Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 973


MELANESIA

1) 14 missing at sea off PNG’s Bougainville

1/5/2014

The Australian Defence Force is conducting aerial searches over a large swathe of the Papua New Guinea islands region, looking for a boat carrying 14 people that has been missing since Friday.

The group, which includes four children, had been travelling from Bougainville’s Nissan Island to Buka.

The Bougainville provincial disaster manager, Franklin Lacey, says the group’s seven-metre craft would have been caught in 30 knot winds.

Mr Lacey says they have some confidence that the 14 will be found.

He says people lost at sea in the region have been known to survive for long periods.

“We have some confidence that they will locate them. The longest time that we had people lost on the boat was 28 days – 28 days I think we secured these guys. That was back in 2009.”

The Bougainville provincial disaster manager, Franklin Lacey..Radio NZ

2) News Release

Government Communications Unit
Solomon Islands Government
Honiara, Solomon Islands

April 30, 2014

Bougainville, Solomon Islands Begin Trade Talks

Senior officials from the Solomon Islands Government have held talks with a delegation from Bougainville this week to further strengthen trade links between Solomon Islands and Bougainville.

The key aim of the meeting is to explore how Solomon Islands and Bougainville could improve on the existing trade links and to capitalize on the growing foreign investment interests on Bougainville.

Head of the Bougainville delegation, Mr Sam Kaona informed the meeting that Bougainville currently has established strong investment connections with South East Asia, particularly, Singapore and their wish is to share these opportunities with Solomon Islands.

He said the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) believes that establishing strong partnerships and understanding with Solomon Islands is crucial for modern economic advancement for both parties.

“We wish to partner with Solomon Islands to further develop our existing trade links so that we can take it further so where there are obstacles, we can address together so that enhanced trade between our Islands can flourish,” Kaona said.

Secretary to the Prime Minister, Jeffery Wickham who chaired the meeting said Solomon Islands is pleased with the initiative to establish further understanding on trade links between Bougainville and Solomon Islands.

He added that the Solomon Islands Government is keen to strengthen these links and to develop new business partnerships with Bougainville.

The talks covered areas including common border issues such as immigration, customs, quarantine, investment opportunities in fuel supplies, shipping services, grocery goods, agricultural commodities, fisheries and trade agreements and policies.

Officials from relevant SIG Ministries have been assigned to work together and maintain constant communication with their Bougainville counterparts to move the process forward.

3) Six Vanuatu officials suspended over land deals

1/5/2014
Six senior staff at Vanuatu’s Department of Lands have been suspended for the alleged misappropriation of state land.

The staff are linked to the issuance of state land titles sold to Lands staff during the tenure of a former Lands Minister, Steven Kalsakau, between 2011 and 2012.

These land leases have now all been cancelled.

This follows a campaign by the current minister, Ralph Regenvanu, to get these lands titles, which were sold at a discount and totalled almost 100, back to the state.

“The public service commission has engaged in a disciplinary process against the staff involved and that is proceeding as well. Under the public service commission, there was an investigation done and completed, and as of today six senior staff have been suspended, awaiting disciplinary action.”

Ralph Regenvanu says there is also an ongoing investigation by the Ombudsman into the actions of Stephen Kalsakau as Minister and whether they breached the Leadership Code.Radio NZ

4) Vanuatu Lands staff to be refunded for unlawfully issued leases

1/5/2014
Vanuatu’s Lands Minister Ralph Regenvanu says people will be refunded for buying state land titles in sales which are now cancelled.

The government has cancelled all land leases issued to Lands staff during the tenure of a previous Lands Minister, Steven Kalsakau, between 2011 and 2012.

This followed a consent order from the court saying the leases, sold at discount, were unlawfully issued.

The issuance of the leases is to be investigated by the ombudsman.

Mr Regenvanu says in total 97 leases have come back to the state.

“There are no developments on the titles. They were awarded and then when I got in as Minister in April last year, I put a hold on any dealings on those lands. Staff who have paid money can get whatever they paid refunded to them. And what they paid wasn’t much: overall roughly the titles were got at one percent of market value. So it’s not a lot of money.”

Ralph Regenvanu ( Radio NZ)

5) Vanuatu daily news digest | 1 May 2014

by bobmakin

  • The first land rent review for state owned lands in the capital leads today’s Daily Post news and should be read by all land holders. Lands Minister Regenvanu announced the new annual lease assessments in a press conference Tuesday. He also revealedproceedings intended against suspended Lands Department staff including six senior personnel at the time Steven Kalsakau was Lands Minister, which is also made clear in Post. Defrauding of the state in this matter is of a considerably higher order than the other lead story today in which a police officer was arrested for issuing fake 2014 road tax stickers which were simply photocopies of the valid yellow adhesive label. Your editor learned of the scam from a bus driver’s radio and, on transfer to another bus, immediately found an example of the fraud. There are therefore likely to be many false stickers in use.
  • Daily Post today carries news of the New Caledonia Congress supplying camera equipment for the transmission of live streamed telecasts of Parliament (http://stream.parliament.gov.vu) enabling viewing of parliamentary proceedings from anywhere in the world with internet.
  • Radio Vanuatu News reports the extensive works for Luganville wharf starting in June. The Bank of China is said to be lending for the purpose. Shanghai Construction Group, previously intended for Bauerfield airport extension work, will take 3 years to complete the project, especially designed to assist cruise ships.
  • VBTC draws the public’s attention to the Geodynamics environment meeting at the Chiefs’ Nakamal tomorrow morning at 10 am. This concerns the geo-thermal project at Takara and is intended to give the wider public a chance to comment on their expected environmental concerns.
  • The daily paper has most of the news today, including that of cheque-book diplomacy by Indonesia at work in Fiji which will host the UN Decolonization Committee Conference in three weeks in Nadi.
  • Vanuatu’s new Ambassador to the United Nations, Odo Tevi, will be the guest speaker at a Pacific Institute of Public Policy Eminent Speakers Forum in Port Vilatomorrow, Friday morning. He will be playing a regional lead role in the formulation of the world body’s Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, soon to take over from the Millennium Development Goals, MDGs.

POLYNESIA

6) French Polynesia newspapers change owner

1/5/2014

A French Polynesian investment company has bought the media business Medias Polynesie, which owns the territory’s two daily newspapers.

The purchase by Papyrus has triggered concern among journalists about possible job losses for the 170 employees.

The new owner, Dominique Auroy, has left it open what he will be doing with the Nouvelles de Tahiti and La Depeche, saying the options include turning them into weekly, monthly or online only publications.

Journalists have also said they expect a change in the editorial line, with it becoming favourable to the government of Gaston Flosse.

The Papyrus group also acquired magazines, radio stations and a publicity company.

Mr Auroy already owned two internet pay-TV stations for viewers in French overseas territories and Africa.

He also owns a vineyard on the atoll of Rangiroa.Radio NZ

7) Tongans urged to study the effects of constitutional reform ahead of November elections

By Online Editor
4:35 pm GMT+12, 01/05/2014, Tonga

The constitutional reforms which led to the introduction of democracy in Tonga have had a dramatic impact but there is still significant unfinished business, according to one of the region’s leading constitutional experts.

