Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 979

MELANESIA

1) Vanuatu daily news digest | 12 May 2014

by bobmakin

  • Not a lot of news of the kind people feel they ought to hear, but after the almost annual deposit of A Motion, one can be fairly certain VBTC will concentrate heavily on good news items for Government. They started this morning with a regional facility, in which Vanuatu is a member, for storing medicines at Nadi. This will ensure storage at correct temperatures until those medications are required around the region. New Zealand has assisted in the provision of the facility. MP George Wells did get in a complaint about how too much of MP allocations goes towards sport, which then gets mis-used because of an absence of strict discipline.
  • And, oh, you should be told the Amicale v Auckland City match was a “kit-kit” to be resolved in a week in Auckland.
  • The Foreign Affairs Ministry points out the legality of the Capital Investment Immigration Programme which has been established through a Constitutional change. The intention is to raise Government income, the Sunday lunchtime VBTC News bulletin stated. Foreign Minister Natapei says the CIIP has been adopted after considerable consultation and research by the Government, within and outside the country, to let people come and live here. Natapei says the programme is really no different from the schemes other countries use.
  • It is not so much the legality of the CIIP matter the Opposition is taking issue with, rather it is the wisdom of such a policy which disturbs the Opposition Leader. The Opposition understands the Government received an oral complaint from the Chinese Embassy, it stated in a recent press release, because the single entry visa is expected to be used to launder money and smuggle people out of China. The Opposition says the People’s Republic of China has been and continues to be a good friend to Vanuatu and such friendship deserves reciprocal respect and conduct.
  • Daily Post today has the Convention Centre “taking shape.” Indeed, it is. AndNagriamel supports the stand of the Eton chief against the international airport. And the PM has revealed a new Public Prosecutor will be sought from the United Kingdom.
  • Saturday is Media Freedom Day and ICT Day with events beginning on Friday, and Parliament has just resumed.

POLYNESIA

2) American Samoan teachers still being tested

12/4/14
Another 100 public school teachers in American Samoa will sit a certification test next month as part of a reform of the education system.

Teachers need to pass the test on reading comprehension, writing and basic maths, called Praxis I, to be able to continue teaching.

It is part of the Education Department’s plan to have all teachers hold a Bachelor of Education by 2016.

The director of education, Vaitinasa Dr. Salu Hunkin-Finau, says the department is still waiting for the results of 500 teachers who took the test in March.

She says the department needs to have all the test results back before an official public statement is issued regarding the results.

Meanwhile, she says teachers will be taking courses over the next two months to improve their skills.RADIO NZ

3) Australian TV Comedy Called ‘Deeply Offensive’ To Islanders
Jonah From Tonga defended as ‘successful satire’ about race, class

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, May 11, 2014) – A new Australian television comedy about a rebellious Tongan teenager has been condemned as “self indulgent” and “deeply offensive” to Pacific Islanders.

Chris Lilley’s six-part ABC TV comedy series Jonah From Tonga follows the life of a 14-year-old schoolboy and his run-ins with family, friends and teachers.

Professor Helen Lee, head of La Trobe University’s department of sociology and anthropology, has told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat she was horrified by the show’s portrayal of Pacific youth.

“I just think it’s dreadful. It’s just awful. It’s creating a terrible stereotype that’s just deeply offensive to Tongans,” she said.

“The comments to his supposed sister, calling her fatty, talking about sexual matters, swearing in front of her is absolutely taboo in Tongan culture.

“It’s just horrible to see that being acted out on the screen there and for people to think that’s what Tongan kids do.”

Professor Lee has spent more than 20 years researching Tongan society, with a particular focus on young people in the diaspora and their relationship with the homeland.

“It’s just a stereotype of this kind of thuggish, stupid youth which does not in any way represent what Tongan youth are like,” she said.

Lilley is no stranger to controversy, having previously donned ‘black-face’ when playing the character S.mouse, an American rapper, in the 2011 series Angry Boys.

Professor Lee says it is no longer acceptable for white actors to use dark make-up to play people of another race.

“It’s not permissible. I think it’s appalling and I don’t think he should be allowed to do it,” she said.

“A 40-year-old white man dressing up as a 14-year-old Tongan boy in brown face is just inherently creepy.”

Concerns about accuracy of portrayal

Alan Latu, a Tongan community worker in Australia, who was approached to be involved in Jonah from Tonga, says he thinks the series does not accurately depict Tongan communities.

“There are parts that I find hilarious, but they are outweighed by the parts that I find absolutely cringeworthy,” he told Radio Australia’s Mornings with Phil Kafcaloudes.

“One of the parts of the show where … they are having family prayers and all the rest of it, and the kids are mucking around … it’s a good laugh and it brings back memories from when I was growing up.

“But then the father of the family turns around and swears at everybody. That’s not something that would happen at all and it’s a completely opposite depiction of what truly happens.”

Mr Latu says he is worried about effects the show will have on Tongan children at school.

“My concerns for the show would be how do you take these kids, put them back into their own communities, and back into their schools particularly, and make people believe that this is not the true depiction of what they’re really about,” he said.

“It seems to normalise something that’s a really minute percentage of the community. Once you start to normalise that … people then pick up on that.

