Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 985


1) Vanuatu group reacts to police warning on social media usage

27 May 2014

A transparency group in Vanuatu has reacted to a police complaint over comments on social media groups.

Transparency International Vanuatu says senior police officers have met with administrators of the Yumi Toktok Stret Forum on Facebook, saying police will “take further action” if there is more “heated comments” from anonymous profiles.

The comments were allegedly about the Vanuatu National Provident Fund, which TVI’s media officer, Kevin Henry, says is a very sensitive issue.

Mr Henry says every citizen has the right to post information on the issue, and should not feel intimidated by police, although he understands the police concern over some of the language often used.

“It’s a fundamental right and it’s a fundamental duty for every ni-Vanuatu to speak up against what they think is wrong and what they think must be done and what they think must be strengthened inside the community or inside the different institutions in the country.”

Transparency International Vanuatu’s media officer, Kevin Henry.Radio NZ

2) Vanuatu daily news digest | 27 May 2014

by bobmakin

  • A regional seismic network involving the island countries is being set up this evening at Le Lagon Hotel. The Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-hazards Minister James Bule and French Ambassador Michel Djokovic will launch ORSNET in the presence of the region’s seismic experts, and with UNESCO support. Better and faster earthquake information sharing should assist in managing tsunami alerts throughout the island countries, VBTC News reported. With better information sharing technology in the hands of most families owning mobile telephony, hasty trips of carloads of people to Bellevue high ground may be a thing of the past.
  • Dialogue on the possibility of Vanuatu withdrawal from the MSG Trade Agreementwas started by the previous government, Daily Post reveals today. The former minister responsible, Edward Natapei, told Parliament that the agreement does not benefit Vanuatu at all. Local industry, most notably the local soft drink industry, has been stifled by the agreement.
  • It would seem that the Vanuatu Republican Party has been blamed for rumours of a new motion of censure. Secretary General of the party, Jossie Masmas, assures readers of Daily Post that the national executive of the VRP has pledged support for the Natuman Government.

And meanwhile … veteran politician Maxime Carlot Korman has announced his retirement from politics.

Santo leaders have congratulated PM Natuman on his back to basics style of leadership.


3) Tahiti to ease visa terms for Chinese

By Online Editor
4:04 pm GMT+12, 26/05/2014, French Polynesia

The French Polynesian government says visa requirements for Chinese passport holders are about to be lifted for those staying less than 15 days.

It says this is in line with a plan of the French interior minister to exempt travellers from a series of countries from needing a visa.

The territory’s government has spoken out in favour of the change as it comes after years of clamour in Tahiti to open up to the potentially lucrative Chinese tourism market.

To be eligible for visa free travel to Tahiti, Chinese people will have to book their trips through travel agents approved by the French consular authorities in China.

A statement issued in Papeete says the change is expected to come into effect in June.

The French Polynesian president, Gaston Flosse, has welcomed the new policy, saying for some Chinese investors it is a pre-condition before committing to investing in French Polynesia.

4) Tonga Art Exhibit Brings Visibility To Violence In Communities
Various artists believe topic has been silenced for too long

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, May 25, 2014) – “Why do we educate our young people with violence?” asks artist Ebonie Fifita, clutching a punch bag she has created out of a multitude of Tongan school uniforms, to add visibility to the issue of community violence.

The artwork was created for the “Longomate -violence behind silence” exhibition that is attracting school groups to visit the Arts Space in Lavinia Road, Kolofo’ou this week.

The words “Tau!” (smack or hit) and “Mahino?” (Let’s understand) stand out from the background of competing school colours.

“The schools colours belong to everyone. They go to hit the punch bag and then see that their own school colours are in there,” said Ebonie, who wants to show how schools fights hurt everyone in Tonga.

Silenced topic

The Longomate exhibition opened on May 17 aiming to “bring visibility and volume to the often silenced topic of violence in our communities.”

Also on display are works by other members of the On the Spot Arts Initiative.

Pua Soakime from Longolongo, has created an aerial sculpture of woman in three parts: the head, the heart and the womb, separately but gracefully, swaying in the breeze from the doorway.

