Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 981
1) Churches call for freedom in West Papua
By Online Editor
6:49 pm GMT+12, 15/05/2014, Fiji
The people of West Papua must be allowed to determine their future through universally accepted processes such as elections or referenda.
Pacific Conference of Churches General Secretary, Reverend Francois Pihaatae (Pee-Ah-Tay) made the call today (Thursday, May 15) ahead of a United Nations meeting on decolonization to be held in Nadi next week.
“Church leaders met in Honiara in 2013 and called for self-determination for all Pacific people including those in West Papua whose land continues to be occupied by Indonesia,” Rev Pihaatae said.
“It is time for Indonesia to allow the people of West Papua to determine their own future in accordance with international laws and treaties.
“They must be allowed to determine how best to use their land, minerals and other resources.”
Rev Pihaatae said it was quite possible that an act of self-determination would see West Papuans choosing to enter a relationship with Indonesia.
“This is acceptable but we must allow the will of the people to be done.”
When the UN Committee on Decolonisation or Committee of 24 meets, it will discuss Maohi Nui (French Polynesia) and its return to the UN list of territories to be decolonized.
West Papua is not on this list but the PCC will lobby Pacific leaders beginning next week to sponsor the Indonesian territory’s inclusion on the C24 list.
“We are quite aware of Indonesia’s influence in the region but it is not possible to remain silent on the issue given the continued abuse of human rights, illegal detention, torture and killings by the Indonesia military,” Reverend Pihaatae said.
“Every church has a duty to speak out against injustice and we call on governments to hear this call and take action.
“We call especially on the governments of Fiji and Papua New Guinea – the Pacific representatives on C24 to listen to the cry of the people of this region and to ensure that justice is done.”
Reverend Pihaatae said this action could take the form of lobbying members of the Pacific Island Forum Secretariat, The Melanesian Spearhead Group and the Pacific Island Development Forum.
“Australia and New Zealand along with churches in those countries must also support self-determination in West Papua if they are to be recognized as true partners in the region,” he said.
Ultimately the PCC hopes that Pacific countries will spearhead moves which will see West Papua join the United Nations list of territories to be decolonized.
Also absent from the C24 list are the Chilean territory of Rapa Nui and Guam which is part of the United States. People in both territories have started to call for the right to self-determination.
2) Vanuatu daily news digest | 15 May 2014
Whilst waiting for The Motion … MPs are entering the House …
- Prime MInister Carcasses yesterday told media that suggestions huge EXIM Bank loans would destroy the country’s foreign reserves are a lie. It seems that at the same press conference DPM Natapei agreed the bloc he controls (VP, GJP and UMP) would continue to support the PM. Any decisions he takes to the contrary will need direction from that bloc, he said.
- Text news service 406 reports Parliament was expected to hear the report of the Ad Hoc Committee on the USD 350 million airport promissory notes last February, but the committee did not present its report. The Vanua’aku Pati says the delay in the Ad Hoc Committee’s report was caused by government workers not releasing funds for expert consultants.
- Mid-day VBTC News reported private Vanuatu passport holders assisting in the funding of the Brussels embassy according to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Edward Natapei. Such people have included such as Vu Anh Quan Saken of the Phocea affair. Natapei said their passports were now being withdrawn andthe Brussels embassy is now having to work hard to find funds to support its operations.
- Mr Willie Nakat of Tanna, the first political adviser to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, has lost his life on a visit to China. His body is expected to be returned to Vanuatu with the help of the Chinese authorities. Nakat has been a prime and trusted mover in Vanua’aku Pati affairs for a long time.
- Following the direction of the South Efate Council of Chiefs Chairman, Andrew Pakoa Poilep, Chief Kaloruk Lalie is now the Erakor village chief. Over eighty percent of the population was said to have witnessed the declaration of the new chiefly title. Never-the-less, Chief Timteo Kalmet was able to point out that the decision over-rules a number of court decisions which Andrew Pakoa Poilep had previously supported and which were the subject of Vaturisu and South Efate Council of Chiefs decisions. Island and Supreme Court cases going back more than 10 years, and decisions of the Appeals Court, according to Kalmet, are being ignored. It seems the Erakor chiefly title will be back in court again.
- Justice Fatiaki has given his reasons for lifting the suspensions of the three senior-most medical professionals in the country, pointing out that the only valid reasons for immediate suspension concern theft, fraud, mis-appropriation, assault or sexual harassment, none of which was applicable in their cases, as was agreed by the Attorney General. The DG of Health, Dr Santus Wari had suspended them on a basis of “not qualified” and “not capable of carrying out their duties” when they were all clearly well qualified, Daily Post points out.
3) Cook Islands’ snap election left women candidates behind: advocacy group
Updated 15 May 2014, 14:21 AEST
A regional women’s organisation says the hurried timing of the elections in Cook Islands has left potential women candidates behind.
Last month, Prime Minister Henry Puna called a snap election amid opposition claims he was to lose a vote of no confidence in parliament.
Cook Islanders will go to the polls on July 9 and registrations have now closed.
Alexis Wolfgramm from the Pan Pacific and Southeast Asia Women’s Association says the rush has meant women candidates have had to withdraw.
“With the rush and the uncertainty for some of our prospective candidates they felt the timing wasn’t good,” Ms Wolfgramm told Pacific Beat.
“(The felt) they didn’t have enough time to prepare their constituency committees and their campaign and so they withdrew.”
There are 24 seats in the Cook Islands Parliament and Ms Wolfgramm says the association was hoping to have at least 10 women candidates lined up.
Only 6 have been put forward for July’s election.
“We’re quite disappointed that the governing party, the Cook Islands Party, has fielded one woman candidate against a very, very strong democrat and a very safe democrat seat, and she is the only candidate that they have fielded at all.”
Ms Wolfgramm says the rush has also meant familiar candidates have been nominated.
“Parties have also, I don’t think, spent quality time on looking at their field of candidates and they have once again proposed many of the same faces.”
She says it will be “same old, same old” with the governing party but it’s less clear with the opposition Democratic Party.