“[Tongan children] will then start mimicking all these roles at school and think it’s okay to do what Jonah from Tonga has done on TV.”

He says the series may be more appropriate if it were made by members of the Tongan community.

“If it was a Tongan actor playing the role … in the Tongan community, then they would get the laughs and they would understand what crosses the border and what doesn’t cross the border,” Mr Latu said.

“Being a non-Tongan playing the role, it’s a depiction of what [Lilley’s] beliefs are (but) there may be a percentage of people out there watching this show that think it is a true depiction of what Tongan youth are like.”

On the Facebook page I’m Proud to be Tongan, which has almost 45,000 members, most were concerned about the accuracy of Lilley’s portrayal of Tongan culture.

“A lot of the swearing doesn’t really happen within the culture because there is a certain level of respect that comes with growing up being Tongan,” said Will Niupalau, one of the administrators of the page.

Discussion about the show attracted more than 100 comments, with many labelling the show “racist” and “degrading”.

“A lot of the readers feel like it plays into a lot of the negative stereotypes of growing up and being Tongan abroad,” Mr Niupalau said.

‘Successful as satire’

Fairfax television columnist Debi Enker says she does not agree with those who say the mockumentary is racist.

“People miss the context. It’s not about whether people are putting on coloured make-up. It’s what he [Chris Lilley] then uses the character for,” she said.

Ms Enker says the show is successful as satire on many levels and raises questions about racism and class.

“I think it’s basically trying to show us a loving, caring family struggling with out an out-of-control teenage boy and that kind of thing is universal,” she said.

Rick Kalowski, ABC TV’s head of comedy, says Lilley’s characters “display human foibles… in a humorous and sometimes confronting way”.

“The series does not encourage or condone prejudice,” he said.

“Instead Chris Lilley’s portrayals mock and satirise the narrow-minded attitudes expressed by some of its characters, including his own.

“It is also important to note that no other Tongan characters in the show are presented in a buffoonish light, other than Jonah himself.”

Jonah From Tonga is a spin-off from Lilley’s 2007 mockumentary series, Summer Heights High, produced by Princess Pictures.

Radio Australia

4) Tonga’s provisional electoral roll out this week

12/4/14
Voters in Tonga will have access to the provisional electoral rolls from Thursday this week as the country prepares for elections on November the 27th.

It will be just the second poll under a greater degree of democracy brought in 2008 after years of campaigning by pro-democracy advocates.

The Supervisor of Elections, Pita Vuki, says so far they have registered just shy of 50,000 people and this includes about 6000 new voters, mostly people who have reached the voting age in the past four years.

Photo: files

He says his staff have been visiting villages all over the country since last year to ensure people are registered and now they will be able to check the details.

“The plan is to distribute this provisional roll to our villages through our district town officers and make it available for the people to have a look at it and see if there’s any corrections or names and then we will print the final roll in September.”

Pita Vuki.RADIO NZ

5) Solar powered pumps in Tonga to boost access to water

12/4/14
Tonga is to implement a $4 million US dollar project to improve access to water and increase income generation opportunities for local communities in Tongatapu, Ha’apai and Vava’u.

The project by the Pacific Environment Community Fund is supported by Japan and co-ordinated by the Pacific Islands Forum and the Asian Development Bank.

It will involve the installation of solar powered water pumps and deep freezers.

In the first stage, 27 solar powered pumps will be installed across 23 villages in Vava’u.

The villages will be able to extract water without having to use an expensive diesel generator.

In the projects’ second stage, 36 solar powered deep freezers will be installed across Tongatapu, Ha’apai and Vava’u, improving their ability to store fish, meat and other products.RADIO NZ

6) Am. Samoa Telecom Underpaid Employees’ Overtime
US Dept. Of Labor to assist government understand the law

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (The Samoa News, May 10, 2014) – An investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) found that the government owned American Samoa TeleCommunications Authority failed to pay overtime wages to more than 30 employees.

USDOL says in a news release late Thursday afternoon that ASTCA owes $26,836 in overtime to 36 workers at the Tafuna branch and other remote offices. The back wages covered a two-year period beginning Feb. 7, 2012.

ASTCA also failed to pay 62 workers for an additional 10,031 overtime hours. These hours will be added to the employees’ comp-time leave accounts for their future use, says USDOL.

WHD district director in Hawai’i, Terence Trotter says the federal agency will continue to work with representatives from the American Samoa government to “improve their understanding of federal labor laws while addressing any deficiencies in the manner in which overtime is accrued and paid.”

Samoa News asked ASTCA board chairman Roy J.D. Hall Jr. about what efforts have been made by ASTCA management and board to ensure that federal labor laws dealing with overtime is followed.

“Last year we had voluntarily looked into the overtime and other personnel issues that existed before and after the [current] Board was appointed,” Hall replied Thursday night. “We anticipated that with the [US]DOL opening an office in American Samoa, that we would have to address the employee issues raised in Mr. Trotter’s statement and we are cooperating with DOL on all fronts to ensure that ASTCA complies with DOL applicable federal law.”

He also says that he has not seen the USDOL investigation report and its findings, but if they are correct, “we will do what is right for each employee impacted with non-payment of overtime pay that is due the employee.”