Steev Maka Laufilitonga, from Uvea, has painted “I Love You” with a broken mug, spilling blood-coloured paint. “It’s symbolic, a hit, a cup is broken. Anger starts with something small and the breaking of glass and violence comes from there,” said Steev. The purple shards represent “bruises”, while the yellow and the orange represent “hope”.

“Even though there is violence but there is hope to talk, to stop, to change,” he said.

At the back of the Arts Space the group have created a “dark room”. where an emotional experience behind family violence is presented with sounds, and the smell of an oil lamp.

Ebonie said the exhibition had raised interesting discussions. “Many visitors asked: What can I do to address the violence in my life?”

The group had decided to extend the exhibition to allow schools and groups to book visits this week. They have an activity room for students to create their own artistic responses.

Matangi Tonga Magazine

5) Tahiti’s Le Nouvelle De Tahiti Newspaper Ceases Publication
Web competition, bad economy leads money losing operation to close

By Jason Brown in Apia

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (Pacific Scoop, May 25, 2014) – One of the Pacific’s oldest newspapers is no more. Les Nouvelles de Tahiti, the older of two daily newspapers in French Polynesia, published its last edition on Friday.

The front page consisted of the banner, a completely black background, and its starting and finishing publication dates.

Those dates were from 26 April 1957 to 23 May 2014, publishing a total of 16,602 editions, according to a report from Polynesia 1st, a public radio station.

News of the closure was confirmed a day before, on Thursday, following an extraordinary general meeting of the shareholders of Polynesian Media Group.

In the absence of Albert Moux, the other shareholders have officially recorded the voluntary liquidation of SELN, the company that publishes Les Nouvelles and Tiki Mag. The newspaper was losing too much money under its management: 18 million French Pacific francs a month (about US$205,000).

The 16 journalists will all be reassigned, according to Polynesia 1st.

While Les Nouvelles will disappear in the form of a daily newspaper, the title could see a second life as a weekly, or be bought as is. To date no purchaser has appeared.

Web competition

Meanwhile, Louis Bresson, director of publication at rival daily, La Depeche de Tahiti, praised the paper for a “successful career”. He said “the disappearance of a newspaper is never a happy time … even for a competitor”.

As has been extensively discussed in other media, economic imperatives imposed sacrifice, said Bresson.

“The deficit discovered by the new team leading the Polynesia Media Group in recent weeks was such that to continue publishing the newspaper, which lost more money for years, would have had the effect of jeopardising the entire press group, even its ‘flagship’ publication La Depeche de Tahiti.”

The paper blamed a changing media landscape, particularly competition from the web, and an economic crisis in the territory, with “inevitable repercussions on the press”, hastening the end of Les Nouvelles de Tahiti.

Bresson made a comparison with traditional canoes, saying that when the crew of one canoe had to abandon ship, they could always rely on an accompanying canoe to take them on. “There will be no ‘man overboard’, said Bresson, stating that journalists from Les Nouvelles would join their newsroom on Monday.

He also saw a silver lining in the dark media clouds. “To be honest, it will not harm the greatest canoe, when the race was slowed by difficulties of the lowest. With a combined editorial news team, other media groups will experience “a new boom.” This would enable La Depeche to strengthen editorial content, develop its website, enrich the information on its radio station NRJ, and offer a new weekly edition.

“The last day of publication of the Nouvelles de Tahiti is a sad day for its current editorial team and its former colleagues, including myself, but also for the many readers who have remained faithful against all odds.”

Critical press

Bresson also addressed accusations that Les Nouvelles had been shut down because of its recent outspoken criticism of political parties now in government.

He said that everyone should know that even though Les Nouvelles was disappearing, the talents which it expressed in recent times will continue to do so freely in the columns of La Depeche de Tahiti.

“The cost-saving measure that led to the closure of the oldest daily newspaper in Tahiti does not constitute censorship,” he insisted.

“Freedom of the press, it is above all the freedom of journalists and those of Les Nouvelles will speak in the same way in the writing of La Depeche, where they will be welcomed by their colleagues on Monday.”

Online, Les Nouvelles declared the “end of an era” and published testimonies by journalists, politicians and civic leaders for its contribution to Tahitian journalism and democracy.

