has helped launch an important website which everyone regularly reading this blog absolutely must follow. Just google and you will see what I mean. For example, we learn that in February, 77 percent of annual budgeted court costs were already spent along with 36 percent of an annual budget for international travel of 107.7 million vatu. Will our VTDL task force be able to continue going backwards and forwards to Singapore? Everyone with any interest in how governments spend what we make for them should keep in touch

Ian Wilson of the Vanuatu Commodities Marketing Board says the present board is seeking to give the body a new name. It is to be hoped it performs better than it has in recent times. The present acknowledged “good” copra price should help it do this. Whatever it is called, VCMB is to become something of an information service.Wilson pointed out to Radio Vanuatu News the special character of Vanuatu in its ability to achieve markets as “organic” because of historical refusal to use manufactured fertilizers. VCMB will assist growers both with selling and purchasing.

Fish ponds are proving important to East Ambae people as they have already done near Vila and Santo. The Fisheries Department is encouraging their use.


2) Manutahi becomes Tahiti’s first ombudsman

21 April 2014

The French Polynesian government led by Gaston Flosse has succeeded in appointing the leader of Porinetia Ora Party, Teiva Manutahi, as the territory’s first ombudsman.

Mr Manutahi was first chosen in July but the opposition challenged the legality of the process.

The appeal has been rejected and he is now set to open an Ombudsman’s office assisted by five staff.

In the lead-up to last year’s election, Mr Manutahi campaigned against Mr Flosse’s party and after the loss in the election’s first round, he accused it of cheating and sought to have the elections annulled.

Within days, however, he changed his mind and concluded the election campaign at Mr Flosse’s side.Radio NZ

3) French Polynesia’s Rautahi Party disbands

21 April 2014

French Polynesia’s small anti-independence Rautahi Party has been disbanded and its members are being urged to join the ruling Tahoeraa Huiraatira of Gaston Flosse.

Rautahi politicians have already been associated with the Tahoeraa, which has nominated an assembly member elected on the Tahoeraa list, Maina Sage, to be the party’s candidate for the by-election to fill a seat in the French National Assembly.

The Rautahi leader, Jean-Christophe Bouissou, says the dissolution comes as the differences seen after the 2004 elections no longer exist.

He split from the Tahoeraa in 2005 after Gaston Flosse refused to act on his by-election promise to resign, should his party lose.

Despite a defeat, the veteran politician insisted on staying on but was immediately removed in a no-confidence vote.

Mr Bouissou says he is open to stand for one of the territory’s two French Senate seats which will be decided in September.

Gaston Flosse says he won’t seek re-election.

4) Samoa Parliament Decries Media Release Of Audit Report
Speaker: Publication of report that lead to Minister’s resignation ‘illegal’

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA, Samoa (Talamua, April 18, 2014) – The Parliament Privileges Committee will investigate and recommend action against the media organizations that published the Chief Auditor / Controller report before Parliament had a chance to debate the report.

The Report that resulted in the report of the Officers of Parliament implicated the Minister of Finance while he was Minister of the Samoa Land Corporation and ultimately led to his resignation on Wednesday this week.

[PIR editor’s note: The Samoa Observer reported that “Faumuina says his decision (to resign) was not based on the issues highlighted by the Controller and Chief Auditor’s report as well as the Officers of Parliament Committee report.” He said it was “time for someone new to take over the Ministerial job while he focuses on his family and constituency.” Talamua also reported that Faumuina “will take on a job with the United Nations Organisation (UN) if the opportunity arises.” He noted that he has been previously contacted “two or three times” by the UN but decided to reject the offers and remain to serve his country.]

Before the Report was debated by parliament on Wednesday night, the Speaker La’aulialemalietoa Leuatea Polataivao took half an hour to clarify that the publication of the Report was illegal and despite him writing to the respective media organizations to stop, he and the office of Speaker were the subject of editorials that even questioned the integrity of parliament.

“And there were even blatant and wrong accusations leveled at the Speaker and parliament implicating sinister motives,” said the Speaker.

“Now here, the Report has just come to Parliament for debate but already its content has been exposed widely both here and overseas. So what is the point of Parliament?” he asked.

“To stop this from ever happening again in the future, I sought the advice of the Attorney General,” said the Speaker.

“The Attorney General confirmed that the media broke the law by publishing the Chief Auditor / Controllers report before Parliament had a chance to debate it,” said the Speaker.