“There may be some new faces in the parliament but there will certainly be the same faces in cabinet.”Radio Australia
4) Tonga Netball Program Promotes Physical Activity
Women encouraged to take responsibility for their own health
NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, May 15, 2014) – A third phase of the Kau Mai Tonga Ke Tau Netipolo “C’mon Tonga Let’s Play Netball” was launched on Wednesday, May 14 in a continuing campaign to encourage Tongan women to become more physically active through netball.
The Minister of Education and Training Hon Dr ‘Ana Taufe’ulungaki launched the program at the Fa’onelua Convention Centre and said it is time for Tongan women to take responsibility for their own health and to initiate change in their own communities to avoid the destructive consequences of Non-Communicable Diseases in Tonga.
The Kau Mai Tonga program, was first launched in 2012 is a joint initiative of the Governments of Tonga and Australia in partnership with Netball Australia and the Tonga Netball Association.
The Tonga Netball Association (TNA), stated that this third phase will focus on a community call to action with community leaders calling others to physical activity.
The program had recently approved a Community Mobilisation Plan, which involves training of community mobilisers to become physical activity leaders in each of the seven districts in Tongatapu in a ‘Lets Get Active’ program. In addition, NCDs nurses are also on hand to provide health support and information.
The netball tournaments will start in Tongatapu on June 14 before continuing to Vava’u, Ha’apai and ‘Eua in July. Registration of teams began today until the June 6 for Tongatapu.
Since the program’s launch two-years ago the tournament had seen more than 560 teams at different ages participating throughout Tongatapu, Vava’u, Ha’apai and ‘Eua, involving nearly 4000 women.
The Kau Mai Tonga won a WHO Healthy Islands Recognition Award for Best Practice last year in recognition of the multi-sectoral approach it adopted to deliver the program at the community level. The program is delivered by the Ministries of Internal Affairs and Health with TNA.
Attending the launch was the Minister of Internal Affairs Lord Vaea, Hon Lupepau’u Taione and the Acting Australian High Commissioner Mr Scott McLennan.
Matangi Tonga Magazine
5) Tonga’s Vanilla Growers Strive To Be ‘The World’s Best’
Association holds seminars to improve quality, negotiate prices
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 15, 2014) – An association representing vanilla growers in Tonga believes it’s not far off from claiming the world’s best vanilla status.
The Queen Vanilla Growers Association in Vava’u was formed last year to represent farmers and negotiate fair prices.
Fairtrade officers from New Zealand and Australia have recently held seminars for vanilla growers in Vava’u explaining the basic principles of collective bargaining.
The executive director, Ian Jones, says by working together the industry can operate at a profitable and sustainable level.
He says growers are also getting training on things like curing methods to ensure their vanilla is of a high quality.
“Queen Fine Foods in Australia told me just recently that the vanilla they bought from us from last year’s production was the best they’ve purchased in the last two years and equal best ever. Now all we’ve go to do is get all the growers producing it to that same level and I believe within two to three years we’ll be able to claim world’s best vanilla status.”
Ian Jones says the association now has 297 members, supporting at least 1400 family members.
Radio New Zealand International
6) 6.1 quake in FSM
A 6.1-magnitude earthquake struck near the Federated States of Micronesia this morning.
The quake hit around 2100 hours UTC at a depth of 10 kilometres, 99 kilometres south-southeast of Ifalik in Yap State, according to the United States Geological Survey.
The Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there was no threat of a destructive widespread tsunami.Radio NZ
7) Palau seeks direct air links with PNG
Micronesia decries poor air connections
By Robert Matau
One northern Pacific state has almost secured what has been a remote aviation dream shared by many of its small island neighbours – to get to its larger South Pacific island neighbours at as short a time and distance as possible.
Palau is in Air Services Agreement (ASA) negotiations with Papua New Guinea as it gears up to host a number of important meetings this year including the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders’ Summit meeting that begins on 29 July.
Olkeriil Kazuo, Assistant Press Secretary in Palau’s Presidential office told Islands Business he’s hopeful the agreement would be signed soon.
The plan is for Palau-bound delegates to fly from Port Moresby to Koror instead of doing the longer expensive hop to the north east transiting in either Japan, Guam or Hawaii.
Kazuo said Palau would also host several anniversary celebrations this year, namely the 20th anniversary of its Compact of Free Association with the United States, its 20th anniversary of special relationship with Japan and its 15th anniversary of good relations with Taiwan.
Kazuo who attended this year’s Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) meeting in Noumea in February was successful in securing Palau’s bid to host the next PINA convention in 2016.
To get to Noumea he had to fly for two days making stops in Guam, Sydney then Cairns before arriving in Noumea – a trip that cost him US$4000.
“This has long been a much needed route upon the elimination of the Guam-Fiji route by Continental Airlines. Since then, traveling to the South Pacific takes nearly 2 days of flight connections.”
Whilst Palau does not have its own airline, Continental Airlines, China Airlines, Delta, and Asiana Airlines fly there. “The proposed ASA (with PNG) has been sent back after negotiations for some very minor detail adjustments and should be signed very soon,” he said.
“No airline has been designated to provide this vital air link officially.” At last year’s Association of South Pacific Airlines (ASPA) meeting, a high-powered delegation from the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) was desperately seeking a better ASA with island nations in the South Pacific in the hope that it would alleviate their worsening air transport woes.
It also takes an average FSM traveller almost two days to fly out of the northern Pacific to the southern Pacific, island hopping through to Honolulu to catch a flight to Nadi, Fiji.
FSM member of Congress Senator Peter Christian said they had submitted an ASA to the Fijian Government and Fiji has responded to their request.
“Now we will take this back to our government to prepare its response to our initial request,” he said.
“It is definitely something we will push to implement.” Christian accompanied by a number of top level delegates from his country at the ASPA meeting said it was more reasonable to come through Fiji. “For us we think and would wonder why the airlines would not want their footprint in Micronesia but maybe it’s a financial issue for them.”
Christian believed viability of the route would improve if cargo business is factored into the equation, and not passenger traffic only.
He said the FSM imports a lot of goods from China and countries in Southeast Asia.
At the ASPA meeting, his delegation met representatives of Air Niugini and Our Airline.
A better connection to Fiji for countries like the FSM was closed when Fiji suspended direct Tarawa to Nadi flights of Nauru’s Our Airline in 2011.