“ASTCA as any other employer will ensure that any changes that must be made to comply with employee overtime compensation will be put in place and reviewed on a regular basis to ensure compliance,” Hall said.

A USDOL report in February this year states in part that ASG is working with WHD investigators “to identify additional back wages owed for potential non-compliant policies in its semi-autonomous agencies” such as the community college, public library, hospital and telecommunications center.

The Samoa News

7) Australia Funds Infrastructure Improvements In Samoa
$8.5 million for roads, bridges, energy, and IT communications

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, May 10, 2014) – Australia’s Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Brett Mason, has announced a $20 million [US$8.5 million] programme to help improve Samoa’s infrastructure.

Senator Mason, who is in Samoa, made the announcement yesterday.

“I welcome this opportunity to announce an important new Australian initiative to improve Samoa’s economic infrastructure,” Senator Mason said.

“This programme will help improve Samoa’s roads, bridges, energy and IT communications.”

“The productive sectors of the economy, particularly the private sector, need better infrastructure to grow, and Australia is pleased to be supporting Samoa in this way,” he said.

Initial projects will include repairing and improving roads and bridges damaged by Cyclone Evan in 2012.

A new international submarine cable will also be built to boost Samoa’s internet connectivity.

“Sound infrastructure is crucial to sustainable growth and we are grateful for Australia’s assistance in this direction,” said the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi The eight-year programme will be implemented in partnership with the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.

Samoa Observer

MICRONESIA

8) US Coast Guard Completes Western Pacific Maritime Patrol
40 day mission monitors FSM, RMI, and Palau’s EEZs

By Ensign Freddy Hofschneider – U.S. Coast Guard

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, May 12, 2014) – Serving as the Coast Guard’s largest area of responsibility, more than 12.2 million square miles, the 14th Coast Guard District proudly maintains a distinctive operational responsibility including assisting foreign Pacific island nations with maritime law enforcement.

Coast Guard cutters Assateague and Sequoia recently returned to Apra Harbor, Guam, after each cutter completed patrols as part of Operation Rai Balang, a regional fisheries operation between the United States, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Palau and the Republic of Marshall Islands.

The cutters transited more than 7,500 nautical miles over 40 days at sea through the Commonwealth of Northern Marianas Island’s exclusive economic zone and surrounding high seas.

More: Marianas Variety

9) Guam Senators Want Public Employees Included In Social Security
Officials fear workers won’t have enough saved for retirement

By Jerick Sablan

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, May 10, 2014) – Senators are hoping to help government of Guam employees who will retire in the next few years by asking they be placed in the federal Social Security system.

Sen. Michael San Nicolas, D-Dededo, and Speaker Judith Won Pat, D-Inarajan, introduced Resolution 379, asking Guam Delegate Madeleine Bordallo to introduce legislation to allow GovGuam employees to be covered under Social Security.

This comes as the Government of Guam Retirement Fund tries to provide a better retirement future for thousands of local government employees who were hired on or after Oct. 1, 1995, and are under the defined contribution plan.

Retirement officials have raised concerns that employees under the plan won’t have enough to retire.

The resolution calls for legislation that will enable the government of Guam and its employees to contribute to Social Security with GovGuam’s portion of Section 30 money that hasn’t been pledged to debt service.

San Nicolas said the government of Guam can’t do much in getting into the system. The original federal Social Security Act excluded all state and local government employees from being included under Social Security, he said.

However, the federal government now allows voluntary agreements between state governments and the federal government to cover state employees under Social Security. Guam is specifically excluded from the definition of “state” by Section 218 of the Social Security Act, disallowing Guam to enter into these voluntary agreements, he said.

More : Pacific Daily News

AUSTRALIA

10) Budget 2014 predictions: Australia’s overseas aid

Updated 12 May 2014, 16:27 AEST

Karen Barlow

Will Australia’s foreign aid spending be capped and what will happen to the decades-old practice of measuring aid as percentage of gross national income?

Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey is set to hand down Australia’s federal budget. What will this mean for Australia’s overseas aid?

Will Australia’s foreign aid spending be capped and what will happen to the decades-old practice of measuring aid as percentage of gross national income?

Overseas aid

Australia’s overseas aid program aims to assist people in crisis and help developing countries reduce poverty and achieve sustainable development.

The aid program is an integral part of Australia’s foreign policy and security agenda.

The Australian Government has a focus on the Indo-Pacific region and has declared foreign aid an instrument of “economic diplomacy.”

The World Bank says 1.21 billion people globally live in extreme poverty and about two-thirds, approximately 757 million, live in the Asia-Pacific region.

It says 2.39 billion people globally live on less than 2 dollars a day. 1.7 billion people live in the Asia-Pacific region

Australia has international obligations under the Millennium Development Goals to spend 0.7 per cent of its Gross National Income on effective foreign aid by 2020.

There is bipartisan support to lift aid levels to 0.5 per cent of Gross National Income, but both Labor and the Coalition Governments have saved billions of dollars by delaying the financial year when this is expected to be spent. It is currently delayed to 2017-18.

In January, the Coalition adjusted the Australian aid budget for 2013-14 to $5.042 billion, $107 million less than the year before, and it would be tied to rigorous benchmarks.

