Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 969

MELANESIA

1) Vanuatu daily news digest | 24 April 2014

by bobmakin

  • It was somewhat encouraging, though only a little, to learn that the future of the new airport will at least be decided by Members of Parliament even if there has been no Environmental Impact Assessment nor consultation with the custom owners and no other locations considered such as the Quoin Hill Airport site at North Efate. Nor have we been told the company contracted to do the work has considered the other eminently suitable sites – Pekoa or Beleuru at Santo. The Government PRO told Radio Vanuatu this morning that government feels it is up to the MPs to take the responsibility and give the decision as to whether to proceed with Enam or not. “They must feel ownership of the project,” she stated, passing the buck, as if they would all agree. The ad hoc committee of MPs of both sides of the House is preparing a report to be tabled in Parliament on 13 June we were told.
  • Santo GJP MP Alfred Maoh launched his spending allocation commitment at the weekend VBTC News also told us. It is not right MPs spend their allocation on kava for the young in their constituencies to get their vote: the allocation is for the community – women, youth and children, church people and chiefs, he said.
  • Daily Post today has the Office of the Prime Minister confirming that he sustained eye injury after firing fireworks following the declaration of the unofficial results of the Port Vila poll on April 15. The Office of the Leader of the Opposition also drew attention to the fact that the VMF Commander could not agree to provide officers to assist in the firing because no formal request had been lodged. Apparently the packages of fireworks were also not cleared by Customs.
  • The VP has refuted claims that it has been meeting with representatives of the GJPto discuss crossing the floor in a move against the Carcasses Government. The stories go as far as to suggest representatives of both parties have been camping out at Hideaway Island. Hideaway denied any such bookings.

I wasn’t far wrong with the Bay Ohmo guessed location of the wharf for Pentecost for hydrographic survey. It will be at Pangi, which is on Bay Ohmo.

2) Vanuatu daily news digest | 23 April 2014

by bobmakin

  • The first ordinary sitting of Parliament will start next Monday 28 April. Theswearing-in of the new Port Vila constituency MP Jean-Yves Chabod will take place at that time. No other details are given. Outer island MPs must surely be needing to know what they will be talking about if they are to discuss national concerns with their electorates. But, again, little or no chance now. And furthermore, the meeting has been delayed several times anyway.
  • Also next Monday the tenth Vaturisu Conference will take place at Pango village and the executive advises that there are some 20 issues on the agenda, one especially tricky, concerning proper chiefly title ordinations. “Strengthening Custom Authority to Promote Custom Governance” will be the theme of the conference. Chairman, Chief Manlaewia, urges all members to attend. At the end of the conference the Efate and off-shore islands chiefs will join Pango villagers in celebrating the important date for the village, 1 May.
  • The Council of Ministers (CoM) is to meet in Luganville on 19 May. They will be there on a “fact-finding mission”, even though most ministers have their departments and offices represented there. The government’s PRO said “the government ministers and their delegations will visit key places to identify all problems. The main agenda is to find Santo’s main problems.” As advised in this blog a few days ago, February figures show 36% of international government travel already spent at that time. Ministers and delegations not going to Santo for an ordinary CoM meeting might have been able to save certain travel funds. However, one presumes the resurrection of the Reunification of the Moderées is likely also to be a sub-plot for many of the ministers, too.
  • The wreck of the MV Kimbe continues to be a problem for the people of Paama who faced massive pollution problems when the vessel loaded with copra caught fire, was abandoned, and sank, over a decade ago, taking a long time to do so. Daily Post reports chiefs of the affected villages demanding the wreck’s removal from their shores.

3) Vanuatu’s biggest lighthouse opened

24 April 2014

The biggest lighthouse in Vanuatu has been opened at Pango Point, at the entrance to Port Vila Harbour.

The Minister for Public Utilities and Ports, Esmon Sae, opened the lighthouse on Thursday and thanked the landowner for allowing his land to be used.

The beam from the lighthouse can be seen from close to 40 kilometres away.

The last lighthouse was destroyed in a cyclone.Radio NZ

AUTONOMOUS REGION OF BOUGAINVILLE

4) 240414Commemorating 99th ANZAC Day in Papua New Guinea

Australians and Papua New Guineans will gather at war memorials around Papua New Guinea tomorrow to commemorate Anzac Day.

Each year on 25 April, Australians gather to remember the servicemen and women who have served their nation in times of war, in conflicts or peacekeeping operations.

The Returned and Services League of Australia (Port Moresby Sub Branch) will hold a dawn service at Bomana War Cemetery in Port Moresby on Friday starting at 4.30am and welcomes everyone to join in the ceremony.

Services will also be held in Alotau, Kokopo, Rabaul, Isurava, Lae, Kimbe, Wewak, Kavieng, Bulolo and Manus.

“On 25 April 1915, 99 years ago, thousands of Australians landed on the shores of Gallipoli beginning a hard-fought campaign that lasted eight months,” Australia’s High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea, Ms Deborah Stokes, said.
“Anzac Day goes beyond the anniversary of the landing on Gallipoli in 1915. It is the day on which we remember all service men and women who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations. The spirit of Anzac, with its human qualities of courage, mate ship, and sacrifice, continues to have meaning and relevance today.”
Ms Stokes said Anzac day is an important symbol of the close and enduring links that bind Australia and Papua New Guinea.

“Australia will never forget the service and sacrifice of the brave Papua New Guineans. In these bloody and arduous campaigns, together we faced the same enemy and endured the same hardships. Many Australians owed their lives to the selfless courage of Papua New Guineans on the Kokoda Track, in Milne Bay, Buna, Gona and Bougainville, to name only a few places that have now become part of the history Australia shares with Papua New Guinea,” Ms Stokes said.

This year will mark 100 years from the beginning of Australia’s involvement in World War One. Australia will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the departure of the first convoy of ships that carried the Australian Imperial Force and New Zealand Expeditionary Force to the First World War. The convoy departed from Albany in Western Australia on the morning of 1 November 1914.

In Papua New Guinea this September, Australia will commemorate one of its first actions of the war. On 11 September 1914, an Australian force seized the German wireless station at Bitapaka near Rabaul. In the following months Australian vessels and troops were dispatched to conduct operations on the New Guinea mainland, New Ireland, the Admiralty Islands, the Western Islands and Bougainville.

5/6) 230414HOMREW SALES AND CONSUMPTION WILL BE CONTROLLED.
By Alex Munme
A COMMITTEE is set to control the sales and consumption of homrew and drug in Kokopau town, Selau Constituency.
The committee was formed to help Police maintain peace as law and order got out of control and a man’s arm was almost chopped off during a homebrew related brawl early this month.
Buin Community Chief Elder at Kokopau, John Munei said there are many ways to earn a living including selling of food crops and not homebrew.
He strongly discouraged the sale of homrew and its consumption as their role now is to prevent the sale of homebrew, maintain peace as well as promote cleanliness in Kokopau town.
Chief Munei appealed to the ABG and Kokopau Business Houses to support their initiative to look after the town.

7) 230414 FOUR NOMINATE FOR TAONITA TINPUTZ ELECTION
By Aloysius Laukai
Four candidates have nominated for the TAONITA TINPUTZ BY- ELECTION as of start of Nominations yesterday afternoon.
Immediately after the nominations opened, DYSON KAETAVARA nominated to the Assistant Returning Officer for the By-Election PETER KUTEADEO at the Tinputz District Office.
The other three candidates who nominated today were LAWRENCE WONE,DAVID BRAUN VATAVI and ROBERT SINGKO KEKEVIO.
Candidate DAVID BRAUN VATAVI told New Dawn FM in Tinputz this morning that he was standing to unite the people of Tinputz who have be fragmented for so long due to leadership differences.
MR. BRAUN said that since the establishment of the ABG in 2005, TINPUTZ leaders continued to work in isolation from the Village Assemblies, the COES, and this has resulted in the district falling backward in terms of development.
He said that if he wins this round, he would want to strengthen these different levels of governments to make sure Tinputz unites for the overall good of Tinputz and Bougainville as a whole.
PETER KUTEADEO said that he is expecting six more candidates by close of nominations tomorrow.

8) 220414TOROAMA WANTS GOVERMENT TO FAST-TRACK RADIO COVERAGE
By Aloysius Laukai

The former BRA General and a member of the Bougainville Veterans Association, ISHMAEL TOROAMA is calling on the ABG to fast-track the work of Radio coverage by New Dawn FM into Central AND South Bougainville as soon as possible.
He made these remarks during one of his awareness programs at IOKOMORI village in Tinputz yesterday.
MR. TOROAMA said that they were more interested in getting local information from a local radio than relay broadcasts from Port Moresby.
MR. TOROAMA said that they were very satisfied with how New Dawn FM is also using social media in disseminating information as it happens and this is second to none network that Bougainville leaders need to support.
He said that it was good to support an independent media whilst supporting the Government radio which is prone to manipulation by politicians.
He also questioned why the support made to New Dawn FM by the Bougainville Copper Foundation last year has taken over a year now to implement.