Fijian authorities cited operational concerns like reservations, insurance and the airline’s air operating certificate for the suspension.
This route would have provided an alternative doorway to the south for islanders in the northern Pacific.
Currently Continental Airlines provides the only international air service connections to these northern Pacific islands but the flight does a hop between a number of islands before it reaches the FSM.
At times, the flights are full and passengers have to wait for the next flight out.
Senator Christian said they were interested in securing another airline in addition to Continental to address their travel connections to the rest of the Pacific. “Continental is a single provider right now and whilst their service is fine, we want to see whether we can find other airlines as we have business in Fiji with the United Nations agencies and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community offices.” He described as “reserved” the response from the various airlines they had approached.
ASPA Secretary General George Faktaufon said whilst he was not aware of the Palau and PNG talks, it did not come as a surprise to him because such a route used to exist some years ago.
“Such a connection for Palau and Micronesia would be shorter coming through Port Moresby than if it comes through Nadi,” he said.
He said he was also not aware of any progress in bilateral air service discussions pursued between the FSM and Fiji last year.
“Discussions with the airlines have not produced any new developments because the market is so thin, therefore there is that element of subsidy which is not very attractive to FSM so airlines are reluctant to pursue further discussions.” http://www.islandsbusiness.com/2014/5/politics/palau-seeks-direct-air-links-with-png/ ( Phils Note: Good news ..Palau is located north of the equator, above West Papua/PNG is to the East )
8) Inaugural Guam Live International Music Festival set for next month
May 14, 2014
TUMON, Guam – The Guam Visitors Bureau (GVB) and Lotte Duty Free today announced the Guam Live International Music Festival is set for June 6 & 7, 2014 at Paseo Stadium in Hagatna. This two-day music festival will feature pop, rock, reggae, hip-hop, and island music performed by international artists from the United States, England, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Guam.
GVB and Guam Live sponsors invite music fans to Guam’s capital city of Hagatna, which is experiencing revitalization through Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT) dollars. The Guam Live festival grounds will include Chamorro Village, Paseo Park and surrounding areas. Two-day passes are now available for purchase online at www.guam-live.com or at all 76/Circle K locations, Andersen ITT, MWR and Crowns Guam.
Sublime with Rome, Matisyahu, Steel Pulse, and Guam’s own Pia Mia will headline this new GVB signature event. Joining them will be top talent from Guam’s major visitor source markets including Home Made Kazoku (Japan), Izah Blue (Japan), Brown Eyed Girls (Korea), NU’EST (Korea), Popu Lady (Taiwan), Robynn & Kendy (Hong Kong).
“Destinations around the world are hosting music festivals and drawing hundreds of thousands of attendees. Guam Live is the first event of its kind with artists from all over the globe converging here on Guam, simultaneously benefiting the local community and fueling tourism, Guam’s main economic driver,” said GVB General Manager Karl Pangelinan. “Music brings people together and its events like these, brought to you by tourism dollars, which continue to make Guam a great place to live, work and visit.”
The Lotte Duty Free Guam Live International Music Festival is presented by United Airlines, Docomo Pacific, Pepsi, 76/Circle K and The Pacific Islands Club.
Source: Guam Visitors Bureau
USA & Canada
9) Nauru Opposition Calls Of Pacific Islands Forum To Intervene
Government rejects accusations, says MP ‘is in contempt of parliament’
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 15, 2014) – The Pacific Islands Forum has been urged to step in over alleged bad governance by the Nauru government.
The opposition MP, Kieren Keke, says the government is not abiding by core issues of the Forum and its Biketawa Declaration which provides a response to regional crises.
Dr Keke says police attempted to eject him from parliament on Wednesday after he took his seat despite government moves to suspend him.
[PIR editor’s note: RNZI reported that “Nauru’s Minister of Justice, David Adeang, has accused …[Keke] of trying to incite a riot by massing his supporters outside parliament. … He also says … Keke, is in contempt of parliament for refusing to leave his seat in the house. … In a statement, the government says parliament has voted to suspend Dr Keke and two other opposition MPs who are off island, Roland Kun and Mathew Batsiua, for intending to inflict maximum damage to Nauru’s reputation. … It has also rejected claims of gagged parliamentary debate and media censorship.”]
He says the move was illegal and is part of a pattern of poor governance by the Baran Waqa led government.
“Lack of accountability, their censorship of media, their interference in the judiciary, their failures in financial accountability. So we see this as very much an issue for New Zealand government, the Australian government and the governments of our Pacific neighbours,” says Keke.
Radio New Zealand International
10) Pacific Islands Urged Not To Rush Into Sea Bed Mining
Regional meeting in Cooks focuses on financial benefits of industry
By Ben Chapman-Smith
RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, May 15, 2014) – A regional training workshop focusing on the financial aspects of deep sea minerals kicked off in Rarotonga yesterday.
In his opening address, Dr Kifle Kahsai, Chief Geoscientist at the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, brought a word of caution to the more than 70 overseas delegates.
“Historically, mining has negative connotations due to the risks of adverse social and environmental impacts, as well as poor mining revenue management associated with some land-based mining operations.”
The same problems have been associated with other extractive industries like fisheries and logging, he said.
“The real challenge here is to learn from the mistakes of the past and to ensure that those mistakes are not repeated when deep sea mining commences.”
Now is the time for Pacific nations to be talking about how to tackle the challenges, Kahsai said.
“Unless real benefits and tangible development outcomes outweigh the cumulative adverse impacts of mining, the minerals may best be left in the ground.”
Kahsai said another major challenge lies in developing the technology for deep sea mining – a sector still in its infancy.
“Additionally, mining operators must ensure that ore extraction and processing are performed in an environmentally sustainable manner.”
He warned the Cook Islands Government to make sure any future revenues generated by seabed minerals are put towards helping the people.
“How is the government going to improve the livelihoods of the Cook Islands people? This is a long-term development project.”
This week’s training course, which runs until Friday, aims to help Pacific countries better understand the likely financial benefits of mining for deep sea minerals, and mechanisms for managing revenues sustainably.
The workshop is being hosted by the Cook Islands Seabed Minerals Authority, with funding from the Secretariat of the Pacific Community and European Union’s joint regional DSM Project.
