Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 975

MELANESIA

1)MSG forming Fiji election observer team

By Online Editor
10:01 am GMT+12, 05/05/2014, Fiji

The Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) says it’s preparing for when it will send a mission to Fiji to observe the elections planned for September.

Last year the Prime Minister, Rear Frank Bainimarama invited the regional organisation to send a team to help observe the elections.

The Programmes Division Director at the MSG, Barbara Age says they are in the process of consulting with member countries on the composition of the team.

“We are also in consultation with the government of Fiji on our preparations which will include conducting a couple of workshops for the observer mission because this will be the first time that the MSG will be participating as an observer in any election.”

Age says Papua New Guinea will also play a key role in the mission and the MSG welcomes working with other organisations or countries involved.

Fiji recently asked the Australian government to head the international observer group.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

2) Australian Air Force Rescues 15 People Drifting Off Bougainville
Boat lost power traveling from Nissan Island to Buka

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, May 5, 2014) – A Royal Australian Air Force AP-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft has successfully located and helped rescue 15 people who were adrift at sea when their ‘banana boat’ lost power when travelling from Nissan Island to Buka Island in Bougainville.

The Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Port Moresby requested assistance from Rescue Coordination Centre Australia after the boat failed to reach its destination.

Air Force Director General Capability and Planning, Air Commodore (AIRCDRE) Michael Kitcher, said the rescue was another example of the excellent work being done by the RAAF in conjunction with Australia’s neighbours.

“The crew of the Orion did an excellent job in locating the boat and helping to arrange for the subsequent rescue,” AIRCDRE Kitcher said.

“This is another demonstration of Air Force’s ability to be anywhere at any time and is testament to the high standard of training of our air and ground crews.”

The RAAF Orion aircraft was dispatched to Port Moresby on the evening of 30 April 2014. The aircraft launched from Port Moresby the next day and located the missing boat, dropping an SAR8 Air-Sea Rescue Kit. The SAR8 kit, which contained two inflatable life rafts and two containers of emergency supplies, was successfully recovered by occupants of the boat. The Orion also dropped a search and rescue reference datum marker buoy.

The passengers were then rescued by a vessel dispatched by MRCC Port Moresby. No injuries were reported among the people rescued.

The Orion returned to Port Moresby after the successful completion of the task.

PNG Post-Courier

3) Vanuatu daily news digest | 5 May 2014

by bobmakin

  • The first ordinary session of Parliament resumed this morning and approved the Supplementary Appropriations for this year. Parliamentarians will have a separate programme this afternoon involving the visit of the President of the Japan International Cooperation Agency, Dr Akihiko Tanaka, at the Lapetasi Wharf Project at Star Wharf. A list of Bills before Parliament will be sent separately from this mailout.
  • A 2-page Budget Policy Statement for 2015 is included in both English and French in today’s Daily Post. It is a Statement of Responsibility signed by the Prime Minister as Acting Finance Minister, a point not otherwise explained. It outlines Government responsibilities under the Public Finance and Economic Management Act and seems intended to force Government ministries and departmental heads “to continue to effectively manage its budget in 2015.”
  • Daily Post reports the Vaturisu Council of Chiefs of Efate rejecting the “compulsory acquisition” of the airport site intended by the ad hoc committee appointed by the Government for a feasibility study at Enam. South Efate land owners will not accept being left out of potential benefits to themselves as well as to future generations.
  • Major renovation of Port Vila roads should start early in 2015 according to Prime Minister Carcasses in Parliament. It will take 24 months. He was answering questions from MP Alfred Carlot relative to urban roads. October should see the release of tender documents for the new traffic system. The Australian Government is assisting with the financing and Vanuatu is seeking ADB lending in the matter.
  • Apparently work has been abandoned on Tongoa roads and PM Carcasses has complained to the Ministry of Public Works. The equipment needed has been removed and certain materials have been damaged by the weather. Carcasses indicated there are also plans to improve Vanafo and Big Bay roads on Santo.

4) First Ordinary Session of PARLIAMENT for 2014

by bobmakin

BILLS for the First Ordinary Session of PARLIAMENT for 2014, already started

List of Bills for debate:

1. Bill for the Vanuatu Qualifications Authority Act No. of 2014

2. Bill for the Education Act No. of 2014

3. Bill for the Right to Information Act No. of 2014

4. Bill for the Waste Management Act No. of 2014

5. Bill for the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act No. of 2014

6. Bill for the Fisheries Act No. of 2014

7. Bill for the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act No. of 2014

8. Bill for the Customs (Am) Act No. of 2014

9. Bill for the Shipping (Am) Act No. of 2014

10. Bill for the Sale of Medicine (Am) Act No. of 2014

11. Bill for the Control of Pharmacists (Am) Act No. of 2014

12. Bill for the Municipalities (Am) Act No. of 2014

13. Bill for the Agreement on Strengthening Implementation of the Niue Treaty on Cooperation in Fisheries Surveillance and Law Enforcement in the South Pacific Region (Ratification) Act No. of 2014

14. Bill for the Industrial Development Act No. of 2014

15. Bill for the Ozone Layer Protection (Am) Act No. of 2014

16. Bill for the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants Stockholm, 22 May 2001 (Adoption of an amendment to Annex A) (Ratification) Act No. of 2014

17. Bill for the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants Stockholm, 22 May 2001 (Adoption of an amendment to Annex A, B and C) (Ratification) Act No. of 2014

18. Bill for the Nagoya Protocol on access to genetic resources and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from their utilization to the convention on biological diversity (Ratification) Act No. of 2014

19. Bill for the Passport (Am) Act No. of 2014

20. Bill for the Representation of the People (Am) Act No. of 2014

21. Bill for the Decentralization (Am) Act No. of 2014

22. Bill for the Public Land Transport Act No. of 2014

23. Bill for the Capital Investment Immigration Plan and Consular Program Act No. of 2014

24. Bill for the Customary Land Management (Am) Act No. of 2014

25. Bill for the Land Reform (Am) Act No. of 2014

26. Bill for the Vanuatu National Sports Council (Am) Act No. of 2014

27. Bill for the Supplementary Appropriation (2014) Act No. of 2014

28. Bill for the State Law Office (Amendment) Act No. of 2014

29. Bill for the Import Duties (Consolidation) (Amendment) Act No. of 2014

30. Bill for the Citizenship (Amendment) Act No. of 2014

31. Bill for the Foreign Service (Amendment) Act No. of 2014

32. Bill for the Strata Titles (Amendment) Act No.,,,of 2014

Not all of these Bills will be debated in this session it has now been acknowledged. Some are also being withdrawn.

POLYNESIA

5) Cook Islands MP sacked for not supporting taxing pensioners

5/5/14
A Cook Islands member of Parliament says he was sacked from the Cook Islands Party last week because he does not support pensioners in the country being taxed.

George Maggie Angene had his membership terminated by party leader and Prime Minister Henry Puna.

Mr Angene says after expressing his views on local talkback radio about not taxing the elderly, he was told by the party that he was no longer a member.

He says his sacking is not what the people want.

“I was disappointed because it is not my people who want me out. It comes from the executive telling me, “you’re not in the Cook Islands Party again.” And then I asked for them, why did you people sack me? They said because I support the idea not to tax the old people.”

George Maggie Angene says he will join the new political movement, Cook Islands One, set up by the former education and tourism minister, Teina Bishop.

Mr Angene says he will run in the elections planned for July.Radio NZ

6) New group emerges to contest Cooks election

By Online Editor
1:00 pm GMT+12, 05/05/2014, Cook Islands

A former Cook Islands cabinet minister is forming a new political organisation to fight the upcoming election.

Teina Bishop resigned from Cabinet and was then dumped by the ruling Cook Islands Party last month.

He says he resigned because he had not been kept in the loop about the Government’s plans to call an election seven months early – on 09 July.

Bishop says his political movement, Cook Islands One, will take a new approach to politics.

“I am limiting the candidacy of our movement at eight because our intention is not to get the 13 to establish a government rather a supporting group of the government of the day – whichever government comes.”

Bishop says he is not fazed by a lengthy police investigation accusing him of bribery and corruption during his term as marine resources minister.

Meanwhile, a Cook Islands Member of Parliament says he was sacked from the Cook Islands Party last week because he does not support pensioners in the country being taxed.

George Maggie Angene had his membership terminated by party leader and Prime Minister Henry Puna.

Angene says after expressing his views on local talkback radio about not taxing the elderly, he was told by the party that he was no longer a member.

He says his sacking is not what the people want.

“I was disappointed because it is not my people who want me out. It comes from the executive telling me, “You’re not in the Cook Islands Party again.” And then I asked for them, why did you people sack me? They said because I support the idea not to tax the old people.”

Angene says he will join the new political movement, Cook Islands One, set up by the former education and tourism minister, Teina Bishop.

Angene says he will run in the elections planned for July.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

7) Ha‘apai Reconstruction To Drive Tonga GDP Growth
Foreign grants and recovery aid will be bulk of growth: IMF

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, May 2, 2014) – A rise in Tonga’s Gross Domestic Product in the coming years will be driven primarily by the reconstruction of Ha’apai, according to the IMF 2014 Article IV consultation report on Tonga.