Tonga held its first democratic elections in 2010 and will go to the polls again in November this year.

Dr Guy Powles, a senior research fellow at Monash University, says constitutional reforms have led to a major shift in the power balance in parliament.

But he says the shift from an absolute monarchy to a democratically elected parliament hasn’t been carried through to its fullest extent.

The King still carries immense power, controlling both the armed forces and the judiciary.

Dr Powles has launched an updated edition of his book ‘The Kingdom of Tonga’s Path to Democracy’ which includes the entire constitution.

He’s hoping its inclusion will encourage Tongans to study it in detail to enable them to see both how successful constitutional reforms have been and how much more work needs to be done.

“I am speaking as a constitutional lawyer when I say that the constitution does need to be studied in detail because there are areas there of what one might call unfinished business, that is to say where the original principle hasn’t been carried through, that is the devolution of executive authority,” he said.

Dr Powles says in a vibrant democracy he would expect to see more energy put into the development of open and accountable government.

“I think the question of clarity of what the constitution means is something that can’t wait,” he said.

“There will be serious misunderstandings if the position isn’t clarified.”

He says another issue that could be considered unfinished business is the abolition of the special electorate for nobles.

Nine seats in parliament are reserved for nobles, and Dr Powles says they have been a powerful voting bloc since the 2010 elections.

“One thing that hasn’t been changed… is the special privilege that nobles have where it comes to constitutional amendment that affects their rights,” he said.

“And there are limitations on the amendments procedures where that is concerned.

“So these are matters which are still there [and] the extent to which they will bubble up in the next election is anybody’s guess.”

Dr Powles says there is little possibility of changing other laws is limited in that the king can veto legislation.

“It is a veto which is seldom used,” he said.

“It is kept in reserve and people are by and large not too concerned about it but if the community becomes more divided and these issues become more stark and obvious, the question of how the king deals with legislation that is put before him to assent to or veto could become very important.”.

SOURCE: ABC/PACNEWS

8) Am. Samoa Citizenship Plaintiffs Cite 14th Amendment
U.S. Constitution requires equal rights, brief asserts

By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (The Samoa News, April 30, 2014) – The American Samoan plaintiffs in the citizenship lawsuit have filed their merit brief with the federal appeals’ court in Washington D.C. and their main argument is that the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees them citizenship by birth on U.S. soil, according to their attorneys.

“Because we are born on U.S. soil, my family should have the same right as other Americans and be recognized as [U.S.] citizens,” lead plaintiff Leneuoti Tuaua said in a news release upon filing the merit brief.

“How can we be Americans, but not citizens? That simply doesn’t make any sense,” said Tuaua, a retired marshal of the High Court of American Samoa.

The plaintiff’s appeal is the result of a June 2013 decision by U.S. District Court Judge Richard J. Leon who says that the plaintiffs have failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.

According to the judge, plaintiffs’ claims all hinge upon one legal assertion, which is that the Citizenship Clause guarantees the citizenship of people born in American Samoa.

In a statement after the merit brief was filed, the plaintiffs said the federal government (the defendants) had relied on a series of controversial decisions known as the ‘Insular Cases’, which First Judge Juan Torruella (a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit) has criticized as establishing a “doctrine of separate and unequal” status in U.S. territories.

Speaking at Harvard Law School’s “Revisiting the Insular Cases” conference in February, Judge Torruella argued that “[t]he Insular Cases represent classic Plessy v. Ferguson legal doctrine … that should be totally eradicated from present day constitutional reasoning,” the plaintiffs point out.

(Plessy v. Ferguson [1896] is a landmark United States Supreme Court decision upholding the constitutionality of state laws requiring racial segregation in public facilities under the doctrine of “separate but equal”. “Separate but equal” remained standard doctrine in U.S. law until its repudiation in the 1954 Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education. [Wikipedia])

Locally based attorney, Charles Alailima said American Samoa has been under U.S. sovereignty for almost half of the existence of the United States. “Our Samoan forefathers of Tutuila and Manu’a voluntarily surrendered their sovereignty and the United States voluntarily accepted,” he said. “Our ancestors did so with the expectation of full participation in the American experience for themselves and their descendants.”

“Instead the second-class status has been imposed on them for over a century. This second class status is not just a legal wrong under the United States Constitution, It is a moral wrong,” said Alailima, who is providing legal representation pro bono.

Murad Hussain, who is part of a team of attorneys at the law firm of Arnold & Porter, also providing pro bono aid to the plaintiffs, pointed out that the Citizenship Clause was written to strip the government of the power to say that people born on U.S. soil aren’t citizens.

“It defies the Framers’ intent for politicians to try restricting where the Citizenship Clause applies and who it applies to,” Hussain said.

Plaintiffs said that until Leon’s decision, no court had ever held that people born in a current Territory are not born “in the United States” within the meaning of the Citizenship Clause.

Therefore they argued that the appeal’s court should reject defendants’ efforts to rewrite the scope of constitutional birthright citizenship. “Instead, fidelity to the Citizenship Clause’s text, history, and authoritative interpretations by the Supreme Court in the years following its ratification, confirm its application in the Territories,” they said.

In the alternative, this Court should follow the framework it previously set in a 1975 federal case— King v. Morton—for determining whether a particular constitutional right applies in American Samoa today, they said.

(In this case the late Jake King sued the Dept. of Interior for the right to a jury trial and was successful and thus it was determined that the right to a jury grail applied in American Samoa.)

According to the briefing, plaintiffs already owe permanent allegiance to the U.S. because of their birth on U.S. soil, adding that the Constitution requires that they also be recognized as citizens.

Plaintiffs disagreed on several issues raised by the district court; for example, they say the district court erred in rejecting the argument that the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of citizenship is a “fundamental” right in American Samoa.

“Citizenship by birth within the sovereign’s dominion is a cornerstone of our common law tradition that predates the United States itself,” plaintiffs contend.

Additionally, the district court’s rejection of the claim that constitutional birthright citizenship is a fundamental protection for persons born in the Territories cannot be squared with the Supreme Court’s emphatic statements, over nearly 150 years since the Fourteenth Amendment’s ratification, about the importance of the citizenship right.

“Birthright citizenship has already been recognized by statute, without incident, in the Territories of Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands,” plaintiffs say.

“Moreover, citizenship has not undercut the Northern Mariana Islands’ land preservation laws, which are similar to those in American Samoa.”

The American Samoa Government and Congressman Faleomavaega Eni, filed a Motion to Intervene or, in the Alternative, for Leave to Participate as ‘amicus curiae (friends of the court) in this appeal.

In February this year, the appeal’s court referred the matter for consideration to a merits panel. Plaintiffs said they do not oppose petitioners participation as amici curiae, but Movants (persons who apply to or petition a court or judge for a ruling in his or her favor) have no valid basis to intervene directly on appeal.

They argued that the appeal’s court allows intervention on appeal “where none was sought in the district court only in an exceptional case for imperative reasons.”

Further, Faleomavaega never sought to intervene in the district court, despite participating in the proceedings below as amicus curiae. ASG only moved to intervene in the district court six months after briefing was completed on Defendants’ motion to dismiss.