There are 15 members of the DSM Project, which was set up in 2011 to help Pacific countries prepare for future seabed mineral activity.
Members of the public are invited to attend a general seabed minerals update meeting tonight from 6-7 at the Rarotongan Resort.
Cook Islands News
11) Brèves d’Australie et du Pacifique – jeudi 15 mai 2014
Mis à jour 15 May 2014, 17:09 AEST
À Nauru, le ministre de la Justice, David Adeang, accuse Kieren Keke d’incitation à l’émeute.
Kieren Keke, ancien ministre nauruan des Affaires étrangères, aujourd’hui dans l’opposition. Il demande au Forum des Îles du Pacifique d’intervenir pour rappeler à l’ordre le gouvernement nauruan.
Mercredi, le député d’opposition a massé ses partisans devant le Parlement. Pendant ce temps-là, à l’intérieur, Kieren Keke résistait à 20 policiers qui tentaient de l’expulser. Il y a eu une bagarre. Tout a commencé en début de semaine, quand le ministre de la Justice a fait suspendre Kieren Keke et deux autres députés de l’opposition. Motif : ils auraient sali la réputation de Nauru dans des interviews accordées aux media étrangers, en accusant le gouvernement de s’attaquer aux juges. Kieren Keke demande au Forum des Îles du Pacifique de rappeler à l’ordre le gouvernement.
Bougainville: un homme a été torturé et tué. Albert Bute était soupçonné d’avoir pratiqué la magie noire sur une femme. Elle est morte il y a 3 semaines. Ses parents ont fait une descente à Nokaia, le village d’Albert Bute. Ils ont brûlé 13 maisons, avant d’enlever Albert Bute et trois autres hommes. L’un d’eux a pu s’enfuir, les deux autres ont été relâchés sous la pression de la police, indique Januarius Vosivai, le commissaire de la région centre de Bougainville, sur la radio néo-zélandaise internationale.
Bougainville: Anthony Regan contre-attaque. Ce spécialiste australien en droit constitutionnel est chargé par le gouvernement local de rédiger un projet de loi sur les mines. Selon Johnny Miningtoro, le texte bafoue les droits des propriétaires coutumiers. Le député accuse Anthony Regan de servir les intérêts de Rio Tinto, qui exploite la mine de cuivre de Panguna. Johnny Miningtoro demande son expulsion. Mais Anthony Regan a affirmé mercredi n’avoir aucun lien avec les compagnies minières. Il a le soutien de John Momis, le Président de Bougainville.
Il ne s’excusera pas. À Nauru, le député d’opposition Matthew Batsiua ne regrette pas un instant d’avoir critiqué le gouvernement dans des interviews aux media étrangers. Principale critique : le limogeage d’un juge, et le refoulement à la frontière d’un deuxième juge. En représailles, le ministre de la justice a exclu Matthew Batsiua du Parlement, ainsi que deux autres députés d’opposition, dont Kieren Keke. Ce matin Matthew Batsiua s’est rendu au Parlement, mais il a été refoulé par la police.
Droit dans ses bottes. Hier Murray Mc Cully, le ministre kiwi des Affaires étrangères, a rencontré Samiu Vaipulu, le vice-Premier ministre tongien, au sujet du MA 60, cet avion donné par la Chine à Tonga. Murray Mc Cully le considère trop dangereux. Il recommande aux touristes kiwis de ne pas monter dedans. Murray Mc Cully a même sanctionné Tonga, en suspendant l’aide au développement du tourisme dans le pays. Et hier le ministre kiwi a refusé la solution proposée par un pilote kiwi : re-tester le MA 60 pour vérifier sa fiabilité.
Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée: un garçon de 11 ans mangé par un crocodile. Melas Mero a été happé par un crocodile de quatre mètres de long jeudi. Il était en train de pêcher en compagnie de ses parents, dans la rivière de Siloura, dans la province du Golfe, sur la côte sud du pays. La police a tué le crocodile, et a découvert les restes du petit Melas à l’intérieur. C’est la deuxième attaque de crocodile depuis le début de l’année en Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée.
Australie du Sud: un surfeur réchappe miraculeusement à l’attaque d’un requin. Ça s’est passé mercredi. Un grand requin blanc de cinq mètres de long a mordu la planche d’Andrew Mc Leod, le déséquilibrant et le jetant à l’eau. Le surfeur a réussi à nager jusqu’à sa planche et à remonter dessus sans se faire attraper par le requin. Il a ensuite ramé jusqu’à un récif pour se mettre à l’abri. Radio Australia
12) Pacific Islands Shielded From Australia’s Aid Cuts
10% reduction happening in other parts of the world
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 14, 2014) – The Director of the Development Policy Centre at the Australian National University says the Pacific region is being sheltered for now as aid cuts apply to other parts of the world.
The Australian government has decided to reduce its foreign aid budget by 7.4 billion US dollars, spread over the next five years.
Stephan Howes says the foreign aid budget is being cut by ten per cent in real terms over the next three years.
“So although there is this ten per cent cut, the Pacific and PNG are being shielded fom those cuts and that’s because money is being free up elsewhere partly by a refocussing of the aid programme on the region. So there’s going to be less aid for Africa, less aid for Latin America, and that will help protect the Pacific.”
Stephen Howes says the Papua New Guinea government is being granted an extra 56 million US dollars next year for agreeing to process Australia’s asylum seekers at the Manus Island detention center.
Radio New Zealand International
13) Patients need support
Thursday, May 15, 2014
ST Giles Hospital medical superintendent Dr Peni Biukoto believes the absence of a community support system is a contributing factor leading people with mental health problems on the streets.
He said although there had been no known study to determine whether there was an increase in the number of people with mental health problems living on the streets, clinical experiences showed lack of support from their immediate families.
“The truth is that no study has been done to know the cause of a person(s) with mental illness living on the street in Fiji,” Dr Biukoto said.
Statistics provided to this newspaper indicates that readmission rate had not dropped for the first quarter of the year.
In January this year 373 patients were seen in the outpatients department, 358 for February and 372 for March.
From this figures, 45 were admitted for January, 30 for February and 29 for March which also revealed 11 patients returning to the hospital in January and had been recorded as re-admission patients, 23 re-admissions for February and 21 for March.
