Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 984


1) Vanuatu daily news digest | 24 May 2014

by bobmakin

  • The Tanna election petition case no. 3 of 2012 was resolved yesterday morning and the seven successful Tanna candidates, including the country’s Prime Minister Natuman, confirmed in their election victory. The election case of Sabi Natonga and others was considered unproven and dismissed. Unauthorised envelopes did not constitute adequate grounds for the petition for Justice Fatiaki since there is no provision for dimensions or detailed particulars of official envelopes, anyway. The use of proxies was of significant concern however. The court also heard evidence as to voters who were born in and registered in Tanna moving to Vila where they were registered for Efate. However, double voting instances were clearly not proven. Justice Fatiaki said: “I have no hesitation in saying that allegations of ‘double voting’ by proxy applicants, although easily made, are extra-ordinarily difficult to prove. For the foregoing reasons this petition must be and is hereby dismissed as unproven.” He expressed concern at the way the rolls are required to be maintained and urged tightening up of the rules regarding eligibility and registration. The judgment is reported in this morning’s Daily Post.
  • Five workers from the Vanuatu Utilities and Infrastructure Limited Company – VUI – at Santo were evacuated from the hydro-power site at Vanafo Thursday. This followed demands for compensation by land owners: claims which stand at VT 40 million. The land owners’ spokesman James Kampan says the hydro power will remain off until their demands are met. Meanwhile VUI is supplying Luganville from the more expensive town generators.
  • Also in Post this morning is the fraud case of Sergeant Apia of Epi, he who faces 166 counts of forgery related charges which were involved in the deception of selling forged motor vehicle documents. This is the matter which saw many public buses avoiding paying ‘road tax’ by dint of photocopied stickers in their windshields when the registration period was ending.
  • News from the recent sitting of Parliament and Prime Minister’s Question Time makes it clear that Etas, above the Teouma River, will be the site for the new correctional services facility, not Erangorango in the hills behind Bauerfield airport.
  • In the same sitting of Parliament it was also made clear that the land necessary forNorsup airport would be acquired by the Vanuatu Government. Lands Minister Regenvanu confirmed the governmental decision in the same parliamentary sitting along with consultations concerning seabed prospecting and mining.

2) Vanuatu daily news digest | 22 May 2014

by bobmakin

  • The new Opposition is doing quite a lot of talking this week and former PM Carcasses is on the front page of Daily Post saying he never promised the VT 10 million in MP allocations. He adds: “Members of the Capital Investment Immigration Plan Taskforce must have lied to the opposition and government back benchers but not me (prime minister).” He adds that this must have been used as an excuse to ensure CIIP becomes a reality because of the vast economic benefits it could bring Vanuatu. He questions Finance Minister Simelum still assessing CIIP when he agreed the government would continue to pursue it last week. Carcasses says he is pleased the current government will still support the Concession Agreement for Vanuatu Airports when Government is simply awaiting the Taaskforce report. He then goes on to blame Natapei for lying when the last mentioned can really only be praised for steadfastly trying to maintain the stability he saw as key to Vanuatu governance. The page 3 photo has Carcasses along with the Big Bay Free Trade Zone resident investors’ plan architects Serge Vohor and Willie Jimmy whose scheme for special residence and citizenship came unstuck with an Ombudsman report and allegations of gifts of USD 150.000 to these two for UMP. This plan also involved aviation and purchase of Air Vanuatu and many, many foreigners coming to Santo to take over 80,000 hectares of Santo garden land. You can read about it and the civil servants who participated in the Ombudsman report which also implicates Stefan Mandel of Vanuatu Registry Services which is presently engaged in investor residence schemes.
  • Meanwhile also on page 1 Prime MInister Natuman is quietly and conscientiously warning against sales of citizenship. This blog feels he should be given every chance, together with colleagues of goodwill, to formulate policies for the good of the grassroots.
  • Good news – and possibly some new words – on which to end, has a new urology treatment being used at the hospital in Port Vila. It removes kidney stones fast from suffering patients. Dr Richard Leona and some 25 urology patients are thrilled with the painless and quick removal by the visiting team from Australia. They do it all bypercutaneous neprolithotomy, PCNL for short.


3) Kingdom of Hawaii may still exist, challenges US over sovereignty

Updated 22 May 2014, 18:04 AEST

The CEO of the Hawaiian Affairs Office (OHA) has retained his job and gained public support to challenge the US on whether the Kingdom of Hawaii still exists as a sovereign country.

Kamanaopono Crabbe sparked an internal crisis when he sent a letter to US Secretary of State John Kerry, asking for a ruling on whether the Kingdom of Hawaii still legally exists.

The letter, which was quickly rescinded by the OHA’s trustees, was prompted by the US Government’s acknowledgment that the overthrow of the kingdom in 1893 was illegal.

Political scientist Dr Keanu Sai, from Windward Communtiy College in Honolulu, told Pacific Beat the OHA board thought Dr Crabbe had violated their policy by sending the letter without approval, but later realised they were mistaken.

“[Dr Crabbe] was not in violation of any policy of the board but rather was operating on his diligence and risk management,” Dr Sai said.

Mr Crabbe has now won the support of the OHA trustees, who have moved to send the letter again and retain him in his role as CEO.

“They’re in full support and they say that his questions definitely do have merit.”

Public support for Mr Crabbe’s campaign is also growing, with 2,500 people signing an online petition.

Dr Sai said Hawaiians need clarification on the issue.

“What was overthrown was the government, not the country,” he said.

Dr Sai blames revisionist history education for misconstruing local understanding of Hawaii’s true status.

“A revisionist history has been taught here in Hawaii since the early 1900s that presented Hawaii as if it was a part of the United States when in fact there is clear evidence that it’s not,” he said.

“We need to address this because it will affect our people but it also affects everyone.”

Dr Sai says if the Kingdom of Hawaii does indeed still exist, many historical treaties with nations including the UK and Australia would still be in effect.

International law

The US may be in violation of international law if Hawaii is still technically its own country.

The US would be guilty of appropriating funds by taxation and other related crimes, by not complying with occupation laws.

Dr Sai says within the framework of international law, there is presumed of continuity of a country when it is established.

“All that needs to be provided is evidence that Hawaii was a country (and it was, fully recognised by the United States and Great Britain and everyone else),” he said.

“It places the burden upon the United States to provide overwhelming evidence that it in fact extinguished Hawaii as an independent state under international law.

“In the absence of that evidence, the Hawaiian kingdom continues to exist.”

4) Samoa Church Bans Gift Giving At Church Dedications
Congregational Christian Church hopes to ‘ease burden on families’

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, May 21, 2014) – The Congregational Christian Church of Samoa (C.C.C.S.) has moved to ban gift giving with the hope to ease the burden on families and church followers.

However, that ban comes with exceptions, urging that “wisdom and conscience” are used.

C.C.C.S. Secretary General, Reverend Dr. Iutisone Salevao said the decision was finalised during last year’s gathering.

Speaking to the Samoa Observer yesterday, Dr. Salevao made it clear that the change is to “lighten the burden on people”.

Reading from the Annual Meeting’s Resolution 2013 booklet, he said, “There shall be no more traditional presentation of fine mats inclusive of food feasts presentation in dedication of church buildings.”

According to the resolutions booklet page 86 – 14.5.3, “If there is need to perform traditional presentation as part of a covenant with the pastor, to be uniformed with Samoan traditional respect, it should be done with full conscience and wisdom.”

It further states on page 96, “As referred to 14.5.3, should there be any use of ceremonial presentation to be in line with customs and Samoan traditional respect, it should be done with wisdom and conscience.”

The traditional presentations and gift giving referred to are known in Samoa as fa’aaloaloga and ta’alolo.

Dr. Salevao pointed out that the changes to “ease the burden” for church followers are to be reviewed after ten years.

Around this time last year, at the 2013 conference, many Reverends voiced their dismay on the traditional practices causing “people to leave churches”.

One of the Ministers told the conference last year that the church should set an example to “stop taiga sua to avoid the heavy burden on people”.

“If we take these gifts away we would feel a lot cooler and relaxed.”