But the Attorney General went further and issued a press statement that even though the law has been broken; he was not taking legal action against those concerned.

“The Attorney General was only to advice but Parliament makes the final decision,” explained the Speaker.

“The leaked report gave people a chance to judge without giving those accused a chance to respond.

“It also breached Parliament protocol of releasing information without it being debated,” said the Speaker.

He then announced that he was referring the matter to the Privileges Committee to investigate and and report back to parliament.

Opposition leader Palusalue Faapo 11 said once a report is tabled, it becomes public information.

“The Attorney General’s advice was that the law was broken,” the Speaker retorted.

It is suspected that some MPs leaked the report in question to the media.

In past years, some local media outlets had been investigated for breaching parliamentary privileges and had resulted in public apologies or monetary fines.



5) Number Of CNMI-Only Guest Workers Must Go Down To Zero By 2019
U.S. Labor Secretary expected to grant extension for transition

By Haidee V. Eugenio

SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, April 21, 2014) – While U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez has yet to make public his decision on a CW extension request, Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP) said that once the program is extended beyond Dec. 31, 2014, the number of Commonwealth-only workers “will still have to go down each year until reaching zero in 2019.”

The number of CWs is capped at 14,000 for fiscal year 2014.

If the transitional CW program is not extended, the CNMI will lose immediate access to some 10,000 professional and skilled foreign workers, mostly from the Philippines and other Asian countries.

Even if the U.S. Labor secretary grants an extension of the CW program, the E2C investor visa program will still expire after Dec. 31, 2014, and the CNMI’s exemption from accepting asylum applications will still expire on Jan. 1, 2015, so Sablan introduced a standalone bill and worked on omnibus territorial bills to address the three issues, among other things.

The U.S. House Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans, and Insular Areas will hold an April 29 hearing on Sablan’s H.R.4296, which extend the current immigration transition period in the CNMI from 2014 to 2019.

“We need the additional five years to train local workers to fill the jobs now held by approximately 9,600 foreign workers. During the extension the number of Commonwealth-only transitional workers will still have to go down each year until reaching zero in 2019,” Sablan said.

The delegate added that the transition extension also allows 261 foreign investors to continue in business until 2019 and maintains the existing exemption for the CNMI and Guam from the national cap on H visa holders. H visas are for foreign workers.

“Throughout the transition the NMI is also protected from asylum seekers, which has been important to our reviving tourism industry,” he said.

On a parallel track, the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has already filed a favorable report on S.1237, the Omnibus Territories Act, containing the same language as H.R.4296.

“The Senate could vote on its bill at any time,” Sablan said, adding that anyone wishing to submit testimony for the hearing on H.R.4296 may send it to [email protected] or to one of the local congressional offices.

Sablan said while the U.S. Labor secretary has already decided on the request to extend the CW program, there’s no telling when the public announcement would be and for how long the extension will be.

Whether any such extension will be for five years or less, the three pending bills in Congress would extend the CW program up to 2019 and there won’t be any further extensions.

It is expected that before 2019, a national immigration reform measure will already pass Congress.

Saipan Tribune


6a) Grand Nouméa: l’enfer des bouchons, une à deux heures par jour dans les transports!

Par Angela Palmieri
Publié le 19/04/2014 | 23:24, mis à jour le 19/04/2014 | 23:24

60% des Calédoniens vivent à Nouméa et dans les communes périphériques. Les embouteillages sont un problème récurrent surtout que 8 trajets sur 10 se font en voiture, un chiffre nettement supérieur à celui de l’Hexagone.

Une récente étude confirme la galère quotidienne des habitants du Grand Nouméa, au moins une heure dans les bouchons pour se rendre au travail, c’est la durée moyenne du temps passé chaque jour à bord d’une voiture ou d’un transport en commun.

En Nouvelle-Calédonie, les journées commencent donc très tôt, à quatre heures du matin pour certains afin d’éviter d’être en retard.
© NC 1ère
Même si  60 % de la population de Nouvelle-Calédonie vit dans le Grand Nouméa, cela ne représente finalement qu’environ 170 000 personnes et pourtant le matin et le soir les accès de Nouméa ressemblent à ceux d’une très grande ville saturée par son nombre d’habitants…

Le reportage de Robert Tamanogi et de Philippe Huneau de NC 1ère.