For the month of January 29 patients visited the hospital for the first time, 24 in February and 35 in March.
The figures also stated the hospital recorded four cases where people who came in for treatment for the month of January were suicidal, two for the month of February and two for March.Fijitimes
14) Unitech to see off 950 graduates at ceremony
The National, Thursday May 15th, 2014
MORE than 950 students will graduate from the University of Technology (Unitech) in Lae, tomorrow and vice-chancellor Dr Albert Schram is optimistic that the institution’s future is bright.
He said the graduation would be significant as the academic quality of students would start to improve.
“It is the first graduation which marks the end of the Unitech saga,” he said.
“We are graduating more than 30 postgraduate students. We have the largest postgraduate programme in the country, with all departments running masters programmes except one.”
Despite views that the quality of Unitech graduates is dropping, Schram said otherwise.
Graduation working committee chairman Robert Leso said the ceremony would be held at the Sandover carpark where one parent or guardian would be allowed access and a seat while other family members could watch the proceedings on live telecast broadcasted on big screens at the Duncanson Hall and Rose Kekedo building foyer.
Minister for Justice and Attorney-General Kerengua Gua will be the guest speaker.
15) Joe Natuman is Vanuatu’s new Prime Minister
By Online Editor
7:16 pm GMT+12, 15/05/2014, Vanuatu
Joe Natuman has been elected Vanuatu’s new Prime Minister.
He replaces Moana Carcasses Kalosil who was ousted in a vote of no confidence in the Vanuatu parliament this afternoon (Thursday).
Natuman is Member of Parliament for Tanna and was private secretary to the country’s first Prime Minister and Father of independence, Father Walter Lini.
He has served in various governments and held ministerial positions in the ministry of internal affairs, foreign affairs, education, justice and social welfare.
Natuman has become the first member for Tanna to become Prime Minister.
In his initial address to parliament, PM Natuman attributed the victory to one of his Vanua’aku Pati strongman Nakat Willie who passed away yesterday while on an official visit to China.
Natuman also attributed his election to the people of Vanuatu, as well as the Presidents of Vanua’aku Pati Edward Natapei, National United Party President Ham Lini Vanuaroroa, People’s Progressive Party
President Sato Kilman Livtunvanu and other party leaders and members who rallied behind his nomination.
Natuman won 40 out of the 52 votes cast by Members of Parliament. He was the only nominee for the post of Prime Minister.
Joe Natuman is Secretary General of Vanua’ku Pati.
The vote of no-confidence in Kalosil was carried with 35 votes in favour, 11 against and 4 abstains.
Kalosil then walked out of parliament with his group before the vote for Prime Ministership.
16) Vanuatu Government Urged To Occupy Matthew and Hunter Islands
Local leaders urge PM to up the pressure on France
By Godwin Ligo
PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, May 14, 2014) – The news of the Vanuatu Prime Minister Moana Carcasses visiting Paris to talk to leaders of France on the issue of the claim of Matthew and Hunter Islands, has prompted some local leaders who feel something more than just talks should be done.
One such local leader who asked to remain anonymous, has some suggestions he feels the Vanuatu Government should seriously start to implement now on the islands.
“Even though Vanuatu has clear claims over Matthew and Hunter islands, this is based on traditions and old maps and underwater geography.
“Still, it must be acknowledged that Vanuatu still does not physically assert any claims to the islands over the past 30 years since it gained political independence.
“Perhaps the time has come to Vanuatu to make its claims upon the ground. That is to say that Vanuatu must visit the islands and undertake research on geology of the islands, archeology of the islands, seek historical, traditional links of the past with the rest of Vanuatu, carry out a study on sea and land birds live on the islands,” he suggested.
He went on to state that Vanuatu should make an approach in the area and identify clear indication of probable underwater volcanic activity or Seamount that have never been explored before and that would shed light to the geographical connection with the rest of the rest of the islands of Vanuatu islands,” he suggested.
He said while diplomacy is seen to be the best way to go into negotiation with France, the opposite side of the coin could be that it will constantly remind France to find every way to use to put a stop on Vanuatu claim of Matthew and Hunter Islands.
“While it may be seen to be a provocation in a way to France through New Caledonia, but Vanuatu must show physical signs that it does own the islands. Therefore take a step forward and set up a weather station on either Matthew or Hunter and, or a volcano monitoring device on one of them,” the local suggested.
“It would also be ideal to do a total exploration of the islands. This is to establish facts that have not been made before,” he recommended.
“In terms of any resources available that could be collected will further strengthens Vanuatu claims of the islands. Use the local resources such as archeologists and anthropologists to visit the islands and carry out the study on them to have real proof, rather than talks about territorial claims without facts on the ground,” the man suggested.
“What Vanuatu must be careful of, for example, is under the real estate laws, if you don’t not get rid of the squatters from your land within seven years, then they have a legitimate claim on your land. You have to assert your rights quicker before it is too late,” he pointed out.
He cautions that Vanuatu must not just continue to dwell on diplomatic talks because that does not prove the real traditions and other connections that he explained earlier.
The man cautioned the Vanuatu Government, because as he stated that if the dispute over Matthew and Hunter islands goes before the Court of The Hague, for example, and Vanuatu may lose out to France, which would mean losing something you have all along claimed to own, traditionally, physically and geographically, he cautioned.
“Even Vanuatu does not have a chance if one day France says enough is enough and place military control over the Islands. It would mean a win, lose situation or lose lose situation altogether for Vanuatu,” he cautioned.
“Build a lighthouse on one of the islands, do something physical to show France that you really own the islands at heart and they belong to you. If your forefathers did it before and France did nothing then to stop them, then why not do it again now-physically claim the islands,” he strongly strongly recommended.
“Following the raising of the flags on the islands, Vanuatu should set a small administrative control over the islands, increase scientific activities of the islands that would prove geographical as well and traditional and other proven links with the rest of the Republic of Vanuatu,” he urged.
“For sure France will react, but Vanuatu will then have more proof in the UN and in Court to prove it owns the islands in the ways I am only suggesting,” he said.
Vanuatu Daily Post
17) New Caledonia power deal expected
New Caledonia’s three anti-independence parties are expected to reach an agreement today on who they will vote in as the president of the southern province when the newly elected assembly meets tomorrow.