In support, another Minister said, “let it not be us that encourage this…there should be no more traditional ceremony. We should lighten the burden on our traditional notions.”

In the past, on many occasions where new church buildings are opened, each family in a parish is required to collect a $1,000 minimum as a contribution for the event.

It does not include food, fine mats and other gifts needed. The theme for this year’s meeting is, “Love the EFKS’s vision and mission”.

The annual conference attracts hundreds of church Ministers, deacons, their wives and children living on the islands and others from Hawai’i, New Zealand, Australia and the United States.

Other issues that are to be tabled in the Assembly includes; assistances for Cyclone Evan, proposed Bank of the Church, trademark for the church, the Jubilee church and others.

Samoa Observer


5) Closing The Gap: Gains made in Indigenous education, unemployment divide widens

Updated 23 May 2014, 11:22 AEST
By James Glenday

Indigenous groups say Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander policy may as well be written on the “back of beer coasters” after the Abbott Government’s budget decision to scrap an independent council.

Video: Gap widens

The warnings come as the Council of Australian Governments Reform Council releases its final report, which shows that after five years of government spending on Closing The Gap there have been promising gains in education but the unemployment divide is getting wider.

There are few policy areas more vexed for the major parties than Indigenous affairs and leading Aboriginal figures say the independent reports that the COAG Reform Council provides are vitally important.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Mick Gooda, is concerned about the Federal Government’s decision to scrap the council in June.

Audio: Listen to James Glenday’s report (AM)

“We need this data, we need good data to see where we are going really well, and the parts that aren’t working so well, we know we’ve got to put a bigger effort in those areas,” he said.

The independent council was set up in 2006 and it collates data to check if states, territories and the Commonwealth are meeting agreed targets in several policy areas, including Indigenous affairs.

“If we don’t have decisions made on the basis of the best evidence that we have available to us, we … might as well be just making up things on the back of beer coasters again,” Mr Gooda said.

If we don’t have decisions made on the basis of the best evidence that we have available to us, we … might as well be just making up things on the back of beer coasters again.

Mick Gooda

“We’ve got to be reassured that we’re going to keep that monitoring up, that we’re going to have an objective view provided so we can tell the whole country that we are or aren’t making progress.”

Scrapping the council will save about $8 million and Commonwealth departments or other COAG councils will take on the duties.

But Kirstie Parker from the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples says the data is unlikely to be free from government spin, or bias.

“There needs to be a measure of objectivity, I guess,” she said.

She says the Commonwealth risks wasting money on failed programs if it fails to set up a new independent body to oversee Indigenous affairs targets.

“It’s important that it be outside of the realm of the departments, the bureaucracy, etc that are meant to be administering programs that address these things,” she said.

Gains in education but jobless divide widens

The council’s final report into Indigenous affairs over the past five years is largely unsurprising.

Life expectancy is improving but not fast enough to close the gap by 2031.

Smoking rates are declining but obesity is still a problem, with 41 per cent of Indigenous people obese, compared with 27 per cent of non-indigenous people.

While school attendance is also a problem, reading and primary level numeracy are improving and more Aboriginal people are completing Year 12.

But the gap in unemployment has widened, with the report showing the Indigenous unemployment rate is more than four times the national average.

The previous Labor government made the initial commitment to halve the unemployment gap by 2018.

Council chairman, former Victorian premier Brumby, says while five years is “not a long amount of time to really measure clear and significant change”, the good news is significant progress is being made when it comes to infant mortality.

“The big resounding achievement I think is the huge shift in the number of child deaths, birth weight of child, infant mortality rates, all of these things have been a big focus and big improvements have been made,” he said.

But Mr Gooda says the Federal Government’s planned Medicare co-payments could affect childhood mortality rates.

He says babies need six doctor visits in their first 18 months, and the proposed $7 fee could discourage parents from making appointments.

“You could see how there could be these perverse outcomes from the budget where we see we’re right on par with immunisation rates, but if these co-payments provide a disincentive we’ll see those figures drop,” Mr Gooda said.

Mr Brumby says the reform council has worked as an independent umpire in state-commonwealth relations.

“Whenever you’ve got governments working together, who is there to properly measure against the milestones governments want from the taxpayer’s money they’re investing?” he said.

Labor’s Indigenous affairs spokesman, Shayne Neumann, says the Abbott Government and some states no longer want the scrutiny.

“COAG reports like this sometimes really vex governments but they need to prick the conscience of the country and prick the conscience of the nation,” he said.

None of the senior ministers or premiers AM approached were available for interview.

But at the past few COAG meetings, leaders have agreed to simplify commonwealth-state relations by reducing red tape and duplication.

They have also stated Indigenous affairs is a priority.


6) PNG Registra bilong poltical pati na candidate askim ol lida long bihainim lo

Updated 23 May 2014, 15:09 AEST
Jessy Pendene

Registra bilong political pati na candidate long Papua New Guinea Dr Alphonse Gelu i tok ol memba bilong politcal pati mas bihainim lo bilong pati bilong ol bilong dainim ol heve.

Dr Gelu i mekim dispela kain toktok behainim dispela hevi nau i wok long kamap long parlimen wantaim leader blong T.H.E party Hon Don Polye na ol party membas blong em.

Emi tok party lo blong ol i klia pinis olsem gutpela taim o nogut time ol memba plong party blong ol mas sanap wantaim.

Dr Gelu i tok kirap nogut ol political party system blong yumi save weak long wanem oli no save bahainim ol rules blong ol yet.

Emi tok right pela sia blong lida blong THE party em bai inap long gavaman back bencher, i no long oposition bikos THE party em i still stap yet wantaim gavaman.

Registrer Dr Alphonse Gelu i stori wantaim Jessy Pendene- Radio Australia


7) Brèves d’Australie et du Pacifique – vendredi 23 mai 2014

Mis à jour 23 May 2014, 14:41 AEST
Caroline Lafargue

Sydney: des étudiants ont tenté de perturber une réunion du parti libéral, à laquelle assistait le ministre de l’Éducation, Christopher Pyne.

À l’université de Sydney, 30 étudiants ont affronté les policiers, qui les empêchaient d’entrer dans la salle où le parti Libéral organisait un débat, ave Christopher Pyne, le ministre de l’Éducation. Un policier a été filmé en train de frapper un étudiant
Ça s’est joué à 12 policiers contre 30 étudiants. La situation est très tendue en ce moment, car le gouvernement a décidé de déréguler les droits de scolarité universitaire annuels. Désormais les universités publiques peuvent décider librement du prix. En clair : elles peuvent faire des profits. Et les droits d’inscription universitaires vont augmenter.

Samoa: John Key assistera à la célébration du 52ème anniversaire de l’indépendance du pays en juin.Cette ancienne colonie néo-zélandaise a accédé à l’indépendance en 1962. Le Premier ministre néo-zélandais sera rejoint à Apia par le Ulu, le chef de Tokelau. 2014 est une année importante pour le Samoa. Le pays accueillera le sommet des Petits États insulaires en développement en septembre, largement financé par la Nouvelle-Zélande, à hauteur de 5 millions de dollars. Le front de mer d’Apia sera rénové pour l’occasion.

Samoa: quatre enfants sont morts de malnutrition liée à des diarrhées. 19 autres sont gravement malades. Selon le ministère de la Santé, c’est le manque d’hygiène et de nourriture qui sont en cause.

Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée: les réfugiés qui refusent de rester dans le pays devront être transférés en Australie.C’est le souhait du  ministre papou des Affaires étrangères, Rimbink Pato. Deux ans après l’arrivée des premiers demandeurs d’asile envoyés par l’Australie, les autorités papoues sont sur le point d’octroyer un statut de réfugié à 11 migrants détenus à Manus. 15 demandes d’asile ont été rejetées. Et 1300 immigrés attendent toujours la décision des autorités papoues.