The infrastructure for Australian aid delivery was disrupted shortly after the Coalition came to power with the integration of the Australian Agency for International Development, AusAID, into the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

What to watch out for

Aid spending is not in line for a big spending increase. The questions are: will Australia’s foreign aid spending be capped this year and what will happen to the decades-old practice of measuring aid of percentage of Gross National Income?

The Australian aid budget has already been cut by $4.5 billion from projected expenditure.

The Coalition’s election promise is to grow the aid budget in line with inflation. The Foreign Minister has stated that from 2014-15, the $5 billion aid budget will grow each year in line with the Consumer Price Index.

The National Commission of Audit also recommended that the target of 0.5 per cent of Gross National Income be abandoned and replaced with increases at a rate no higher than the rate of inflation.

On the record

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop last month warned of a “far worse” budget position than previously understood and stated the Foreign Affairs budget would not be exempt.

“We’re going to wear some pain, like every other department is going to wear some pain in the next budget,” Ms Bishop said.

As Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott reaffirmed the Coalition’s commitment to grow Australia’s overseas aid contribution to 0.5 per cent of Gross National Income by 2015-16.

But the election commitment was used to refocus the Budget towards domestic spending. Two days out from the September 7 election, the now Treasurer Joe Hockey promised to cut $4.5 billion from the foreign aid program.

”We can’t continue to fund a massive increase in foreign aid at the expense of investment in the Australian economy,” Mr Hockey said.

He said the Government would “cut growth in foreign aid to pay for more infrastructure here in Australia.”

Meanwhile the now Prime Minister Tony Abbott declared, ”We will build the roads of the 21st century rather than shovel money abroad.”

The Prime Minister told Parliament in March that the target of 0.5 per cent of Gross National Income was an “aspiration”.

“The first duty of this government is to bring the budget back into sustainable surplus,” Mr Abbott said.

“Once the budget is back into sustainable surplus, then we will reconsider this matter of 0.5 per cent of GNI.

“In the meantime we will generally be increasing foreign aid by CPI.”

What’s the tip?

Aid groups are expecting the Treasurer Joe Hockey will commit to the Government’s pre-election promise and move to increase foreign aid by the Consumer Price Index.

World Vision says an increase in line with CPI would take foreign aid spending to $5.18 billion or 0.32 per cent of Gross National Income.

The Australian Council for International Development says, “anything less than meeting the CPI commitment will be seen as a broken promise.”

There’s more to come soon after the Budget.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop is expected to deliver a broader re-positioning statement on Australian aid which will introduce detail on the promised performance benchmarks, a more targeted approach to aid, how the Government is to work with the private sector in providing aid and the concept of “aid for trade.”

The Commission of Audit recommended Australia’s aid program be delivered to fewer, more strategic, nearby nations. Aid groups are expecting the Government will re-focus aid delivering in Australia’s region.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2014-05-12/budget-2014-predictions-australias-overseas-aid/1309834

11) Pacific Ocean hot spot causing warming in Arctic

Updated 12 May 2014, 14:22 AEST

Richard Ewart

An international team of scientists have discovered a hot spot in the Pacific Ocean is partly responsible for global warming in the Arctic. http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

TOK PISIN

12) PNG Man imas luksave long ol mama

Updated 11 May 2014, 18:19 AEST

Caroline Tiriman

Igat askim olsem ol man imas luksave long ol bikpla wok em ol mama isave mekim.

Odio: Helen Hakena direkta blong Leitana Nehan Divelopman Agensi long Bougainville itoktok wantem Caroline Tiriman

Ol man long autonomas rijan blong Bougainville long Papua New Guinea imas luksave long ol meri olsem oli gat bikpla wok long communiti na tu long ol wan wan femili blong ol.

Despla toktok ibin kam long wanpla lida meri blong Buka Island taem emi bin mekim toktok long katolik haus lotu tede blong makim Mothers Day.

Olgeta kantri long wold i luksave long despla bikpla dei blong ol mama.

Tasol Helen Hakena, direkta blong leitana Nehan development agensi long Buka itok ol meri ibin bringim peace igo long Bougainville bihaenim civil wo na oli mas kisim respek ikam long communiti.Radio Australia

FRENCH

13/14 ) Brèves d’Australie et du Pacifique – lundi 12 mai 2014

Mis à jour 12 May 2014, 14:48 AEST

Caroline Lafargue

Australie: le gouvernement présentera son budget au Parlement mardi. Objectif : réaliser 470 millions de dollars d’économie.

Australie: le gouvernement présentera mardi son budget d’austérité. Des milliers de fonctionnaires vont perdre leur emploi et les aides sociales vont être limitées. Tous les secteurs sont touchés: l’éducation, la santé, l’environnement, la recherche, etc.

En tout, 76 institutions publiques vont fermer, dont l’Agence des Énergies renouvelables, et le comité de conseil pour l’économie aborigène. Au programme également, des fusions d’institutions publiques. Ainsi, les douanes passent sous le contrôle du ministère de l’Immigration. Plusieurs milliers de fonctionnaires vont perdre leur emploi. On connaîtra le chiffre exact demain.