There is speculation that the most successful party, the Caledonia Together, will put forward Philippe Michel for the post, with the other two parties getting the leadership of the Congress and the territorial government.
The pro-independence side is expected to decide today whether it will seek to annul last Sunday’s provincial election because of irregular rolls.
It claims that hundreds of people took part although they failed to meet the criteria set out in the Noumea Accord which restricts voting rights to long-term residents.
It says their number is such that it could have skewed the result.
The concerns have been litigated for weeks and been taken to France’s highest court but a ruling is not due until later in the year.
In 2009, the election in the Loyalty Islands province was repeated after five months because of a successful complaint about improperly cast proxy votes.Radio NZ
18) SODELPA: Support from vanua is still strong
Thursday, May 15, 2014
SODELPA says its support from the vanua is intact.
Party media manager Sainiana Radrodro said the support was assured following a visit by an entourage led by leader Roko Tui Dreketi Ro Teimumu Kepa to the vanua of Nadroga, Ba and Ra to traditionally seek approval before they hold their campaigns.
“The support was heartening, they were happy to meet with and hold encouraging discussions,” Ms Radrodro said.
She said the party was informed that its traditional bond with the vanua was still very strong.
Ms Radrodro said while the vanua support was heartening, requests were also made for the party to ensure that it made every effort to address the issues affecting the iTaukei if it won the election.
“They reminded us to bear in mind the issues affecting the indigenous people.
“The reminders were based on land issues, church and government policies,” she said.
Ms Radrodro said issues relating to the maintaining of iTaukei scholarships were also highlighted.
She said another issue highlighted during the traditional visit was the vanua’s disapproval of various decrees.
The party yesterday visited the island of Bau, outside Nausori Town to seek the traditional blessing of the vanua to begin with its campaigns.
Ms Radrodro added they would soon visit other provinces to seek the approval of the vanua.Fijitimes
19) Call to end Fiji regime pay secrecy
The Fiji Labour Party says the prime minister must provide audited accounts of his salary from April 2010 onwards.
This comes after Rear Admiral Frank Bainimarama told people in Rotuma that reports are wrong to suggest he was being paid nearly one million US dollars a year.
The Labour leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, says it is necessary to establish the truth as in 2010 the responsibility of paying ministers was removed from the Treasury and given to an accounting firm run by the attorney-general’s aunt.
Photo: Fiji Labour Party
The Labour Party says it has been informed that the process has now been reversed because the regime leader plans to register a political party, making it mandatory to disclose incomes and assets.
The party says Rear Admiral Bainimarama needs to respond to reports that family trusts are being set up to overcome the requirements of the political parties decree.
Last year, the attorney-general repeatedly failed to keep his promise to disclose his and the prime minister’s salary, which is alleged to be larger than the pay of the US president.Radio NZ
20) Labour protests
Thursday, May 15, 2014
THE Fiji Labour Party has registered a protest to President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, calling on Elections Minister and A-G Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum to step down from his post immediately.
In the letter of protest, dated May 12, 2014, party leader Mahendra Chaudhry claimed the electoral process for September 17 election would be tainted should Mr Sayed-Khaiyum continue to retain ministerial oversight now that he was the proposed general secretary for the proposed Fiji First organisation.
“The Elections Office and the Electoral Commission should be absolutely independent of any ministerial control, interference or influence,” Chaudhry said.
In the protest, the former prime minister requested Ratu Epeli to intervene and exercise his powers in the public interest to ensure that justice was served and the election was conducted in a transparent, free, fair and credible manner.
“We trust you will do the right thing by the people of Fiji. Your excellency, the ordinary observer perceives this as a blatant case of abuse of authority and office.
“It is not consistent with past practice. In the past, the Electoral Commission was responsible directly to Parliament through the Office of the President.”
Chaudhry believes it is essential in the interest of transparency and accountability in matters of governance that Mr Sayed-Khaiyum steps aside.
“However, there may be serious consequences if he is not removed. It will certainly reflect on the credibility of the elections. We feel strongly about the conflict of interest inherent in the case hence our writing to you to register our protest.”
He said the party intended to take the issue further with the international community.
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum told this newspaper the law remained clear on the duties and status of the Electoral Commission and the Supervisor of Elections.
“The law is quite clear, the elections commission is independent, the Supervisor of Elections is independent, and you have the Electoral Decree, it is very clear and very simple.
“Like I said, the comments made by these people are not worth responding to,” he said.
Acting official secretary at the Office of the President Alena Mataitoga yesterday said she was not aware of the written protest as the official secretary Pene Baleinabuli was out of the country with Ratu Epeli.Fijitimes
21) Fiji Trade Union Elections To Be Conducted By Elections Office
Members have complained of rigged voting, oversight needed: AG
By Felix Chaudhary
SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, May 15, 2014) – All trade union elections held after the September polls will be conducted by the Elections Office, says Attorney-General and Minister for Elections Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.
He said his office had received complaints from trade union members that elections held by some organisations had been rigged.
The A-G said the Electoral Decree that was in place would make it mandatory for all trade union elections to be held under the scrutiny of the Elections Office.
“In one of the latest elections held for one of the trade union organisations, we had members writing to us saying that the ballot papers or boxes had been rigged,” he said.
“We’ve had people complain to us saying that the incumbent kept the ballot boxes in his office whilst he was also running as a candidate.
“There are many of these things that people do tell us and the whole idea of this is to make it transparent, the whole idea is to have full disclosure about it.”
Fiji Trades Union Congress acting general secretary Rajeshwar Singh said the government’s decision to make all trade union polls fall under the auspices of the Elections Office was designed to destroy the workers representative body.
“The trade unions are aware of the Electoral Decree where trade union elections could be conducted by the Elections Office,” he said.
“Now we gather from the news media that it would be made mandatory.”
Mr Singh said by quoting that a failed candidate who lost an election in the union complained of discrepancy as the reason for a mandatory conduct of election of trade unions under the Electoral Decree was “the flimsiest of excuses one could imagine”.
Fiji Times Online.
22) PNG pays up arrears
Thursday, May 15, 2014
PORT MORESBY – Papua New Guinea, through the Independent Public Business Corporation (IPBC), will pay the Solomon Islands Government a sum of $US1million ($F1.84m) for outstanding goods taxes.