POLYNESIA

9) Four bank employees jailed for embezzlement in Tonga

23 April 2014
Four former employees of Westpac Bank in Tonga have been convicted and jailed for embezzling a total of more than 66 thousand US dollars from the bank.

The four were also convicted of false accounting when they appeared in the country’s Supreme Court on Wednesday.

Radio Tonga reports 34-year-old Tavasi Kaufusi, who embezzled the largest amount – 24 thousand dollars – got the longest sentence – two years and eight months in prison.

Their sentences have been back-dated to when they were first arrested.Radio NZ

11) Niue Premier re-elected

By Online Editor
12:41 pm GMT+12, 24/04/2014, Niue

The Premier of Niue, Toke Talagi, has been re-elected as leader of the 15th Niue Legislative Assembly, defeating Stanley Kalauni by 12 votes to eight.

The Assembly has chosen a commissioner of the High Court of Niue and Talagi caucus nominee, Togia Pihigia, as new Speaker.

The former speaker Aho Levi Hiva was not nominated for the post.

The premier says he will anounce his new three-member Cabinet tomorrow.

Niue has 600 electors who vote for 14 village candidates and six common roll members.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

12) Incorporating Sex Ed Into Am. Samoa School Curriculum Proposed
Family Planning Clinic manager wants teen pregnancy rate reduced

By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (The Samoa News, April 22, 2014) – LBJ Medical Center’s program manager for the Family Planning clinic believes sex education, incorporated in health education, should be part of the public school curriculum.

Marilyn A. Pavitt-Anesi who also heads the division, says that data on teen pregnancy between 2011 and 2013 shows an increase of only point-three of one percent, but she believes there is more work to be done to bring these statistics down.

Asked if sex education — which is part of the high school curriculum in several U.S. states — is considered one way of reducing teen pregnancy, Pavitt-Anesi told Samoa News that she supports “having health education courses, which include sex education” but that is her own personal opinion.

Pavitt-Anesi said sex education can be taught in a manner that is culturally accepted, in order to get the right message across to teenagers.

She recalled that in 2012, Fagaitua High School seniors hosted a forum for politicians running for the local House race in the Eastern District and students noted at that forum that they want sex education as part of their school curriculum.

Pavitt-Anesi says that currently, health education is lumped together with PE, or physical education, but nothing in detail is taught dealing with health education and issues pertaining to sex education.

“The thing is, we need to tell these kids the facts… so they understand, because if we don’t, they will go on the internet looking for information. And just because it’s on the internet doesn’t mean it’s true,” she said.

Pavitt-Anesi explained that today’s modern day technology — such as cell phones with texting and photo taking features — makes it easy for teens to access sites on the internet that may not have accurate information.

“And students also have access to iPads which can be used to obtain online information which may not be helpful to a teenager looking for answers,” she said.

“In past years there was just one house phone, and the parents would hear the conversation of their kids and others. Kids were closely monitored,” the Family Planning division head noted.

“But now, there are cells phones used by many teens and they don’t need to get their parent’s permission to communicate with others via cell phone.”

She also said there are many times when teenagers won’t talk to an adult or parents on health issues, especially when it comes to dealing with the teen’s body and development of the body.

“And we’ve talk to them (the teenagers) at length — and the feed back is that ‘my parents don’t listen’ in the sense that they’re listening but not hearing,” she recalled of what teens have told her office and the teen peer mentoring program.

“The parents talk down to them and tell them what to do. When a parent is busy and preoccupied, there is no time for the kids, and any discussion is delayed for a later time.”

She also says that during their discussions with female teenagers, it was learned that a large number of them preferred to stay with a boy friend or have a boy friend.

“Maybe the boyfriend, is the only person who is listening to the girl, and no one else in the family,” she said. “Of course the guy is going to listen because he wants something in return.”

“For the boys, we talk to them about a number of issues including responsibility. We stress to them to have more respect for the girl as this is very important in the Samoan culture. And if the girl says no — that means no,” she said.

Pavitt-Anesi said this is one of the reasons for their teen peer mentoring program, which makes it easy for teens to talk to each other and share what they can’t tell their parents or an adult.

The Samoa News

MICRONESIA

13) Bump In 7,000 Jobs Expected From Guam Military Buildup
Estimates show long-term employment will go up 1,500

By Gaynor Dumat-ol Daleno

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, April 23, 2014) – The military buildup, though smaller than previously planned, still is expected to add 624 full-time civilian jobs next year and 7,031 new positions at its peak seven years from now.

Those estimates are included in the recently released draft supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, which projects the civilian job market with and without the relocation of about 5,000 Marines and their 1,300 dependents from Okinawa to Guam.

According to the projection, Guam, without the buildup, is expected to lose a couple of thousand jobs during the next six or seven years. But buildup-related jobs, at their peak, would boost local employment by more than 7,000, according to the projection.

“In 2021, civilian labor force demand with the proposed action would be 11.9 percent higher than it otherwise would have been without the project,” according to the supplemental draft EIS.

Though the peak years of the additional civilian jobs would be considered short-term, the draft supplemental EIS states, “businesses may be created that could improve the long-term quality of goods and services on Guam.”

The projected additional jobs would generate as much as $296 million in income in 2021 and decline to $67 million by 2028, the draft supplemental EIS states.

“When impacts are at their maximum, civilian labor force income would be 15.6 percent higher than it otherwise would have been without the proposed action,” according to the impact study, released on Monday by the Joint Guam Program Office, which oversees military buildup issues.

Guam’s civilian labor force has declined over the past decade, from 70,800 in 2000 during Guam’s economic slowdown, when the unemployment rate was 15 percent, to 68,400 in 2012, with an unemployment rate of 11.8 percent.

“The increase in civilian labor force income would be substantial as it is a representation of overall higher prosperity on Guam,” the draft supplemental EIS states. “Higher overall prosperity does not mean that all residents would become better off, but overall, as income increases, the general level of prosperity on Guam would increase.”

More than minimum wage

Many of the civilian jobs the military buildup would bring to Guam’s economy are construction-related, but there will also be administrative jobs and other jobs not related to construction.

The GCA Trades Academy is seeing a steady flow of local residents who want to improve their skills, in anticipation of a construction boom, said Bert Johnston, the academy’s education director.

Electrical and air-conditioning-related courses are in demand and, more recently, there’s also more interest in welding courses, Johnston said.

Skilled construction trades pay higher than minimum wage — on average about $17 an hour, Johnston said.

The trades academy can add courses when the buildup projects encourage more workers to hone their skills; and, this early, companies are calling the trades academy to scout for workers who are about to finish earning their trades certifications, Johnston said.

Workers who are thinking about shifting to construction-related jobs, or who want to get trades certifications in anticipation of the upcoming construction boom need to start getting training soon, Johnston said. The Guam Community College also offers trades-related classes.

“When opportunity knocks and you’re not ready to answer it, it’s no longer an opportunity,” Johnston said, adding that workers should choose career paths that they’re “truly interested in.”

Smaller buildup

The proposed Marine Corps base on Guam, possibly on a site in Dededo off Route 3 near Andersen Air Force Base, would house about 5,000 Marines who will be accompanied by approximately 1,300 dependents.

That’s a 64 percent reduction in Marine forces being moved to Guam, compared to 2010 plan.

Pacific Daily News

TOK PISIN

14) Planti Caterets pipal istap nau long bikples Bougainville

Updated 24 April 2014, 7:23 AEST

Caroline Tiriman

Ol despla pipal i lusim ples blong ol bihaenim heve long climate change

Wanpla ailan long PNG

Odio: Climate Change i fosim ol Caterets pipal long lusim ples na stap nau long bikples Bougainville

Samting olsem  66 pipal blong Caterets Atolls long Autonomas rijan blong Bougainville long Papua New Guinea  istap olgeta nau long Tinputz long mainland Bougainville.

Ol despla pipal i lusim ol ples blong ol long Caterets long wonem climate change i kamapim ol bikpla solwara emi bagarapim ples blong ol.

Planti gaden kaikai na graon long Caterets igo insaet pinis long solwara na bikpla hangre isave kamap long ailan.

Olsem na sampla femili nau i surik pinis igo long Mainland Bougainville.

Ursulla Rakova, igo pas long Tulele Peisa Inc isave helpim helpim ol pipal long Caterets itok  olsem planti pipal iwok long surik igo nao long Tinputz.

Emi tok tu olsem ol pipal husat istap nau long bikpla Bougainville i mekim ol bikpla gaden na oli no save sot long kaikai.