6b) Philippe Gomès tête de liste Calédonie Ensemble dans le sud

Par Sylvain Duchampt
Publié le 19/04/2014 | 19:11, mis à jour le 19/04/2014 | 19:17

1500 à 2000 personnes se sont réunies ce samedi à l’Hippodrome de Nouméa pour le 8ème congrès ce Calédonie Ensemble. L’occasion de découvrir les premières orientations de cette campagne mais aussi de connaître le nom de celui qui tirera la liste CE pour les Provinciales dans le sud.

Philippe Gomes sera donc la tête de liste de Calédonie Ensemble en Province Sud pour les prochaines élections provinciales et défendra son projet de référendum éclairé.
L’annonce a fait exploser de joie les 1500 militants présents ce samedi dans les rangées bigarrées de l’hippodrome Henry Milliard, à Nouméa. Mais elle n’est pas véritablement une surprise. L’information circulait en sous main depuis plusieurs jours.
En faisant le choix de se mettre en première ligne, le député calédonien marque sa volonté d’assumer le rôle qu’il souhaite jouer lors des prochaines échéances institutionnelles. Celui d’un interlocuteur incontournable dans le camp non-indépendantiste par son expérience et par la légitimité des urnes.
De quoi sous entendre que Philippe Gomès à lui plus d’expérience que Cynthia Ligeard ou Sonia Backes et qu’il est plus légitime que Pierre Frogier et Harold Martin qui n’ont pas souhaité se présenter ou tirer eux même une liste pour ces élections
Ce Congrès a réservé son lot de surprise avec la présence sur scène de Murielle Murcia-Lopez, l’élue du Parti travailliste ayant fait basculer l’élection en faveur de Calédonie Ensemble à Sarraméa, ou avec la réapparition de l’ancien membre du gouvernement, Philippe Germain, disparu de la scène politique depuis deux ans.
Mais il y aussi ses nouveaux visages qui joueront un rôle durant la campagne, comme la chef d’entreprise Martine Lagneau ou encore l’ancien secrétaire UC de la mairie de Lifou, Dominique Molé.
L’ensemble des noms constituants la liste dans le Sud et le programme complet de Calédonie Ensemble ne seront connus que la semaine prochaine.


7) Royals in captivity

Monday, April 21, 2014

IT was a life out of a fairytale — until it became one they couldn’t escape.

Sahar, Maha, Hala and Jawaher Al Saud are daughters of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, the Saudi Arabian monarch who is worth an estimated $15billion.

With such riches, the sisters, when younger, would take ski trips to luxurious resorts in Europe and go on endless shopping sprees, buying silk robes and jasmine oil, while their doting father bought them parures — matching jewellery sets — topped with jewel-encrusted tiaras.

Each of them desired a normal, albeit privileged life. Now they are prisoners.

Not only has the king forbidden any man to seek his daughters’ hands in marriage, he’s confined them, against their will, in separate dark and suffocating quarters at his palace.

His eldest daughter, Ms Sahar,42, spoke with The Post in a rare and surreptitious phone call.

“We are cut off and isolated and alone. We are hostages. No one can come see us, and we can’t go see anyone. Our father is responsible and his sons, our half-brothers, are both culprits in this tragedy,” she said.

Their mother, Alanoud Al Fayez, long ago fled to London. Doctors aren’t even allowed in for check-ups.

Ms Sahar says the king is starving them all to death. They haven’t had a full meal in more than a month and are forced to eat canned goods that they pry open with nail files.

“Our energy is quite low, and we’re trying our best to survive,” Ms Sahar says.

“His hatred stems from their outspokenness,” Ms Al Fayez says. “But from the beginning, even when he paid attention to them, he was angry that I didn’t give him sons. The fact that they are like me bothered him.”

Ms Al Fayez says she’s had little help in trying to secure her daughters’ release. She’s hired British and American lawyers, but King Abdullah has refused to be questioned.

“We know that the daughters have gone for 30 days without any food or water,” says Ali Al-Ahmed, the director of the human-rights group Institute for Gulf Affairs and a former Saudi political prisoner himself.

Ms Al Fayez is frantic. Time, she says, is running out.

“My daughters want the right to see their mother, and I want to see my daughters. They are just trying to hold onto their sanity. They are suffering … with no hope for salvation.”


8) Attempts To Silence Researcher In PNG Bring Public Outcry
Calls for Institute of National Affairs Director to leave PNG criticized

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, April 17, 2014) – Threats by politicians to force the exit of Institute of National Affairs’ Paul Barker have come under fire with ordinary Papua New Guineans, the National Research Institute and an MP condemning the move.