The Samoa News

MICRONESIA

9) New Guam Hospital To Be ‘Hub’ For Micronesia Health
75% of staff will be local hires, manager says

By Jasmine Stole

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Marianas Variety Guam, May 1, 2014) – Three-fourths of the staff hired at the new Guam Regional Medical City will have to be local hires, according to Maribel Perez, the operations and business development manager of the new hospital.

“We are only allowed to bring 25 percent of our manpower from outside of Guam,” Perez said yesterday. “So largely it will be local hire. But the doctors will definitely be coming from U.S. board-certified, doctors from the mainland, and doctors from the Philippines who are allowed to practice here with the required credentials.”

Perez was presenting to employees at the Guam Legislature information about the new hospital that is set to open in November.

The doctors that will work at GRMC will have the proper credentials, Perez assured the group. Furthermore, she noted that The Medical City, the company that is bringing GRMC to Guam, is internationally accredited by the Joint Commission International.

Insurance

She said the hospital has been in talks with all the health insurance companies on island and GRMC will accept patients covered by all local insurance companies.

“We’d like to correct the impression that some insurance companies only cover one hospital,” Perez said. “We are covered in all insurances – TakeCare, Calvo’s, NetCare, StayWell – we have arrangements with them and we’re affiliated.”

Perez said patients would only need to tell their insurance providers that they would like to receive services at GRMC to make arrangements. She added that the new hospital is “strongly affiliated” with the Department of Public Health and Social Services and will able to provide services for people under the Medically Indigent Program and workers’ compensation.

Perez added that GRMC will also be able to accept patients with Medicaid or Medicare insurance and the hospital is currently fine-tuning the arrangements.

Should patients need to be admitted to the hospital, Perez said they could choose between being admitted at GRMC or Guam Memorial Hospital and people would not need a referral to receive medical services at GRMC. However, she added that the specifics of admission to a hospital would have to be determined by the insurance companies and physicians.

Hub of Micronesia for health services

With November just six months away, the new hospital is seeking to establish a solid patient base with presentations and outreach efforts on Guam. “As we wanted in our vision, we want to be present internationally. We want to be – at least here in Guam – we want to be the hub of the Micronesia area for health services, so we started with Guam,” Perez said.

She added that when the hospital opens, the same amenities afforded to foreign patients of Medical City hospitals in the Philippines will be afforded here to foreign patients coming to Guam. This includes a hostel within the hospital and transportation to and from the airport.

Marianas Variety Guam

AUSTRALIA

10) Australia dismisses Fiji’s Forum demand

By Online Editor
09:52 am GMT+12, 01/05/2014, Australia

Australia has no intention of leaving the Pacific Islands Forum despite demands by Fiji.

Fiji was suspended from the forum in 2009 after Prime Minister Rear Admiral Frank Bainimarama broke a promise to return the country to democracy after his 2006 military coup.

Its membership is likely to be discussed at the forum’s annual meeting in July.

Before it considers rejoining, Fiji wants a fundamental realignment of the forum that excludes Australia and New Zealand.

The Abbott government has rejected the call.

Parliamentary Secretary Brett Mason discussed the issue with Foreign Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola during a visit to Fiji this week.

“We intend to remain a full member of the Pacific Islands Forum and have the support of forum countries,” he told ABC Radio on Wednesday.

He warned that the Fiji-initiated Pacific Islands Development Forum – which excludes Australian and NZ – could duplicate the work of the Pacific Island Forum.

Meanwhile, Fiji has asked Australia to head up a group of international observers during its September 17 election.

“We’re certainly prepared to play our part to ensure it’s a free and fair election,” Senator Mason said, adding there was a palpable sense of election momentum building in Fiji.

SOURCE: NEWS.COM.AU/PACNEWS

11) Canberra to be cut to bone in audit report

By Online Editor
1:13 pm GMT+12, 01/05/2014, Australia

Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s Commission of Audit has recommended massive cuts to the size of government, with whole agencies to be abolished, privatised, or devolved to the states, in what would be the biggest reworking of the federation ever undertaken.

Among its 86 recommendations, to be finally revealed on Thursday afternoon, are calls for the axing of multiple agencies and the surrender of huge swathes of responsibility back to the states in education, health, and other services.

Among the small group of ministers and bureaucrats granted access to the report, there is an acceptance that some ideas will be adopted, others can be modified or placed into a longer-term planning framework, and some will be regarded as politically untenable.

Senior ministers concede the report contains the kind of suggestions to be expected from “economically dry” business types, but admit many are just not achievable in the real world or politics.

The National Preventive Health Agency is the largest in a string of small so-called “’orphan”’ health agencies marked for abolition. Under heavy attack from the alcohol industry, it releases its long-awaited report into a minimum floor price for alcohol on Thursday.  The report has been gathering dust now for a year and it is to be released under a clause in the agency’s act that requires the automatic release of reports if a year has elapsed since they were presented to government.

Also marked for privatisation or abolition is Defence Housing Australia, which manages and owns properties for defence families. It turns an annual profit before tax of AUD$1 billion and employs 600 people. The government has commissioned Ernst & Young to advise on whether it should be sold.

The closely guarded Commission of Audit report is built around the theme of competition, according to a source who has seen it. It calls for competition between the states to provide services currently subject to some oversight from the Commonwealth. It also calls for competition between private firms to provide within-government services presently provided by the government itself, such as building management and Commonwealth cars.

The Audit Commission report, to be released publicly at 2.00pm on Thursday, proposes dumping Kevin Rudd’s favoured notion of cooperative federalism in favour of competitive federalism and financial contestability criteria whereby services are provided against value-for-money indices.

Although asked specifically to recommend how the government could achieve a budget surplus of 1 per cent of GDP by 2023-24 the commission has interpreted its mandate much more broadly and attempted to identify the activities the government should vacate.

Like the 1996 Commission of Audit report commissioned by the Howard government, it finds that in many areas where state and Commonwealth responsibilities overlap, the responsibilities are best handed to the states.

The 1996 report recommended that the Commonwealth abandon all involvement in preschool, primary and secondary education, funding the states for it by untied rather than tied grants. The Commonwealth would cease grants to private schools, allowing the states themselves to grant money to private schools if they thought it was necessary. If adopted, the recommendation would have abolished large sections of the Commonwealth Department of Education. If recommended again it could unwind more recent initiatives such as the Gonski school funding reforms and NAPLAN.

It suggested the Commonwealth maintain control of Medicare and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, using its weight to contain costs through the introduction of co-payments.

If adopted the recommendations would undo years of Commonwealth centralisation, returning to the states responsibilities surrendered in the early decades of federation. The theory behind the decentralisation is known as “competitive federalism”. It says that free of constraints, the states and territories will compete with each other to provide the best services at the lowest cost.

Although the 1996 review proposed handing more responsibilities to the states, it also proposed extra funding in the form of untied grants. The grants would be less than the Commonwealth would have spent had it continued to provide the services itself.

The recommendation to axe the National Preventive Health Agency is awkward for the Coalition, coming after its assistant health minister Fiona Nash pulled the plug on a healthy eating website set up by the Council of Australian Governments hours after it went live. If adopted it would leave it open to charges that it wasn’t serious about reining in long-term health expenditures on diseases such as obesity and alcohol-fuelled violence.