Tonga’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is projected to grow by 1.5% during the rest of the 2013-2014 Fiscal Year, then by 3.5% in 2014-2015, according to the International Monetary Fund IMF 2014 Article IV Consultation report on Tonga that was released on Wednesday, 30 April.

The projected steadily growth in Tonga’s GDP between 2013-2015 will be driven primarily with a steady flow of foreign grants and aid money for the reconstruction of Ha’apai after it was devastated by Cyclone Ian in early January.

In addition to grants and aid money for Ha’apai reconstruction, there is also a government loan of $10 million Pa’anga from the World Bank. The loan with an interest rate of 0.5% is to be repaid in 40 years has a grace period of 15 years.

Other possible contributors to the growth of the GDP included a possible rebounding of agriculture, tourism, other sector, and Tonga’s preparation to host the 2019 South Pacific Games.

The report however warned that the 2019 Games could potentially pose risks to fiscal sustainability, and it recommended streamlining the Games to guard against such risks.

It also recommended wage restraint and revenue reform, including broadening the Consumption Tax base.

The broadening of the Consumption Tax base, according to the CEO of the Ministry of Finance, Tatafu Moeaki means that there will be no increase in the CT but it will be broadened to income earners who at the moment were not paying CT.

Moeaki also raised a point that there was a bigger growth in the Gross National Products than the Gross Domestic Products, and he pointed to the increasing construction of private homes and small business, funded by overseas Tongans.

The report praised the government for their intention “to gradually phase out existing ad-hoc tax incentives … will help enhance the transparency and discipline of tax expenditures.”

The IMF team who were in Tonga for a fortnight were: Mr Jookyung Ree, Group Leader; Christiane Kneer and Fei liu, assistant.

Matangi Tonga Magazine

8) Major Petro Spill In Samoa Fouls Apia Harbor
100 metric tones of unleaded fuel reported leak

By Sophie Budvietas

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, May 3, 2014) – Samoa’s Disaster Management Office is warning people not to throw cigarette butts into Apia harbour because of a “strong fuel presence” at Apia harbour late Thursday night.

An official inquiry has been called after one emergency worker claimed the spill involved more than 100 metric tonnes of unleaded petroleum.

According to reports the incident happened at around 9.30-10pm with emergency services rushing to the scene at Mulinuu to contain the spill.

More news go to: Samoa Observer

MICRONESIA

9) Palau named ‘best diving spot’ at 2014 Marine Diving Fair

By Online Editor
1:03 pm GMT+12, 05/05/2014, Palau

The Republic of Palau garnered top awards at the recently concluded 22nd Marine Diving Fair held in Tokyo, Japan.

More than 50,000 people visited the fair held from April 4 to 6 with various Pacific Island countries represented at the Pacific Islands Center.

The Japan office for the Marshall Islands Visitors Authority and various other travel companies jointly promoted the Pacific Islands as attractive destinations for diving and marine sports.

At the fair, organizers announced Palau as the “Best Diving Spot” in 2014 as voted by Japanese divers.

This the third consecutive year Palau has received this award.

Palau’s Ambassador to Japan Francis Matsutaro and Nanae Singeo, new managing director of Palau Visitors Authority, gratefully accepted the award on behalf of the island nation.

Palau also received the third place for “Best Dreaming Area.”

Local hotels and tour companies including the Palau Pacific Resort, Palasia Hotel, Day Dream and Cruise Control were likewise recognized as best dive operators and hotels.

SOURCE: OCEANIA TV NEWS/PACNEWS ( Phils Note: True …a few of my mates from a scuba diving group, have been to Palau and the Micronesian Islands a few times and said the best for scuba/D…. atolls? Though the colours are fab!)

10) Marshall Islands primed for climate fight for survival

By Online Editor
3:58 pm GMT+12, 05/05/2014, Marshall Islands

From nowhere does the problem of climate change look more desperate than standing on the shores of the Marshall Islands.

The tiny coral islands, seemingly idyllic, are slowly sinking into the ocean as sea levels rise. A 1.5C increase in global temperatures could make the islands virtually uninhabitable. So far, the planet has warmed by around 0.8C, and scientists warn that the CO2 already emitted means we’re already locked in for more.

Unsurprisingly, this means the Marshall Islands and other small island states have become some of the most progressive voices within the international negotiations around a treaty intended to limit the reach of climate change.

This leaves Marshall Islands foreign minister Tony de Brum, who leads their climate change efforts, with a tough job, pushing for a climate change deal that is far beyond what less vulnerable countries would happily settle for.

“Carbon free should be the ultimate goal of everyone and if we concentrated in developing on that pathway it’s a win-win for all concerned,” he tells RTCC, during a visit to London.

He has just come over from Brussels, where he met with EU climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard, and is about to fly over Abu Dhabi, where he will discuss with other politicians the potential for further pledges at a high-level meeting to be hosted by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in September.

The international climate negotiations may be notoriously tough, but with their target of limiting warming to only 2C, they are not stringent enough for some of the small island states, for whom even a successful treaty poses an existential threat.

At present, even this modest 2C level of success is by no means a foregone conclusion; while the Marshall Islands are sinking, big emitters such as the US, India and China remain embroiled in largely ideological battles over who should bear the brunt of reducing their greenhouse gas emissions most and first.

Even if the Marshall Islands went carbon neutral today, it would barely make a dent on combatting climate change, where the impacts bear no relation to where the greenhouse gases are being emitted. In fact, it is usually those who have least contributed to the issue that suffer the most. While the Marshall Islands have a per capita emissions rate of 2 tons of CO2 for their 53,000 population in 2010, compared 17.6 in the US for each of its 317,000,000 inhabitants, they face a perilous future.

But although the Marshall Islands are a speck on the map compared to these countries both in terms of size and emissions, their vulnerability means that they punch above their weight when it comes to the negotiations.

“I think that we have enjoyed relatively good rapport with development partners, the big states, the big emitters,” says de Brum.

“We try and bring to the table what we consider to be the immediate and longer term concerns of the small islands states and to point out that our ambitions and goals are not that much different from those of the developed countries, that the idea of climate change leadership and working towards sensible climate change policies does not necessarily cancel out development.”

Rather than waiting for the annual UN climate conference to build these bridges, the Marshall Islands have been proactive in getting key players together in order to start forging the common ground that everyone needs to stand on if there is to be any chance of a successful outcome in Paris 2015, when the UN hopes a climate treaty will be struck.

Last year, they hosted the Pacific Islands Forum, where a focus on climate change saw participants sign a ‘Majuro Declaration’, designed to spark “a new wave of climate leadership”, which Marshallese president Christopher Loeak then presented to Ban Ki-moon as a “Pacific gift” at the UN General Assembly.

More recently, they hosted the Cartagena Dialogue, bringing together an unusual selection of the global north and south countries with a progressive attitude to tackling climate change.

And Tony de Brum is about to make his way to a meeting of the Major Economies Forum—the second time the Marshall Islands have been invited to participate—which he says is a sign that other major players are starting to realise they play key role in facilitating progressive action.

“We view that as America and the other big countries’ recognition of our ability to contribute to that debate and to come up with solutions that can be accepted and promoted by the big states as well,” he says.

He adds: “We also have been able to dialogue directly with the United States and also with Chinese officials throughout the Pacific and have been able to share with them what our concerns are. It seems to us in fact that is taking hold.”

The conversations that he has had during his current diplomatic mission have left him feeling hopeful he says, as there seems to be a growing recognition among international leaders of the Marshall Islands’ predicament.

But there is one thing that this trip cannot do, which is allow foreign politicians to witness the destruction facing the Marshall Islands for themselves.

“There’s nothing like seeing it,” says de Brum. “Landing on the airstrip in the capital city of Majuro and seeing sandbags on either side of the runway is a message that’s rather too powerful to forget.”

He explains how those who have attended events hosted by the Marshall Islands in recent years have been “awed” by the sight of the disappearing islands—a feeling which has contributed to the success of his meetings with the likes of Connie Hedegaard and UK foreign minister Hugo Swire.

“It’s ridiculous the kind of climate displays that are occurring in small island states, but it was a powerful message that we wanted to share with the world, and I think it worked,” he says.

“Our job as a bridge between the developed states and the small island vulnerable states is difficult, but it’s something that someone must do.”.

SOURCE: RTCC/PACNEWS

11) Eligible Micronesian Migrants Urged To Register, Vote In Guam
Empowerment group encourages involvement in electoral processes

By Masako Watanabe

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, May 5, 2014) – A Micronesian empowerment group that began with one man’s Facebook page is gaining momentum to form a voter movement in this year’s elections.

Natewined founder Eddie Nathan Winis and youth leaders met with Guam Election Commission officials last Wednesday as they find ways to get regional immigrants –and their Guam-born offspring of voting age — to register to vote.

After the meeting, Winis said, four registrars who completed training were introduced to the group and offered their assistance. The group will start registration drives in various village locations, he said.

“One of the issues we have is transportation. We’re going to try to find (accessible) locations.”

Winis, 23, created his Natewined Facebook page late last year as he grew increasingly frustrated at the negative stereotypes of the regional immigrant community.