Fidji: Franck Bainimarama accusé de gagner plus que le Président américain. Le Premier ministre ne dévoilera son salaire et ceux de ses ministres qu’après avoir déposé les statuts de son parti, Fiji First. La transparence sur les revenus des candidats, c’est une obligation imposée par le décret électoral, pris par le gouvernement fidjien. L’opposition, et particulièrement l’ancien Premier ministre Laisenia Qarase, assurent que Franck Bainimarama gagnerait entre 700 000 et 1 million de dollars américains par an, bien plus que le salaire officiel du Président des États-Unis, qui gagne 400 000 dollars par an. Laisenia Qarase exige de connaître les revenus du Premier ministre sortant, car, soulignent-ils, Franck Bainimarama et son Garde des Sceaux cumulent en fait à eux deux beaucoup de ministères.

Les quatre États Fédérés de Micronésie interdisent la pêche au requin. Le dernier à avoir voté la loi est l’État de Chuuk, début mai. Il attire des plongeurs du monde entier, venus voir, entre autres, les requins. Il y a de nombreuses épaves de la Seconde guerre mondiale à Chuuk. Les requins viennent se nourrir des poissons qui vivent autour des épaves. Les autorités de Chuuk estiment que les touristes rapportent plus que la pêche.

Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée: série d’arrestations à Lae, la deuxième ville du pays. En trois semaines, 14 étudiants ont été arrêtés pour avoir déclenché des bagarres. Les justifications ne manquent pas pour ces violences : des différences ethniques, des différends conjugaux, des accusations de sorcellerie, des vols, etc. La police impose volontairement une caution chère, 370 dollars américains. Les étudiants restent donc en prison et la police espère que ça leur passera l’envie de récidiver à leur sortie. Depuis ces arrestations, la police affirme que le taux de criminalité a brutalement baissé à Lae.

Fidji: c’est une promesse de campagne qui a des chances de toucher les indigènes. Ro Teimumu Kepa, la candidate du Parti social démocrate liberal promet de restaurer le Grand Conseil des Chefs si elle est élue Première ministre le 17 septembre prochain. Le Conseil avait un rôle influent dans les institutions fidjiennes, reconnu par la Constitution de 1997. Mais Franck Bainimarama l’a aboli.

L’Australie, 18ème au classement des pays où les gens se disent heureux. L’institut de sondage Gallup a mené des interviews avec des personnes de plus de 15 ans dans 138 pays. Les sondeurs ont demandé à 1000 personnes dans chaque pays s’ils avaient ri, souri, eu du plaisir, la veille, s’ils se sentaient respectés. Résultat : le Paraguay est en tête et il y a 10 pays d’Amérique latine et centrale dans les 15 premiers pays où les gens se disent les plus heureux. L’Australie arrive après le Canada et la Nouvelle-Zélande.


8) New digital alliance to encourage more Pacific women into ICT careers

Updated 23 May 2014, 13:27 AEST

Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is an important and growing industry in the Pacific region.  But it’s still a very male-dominated sector, despite girls using computers, smart phones and the internet at similar rates to boys.

Girls use computers and smartphones at similar rates to boys but they are much less likely to take up ICT related careers
Audio: Sala Tamanikaiwaimaro talks about the Gilrs and Women in ICT event and the need for more women in the ICT sector

A special Girls and Women in ICTevent is being held at the University of the South Pacific today, as part of a campaign to encourage more young women  to consider a technology-related career.  One of the people behind the event is ICT specialist Salanieta Tamanikaiwaimaro from the Secretariat of the new ICT4W Digital Alliance, which is being launched as part of the day.

Ms Tamanikaiwaimaro says the Girls and Women in ICT event celebrates the involvement of women and girls in ICT and aims to raise awareness and create resource opportunities in terms of forming synergistic networks.

Participants, who include both university and secondary school students will be given the opportunity to hear from industry professionals as well as emerging professionals from universities around Fiji.

They will also gain insights into how ICT impacts on many different areas of life and work.   For example representatives from the Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC) will talk about ICT in Geoscience, and the application of ICT to work on climate change.  There are also games and video blogging contests, along with programming and networking quizzes.

Ms Tamanikaiwaimaro says it is important to get more women and girls involved in ICT because there is a global shortage of 2 million women working in the industry.

“ICT is an enabler for general social and economic development, and women play a key role in facilitating this.”

“ICT captures every stream of life, whether you go to an ATM bank and withdraw money, or whether you make payments on EBay, or whether you’re a networking engineer or you’re a software developer.”

Ms Tamanikaiwaimaro has just returned from a regional planning meeting focussed on growing ICT stimulus, internet infrastructure and entrepreneurs in the industry.  She says the new ICT4W Digital Alliance is regarded as one of the critical stakeholders, and a platform from which to launch and nurture more women to specialise in different aspects of  potential models within the ICT sector.

“The Digital Alliance provides an exciting platform, where we first bring in the critical mass and then later build on the social networks . . .  build them and streamline them into being the best that they can be in whatever industry or sub-industry that they feel that they would be competent to build towards or progress towards.”

“(It) will be a place to bring women in ICT together, as well as partners of the network, to propel the movement forward.”

Presenter:   Heather Jarvis
Speakers:    Salanieta Tamanikaiwaimaro, Secretariat, ICT4W Digital Alliance

9) Two Australian Anonymous members arrested for hacking Australian and international websites

Updated 22 May 2014, 16:42 AEST

Two Australian men who claim to be members of online activism group Anonymous have been arrested for hacking government and corporate websites.

Police are alleging a 40-year-old man, from the Perth suburb of Scarborough, hacked into a computer group in Brisbane and Indonesian government web servers.

Another man, 18, from Penrith in New South Wales, allegedly hacked into internet service provider NetSpeed and the ACT Long Service Leave Authority both in Canberra.

The attacks, which date back to 2012, resulted in data theft, defacement of websites and caused a number of websites to drop offline.

Hackers steal eBay customers’ data

eBay has urged millions of users to change their passwords after hackers broke into its database and gained access to customer names, passwords and other personal data.

Police have seized computer hard drives and other equipment. They say the two men are known to each other.

Assistant Commissioner Tim Morris, the AFP’s manager of high-tech crime operations, said hacking can have a serious impact on businesses and government organisations.

“These acts can cause serious disruption to government and business networks, which in turn can be catastrophic for people who rely on these networks to run their small business or administer their entitlements or personal finances,” he said in a media statement.

Adam John Bennett, of Scarborough, appeared in the Perth Magistrates Court today.

He was released on bail on a number of conditions, including that he not use the internet for any other purposes than for banking, employment and legal advice.

The 18-year-old man from Penrith is expected to appear before Sydney Central Local Court today.Radio Australia


10) Thailand coup: Former PM Yingluck Shinawatra detained in ‘safe place’, US suspends aid

Updated 25 May 2014, 17:56 AEST

Former Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra is in a “safe place” after being detained by the military, an aide says, as the opposition to the takeover grows among her supporters and pro-democracy activists.

The army took power in a coup on Thursday after failing to forge a compromise in a power struggle between Ms Yingluck’s populist government and the royalist establishment, which brought months of sometimes violent unrest to Bangkok’s streets.

Who is Prayuth Chan-ocha?

Prayuth Chan-ocha studied at the Armed Forces Academies Preparatory School, Command and General Staff College, and the National Defence College of Thailand, as well as completing a Bachelor of Science at the Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy.

From 2002 to 2008, he held the positions of both Deputy Commanding General and Commanding General of the 2nd and 1st Infantry Division at the Royal Thai Army, as well as Deputy and Commanding General for the 1st Army Area.

In 2008, he was appointed the Chief of Staff for the Royal Thai Army, before eventually rising to Commander-in-Chief in October 2010.

A loyal supporter of the monarchy, General Prayuth is well known for his opposition to the Red Shirts. He has led the repression of the movement since 2009, including bringing a case against Red Shirts leader Jatuporn Promphan, for comments that were deemed disrespectful to the monarchy, which resulted in his imprisonment.

General Prayuth was heavily involved in the Royal Thai Army’s 2006 coup which ousted the Thaksin government.

The coup, which was branded as restoring unity and establishing a sense of fairness, fuelled political unrest in Thailand over the next eight years.

General Prayuth’s term in the Royal Thai Army is due to end in September.