National Capital District Governor Powes Parkop and Fisheries and Marine Resources Minister Mao Zeming said the INA director was in breach of his working visa and should leave the country, after the latter in a commentary on the Government’s 2014 Budget said it was borrowing against future earnings and consequently the funding should not be wasted on marginal facilities but genuine priorities.

Last night Prime Minister Peter O’Neill entered the debate, saying he welcomed criticism of his Government’s policies and development agenda by nationals and foreigners but critics should also offer alternative policies.

“I want to see a lot of public debate on these and other issues, and those who criticise must do so in a constructive manner using facts,” Mr O’Neill said.

“They must also offer alternatives. The Government will not silence anyone, as suggested by Dr Thomas Webster. In fact the government has been the most tolerant given the kind of lies, innuendos and misinformation being spread by certain individuals and political figures, both in the mainstream and social media.”

But not before ordinary Papua New Guineans took to social media yesterday to criticise the MPs over their attempts to silence the British national with some suggesting the leaders look at their own track record in terms of service delivery in their electorates.

“These politicians are acting as if they are saints and do not need criticism of any sort. Are they mini-gods who are so perfect and do not need criticism and correction?” posted one of them.

NRI director Dr Thomas Webster also expressed concern at the moves by the MPs to silence Mr Barker.

“I am expressing my grave concern over the views expressed by politicians regarding comments and views made by researchers and academics, with a view to silencing them. In some countries where democracy is not supported and valued, those with critical views based on sound analysis are exterminated or deported if they are foreigners.

“This would be bad for the development prospects of Papua New Guinea if we want to develop into a wealthy, wise and prosperous nation,” he said.

“The current comments made by politicians in regard to contributions to discussions attributed to Paul Barker, the executive director of Institute of National Affairs, at a National Research Institute hosted budget forum last week is uncalled for.

“The forum was looking at the implications of the PNG Government budget for the sound development of our country.”

Goroka MP Bire Kimisopa (pictured above) also called the Post-Courier yesterday to express his disappointment with Mr Parkop and Mr Zeming, saying the two leaders owed the country an explanation over their push to force out Mr Barker.

“What is the agenda of Mr Zeming and the Governor for NCD? We should have institutions like the INA and Paul Barker contributing to debate on public policy in PNG, Paul Barker’s analysis is welcome in PNG.

“I find it juvenile for a minister to make such comments, this is unacceptable and he should be ashamed,” said the MP.

PNG Post-Courier

9) Stay away!

Repeka Nasiko
Monday, April 21, 2014

ACTING Commissioner Northern Alipate Bolalevu has reminded civil servants they should not get involved with any political party.

His comment follows an incident last week in which two senior civil servants were receiving complaints from the public at the Labasa taxi stand where Fiji First aspiring politician Rear Admiral Voreqe Bainimarama was meeting people.

Mr Bolalevu said civil servants in the Northern Division knew they were not allowed to be part of the signature drive for any proposed political organisation or be involved with any other campaign.

He said government agencies were aware that Rear Admiral Bainimarama would be in Vanua Levu last week and should not have been involved in his search for supporters for his proposed political party. “We know where we stand and we will not be involved in any way during the signature drive for any proposed political parties,” he said.

According to Section 14 of the Political Parties Registration, Conduct Funding and Disclosure Decree, those holding public offices, including civil servants and also trade unionists, are not allowed to carry out campaigns and electoral activity.

A fine or a term of imprisonment will be imposed on those found to be in breach of the provision.

The amendment to the decree was announced last month by Minister for Elections and Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

10) Fiji Elections To Be ‘Real Test’: Former Indian High Commissioner
Back 25-years after being kicked out, Sreenivasa highlights ‘progress’

By Vuniwaqa Bola-Bari

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, April 19, 2014) – The elections under the new constitution will be a real test on whether the citizens of Fiji will rise above narrow considerations of race, religion and origin and act in the best interests of the Fiji of our dreams, a former envoy to Fiji says on his first visit back to the country after 20 years.

T.P. Sreenivasa returns 25 years after being asked to leave on account of his non-recognition of the military government of Sitiveni Rabuka.

Speaking at the opening of the 87th India Sanmarga Ikya Sangam convention in Sigatoka yesterday, Sreenivasa said Fiji would be called upon to establish, as Abraham Lincoln said, “this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.” Sreenivasa said like the rest of the world, India would also look forward to the verdict of the people.