More go to: Pacific Daily News

12) Undersea Volcano Shows Signs Of Activity In CNMI
Seismic activity near Farallon de Pajaros signals eruption: USGS

SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, May 5, 2014) – The U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory has been keeping a close eye on an undersea volcano in the CNMI that has been showing signs of activity in recent days.

According to a weekly summary issued by the Observatory, recent seismic activity “almost certainly herald an eruption.”

According to the U.S. Geological Survey report, seismometers on the islands record high levels of seismicity and the most likely source of the volcanic activity is the Ahyi seamount, which is about 20 km southeast of Farallon de Pajaros.

“The seismic signals almost certainly herald an eruption. In fact, submarine explosions were heard by scuba divers who are conducting coral reef research in the area. The divers even felt the shock waves from the explosions, and one of the most powerful ones reverberated through the hull of the NOAA base ship, Hiʻialakai, leading the crew to think something had happened to the ship. Shipboard personnel also reported a large sulfur slick on the southeast coastline of Farallon de Pajaros.

“Unfortunately, the ship had to leave the area under threat of an advancing typhoon. If they can get back to the vicinity soon, they may be able to investigate the source of the explosions with great caution, keeping in close contact with U.S. Geological Survey and CNMI emergency management personnel, who are monitoring the seismicity.

“The CNMI emergency management office and the volcano observatories of the USGS have been working together for over 30 years to establish volcano monitoring networks and assess volcanic hazards in the Mariana Islands.

“The most likely source of the current activity is Ahyi seamount, about 20 km southeast of Farallon de Pajaros. Ahyi rises to within 64 m (210 ft) of the ocean surface and is associated with several reports of possible eruptions in historical times, the most recent in 2001.

“Interspersed among the volcanoes that rise above sea level to form the NMI are many submarine volcanoes. Together, the islands and submarine volcanoes form the Mariana arc, a classic example of an island arc. These arcs, such as the Aleutians and the Japanese archipelago, are formed at subduction zones—boundaries where one tectonic plate plunges beneath another.

“Reports of discolored water throughout the Mariana arc are common, indicating that the NMI may experience frequent submarine eruptions. A dramatic, recent example is the 2010 eruption of South Sarigan seamount, which sent an eruption plume up to 12 km (40,000 ft) above sea level.

“The plume intersected many commercial air traffic routes, raising concern that the abrasive ash fragments could damage aircraft or even stall their engines. In addition, the eruption posed a potential hazard to ocean-going vessels, as it produced a large area of discolored water, possibly including a raft of pumice—a type of rock that can be produced in explosive volcanic eruptions. A recent submarine eruption of Havre seamount north of New Zealand in 2012 created a 20,000 square-kilometer (7,700 sq-mi) raft of pumice—about twice the area of the island of Hawaii!—that eventually spread to about 4 million square-kilometers (1.5 million sq-mi) as it broke up.

“Pumice can float because it’s basically a type of foam—filled with gas bubbles encased in quickly cooled lava—which makes it less dense than the ocean water.

“It’s possible, but not certain, that the current unrest near Ahyi seamount will escalate into a vigorous eruption, with the creation of pumice rafts, and even an explosive eruption column rising above sea level. If this happens, there are further possible threats of local disturbances of the water column that could result in local tsunami and ash fallout from the eruption plume.”

Saipan Tribune

TOK PISIN

13) PNG Non-Communicable sik heve

Updated 5 May 2014, 17:15 AEST
Jessy Pendene

Ol kainkain sik ol i kolim long non-communicable disease i wok long kamap bikpela wari long Papua New Guinea.

Odio: Gwendalyn Vengiau husat i Nutrition study coordintor long Institute of Medical Research long Goroka i toktok
Gwendalyn Vengiau husat i Nutrition study coordintor long Institute of Medical Research long Goroka i toktok (Credit: ABC)
Wanpela meri save long mekim ol wok painim aut long Papua New Guinea long Institute of Medical Research long Goroka i tokaut olsem public sevans blong kantri bai bagarap sapos gavman ino harem hevi blong ol non communicable diseases.

Gwendalyn Vengiau husat i Nutrition study coordintor i tokaut olsem planti taim yumi save sutim tok long puripuri na HIVAIDS long ol man i save dai kirap nogut tasol dispela emi no tru.

Emi tok  planti yangpela woka oli wok long dai long wanem oli no wuas long ol kaikai oli kaikaim na hap oli stap long em.

Ms Vengiau i toktok strong olsem gavman i mas givim nambawan luksave long ol lain wokim wok painim out long givim gutpela advais igo bek long gavman. http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

FRENCH

14) Brèves d’Australie et du Pacifique – lundi 5 mai 2014

Mis à jour 5 May 2014, 16:05 AEST
Caroline Lafargue

Australie occidentale: un pêcheur se retrouve nez à nez avec un requin de quatre mètres de long.

La rencontre a eu lieu à 100 mètres de la côte, mercredi dernier. Le pêcheur est immédiatement allé prévenir les surfeurs et les nageurs, environ 80 personnes. En vain. Car ils ont cru, à tort, que le pêcheur avait confondu un dauphin avec un requin. Mercredi les autorités ont mis fin temporairement à l’abattage des requins de plus de trois mètres. Mais elles ont l’intention de prolonger le dispositif pendant trois ans.

Un nouveau séisme puissant a touché les Îles Salomon lundi matin. Un tremblement de terre de magnitude 5.3 sur l’échelle de Richter, selon le Service Géologique des États-Unis, dont l’épicentre était situé à une quarantaine de kilomètres au sud-sud-ouest d’Honiara, la capitale. Les autorités ont déclenché une alerte au tsunami pour la province de Makira.

Nouvelle fusillade à la frontière entre la Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée et la Papouasie indonésienne. D’après le quotidien Post Courier, les militaires indonésiens auraient ouvert le feu sur une patrouille de militaires papous ce week-end. Il n’y a eu aucun blessé. On ne connaît pas encore la cause de cet incident. Les autorités papoues et indonésiennes vont organiser un sommet frontalier pour pacifier la zone.

Papouasie indonésienne: la Coalition des Femmes papoues dénonce des fraudes pendant les législatives du 9 avril dernier. L’organisation affirme avoir des preuves, qu’elle va communiquer à la Cour Constitutionnelle. Les femmes papoues ont manifesté lors d’une réunion de la commission de décompte des voix, à Jayapura. Elles estiment qu’elles n’avaient aucune chance en tant que candidates, car, disent-elles, elles n’avaient pas d’argent pour acheter des voix.

6% de chômage, une dette publique qui représente 11% du PIB… l’Australie se porte bien. Et pourtant, le gouvernement projette de repousser l’âge de la retraite de 65 actuellement, à 70 ans, dès 2035. Son raisonnement: nous vivons plus vieux en bonne santé, il faut donc travailler plus longtemps. Le projet est très impopulaire. Mais le gouvernement libéral a une seule obsession en tête: le retour à l’excédent budgétaire. Cependant, la réforme peut encore échouer. Les Verts sont contre, les Travaillistes aussi: ils ne veulent pas aller au-delà de 67 ans.

Le Vanuatu proteste contre la création du parc naturel de la mer de Corail en Nouvelle-Calédonie. Car le projet inclut les îles de Matthew et Hunter, objet d’une querelle territoriale depuis des années. Edward Natapei, le ministre vanuatais des Affaires étrangères, a envoyé une lettre de protestation à l’ambassadeur de France au Vanuatu. Le parc couvre la totalité de la zone économique exclusive calédonienne. L’objectif est de trouver l’équilibre entre conservation, exploitation de la richesse et développement économique.

À Bougainville, les 14 passagers d’un bateau à la dérive ont finalement été sauvés vendredi grâce à un avion de l’armée de l’air australienne. Tous sont en bonne santé, mais quelques adultes sont encore en observation. Le propriétaire n’avait tout simplement pas emporté assez de carburant. C’est la deuxième fois en un mois qu’il commet cette négligence. Il va être poursuivi en justice.

Îles Cook: les chefs d’État et de gouvernement du Forum des Îles du Pacifique sont réunis jusqu’à demain mardi à Rarotonga. Seules la Nouvelle-Zélande et l’Australie n’ont pas envoyé leurs Premiers ministres. Objectif : créer une coopération sociale, économique et environnementale, entre les pays membres du Forum.  Et pour ce faire, il faut abandonner le plan adopté il y a 10 ans, qui n’a rien donné, estime Mereke Morauta.  L’ancien Premier ministre papou souhaite un Forum organisé comme une entreprise, avec une obligation de résultats et des cadres plus compétents.

Australie: le gouvernement tente de rassurer le secteur minier et les éleveurs et agriculteurs. Ils craignent la suppression du précieux abattement de 38% dont ils bénéficiaient jusqu’à présent sur les taxes sur le diesel. Une tentation réelle pour le gouvernement, qui pourrait ainsi réaliser 2.4 milliards de dollars d’économie l’an prochain. Mais le ministre des Finances Joe Hockey a renoncé à toucher à cet avantage. Normalement, les Australiens paient une taxe sur le diesel pour financer la maintenance des routes. Or les mines et certaines propriétés d’élevage ou agricoles sont très isolées, souvent sans routes bitumées.