Samoa américain: des copeaux de bois comme litière pour les cochons. La semaine dernière, une centaine de paysans ont suivi une formation pour élever leurs porcs dans le respect de l’environnement. Ils ont appris à ne plus utiliser de l’eau pour nettoyer les porcheries, car les déchets porcins charrient des polluants comme le nitrate, qui se déversent dans les nappes phréatiques. L’État samoan américain promeut la litière sèche, qui permet en plus de faire de l’engrais pour les cultures.

Fidji: Ayez Sayed-Khayium refuse de démissionner. Franck Bainimarama l’a nommé ministre des Élections. Mais Ayez Sayed-Khayium est aussi le secrétaire-général de Fiji First, le parti créé par l’ex-putschiste Franck Bainimarama, pour gagner les élections du 17 septembre. Le chef des Travaillistes, Mahendra Chaudhry, et l’ancien Premier ministre Laisenia Qarase dénoncent ce conflit d’intérêts. En vain. Le ministre des Élections est un cumulard. Il est aussi Garde des Sceaux, ministre des entreprises publiques, des communications, de l’aviation civile, du tourisme et de l’industrie et du commerce.

Vanuatu: 6 violeurs présumés pourraient échapper à la justice. Leur victime, une mère de famille de Tanna, a décidé de retirer sa plainte, rapporte le quotidien L’Indépendant du Vanuatu. Le chef coutumier de son village, demande lui aussi l’abandon des poursuites. Mais le procureur a refusé. La victime et le chef estiment que la prison risque de transformer ces hommes en criminels endurcis. Le chef a organisé une cérémonie coutumière pour punir les 6 hommes. Ils ont reçu une amende et ont été battus.

Bougainville: un député demande l’expulsion d’un universitaire australien. Anthony Regan, avocat spécialiste en droit constitutionnel, a été engagé récemment par le gouvernement de Bougainville. Sa mission : rédiger un projet de loi sur les mines. Le député Johnny Miningtoro estime que ce projet priverait les propriétaires coutumiers de leurs droits. Johnny Miningtoro affirme qu’Anthony Regan agit en sous-main pour Rio Tinto, le géant minier, dont une filiale exploite la mine de Panguna.

Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée: le gaz naturel va stabiliser le kina. La monnaie papoue est en chute libre en ce moment. La construction de pipelines et d’usines pour exploiter le gaz naturel a fait rentrer beaucoup de dollars dans le pays, et la monnaie locale a perdu de sa valeur. Mais cette phase s’achève, Exxon-Mobil va commencer à produire en juin. Et le ministre du Trésor, Patrick Puraitch, assure que le kina va donc se stabiliser. La croissance papoue sera de 6% cette année, et 21% en 2015.

L’Australie est le pays du G20 où la vie est la plus chère. Et le quatrième pays le plus cher sur 177. C’est le résultat d’une étude de la Banque Mondiale publiée la semaine dernière. Le coût des biens et des services australiens atteint les niveaux de la Suisse, de la Norvège, du Danemark et de la Suède. Une cherté due à plusieurs facteurs : le boom minier, le dollar fort, une croissance économique constante depuis 22 ans, un chômage bas et un coût du travail élevé.

Guam: Matson augmente ses taris pour répercuter une hausse du prix du carburant – de 1.5% à 43 % à compter de juin. La compagnie de transport maritime américaine jouit d’un monopole sur les liaisons entre la côte ouest des États-Unis et Guam. Plus de 80% des biens de consommation arrivent à Guam par voie maritime. Les prix vont donc grimper en flèche sur l’île. L’augmentation des tarifs de Matson concerne également ses autres liaisons maritimes avec la Micronésie.

Pour l’instant ce ne sont que des mots. La semaine dernière, l’agence papoue de l’immigration a accordé le statut de réfugié à quelques demandeurs d’asile détenus à Manus. L’autre moitié des demandes examinées ont été rejetées. Le gouvernement papou tarde à valider les statuts de réfugiés. Car il ne sait pas encore où et comment il va les accueillir durablement. Rappelons que l’accord entre l’Australie et la Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée prévoit d’installer les réfugiés en Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée. Scott Morrison, le ministre australien de l’Immigration, était en visite à Port-Moresby la semaine dernière pour faire le point sur cet accord. Il n’a donné aucune indication sur les résultats de l’enquête sur la mort de Reza Berati au centre de rétention de Manus le 17 février. Le gouvernement australien a transféré le dossier aux autorités papoues.

Tout un symbole. La Chine est la première invitée du Forum du Développement des Îles du Pacifique (FDIP). La semaine dernière, l’ambassadeur de Chine à Fidji, Huang Yong, a assuré le FDIP du soutien de la Chine, qui avait déjà financé le sommet inaugural du Forum du Développement des Îles du Pacifique en août 2013. Le FDIP vient concurrencer le Forum des Îles du Pacifique, trop éloigné des préoccupations des Océaniens et surtout, trop dominé par l’Australie et la Nouvelle-Zélande, selon Franck Bainimarama.