“Not because we have any prescriptions for Fiji, but because we want peace and prosperity of Fiji, in which India has an abiding interest.

“I am glad to see that even after a long gap, India and Fiji have developed a robust relationship once again. We have earnestly worked with the present Government in its efforts for nation building as well as to hold elections,” he said.

Sreenivasa said he understood that India was committed to share its resources and rich experience in holding free and fair elections in Fiji.

“I also notice that the relations between India and Fiji have become robust and mutually beneficial.” He further says Fiji is well on the path of progress.

Prior to giving his address in Sigatoka on Friday, he visited “people at all levels, including Rabuka himself, received me with warmth and affection.”


11) Fiji Labour Party doubts regime support among cane farmers

18 April 2014

The Fiji Labour Party has questioned the veracity of a report in the Fiji Sun which said the cane farmers in the north openly expressed their support for the prime minister’s proposed political party.

The paper says people in Seaqaqa welcomed the prime minister’s campaign bus with cheers and shouts of support.

Rear Admiral Frank Bainimarama is gearing up for the elections promised for September in campaign activities now being investigated by police for allegedly being in breach of his regime’s own decrees.

The Labour Party’s northern manager, Surendra Lal, says he would be very surprised if cane farmers in the North were to support the Bainimarama regime considering the hardship and difficulties they have faced in the past seven years.

The Labour Party, which traditionally has had strong support among cane farmers, says according to its sources in Seaqaqa there may have been about 30 people when the regime leader visited, and most were shoppers.Radio NZ


12) Explain, says union

The National
Monday, April 21, 2014

THE PNG Energy Workers’ Association has called on the PNG Power Ltd executives to explain their big pay increases.

Association general secretary Santee Margis, responding to a report in The National yesterday about the senior management’s high salaries and rises, said electricity service to the people was still poor and sought an explanation for them.

“It is the simple workers who run the lines, climb poles and maintain generators in hazardous working conditions and yet they are still waiting to be paid outstanding dues,” Mr Margis said. “Is the government of the day conscious that these issues are not just within PPL but other State Owned Enterprises as well.

“Papua New Guineans expect high standard of services, the senior executive management must consider meeting their expectations fit and proper.”

13) Domestic airport in New Caledonia capital set to shift to Tontouta

21 April 2014

The New Caledonian government has approved a strategic aviation plan which is expected to lead to the closure of Noumea’s domestic airport in Magenta.

The plan provides for a realignment of air traffic management to be concentrated in Tontouta, which is the international airport about 40 kilometres to the north of the city.

The proposed shift of Air Caledonie flights to Tontouta is also linked to a road project, which would entail extending the road from Noumea to a four-lane highway.

The project is yet to be debated by the Congress, which is due to be re-elected in May.

14) Price Freeze In New Caledonia Hurting Business
Employers call for end to freeze, unions say they weren’t properly done

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, April 18, 2014) – Employers in New Caledonia have called for an end to the partial price freeze in place since August to curb the high cost of living.

This comes as unions say the measures, which are due to remain in force until January, have not been adopted properly.

Last May, a 12-day strike prompted the government to act on stalled efforts to reduce the cost of some goods and services.

It agreed to impose a 10 percent price cut on 500 consumer goods and lowered phone and internet costs as well as bank fees.

But the importer and distributors’ organisation has now told the local newspaper that while some people could maintain their purchasing power, several businesses now face problems.

Radio New Zealand International

15) MOU to combat laundering and terrorist financing

Geraldine Panapasa
Monday, April 21, 2014

THREE monitory agencies have signed a memorandum of understanding agreement to promote transparency, financial stability and combat money laundering and terrorist financing.

The Reserve Bank of Fiji sealed the arrangement with the Commerce Commission of Fiji and the Fiji Financial Intelligence Unit in Suva last week.

In a statement, RBF said the MOU with the commission established an agreed basis for policy co-ordination and information sharing between the institutions.

“The MOU arrangement will help the institutions share information relevant to competition, efficiency and financial soundness of Fiji’s financial system, and sets out the regulatory responsibilities of each institution and the importance of mutual consultation across a wide range of issues relevant to the financial system.

“The MOU with the FIU is aimed at enhancing the co-operation of government agencies with the FIU to share financial information to facilitate the FIU’s investigation and prosecution of persons suspected of money laundering and terrorist financing under the Financial Transactions Reporting Act.”