Après 5 ans d’absence, El Nino sera de retour probablement vers juin, selon les prévisions de l’Institut National de Recherche Atmosphérique de Nouvelle-Zélande. Et cette année, il pourrait être particulièrement fort, prévient le climatologue Andrew Lorrey. Résultat : les pays situés à l’est de la ligne de changement de date recevront plus de cyclones. La zone de convergence du Pacifique Sud va se décaler vers le nord, apportant des précipitations inhabituelles.

PASIFIK

15) Aust, NZ joins Pacific Islands Forum meeting to discuss Pacific Plan Review

By Online Editor
09:55 am GMT+12, 05/05/2014, Cook Islands

Australia’s parliamentary secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs Brett Mason will meet with Pacific leaders in Cook Islands to discuss how the region can work together more effectively.

Senator Mason will represent Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott at the Pacific Islands Forum Special Leaders Retreat on May 5, which will assess recommendations made by the 2013 Pacific Plan Review.

Former Papua New Guinea prime minister, Sir Mekere Morauta, who led the review, has called for a renewed focus on the initial aims of the 2005 Pacific Plan.

The Plan called for greater co-operation between nations to deal with social, economic and environmental challenges in the Pacific.

“Australia strongly endorses the Pacific Plan as a framework for advancing Pacific regionalism,” Senator Mason said in a statement.

“The Review report is a thoughtful and analytical piece of work which, if implemented, should contribute to improving regional dialogue and decision making.

During his trip, Senator Mason will meet with Cook Islands Prime Minister Henry Puna and New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully.

New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully will travel to the Cook Islands today to attend the Pacific Islands Forum Special Leaders’ Meeting on the Pacific Plan on behalf of the Prime Minister.

“The Pacific Plan is the Forum’s guiding strategy for stimulating economic growth and promoting good governance and security in the Pacific,” he said.

A review of the Pacific Plan had recently been completed and the Special Leaders’ Meeting in Rarotonga would consider the findings of this report.

“The Pacific Plan Review process is an opportunity to have this discussion and for Pacific leaders to consider the future of Pacific regionalism more generally,” McCully said.

Meanwhile, Senator Mason will also visit Auckland on May 6 and 7 to meet with the chairman of the Pacific Cooperation Foundation, a charitable trust which works to improve relationships between New Zealand and Pacific countries.

He will also travel to Samoa, where he will visit education, agriculture and infrastructure projects funded by the Australian government, including reconstruction projects for those affected by Cyclone Evan in December 2012.

Senator Mason will hold talks with Samoa’s Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, and discuss the country’s preparations for the United Nations Small Islands Developing States Conference to be held in Apia in September.

SOURCE: RADIO AUSTRALIA/ NZ HERALD/PACNEWS

16) Pacific countries forge new level of cooperation

By Online Editor
09:54 am GMT+12, 05/05/2014, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister Rimbink Pato announced last week that a meeting of the Pacific Immigration director’s conference had forged a new level of regional cooperation through the signing of a joint memorandum of understanding.

“The Pacific Immigration Director’s Conference is the pre-eminent immigration forum in the region” the minister said.

“The memorandum of understanding that was signed in Kokopo this week formally establishes this group as an official entity.

“In hosting and chairing this 17th Annual Conference PNG has shown strong regional leadership on immigration and border security matters.”

“The theme of this year’s conference was ‘Economic growth and national development through skilled entry programs’” the Minister said. “This is an area in which PNG has particular expertise.”

“PNG Immigration shared with regional immigration agencies its experience of how it has specifically targeted skilled visa programs to facilitate major resource projects, such as the multi-billion kina PNG LNG project.”

The Asian Development Bank recently forecast that PNG’s economy will grow by 21 percent in 2015, mainly as a result of liquefied natural gas exports.

“Economic growth and development are priorities for all countries in the Pacific region,” Pato said.

“There is growing international understanding and recognition of the close linkage between skilled migration and national development. This is the first time thatregional immigration agencies have collectively focused on how to make the most of this key economic enabler.

“The Government chose Kokopo as the location for this conference because of its plans to promote Kokopo as a major international tourism hub.”

The minister praised the assistance provided by the East New Britain Provincial Government for the conference.

“Their contribution really underscored the point that Kokopo is a great place for business as well as tourism” Pato said.

While in Kokopo the minister also opened a new Immigration office to process the arrival and departure of increasing numbers of direct international flights.
SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

HEALTH

17) Sorcery beliefs still plague grassroots PNG

5/5/14
A Papua New Guinea community health worker says countering traditional beliefs about sorcery remains a struggle.

The comment from Logae Ray from Roku village in Central Province comes five months after a conference in Goroka presented PNG’s government with recommendations for addressing sorcery-related crime.

Mr Ray says widespread belief in witchcraft or sanguma has not been dulled by advances in medicine.

He says recently villagers turned on one of their own after convincing themselves he was to blame for a local woman becoming suddenly unwell.

“They attacked this poor guy and they really hurt him. Later, I myself as a health worker, found that actually this lady was not sick because of anything (sorcery-related). She was sick because of pneumonia. The next day she was okay. But this poor guy was traumatized already. And even the character of this guy has already been spoilt in the village by people saying this fella might be practicing sorcery and all this.”

Logae Ray….Radio NZ.

EDUCATION

18) NEC pupils repay 50pc

Salaseini Moceiwai
Monday, May 05, 2014

STUDENTS educated at the National Employment Centre (NEC) will only pay back half of their sponsored fees to the training institution and not all.

The clarification from Labour Minister Jone Usamate in Labasa last week follows concerns raised by some students regarding NEC deducting their wages for some time.

Mr Usamate said: “If NEC has provided a sponsorship of $1000 to a student to study at the centre, the student has to pay back $500 when he or she works.”

“Before a student joins NEC, he or she has to sign an agreement that clearly states the paying back of half of the fees to the centre when they work. It’s not that NEC is going to continue deducting the wages of the students but it will just have to take what was agreed to in the first place.”

Mr Usamate said once the fees were cleared, NEC would stop deducting.

“NEC will deduct little by little on every payday. The centre can deduct $5 or $10 on every pay day.

“Once it sees that the student has paid half of his or her fees, it will stop deducting. There are no interest fees applied. NEC is just going to take half of the fees from the student’s wages as agreed to in the first place.”Fijitimes

POLITIC

19) Papua women protest over ‘vote-buying’ and lack of representation

5/5/14
The Coalition of Papua Women have staged a rally, protesting against alleged vote-stealing and a lack of monitoring during the April the 9th legislative election.

The protest was held at the Jayapura Aston Hotel, where the Papua General Elections Commission was holding a vote-counting plenary meeting.

The Jakarta Post reports Melyna Wonateroy, a Golkar Party legislative candidate from Papua, said the coalition suspected that the scarcity of female lawmakers in Papua was due to vote-buying.

She says all their hard work as native female candidates has gone to waste because they didn’t have any financial means to buy votes.

She says the women had the potential to win many votes, but they were transferred to other candidates that were better off financially.

Ms Wonateroy says the coalition had evidence of foul play, which they would present to the Constitutional Court after the meeting had concluded.Radio NZ

20) Vanuatu Parliament Session Stream Live On Internet
New Caledonia Congress provides funds for equipment

By Anita Roberts

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, May 2, 2014) – Vanuatu’s Parliament sessions in Port Vila are streaming live via website (http://stream.parliament.gov.vu) and can be viewed by people in the six provinces of Vanuatu and from anywhere around the world, thanks to the New Caledonia Congress for providing funds of over Vt9 million [US$95,000].

Parliamentary sessions in Vanuatu have been streaming live online since last year’s October extra-ordinary session. Eight members from the Congress of New Caledonia are currently in Port Vila on a visit following the donation of the broadcasting equipment.

Four swivel television cameras installed at corners of the chamber, microphones at all parliamentarian’s desks, a projector and sound system are the new equipment the parliament is using, funded by the legislature of New Caledonia.

Speaker of Parliament, Philip Boedoro, said the new equipment will “improve the transmission and backup of all files of parliamentary debates in the house”.

New Caledonia’s contribution has made a significant change in the national parliament, through the establishment of agreements and ties it has had with the Parliament of Vanuatu since 2003.

Now that any citizen or supporter could watch and listen to all debates from laptops or computers, members of the parliament are expected to be very cautious, behave properly and dress accordingly.

A formal handover of the equipment took place at the Parliament House on Tuesday this week in the presence of the Congress delegates and French Ambassador to Vanuatu, Clerk Louis Kalnpel, the Speaker and Prime Minister Moana Carcasses, Ministers and members from both the government and opposition.

This visit from the New Caledonia Congress has also led to a partnership agreement signed between the two parliaments for program exchange activity to share common values and experiences.

Both Prime Minister Moana Carcasses and Speaker Boedoro told the delegates that the parliament of Vanuatu is privileged to have a relationship with the Congress of New Caledonia.