Ms Rakova itok olsem sampla taem ol femili blong ol long Caterets isave raon lukim ol long Tinputz na karim kaikai igo bek long Caterets.

15) Solomon Islands imas lukluk gut long ol investas

Updated 24 April 2014, 8:25 AEST
Caroline Tiriman

Despla askim i kamap bihaen long Gold Ridge Mine i pas

Wanpla mansave blong Solomon Islands itok bai gutpla sopos gavman na ol bisnis lida imas lukluk gut long ol bikpla divelopman kampani em oli laik mekim bisnis long kantri.

Dr Tarcicius Tara Kabutaulaka, Associate Professor  long  Center for Pacific Islands Studies long University blong  Hawai’i’ long Honolulu i mekim despla toktok bihaenim tingting blong St Barbara i pasim pastem Gold Ridge mine long kantri.

St Barbara ibin pasim mine blong en long wonem emi tok ol floods na ol bikpla ren emi bin hamarim Solomon Islands tripla wik igo pinis ibin bagarapim mine.

Tasol sampla pipal long bisnis communiti long Solomon Islands itok pasin em despla kampani i mekim long pasim kuik mine ino stret.

Long wik igo pinis Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce ibin autim despla wari na oli askim St Barbara mining kampani long luksave long tok oraet emi bin sainim wantem gavman long ronim despla mine long Gold Ridge.

Nau Dr Tarcicius Tara Kabutaulaka husat i wanpla mansave blong Solomon Islands iet itok tingting blong pasim mine bai kamapim iet heve long ol wok moni oa ikonomi blong Solomon Islands.Radio Australia

16) Vanuatu bai kisim dinau ikam long China

Updated 24 April 2014, 7:49 AEST

Minista blong faenens blong Vanuatu, Maki Simelum, i saenim pinis  wanpela tok oraet  wantaim Exim Bank blong gavman blong China.

Odio: Vanuatu i sainim tok oraet long kisim dinau ikam long China Bank

Minista blong faenens blong Vanuatu, Maki Simelum, i saenim long tede wanpela lon agrimen wantaim Exim Bank blong gavman blong China.

Akting ambasada blong China long Vanuatu, Li Cuiyng, i sainim dispela 5 bilion Vatu loan agriment wantaim Mr Simelum long Port Vila.

Aninit long dispela agrimen, China bai givim dinau oa loan igo long Vanuatu blong helpim long bildim ol rot long ailan blong Malekula na long Tanna.

Mr Simelum itok gavman i laik bildim ol infrastraksa blong kamapim ol ekonomik aktiviti long rurol eria.

Em itok rot long Tanna bai gut long ol turis i go lukluk long Yasur volkeno na long Malekula, bai halvim ol fama long kisim maket blong ol i go long Lizlix wof.Radio Australia

FRENCH

17) Fidji: Suva et Nadi deviennent non-fumeuses

Mis à jour 24 April 2014, 17:28 AEST
Caroline Lafargue

Les deux villes principales de Fidji sont presque totalement sanctuarisées.

L’interdiction de fumer dans les lieux publics entre en vigueur aujourd’hui jeudi à Suva, et lundi à Nadi. Le décret de lutte contre le tabagisme, pris en 2010, commence donc à être réellement appliqué, mais avec encore quelques exceptions.

À Suva, le défi du ministère de la santé est de faire respecter l’interdiction au marché central, et aux arrêts de bus. Il est aussi désormais interdit de fumer dans cinq écoles à Nadi et Suva. L’interdiction totale dans les établissements scolaires n’est pas encore d’actualité. Le ministère de la Santé avance pas à pas, car une grande majorité des élèves sont fumeurs. Cela prend du temps de changer les mentalités. Peni Veilave, coordonnateur des projets de santé au ministère :

« Interdire le tabac à l’école, c’est la meilleure façon de changer les comportements dès le départ. En 2010, nos statistiques ont montré que plus de 65% des moins de 14 ans avaient déjà fumé. C’est un chiffre alarmant pour un petit État insulaire comme Fidji.»

La lutte contre le tabagisme peut paraître lente à Fidji. Mais, estime le Dr Temo Waqanivalu, coordonateur de la lutte contre les maladies non transmissibles pour l’OMS: « C’est un pas dans la bonne direction ».

Cette fois-ci, les fumeurs n’y couperont pas : ils seront verbalisés s’ils osent fumer dans les lieux publics de Nadi et Suva. Peni Veilave, au micro de Richard Ewart sur Radio Australie :

« Nous travaillons directement avec les municipalités. Elles ont formé une brigade de fonctionnaires qui sillonnent la ville. Et l’amende a été fixée à 200 dollars fidjiens. »

Soit 117 dollars australiens, une somme déjà élevée. D’après le ministère de la Santé, il y a eu une légère baisse du nombre de fumeurs entre 2010 et 2012.  Radio Australia

18) Les brèves d’Australie et du Pacifique – 24 avril 2014

Posté à 24 April 2014, 16:39 AEST
Caroline Lafargue

C’était une nième fausse piste. Mercredi un promeneur a découvert des débris sur une plage d’Augusta, en Australie Occidentale, dont un de la taille d’une voiture.

Aussitôt on a pensé à l’épave du MH370, censée sommeiller au fond de l’océan indien. Mais ce matin le Bureau Australien de la Sécurité des Transports confirme que ces débris ne sont pas ceux du Boeing 777 de la Malaysian Airlines.

Fidji: le 17 septembre sera férié et payé pour permettre aux Fidjiens d’aller voter. Ainsi en a décidé le gouvernement hier. Le 17 septembre tombe en effet en plein milieu de semaine, un mercredi. Ce seront les premières élections démocratiques à Fidji depuis 2006 et le coup d’État de Franck Bainimarama.

Ils auraient été comme des coqs en pâte, logés dans un hôtel de Port-Moresby avec piscine. Le quotidien australien « Herald Sun » consacre un article à 9 demandeurs d’asile, blessés dans les émeutes de février à Manus. L’Australie les a transférés dans la capitale papoue pour les soigner. Le Herald Sun insiste sur le luxe de l’hôtel Gateway, où la nuit coûte 200 dollars. Mais selon le Centre de Documentation sur les Demandeurs d’Asile, une ONG australienne, ces immigrés n’étaient pas en villégiature, mais bien enfermés dans leur chambre par les autorités, très embarrassées par leurs blessures.

Îles Salomon: alerte aux inondations-éclairs. De fortes pluies attendues aujourd’hui. Les zones basses et les rives des cours d’eau sont menacées. Sept provinces sont concernées par l’alerte : Temotu, Makira, Malaita, Choiseul, le Centre et l’Ouest, mais aussi Guadalcanal, l’île capitale. Le pays commençait à peine à se remettre des inondations meurtrières provoquées par Ita début avril.

Samoa américain: vague de régularisations. Plus de 3500 personnes sont concernées, la moitié est originaire du Samoa voisin, l’autre moitié est composée de Philippins, de Tongiens, de Chinois et de Fidjiens. Les Samoans américains n’ont pas un statut de citoyens américains à part entière. Ils ne peuvent pas voter à la présidentielle. Mais ils ont le droit de résider et de travailler sur le sol américain.

Samoa: le procès de Brian Lima s’ouvre aujourd’hui. C’est une star du rugby samoan et international. Brian Lima est surtout connu pour sa prestation en équipe nationale lors de la Coupe du Monde de Rugby en 1991 – Manu Samoa avait battu le Pays de Galles. Il est ensuite passé par le Stade Français, le club de rugby de Paris. Brian Lima comparaît devant les juges aujourd’hui pour violences conjugales. En décembre, son ex-épouse, la femme d’affaires Lemalu Sina Retzlaff, a brisé un tabou en portant plainte contre lui.

Samoa: coup de pouce de la Nouvelle-Zélande. 2014 a été déclarée année internationale des petits États insulaires en développement par l’ONU. Et ces pays se réuniront à Apia en septembre. La Nouvelle-Zélande est en train d’équiper le palais des congrès qui accueillera la conférence du plus grand ensemble de panneaux photovoltaïques du Pacifique. Hier le ministre kiwi des Affaires étrangères était à Apia pour voir l’avancée des travaux.

Vanuatu: le Centre de Recherche agricole embauche un agronome indien, spécialiste des ignames. Sa mission est de combattre la maladie qui touche les tubercules dans le pays. Ambraham Kuthomathatadil devra mettre au point des espèces qui résistent à l’anthracnose, une maladie courante, mais également aux variations climatiques.

Le feuilleton royal du jour. Ce jeudi le Duc et la Duchesse de Cambridge sont attendus à Canberra. Hier Kate était aux platines, lors de la visite d’un centre pour les jeunes en difficulté, à Elisabeth, une banlieue d’Adelaïde. Aujourd’hui c’est plus formel. Le couple princier visite le Parlement australien. Mais avant cela, ils doivent planter un arbre à l’Arboretum National.