The government is into the final week of pre-budget deliberations.

As well as a controversial deficits tax, and a scaled-down paid parental leave scheme, the unemployed can expect tougher rules regarding eligibility for Newstart with a renewed push to “earn or learn”. There will also be cuts to ABC and SBS funding through the extension of the government wide 2.25 per cent efficiency dividend.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said on Thursday that the audit would show that the spending growth projectory inherited from the previous Labor government was unsustainable.

He also played down claims that the government would be breaking an election promise if it went ahead with a proposed a “’debt tax”’ on workers earning more than $80,000 a year.

“We’re not making any excuses,” Senator Cormann said. “We’re not doing any of this out of fun.”

Opposition finance spokesman Tony Burke accused the government of confecting a budget emergency and of deliberately waiting to reveal cuts until after the polls in Griffith, Western Australia, Tasmania and South Australia.

“They’ll then release what will simply be a guidebook on how to break every election promise Tony Abbott made,” Burke said.

Burke said half of the AUD$123 billion deficit referred to by Senator Cormann on Thursday morning was created by the Liberal government.

“They doubled the deficit when they first came in,” he said.

“They added $60 billion to it, more than doubling the deficit. If you’re in an emergency, why on earth would you do that?

“The truth is they wanted to confect or manufacture a budget crisis because these are the sorts of cuts they actually want to bring in.”

Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen said it was ‘‘unconscionable’’ for the government to have sat on the report for so long.

SOURCE:SMH/PACNEWS

12) Australia Commits $20 Million To Forum Secretariat
3-years of funding first tranche of 6-year agreement

By Ropate Valemei

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, May 1, 2014) – Australia has committed $A21.6 million $US20 million) for the first three years of the partnership (2014-2016) with the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS).

The new six-year partnership aims to leverage the efforts of Forum island countries to realise their aspirations for effective regionalism.

The Australia-PIFS Partnership (2014-2019) was co-signed by Australian Parliamentary secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Brett Mason and PIFS secretary general Tuiloma Neroni Slade at the Forum Secretariat headquarters in Suva on Monday.

“I welcome this long-term agreement with Australia, which remains an invaluable partner for the Pacific Islands Forum and the whole region,” Mr Slade said in a statement.

“This partnership reflects the strategic positioning of the Forum Secretariat, in taking the regional agenda forward.”

Mr Mason said supporting the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat in providing Pacific Island countries with the political and policy means to improve their development prospects was essential to a thriving Pacific neighbourhood.

“We believe that regionalism and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat has a critical role to play in the security and development of the Pacific.”

Fiji Times Online.

TOK PISIN

13) Namatanai distrik long New Ireland provins long PNG i gat digicel tower

Updated 1 May 2014, 16:43 AEST
Pius Bonjui

Ol pipal long Namatani Distrik long New Ireland Provins bai painim isi long toktok long Mobile phone, na tu salim na kisim toktok long internet.

Dispela i kamap wantaim joint venture project namel long Digicel na memba bilong Namatanai, na Minista bilong Mine, Byron Chan.

Minista Byron Chan toktok mo long lonsing bilong fopela digicel tower long Namatanai distrik long Tunde bilong dispela wik na dispela em i karim kaikai wantaim wok partnership namel long em na Digicel

Lonsing bilong forpela Digicel Tower i bin ol ol hai na vokesinal skul long Namatanai distrik bai i gat ekses long internet na tu ol mobile phone bilong ol bai i gutpela na klia.

Minista Byron Chan i tok em ibin putim moni igo insait long putim ap ol tower na bai i gat moni tu bilong halivim ol skul pkinini i gat ol komputa na ipad long skul bilong ol.

Em ibin hamamas tru long tokaut long taim em i toktok ikam long Tok Pisin Stream bilong Radio Australia long hau toktok bilong em ibin kamap klia tru bihain long losing bilong ol digicel towers.Radio Australia

FRENCH

14) Brèves d’Australie et du Pacifique – jeudi 1er mai 2014

Mis à jour 1 May 2014, 10:00 AEST
Caroline Lafargue

  • Il sera le premier réfugié de Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée. Un Iranien de 40 ans est sur le point d’obtenir son statut.
  • Le premier réfugié issu du centre de détention de Manus est un Iranien de 40 ans. L’octroi de ses papiers est imminent. (Credit: AAP)
  • Ce demandeur d’asile a reçu une lettre du ministère de l’immigration papou mercredi. Il manque encore le feu vert des ministres papous des Affaires étrangères et de l’Immigration. Ce futur réfugié refera très probablement sa vie en Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée, conformément à l’accord passé avec l’Australie.
  • Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée: deux générateurs créent des étincelles au sommet de l’État. Le chef de l’opposition Belden Namah a porté plainte contre Peter O’Neill. Le premier ministre papou a fait acheter deux générateurs en décembre. Selon Belden Namah, la transaction avec le fabricant israélien de générateurs, LR group, est irrégulière.  Les générateurs ont coûté 17 millions de dollars américains. Et Belden Namah affirme que la facture n’a été mise dans les dossiers de l’État que deux mois après l’achat.
  • L’Australie accepte de diriger l’équipe des observateurs internationaux lors de l’élection fidjienne en septembre.Mais à une condition : qu’un deuxième pays assure la surveillance à ses côtés. En 2013, Franck Bainimarama avait initialement demandé à la Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée et au Groupe Mélanésien Fer de Lance d’assurer cette tâche. Mais il est revenu sur sa décision, et semble faire plus confiance au professionnalisme de l’Australie. Il a aussi déclaré qu’il ne voulait pas une répétition des erreurs des dernières élections, en 2006. Les observateurs de l’UE avaient validé les résultats. Mais Bainimarama a toujours dit qu’il y avait eu des fraudes électorales, une manière de légitimer son coup d’État.
  • Julie Bishop: « l’aide au développement doit être rentable ». La ministre australienne des Affaires étrangères constate que malgré des millions de dollars d’aide, la croissance est au point mort dans certains pays. Julie Bishop va donc créer un système d’évaluation de l’efficacité de l’aide australienne. Le gouvernement ne cache pas qu’il veut cibler l’aide dans des pays avec lesquels l’Australie fait du commerce.
  • Vanuatu: l’ancien Président, Ati Georges Sokomanu, est inquiet. Le gouvernement vend des passeports à des étrangers depuis quelques semaines. Ce sont principalement des hommes d’affaires chinois. La semaine dernière la Chine a rappelé qu’elle ne reconnaissait pas la double nationalité et que ces personnes devraient donc renoncer à leur passeport chinois. Il ne leur resterait donc que la nationalité vanuataise, et logiquement ils s’installeraient au Vanuatu. Une perspective de conflits, prévient Ati Georges Sokomanu, car les terres manquent, et il y a déjà beaucoup de conflits fonciers.
  • Une photo de famille géante: 600 pilotes et personnels navigants de huit pays ont posé mercredi sur le tarmac de la base de Pearce, en Australie occidentale. C’est le bilan de sept semaines des recherches aériennes du MH 370: une photo et rien d’autre. Les recherches seront désormais sous-marines. L’Australie, la Malaisie et la Chine sont occupées à recruter des sociétés privées pour explorer le plancher de l’océan sur 56 000 km carrés. Cela pourrait prendre plus de huit mois.