Jason Brown is deputy editor of the Samoa Observer, a media freedom campaigner and a contributor to Pacific Media Watch.

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

6) Samoa Police Inspector Jailed For Corruption
Prison administrator took gun, bribes from prisoner

By Tulifau Auvaa

APIA, Samoa (Talamua, May 24, 2014) – A Police inspector has been jailed for three and a half years for corruption and possessing an unlawful.

Uelese Lolo, a 52 year old father of six was working as an administrator at the Tafa’igata prison and the Oloamanu prison for delinquents and has served in the Ministry of Police and Prisons for 32 years.

In sentencing the officer, District Court Judge Mata Tuatagaloa said that Uelese accepted an illegal gun from a prisoner. The prisoner also gave him $50 of which the Inspector accepted both and he allowed the prisoner go home.

Mata Tuatagaloa also stated that “The police are there to uphold and protect the law – not to break the law,” said Tuatagaloa.

She also stated that Uelese also abused his position as an Inspector.


7) Amoebic Dysentery Causes Diarrhea Outbreak In America Samoa
161 cases, including 14 hospitalizations, in May

By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (The Samoa News, May 23, 2014) – The American Samoa Department of Health has revealed that a diarrhea outbreak in the territory that began early this month with more than 150 confirmed cases, includes cases which tested positive for ‘amoeba entamoeba histolytica’, which is a parasite.

The revelation was made by DoH official Dr. Mark Durrand during a news conference yesterday morning at the department’s main office in Fagaalu. The media conference was called by Health director Motusa Tuileama Nua for an update on the presence of amoebic dysentery in the territory.

More: The Samoa News


8) Nauru judiciary staff to learn from Fijian counterparts

By Online Editor
12:39 pm GMT+12, 26/05/2014, Nauru

The Nauru Judiciary Department has selected two assistant clerks of court to undergo a two week attachment training with the registry of the High Court of Fiji.

Laurie Tebouwa and Surely Kamtaura were selected by the Registrar of the Supreme Court, Graham Leung, who is keen to build capacity for young and talented Nauruans.

The training for the duo commenced last week until 02 June. They will learn about registry procedures, custody of exhibits, diary management and maintenance of court files.

During their training they will be supervised by the head of training at the Fiji judicial department, Semisi Bainivalu, who will help build various skills for court.

The training is funded by the New Zealand government who have been supporting and assisting Nauru continually in many aspects of government in particular with justice, fisheries and the education sector under NZAID.

9) Kiribati journalist suspended for defiance

27 May 2014

Radio Kiribati has suspended a reporter for disobeying management and airing a story from an opposition MP Tebuai Uaai.

Ueretan Bauro had defied instructions from management not to carry a statement by the MP who responded to government allegations he had failed to return public funds given to him in 2002 when he travelled abroad.

The original allegation was carried by the te Uekera newspaper which only carried the government side.

The reporter carried the MPs reply, assuming it was in response to the paper article.

The Kiribati Independent says the officer in charge of Radio Kiribati, Babera Mwemwenikarawa, decided that Ueretan Bauro be suspended for 20 days for not obeying instruction from management.

He says the reporter is an employee, he has signed his contract to obey instruction.

The opposition says it believes that the suspension is politically motivated, and follows a directive from the President.Radio NZ

10) Kiribati population growth a concern

By Online Editor
4:01 pm GMT+12, 26/05/2014, Kiribati

The Kiribati Ministry of Health is warning about the country’s soaring population.

It has set up a group called HOPE to take its message about the impact of population growth to local communities.

Kiribati has a population of just over 100,000, with half of them living around Tarawa and Betio.

There are about 2,000 births a year and a natural death rate of about 400 to 500 annually.

The head of HOPE, Dr Teatao Tiira, says the community needs to understand the data and the effects a growing population has.

The Catholic Church in Kiribati has several times voiced its opposition to family planning efforts.

Meanwhile, an Australian independent aid project is tackling water and sanitation problems in Kiribati to combat the nation’s high infant mortality rate.

One in 20 newborns die before their first birthday because of illnesses related to unclean drinking water.

The Island Rescue Project is providing solar powered water desalination equipment and water purifying kits to communities to prevent disease.