HEALTH

19) WHO slams PNG National Doctors Association

By Online Editor
10:01 am GMT+12, 24/04/2014, Papua New Guinea

The Papua New Guinea National Doctors Association has come under fire for publishing a “misleading statement” that stated that the World Health Organisation certified two Chinese firms that will supply drugs to controversial company Borneo Pacific Pharmaceuticals.

The WHO took out a paid advertisement in the Post Courier newspaper to express disappointment with the association in the latest twist to the K71 million (US$25.5 million) medical kits controversy.

According to the Geneva-based organisation, the statement by the association that inferred it recognised the North China Pharmaceutical Corporation and CSPC Pharmaceutical Group was misleading as it does not recognise companies.

“The National Doctors Association states that the North China Pharmaceutical Corporation and CSPC Pharmaceutical Group ‘are recognised by WHO and UNICEF’ and that they have received certification from various regulatory authorities including the Chinese FDA that the quality of their products procured by Borneo Pacific Pharmaceuticals can be assured. This statement is misleading,” the statement from WHO said.

“WHO is not a supra-national regulatory authority and the WHO prequalification program is not a quality accreditation program. Furthermore, WHO does not ‘recognise’ companies.

“The WHO prequalification program was developed to guide procurement agencies.  WHO conducts inspections at manufacturing sites for active pharmaceutical ingredients and for finished pharmaceutical products and publishes results of these inspections in the World Health Organisation public inspection reports (WHOPIR).

“WHO is not aware of the regulatory status of the medicines produced by the North China Pharmaceutical Corporation and CSPC Pharmaceutical Group with various national regulatory authorities.”

Attempts by the Post-Courier to contact National Doctors Association president Dr James Naipao for his comment were unsuccessful.

He also did not respond to questions this newspaper sent to him through email.

The email was also copied to Department of Health Secretary Pascoe Kase, who did not respond nor answer telephone calls by this newspaper.

Amongst the list of questions was the cost of a trip to China last month to inspect the two Chinese companies’ manufacturing sites and who paid for it.

The association president, Health Minister Michael Malabag and are were part of the delegation. Malabag, in a text message to this newspaper last night, said he will get Kase to respond today.

In a blow to attempts by the association and the Health Department to defend the Government’s decision to award a K71 million(US$25.5 million) contract to Borneo Pacific Pharmaceuticals to supply medical kits throughout PNG,  WHO said it was “not aware” of the regulatory status of the medicines produced by the North China Pharmaceutical Corporation and CSPC Pharmaceutical Group, with various national regulatory authorities, which would raise more questions about the quality of the drugs that would be imported into the country.

“These two manufacturers currently do not have any Finished Pharmaceutical Products or Active Pharma-ceutical Ingredients that are prequalified by WHO’s prequalification program,” it said.

“It should be noted that the North China Pharmaceutical Corporation and CSPC Pharmaceutical Group are only two out of more than 40 manufacturers that supply products to Borneo Pacific for inclusion in the 100 percent medical kits.”

The statement by WHO follows an appeal by the Community Coalition Against Corruption (CCAC) recently for more details to be released on the China trip and for members of the delegation to declare that their views were not biased.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

POLITIC

20) New Caledonia Kanaks draw up charter

24 April 2014

New Caledonia’s customary Senate has prepared a charter of the Kanak people following a year of discussions.

A Kanak leader, Raphael Mapou, says it’s a novel approach for an indigenous people and defines its founding principles while it is finding its place in the current setting that should flow into a future constitution.

The document covers ties to the land, the role of the spoken word and the name, customary forgiveness, the importance of the sweet potato, the signficance of myths and legends and the Kanak languages.

Mr Mapou says there is no intention to undermine western institutions but there is a wish that Kanak customs are being taken into account in public policy.

He says the charter, which will be launched on Saturday, is also an expression of concern that customs risk being lost.

The Senate president, Paul Vakie, says the Kanaks’ expression on a legal level won’t happen until there is what he calls a balanced legal pluralism.Radio NZ

21) Investigation against Bainimarama ongoing – Fiji police

24 April 2014
The Fiji police say they are still investigating two complaints made against the Prime Minister, Rear Admiral Frank Bainimarama, for being in breach of laws pertaining to the election promised for September.

The complaints were lodged by Mick Beddoes of the United Front for a Democratic Fiji.

Jamie Tahana reports.

“The first complaint, that Rear Admiral Bainimarama is campaigning without having his party registered, in breach of the Political Parties Decree, was lodged three weeks ago. The second complaint, that he is displaying Fiji’s coat of arms on his campaign bus in contravention of the Coat of Arms of Fiji Act, was lodged 10 days ago. If convicted, Rear Admiral Bainimarama could face up to 10 years in jail. The police have said they cannot give a timeframe on how long the investigations will take.”Radio NZ

22) Fiji Labour Party calls for Electoral commission resignation

By Online Editor
12:54 pm GMT+12, 23/04/2014, Fiji

Fiji’s Labour Party remains unconvinced about the Electoral Commission’s independence calling for their resignation if they are not able to carry out their duties independently.

Labour Party president Lavinia Padarath said the commission appear “to be accepting objectionable provisions of the Electoral Decree that could undermine the conduct of free and fair elections.”

“This is totally unacceptable,” Padarath said.

“The commission should be left alone to act independently. If it is not allowed to do so, then the proper course for its members would be to resign because it is now a question of their integrity and credibility.”

The party also voices their concern about Section 3(3) of the decree which grants a blanket immunity to election officials from any criminal or civil proceedings and Section 4(2) of the Decree which “allows consultations with the line minister, in this case the Attorney General.”

Padarath said together, Sections 3(3) and 4(2) “negate all other provisions of the decree that require the Commission and the Supervisor of Elections to act impartially and independently in the performance of their duties.”

The party also insists that party symbols are to be included in the ballot paper.

Attempts to get comments from the chairman of the Electoral Commission Chen Bunn Young proved futile.

However, in recent interviews he has always insisted that the commission is independent.

Meanwhile, the Fijian Elections Office will work within the Electoral Decree provisions, says Elections Supervisor Mohammed Saneem.

His comment comes in the wake of calls from political parties requesting that amendments are made to some sections of the decree because they are “restrictive.”

Among sections they want changed include Section 115 which restricts voter education campaigns, Section 3(3) which grants a blanket immunity to election officials from ay criminal or civil proceedings in the course of their work and Section 63 of the Electoral Decree which prohibits any person from communicating political messages by telephone, internet, email, social media or other electronic means 48 hours before polling opens.

“The Fijian Elections Office will work within the Electoral Decree as it is. We are not in a position to make any changes or make a comment (on the issue of possible amendments to the decree),” Saneem said.

The Electoral Decree was released last month.

SOURCE: FIJI LIVE/PACNEWS

23) Former Fiji PM quits Social Democratic Liberal Party

By Online Editor
12:40 pm GMT+12, 24/04/2014, Fiji

Former coup leader and Prime Minister, Sitiveni Rabuka says that he has quit from the Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA).

This is after a statement from the party Wednesday said: “Major General Sitiveni Ligamamada Rabuka, OBE, (Ret) will not be contesting the 2014 General Elections as a SODELPA candidate. Due to recent media speculation, SODELPA also clarifies he will not be participating in the party under any official capacity, but remains a party member and staunch supporter of SODELPA. SODELPA wishes Major General Rabuka every success in his future public and private endeavors.”

Rabuka said: “I understand that the SODELPA Youth Council and the Women’s Wing objected to my membership with the party. I’ve accepted the decision and I told them that women will always be the country’s conscience and the youth are the society’s future.”

Rabuka explained how he joined the Ro Teimumu-led party.

“I was encouraged by the Queen Victoria School old boys to join the party when we were drafting our proposal for the Yash Ghai Commission. I just put my hands up to contribute towards nation-building.

“I had a private conversation with Laisenia Qarase so I joined the party,” Rabuka said.

Rabuka was being lined-up by supporters within SODELPA to be deputy leader. But when news of this leaked, there was a strong backlash by opponents within SODELPA and those who saw him as a liability, not an asset.

“I am prosecuted for my past and I thought I had cleaned it when I was the Prime Minister  from 1992-1997 but people were still holding grudges because of my past,” he said.

“There’s a saying that goes: “Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.”

What of his future in politics?

“I have not thought about it, but for the time being I’ll relax for a while.”.

SOURCE: FIJI SUN/PACNEWS

MEDIA

24) Fiji media watchdog says he’ll act if complaints received

24 April 2014

The chairman of Fiji’s Media Industry Development Authority says he will act on concerns that the Fiji Sun is flouting a government decree as soon as he receives an official complaint.