HEALTH

15) 90% Of People In PNG At Risk For Malaria
Mosquito-borne disease is leading cause of hospitalization

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 1, 2014) – 90 percent of Papua New Guinea’s seven million population are at risk of malaria infection.

The Minister for Health and HIV AIDS, Michael Malabag, says malaria is the leading cause for hospital admissions in PNG.

Mr Malabag says the figures are even higher than what is on record and that the burden falls on the rural majority and the urban poor.

The Post Courier reports that according to the Institute of Medical Research, only 40 percent of children under five and only 44 percent of pregnant women were sleeping under nets at night.

Mr Malabag said getting rid of malaria has been a challenge but some goals have been achieved through partnership.

Radio New Zealand International

POLITIC

16) PNG PM: We’re intact

By Online Editor
09:51 am GMT+12, 01/05/2014, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea’s ruling Peoples National Congress (PNC) Party is intact and has thrown its full support behind Prime Minister Peter O’Neill to lead the party and the government to the 2017 General Elections.

The party has now been boosted with Mendi MP De Kevanu, who has left the Triumph Heritage Empowerment (THE) Party of Don Polye, to join the PNC under the leadership of O’Neill.

The recent movement of MPs has now bumped the PNG party’s strength to 50 MPs, just six short of a simple majority of 56 members in the 111 member House. Prime Minister O’Neill, who is now comfortable with the record support from his own PNC Party and coalition partners, Wednesday, blasted what he termed as desperate people trying to create uncertainty and instability for the country.

O’Neill said this when dismissing rumours and speculations that he will step aside as Prime Minister to answer to allegations levelled against him and that an acting Prime Minister will be appointed to run the government until the Prime Minister clears his name.

“These are desperate people wanting to cause uncertainty and instability for the country,” he said. “The PNC caucus meets every Monday before every session to plan the agenda and business for the parliament.”

Parliament will resume next week Tuesday. Prime Minister O’Neill also denied that the PNC Party caucus was in a meeting yesterday morning. “The rumour is encouraged by your drum column and we continue to wonder what is the motivation and there is no evidence for such rumours.”

The PM also spoke about the allegations against him and a couple of senior parliamentarians that are currently under investigations and before the courts in relation to an alleged payment to a law firm.

“There is no reason for anyone’s arrest. The Paraka case was initiated by me and there is no evidence of any wrongdoing by me,” O’Neill said. “I am very very confident that I have done nothing wrong or received any benefit from anyone to be concerned. I will see that this is concluded independently by government agencies.”

Two senior PNC Party members, Health Minister Michael Malabag and Finance Minister James Marape, have backed the Prime Minister’s denial of any PNC meeting yesterday.

Malabag, the former union leader boss and staunch PNC supporter said the Party stands behind the leader and support him to lead the Party to the 2017 general elections.

“Through the PNC led coalition government is ensuring that services are reaching our people and that these services are visible for all. The doomsayers and critics should stop misleading the people and let the government perform its responsibilities to serve the people,” he said.

Meanwhile, PNG Opposition Leader and Vanimo-Green MP Belden Namah Wednesday filed an official police complaint against Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.

The complaint was filed with the police director for fraud and anti-corruption directorate, Chief Superintendent Mathew Damaru and alleges fraud, misappropriation and corruption against the Prime Minister.

The matter to which Namah wants the PM investigated relates to the alleged payment of K50 million (US$17.8 million) to Israeli company LR group, purportedly for the purchase of two 15 megawatt diesel turbine generators for Port Moresby and Lae.

This is the second criminal complaint laid againstO’Neill by the Opposition Leader. It is alleged normal process and legislations were bypassed.

Namah said he has evidence that the transaction was made and the telegraphic transcript has been attached to the submitted complaint.

Namah is alleging that the transfer of K50 million to the Israel-based LR group took place on December 20, 2013 and was not cleared for tax purposes by the Internal Revenue Commission.

However, the IRC on the previous day issued a tax clearance certificate but to another company called Israel Electric Corp.

“You would have to wonder how the bank of PNG could go ahead and transfer the funds to LR Group, when the tax clearance was issued under Israel Electric Corp,” Namah said.

He also wants the central bank to be held responsible for the facilitation of the transaction.

However, the PM in a statement last night said he has responded to the matter. “Namah raised this issue on April 15 and I provided a response. He has proceeded with a police complaint today, which I welcome. But it’s another act of madness by Namah which Papua New Guineans are getting fed up with,” the PM said.

He said following his trip to Israel last year, the Government decided to proceed with buying two turbines from an Israeli company, Israel General Electrics.

In March this year, cabinet approved the procurement of two 26.2 Megawatts gas turbines (dual fuel) (GE Model TM2 500+) from Israel General Electric at a cost of K94 million (US$33.5 milllion). The LR Group acted as their agent in the negotiations.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

17) Rabuka, a non-politician

Nasik Swami
Thursday, May 01, 2014

AFTER being sacked by the Social Democratic and Liberal Party executives, former prime minister Sitiveni Rabuka says he will enjoy his life as a non-politician.

“My best plan is just to do nothing and enjoy the rest of my life as a non-politician,” Mr Rabuka said.

He claimed Fiji had a different political landscape — one where people are against military dictatorship and second where people are champions of parliamentary democracy.

“I have been dropped from SODELPA which means it is also untenable for me to be with the sympathising parties like NFP, FLP and PDP,” Mr Rabuka said.

He said all the “blokes” who had previously taken part in Fijian politics have been shelved.

“I can stand as an independent candidate but it will just split the votes and you will not be able to show the world whether you support dictatorship of parliamentary democracy.”

Mr Rabuka has called on his supporters to stand up for what he stood for in value for the people.

“…They stand up for what I stood for in value for the people, good values and racial harmony.

“Racial harmony is acknowledging our differences but working together as one nation.”

He claimed that he was sacked by SODELPA executives last week because of a move initiated by the party’s women and youth wing.

Mr Rabuka said the women and the youth were not happy with his role in the 1987 coup.

“They were not happy with my role in the coup 27 years ago. They went to the party leader with their complaints and I was told to go,” he said.

“Just like that I was sacked. But I have no ill feelings towards anybody. The women are the pillars of our society and the youths are the future.

“So it was only right for me to adhere to the demands they had.”

In a statement, SODELPA said Mr Rabuka was no longer with the party.Fijitimes

18) Fiji Labour Party Leader’s sentence due Friday afternoon

By Online Editor
4:39 pm GMT+12, 01/05/2014, Fiji

Fiji Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry will be sentenced at the High Court in Suva at 2.30pm tomorrow.

At a 3-hour long mitigation hearing before Justice Paul Madigan today, his counsel, Matthew Hutchings submitted an appropriate order to dismiss the charges without recording a conviction.

The defence also asked for no imprisonment sentence and presented three character witnesses – former military commander, Ratu Epeli Ganilau, former deputy Prime Minister Taufa Vakatale and Father Kevin Barr.

State lawyer, Mosese Korovou disagreed that the offence committed was at the lowest end of the scale. He invited Justice Madigan to impose a sentence that best reflects Chaudhry’s conviction.