Members on the visit here are Karine Paiman, Diana Chapmann, Vidjaya Tirou, Soumynie Kartadiwvja, Damien Yiewiene and M.Arlie. The head of the touring team,Rock Wamytan, who is the president of the New Caledonia could not make the trip.

Vanuatu Daily Post

21) Fiji’s Bainimarama lodges party application

5/5/14
Fiji’s Prime Minister, Rear Admiral Frank Bainimarama, has lodged an application to register his proposed Fiji First political party.

Rear Admiral Bainimarama submitted the application, with over 40 thousand signatures, to the elections supervisor, Mohammed Saneem, in Suva this afternoon.

Fiji Village also reports that Dr Jiko Luveni has been appointed the president of the proposed party, with the current Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum, the general secretary.

The two vice presidents are Tui Macuata Ratu Wiliame Katonivere, and the former Labour Party senator Bijai Prasad.

Mr Prasad says he left Labour to join Fiji First over differences with the Labour leader, Mahendra Chaudhry.

Rear Admiral Bainimarama says people from all walks of life signed up for his proposed party during his recent nationwide registration tour.

The police earlier said they were investigating a complaint the prime minister has breached electoral rules by campaigning before being registered.Radio NZ

22) Fiji Political Party Calls For Mainstreaming Indigenous Knowledge
People’s Democratic party elects Felix Anthony as leader

By Shayal Devi

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, May 5, 2014) – Indigenous customs, traditions, institutions and values form an intrinsic part of iTaukei identity, says newly elected People’s Democratic Party leader Felix Anthony.

As part of the party’s manifesto, Mr Anthony said the PDP recognised the value of indigenous knowledge which cut across many different sectors and was a source of sustainable livelihood for the rural poor.

“The party will introduce policies and legislation to mainstream indigenous knowledge, protect its intellectual property and minimise the risks of foreign commercial exploitation or extinction in the face of competing global knowledge systems and technologies,” he said.

He said there was also increasing pressure being placed on Fiji’s physical environment including its rich biodiversity by economic globalisation, poor regulation, natural disasters and climate change.

“The party will develop a policy and regulatory framework, including an appropriate tax and subsidy regime that demonstrates its commitment to protecting the environment as the basis of sustainable livelihoods, food security, health and wellbeing of current and future generations.

“The PDP will also review all legislation governing Fiji’s primary sectors to promote more sustainable development of Fiji’s land and marine resources.

“Across all primary sectors, the party will promote land policies and reforms that are fair, equitable and sustainable, ensuring that they do not aggravate the problems of landlessness and rural poverty, threaten food and water security or cause environmental degradation.”

One of the areas of concern for the party is exploitation of mineral resources.

The former unionist said the manifesto would also outline the party’s response to this problem.

“The party will develop a policy and regulatory framework that follows best practices and global standards for responsible mining.

“It will demand greater corporate social and environmental responsibility, more revenue transparency and community consultation.

“With respect to the emerging frontier of deep seabed mining, the PDP will adopt a precautionary and socially responsible approach.

“It will place a moratorium on this activity both within and beyond territorial waters until more is known about the likely social and environmental consequences and the affected communities have been properly consulted.”

Fiji Times Online.

23) People’s Democratic Party vows to change the face of politics in Fiji

By Online Editor
09:44 am GMT+12, 05/05/2014, Fiji

A new leader of Fiji’s youngest political party, the People’s Democratic Party, was elected Saturday its inaugural convention at the Girmit Centre in Lautoka.

Former Trade Unionist Felix Anthony said he and the party would be working to change the face of politics in Fiji and that its members and Fijians would play a huge role in shaping the party.

This was evident when party members turned up to vote for the party’s leader, a contest between
Anthony and Adi Sivia Qoro.

“You will see a different kind of leadership within the PDP and what we are trying to do is basically change the face of politics in this country. We believe that politicians need to be accountable to the people and not the other way around.”

Anthony said the party’s policies and candidates for the September 17 elections will be finalised after deliberations with “the people”.

“It will not be like we are sitting in Suva or Lautoka and decide for the people on who should represent them. Whoever we choose as candidates will have to come from the people and not only that, would also have to have a track record of working with the people,” he said.

“Our policies are not going to be developed by a few people sitting in a room.”

In his inaugural speech, he shed light on the policies which will form the basis of the party’s manifesto, which will be out in June.

He said reviewing the minimum wage was on the party’s agenda should they win the upcoming elections. Equality for women, he said, will start within the party.

“The party also has, within its Constitution, a requirement to have 30 per cent women and 20 per cent youth within its leadership throughout its structures.”

Anthony said they also recognised the importance of the Great Council of Chiefs within the iTaukei structures. On education, Anthony stressed that comprehensive policies on education would be developed.

“The party will consider the re-introduction of examinations in secondary schools. The party will ensure that as far as possible, education from early childhood to primary and secondary school is free and compulsory.”

They will also propose cost sharing of tertiary education fees between the Government and students. In this the Government will pay a portion of the fees, which will be refunded by the student when he/she finds a job. For senior citizens, the party, if elected, intends to have social security in place.

“Within the first year in government, the party will develop a pension scheme that is flexible, accessible, realistic and means-tested.

“It will also review the Fiji National Provident Fund Act in order to ensure that members are able to enjoy the benefits of a fair, equitable, and well managed superannuation scheme on retirement.”

They also intend to reform the transport sector by prioritising energy efficiency, environmental sustainability and greater access for “the poor”.

SOURCE: FIJI SUN/PACNEWS

24) Indonesia Supporting Fiji UN Meeting Called ‘Cheque-Book Diplomacy’
Jakarta allegedly wants to silence MSG support for West Papua

By Winston Tarere

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, May 2, 2014) – Indonesia has contributed a substantial amount of around Vt3 million ($30,000 USD) specifically to help Fiji host the United Nation’s regional conference of the Special Decolonization Committee, also known as the Committee of 24 scheduled for the 21st to the 23rd of May in Fiji.

This was posted by Fiji’s Ministry of Information on its website on Friday 25th April on ANZAC day. The three-day conference will be held at the Sofitel Hotel in Nadi.

Indonesia’s new Ambassador to Fiji, Gary RM Jusuf, made the donation to the Fiji government. At the same time the Ambassador met with Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Ratu Inoke Kubuabola to discuss a number of ongoing bilateral issues such as the Melanesian Spearhead Group’s (MSG) Regional Police Academy.

Jakarta’s cheque-book diplomacy reflects its determination to silence any murmurs of regional support or discussions within the MSG on the issue of re-enlisting West Papua back on the decolonization list.

Fiji and Papua New Guinea are the only two regional members of the Committee of 24, who also enjoy close relationships with Jakarta and support Jakarta’s position on West Papua as an integral part of Indonesia.

“Earlier this year, the Indonesian Government provided close to a million dollars towards the establishment of an academy designed to boost the region’s police force. A more advanced and specialized training facility is being discussed.

“The Indonesian Police is prepared to send counter-terrorism and other experts to the MSG Regional Police Academy. Fiji is taking a lead role in establishing the academy to train police officers from the five MSG countries,” the Ministry of Information website stated.

The regional seminar will discuss how to accelerate the implementation of the third international decade for the eradication of colonialism.

“The purpose of the seminar is to enable the Special Committee to obtain the views of representatives of the Non-Self-Governing Territories, experts, members of civil society and other stakeholders in the process of decolonization who can assist the Special Committee in identifying policy approaches and practical ways that can be pursued by the United Nations decolonization process,” the official UN document on the guidelines and rules of procedure for the conference stated.

The seminar will assist the Special Committee to make realistic analysis and evaluation of the situation of each colonial territories on a case-by-case basis.

Only representatives of member states; host government; administering powers; non-self-governing territories; a representative of the Secretary General, representatives of concerned specialized agencies and other organizations with the UN system; representatives of the organizations based in the region and the non-self-governing territories; and experts on non-self-governing territories.

Vanuatu Daily Post

LAND

25) Lands disciplines officers over titles

Source:
The National, Monday May 5th, 2014

By HELEN TARAWA
FIVE officers have been sacked and 13 others face disciplinary action by the Department of Lands and Physical Planning over issues regarding land titles, a top official says.
Lands Department secretary Romilly Kila-Pat said the department was rebuilding its image to restore public confidence in its functions. He would not disclose the names of the officers because they could appeal the decisions against them.
But Kila-Pat warned that the department would not accept officers who tried to compromise land titles.
“We’ve considered the termination of some very senior officers from director to manager level, people who are in positions to make decisions,” he said.
“Because they have the right to appeal, I will not mention their names.
“But we do not have any place in the department for officers who compromise with land titles.
“I’m going to maintain that position as long as I’m secretary – zero tolerance on people who play around with titles.
“In the department there’s only one process that is applied for land titles. The issue of double allocation has hit us badly.
“It’s because of officers not doing the right thing when the bosses are not monitoring them. We are not managing well and as a result they do things on the side but we’ve taken control of those issues now. The officers realise that we are serious about what we are saying.
“A lot of major investors are coming to do business in PNG but if we’re playing around with titles, it’s not sending good signals.”