Ashwin Raj has defended his decision to censure Fiji TV for broadcasting so-called hate speech.

Earlier this month MIDA ruled Fiji TV had breached the Constitution and the Media Decree for airing certain comments by a provincial chief during a visit by the regime leader.

Opposition politicians have complained that the Fiji Sun has run a number of articles which report on the election campaigning of Rear Admiral Frank Bainimarama, despite him not yet having a registered party.

Mr Raj says he would treat any complaint seriously.

“And it’s something I’m looking forward to the official complaint so that I can act on it and I most definitely will. Here’s a critical issue raised by a politician and I’m going to look into it as soon as I receive an official complaint.”

The chairman of the Media Industry Development Authority Ashwin Raj.Radio NZ

BUSINESS

25) Vanuatu borrowing from China to build roads

24 April 2014

Vanuatu is to borrow 53 million US dollars from China to pay for road construction.

The Minister of Finance, Maki Simelum, signed an agreement earlier this week with the EXIM Bank of China.

The loan is over 20 years, with a two percent interest rate and a seven-year grace period before payments start.

Mr Simelum says it will be used to develop roads and put in bridges on Tanna and Malekula.

“As we know Tanna is very popular in terms of tourism. Tourists go there for the volcano. Our intention is to attract more tourists into that area. As for Malekula, the area is quite an area where it produces a lot of local produce – kava, taro – and it is a very productive area.”

Vanuatu’s Finance Minister, Maki Simelum.Radio NZ

26) Flawed land leases in PNG will be revoked, says PM

Updated 24 April 2014, 21:55 AEST
By Jemima Garrett for Radio Australia

Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister Peter O’Neill says controversial land leases abused by the timber industry will be cancelled.

PNG’s High Commissioner to Australia, Charles Lepani, relayed Mr ONeill’s message at the Australian Association for Pacific Studies Conference in Sydney on Thursday.

Mr O’Neill said all Special Agricultural and Business Leases, or SABLs, are under review and that those abused for forestry will be revoked.

A Commission of Inquiry into leases for more than five million hectares of land found that many of the leases were issued without landowners’ consent or had legal flaws.

Mr O’Neill said all future large-scale land leases would have to go before Cabinet.

He said an announcement would be made soon.

In 2011 a public outcry over the rorting, mainly by logging companies, of the leasing scheme prompted the PNG Government to set up the inquiry.

Three commissioners were set the task of investigating how 11 per cent of PNG’s land mass came to be leased, mostly for 99 years.Radio Australia

27) Newcrest axes PNG jobs in austerity drive

By Online Editor
12:50 pm GMT+12, 24/04/2014, Papua New Guinea

Gold miner Newcrest Mining will cut hundreds of jobs in Papua New Guinea in a push towards austerity.

The decision comes after the company launched a raft of cost-cutting projects across its operations last quarter.

The Melbourne-based gold miner, one of the world’s biggest, said it cut 208 jobs across a range of roles at its Lihir site from January to March. Newcrest said it also eliminated another 32 vacant roles at the site, its most expensive to operate.

Newcrest pinned its 11 per cent drop in third-quarter gold production on maintenance work at sites including Lihir and Cadia East in eastern Australia.

Newcrest’s priority is now on bolstering cash flow, “not maximising production ounces,” chief executive Greg Robinson said.

Some of the world’s largest resources companies, including BHP Billiton and Anglo American, have been cutting spending, shelving major projects and looking to run existing operations harder after pledging better capital discipline after years of heavy investment in new mines. This has resulted in hefty job cuts across the industry.

Commodity prices from coal to gold slumped as mine supply increased, the US moved to tighten monetary policy and economic growth in China cooled.

Newcrest has curbed spending over the past 18 months, which included closing its Brisbane office. This came after a sudden halt to a more-than-decadelong bull run for the gold market. Spot gold prices are currently down about 25 per cent from 2013’s highs.

In February, Newcrest reported a slide in first-half net profit — to AUD$40 million from the AUD$323 million in the same period a year earlier — as it posted write downs against exploration assets and extra tax charges tied to research and development.

“I think there is more room for us to move,” said Robinson of the company’s ability to cut costs further, on a call today with analysts and investors. He said the Lihir mine would be a focus for cash savings and productivity improvements in the period ahead.

It costs the company AUD$1344 an ounce to sustain operations at Lihir, compared with AUD$875 an ounce at its Telfer mine in Australia, and AUD$381 an ounce at its Cadia Valley site.

Newcrest separately confirmed Robinson would stand down in early July, and will be replaced by Sandeep Biswas. The former Rio Tinto executive joined Newcrest as chief operating officer in January with the expectation he would take over Robinson’s role in the latter half of 2014.

Shares in the company were recently up 1.5 per cent, outperforming a 0.5 per cent rise in the broader S&P/ASX 200. While third-quarter gold output fell to 551,590 ounces from 621,125 last quarter, production was still up 7 per cent compared with a year earlier.

The company also stuck to earlier estimates that gold output would reach the higher end of its 2.0-million ounce to 2.3 million-ounce guidance range this fiscal year.

Still, some fund managers are cautious. “Its balance sheet remains quite constrained, burdened by too much debt, and some of its major assets are simply being run for cash generation, which I believe is a very short-term approach,” said Ben Lyons, a Sydney-based portfolio manager at ATI Asset Management, who sold his fund’s holdings in Newcrest about 18 months ago.

In its half-year report in February, Newcrest said its operational cash flow had nearly halved, while debt-to-equity level jumped above 30 per cent from 17 per cent in the same period a year earlier.

SOURCE: THE AUSTRALIAN/PACNEWS

28) PNG PM welcomes World Bank support

By Online Editor
10:10 am GMT+12, 24/04/2014, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has welcomed the World Bank’s support for the government’s agriculture and road maintenance program.

Treasurer Patrick Pruaitch was in Washington DC (USA) last week to sign an agreement with the Bank securing US$150 million (K55.92m) for the initiatives.

“The World Bank has been our development partner for a long time now. The support for the two initiatives is an ongoing one, and is tailored towards our government’s priorities and development agenda, and I welcome their commitment,” O’Neill said.

US$30 million (K91.18m) will be spent to support over 60,000 small cocoa and coffee farmers. They will utilise this to double their production over five years under the Productive Partnerships in Agriculture Project.

Under the second initiative, US$120 million (K364.74m) will be spent on a road maintenance and rehabilitation program which started in 2011.

“The credit this facility provides to our small cocoa and coffee farmers in the country supports the Small and Medium Enterprises Initiatives of our government.

“Our aim is to make credit available to as many Papua New Guineans as possible to lift agriculture production.” “I urge all Papua New Guineans out there to utilise these facilities, seek credit that is available to get involved in small businesses and agriculture.”

“The second part of this initiative will be spent on maintenance and rehabilitation of roads to open up and improve access to the markets for some of our remote areas.

“This supports our massive infrastructure development program that is being implemented across the country now.”

“In five years, this initiative will reach more than the 60,000 farmers that is envisaged because of the infrastructure program that is being rolled out now by our government,” the Prime Minister said..

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

29) Nautilus completes building first sea-floor production tool

By Online Editor
10:09 am GMT+12, 24/04/2014, Papua New Guinea

Nautilus Minerals Limited has completed assembling the first of three of its Sea-floor Production Tools (SPT), the company announced.

Chief executive officer Mike Johnston said this is a major milestone for the company and one which brings it closer to making sea floor mining a reality.

Johnston said this is the first of three production tools which would be assembled.

He said the tool will be built by British company Soil Machine Dynamics Ltd (SMD).

The company is an expert in the “marinization” of mechanical, hydraulic and electronic equipment for use in a subsea environment (water and pressure immersion).

The statement reads: “This manufacturing company uses this skill set as the basis of much of its existing product line in remotely operated vehicles and subsea trenchers.

“Nautilus is proud to be able to utilize their vast experience in the design, manufacture and testing of our SPT.

“We are proud to have such world class companies and institutions involved in the design and testing of these tools.

“The next step is to carry out commissioning and acceptance testing of the bulk cutter in parallel with assembling the other two production tools, the auxiliary cutter and the collecting machine.”

The machine just assembled is reportedly the heaviest of the three production tools that will be used for its sea bed mining activities, weighing 310 tonnes.

“The excavation and collection has been split into three individual tasks which will each be carried out by a different vehicle.

“The auxiliary cutter is designed as the pioneering machine which prepares the rugged sea bed for the more powerful bulk cutter. These two machines gather the excavated material, the third vehicle – the collecting machine – will collect the cut material by drawing it in as seawater slurry with internal pumps and pushing it through a flexible pipe to the subsea pump and on to the production ship via a riser system.

In an earlier statement, Johnston said 2013 had been a challenging year for Nautilus.