Chaudhry was convicted early last month on three counts of violating the Exchange Control Act with respect to $A1.5 million he had invested offshore without the knowledge and approval of local authorities.

He faces a sentence of two years jail or a fine of $A4.5m (three times the amount held by him in Australian banks).

SOURCE: FIJI LIVE/PACNEWS

19) PNG Opposition Accuses PM Of Fraud, Corruption
Namah files police complain over payments to Israeli firm

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, May 1, 2014) – PNG opposition Leader and Vanimo-Green MP Belden Namah yesterday filed an official police complaint against Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.

The complaint was filed with the police director for fraud and anti-corruption directorate, Chief Superintendent Mathew Damaru and alleges fraud, misappropriation and corruption against the Prime Minister.

The matter to which Mr Namah wants the PM investigated relates to the alleged payment of K50 million [US$17.5 million] to Israeli company LR group, purportedly for the purchase of two 15 megawatt diesel turbine generators for Port Moresby and Lae.

This is the second criminal complaint laid against Mr O’Neill by the Opposition Leader. It is alleged normal process and legislations were bypassed.

Mr Namah said he has evidence that the transaction was made and the telegraphic transcript has been attached to the submitted complaint.

Mr Namah is alleging that the transfer of K50 million to the Israel-based LR group took place on December 20, 2013 and was not cleared for tax purposes by the Internal Revenue Commission.

However, the IRC on the previous day issued a tax clearance certificate but to another company called Israel Electric Corp.

“You would have to wonder how the bank of PNG could go ahead and transfer the funds to LR Group, when the tax clearance was issued under Israel Electric Corp,” Mr Namah said.

He also wants the central bank to be held responsible for the facilitation of the transaction.

However, the PM in a statement last night said he has responded to the matter. “Namah raised this issue on April 15 and I provided a response. He has proceeded with a police complaint today, which I welcome. But it’s another act of madness by Namah which Papua New Guineans are getting fed up with,” the PM said.

He said following his trip to Israel last year, the Government decided to proceed with buying two turbines from an Israeli company, Israel General Electrics.

In March this year, cabinet approved the procurement of two 26.2 Megawatts gas turbines (dual fuel) (GE Model TM2 500+) from Israel General Electric at a cost of K94 million. The LR Group acted as their agent in the negotiations.

PNG Post-Courier

MEDIA

20) New TV program on Fiji’s history

By Online Editor
4:33 pm GMT+12, 01/05/2014, Fiji

Fijians will have an in-depth look at Fiji’s history with the Ministry of Information launching a TV programme called “Back in Time”.

Permanent Secretary, Sharon Smith-Johns says they’ll use archived footage in the programme – showing how modern Fiji was shaped decades ago.

“The launch of back in time programme is an historic moment not just for the Bainimarama government but also for every Fijian living in every part of the world”

She says modern technology played a huge role in bringing back to life hundreds of hours of priceless Fijian history.

“The road getting there wasn’t easy. Hours of video reels had to assemble and restored, digitalized and preserved. Sadly due to the management of passed governments, part of our nation’s history was lost. This of course only strengthens our resolve to begin work to restore this priceless collection.”

The footage contains materials dating back several decades.

The programme will be aired on Fiji Television this Sunday.
SOURCE: FBC NEWS/PACNEWS

21) 2 Regional Journalists Recognized As ‘Information Heroes’
Reporters Without Borders honors Moala, Belo on Press Freedom Day

By Pacific Media Watch in Paris

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (Pacific Scoop, April 30, 2014) – Two journalists and publishers from small states in the Asia-Pacific region have been included in an inaugural list of “100 information heroes” by the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders organisation for World Press Freedom Day.

They are José Belo, investigative journalist and publisher of the “uncompromising” independent weekly Tempo Semanal in Timor-Leste, and Taimi ‘o Tonga publisher and broadcaster Kalafi Moala from Tonga.

For the first time ever, Reporters Without Borders is publishing a list of profiles of “100 information heroes” for World Press Freedom Day (May 3).

Through their courageous work or activism, these “100 heroes” help to promote the freedom enshrined in article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the freedom to “to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers”, Reporters Without Borders said in its statement today.

“They put their ideals in the service of the common good. They serve as examples.”

Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Christophe Deloire said: “World Press Freedom Day, which Reporters Without Borders helped to create, should be an occasion for paying tribute to the courage of the journalists and bloggers who constantly sacrifice their safety and sometimes their lives to their vocation.”

The list of “100 information heroes” comprises women and men of almost all ages (25 to 75) and 65 nations.

The youngest, Oudom Tat, is Cambodian and the oldest, Muhammed Ziauddin, is Pakistani.

Twenty-five of the heroes are from the Asia-Pacific region, 20 from the Middle East and North Africa, and eight from Europe.

Iran, Russia, China, Eritrea, Azerbaijan, Mexico and Vietnam are each represented by at least three heroes.

The Pacific island states are represented by:

José Belo (Timor-Leste):

“During the Indonesian occupation of Timor-Leste in the 1990s, José Belo learned to cope with anything. He was handcuffed, hung by his feet, burned and put in prison for three years.

“Finally in 2008, the country’s legal system, which had been independent for only a short time, threatened him with seven years’ imprisonment for accusing the minister of justice of corruption.

“Today the founder of the uncompromising weekly Tempo Semanal and president of the Timor-Leste Press Union is waging a new battle — against a new media law being cooked up by the Dili government and parliament.

“He believes the legislation will give too much power to a proposed Press Council to be appointed by the government. He says he is prepared to go to prison again to prevent its passage into law.”

Kalafi Moala (Tonga):

“If you’re going to influence any society, or any group of people, information is the key. […] The victory for freedom of the press and freedom of expression is a victory for the people.” That is the motto of Kalafi Moala, publisher and managing director of Taimi Media Network based in the archipelago’s capital, Nuku’alofa.

“In 1989, at a time when all news outlets were in the hands of an authoritarian government or the church. Moala launched Taimi O Tonga, Tonga’s first independent weekly and one of the most controversial newspapers in the whole Pacific region.

“In 1996, Moala and his colleagues were sentenced to 30 days’ imprisonment each for publishing pro-democracy reports that were judged to be seditious. Using prison visitors, the tenacious journalist managed to smuggle out editorials written on toilet tissue which were published in the course of the following four weeks.

“Banned from publishing in 2003 and again in 2004, Kalafi hung on and in 2009 he acquired the state-owned Tonga Chronicle, Tonga’s first newspaper. Two years later, he launched a website www.taimionline.com which streams the media group’s radio stations.

“Through his news outlets and groups such as the Pasifika Media Association, Moala continues to fight for press freedom and to inspire young journalists in the region.

Source: Pacific Media Watch 8584

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

BUSINESS

22) Trade with Melanesian countries

Rnzi/Pacnews
Thursday, May 01, 2014

PORT MORESBY – Papua New Guinea businesses are being urged to take up trade opportunities in other Melanesian countries.

The call comes from the PNG membership of the Melanesian Indigenous Business Council established in a symposium last month in Fiji.

An affiliate of the PNG Indigenous Business Council, Hubert Namani, says it is time for the private sector to lead the way in taking advantage of the Melanesian Spearhead Group Trade Agreement which provides for free trade within the region.