Tonga: l’inscription sur les listes  électorales se clora jeudi. Ce sera le deuxième scrutin semi-démocratique depuis 2008 et l’assouplissement de la monarchie tongienne. Un peu moins de 50 000 Tongiens sont déjà inscrits sur les listes, dont 6000 jeunes qui voteront donc pour la première fois aux élections du 27 novembre prochain.

WORLD

15) Brazil beefs up security

Ap
Monday, May 12, 2014

SAO PAULO, AP – Brazil is deploying troops along its borders with 10 South American nations to reinforce security ahead of soccer’s World Cup that begins next month, officials say.

The defence ministry said in a statement on Saturday that it had begun deploying 30,000 army, navy and air force troops along the nearly 17,000 kilometres of border Brazil shares with its neighbours.

Planes, helicopters, and patrol boats will be used to stop drug trafficking, arms smuggling and other crimes, as well as illegal immigration during the June 12 -July 13 tournament.

Operation Agata also includes medical, dental and hospital care for low-income families living in border regions, the statement said.

A similar operation took place last year when 25,000 troops were deployed along Brazil’s borders, ahead of the Confederations Cup, the World Cup warm-up tournament.

POLITIC

16) Worries over marginalisation of Papuans

12/4/14

The chairman of Papua Customary Council says he is concerned Papuans will become politically disillusioned as they become the minority culture in their own province.

Wilem Bonay says he is throwing his support behind the Governor of Papua, Lukas Enembe, as he represents ethnic Papuans, who have become more marginalised after recent elections.

In 1961, people of Papuan ethnicity made up 96 percent of the population of the former Dutch New Guinea but they are now roughly 50 percent, the other half being composed of non-Papuan migrants from other parts of Indonesia.

Wilem Boney says the role of the Papua People’s Parliament is important as it comprises representatives from seven customary areas in Papua, whose task is to protect the existence of Papuans.

He told Tabloid Jubi that it was also Mr Enembe’s role to protect the people of Papua.RADIO NZ

17) Minister wants academic out of Bougainville

12/4/14
A Papua New Guinea Cabinet Minister wants Australian academic Anthony Regan removed from Bougainville.

Mr Regan, who is a constitutional law expert from the Australian National University, has had a long association with the Autonomous Bougainville Government, most recently helping draw up new mining legislation.

But the Member for Central Bougainville in the national government and Communications Minister, Jimmy Miningtoro, says the promise of wider consultation over the legislation has not happened.

He says Bougainvilleans are often not properly informed on issues and in this case he says Mr Regan is to blame.

“You know in Bougainville, since the problems started, the people have not been briefed properly on many issues – things like referendum, things like weapons disposal, things like peace agreement. Now these are very important issues for Bougainville to be stabilised and people must understand all this.”

Jimmy Minigtoro also alleges Mr Regan has links to Rio Tinto, the parent company of Bougainville Copper Ltd, which owns the shut down Panguna mine.RADIO NZ

18) New Caledonia elections: French loyalists win, independence supporters gain ground

Updated 12 May 2014, 10:18 AEST

New Caledonian separatists have gained ground in parliamentary elections on Sunday but have fallen short of securing an absolute majority.

Supporters of independence won 25 of 54 seats in Congress – two more than in the last elections in 2009.

Parties that want to keep New Caledonia as part of France took the remaining 29 seats and will have a majority.

The territorial Congress will be formed out of three provincial assemblies, of which there are 76 seats.

The incoming Congress will get to set the date for a referendum on independence from France that could take place any time between now and 2018.

Unrest shook the islands in the mid-1980s as those seeking autonomy clashed with opponents. Seventy people are thought to have died.

The 1998 Noumea Accord, agreed between French “loyalists” and independence supporters drawn largely from the Melanesian Kanak community.

The accord gave the nickel-rich Pacific territory of 265,000 increased autonomy and set a referendum for between this year and 2018 – making the outcome of Sunday’s vote all the more crucial.

Local politicians must agree a date for the vote, and if they fail to reach an agreement, Paris will organise it in 2018.

“The sovereignty of our country is moving forward,” said pro-independence deputy Roch Wamytan.

The new government will also have to wrestle with the country’s stagnant economy, poor public finances, tax reform, oversight of the mining industry and huge social and ethnic inequality.

Remittances from France account for 15 per cent of gross domestic product.

New Caledonia boasts a quarter of the world’s known resources of nickel, a core component in the manufacture of stainless steel, rechargeable batteries and coins.

But wealth is not evenly spread and backers of independence want major economic reform.

Despite these challenges, voter turnout fell to just under 70 per cent this year, down from 72 per cent in 2009.

A total of 17 parties were registered to contest Sunday’s election of the three provincial assemblies.

ABC/AFP

19) Fiji Attorney-General: Questions About Him, Ballot ‘Diversionary Tactics’
Sayed-Khaiyum dismisses calls for resignation

By Felix Chaudhary

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, May 12, 2014) – Attorney-General and Minister for Elections Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said political parties were exposing themselves by commenting about him being in charge of the polls and also signing up as general secretary for the proposed Fiji First party.

He added they were using diversionary tactics like questioning the composition of the ballot paper and calling for his resignation because of a conflict of interest instead of focusing on real issues.

“The point is what are they talking about,” he said.

“First it’s the ballot paper which is an obfuscation, which is a diversion, and now they talking about resignation because I am the Minister for Elections. I cannot go and change the rules which have already been set.