He said although the company had recently terminated the State equity option agreement, Nautilus is continuing discussions with the State to reach an amicable resolution.

He also said Nautilus remains committed to maximizing shareholder value by achieving its objective of developing the world’s first commercial high grade seafloor copper-gold project and launching the deep water seafloor resource production industry.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

30) Tribe quits casino deal in Fiji

By Online Editor
10:12 am GMT+12, 24/04/2014, Fiji

Snoqualmie Tribe, the American Indian tribe that had invested in a project to build Fiji’s first casino, says it pulled out of the deal because of issues with the developer, One Hundred Sands.

Jaime Martin, the communications and public relations officer for the Snoqualmie Tribe, said the developer was granted an exclusive licence to build and operate casinos in the country, had defaulted on payments due to the tribe, which resulted in their decision to end their involvement in the Fiji project.

“Since 2011, the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe invested with One Hundred Sands to develop a casino experience that would provide first-class entertainment and provide a positive economic impact for the people of Fiji,” he said.

“Unfortunately, One Hundred Sands has defaulted on a $US1.5million ($F2.73m) note which was due to the tribe in February 2014.

“The Snoqualmie Indian Tribe has been patient and co-operative throughout this project.

“We have reached out to One Hundred Sands seeking repayment of this loan but have yet to receive payment.

“We wish the people of Fiji and the project much success.”

One Hundred Sands chairman Larry Claunch said after the deal with the Snoqualmie Tribe fell through, he managed to secure funding through other means.

“We have secured other investors through Tim Manning from New Zealand,” he said.

“Tim Manning is One Hundred Sands investment partner, president and CEO.

“The project is moving forward quickly,” he said.

SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

31) PNG gas cash lift for Oil Search

By Online Editor
10:05 am GMT+12, 23/04/2014, Papua New Guinea

Oil Search chief, Peter Botten has flagged substantial dividends in the opportunity to participate in up to three extra LNG trains in Papua New Guinea as the $US19 billion ($20.3bn) PNG LNG nears first production and a huge cashflow boost for its owners.

Botten confirmed March statements from PNG LNG ­operator ExxonMobil that the project would export PNG’s first liquefied natural gas in the middle of the year, a few months earlier than scheduled.

As a result, Oil Search said full-year production was now expected to be at the higher end of previously issued guidance of 13-16 million barrels of oil equivalent, which led to higher earnings estimates from analysts.

While the early LNG shipments will provide a short-term cash boost, the real prize for the company is the $1.5bn a year in cashflow the project is expected to generate over the coming decades.

“First LNG sales, which are expected to commence in the next few months, will herald the commencement of a steady, long-term cashflow stream for Oil Search, providing the company with sufficient funds to finance value-accretive growth opportunities as well as pay ­material dividends,” Botten said.

Oil Search is expected to reveal a dividend policy for its step change in cashflows at its interim results in August.

But the company is also firmly focused on growth, having paid $US900 million for a 23 per cent stake in PNG’s biggest undeveloped gasfields, Elk and Antelope, which Botten and his partners, InterOil and Total, say have the potential to underpin an LNG development.

“Together with an expansion of the PNG LNG project, underwritten by gas resources in the Highlands and Western Province, it is now likely that Oil Search will be involved in the development of two, or possibly three, additional LNG trains in PNG over the next five years,” Botten said.

First-quarter production of 1.68 million barrels of oil equivalent was down 5 per cent on the previous quarter but up by the same amount on Deutsche Bank expectations of 1.6 million barrels.

Deutsche Bank boosted its full-year profit estimate by 9 per cent to $US399m, even after taking a conservative approach to production and estimating that the company would produce 14.2 million barrels of oil equivalent this year.

Next year, the bank is forecasting earnings will jump to $US904m.

Botten said a dispute process over InterOil’s sale of a stake in Elk and Antelope to Total, and whether Oil Search had pre-emptive rights, involved arbitration proceedings in London and injunctive relief through PNG courts.

“At the same time, formal negotiations are under way to achieve a commercial resolution,” he said.

SOURCE: THE AUSTRALIAN/PACNEWS

32) First Locally Incorporated Bank Approved In Solomon Islands
Pan Oceanic Bank to enhance competition, improve services

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, April 23, 2014) – The Central Bank of Solomon Islands, has granted a ‘full banking license’ to Pan Oceanic Bank Limited, making it the first locally incorporated bank to be given the green light to operate in the country.

The Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation reports that the decision was made at the CBSI Board of Directors meeting last Thursday.

The CBSI Board approved the Pan Oceanic Bank’s full assessment and Due Diligence report done over a period of 12 months.

The Central Bank says it’s optimistic that the introduction of another entrant in the banking sector market will enhance further competition and improve banking services to the public and the economy.

Radio New Zealand International

LAW&ORDER

33) New PNG draconic laws in effect

By Online Editor
09:57 am GMT+12, 23/04/2014, Papua New Guinea

The penalty of 50-years without parole for stealing or misappropriating more than K1 million (US$360,000) is now in effect, officials in the law and justice sector have warned.

The law came into effect last September but some law enforcement agencies were not aware of the amendments to the Criminal Code, which were passed by the National Parliament in May 2013 and certified for months later.

The Government’s second legislative counsel, Johnny Bogembari, told the Post-Courier in an interview that the penalty was now law and all law enforcement agencies should be made aware and apply where necessary.

The penalty was part of a number of controversial amendments pushed through by the Government in response to a public outcry against gender violence, following the barbaric burning of Western Highlands woman Laniata Kepari in Mount Hagen in February last year. A senior law enforcement officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said certain offences needed harsher penalties and law enforcement agencies needed to enforce them.

“Parliament is Supreme and makes laws. Parliament has considered that certain offences need harsher penalties hence passed or amended these laws including fraud and stealing offences under the Criminal Code. It’s good to have the maximum penalties for prevalent offences than not having them at all. Now it’s up to the law enforcement agencies to enforce the laws. The challenge I see though is the fear of having ‘blind justice’ – sending the wrong person to jail, that is the danger,” he said.

“When we see offenders effectively prosecuted and jailed under the previous law, though penalties were light, we could achieve the same result. It would send a very strong message: deterrence. That would mean that we don’t have to exhaust the highest penalties.”

Some other features of the new amendments include a new section on aggravated rape, which now attracts the death penalty, life imprisonment for persons if the property misappropriated exceeds K10 million and 50-years imprisonment without parole for misappropriation.

The amendments according to the law enforcement officer have the potential to deprive a person of his or her life and liberty and raises questions on whether true justice can be delivered when the bench is chaired by a single judge.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

34) Human trafficking evident in PNG

By Online Editor
1:04 pm GMT+12, 23/04/2014, Papua New Guinea

Domestic servitude, forced labour and sexual slavery or forced prostitution are most common and serious forms of exploitation of human trafficking in Papua New Guinea.

These forms of human trafficking may not be seen as serious because they are  also entwined in PNG’s cultures, for instance; forced marriages and domestic servitude.

Forced marriage is a marriage in which one or both of the parties are married without his or her consent or against his or her will. In PNG this may happen because of bride price.

Domestic servitude refers to performing personal tasks for a dominant partner, also as part of a submissive role, if there is a relationship such as a sexual one.

Joe Saferius from the International Office of Migration (IOM) says human trafficking is quite new in terms of information and awareness but it is here and is happening.

Saferius who is the  community outreach assistant said the campaign has generated sufficient awareness and empowerment to the silent majority.

He said with the human trafficking legislation in the pipeline for implementation, all perpetrators and victims will face justice.

“In order to get the public to understand human trafficking and issues surrounding it, IOM has identified targeted provinces for a pilot project,” Saferius said.

Provinces involved are NCD, Western, AROB, West Sepik, Eastern Highlands, Morobe and Madang. The awareness program started in 2010 with most of the target completing awareness.

The IOM completed campaigns in March in Morobe and Madang provinces. With the theme “Combating Human Trafficking in Papua New Guinea”  the campaign is aimed at informing the public about what human trafficking is, the various forms of trafficking and what help is available.

Saferius said: “In simple terms, the message conveyed to audiences of all kinds, is that human trafficking is same as modern day slavery and should stop.

“About 80 per cent of awareness campaigns targeted secondary and tertiary institutions which we believe will translate the message to their respective communities.”

Students from Teachers and Nursing Colleges were very much encouraged to advocate this important information and awareness when they are posted to do their practicals or work in the future.

Saferius said the general public throughout the awareness campaigns have raised concerns that people are bought, sold, trapped, tricked and lured for purposes of exploitation.

The campaign has generated sufficient awareness and empowerment to the silent majority. With the Human Trafficking Legislation in the pipeline for implementation, all perpetrators and victims will face justice alike.