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek, The Independent, BBC

Consolidating its grip, the military has dissolved the senate, which was the only legislative assembly still functioning in Thailand.

It also sacked three senior security officials who were seen as close to the ousted government.

The military detained Ms Yingluck on Friday when she and about 150 other people, most of them political associates, were summoned to an army facility in Bangkok.

More people were summoned over the weekend, including some outspoken academics and journalists.

The bosses of 18 newspapers and private and public sector economic administrators were also called to meetings with the military.

A senior officer said Ms Yingluck could be held for up to a week.

Media reported she had been taken to an army base in Saraburi province north of Bangkok, but an aide denied that.

“Now she’s in a safe place … She has not been detained in any military camp,” said the aide, who declined to be identified.

“That’s all I can say at this moment.”

Army deputy spokesman Winthai Suvaree told a news conference that anyone being held would not be detained for more than seven days. He did not mention Ms Yingluck.

The military also issued an order to financial institutions to freeze dealings with two former ministers in Ms Yingluck’s cabinet who had not responded to a military summons.

Thaksin to establish government in exile

Thailand’s political woes are the latest chapter in a nearly decade-long clash between the Bangkok-based establishment and Thaksin Shinawatra, a former telecommunications tycoon who broke the mould of Thai politics with pro-poor policies that won him huge support and repeated electoral victories.

Timeline: Thailand in turmoil

Take a look back at the events leading to political unrest

Mr Thaksin was ousted in a 2006 coup and left the country after a 2008 graft conviction, but he remains Thailand’s most influential politician and was the guiding hand behind his sister’s government.

British-based legal adviser to Mr Thaksin, Robert Amsterdam, has told the ABC his client plans to set up a government in exile in a direct challenge to the junta’s legitimacy.

“People need to understand that the military who have taken over are essentially criminals,” Mr Amsterdam said.

“They have absolutely no legal basis for what they’re doing either in Thai law or international law.”

The army also said King Bhumibol Adulyadej had acknowledged the military takeover, a significant formality in a country where the monarchy is the most important institution.

An undercurrent of the crisis is anxiety over the issue of royal succession.

The king, the world’s longest-reigning monarch, is 86 and spent the years from 2009 to 2013 in hospital.

Crown prince Vajiralongkorn does not command the same devotion as his father, but some of Mr Thaksin’s supporters have recently been making a point of their loyalty to the prince.

Social, political reforms needed before election: military chief

Despite international calls for the restoration of democratic government, army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha has not promised a swift return to civilian rule, insisting there must be broad reforms and stability first.

“We must have economic, social and political reforms before elections,” General Prayuth told civil servants on Friday in his first comments on his plans since the coup.

No one blameless in Thai civil unrest

While the current coup in Thailand can still be described as bloodless, the risk of an explosion of serious civil unrest is now extreme, writes Zoe Daniel.

“If the situation is peaceful, we are ready to return power to the people.”

But reforms could take many months and stability could be elusive.

Many countries have issued travel warnings for Thailand.

The United States swiftly condemned the coup and the State Department suspended about $US3.5 million in military aid.

The Pentagon has said it is cancelling training and readiness exercises with Thailand, as well as a visit to Thailand by US Pacific Fleet commander Admiral Harry Harris, and one by a top Thai commander to the US Pacific Command.

Human Rights Watch said rights in Thailand were in “freefall”.

But, in what appeared to be a quick move to win over some of Mr Thaksin’s core supporters, General Prayuth has said paying farmers money owed under a failed subsidy scheme organised by Ms Yingluck’s government was a priority.

Rumblings from opposition groups continue

The military has banned gatherings of more than five people, censored the media and imposed a 10:00pm to 5:00am curfew, but that has not stopped some from showing their disapproval.

About 200 people gathered outside a mall complex in north Bangkok early on Saturday, holding up handwritten slogans such as “Anti the coup” and “Get out dictators”.

Police tried to move them on. The crowd then moved to the Victory Monument but police tried to block them.

Australians feel safe despite coup

Australian expatriates in Thailand say they still feel safe, but travellers are being warned to check their insurance policies.

About 100 people gathered in a nearby shopping area before soldiers dispersed them, detaining several, a Reuters photographer said.

About 200 people gathered for a second day in Chiang Mai, Mr Thaksin’s hometown, and soldiers detained at least six people, a Reuters reporter said.

Such small protests appear spontaneous and leaderless, but the real danger for the military would be a sustained mass campaign by Mr Thaksin’s “Red Shirt” loyalists.

Mr Thaksin has not commented publicly since the coup.

The use of force to put down protesters could squander any legitimacy the military leaders may have after saying they took power in the first place to end violence and restore order.

A 2010 crackdown on Mr Thaksin’s supporters ended in serious bloodshed and damage to the army’s image. Just over a year later a pro-Thaksin government was back in power after Ms Yingluck’s sweeping election victory.


11) Iran hangs businessman convicted of $2.6 billion bank scam

Posted 24 May 2014, 20:49 AEST

An Iranian businessman convicted of masterminding a $2.6 billion banking scam, the biggest fraud case in the country’s history, was hanged on Saturday, state media reported.

Mahafarid Amir Khosravi was sent to the gallows in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison, the official IRNA news agency reported.

He was sentenced to death after being convicted of “corruption on earth… through bribery and money laundering,” a justice department statement carried by Iranian media said.

Revelations about the scandal swept Iran in 2011 when prosecutors said they uncovered a private umbrella group, led by Amir Khosravi and his brothers, illegally amassing billions of dollars.

Over the space of two years, Amir Mansour Aria Development Co bought 40 companies, including a major steel mill, with forged letters of credit obtained from several major banks, whose managers they had bribed.

At least 20 people have been arrested in connection with the scam, which prosecutors say is Iran’s largest ever fraud case ever. Most of them face lengthy prison sentences.

In addition to Amir Khosravi, three others have reportedly been sentenced to death.

One of the main suspects, Bank Melli’s former chief Mahmoud Reza Khavari fled to Canada. Iran has issued a warrant for his arrest.

The case took on political dimensions when the finger was pointed at some senior officials in the administration of then-president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Mr Ahmadinejad, who won election on an anti-corruption platform, dismissed the attacks as a smear campaign by his opponents.



12) Teen alarm

Siteri Sauvakacolo
Sunday, May 25, 2014

A TOTAL of 1624 cases of teenage pregnancy were recorded by the Health Ministry last year.

This alarming rate has prompted stakeholders to work together to address the issue at a national level.

Ministry of Women permanent secretary Dr Josefa Koroivueta said this was the opportune time to identify the root causes of the problem.

He added that while young men often copped the blame, it was important that people get to the root causes before pinning blame.

“It’s about time we focus on family life in ensuring that this ongoing issue of teenage pregnancy is addressed,” Dr Koroivueta said yesterday.

“We have to look behind the issue and determine the root causes and address it.

“We have to look at it holistically and I think the best focus would be on the family to relook at family life which is the leading institution.”

Dr Koroivueta said parents played a major role in this regard adding a strong family upbringing was important in ensuring such issues do not occur.

“One of the major contributing factors to such issues could be the less family time spent together,” Dr Koroivueta said. “Parents nowadays are more involved in social gatherings rather than spending time with their own family.”

A holistic approach, he said, meant the girl child or boy reached a certain age before he or she was ready to be married.

“When the boy or girl makes this decision, the key thing is that they are prepared. They have to be trained, mentored and counselled on all these things.”

Dr Koroivueta said decision making was very important in human life and that it was the only way to address such issues.

“It can be done, we can address the issue of teenage pregnancy and the approach has to be very holistic involving all stakeholders.

“There is a need to address the boy child and empower them on gender issues, address culture, family value, faith-based values and this has to be understandably dealt with.

“For every problem there is a root cause and there is a solution to it. We have to address young girls as well as young boys and far too often we just blame them and this is where family comes in. The behaviour they exhibit later in life is of value and responsibility.”