The payment will be made for bmobile’s outstanding taxes to Solomon Islands Inland Revenue Division (IRD).
Bmobile had agreed payment schedules with IRD earlier this year, but felt now was a good time to make the payment as it would help the Solomon Islands Government with recent devastation caused by floods.
Bmobile has worked closely with the Inland Revenue Division since last year to ensure they cleared their outstanding tax bills and become a good corporate citizen to Solomons Islands economy.
The company thanked the Solomon Islands Government for its patience and IRD for demonstrating a rational and workable solution to this debt.
Bmobile said IRD displayed a professional attitude that should encourage more foreign investment to the Solomon Islands. The government, under Finance minister Rick Hou, recently granted tax exemption for bmobile’s roll-out for this year which will include a full 3G upgrade in Honiara to be installed in the next few weeks.
23) First gas shipment to Japan
The National, Thursday May 15th, 2014
Reports by GYNNIE KERO
THE first shipment of 80,000 tonnes of liquefied natural gas will leave on the Spirit of Hela for Japan in the next few days, ExxonMobil PNG Ltd managing director Peter Graham says.
He said the company would continue to ensure a reliable, consistent supply of natural gas to its four buyers – TEPCO, CPO Corporation, Osaka Gas and Sinopec.
Graham said ExxonMobil PNG Ltd was discussing with the government about making gas available for power generation in Port Moresby and rest of the country.
“We are grateful for the support from the Government and people towards the project,” he said.
“We too look forward to the next 30 years and we hope we can expand on what we’ve built here. Obviously there’s a lot of infrastructure being built here, great basis for continued growth for PNG.”
He said tankers Spirit of Hela, Gigira Laitebo, Kumul and Papua were chartered by Mitsui OSK Lines.
“We (ExxonMobil PNG Ltd) will continue to be a responsible operator in PNG producing gas safely, employing Papua New Guineans and using local businesses where we can,” Graham said.
“Our contractors have provided the expertise and experience to build the physical facilities of the project.We will continue to see PNG’s strong economy continue to grow which will have a broad impact across the entire country. “With sound investment of the revenues from the project PNG will be set up for a stable future of continued growth.”
24) PNG To Phase Out Whole Log Exports: Forest Minister
No more permits will be issued, domestic processing to be encouraged
By Isaac Nicholas
PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, May 15, 2014) – Forest Minister Douglas Tomuriesa has assured parliament that the Government will phase out round log exports and encourage domestic processing.
“We will not renew any more FMA (Forest Management Authority), FCA (Forest Clearance Authority) or timber permit,” Mr Tomuriesa said.
“We will comply to the NEC direction that says that following cabinet endorsement, the Minister for Forest in September 2009 announced the government policy to gradually phase out round log exports and increase domestic processing.”
Mr Tomuriesa said in line with the new policy, new forest management areas or timber concessions will be allocated to support downstream processing with no round log export entitlements.
He said existing timber concession holders will enter into negotiations with the State to phase out round log exports.
“Domestic timber processing will be promoted vigorously as part of our 2010-2030 Development Strategic Plan and also we want to promote sustainable logging development in the country.”
He made the statement as part of his response to questions from Manus MP Ronny Knight on concerns about logging on Manus.
“There is a lot of illegal activities happening in the country right now and it involves some of the big operators,” Mr Tomuriesa said.
“I have been six weeks on the job and I ask the people of PNG, landowner groups and Members of Parliament to be patient, we are getting there. There are processes in place and if some operators who abuse these processes, we will revisit their agreements.
“We will go through and make certain that one of the things that logging industry has missed out in this country is their community obligation to the people, and we will make sure we get down to the bottom and make sure they meet their community obligation.”
Appliances brought into country need to be efficient
PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, May 14, 2014) – The Department of Energy of the Ministry of Climate Change and Natural Disasters, in partnership with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) Energy Programme, organized a one-day consultation workshop with key stakeholders in the energy sector and discussed the second draft legislation on energy efficiency performance standards and energy labels for electrical appliances for Vanuatu.
The consultation workshop was held at the Meteo Office Conference Room on Monday last week (May 5) in Port Vila. The workshop informed stakeholders of the main issues addressed in the drafting and allows critical inputs for further amendments to the draft legislation. Twenty-five participants from Government Ministries, electrical appliance suppliers, Non-Government Organizations and hoteliers attended and provided useful suggestions to be incorporated in the drafting.
Currently, there are no energy performance requirements for electrical appliances imported into Vanuatu. This will soon change as the Vanuatu Government via the Council of Ministers’ decision on April 18 last year, approved the development of legislation to set Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) and mandates energy labels for electrical appliances for Vanuatu.
In the opening speech, the Director for Energy Department, Mr Jessie Benjamin, commended the Government of Vanuatu for recognizing Energy as an important driver for economic growth and improvement of the living standards for the people of Vanuatu. He stated that “The National Energy Road Map (NERM) for Vanuatu recently launched last month by the honorable Prime Minister, identified the enabling priority policies and required legislative underpinnings for the managed development of the energy sector which is a mainstay to the government vision of ‘…an educated, healthy and wealthy nation’. Establishing the MEPS and labeling for electrical appliances imported into the country is an important milestone in achieving this initiative.”
This legislation for energy efficiency performance and labeling of electrical appliances is timely and first that will pave way for other institutional framework strengthening in the energy sector towards realizing the targets for energy efficiency initiatives set out in the NERM.
The setting up of required MEPS and Labeling for electrical appliances would enable the supply of more energy efficient products for the local market. MEPS will prevent the least energy efficient products from entering the country and energy labelling will allow buyers to seek out the most energy efficient products on the market. This will, in turn, reduce the high cost of electricity experienced by households and organizations as more and more appliances supplied and used will be energy efficient – let alone the reduction of fuel importations into the country as a result of reduced electricity consumption, leading to greater savings in Gross Domestic Products (GDP) from fuel importations and lowering of emissions in Carbon Monoxide gases.