The project is funded by the US Department of State and implemented by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the Department of Justice and Attorney General of PNG.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

CLIMATE CHANGE,CONSERVATION & ENVIROMENT

35) Heavy rain alert issued for flood-hit provinces in Solomon Islands

Updated 24 April 2014, 16:56 AEST
Neelima Choahan

A heavy rain alert has been issued for parts of Solomon Islands still recovering from severe flooding earlier this month.

Solomon Islands Meteorological Service issued the alert for all provinces including Temotu, Malaita, Central, Isabel and the Western provinces.

It warns that heavy rain could lead to flash flooding to communities close to rivers, streams and low-lying areas.

Climate adviser to the Pacific Regional Environment Program, Neville Koop, who is in Fiji, says the rain is caused by a week tropical depression close to the Solomons.

“The tropical depression is associated with the resurgence of monsoons across Papua New Guinea and the Solomons stretching across towards Vanuatu,” he told Radio Australia.

Mr Koop says he doesn’t expect the tropical depression to develop into a cyclone.

“It is fairly weak. It is not expected to intensify but it is producing fairly widespread rains across the Solomon since yesterday,” he said.

“Solomons is known for having very intense rainfall but this event will be fairly modest by Solomon Islands standards I think.”

‘Potential for flooding’

The country is still recovering from severe floods which swept through the capital, Honiara, and Guadalcanal province on April 3, leaving a total of 23 people dead and 9,000 homeless.

Mr Koop says areas that have been affected by the recent floods will see quite a bit of rain in the next day or two.

“I don’t think you will see flooding of the rivers to the extent we saw a month or so ago,” he said.

Audio: Solomon Islands braces for heavy rain, possible floods(ABC News)

“That sort of rain is not expected with this event but certainly there is potential for flooding around creeks and streams.”

Mr Koop warns residents in low-lying areas to stay alert for any eventuality and move their belongings to higher grounds.

“Anyone in low-lying areas around drains, rivers, creeks that are smallish rivers can be affected by heavy rains,” he said.

“They should listen for the local advisory from the Solomon Islands Meteorological Service. They will give you more details about the specific rainfall you will see in your location.

“If you are in a low-lying area, make sure you are not caught near the open streams and creeks.”

Evacuees encouraged to return home

Meanwhile, the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) has warned people not to listen to rumours promising they will get cash support if they stay in evacuation centres.

The NDMO has been able to close five evacuation centres and allow many students to resume classes.

However, several thousand people are still in emergency housing in several schools.

Dr Melchior Mataki, the chairman of the National Disaster Council, says his office is focusing on using humanitarian aid to get people back into their homes because cash grants can be abused.

He says the NDMO will provide materials and other tools to help people rebuild their homes and restart their livelihoods.

“We want to do what we can to help those who need it,” Mr Mataki said in a statement.

“Where possible, we will be providing assistance to people from their homes rather than the evacuation centres. This way we will be able to properly assess what is needed.”

On Thursday the government of Nauru announced it had donated $AUD30,000 to support the Solomons in its recovery efforts.

In a letter to Solomon Island’s Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo, Nauru’s President Baron Waqa expressed deep condolences and a speedy recovery for the nation.

Jenny Barile, Acting High Commissioner for Solomon Islands in Canberra, says the donation will go a long way towards her government’s rebuilding efforts.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

36) Pacific atolls resilient to rising seas: study

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

Rising sea levels caused by global warming are unlikely to swamp the small atoll nations of the South Pacific, a University of Auckland academic claims.

Writing for the Australian science website Conservation, Professor Paul Kench said new evidence suggested that low-lying coral reef islands would be more resilient to sea-level rise than thought.

Sand and shingle islands lying one to three metres above the current sea level were considered among the most vulnerable places on Earth.

“The new findings suggest that, rather than being passive lumps of rock that will be swamped by rising seas and eroded by storms, the islands are dynamic structures that can move and even grow in response to changing seas,” he said.

Kench closely examined how reef islands formed over the past 5,000 years, including Jabat Island in the Marshall Islands. That island was created 5,000 years ago as sea level rose to 1.5 metres above its present level.

Other case studies in the Great Barrier Reef and the Maldives also showed that islands could form under a range of sea-level conditions including rising, falling, and stable.

The Auckland study also looked at how islands physically changed over the past 60 to 100 years, including areas where the sea level has been rising at more than two millimetres per year for the past five decades.

In Tuvalu’s Funafuti Atoll the researchers found most of the islands either remained stable in size or grew larger, in spite of rising sea levels.

“All of this shows that reef islands are able to grow under current climate conditions.”

The findings suggested coral islands were very dynamic landforms that adjust their shape and position on reef surfaces over decades, Kench said.

“Low-lying islands are built by the action of waves and currents, which deposit sand and gravel at the shoreline.”

In the process islands can change their shape and migrate across reef surfaces.

“Our results suggest that islands can grow upwards when waves wash over them during storms or tsunami, depositing sand in the process,” he said.

“This suggests that islands may be able to withstand rising sea levels and increased storminess – although life on those islands may be very different to today.

He said on the face of it the findings ere potentially good news for Pacific communities.

SOURCE: FAIRFAX NZ/PACNEWS

37) Dry weather predicted across western Pacific as El Nino cycle set to return early

By Online Editor
10:05 am GMT+12, 24/04/2014, Samoa

The El Nino cycle is expected to return to western Pacific as early as July this year, meteorologists say.

El Ninos bring dry weather, and potential drought and tropical cyclone conditions.

The Australia Bureau of Meteorology says the Pacific Ocean has been warming along the equator over recent weeks, and continued warming is expected in central Pacific in coming months.

Reduced rainfall in Fiji is already pointing to El Nino patterns.

For Australia, El Nino is usually associated with below average rainfall.

Since 1990, around two-thirds of El Nino events there have caused major droughts.

Meteorology and climate adviser to the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, Neville Koop, says Pacific Islanders will need to prepare for the impacts of dry weather from December onwards.

“The very insidious thing about El Nino is they creep up quite slowly and before you really know, it’s upon you, the problems have set in,” he told Pacific Beat.

“In this case it’s drought, its lack of rain.

“If we start engaging some simple water management practices right now, we’ll find ourselves in a better situation later on when the dry weather really starts to bite.”.
SOURCE: RADIO AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS

38) Fiji leads the way in mangrove protection

By Online Editor
3:58 pm GMT+12, 23/04/2014, Fiji

When it comes to the protection of mangroves – Fiji is still way ahead of other Pacific countries.

And with the need for greater awareness on the importance of mangroves,Government has set up a committee that will ensure the protection and restoration of mangroves areas.

“People are not aware how important mangroves are to things like fisheries, to fisheries protection. What we are just finding out is that standard mangroves hold 50 to 100 times more carbon then similar standard rainforest,” said Regional Director of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Taholo Kami.

Countries from around the region represented here heard of Fiji’s efforts to protect mangroves.

“Congratulations to the Government of Fiji in terms of the leadership they’ve taken so far. Sometimes when you look around Suva you might be thinking….wow…there’s a lot of mangroves being removed but I think there are from reports from the Government there is a real concern at the highest level about how to do this properly and hope over time we’ll see progress but the fact that there are commitments being made at the highest level and it’s an example that’s being talked about at this meeting.”

Government, he says is taking the lead in mangrove protection and restoration drive.

“Government and stakeholders are putting together a national mangrove plan and that document is near completion and government has taken very strong leadership saying we need to do this properly and its recognized at this meeting that Fiji heads the way in terms of leadership on a policy that guides the use of the foreshore.

SOURCE: FIJI TV/PACNEWS

SPORTS.

39) Tuqiri to join Bati

By Online Editor
1:19 pm GMT+12, 23/04/2014, Fiji

Dual international Lote Tuqiri will represent the Vodafone Fiji Bati rugby league in the qualifying match for the Four Nations Championship against Pacific rival Samoa next month.

The team will be skippered by North Queensland Cowboys forward Ashton Sims and assisted by Tikiko Noke.

Tuqiri, who represented Australia in both codes — union and rugby league — has been named in the Fiji Bati team along side several other National Rugby League (NRL) players such as Kevin Naiqama, Semi Radradra, Korbin Sims and Marika Koroibete.

The local trio of Osea Sadrau, Tikiko Noke and Atunaisa Turagaiviu will be flying to Australia tomorrow to join head coach Rick Stone and the other Bati players.

Vodafone Fiji Bati assistant coach Jo Rabele said the match would be crucial to determine Fiji’s fate in participating at the Four Nations against rugby league powerhouses, England, New Zealand and world champions, the Kangaroos.

“This is a very important match for us,” Rabele said.

“Rick (Stone) has given his team which includes several NRL players and that includes Lote. Rick knows how important this game is and we’re not taking our approach lightly.”