13) Activist Network Anonymous Takes Up West Papua Cause
‘Papuans … silenced for too long by Indonesia’s military, government’

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 23, 2014) – The global activist network Anonymous has launched a campaign to raise attention on censorship and the killings of indigenous West Papuans in Indonesia’s eastern region.

Anonymous, which is known for its activist stunts and disruptions to government and corporate websites, says West Papuans have been silenced for too long by Indonesia’s military and government.

Anonymous also says the United Nations should take responsibility for the sham referendum it sanctioned in 1969 which incorporated the former Dutch New Guinea into Indonesia.

Indonesia denies that it censors media coverage of West Papua, and claims it is steadily bringing in development to improve the lives of people there.

However Indonesia’s military insists it will continue to respond firmly to separatism.

Anonymous asks for a UN peacekeeping force, the withdrawal of all non-organic Indonesian troops in West Papua, and a free and fair referendum so Papuans can decide their own destiny.

Radio New Zealand International

14) Former THE Ministers Likely To Join PNG’s Ruling Party
Resignations may strengthen O’Neills PNC Party

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, May 23, 2014) – The three ministers who resigned this week from the Triumph Heritage Empowerment Party are most likely to join Prime Minister Peter O’Neill’s People’s National Congress Party.

Forests Minister Douglas Tomuriesa, Labour and Employment Minister Benjamin Poponawa and Higher Education Minister Delilah Gore announced their resignation at a press conference on Tuesday but did not reveal which party or parties they would join.

However, a well-placed coalition source told The National yesterday the ministers were destined to join PNC because that would guarantee their positions as ministers in the O’Neill cabinet.

Ijivitari MP and former Higher Education Minister David Arore resigned from THE Party and is expected to move with the ministers to PNC.

“They have only PNC and the People’s Progress Party to choose from. The other coalition partner, National Alliance, is the party that they left in 2011 to form THE Party so they can’t go back there,” the source said.

He said if they chose to join PPP, NA or another party they would have to relinquish their ministries which were allocated to THE Party under the Alotau Accord.

“They are unlikely to relinquish their ministries and only the prime minister can guarantee that they remain ministers. Therefore, they have little or no choice but to join PNC,” the source said.

Registrar of Political Parties, Dr Alphonse Gelu said on Wednesday that he did not recognise their resignations as none of the four MPs had complied with the relevant administrative process.

THE Party disputed the resignations, saying they were still members of the party regardless of whether they liked it.

Meanwhile, new PPP leader Ben Micah said last night he had not been approached by the four MPs to join his party.

Micah indicated that while his party’s door was open, he did not expect the four MPs to join them.

The Public Enterprises and State Investments Minister had earlier this week denied this newspaper’s report that he was likely to replace Leo Dion as deputy prime minister in a major cabinet reshuffle that is rumoured to take place this month.

Micah said it was the prime minister’s prerogative to appoint his deputy and make changes to his ministerial team.

O’Neill dismissed the report, saying Dion’s position was secure and that there would be no more cabinet reshuffles during the rest of the Government’s term in office.

The National

15) Gael Yanno Elected President Of New Caledonia Congress
Anti-independence parties agree to share power

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 23, 2014) – New Caledonia’s Congress has elected Gael Yanno as its new president.

Mr Yanno secured the 29 votes of the anti-independence members, beating in the first round the two rivals of the pro-independence camp.

Caroline Machoro who 19 votes and Emile Nechero nine.

Mr Yanno stood on the list of the Union of Caledonia within France in this month’s provincial election and is a former member of the French National Assembly.

His election is part of an agreement among the three anti-independence parties, which last week saw Philippe Michel elected as the president of the southern province.

The power-sharing agreement provides for the new Congress to elect Cynthia Ligeard as the president of the territorial government.

During its term, the new Congress is tasked with organising an independence referendum in line with the 198 Noumea Accord.

Radio New Zealand International

16) Ousted Fiji PM calls for regime pay declaration

23 May 2014

The ousted Fiji prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, has renewed his call for Rear Admiral Frank Bainimarama to reveal his salary and those of his ministers.

Rear Admiral Bainimarama told Fiji Village his salary will be known once his proposed Fiji First Party is officially registered.

He says then he will also disclose his income, assets and liabilities, in accord with the Political Parties Decree.

Mr Qarase says people also want to know if the ministers are receiving a single salary, or multiple salaries, for those like the Prime Minister and Attorney-General, who cover many portfolios.

The regime leader has accused the Sodelpa party and the United Front for a Democratic Fiji group of distributing flyers in Vanua Levu that allege his salary is over one million US dollars, but the party and the group deny the allegation.Radio NZ

17) Fiji’s SODELPA Party Promises To Reinstate Council Of Chiefs
Council important to the ‘life of indigenous Fijians’

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 23, 2014) – The leader of the Social Democratic Liberal Party in Fiji says it plans to reinstate the Great Council of Chiefs if it comes to power.

Ro Teimumu Kepa told FijiLive the council used to be the pinnacle of Fiji institutions and it had special provisions in the 1997 constitution.

She says the party recognises the importance of the council in the life of indigenous Fijians because it contained Fijians’ traditional structure, for both urban and rural people.

Ro Teimumu says the council was recognised in Fiji and abroad before it was abolished by the Bainimarama Government.

Radio New Zealand International

18) Chaudhry Remains Leader Of Fiji Labour Party
Convicted former PM holds power while appeal goes forward

By Nasik Swami

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, May 23, 2014) – Mahendra Chaudhry remains the leader of the Fiji Labour Party.

This was confirmed by party assistant general secretary Kini Marawai in an interview yesterday.

“Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry remains the FLP leader even though his stay application recently in the High Court was unsuccessful,” Mr Marawai said.

Mr Marawai also confirmed that Chaudhry had appealed to the Fiji Court of Appeal.

“To speculate otherwise as for him to stand down and relinquish the helm of FLP is rather mischievous and neither here nor there,” he said.

Judge Justice Paul Madigan refused two applications made by the lawyer of the former prime minister on Tuesday.

Chaudhry’s lawyer Anand Singh submitted a stay application on sentence pending appeal and another application on a suspended sentence.

Mr Singh relied on Section 3 (3) of the Exchange Control Act which he told the court his client had the right to have the sentence stayed until the appeal was heard.

Justice Madigan said the paragraph Mr Singh referred to was not appropriate for the stay application. “In any event, the terms of paragraph 3 (3) are general appeal provisions relating to any matter going to appeal,” Justice Madigan said.

“It is very difficult to see, even if the section were applicable, how they would imply a right to have any sentence stayed until the appeal is determined. It is not an automatic right.”

Justice Madigan said to heavily rely on the section of the ECA was “misconceived and the submission that it implies a right to stay of sentence pending appeal is unexplained and without merit”.

Fiji Times Online.


19) Vanuatu citizenship sales continue

23 May 2014

The Vanuatu opposition says 50 more Chinese nationals are due to arrive in Vanuatu soon under the government’s Capital Investment Immigration Plan.

Under the Plan, foreigners can buy Vanuatu citizenship and reports say so far 20 Chinese have arrived after paying 270,000 US dollars each.

Moana Carcasses, who was voted out as prime minister last week, has praised the programme as a good revenue earner for the government.

However, the new administration has said it will review the plan.

The Chinese embassy in Vanuatu has asked the government in Port Vila to provide the names and passport numbers of Chinese citizens once they have been granted citizenship.

China doesn’t recognise dual citizenship and Chinese people who have obtained Vanuatu citizenship will automatically lose their Chinese citizenship.Radio NZ

20)  STOP World Bank from Resource Grabbing!

From: PANG (Fiji)
Sent: Thursday, 8 May 2014 9:37 AM

‘Bula vinaka everyone

‘BRG (PNG) & PANG (Fiji) are supporting a campaign Stopping the World Bank from land grabbing in the developing world. The World Bank uses its political and financial might through its investment agencies and institutions to force developing countries to follow a pre-prescribed model of development based on the neo-liberal principles of privatization, deregulation, low corporate taxation and free market fundamentalism.