The Energy Department projects a net savings to households of between 9,750 and 10,000 Vatu per year by 2020, rising to nearly 30,000 Vatu per year by 2028 from electricity cost savings as the result of enforcing the MEPS and Energy Labeling requirements for Vanuatu. Furthermore; a saving of about 3,030,000 litres per year in diesel fuel by 2020 and reduction in emissions of about 8,300 tonnes CO2-e per year by 2020 is estimated.
The Department of Energy, through the Pacific Appliance Labeling and Standards (PALS) Program, administers this project for Vanuatu with expert assistance from the SPC. The generous funding for it was provided by the Australian Government.
It is hoped that a third draft legislation will be completed soon and another stakeholders’ meeting will be convened to ensure a wider and informed incorporation of views. It is expected that the legislation will go through the normal government processes and be ready for submission in parliament before end of this year.
Vanuatu Daily Post
26) Risky accounts
Thursday, May 15, 2014
FIJI has adequate laws and institutional measures in place to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, says Fiji Financial Intelligence Unit director Razim Buksh.
His comments followed a decision by ANZ Bank to close the accounts of money remittance service (MRS) providers.
He said this move by the bank was a global business decision based on their assessment of money laundering risks.
“ANZ and the FIU have been in discussions on this issue and there is a general willingness by ANZ to work with the regulators in Fiji on this matter,” he said yesterday.
He said the bank was free to make decisions on who they engaged as their customers based on their assessment of money laundering risks, adding such a decision should be carefully considered and aligned with the regulatory and AML enforcement environment in place within the jurisdiction the ANZ Bank operated.
“The Financial Transactions Reporting (FTR) Act is one of the important anti-money laundering laws of Fiji. All MRS providers are covered by the FTR Act and have been complying with this law since 2006 when it first came into force.
“MRS providers operating in Fiji are obligated by law to implement AML controls and measures including conducting customer due diligence on their customers, monitoring their customers’ transactions, reporting suspicious and other types of transactions to FIU, and providing regular training to their staff members on AML requirements.”
He said enforcement action may be taken on any financial institution including any money transfer company that failed to comply with the FTR Act.
He said sanctions were provided under the FTR Act to deal with any serious non-compliance by any remittance service provider.Fijitimes
27) Employment scheme benefits region
Thursday, May 15, 2014
BUSINESSES in Australia and New Zealand have benefited from access to a productive and highly reliable workforce in the Pacific region.
In its latest report titled Wellbeing from Work in the Pacific Island Countries, the World Bank said the New Zealand-recognised seasonal employer and the Australian Pacific seasonal worker schemes provided opportunities for Pacific islanders to undertake seasonal work in areas where labour was scarce — particularly in the horticulture industry.
The report, which was launched at USP recently, said this would provide significant gains for development and a major boost to living standards for participating households.
“Easing regulatory barriers to mobility between small Pacific countries and larger regional economies, and investing in transferrable skills and education for Pacific workers can provide significant wins for development,” it said.
World Bank economist Tobias Haque said the expansion of temporary worker schemes could provide significant economic benefits for participating countries especially if they could reach the region’s more remote and poorer nations, and offer women greater opportunities to take part.
“Migrant workers can access higher incomes in Australia or New Zealand than would ever be possible at home, while remittance flows are providing critical income for many Pacific island economies,” Mr Haque said.Fijitimes
CLIMATE CHANGE,CONSERVATION AND ENVIROMENT
28) UN says forests in Pacific need urgent attention
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation says the poor management of forests in the Pacific requires urgent attention.
It says natural forests in the Pacific cover an area of 186 million hectares, while planted forests cover just over four million hectares.
Forestry experts from six Pacific Island countries are gathering in Fiji this week to discuss the roles of forests in tackling climate change and natural disasters.
A forestry officer for the FAO, Aru Mathias, who is based in Samoa, says Pacific countries are becoming more aware of the importance of maintaining forests but it is a challenge.
“I believe a lot of lives are involved or dependent on the forests. Here in the Pacific we are dependent on land and land has this forest and we have all our traditional cultures attached to this forest and it would be a really sad thing if we don’t look after this forest.”
A forestry officer with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, Aru Mathias.Radio NZ
29) Weather alert: Expect heavy rain until the weekend
By REPEKA NASIKO
Thursday, May 15, 2014
Update: 4:33PM RAINY conditions over the Fiji Group is be expected from tomorrow.
The Fiji Meteorological Services office has issued a heavy rain alert for the whole country.
According to the weather office, an intensifying trough of low pressure to the north of the country is gradually moving towards the group.
The weather office says associated cloud and rain are expected to start affecting the group from tonight and continue into the weekend.Fijitimes
30) Pacific Games associations to visit capital in July
The National, Thursday May 15th, 2014
The 22 Pacific Games Associations are expected to tour Port Moresby’s sporting venues next year’s Pacific Games in July during the annual general assembly of the Pacific Games Council.
Pacific Games Council executive director Andrew Minogue, pictured, said the meeting which from July 3-5 in Port Moresby would allow for tours around venues included in the Games programme.
It would be an opportunity for members to see firsthand the progress on work on the facilities for the games.
Twenty-eight sports have been confirmed for next year’s event. They are Athletics, Basketball, Beach Volleyball, Bodybuilding, Boxing, Cricket, Soccer, Golf, Hockey, Karate, Lawn Bowls, Netball, Powerlifting, Rugby League 9s, Rugby 7s, Sailing, Shooting, Softball, Squash, Swimming, Table Tennis, Taekwondo, Tennis, Touch Rugby, Triathlon, Va’a, Volleyball, Weightlifting
There would be at least one representative attending from each of the 22 PGAs as the PGC will pay for costs of the tour.
Minogue said some PGAs could bring a second delegate at their own cost. Minogue said the main agenda for the meeting would to review overall preparations for future games which includes next years games, 2017 Pacific Mini Games and 2019 Pacific Games.
He said the awarding of the 2012 mini games hosting rights would be announced at the general meeting.
“The main agenda for the meeting will be to review overall preparations for our future Games: 2015, 2017, 2019 and award the hosting rights for the 2017 Mini Games,” Minogue said in an email.
Minogue said there will also be some reforms proposed to our PGC Constitution in terms of governance and finances. He said also on discussion was the possibility of inviting athletes from non-member countries like Australia and New Zealand to future Games.