26)Kila Pat: All is well despite criticism

Source:
The National, Monday May 5th, 2014

THE Lands Department is performing its functions well in the face of public criticisms against it, according to secretary Romilly Kila-Pat.
Kila-Pat, said there was nothing wrong with the department and that its officers had been busy working, thus the lack of response to public criticism.
He said the people deserved
good service on land so that they could take part in national development.
“One of the biggest challenges that the department faces is in relation to corruption.
“Every time there is news on television, print media or the radio, the word corruption does not go away. It continues to haunt us,” he said.
“I want people to come to the department and tell us about it. So we can get a clear picture on what’s happening rather than painting a picture that is not true,” Kila Pat said.
The department is working with Transparency International to tackle the issue and persons found guilty will be dealt with seriously, he said.
Kila Pat said their plan to decentralise powers to the provinces had been over-shadowed by negative research findings which sparked off public debates.
He said there was a lot of publicity on the findings of researches into land development issues.
He invited the researchers to discuss their findings with the department.

CORRUPTION

27) Come forward with ‘evidence on corruption’

Source:
The National, Monday May 5th, 2014

ANYONE with evidence of corruption in regards to government’s decisions should come forward with it so proper investigations can be carried out, Chief Secretary Sir Manasupe Zurenuoc says.
He said the government had made a lot of progress in the fight against corruption but that had been undermined by people making wild allegations and innuendos in the mainstream and social media.
“The Oil Search transaction, the awarding of road contracts, the purchase of power generators, and a number of other government decisions have attracted criticisms and allegations about due process being breached, bribery being paid, commissions being made, and so forth,” he said.
“I respect people’s right to free speech, to criticise government decisions, and to debate policies in the public forum.
“But if you are going to raise serious allegations about wrongful conduct, about the law being broken, you must back that up with evidence, and provide it to the appropriate agencies to investigate.”
He said recent comments by Institute of National Affairs director Paul Barker in the media on the Government’s decision to obtain a K3 billion loan from UBS to pay for shares in Oil Search Ltd were of interest and he wanted to investigate the claim.
“Barker has suggested that information made available to him suggest that a commission as high as 15% of the UBS loan was paid to consultants,” he said.
“The innuendo is that about A$400 million was pocketed and is being shared between people involved in the deal, and a number of politicians in government.

MEDIA

28) Sales agent goes mobile

Source:
The National, Monday May 5th, 2014

A daily newspaper sales agent in Wewak, East Sepik, has come up with an innovative idea to beat the recent ban on all street sales in town by the Wewak Town Commission.
In compliance with the commission law, The National’s street sales agent Mathew Wangi shifted last week from being stationary in selected areas to mobile sales with the aid of 10 bicycles he bought for K3,000.
Wangi said the use of bicycles, motor bikes and cars was approved by the commission because they would be constantly on the move selling newspapers thus preventing crowding and petty crimes.
“I am sacrificing resources to shift to mobile sales because I feel for the readers who would otherwise miss out on the newspaper,” Wangi said.

29)Pacific media chief praises regional achievements to mark Press Freedom Day

By Online Editor
09:51 am GMT+12, 05/05/2014, Fiji

The head of the Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) has used World Press Freedom Day to call on governments in the region to develop national media associations.

In a statement, PINA president Moses Stevens says “it is an undeniable fact that there is a major lack of understanding yet in the Pacific on the role of the media.”

“[We] in the Pacific need to take a good look at ourselves and within our media fraternity and ask ourselves ‘how can we effectively advocate media freedom so that our people, from the villages up to the higher places, have a better understanding of the work that we do, and thereby embrace media freedom as their freedom truly?’” Stevens said.

“I wish to reiterate PINA’s stand and call on our governments, traditional and potential media development partners to assist in the development of (National Media Associations) at the local level and strengthening PINA at the regional level.”

In the statement, Stevens congratulated Vanuatu on “recent positive achievements” in media-government collaborations, and he’s also welcomed the news of a newly-registered Fijian Media Association which was officially launched in Suva on Saturday evening.

“PINA has been supporting our media colleagues in Fiji to set up their national media association. We congratulate them for this great initiative to have a body to represent the interests of all media workers in Fiji,” Stevens said.

He’s also acknowledged the reactivation of the Media Association of Solomon Islands (MASI).

MASI recognise achievements in local media at the national Media Awards as part of World Press Freedom Day.

PINA has also acknowledged the role of the Australian government’s aid agency, AusAID, in supporting leadership and media practice in the Pacific.

Meanwhile, members of media organisations in Suva got together for a morning walk along the Suva foreshore on Saturday.

The initiative was organised by the newly-registered industrial association Fijian Media Association, which is being supported by the Pacific Islands News Association (PINA).

“This is to commemorate World Media Freedom Day and also to celebrate the registration of the Fijian Media Association,” acting PINA manager Makereta Komai said.

“Since the global theme for this year is “Media Freedom for a Better Future: Shaping the Post 2015 Development Agenda” we thought it was a good idea to consider the health of those working in the industry and organise a morning walk and health check.

“The media works in such a high stress level industry and most of us don’t look after our health so instead of organising something serious, we thought we would get media personnel and their families together for a fun day.”

Members of the media ended the day with dinner and a gathering at Traps Bar.

“We would like to thank the bosses of every media organisation that helped fund this get together.

“And we want to let it be known that the Fijian Media Association is not just for journalists but everyone involved in the media — all media worker, said Komai.
SOURCE: RADIO AUSTRALIA/ FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

BUSINESS

30) ‘Do not forget coffee’

Source:
The National, Monday May 5th, 2014

One of Papua New Guinea’s foremost coffee experts says the government should not forsake the industry just because of liquefied natural gas.
The Coffee Industry Corporation’s London-based overseas representative, Mick Wheeler, said this on Saturday and in light of LNG production starting last week.
Wheeler said the LNG project was all about big industry while it was really the smallholder coffee growers who were really driving the internal economy of this country.
“That’s only concentrated in a few hands,” he said of the LNG.
That’s not for the common people.
“That’s not for the everyday people, the everyday people are into coffee.
“I always think governments make a big mistake by underestimating coffee because coffee is the driver of the internal economy.
“If people make money from coffee, they’re going to go and spend it in the shops, they’re going to buy things.
Wheeler said people involved in liquefied natural gas get involved in big infrastructure projects, it’s not the common man who’s driving the economy.
“The internal economy depends on coffee, cocoa and small agriculture.
“They’re the ones that will actually help the common man to improve his standard of living It will help government because you have people employed, who will pay taxes.”

31) Multimillion Fiji Sun upgrade continues

By Online Editor
10:06 am GMT+12, 05/05/2014, Fiji

A multimillion investment in developing the Fiji Sun is attracting regional interest in printing newspapers here. The upgrade has also taken another step with the arrival of more equipment.

The Fiji Sun has now become the first newspaper in Fiji to bring in what is called an electronic plate  bender. These plates are what go on the press to print the paper. This state-of-the-art NELA equipment is designed to improve colour registration as the Fiji Sun leads the region in the use of full colour. NELA is the leading supplier of register systems for newspapers worldwide.

The equipment basically replaces manual equipment previously used for preparing printing plates with much more precise electronic equipment.

Fiji Sun Publisher/CEO Peter Lomas said: “Our owners are showing their full confidence in both Fiji and the Fiji Sun by investing strongly in our development.

“The first stage was setting up a new modern Production Centre on a site immediately at the back of our original Fiji Sun building in Walu Bay. Same time we replaced the old press we had.

“The Production Centre is nearing completion. The second stage will follow. It is the redevelopment and modernisation of our original building.

“This includes a modern open plan newsroom on the top floor. Our journalists will work there on both the daily newspaper and an improved digital presence.

“Same time the bottom floor, where our old press used to be, is being developed into smart offices. These are for our Advertising, Circulation, Marketing and Finance teams.”

Lomas said the days when one newspaper, the Fiji Times, totally dominated the Fijian newspaper scene are over. And this is good for Fiji.

He said those who are now supporting the Fiji Sun realise the importance of this.

He added: “This rather than the years of arrogant biased and manipulative dominance the Fiji Times had under foreign ownership after the original Fiji Sun was closed in the 1987 coups.”

“Our developments are already bringing regional business to Fiji as well,” he added.

“Last week we started printing the Vanuatu Times newspaper from Port Vila.

“This is now printed at Walu Bay on Wednesdays. It is delivered to Nadi overnight to be uplifted by Air Vanuatu for immediate sale in Port Vila.

“We have also had interest in printing here from newspaper publishers elsewhere in the region as they see the capacity we now have.

“We are already publishing other local newspapers for their owners. A good example is the China Mail, which is a growing newspaper. It has a very strong readership in the Mandarin speaking community.”

Same time, Lomas said, the Fiji Sun is investing in developing its staff.

He said: “We send production department staff to New Zealand every year to attend training sessions and see newspaper operations down there.

“We actually have two of our printers going to Dunedin soon. They will attend a newspaper production conference and observe the production operations at the Otago Daily Times press centre.

“Human resource development across all our departments is a continuing strong priority for our owners and our management team. We’re investing in both equipment – and people.”.