‘Since 2002, the World Bank has promoted this model through the Doing Business rankings which score countries according to how well Washington bureaucrats think they are improving the “ease of business”. The ranking has already greatly impacted agricultural sectors at the expense of well established smallholders by favouring foreign ‘investors’ who seek quick profits through the violations of peoples’ land rights, the extraction of natural resources, and the exploitation of cheap labor.

“The PNG Government has used the concept of Special Agriculture and Business Leases (SABLs) to free up customary land for commercial use, and foreign companies have unlawfully been given 99 year rights to an astonishing 12 percent of Papua New Guinea’s total landmass,” says Bismark Ramu Group Campaigner, Rosa Koian.

‘PANG Coordinator, Maureen Penjueli says the World Bank is facilitating land grabs in the Pacific by putting the interests of foreign investors before those of the people.

“The concept of World Bank’s Doing Business rankings encourages Pacific Island Governments to ease processes for foreign investors with the so called aim of creating a sound and good environment for business.

What’s good for business however isn’t necessarily good for Pacific peoples, their land and their environments, in fact much of what the World Bank endorses as good for business comes at the expense of the Pacific people,” argues Penjueli.

Please see the attached documents and join Bismarck Ramu Group and Pacific Network on Globalisation demanding World Bank stop their Resource Grabbing.


(Thanks Kirk Huffman)

21) Bougainville’s president says Rio Tinto cannot assume it will operate Panguna mine

Updated 22 May 2014, 18:32 AEST
By Jemima Garrett

Bougainville’s President John Momis says Rio Tinto and its subsidiary Bougainville Copper won’t automatically be allowed to run the Panguna copper mine if it reopens.

Rio Tinto’s Panguna mine was once the PNG Government’s major source of revenue. (Credit: ABC)

Bougainville’s President John Momis says Rio Tinto and its subsidiary Bougainville Copper won’t automatically be allowed to run the Panguna copper mine if it reopens.

Consultations are taking place and there is progress towards talks on reopening the mine that sparked Bougainville’s civil war in the 1980s and 90s.

Mr Momis says landowners from the mine site have consistently indicated they prefer to deal with Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) rather than a new potential operator.

“They talk of preferring the devil they know and not a new devil,” he told Radio Australia.

“In large part they mean that they acknowledge that BCL both accepts that it played a role in what went wrong at Panguna and is prepared to contribute to finding workable solutions.

“They fear that a new developer may not have the same attitude.”

Mr Momis has put strict conditions on reopening the mine and says BCL and its 53 per cent shareholder, Rio Tinto, cannot assume they will be the operator.

He says Rio Tinto and Bougainville Copper will only get the support of his government if they provide many economic opportunities for his people and ensures community participation in all decisions.

Bougainville Copper’s executive chairman Peter Taylor says while he’s not keen on being seen as the “preferred devil”, he is not worried the company will be ousted.

“There are criteria that [Mr Momis] expects any potential operator to meet,” he said.

“We think we will be in good shape to meet those criteria so at that level I am not concerned.”

Bougainville Copper’s approach ‘quite good’

Bougainville is due to hold a referendum on independence from Papua New Guinea before mid-2020 but for there to be a real choice the Autonomous Bougainville Government must have an independent source of revenue.

For many on Bougainville, including President Momis, the massive Panguna copper mine is the best hope.

Back in 1975, the Panguna copper mine was the revenue source that bank-rolled PNG’s independence from Australia.

The agreement to get it up and running in time was rushed and its failure to deliver benefits to landowners led to the grievances behind the civil war.

Mr Momis, who is determined to get it right this time, says he’s pleased with BCL’s approach to the negotiations.

“We don’t know what Rio Tinto will do because they are so remote from us but I must say Bougainville Copper’s approach is very good and I am quite happy that we are collaborating,” he said.

“I think Rio Tinto is probably being consistently and systematically briefed by BCL.

“We haven’t heard anything that might mitigate against the process proceeding towards reaching a conclusion, in fact, we are very happy with Bougainville Copper’s approach so far.”

Mr Momis is also working hard to diversify Bougainville’s economy.

Crops such as cocoa are now providing substantial income for Bougainvilleans but not the tax revenue needed for Bougainville to be self-reliant.

Mr Momis sees Panguna having an impact well beyond mining.

“Panguna mine will be like a magnet that attracts a lot of other businesses and it only needs Bougainville Copper landowners and ABG to agree and that will attract a lot of these companies to come and generate income for the people and revenue for the government.”


22) Police install CCTV cameras at park

Dawn Gibson
Sunday, May 25, 2014

THE police last Friday launched the installation of CCTV cameras at the popular My Suva Park along the Nasese sea wall stretch.

In launching the monitoring system, Police Commissioner Major-General (Ret) Ben Groenewald said the initiative was of particular importance given the number of families and individuals who frequented the area daily.

“I learn that the My Suva Park offers a variety of recreational activities for all ages and is increasingly growing in popularity with increasing volume of visits from members of the public,” Maj-Gen (Ret) Groenewald said.

“I applaud the concept behind this initiative.

“It is consistent with recreational concepts in major urban centres around the globe, facilitating dedicated spaces for families and individuals to escape from their mundane daily business and work.”

He said it was important community members worked closely with the police to make those efforts more effective.

“Community policing is an interactive process between the police and the community, to mutually identify and resolve community problems.

“The community, through this initiative, becomes an active partner by identifying local policing needs and it is no longer a passive recipient of police services.”



23) Honiara flood victims say Solomon Islands Government is dragging its feet on their future

Updated 22 May 2014, 20:49 AEST

Solomon Islanders displaced by last month’s flash floods have accused the government of neglecting their plight by failing to make a decision to release land for rebuilding.

Jeffrey Leni, head of the Flash Flood Victims Coalition Taskforce, says there is also concern that some of the food aid for victims is falling into the wrong hands.

Audio: Solomon Islands flood victims angry over slow pace of rebuilding effort (ABC News)

“At the moment, we are just waiting for the response from the prime minister in relation to how best the government will address the issue of rehabilitation for the victims and the relocation of the victims who live in the disaster risk area,” he said.

“We are just waiting for the government response in relation to what level of assistance they will give to those who are destitute, those who have lost their homes because the government hasn’t come out very clear on what level of support or help [it] will be providing.”

Seven weeks ago, the capital Honiara and the eastern plains of the island of Guadalcanal were devastated by floods that left 23 people dead.

Between 50,000 and 60,000 people – half the island’s population – were left homeless.

There are still more than 4,000 people living in evacuation centres and there has been increasing tension over the distribution of aid and the slow pace of resettlement which caused riots in Honiara last weekend.

Mr Leni says there is significant empty government land available in the area above the King George VI school at Panatina.

“That could be a possible site for the government to secure and relocate those people who live in the disaster risk area because the land there is high above the Lunga River and we know that if there’s flooding, there will be no problem,” he said.

Mr Leni says the government response has been particularly slow.

“It is more than a month now and the funny thing about the government approach is that they leave the most affected people at the bottom of their program, meaning that they will be the last people that the government will be dealing with in relation to rehabilitating the victims.

“The Government [is] only dealing with those who still have their houses and only [their] food gardens were destroyed.

“The most affected ones who lost all means of livelihood – the government leaves them last and that’s the concern here because I’m not sure how long the government will keep these people at the care centres.”

24) America’s corn belt could face yield declines of more than 25% by mid-century as climate change takes hold, report warns

The Guardian(Australia): West Antarctic ice collapse ‘could drown Middle East and Asia crops’Suzanne Goldenberg

Thursday 22 May 2014

The Guardian

The ongoing collapse of a large part of the Antarctica ice sheet could devastate global food supply, drowning vast areas of crop lands across the Middle East and Asia, according to new research.

The report, Advancing Global Food Supply in the Face of a Changing Climate, urges the Obama Administration to step up research funding – especially in developing countries – to help make up a projected gap in future food supply.

It also warns America’s corn belt could face yield declines of more than 25% by mid-century – unless there are new advances in agriculture to compensate for hotter temperatures, changing rainfall and more aggressive weeds and pests under climate change.

The report, due to be released at a high-level conference in Washington DC on Thursday, is the first to factor in the effects of the slow-motion collapse of the Western Antarctica ice sheet on future food security.