Island Rescue founder Carol Armstrong told Pacific Beat the situation in Kiribati is unacceptable.

“Often a baby will be born and there’s no water to wash the baby, and we can’t even comprehend that in our lifestyle,” she said.

“When one in 20 babies are dying from diarrhoea and other treatable diseases it’s just not acceptable in this day and age.

“As the parents are suffering from diarrhoea and other infections, they’re going to pass that onto the children too.”

Armstrong’s organisation is teaching communities to make household sized solar-powered desalination units to produce enough clean drinking water for families.

They have also been promised a commercial-size osmosis desalination plant by a major water company.

The Island Rescue Project will also provide water treatments including LifeStraw filters, which filter out 99 per cent of parasites, looking into community sized filter units.

Armstrong says the situation in Kiribati needed urgent attention.

“There really isn’t adequate water supplies for the island population,” she said.

“I just had to do something about it.”

Armstrong believes the situation in Kiribati has been overlooked.

“They’ve had a lot of foreign aid but it just doesn’t go quite far enough,” she said.

“The government is struggling financially to cover all the areas that need to be addressed so mothers’ and babies’ health, although it’s important is a little further down the list.”.


11) RMI On Alert After Measles Outbreak In Neighboring Kosrae
Cases of highly contagious disease in FSM confirmed by lab in Guam

By Giff Johnson

MAJURO, Marshall Islands (Marianas Variety, May 26, 2014) – Health authorities here are concerned about an outbreak of measles in Kosrae, an island state in neighboring Federated States of Micronesia.

Marshalls Secretary of Health Julia Alfred issued a “warning” Friday for the public to be aware “that measles is in our region.”

Federated States of Micronesia Director of Health Services Livinson Taulung issued a notice earlier to regional health authorities confirming that two of three suspected cases have been confirmed as measles (rubella). All are male infants under one year of age in Kosrae.

Kosrae health officials sent serum specimens from the three infants to the Guam Public Health Laboratory, which confirmed two of three as rubella. Kosrae officials launched contact tracing in an effort to determine the source of the measles and possible spread.

Kosrae officials said they were considering a measles vaccination campaign and checking school children to ensure they are up to date on immunizations.

“Measles is highly contagious and Kosrae is just around the corner,” said Ministry of Health Public Health Administrator Mailynn Konelios-Langinlur to health officials on Majuro and Kwajalein. She notified “all physicians and nurses to be on high alert.”

Kosrae has a population of about 8,000 people and is one of four states in the Federated States of Micronesia. It is about 580 miles southwest of Majuro. The two islands are linked by United Airlines, which flies an “island hopper” service connecting Honolulu and Guam with Majuro, Kwajalein, Kosrae, Pohnpei and Chuuk.

Marianas Variety


12) PNG saintis askim pipol long noken karim ol samting igo ikam long boda

Updated 27 May 2014, 16:26 AEST
Caroline Tiriman

Wanpela Papua New Guinea Agrikalsa saintis i askim ol pipol bilong Papua New Guinea long noken karim ol samting igo ikam long boda mak bilong PNG na Indonesia .

Odio: Wanpela Papua New Guinea Agriculture saintis askim pipol long noken karim ol samting igo ikam namel long boda bilong PNG na Indonesia bilong pasim ol binating isave bagarapim ol kain samting olsem coffee
Chief Scientist na acting chief executive offisa wantaim Coffee industry Corperation Tom Kukhang, ibin meiim despela toktok long  wanpla agrikalsa wokshop emi go hed nau long Fiji.

Mr Kukhang itok emi wari long coffee berry borer, wanpla binatang emi save bagarapim coffee istap nau long West Papua na emi no laikim despla sik long go insaet long PNG na bagarapim coffeee indastri blong en.

Samting olsem 17 ol saintis blong Pacific istap long despla wokshop em laen blong Crawford Fund blong Australia i lukautim.
Tom Kukhang, chief scientist na acting chief executive ofisa wantem Coffee industry Corporation long PNG.Radio Australia


13) Industri Kacang Australia Berkembang Pesat

Terbit 26 May 2014, 14:42 AEST
Catherine McAloon

Berkat makin digemarinya gaya hidup sehat, industri kacang-kacangan pohon Australia makin naik daun. Diramalkan, sektor ini dalam sepuluh tahun ke depan nilai penjualan ekspornya akan melampaui 1 miliar dollar (Rp 10,7 triliun).