SOURCE: FIJI SUN/PACNEWS

32) Plans to rebuild Port Moresby CBD

By Online Editor
4:06 pm GMT+12, 05/05/2014, Papua New Guinea

The Papua New Guinea government will get assistance from Korea to rebuild Downtown Port Moresby, the capital’s central business district (CBD), Public Enterprises and State Investments Minister Ben Micah said.

Micah said on Friday that it was part of the government’s plan to relocate the city’s main wharf and building the city business centre and Fairfax Harbour into a world class recreational and business centre.
Speaking at the one-day inaugural PNG Korea Trade and Investment Fair in Port Moresby, he said state owned entities (SOEs) would lead discussions with Korean State businesses and partner with them to adapt a high standards work culture.

The fair and energy meeting coincided with the arrival of the PNG LNG Gas carrier ‘The Hela Spirit”, built in South Korea, to transport Papua New Guinea’s first LNG produce to overseas markets. Korean company Daewoo were instrumental in constructing the LNG production site outside Port Moresby.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill announced that discussions would begin for direct flights between South Korea and Port Moresby.

He urged delegation leader and Korea’s Energy Commerce and Industry vice-Minister Han Jin-Hyeon to buy PNG Gas and invest in business opportunities in the country.

O’Neill said his government would invest heavily in public housing next year and wants Korea’s investment in this area.

Jin-Hyeon said he would make sure Korea gave the best quality services and companies to Papua New Guinea. O’Neill wants the Trade and Investment Fair and the Energy meeting to be an annual event.

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

LAW&ORDER

33) PNG, Indonesia officials to hold border talks

Source:
The National, Monday May 5th, 2014

THE national government has called for a meeting this week with Indonesian officials to discuss the recurring border control
incidents.
Acting Department of Foreign Affairs and Immigration secretary William Dihm formally passed on the government’s second diplomatic note on the matter to the Indonesian ambassador to PNG Andrias Sitepu last month.
Foreign Affairs Minister Rimbink Pato said the government “welcomed the convening of an immediate border liaison meeting this week in Jayapura”.
“This will be an important opportunity for the officials of PNG and Indonesia to take stock of recent developments along the common border including alleged incursions into PNG territory,” Pato
said.
He said the note condemned the incident on April 19 where Indonesian troops opened fire at a PNG border patrol that morning.

34) Nephew of Fiji interim prime minister Frank Bainimarama charged for attempted homicide

Updated 5 May 2014, 16:43 AEST

The nephew of Fiji’s interim prime minister, Frank Bainimarama, has been charged for attempted homicide after shooting at police in the United States.

The nephew of Fiji’s interim prime minister, Frank Bainimarama, has been charged for attempted homicide after shooting at police in the United States.

Police say Sevanaia Bainimarama fired several shots at officers during a 19-minute car chase in a small town in Pennsylvania.

During the chase Mr Bainimarama was shot in both arms and one hand after police returned fire. He is now recovering.

Local reporter Liz Zemba told the ABC the car chase began when police tried to pull Mr Bainimarama over for going through two stop signs.

“When they tried to stop him, he wouldn’t stop. Instead he led them on a chase,” she said.

“During the chase, police say he fired several gun shots at the police officers and kept going.”

The dramatic pursuit came to an end when Mr Bainimarama turned into a cul-de-sac in the town of Smithfield and was boxed in by officers.

Police say Mr Bainimarama then turned his car around and drove at officers.

“The police fired at him and ended up hitting him in both of his arms, and one of his hands, and at that point he was taken into custody,” Ms Zemba said.

Police say Mr Bainimarama did not appear to be concerned by his wounds, instead asking ambulance officers at the scene if he could have a beer.

Ms Zemba said the police report did not detail Mr Bainimarama’s blood alcohol level at the time of the incident.

Mr Bainimarama has been charged with attempted homicide, aggravated assault, simple assault, reckless endangerment, fleeing police and running stop signs.

His preliminary hearing is scheduled for June 10. http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

35) PNG says no African criminal influence

5/5/14
A Papua New Guinea police commander says there is no evidence of West African drug gangs operating on the border with Australia in the Torres Strait.

SBS reports that Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison last week warned that African organised criminal groups in PNG were an emerging threat.

The just released Australian Crime Commission’s annual Illicit Drug Report, makes no mention of PNG or the Torres Strait.

Mr Morrison has been quoted by the Courier Mail saying 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.

But SBS reports the Western Province police commander Chief Inspector Silva Sika saying drugs and gun smuggling mostly originate in the Highlands region.Radio NZ

36) Indonesia fire at our troops: PNG foreign minister

By Online Editor
09:47 am GMT+12, 05/05/2014, Papua New Guinea

Indonesian troops have opened fire on a PNG Defence Force border patrol, increasing further tension at the Papua New Guinea-Indonesia border.

The flare-up at the border compelled the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration to summon the Indonesian Ambassador Andrias Sitepu to give another protest note, just over a month after the diplomat was issued the first one over similar concerns.

Pato said the note expressed concerns at the developments on the border and condemned the “shooting incident” on the morning of April 19 when Indonesian troops opened fire on a PNGDF patrol.

“While there being no reports of casualties, the Indonesian government should ensure that such incidences do not reoccur in the future,” he said.

Despite the protest by Port Moresby, the situation is deteriorating, compelling the Government to ask Indonesia for dialogue to look for a way forward in line with various border treaties the two neighbours have signed over the years.

It is understood the current conflict between elements of the OPM (Operasi Papua Merdeka) and the Indonesian army over the last month and frequent border incursions will be the main focus of a border liaison meeting which will be convened in Indonesia later this week.

The PNGDF top brass at Murray Barracks have remained tight-lipped due to the sensitivity of the issue, though it is understood soldiers deployed to police the border are under strict instructions not to return fire if they engaged or caught in a crossfire between the OPM and members of the Indonesian army.

However, a PNG Govern-ment official speaking on condition of anonymity said the April 19 incident could have escalated if a PNGDF soldier was injured when they came under fire.

“It could have been worse if any of our soldiers were injured during the shootout on the morning of April 19, it (the situation) is very sensitive at the moment,” he said.

The PNG ambassador to Indonesia, Commodore Peter Ilau (retired), will lead the PNG delegation to the border liaison meeting.

SOURCE: POTS COURIER/PACNEWS

REFUGEE

37) Papua New Guinea Governor slams asylum seeker policy

Updated 5 May 2014, 15:09 AEST

PNG correspondent Liam Cochrane and staff

The Governor of PNG’s capital, Port Moresby, has voiced his criticisms of the Manus Island detention centre in an open letter published in local newspapers.

The Governor of Papua New Guinea’s capital Port Moresby has taken out full-page advertisements in local newspapers criticising the Manus Island detention centre.

The open letter from Governor Powes Parkop to PNG’s Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato expresses “grave concern” at the treatment of asylum seekers on Manus Island.

It says asylum seekers have not committed a crime and should not be held in prison-like conditions.

“This is an Australian practice which we should guard ourselves against,” wrote Mr Parkop.

“It is… repugnant to our traditional and contemporary culture and to our Christian values to keep such people in near prison-like environment.”

“Such environment and conditions can make normal and decent people incur mental problems, including insanity.”

The letter says Papua New Guinea is “blindly” following Australian policy, which Mr Parkop says goes against the principles of the UN Convention on Refugees.

He proposes instead that asylum seekers with professional qualifications be given work permits while they wait for their refugee status to be assessed.

“I understand our people are opposed to settlement in PNG but I believe this attitude is influenced by the perception that some of these asylum seekers might be extremist or Muslim fanatics or troublemakers,” Mr Parkop said.

“While I don’t wish to ignore such possibility … many of these people might be fleeing that type of environment too.

“Let us not demonise these people forever.”

In his open letter, Mr Parkop says many nations have been enriched by immigration, including migration motivated by economic reason.

He cites the Irish fleeing famine and migrating to the United States of America as an example, as well as Chinese, Indian and Filipino migrants worldwide.

“I am under no illusions that this is a delicate and sensitive matter but I believe we can and should adopt a more human and morally superior approach that adopting Australian policy and culture or be blinded by our people’s fears and prejudice.”

The letter was also sent to PNG’s Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and the Australian High Commissioner, Deborah Stokes, and was published as a full-page advertisement in two newspapers. http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

CLIMATE CHANGE,CONSERVATION AND ENVIROMENT

38) Vanuatu Protests To France Over New Caledonia Marine Park
Coral Sea park includes disputed Matthew and Hunter Islands

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 5, 2014) – The Vanuatu Government has protested to France over New Caledonia’s new Natural Park of the Coral Sea because it will encompass the disputed Matthew and Hunter Islands. Both France and Vanuatu claim the uninhabited islands.

New Caledonia has set up the 1.3 million square kilometre park covering its entire exclusive economic zone.

But in a protest letter to the French Ambassador to Vanuatu, Michel Djokovic, on Friday, Vanuatu’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Edward Natapei, expressed his Government’s concerns.

Mr Natapei says it objects to New Caledonia’s unilateral decision to establish the marine reserve when it knows full well ownership of part of the area is being disputed.