“We can go, PNG can go to Fiji, through Melanesia, without a visa, whereas with Australia and New Zealand, we have to apply for a visa.

“So in terms of business, you can just get on a flight and go to Fiji and talk business with them. Besides, for PNG it’s cheaper doing business in those countries than in PNG.

“And at the same time, looking at the investment, we should also look at investment destinations in Melanesia, within the region, before going out.” http://www.fijitimes.com/ ( Phils Note : Great News indeed! Thank you MSG.)

23) LNG Project ‘greatest thing’ in PNG
By Online Editor
4:42 pm GMT+12, 01/05/2014, Papua New Guinea

The Papua New Guinea LNG project has been hailed as the “greatest thing that has happened in the country and should not be misused”.

National Petroleum Company of PNG managing director Wapu Sonk was commenting on the K52.5 billion LNG gas project which had started production ahead of schedule.

The firm holds the government’s 16.6% equity in the LNG project and is a non-operating partner.

“It means that we will see an increase in government revenue through tax and additional revenue through NPCP, through our equity participation,” he said.

“We are stepping up our revenue sources.

“We will have a lot of money to spend, we will just need to have the right spending mechanisms and make use of the Sovereign Wealth Fund.

“Our revenue is going to jump up by quantity in the coming years.”

Sonk said the start of LNG production by ExxonMobil was an historic milestone for the nation.

“It’s really a milestone for everyone involved, particularly for us as the nationally-owned entity involved in the project,” he said.

“We’ve now joined the LNG club of countries.

“We congratulate the country as well for making it all possible, in executing a project that is so complex.
“It involved five provinces and between 60,000 and 70,000 people to make it all happen.

“It starts off in the Highlands at Hides and ends in Port Moresby, about 700km.

“It’s a complex project but ExxonMobil has been able to deliver on time and on budget.

“What is even more exciting is that it was brought forward ahead of schedule.

“This is really good for the country and everybody involved.

“I’m very happy and excited for the future of the country. From here, PNG is a country that can deliver complex projects.

“It says a lot to the outside world that we can deliver complex projects of this magnitude, that’s a very positive story.

“We have been behind ExxonMobil for the past four to five years and we’ll be with them for the next 30-plus years.”

Meanwhile, Papua New Guinea Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill has welcomed the news that the massive $US19billion gas project is starting production ahead of time.

“I welcome this announcement by the project operator. It shows that PNG can deliver such a large world class project on time and within budget. I want to particularly thank the public servants, project employees and contractors for the hard work they out in for this outstanding result. I also want to thank landowners and leaders from area for their patience and cooperation,” said PM O’Neill.

Oil Search’s Managing Diretor, Peter Botten said based on this new information the company now expected its production level to be in the range of 14.5 – 17.5 million barrels of oil equivalent (mmboe), compared to the previous 13 – 16 mmboe guidance range, assuming a continued smooth commissioning and ramp-up process.”

“The start of production from the PNG LNG Project ahead of schedule is excellent news and represents a transformational milestone for both Oil Search and Papua New Guinea. We would like to congratulate the operator, ExxonMobil PNG Limited, on this achievement, he said.

President of ExxonMobil Development Company Neil W Dubbin said the project exemplifies the company’s leadership in project execution, advanced technologies and marketing capabilities.

“Project revenue and profitability are underpinned by long-term LNG sales contracts covering more than 95 percent of the plant’s capacity,” he said.

He said the project is an integrated development that includes gas production and processing facilities in the Southern Highlands, Hela, Western, Gulf and Central provinces Approximately 435 miles of pipeline connect the facilities, which include a gas conditioning plant and liquefaction and storage facilities with capacity of 6.9 million tonnes of LNG per year.

The company said flooding, minimal pre-existing infrastructure and extremely steep slopes were among obstacles that were overcome in constructing the project.

It said the pipe had to be airlifted in some areas because the soil could not support heavy machinery and lack of infrastructure required construction of supplemental roads, communication lines and a new airfield.

“The project is optimally located to serve growing Asia markets where LNG demand is expected to rise by approximately 165 percent between 2010 and 2025, to 370 million tonnes per year,” Duffin said.
SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/POST COURIER/PACNEWS

24) Multi-million dollar coconut oil industry benefits tiny Pacific island community

Posted 1 May 2014, 14:27 AEST

Pacific Correspondent Sean Dorney

Decades after phosphate mining all but destroyed the tropical island of Banabas, a coconut oil company is achieving undreamt of success that is benefiting the local community.

A tiny Pacific island is fast becoming a booming coconut oil producer, several decades after its lucrative phosphate mines closed.

The raised coral island Banaba, part of Kiribati, was so denuded by years of phosphate mining that the British colonial authorities relocated its people to Rabi Island in Fiji.

Now, one Banaban islander and his Australian wife, whose family was involved in phosphate mining for four generations, have built up a company offering work for as many Banabans as the mining once did.

It produces coconut oil destined for the booming international market.

Business owner Ken Sigrah, was uprooted from Banaba with the rest of his people and resettled in Fiji, when the island was rendered uninhabitable after 80 years of phosphate mining.

He says almost 95 per cent of the island was destroyed by mining.

” Now almost all you can see on Banaba is a forest of pinnacles 80 feet high,” he said.

“You can’t grow anything there!”

He says the islanders were promised their land would be regenerated and they would receive compensation, but that never happened.

The island’s elders asked Mr Sigrah to collaborate with Stacey King, whose family had worked in the mine, in writing a book.

“Even though my great-grandfather worked as the chief overseer for the mining company he had taken glass plate photography of old villagers, Ms King said.

“It wasn’t just of mining, it was of the people.

“And I realised when I wrote the book this was all lost … because of mining, because of what our families, all these Australians and New Zealanders (did).

“We’re all part of it.”

The couple says part of their motivation for starting the coconut oil company was to help the Banaban people.

Mr Sigrah says his adopted Fijian brother suggested coconut oil.

He says they had no idea how to begin, but they set up in their garage in 2004 and haven’t looked back.

The product is mostly sourced from a farm in Fiji employing Banabans.

“They now employ 50 of our Banaban families,” Stacey King said.

“And that means they get a house provided, their families live there, they’re educated at the school there.

“And they’re always looking for more people to come over from Rabi and work there.”

And the business is booming, especially their edible virgin coconut oil.

Ms King says turnover this financial year could top $AUD3.8 million.

“Every year we sort of jump another million or we’re sort of doubling,” she said.

“Our profit gains have been between 55 per cent, up to 73 per cent, to 113 per cent, so it’s just gone beyond our wildest imaginations really.”

And export orders are growing, with orders from Australia, Germany and Canada.

Along with its focus on providing work for the Banaban community, the company has also set up an education foundation for Banaban children back on Rabi.

“The project has actually expanded to about 135 students,” Ms King said.

“So we started with just the little primary school children and now it goes up to high school.

“You know, things that we could not even imagine at the start we are able to do now because of a simple coconut and coconut oil.” http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

LAW&ORDER

25) Australia aims to tighten security at vulnerable PNG border

1/5/2014

Australia has signalled plans to tighten security in the Torres Strait to stop burgeoning criminal activity across the border with Papua New Guinea.