Laporan Growing for Successmenyatakan bahwa panen kacang di Australia diramalkan akan meningkat sebanyak 44 persen tahun 2025. Harga bersih dari perkebunan diramalkan meningkat sebanyak 82 persen.

Ketua Dewan Industri Kacang Australia, Richard Sampson-Genest, menyatakan bahwa permintaan lokal dan internasional terhadap kacang-kacangan meningkat, antara lain karena kacang-kacangan dipromosikan memiliki berbagai manfaat bagi kesehatan.

“Pesan kesehatan, yang selama sekitar 10 tahun terakhir disuarakan, menyatakan bahwa komposisi kacang, atau komposisi minyak kacang, amatlah sehat. Mengandung berbagai vitamin dan mineral,” ucapnya.

Menurut Sampson-Genest, keadaannya jauh berbeda dibanding 20 tahun lalu.

“[Saat itu] industri ini belum berkembang, dengan pengecualian industri kacang macadamia dan industri kacang almond yang baru berkembang. Namun, sejak itu kita benar-benar berkembang, hingga Australia kini menjadi produsen terbesar kacang macadamia di dunia dan produsen terbesar kedua kacang almond.”

Ketua Dewan Kacang dan Buah Kering Internasional, Giles Hacking, menyatakan bahwa penjualan kacang tengah meningkat baik di pasar internasional yang sudah sejak lama ada, maupun pasar baru.

“Industri ini telah berkembang signifikan selama 10 tahun terakhir. Kita melihat nilai global kacang dan buah yang dikeringkan, kira-kira 35 miliar dollar. Ini signifikan, mungkin hampir dua kali lipat nilainya 10 tahun lalu.”

Pohon kacang-kacangan ditanam di sekitar 54.000 hektar di Australia. Ada di antaranya yang masih belum berbuah atau mencapai produksi maksimum. Namun, angka ini diperkirakan akan meningkat sebanyak 30 persen selama beberapa tahun ke depan.

Menurut Sampson-Genest, industri ini mengalami kesulitan mendapat investasi, seperti halnya industri-industri pertanian lainnya. Sudah ada ketertarikan terhadap Industri ini dari investor internasional.

Ikuti Kompetisi Belajar Bahasa Inggris di Australia gratis – Klik tautan berikut:


14) Brèves d’Australie et du Pacifique – mardi 27 mai 2014

Mis à jour 27 May 2014, 15:27 AEST
Caroline Lafargue

Manus: c’est un employé de l’Armée du Salut qui a porté le coup fatal – une pierre sur la tête. Le rapport sur le meurtre de Reza Berati à Manus a été publié hier lundi.

La mort de Reza Berati a provoqué l’indignation en Australie, où plusieurs veillées funèbres se sont tenues au lendemain de sa mort en février.
Le demandeur d’asile iranien est mort le 17 février dernier lors d’émeutes. L’employé de l’Armée du Salut sera mis en examen par les juges papous. Selon le ministre australien de l’Immigration, Scott Morrison, des gardiens de G4S ont également tabassé le jeune homme, avec des policiers papous. La société de sécurité chargée du centre de rétention a en effet fait rentrer la police papoue pour l’aider à reprendre en main le camp.

Honiara: un candidat aux élections législatives aurait racheté plus de 2000 cartes d’électeurs. L’un d’eux est allé se plaindre a l’equipe salomonaise de l’ONG Transparency International. Il a demandé de l’aide au candidat dans un dossier qui concerne la circonscription. L’homme politique lui a demandé sa carte d’électeur. En échange d’une carte provisoire, qui n’a aucune validité. Le candidat véreux a promis à l’électeur de lui rendre sa carte quelques jours avant le scrutin. Grace à ce système, le candidat espérait voter au nom de ces 2000 citoyens, pour lui-meme bien sur.