RBF governor Barry Whiteside said the MOU with the FIU played a critical role in Fiji’s multi-agency anti-money laundering and prevention of terrorist financing enforcement regime.

He said the arrangements with the commission and FIU recognised linkages between the work of the RBF and that of other government agencies.


16) Secure identification

Consumer Council Of Fiji
Saturday, April 19, 2014

WE all value safety and security when it comes to our money, our property and our name. A situation where some imposter steals your bank account details, your property details and your very name to siphon your money may be unimaginable, but is a very serious one that can result in huge personal losses.

This is not a story anymore but a reality which is known as “identity theft or ID theft”. Identity theft occurs when someone steals or gains unauthorised access to your personal information, such as your name, credit card number, or your passport details and uses these pretending to be you to commit crime or fraud or sometimes just to be mean.

The loss of personal information can hurt consumers. For example, ID thieves can take your identity to create new debit or credit card accounts and change your billing address to a different address so that their activity is not detected.

They use your details to make electronic withdrawals, until your account runs dry. ID thieves can also use your ID to obtain forged passport to migrate or use stolen details to get driver’s licence as a form of ID or file for fraudulent tax return pretending to be you to get a tax refund.

Sometimes they can also enter your online social network account to damage your reputation by posting malicious comments or embarrassing photos. Most reputable social networks have reporting and security mechanisms in place to prevent or detect such intrusions. For example, Facebook has a “Report a Problem” option.

Some of you may have received e-mails from someone purporting to be a friend or relative who is stranded in another country because the bag containing their passport and money was stolen or your friend or relative met with an accident and he or she needs money for emergency medical treatment. In such cases ID thieves collect the money. A worst case of identity theft is when your identity is stolen by a thief who smartly secures your personal educational and professional details simply so he can apply for jobs, rent properties and obtain utility services. There is a need for consumers to protect their identity in everyday activities and the best way to fight identity theft is to prevent it in the first place. Here are some tips to prevent and protect your identity being stolen.

Regarding telephone scams:

* Do not give out your bank account number or other personal information over the phone. Hang up and dial the number of your bank to find out what the problem is. If the caller wants you to keep the call a secret then you should know it’s a scam.

* Beware and disregard text messages asking you to give money or notifying you that you have won some money.

Regarding the internet:

* Every device that you use to connect to the internet should have up-to-date software including security software, operating systems, programs and other applications.

* Never send important personal information via email.

Regarding Wi-Fi Hotspots:

* Don’t share personal information over an unsecured network (a connection that does not require a password for access). Using the direct web access on your phone is safer than an unsecured wireless network on your mobile device. If you suspect or uncover fraud, contact your bank or the relevant organisation. If its tax fraud, contact FRCA, if its driver’s licence or permit, contact LTA and if its passport ID theft then contact the Department of Immigration.

n This is a regular contribution from the Consumer

Council of Fiji. Email: [email protected]


17) Latest quake damages houses and gardens in PNG’s Bougainville

21 April 2014

It will be tomorrow before a full picture is gained of the impact of the latest major earthquake to hit the autonomous Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville.

Houses, food gardens and roading in southern part of the main island have been affected.

The province has suffered a series of potentially damaging quakes over the past ten days.

The latest on Saturday night registered 7.5, with an epicentre 75 kilometres to the southwest of Panguna.

There was a tsunami which impacted on some coastal towns.

The Red Cross’s Aidah Kenneth says people in Torokina had fled into the hills but had returned by this morning.

She says there have been no reports of injuries or deaths from the latest quake.

The first tremor, ten days ago, claimed two lives.

The acting district executive manager in Siwai, Martin Tumuki, says Saturday night’s tremor had a significant impact in his hilly region.

“Several food gardens have been flattened, and we have several houses that have been brought down to the ground. Along our road network there have been landslips.”

Martin Tumuki.

New Dawn FM reports that houses and water tanks were destroyed by the tidal wave which hit Torokina.


18) PDP to battle violence against women

Dawn Gibson
Monday, April 21, 2014

THE People’s Democratic Party have placed particular emphasis on women’s rights and domestic violence involving women this year, with Suva party president Shamal Singh saying it is a fact that a number of women in Fiji suffer silently.

In responding to questions by this newspaper yesterday, Mr Singh said if elected, the party would work towards educating all communities and at every level to discuss these issues with both men and women and how this impacted families and individuals.