“The other previous people were leaders of political parties and were ministers responsible for elections.”

[PIR editor’s note: Fijilive reported that both former Prime Ministers Laisenia Qarase and Mahendra Chaudhry have disputed Sayed-Khaiyum’s characterization of their roles in previous elections. “Laisenia Qarase says he was never minister for elections and despite being the Prime Minister he neither interfered nor influenced the work of the Electoral Commission and the Elections Office.” “Fiji Labour Party Leader Mahendra Chaudhry says the country did not have a Minister for Elections in the past and accused current Minister and Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum of misleading and misinforming the public.”]

Fiji Times Online

BUSINESS

20) Questions in PNG on need for more oil palm

12/4/14

An organisation which promotes sustainable forestry, FORCERT, has sounded a note of caution about oil palm developments in Papua New Guinea.

This comes as the national government recently approved of the US$ 2 billion Sepik Plain Oil Palm Development Project, covering 10,000 hectares of land in East Sepik province.

FORCERT’s Peter Dam says the legacy of oil palm development in PNG has not been good for local communities.

He says the land where oil palm developments are typically sited have thin soil and the crop requires huge amounts of fertilisers to maintain.

“It’s mainly now used for the companies to get access to the forest, to the logs. They are planting there, they are saying that they want to build mills so maybe they want to try to get some income from the oil palm as well but on the environmental and social side, it’s disastrous for the local communities. So the only ones that will be benefitting from this will be the companies and in no way will it be sustainable.”

Peter Dam..RADIO NZ

21) Qualifications ‘not a prerequisite’

Serafina Silaitoga In Melbourne, Australia
Monday, May 12, 2014

IT is not necessary for business journalists to have qualifications in economics or accounting, says Stephen Batholomas, founder of Business Spectator, an online media company in Australia.

Speaking to Pacific journalists at a seminar for women, media and economic literacy in the Pacific, Mr Batholomas said such qualifications were not a prerequisite.

“As long as the journalists understand their work including reading reports and identifying what’s important for our readers, that’s all that matters,” he said.

“They also need to know how to read technical terms of the economy as it helps them express it better to readers through the stories published.”

Mr Batholomas said the newspaper industry was becoming scarce in some countries and Australia had taken the same trend for some companies.

“Probably in the next 10 years, there may be no more newspaper companies in Australia and it is simply because many people prefer to read online as it is readily available.

“Companies in newspaper companies today are losing out a lot of money compared to online sites.”http://www.fijitimes.com/

22) PNG Treasurer: Gas Proceeds To Stabilize Falling Kina
Growth of 21% expected next year as a result of LNG

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, May 12, 2014) – The value of the sliding kina will stabilise once the proceeds from the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project starts to flow in, Treasury Minister Patrick Pruaitch said.

“I want to assure the people that it’s a temporary thing,” Pruaitch said in response to questions from Chuave MP Wera Mori in Parliament last Friday.

“We know that the construction stage of the LNG is winding down and the foreign exchange coming into the construction period is now slowing down.

“So the foreign currency that is coming into the country is becoming less and at the same time there is more demand for us to pay in foreign currency.”

Pruaitch assured the House that once receipts from the LNG started to come in, it would stabilise the kina and top up the currency.

Mori asked why it was stated that the country’s current economic growth of 6% and was predicted to increase to 21% next year but the strength of the kina continued to spiral downwards.

“The people of this country want to know what sort of relief they could get that the little money they have when they go to the shops they are able to have the buying power?” Mori said.

The National

23) More labour mobility vital for Pacific

12/4/14
The World Bank says more labour mobility in the Pacific is the best way to tackle the region’s growing employment challenges.

In a new report, the Bank says strategies are needed to create employment opportunities, especially for women and the Pacific’s burgeoning youth population.

A Bank economist, Suva-based Tobias Haque, says the fact most Pacific economies are very small and remote means private sector activity within those countries is under a lot of pressure.

He says because of these pressures the priority must be to allow workers to move to markets facing fewer constraints.

“Which is larger markets. Obviously there is a strong history for Pacific labour mobility to New Zealand and Australia and we are suggesting that that should be expanded and in the longer term I suppose there are other large markets, Asia etc that could also be looked at.”

Tobias Haque.RADIO NZ

LAW&ORDER

24) Payback killing of priest in PNG

12/4/14
A priest in Papua New Guinea has been killed as a result of payback killings between warring tribes in Kunimaipa Valley, Goilala in Central Province.

EMTV reports the priest, identified as Father Garry Maria Inau was brutally killed by tribesmen a week ago.

Father Inau was from the district and was ordained there nine months ago.

The Bishop of Bereina, Rochus Tatamai, says pay-back killings have been occurring in the district since 2011, but have not been reported.

He says this one makes news because a priest was killed.

Police officers have now been deployed to the area to try and reduce the tribal tensions.RADIO NZ

REFUGEE

25) Half Of Asylum Seekers Processed In Manus Granted Refugee Status
First set of determinations being handed down now: Morrison

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 10, 2014) – Australia’s Immigration Minister says refugee status determinations are now being handed down to asylum seekers detained in camps on Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island.