Fidji: le Congrès International des Syndicats milite pour la suppression du label de commerce équitable attribué au sucre fidjien. Il fait pression sur Fairtrade International, l’organisme qui gère ces labels. C’est une conséquence du très mauvais classement de Fidji dans l’index mondial des pays qui respectent les droits des travailleurs. Fidji arrive avant-dernier, ex aequo avec des pays comme l’Inde et le Bangladesh. La secrétaire générale du Congrès ne croit pas à l’organisation d’élections démocratiques à Fidji le 17 septembre prochain et se dit consternée par la passivité de l’Australie et de la Nouvelle-Zélande.

Îles Salomon: 1.6 tonne de bêches de mer ont disparu des hangars de la police. La cargaison, d’une valeur d’1.3 million de dollars, a été confisquée car les concombres de mer ont été pêchés illégalement au large d’Ontong Java, dans la province de Malaita après la clôture d’une courte saison de pêche. Selon le bureau salomonais de Transparency International, plusieurs députés et officiers de police ont participé au transfert des bêches de mer. Mais on ne sait pas où elles sont passées.

Orica veut envoyer en France 132 tonnes d’hexachlorobenzène, où elles seraient incinérées. La multinationale australienne fabrique des produits chimiques et depuis 20 ans elle tente de se débarrasser de 16 000 tonnes de hexachlorobenzène, une substance extrêmement toxique, classée comme cancérigène par l’Union européenne. Pour l’instant, tout est stocké dans la banlieue de Sydney. Orica doit obtenir l’accord du ministère australien de l’environnement. Si oui, alors Orica écoulerait petit à petit son stock toxique vers la France. Une solution critiquée par Greenpeace, inquiète des émissions toxiques dans l’atmosphère. L’ONG estime qu’Orica devrait traiter ses déchets en Australie. En 2007, sous la pression des écologistes, le gouvernement australien a interdit l’exportation de ces tonnes de hexachlorobenzène vers l’Allemagne, puis il s’est à nouveau opposé à leur exportation en 2010, cette fois-ci vers le Danemark.

Îles Salomon: une équipe de plongeurs américains a achevé lundi la formation de la police et d’un groupe de démineurs salomonais. L’entrainement a duré trois ans. Il y a toujours des milliers de bombes non explosées, 70 ans après la fin de la Seconde guerre mondiale.L’équipe américaine a détruit plus de 10 000 explosifs en 2013 dans le pays. Cette chasse aux bombes est organisée entre autres pour éviter le développement de la pêche aux explosifs. Les villageois utilisent des vieilles munitions de la Seconde guerre, et font de gros dégats sur l’environnement.

Samoa: un juge condamne un ancien gardien de prison à 18 mois de détention. Uelese Lolo a reconnu avoir permis à un détenu de sortir de prison pendant une journée pour aller voir sa famille. En échange, le gardien a demandé 25 dollars américains. L’ancien gardien de prison a aussi réclamé un pistolet à ce détenu. Le juge n’a pas apprécié cet abus de pouvoir « qui salit la réputation de la police samoane».

Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée: neuf tribus indigènes gagnent contre le gouvernement. Elles vont récupérer leurs 38 000 hectares saisis par l’Etat pour les louer à des développeurs ou exploitants agricoles. Les propriétaires coutumiers ont reçu le soutien de Gary Juffa, le gouverneur de leur province, Oro, qui s’est également porté partie civile. Cette décision va créer un précédent et pourrait inciter d’autres propriétaires traditionnels à essayer de récupérer leurs terres.
Radio Australia


15) Non-communicable diseases top death list

By Online Editor
12:43 pm GMT+12, 26/05/2014, Fiji

Non-communicable diseases are responsible for four out of every five deaths in the small island states of the Pacific region.

Speaking at the recent World Health Assembly side meeting on NCDs in Geneva, Health Minister Dr Neil Sharma told representatives in some of the Pacific’s small island states, the prevalence of tobacco use was over 80 per cent.

Dr Sharma said these NCDs were affecting Pacific peoples earlier in life, robbing them of many of their most productive years and creating complex health needs that were expensive to treat.

He said the same Pacific islands that the world considered “paradise” were also home to some of the highest rates of NCDs in the world.

“Their small size, geographic isolation and widely dispersed populations make them particularly vulnerable to the impact of NCDs as many of the factors contributing to the rise of NCDs are, unfortunately, outside of the control of respective island governments,” he said.