“It is sad to witness that violence against women and children is prevalent in our modern society,” Mr Singh said yesterday.

“Although most cases are often either under reported or not reported at all, but unfortunately the fact remains that women suffer silently. We have adapted to a lot of change and modernisation, however, society has yet not changed its mind-set on equality for women.”

He said women worked equally as hard as men do in all affairs — from the corporate sector, to the labour force, nation-running and within their own homes.

“If elected, PDP will implement educational workshops in all communities and at every level to advise both men and women on these issues, the effects of violence on families and children and other social effects, after which laws pertaining to domestic violence will be reviewed and amended accordingly.

“We will be taking these matters seriously and harsh penalties will be imposed on persons who continue to create offence and disrespect women in subject to any form of violence.”

He said while work was being done to raise awareness around this issue, much more could be done in terms of educational access to such information.

“I personally feel that there isn’t enough education and seriousness taken by society to address violence. There isn’t any such thing as small violence, petty violence, or minor violence — violence period — to any extent will not be tolerated.”

19) District youths concerned at development neglect

Luke Rawalai
Monday, April 21, 2014

YOUNG people in Lekutu district feel they have been forgotten by the Ministry of Youth and left to fend for their own without any assistance.

Speaking during the recent district meeting on the island of Tavea, Namuavoivoi youth Semi Ratucala said it was a concern how youths in the district were left unassisted by the Youth Ministry.

Mr Ratucala said they were often disheartened to hear of how the ministry was assisting youths in other rural districts with agricultural and other forms of income-generating projects.

He told members of the district meeting that youths also needed similar assistance.

“Their needs and ours do not differ a lot and the problems that they face is the same as ours,” he said.

“Youths in the rural areas of Lekutu need regular awareness campaigns and educational workshops in order to assist them get a footing in this changing money oriented society we live in.”

Responding to the concerns, roko tui Bua Rupeni Kunaturaga acknowledged that youths in the whole province of Bua had been neglected by the ministry.

“Our youth groups have been dormant and it is high time our youths are revived and strengthened to become better citizens of this country,” he said.

Mr Kunaturaga said he would liaise with the ministry regarding the issue.

20) Youths join ‘change’ campaign

Dawn Gibson
Monday, April 21, 2014

ASPIRING politician and Be the Change campaign leader Roshika Deo has begun to make a name for herself around the country and in the political arena.

And with the general election expected to be held on September 17, her rise to fame could not have come at a better time.

And two youths have made their sentiments towards Ms Deo known, commending her for inspiring them to become the change.

“An excellent opportunity came by to meet Roshika when I accompanied my friends to a rally organised by the Be the Change campaign held in Suva early April,” explained 21-year-old Atika Patel, who is a second year psychology and sociology student.

“One of the things that really stood out for me was how Roshika immediately came up to us, introduced herself and we all started talking, she is a very warm person.”

Similarly, 21-year-old Lavetanalagi Seru said he came to know about Ms Deo’s campaign through the Be the Change Facebook page.

“Before I knew Roshika, I was a Bainimarama supporter.

“I believe in Roshika’s dream that youths are part of a new change, we shouldn’t be sitting back relaxing, but rather should be concerned and get involved in issues that daily affect all, which in one way or the other has a connection back to politics.”


22) Team leaves for Vanuatu

Arin Kumar
Monday, April 21, 2014

A TEAM of officials from Island Breeze Rugby Plus have left the country to conduct clinics in Vanuatu.

Rugby Plus national co-ordinator Lasarusa Nasenaivalu said the clinics would be for two weeks and would help develop players at grassroots level.

“The clinics are all about strengthening players from grassroots level to show them the way to become elite players,” he said.

“We will use four competency-based approaches — knowledge, skill, character and resources.

“Also we will focus on the player and his life, the player and his family, the player and his farm and the player and his game.”

The organisation has been running clinics on Ovalau and has even taken a team from Ovalau on an overseas tour.

“Another main aspect of our clinic is chaplaincy so that we can interact with the players and help them in their individual lives and motivate them to think and live positively on the field and off the field.

“Rugby Plus helps as a whole — physically, mentally and spiritually.”

Island Breeze is a Melbourne, Australia-based organisation that focuses on the holistic development of players and officials on and off the field. Nasenaivalu said funding came from friends and families in Australia.

“We would also like to thank our sponsors Kooga, Footies for All and PACMAS.”