Two independent studies last week warned the retreat of the Western Antarctica ice sheet was unstoppable – and could lead to sea-level rise of up to four metres over the coming centuries.

Those rising seas would displace millions of people from low-lying coastal areas – and wipe out rice-growing areas across Asia, Gerald Nelson, a University of Illinois economist and author of Thurday’s report, said.

“That sea-level rise would take out half of Bangladesh and mostly wipe out productive rice regions in Vietnam,” Nelson told The Guardian. “It would have a major effect on Egyptian agricultural areas.”

The projected levels of sea-level rise, due to the retreat of ice in West Antarctica, pose a far greater threat to future food supply even than that envisaged in the United Nations’ IPCC report in March, Nelson said.

“A sea level rise of three metres over the next 100 years is much more likely than the IPCC thought possible,” the report said.

In terms of absolute land loss, China would be at risk of losing more than 3 million hectares. Vietnam, India, Bangladesh, and Myanmar could lose more than 1 million hectares, the report said.

The potential loss of viable crop land underscores the urgent need for new breakthrough technologies to increase agricultural productivity to keep pace with growing world population, the report said.

“Agriculture is a huge world-wide industry that requires stable weather, ‘or else’, and we might just be entering the ‘or else’ period,” Dan Glickman, agriculture secretary under Bill Clinton and a co-chairman of the conference, told The Guardian.

“The question is: ‘are we doing the right kind of research at our universities, at the department of agriculture, or in the private sector to deal with those changes? We need more and more applied research to help us move those numbers up. That is the real challenge for scientists.”

The increasing agricultural yields of the last 50 years have already slowed down or plateaued – even before climate change is taken into account. By mid-century, those declines will make it increasingly difficult for farmers to maintain the increases in crop yields needed to feed a growing population.

According to some computer models included in the report, projected growth in yields in America’s corn belt could drop by 25% by 2050– unless there are breakthroughs in agricultural research – because of higher temperatures, uncertain rainfall, and more aggressive weeds and pests under climate change.

“We have got to figure out how to get plants to continue performance when average temperatures go up, and we don’t know how to do that,” Nelson said. “We need 60% more food generally, and this will make it harder to get there,” he said.

Article ends.


25) Swimming medals for New Caledonia and Fiji

24 May 2014

New Caledonia and Fiji picked up further medals on the final day of the Oceania Swimming Championships in Auckland last night.

The French territory claimed bronze in the mixed 4x100m freestyle relay, behind Australia and New Zealand, in a time of 3:46:84.

Meanwhile Fiji’s Tiarana Mitchell was third in the women’s 800m freestyle in a time of 10:39.88.

New Zealand and Australia dominated the biennial meet, winning 22 and 20 A finals respectively and breaking 11 Championship records.

The Pacific region managed a haul of six bronze medals: three from Fiji, two from New Caledonia two and one from the Northern Marianas.

Tonga, Tahiti, Samoa, Marshall Islands, Cook Islands and Papua New Guinea also competed over the past four days.Radio NZ

26) Fiji leading New Caledonia 1-0

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Update: 8:57PM THE Vodafone Fiji under-20 soccer side is currently leading New Caledonia 1-0 in the OFC U20 Championship at the ANZ Stadium in Suva.

Samuela Nabenia opened the scoring for the Fiji team in the start of first half.

Both teams shared equal amount of possession and scoring opportunities.

In the other matches played today, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands played to a nil-all draw while American Samoa held on PNG 1-1.Fijitimes

27) Toulon retain rugby’s European Cup

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Update: 4:03PM Jonny Wilkinson’s final rugby match in Britain ended in joy for the England great as reigning champions Toulon beat Saracens 23-6 in the European Cup final at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium on Saturday.

Toulon captain Wilkinson kicked 13 points in a match where the star-studded French side scored tries through Australia’s Matt Giteau and South Africa’s Juan Smith.

All Saracens had to show for their efforts were two penalties from Owen Farrell, Wilkinson’s current successor as England fly-half.

Victory meant Toulon, who edged out French rivals Clermont 16-15 in last season’s final, became only the third team after England’s Leicester and Irish province Leinster to retain the European Cup.

This win also kept Toulon on course for a ‘double’ ahead of next weekend’s French Top 14 final with Castres.

That match is now set to be Wilkinson’s last after he announced his retirement earlier this week.

“It’s a hell of a feeling,” said Wilkinson, who turns 35 on Sunday.

“I am proud to be part of this team and be part of this. The season has one more week to go, I will take this with me forever.”

Toulon No.8 Steffon Armitage, in England exile because he plays his club rugby in France, was named man-of-the-match after forceful work at the breakdown.

“We knew it was going to be really tough. Our work rate was the main factor,” Armitage said.

Saracens, like Toulon, now also have a shot at domestic glory next Saturday against Northampton in the English Premiership final.

And coach Mark McCall insisted he’d have no problems restoring his side’s morale.

“If we were playing Newcastle away next weekend I’d back our group to front up, but with the Premiership final coming up there is no question whatsoever,” he said.

It was the last European Cup competition, to be replaced next year by the 20-team European Rugby Champions Cup.Fijitimes

28) Young players to watch out for at the FIFA World Cup

By Daily News & Analysis
Sunday, May 25, 2014

Update: 5:36PM The announcement of the World Cup squad has been the talking point for quite some time.

It has been full of surprises as many big names have been left out, whereas on the other hand, inclusion of young footballers has also surprised many.

With the younger generation of the football world are about to take the world by storm with their immense talent.

Here are some of the players to watch of for during the FIFA World Cup 2014 who have to be the world’s greatest:

1) Ross Barkley: The 20-year old midfielder has been impressive for Everton this season.

Barkley has scored 7 goals in 34 matches for the Merseyside team. His contributions have been instrumental for Everton as he has put forward many man of the match performances. Ross Barkley scored an amazing solo goal as he dribbled from inside his own half to score the opener in the match against Newcastle, which Everton won 3-0.

Barkley has also scored an amazing long range goal against Manchester City, which proved his potential to be one of the best.

He has been praised by many pundits including Alan Hansen who said that Ross Barkley has absolutely everything.

Gary Lineker stated that he is a star in the making and he is prodigious talent. Club manager Roberto Martnez described Barkley as a mix of Paul Gascoigne and Michael Ballack.

On 18 April 2014, he was named as one of the six players on the shortlist for the PFA Young Player of the Year award. He has the potential to help England win their second FIFA World Cup.

2) Paul Pogba: The young French international spent most of his time on the bench for Manchester United, under the management of Sir Alex Ferguson.

Getting frustrated because of lack of playing time, Pogba joined Juventus and went on to become a sensational young talent for the Italian champions. Pogba’s 40-yard volley against Udinese was one of the best goals of 2012/13 season.

His performances have been instrumental for Juventus, as Pogba won consecutive Italian Serie A titles (2013 & 2014).

3) Raheem Sterling: The 19-year old’s blistering pace and quick feet on the pitch has impressed many. He played a vital role in Liverpool’s title challenge as the young Brit scored 9 goals and made 5 assists.

His impressive performances also earned him a spot on the list for the PFA Young Player of the Year award.

With Theo Walcott missing in the squad, Raheem Sterling might provide the pace needed for the English side required in counter attack.

4) Thibaut Courtois: The 22-old Chelsea player on loan to Atletico Madrid for the past three seasons has been a key player for Diego Simeone.

His performance in the La Liga has been impressive as the Belgian has kept 20 clean sheets in 37 league matches, helping the team win their first La Liga for 18 years.

His performance against Chelsea in the Champions League Semi-final earned him praises from football pundits and is also said to be the world best goal keeper in the near future.

Courtois has conceded the fewest goals in a substantial amount of matches during the 201314 season. After winning the La Liga, he is now aiming for the Champions League glory, as Atletico face Real Madrid in the finals.

5) Eden Hazard: The Chelsea winger is the best player from this lot. Scoring 14 goals and making 7 assists for the London club, Hazard got his hands on the PFA Young Player of the Year for the 201314 season.