Rabele said Tuqiri’s experience would be a huge boost to the national rugby league side. The Namatakula man, who is contracted with South Sydney Rabbitohs, has 155 NRL games under his belt, 67 Test caps for the Wallabies and nine caps for the Kangaroos. He last represented Fiji when he captained the Bati side at the 2000 Rugby League World Cup.

At last year’s RLWC, Fiji defeated Toa Samoa to qualify for the semi-finals, a repeat of the 2008 RLWC in Australia.

“Samoa will be in full force. They will be very tough to beat and already we know that they will also field all NRL players for this very crucial game.

“We have only three local players that will be joining the team in Australia and we’re hoping for the best in this game.”

Bati Squad: Kevin Naiqama, Marika Koroibete, Lote Tuqiri, Sisa Waqa, Eto Nabuli, Alipate Tani, Aaron Groom, Ashton Sims, James Storer, Kane Evans, Jason Bukuya, Korbin Sims, Semi Radradra, Apisai Koroisau, Vitale Roqica, Taqele Naiyaravoro, Peni Botiki, Kali Tani, Tikiko Noke, Atunaisa Turagaiviu, Osea Sadrau.
SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

40) Ba can win Champs League: Hekari coach

By Online Editor
1:21 pm GMT+12, 23/04/2014, Fiji

Ba has a good chance to win this season’s OFC Champs League and qualify for the FIFA Club World Cup in Morocco, says Hear United coach Jerry Allen.

The Solomon Islander who guided the top PNG club to the Club World Cup in 2010 believes Ba players have the right attitude and can match the best in the region.

Speaking to FijiLive, Allen said they were lucky to hold the Fijian giants in their last group stage match.

“Ba is a champion team and it is always a pleasure to play against them. Some of their players namely Alvin Singh, Malakai Tiwa, Osea Vakatalesau, Maciu Dunadamu and Tuimasi Manuca have played for my team in the past and we love the way they play.

“They have the right mix of players with the right attitude and should do well in the semifinals and final. If a club from PNG can qualify for FIFA Club World Cup then why cant Ba?.

They have been in the competition for longer and have proven to be a tough opponent to almost all the teams.”

Allen believes the current form of Vakatalesau and Dunadamu will help the Men In Black net goals in the elimination round.

“Osea is looking very fit. Maciu has also been scoring for them so their partnership will really be lethal and dangerous and I wish them and the rest of the players all the very best for the semifinals.”

Vodafone 4R Electrical Men In Black Ba hosts Amicale at Govind Park in the first leg of the semifinal at 1pm this Sunday.

SOURCE: FIJI LIVE/PACNEWS

41) National unity to be the focus of 2014 PNG Games, say organisers

By Online Editor
1:02 pm GMT+12, 24/04/2014, Papua New Guinea

This year’s 6th PNG Games, to be held in Lae from 16 to 29 November, have undergone radical reforms, with an increased focus on national unity and establishing them as the pathway to regional and international competitions, according to Phil Franklin, Chairman of the Games Organising Committee.

The former Managing Director of Trukai Industries has been appointed by the national government to ensure not only are this year’s PNG Games in Morobe Province are successful, but to lay the groundwork for future PNG Games.

“We’ve been tasked with running the Games in a friendly, Morobe-like manner, but at the same time in a business-like manner,” he told Business Advantage PNG.

The reforms are partly to accord with the PNG Sports Foundation’s and PNG Games Council’s desire to continue improvements to the standard and quality of the PNG Games, by ensuring that each of the provinces runs its own provincial games prior to the PNG Games. bringing together all  districts  to compete  to assist in the selection process for those sports people who will represent their province at the 2014 Games.

“In the past, some provinces have just turned up without conducting selection programs,” notes Franklin.

The Committee is at the point of seeking business sponsors, says Franklin. Packages will be released shortly and, with live telecast of the opening ceremony on 16 November and also certain other events, he suggests will be value for those companies that invest.

“We are looking for a naming rights sponsor that is prepared to help us promote and develop national unity and provincial pride through participation in sports,” he elaborates.

‘We have engaged a sports marketing consultant to ensure that the naming rights package and the other packages are able to deliver on sponsors’ brand objectives, commercial objectives, corporate and social responsibility objectives as well as media equivalency.’

The games slogan is Bilong yumi.

‘It means, “Our Games”—that they are for us as a nation,’ explains Franklin. ‘These games are about PNG and involve getting Papua New Guineans into sport, bringing people together and breaking down any cultural barriers.’

More than 10,000 athletes and team officials from all 22 provinces are expected to take part, with almost 350 officials ensuring the Games run smoothly.

“Lae will be abuzz with people. Many rural people will come to be spectators , boosting the local Morobe economy as they buy and take goods home. And we’re expecting hundreds of small businesses to be operating, providing food, drinks and transport.”

The PNG Games are also designed to leave behind a legacy of  improved infrastructure.

The National Government, through the PNG Sports Foundation, has invested an additional K8 million into the refurbishment of a synthetic track, indoor complex, swimming pool, netball courts and amenities at the Sir Ignatius Kilage Stadium in Lae, making its total contribution K20 million

With up to a million people expected in Lae over the two weeks of the Games, Franklin and his team have begun finalising the Games structure.

“The Committee is very active and we’ve had excellent support from the provincial government and Governor Kelly Naru and our local member, Loujaya Toni,” he says.

‘Schools and universities will be closed during the two weeks of the Games and that’s where the athletes will be housed. We are issuing tickets to every event but only to control numbers, as all but six final events will be free.’.
SOURCE: BUSINESS ADVANTAGE PNG/PACNEWS

42) 2800+ athletes confirmed for Fiji’s Coca Cola Games

By Online Editor
1:00 pm GMT+12, 24/04/2014, Fiji

More than 2800 athletes will be part of this year’s Coca Cola Games which by far is the biggest in the history of the Fiji secondary schools athletics finals.

And the numbers are expected to get bigger with the inclusion of maritime zone athletes who end their qualification rounds Wednesday.

With the increase in the number of athletes, Games organisers are considering to spread the competition over the three days from next year.

Sponsor’s representative Lawrence Tikaram said they are looking to start the Games from Thursday evening and end on Saturday afternoon from 2015.

“We will be meeting with the Minstry of Education officials about our proposal for a three day Games and will see how things go.”

Games organising committee Vuli Waqa said all preparations are complete and they are looking forward to a bigger and better Games this year.

“We are just left with the printing of the program for the Games and apart from that everything else has been done and we are eagerly waiting for the games to begin.”

“There is a slight change in the Games Village for the athletes.

The Games Village shifts from the Hockey Centre to Buckhurst and Bidesi Grounds and this areas will only be accessible to school heads, coaches, teachers and athletes only.”

He added that with a large number of athletes competiting this year, they will cutting down the number of throws and jumps in the field events and athletes will only be allowed to make three attempts.

A delegation from Papua New Guinea will also be present at the South Pacific’s biggest schools athletics meet to observe and understudy as they are keen to organise a similar style of competition in their country.

Meanwhile, the Annual General Meeting of the Fiji Secondary Schools Athletics Association will also take place during the Games.

The 2014 Coca Cola Games which kicks start with the first event at 9.40am on Friday will be officially opened by the British High Commissioner to Fiji, Roderick Drummond and the Games will be closed by Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.
SOURCE : FIJI LIVE/PACNEWS

43) Fiji and Vanuatu establish sporting development cooperation

By Online Editor
12:56 pm GMT+12, 24/04/2014, Fiji

In a move aimed at strengthening relations with its Melanesian neighbors, the Fijian Government Wednesday signed a Memorandum of Agreement with Vanuatu to develop the sporting sectors in both countries.

At this historic signing held in Nadi, Fiji’s Minister for Youth and Sports Viliame Naupoto highlighted the importance of sports towards reducing Non Communicable Diseases. He added that the Bainimarama Government’s commitment to developing Fiji’s sporting sector took into consideration its impact on Fiji’s youth.

“The Fijian government has invested a lot in sport development in Fiji and also we recognize sports as tool for nation building as agent for social and economic change,” Minister Naupoto said.

“Sports have contributed immensely to the development of our younger generation and towards character building,” Minister Naupoto said.

He highlighted that through this mutual agreement is indicative of how the two countries can share resources, experiences and expertise in the field of sports.

Sharing similar sentiments Vanuatu’s Minister for Youth and Sports Anthony Wright said this MOU we are able to foster promote and strengthen technical assistance in the development of sports programs and physical education curriculum and activities.

“This agreement will benefit the sportsmen and women of both countries and we thank the Fijian government for this opportunity to share their experiences and expertise in the field of sports,” Wright said.

Minister Wright they are now looking at fostering bilateral relations with other Melanesian Spearhead Group countries.

SOURCE: MINFO/PACNEWS

www.voiceofmelanesia.com

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