Scott Morrison, who has just returned from PNG, says a handful of decisions have been made over the past week, with half of those processed granted refugee status.

Speaking to the ABC, Mr Morrison says the refugees will be resettled in Papua New Guinea within a month.

“We’ve got those decisions now, they’re both positive and negative decisions in about equal measure and the resettlement package that is being worked on by the Papua New Guinean government will come forward to their cabinet next week I understand, based on the meetings I held yesterday.”

Scott Morrison the case of Reza Berati, who was killed inside the centre in February, was also discussed while he was in PNG.

He says investigations are progressing well and Australia’s immigration department has handed all of its information over to PNG police.

Radio New Zealand International

CLIMATE CHANGE,CONSERVATION & ENVIROMENT

26) Solomons’ concerns over occupied schools

12/5/14
The Chairman of the Honiara City Council’s Education Committee, Eric Tema, says he needs national government guidance on what to do with flood victims who are still in council schools.

He says that six weeks after the flooding disaster students at Mbokonavera and Panatina schools are still not able to resume classes because victims continue to occupy the facility.

The quakes occurred as Solomon Islands recovers from flash floods.

Mr Tema says while his committee feels sympathy for the flood victims, they are also worried about the students’ education because their parents or guardians have already paid fees for the first semester of 2014.

In another development, Mr Tema says following the passing of a new council ordinance, flood victims whose homes were destroyed will not yet be allowed yet to start rebuilding houses.

He says Council staff and personnel from the Honiara City Council and the Department of Lands will soon inspect the Koa Hill area to mark out sites which can be used to build new homes.

Mr Tema says under the new river bank ordinance, people will need to build homes seven metres from the river banks.RADIO NZ

SPORTS 

27) NZ lift world sevens series crown in style

AAP
Monday, May 12, 2014

Update: 7:33AM ALL Blacks New Zealand put the icing on another triumphant sevens rugby season with a brilliant fightback to beat Australia in the final of the tournament in London.

The All Blacks Sevens won the fluctuating match 52-33 at Twickenham after trailing 21-0 inside the first five minutes to clinch the ninth and final round of the series.

New Zealand had already secured their 12th crown in 15 series by advancing through pool play on Saturday, putting them out of reach of second-placed South Africa.

They weren’t content with that, thumping South Africa 32-5 in the quarter-finals and crossing after the final hooter through Scott Curry to pip Fiji 12-10 in the semi-finals.

Gillies Kaka was a standout performer in the final, scoring 22 points and providing a key link in several of their eight tries.

He, Curry and Ben Lam scored two tries each while the others went to Adam Whitelock and Tim Mikkelson, for a New Zealand team who overcame their sluggish start to level the scores 21-21 at halftime.

It was 28-28 midway through the second spell before a three-try burst sealed the outcome.

The five-try Australians were seeking a rare tournament win to farewell long-serving coach Michael O’Connor, who has announced he won’t continue in the role next season.

New Zealand captain DJ Forbes praised his side’s work ethic and fitness after a second-successive 50-point winning performance in a final. They beat Canada 54-7 to secure the Glasgow title last week.

“You see all the flash stuff on the pitch but there’s a lot of hard work behind the scenes, on the paddock back home,” he told reporters.

“This is the only time you get your rewards, so it’s good to finish off the world series with a bang.”

Fiji’s Samisoni Viriviri was subsequently named the International Rugby Board’s player of the year.

The speedy wing headed off three other nominees for the award, including Mikkelson, who won the honour a year earlier.

Final standings:

New Zealand 180, South Africa 152, Fiji 144, England 134, Australia 116, Canada 90, Kenya 84, Samoa 79, Argentina 75

28) Fijians steal the show

Rashneel Kumar
Monday, May 12, 2014

FIJIANS stole the limelight in the final tournament of the 2013/14 HSBC Sevens World Series at Twickenham Stadium in London over the weekend.

First it was the Vodafone Fiji 7s speedster Samisoni Viriviri scoring his 50th try this season to become the first player to reach the half century mark.

He was on the verge of becoming the all time top try scorer in a season when day two of the London 7s kicked-off last night.

Fiji played Samoa in the Cup quarter-final.

Viriviri’s achievement followed the milestone achieved by another Fijian.

New Zealand 7s playmaker Tomasi Cama Jr becomes the second man in history of the International Rugby Board 7s series to score 2000 points.

The son of former Fiji 7s skipper and coach Tomasi Cama Sr trails Ben Gollings in the all time player points scorers list.

Former England player Gollings scored a massive 2652 points during his 11 years of international 7s career.

Cama Jr, who missed the previous leg of the series in Japan and Hong Kong because of calf injury, replaced Joe Webber who sustained injuries in the Glasgow 7s earlier this month.

“It’s a privilege to achieve that. I’ve been off for a while doing a lot of rehab with my injury, I’m so happy to be out with the boys, and to play in a stadium like this is an honour,” the 33-year-old Suva-born player toldirb.com.

Cama Jr joined the New Zealand 7s side in 2005.

He became the first Fijian to win the IRB 7s Player of the Year Award in 2012.

Cama Jr aims to represent the All Black 7s in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

www.voiceofmelanesia.com

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