Hazard’s skills and his pace have been a nightmare for defenders. His attacking skills and his passing is an important element in the midfield, which makes him one of the best young players.

Hazard is expected to replicate his impressive club form for the Belgian team as well.

29) Stormers beat Cheetahs 33-0

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Update: 2:31PM The Stormers earned their second successive win and their biggest victory of their Super Rugby season on Saturday, thrashing South African rivals the Cheetahs 33-0 in atrocious conditions in Cape Town.

Tries from Deon Fourie, Kobus van Wyk, Siya Kolisi and Sailosi Tagicakibau helped the home side build on last week’s triumph over Western Force.

Kurt Coleman scored eight points with the boot, while his replacement Peter Grant added a penalty and the conversion to Kolisi’s try to seal victory in heavy rain and swirling winds.

Neither side is in contention for the finals, meaning only pride was at stake at the Newlands Stadium.

The Cheetahs were strangely toothless as the Stormers led 15-0 after a first half.

The weather cleared in the second but the Stormers’ dominance remained to move the Cape Town-based team move above the visitors and into 11th in the 15-team standings. The Cheetahs are 13th.

30) Real Madrid win Champions League final

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Update: 1:19PM Real Madrid won the Champions League for the 10th time thanks to extra time goals from Gareth Bale, Marcelo and Cristiano Ronaldo as they came from behind in dramatic circumstances to beat Atletico Madrid 4-1 in Lisbon on Saturday.

Atletico seemed set for their first ever European crown as they led deep into stoppage time thanks to Diego Godin’s first-half header, but Sergio Ramos took the game into extra time with a towering header in the 93rd minute.

And for the second time this season having already scored the winner to hand Real the Copa del Rey against Barcelona last month, Bale scored the crucial goal when he headed into an empty net after Thibaut Courtois had parried Angel di Maria’s effort.

With Atletico committed to finding an equaliser, Real were able to counter-attack at will and Marcelo killed the game off when his low shot had too much power for Courtois before Ronaldo sealed his return to Lisbon with a fourth from the penalty spot.

“It is the most important goal I have scored,” said Ramos.

“It is an incredible feeling. We kept fighting until the end for the fans. It is not my goal, but one for all Madrid fans, my family and all those that have supported us until the end. We deserved it after so many years.”

Real coach Carlo Ancelotti, meanwhile, becomes the first man since Bob Paisley to win the competition three times.

“We have done it with a lot of suffering and difficulty, but in the end we have done it and we deserved it,” said the Italian.

“I am very happy for this because we have won a trophy that for Real Madrid is very important. We have worked hard all year for this.”

Atletico captain Gabi admitted that his side had been well-beaten in extra time after suffering the body blow of Ramos’ equaliser.

“They managed to equalise and that is football,” he told Television Espanola.

“After the extra time they were deserving winners. We have competed for a year like animals and we have gone as far as we could.”

Atletico’s top scorer Diego Costa had been surprisingly included in Diego Simeone’s starting line-up despite suffering a hamstring injury just seven days ago as Atletico clinched the La Liga title against Barcelona.

However, the Brazilian-born striker lasted just nine minutes as he hobbled off to be replaced by Adrian Lopez.

Bale had the first clear chance of the match when the Welshman pounced on Tiago’s errant pass in midfield and scampered forward into the area but side-footed wide on his favoured left foot.

Three minutes later it was Atletico who took the lead as Juanfran headed a cleared corner back into the box and Godin took advantage of indecision by Iker Casillas to loop the ball over the Spanish captain and just over the line.

Bale wasted another good opening as he sprinted onto Ronaldo’s pass, but chose the wrong option in trying to squeeze the ball home at the near post and dumped the ball into the side netting.

Just when Atletico thought they had the trophy won, though, Real got their reward as Ramos rose to power Luka Modric’s corner past the helpless Courtois.

Atletico’s tiredness then showed in the second period of extra time as Real had too much pace and power and finally went in front 10 minutes from the end when Di Maria burst into the area and despite his effort being saved by Courtois, Bale was on hand to head in at the back post.

Courtois also got a hand to Marcelo’s low drive eight minutes later, but the Belgian international couldn’t keep it out.

And Ronaldo got the goal he craved back in his homeland when he was clipped by Gabi moments later and got back up to slam the resulting penalty home.

31) Waratahs too good for Rebels

Sunday, May 25, 2014

MELBOURNEP – The NSW Waratahs showed they intend being a Super Rugby finals force after putting the Melbourne Rebels to the sword 41-19 at AAMI Park.

The Waratahs left Melbourne with a valuable bonus point after scoring six tries, with a backline containing too much strikepower for the home side.

With five-eighth Bernard Foley pulling the strings, NSW had too many attacking options with Adam Ashley-Cooper, Israel Folau, Rob Horne and Kurtley Beale among the tryscorers.

Goal-kickers Foley and Beale both had rare off nights with the boot, leaving 16 points on the field, but it didn’t matter in the end as they booked their first win on the road in Australia this season.

The Waratahs opened the scoring with a penalty shot by Foley, who then set up their first try with a beautifully worked set move.

He used a dummy switch to wrong-foot the defence and then off-loaded to in-form winger Horne who carved through the defence.

Two penalties by Rebels fullback Jason Woodward closed the gap to 8-6 and then in the 24th minute the hard-working home side hit lead as he slotted a third.

However it was short-lived with Foley lining up another three-pointer after an infringement at the ruck by the Rebels.

Beale popped a lovely ball to Ashley-Cooper just before halftime that allowed the visitors to take a 16-9 lead to the sheds.

Melbourne’s cause wasn’t helped by losing hooker Pat Leafa to a yellow card after the halftime hooter for hands in the ruck.

The Rebels’ outstanding defence kept them in the match but with big bodies such as uncapped Wallaby Will Skelton entering the fray the Waratahs started to dominate the breakdown and put Melbourne on the back foot.

The cracks opened up with flanker Michael Hooper grabbing the ball from the back of the scrum to scoot across the line.

Rebels winger Telusa Veainu picked up a loose ball and dashed 80 metres to touch down in the 60th minute but the rest of the half was one-way traffic.

Folau’s try, in the 71st minute, was his 10th for the season equalling a 2005 record set by Peter Hewitt.

32) Sharks win second on the road

Sunday, May 25, 2014

WELLINGTON – Playing a quarter of the match with 14 men, the Sharks ground out a 29-23 Super Rugby win over the Blues in Auckland on Friday.

The competition leaders played most of last week’s 30-25 win over the Crusaders a player down, and two yellow cards meant they had to survive 20 minutes of the round 15 match at Eden Park a man down.

But the Sharks’ vaunted defence held strong, and they return home with two rare wins from their New Zealand tour, consolidating their lead on the Super Rugby table.

It took less than 10 minutes for hooker Bismarck du Plessis to barrel across and open out a 10-3 lead for the visitors, instant punishment for the Blues after they coughed up possession inside their own 22.

Another Simon Hickey penalty narrowed the gap, but the Sharks were looking ominous, attacking the breakdown, forcing turnovers and capitalising on Blues errors.

Francois Steyn sunk a dropped goal to re-establish a seven-point margin after 27 minutes, but the Blues were starting to make some impact with a series of good driving mauls.

They backed themselves in kicking for the corner at the half-hour mark, bypassing a surefire three points from a penalty to attack the Sharks’ line from the lineout.

But the South African defence, which has conceded just 16 tries all season, was repelled the challenge and took a 16-6 lead into halftime.

The Sharks were again left short after the restart, prop Jannie du Plessis sinbinned for offside play in the first minute.

The Blues made the most of it, skipper Luke Braid barging across from the resulting scrum for the try.

But Steyn continued to kick the penalties, and the Sharks continued to capitalise on the Blues errors, halfback Cobus Reinach toeing ahead and winning the race for the line to give the South Africans a 26-13 lead after 55 minutes.

Tevita Li narrowed the gap when he finished off some smart Blues handling with a well-taken try out wide with 13 minutes remaining but the Sharks showed iron discipline and superb defence to close out the win.



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