23) Chelsea stunned

Monday, April 21, 2014

LONDON – Chelsea’s pursuit of Liverpool in the Premier League title race suffered a surprise blow yesterday as they were beaten 2-1 by bottom side Sunderland.

The defeat, Jose Mourinho’s first in the league at home in either of his stints as Chelsea manager in a run of 77 games, leaves Chelsea two points behind Liverpool.

Sunderland’s winner came from Fabio Borini, who is on loan from Liverpool. The win leaves them bottom, but just three points from safety.

Chelsea went ahead after 12 minutes, Samuel Eto’o capitalising on some sluggish defending to turn in a corner for his ninth goal of the season.

But Sunderland levelled six minutes later, a cleverly worked corner finding Marcos Alonso unmarked at the edge of the box.

His shot was parried by former Socceroo Mark Schwarzer, but Connor Whickham stole in to nab his third goal in two games.

Vito Mannone made a string of fine saves and as Chelsea’s frustration grew, Ramires smashed his forearm into Sebastian Larsson’s face.

The offence went unnoticed by referee Mike Dean, but retrospective action is likely.

Chelsea had all the pressure but, nine minutes from time, substitute Jozy Altidore was fouled by Cesar Azpilicueta, and Borini rolled in the penalty.

Chelsea assistant coach Rui Faria was sent to the stands for his protests at the award.

Fulham’s hopes of avoiding relegation suffered a blow as they were beaten 3-1 by Tottenham Hotspur.

The defeat leaves Felix Magath’s side two points behind fourth-bottom Norwich City, who host leaders Liverpool on Sunday.

“We have to win our home games and if we make six points it could be enough. We will stay up,” said Magath.

Swansea City moved a healthy six points clear of the drop zone after a 2-1 win away to Newcastle United.

“It means everything,” Swansea manager Garry Monk told Sky Sports.

Cardiff City are second-bottom, a point behind Fulham, after drawing 1-1 at home to Stoke City.

Marco Arnautovic put Stoke ahead from the penalty spot on the stroke of half-time after Peter Odemwingie had tumbled under a Kim Bo-kyung challenge.

“I felt what I felt at the time, that it was not a penalty, but I accept that (referee) Howard has got to make a decision there and then,” said Cardiff manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

24) Toulouse eyes rugby play-offs

Monday, April 21, 2014

PARIS – Toulouse will have to wait until the last game of the French rugby season to make sure of a Top 14 play-off spot while Perpignan slipped closer to a first relegation since 1911.

Nineteen-time champions Toulouse, who have reached the semi-finals at least for the past 20 seasons, were held to a 19-19 draw by relegation-threatened Oyonnax on Saturday to occupy the sixth and last place for the play-offs.

They are level on points with Stade Francais who claimed a bonus point in Saturday’s late game in a 37-23 win over and Bordeaux-Begles.

But Stade have the toughest task of the last weekend in two weeks’ time when they must travel to table-topping Toulon while Toulouse are at home to mid-table Grenoble.

Oyonnax are second bottom on 50 points, the same as Bayonne, who drew 21-21 at Grenoble, and Perpignan who were humbled 46-31 by European champions and league leaders Toulon in Barcelona.

25) Lions thrashed

Monday, April 21, 2014

CAPE TOWN, South Africa – The Stormers snapped a five-match losing streak and lifted themselves off the foot of the Super Rugby table with an 18-3 victory over the Lions yesterday.

Both sides were missing a string of key players because of injury, but the Stormers showed superior squad depth as they recorded just their second win.

After the Stormers swept to an 18-0 lead at half-time thanks to tries from Damian de Allende and Nizaam Carr, a scrappy second-half produced just three points for the visitors. The result put the Stormers above the Cheetahs in the table, while the Lions remained 10th as their promising start to the season threatens to amount to little.

26) Sharks beat Cheetahs

Monday, April 21, 2014

DURBAN – The Sharks consolidated their lead at the top of the Super Rugby table as they beat the Cheetahs 19-8 in a drab South African derby yesterday.

Just six points were scored in the first-half of a game that was short on quality, and Francois Steyn’s three penalties proved decisive after both sides registered a try apiece in the second period.

Although Rayno Benjamin’s try for the Cheetahs in the 65th minute suggested that the game was headed toward a tight conclusion, Jean Deysel crossed for the Sharks five minutes later to put the encounter to bed.

The victory gave the Sharks a six-point lead over Australia’s Brumbies at the top of the standings.


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