The Courier Mail reports that crime syndicates are using high-powered boats to exploit the porous border through drugs, guns and human trafficking in the Torres Strait.

West African gangs and criminal bikies have reportedly opened an illicit cross-border pipeline to smuggle methamphetamine into far north Queensland out of PNG.

Australia’s customs minister Scott Morrison says he plans to plug the gap and match the criminals with a fleet of new boats for high-speed pursuits up -rivers and over reef systems.

Last year, customs detected eight drug shipments on the border, just three kilometres from the PNG mainland.

Almost 500 suspected PNG criminals were refused entry out of nearly 50,000 traditional movements through the islands.Radio NZ

26) Australian Police Seek Papua New Guinean Labor Recruiter
Man reportedly took workers’ wages, stranding them

By Len Garae

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, May 1, 2014) – Australian Federal Police are reported to be looking for Emmanuel Bani from Papua New Guinea in Queensland after he disappeared with the salaries of his workers from Papua New Guinea including some Chinese and Filipinos, stranding them in Australia without any money.

This is the same Emmanuel Bani who last month promised to get 1,700 ni-Vanuatu workers to work on farms in Australia. This is also the same Emmanuel Bani who posed with the Commissioner of Labour in his bid to convince him that he was the one the country had been waiting for to cause a breakthrough for Vanuatu workers on the Australian Seasonal Employment Market.

Australian South Sea Islander and recruiter Daniel Awiyawi says Emmanuel Bani won’t get those 1,700 workers to work in Australia.

Awiyawi came to Vanuatu on March 3 and warned Immigration not to allow Emmanuel Bani into the country saying he is a crook and he is going to ruin the opportunities for ni-Vanuatu to find decent jobs on farms in Australia.

“He got some workers on visiting visa or some other visa but not working visa and put them to work on farms there. When the workers completed their jobs, he collected their money and he did the run instead of paying the workers their salaries,” he alleged.

Daniel Awiyawi whose great great grandfather came from Erromango and his great great grandmother came from Santo says he is not against ni-Vanuatu working in Australia.

What he will fight tooth and nail against is individuals like Emmanuel Bani who capitalise on ni-Vanuatu respect and honesty to rob them of hard earned salaries.

Vanuatu Daily Post

27) Solomon Islands established New Taskforce to prosecute environmental crime

By Online Editor
1:19 pm GMT+12, 01/05/2014, Solomon Islands

Solomon Islands police, prosecutors and several Government Ministries have formed a new high level taskforce to crackdown on environmental crime.

The taskforce was created during a forum to discuss the investigation and prosecution of crimes committed by companies engaged in logging, mining and other extractive industries, held last week.

The forum was a joint initiative between the Landowner’s Advocacy and Legal Support Unit (LALSU) of the Public Solicitor’s Office and the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force.

LALSU Senior Legal Officer, Tearo Walenenea, explained that the initiative is a response to an increase in allegations of environmental crimes and growing frustration over inadequate civil remedies.

“Logging without development consent, logging close to streams, or failing to rehabilitate a log pond are all crimes under our law, yet these laws are rarely enforced,” Walenenea said.

Representatives from RSIPF, ODPP, the Ministry of Forestry and Research, Ministry of Mines, Energy and Rural Electrification, Immigration, the Participating Police Force (PPF), Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources , Central Bank, Company Haus and others participated in the forum, highlighting the importance of inter-agency cooperation in combating environmental crime.

Acting Assistant Police Commissioner, Gabriel Manelusi, welcomed the group by reminding participants, “together we share the resources of this beautiful planet and together we share the responsibility.”

Chief Immigration Officer, Chris Akosawa told the forum that cooperation is critical to achieving results.

“We are dealing with people who have money. If one agency stands up, the companies will go through another. We need to stand united,”  Akosawa said.

The Director of Public Prosecutions, Ronald Bei Talasasa, said relevant agencies should prosecute all environmental offenders, treating illegal actions by landowners and companies equally.

“Are the people now saying that the criminal law is only there to protect the rights of those who have the money, the logging companies? We need foreign investors. Yet maintenance of the rule of law is a prerequisite to economic prosperity,” Talasasa said.

The forum was told that when environmental crimes are not prosecuted, angry landowners often resort to criminal activity themselves.

“What happens if we are not sensitive to the desires, to the cries of victims, to those who find life in their own surroundings, to those who rely on the reefs, to those who rely on the forests, and see before their own eyes that according to their interpretation wrongs have been done and have not been addressed,”  Talasasa said.

“There is no excuse for violence, or taking the law into your own hands, but we need to apply justice fairly.”

The taskforce will focus on prosecuting test cases and assisting to develop training for investigators and prosecutors.

“The ODPP is there waiting. Should LALSU bring about a complaint through the police, the office is there waiting. As long as we have breath the office remains alive to continue with its Constitutional mandate and responsibilities,”Talasasa said.

The PPF added its support, informing the forum of its own recent parallel project.

“PPF recently initiated the Environmental Crime Awareness Project in 2013. We are looking at developing the knowledge and processes around environmental crime issues,” PPF Superintendent Eric Grimm said.

A key focus of the PPF project will be the creation of an environmental crime manual, with the assistance of forum stakeholders.

Participants in the forum acknowledged the importance of foreign investment, but cautioned that Solomon Islands must attract and support lawful companies and lawful practices.
SOURCE: SOLOMON TIMES ONLINE/PACNEWS

28) Chaudhry to be sentenced tomorrow

By MERE NALEBA
Thursday, May 01, 2014

Update: 1:09PM MAHENDRA Chaudhry will be sentenced tomorrow after three people submitted character reference today before High Court judge Paul Madigan.

The three were Father Kevin Barr, Ratu Epeli Ganilau and Taufa Vakatale.

The office of DPP has not objected to Chaudhry’s bail application.Fijitimes

WOMAN,YOUTH & CHILD

29) Women issues

Serafina Silaitoga In Melbourne, Australia
Thursday, May 01, 2014

A SURVEY done by the International Women’s Development Agency in a few countries around the world, including Fiji, revealed most women were involved in informal jobs.

Agency CEO Joanna Hayter said women were mostly involved in house chores such as washing clothes, working as house-girls, making juice and food to sell, planting, crocheting decorations for sale and running errands in town for others.

Addressing the Asian Pacific Journalism workshop for women, media and economic literacy in the Pacific being held in Melbourne, she challenged Pacific journalists to publish more stories of these informal sector jobs.

“Women play a vital role in this informal sector and they contribute greatly to the economy,” she said.

“These are things we take for granted but we need to start telling the stories of these women who are doing great in the informal sector. These women have done great because without their contribution in these informal sectors, who else would do their jobs.”

Mrs Hayter said her agency worked closely with groups in Fiji.

“We keep close contact with the groups in Fiji and can be every day so we are well aware of our women’s plights there,” she said.

“We work with the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre, femLINK and the Pacific Centre for Peacebuilding, and they update us with events relating to women.”

She told journalists most published stories were that of the formal sector jobs where people succeeded with their work. “The informal sector is even important and we need to start telling the stories of these women.”Fijitimes

www.voiceofmelanesia.com

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