Radio New Zealand International

SPORTS

39) Aussie Reed wins third Morobe Open golf title

Source:
The National, Monday May 5th, 2014

FORMER champion Heath Reed has overcome a late rain delay in yesterday’s final round to claim his third Coca Cola Morobe Open, outlasting Jake Stirling in trying conditions over the closing holes at the Coca Cola-sponsored Morobe Open at Lae Golf club yesterday.
Reed’s final round 70 to finish on 10 under, was good enough for a one shot win, with Stirling who briefly shared the lead after 10 holes, holding onto outright second.
First round leader Brett Rankin finished in third, while Michael Hansen and Martin Dive tied for fourth.
With Reed holding a one-shot lead playing the final hole, both Reed and Stirling had par putts, Reed three feet, Stirling two feet when play had to suspended due to heavy rain causing the hole being covered in water.
It was an anxious sixty minutes for both players before they were able to return to the green, where Reed made no mistake by draining the three foot putt to claim victory.
Reed was certainly pleased with the win, his third at the Morobe Open, though somewhat surprised considering the amount of golf he has been playing over the past 12 months.  “It is a great feeling to win, especially considering there were times when I thought that I may never have another opportunity to win a tournament again,” Reed said after holing the winning putt.
“I have so many happy memories here and I certainly had to draw on those throughout today’s final round. Jake  played some great golf and I knew that I could match him as long as I stayed patient. It was a great battle out there today and I really can’t describe the feeling that came across me when that winning putt dropped,” Reed said.
Although disappointed not to win, Stirling was ecstatic with his performance this week at the Lae Golf Club and looking forward to what the future holds.
“This week has been amazing, great people, great course and a great tournament. Although I may not have won today, it has been a wonderful experience and I can’t wait to try and go one better next week.”
Professionals will now make their way to the Royal Port Moresby Golf Club for the 2014 South Pacific Export Papua New Guinea Open.
Defending Champion Pieter Zwart will return, looking to become the first back-to-back champion, since the tournament became part of the Queensland Sunshine Tour in 1999.

 40) New Flying Fijians coach to hit ground running

5/5/14
The new Flying Fijians coach John McKee plans to hit the ground running following his elevation to the top job.

McKee has been promoted from his role as Fiji Rugby’s High Performance Manager and replaces Inoke Male, who was sacked in January.

He was a technical advisor to Tonga at the 2011 World Cup and has held a range of other coaching positions in Australia, Europe and with the Pacific Islanders team.

John McKee says his immediate focus is the Pacific Nations Cup and World Cup qualifying match against the Cook Islands next month and says planning is already well underway.

“It’s not as if I’m coming in new. In my role as High Performance Manager, because the head coach position was vacant, for the previous two months I’ve been doing alot of the work that a head coach would normally do, around assisting overseas players towards selection and also the planning of the assemblies and the trainings, so planning for June is quite well down the track. It’s not as if we were waiting for the head coach and then start thinking about what we were going to do next so from that point of view things are well on track.”.

John McKee says the Flying Fijians have underperformed in recent years and hopes that, after a number of changes in personnel, a period of stability will lead to success.Radio NZ

41) Safety in Rio

Daily Mail
Monday, May 05, 2014

FA head of security Tony Conniford said senior figures in the England set-up were “freaking out” over reports of crime and violence from Rio’s gang-ridden shanty towns, or favelas, the largest of which, Rocinha, was near England’s hotel.

He also raised the astonishing prospect that England stars such as Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard could be stuck on the team bus for up to four hours in gridlocked traffic as they travel nine miles to and from their training base.

While officially the FA say they are “fully confident” in security arrangements, former policeman Mr Conniford’s comments, overheard by a Mail reporter yesterday in the bar of the England hotel in Rio, raise questions about preparations.

Mr Conniford’s assessment was delivered in a loud voice to a Brazilian colleague. A reporter from this newspaper was having a meal at a nearby table and was able to take notes.

Mr Conniford, a 30-year veteran of Essex Police, told the Brazilian, an ex-military officer: “The problems here have been all over the papers. It’s bad. I get calls from management, from my bosses at the FA, freaking out saying, ‘Tony, are you sure it’s safe?'”

“They ask me, “Is this really going to be safe for the team?” They are worried. These are real concerns.

“We have to be extra vigilant. We cannot afford to make any mistakes. Security must be paramount.”

Mr Conniford’s comments — coming just a month before the tournament kicks off — raise serious question marks over the FA’s decision to base themselves in central Rio. England’s hotel, the ageing Royal Tulip, is rated by travel website TripAdvisor as only the 93rd best in the city.

Mr Conniford told his colleague that a nine-mile trip between the squad’s training base in a military camp at Sao Joao Fort in Urca in the shadow of Sugarloaf mountain and the hotel had taken him two hours.

He said: “The traffic is awful. Even with a police escort it will be a nightmare. The roads are terrible. The traffic is my biggest worry. This is a logistical nightmare. We have to work on how we get the team from A to B without getting held up.”

42) Pools drawn for Marriott London Sevens

By Online Editor
1:12 pm GMT+12, 05/05/2014, United Kingdom

The IRB has confirmed the pools and match schedule for the ninth and final round of the HSBC Sevens World Series, the Marriott London Sevens on 10-11 May at Twickenham.

The draw was made just before the final at round eight in Glasgow, where a rampant New Zealand overcame first-time Cup finalists Canada to capture their fourth title of the 2013/14 season.

In doing so the Sevens All Blacks also opened up an 19-point lead over closest Series rivals South Africa.

They face London hosts England in a mouth-watering final tie on a sold out first day at Twickenham.

As the Glasgow champions, New Zealand head Pool A in London and face ties against Argentina, Wales and England.

Canada reached their first ever final in Glasgow and as runners-up they head Pool B and will play matches on day one at Twickenham against Kenya, Samoa and USA.

In beating Scotland to finish third in Glasgow, Fiji start as top seed in Pool C and face Australia, Spain and Japan.

Scotland will travel to London with confidence high and face South Africa, whom they beat in the Glasgow quarter-finals, France and Portugal in Pool D.
SOURCE: IRB/PACNEWS

43) NZ wins Glasgow 7s, on verge of world series title

By Online Editor
1:14 pm GMT+12, 05/05/2014, United Kingdom

New Zealand heads to the sevens rugby world series finale at Twickenham next week with the title virtually assured after crushing Canada 54-7 in the Glasgow final on Sunday.

New Zealand need only reach the quarterfinals of the London Sevens to secure a 12th world series in 15 years.

The Kiwis gave a masterclass in sevens in the Glasgow showers as they beat Australia 19-7 in the quarterfinals, Fiji 19-14 in the semifinals, and first-time finalist Canada by the biggest margin in a final.

“The rain falls into our hands a little bit,” New Zealand captain DJ Forbes said. “We still have a job to do in London but you’d think we can do it.”

They scored four tries in each half. Ben Lam and Scott Curry bagged two each, and Bryce Heem, Gillies Kaka, Adam Whitelock and Akira Ioane also touched down. Kaka added six conversions to help post a 50th tournament victory in 79 finals.

Canada’s Harry Jones scored a converted try to level at 7-7, but the Canadians were overwhelmed by New Zealand’s aggression in the rucks, superb lines, and relentless support.

It was still a milestone event for Canada, which beat host Scotland 10-7 in the semifinals and rose to a best sixth in the standings.

Scotland eliminated South Africa 12-7 in the quarterfinals, helping New Zealand extend its lead in the standings from seven points to 19 over the Africans.

Norton fires England to the Plate

Dan Norton scored two tries as England beat Kenya 26-5 in the Plate final with James Rodwell and Marcus Watson also crossing the whitewash.

Earlier tries from Alex Gray, Norton and captain Tom Mitchell gifted Simon Amor’s side a 21-7 win over Australia while Humphrey Kayange scored two tries for Paul Treu’s side against South Africa in the semi finals.

Les Bleus impress on day two to win the Bowl

France beat Argentina 20-14 in the in the Bowl final to claim eight Series points and end day two unbeaten.

Earlier Los Pumas defeated Samoa 29-12 in the semi finals while France proved too strong for Spain winning 24-0 thanks to two tries from Julien Candelon.

In the quarter finals Gonzalo Gutierrez Taboada scored twice for Argentina in their quarter final win against Japan and Jeremy Aicardi scored 11 points as France defeated Wales 21-7.

Wales beat Japan to the Shield

Sam Cross and Luke Morgan scored two tries each to give Wales a 29-7 win over Japan to claim the Shield.

Dai Ozawa scored in sudden death extra time as Japan beat USA 19-14 and captain Adam Thomas scored a hat-trick in Wales’ 38-7 win over Portugal in the semi finals.
SOURCE: AP/IRB/PACNEWS

44) Fiji U20 footballers lose on tour

5/5/14
The Fiji Under 20 football team suffered the first loss of their New Zealand tour on Sunday, thrashed 5-0 by the Junior All Whites in Auckland.

New Zealand have already qualified for next year’s U-20 World Cup as hosts, with Fiji using their tour as preparation for the Oceania Championships later this month, from which the winner will also earn qualification.

The two sides meet again on Tuesday before the New Zealand take on Papua New Guinea on Thursday afternoon.Radio NZ

www.voiceofmelanesia.com

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