“These diseases are having an increasingly devastating impact on the health of the people of the region and are major barriers keeping us from achieving not only the health-related Millennium Development Goals, but also some much broader vision of health in sub-regions like healthy islands for the pacific. Subsequently it hinders economic progress.

“For a long time, many of us working in public health were focused on communicable diseases — and rightfully so.”

Dr Sharma said diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis and pandemic influenza were pressing priorities.

“NCDs simply did not receive the attention they deserved but changes over the past few decades-particularly rising urbanisation, an increasingly sedentary lifestyle, and the aggressive marketing of foods unnaturally high in fat, salt and sugar — have shifted the focus.

“NCD is a health and economic crisis and in 2011 upon the recommendation of the 9th Pacific Health Ministers meeting called for urgent action to mitigate the crisis.

“Since then, efforts to prevent and control NCDs have been scaled up regionally with development of National NCD Strategies and the operational Crisis Response Plans (CRP) in each country with key milestones to target.”

Meanwhile, the  Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) says there is a pressing need to strengthen health information in the region, to assess each countries priorities and inform better policies.

Acting public health division director, Yvan Souares says the SPC used the World Health Organisation’s Global Burden of Disease studies to see how Pacific health data was being interpreted.

Dr Souares says they found information had to be used with caution, as it lumped 23 countries of the region together.

He says Papua New Guinea has a much greater weight in the group because of its larger population.

“The data in Papua New Guinea are not necessarily of a much better quality than other islands, most of the data that is available is coming from PNG because of the numbers, then the profile, demography profile and health profile of PNG influences the results and the findings for the whole Oceania region.”

Dr Souares says improvements need to be made to build each country’s capacity, and at a regional level, in data analysis, use and sharing.


16) Pacific people locked out of houses, jobs

11:30 Mon May 26 2014


Pacific people are being locked out of the housing and labour markets, and are yet to see any of the economic recovery enjoyed by other New Zealanders, a new report claims.

The Salvation Army has released its latest report on the welfare of Pacific Island people, which details high unemployment, low incomes and worrying housing problems that see some families living in cars.

In the past decade, the number of Pacific people owning their own home had increased by just three per cent, says report co-author Ronji Tanielu.

“That is very concerning, especially as two thirds of our people live in Auckland, home to the country’s most expensive real estate,” he told NZ Newswire.

There were anecdotal reports of families resorting to living in cars parked outside family members’ homes.

“It’s a case of boarding houses being full, caravan parks not safe and houses too expensive, so people do what they can,” Mr Tanielu said.

The Salvation Army has also experienced rising demand for budgeting help, financial assistance and legal services to deal with loan repayments.

Unemployment for Pacific people has failed to improve from the 13 per cent recorded in the organisation’s initial Pacific report released last May.

“That’s double the national average, which makes to you wonder `what’s going on?’,” Mr Tanielu.

A deeper investigation revealed 20 per cent of young Pacific people aged 15 to 24 are not engaged in education, work, training or caregiving. This is lower than the Maori rate of 23 per cent but considerably higher than the European rate of 11 per cent.

“I’m not saying it’s all bad. There’s actually some great news in the report too, but the overall feeling is that there’s more bad than good,” he said.

“There’s a lot of talk of the economic recovery but our figures, our report, suggests this is not being experienced by Pacific peoples.”

17) Pacific Regional Consultations Take Place In Tonga
Forum stakeholders across Pacific consulted on revised Pacific Plan

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, May 26, 2014) – A one-day Consultation Meeting over a draft Framework for Pacific Regionalism was held in Nuku’alofa on Tuesday 20 May.

Similar meetings are being held in all 15 member countries of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) from 21 May to 9 June.

The Nuku’alofa meeting was divided into three one-hour sessions. The first session was for Chief Executive Officers of Government Ministries, the second session was for representatives from NGOs, media organizations and the Private Sector, and the final session was for members of parliament.

The Deputy Secretary General of the PIF Secretariat Cristelle Pratt and Alfred Schuster, a Development Cooperation Adviser conducted the Nuku’alofa consultation meeting for PIF stakeholders.

Cristelle explained that during a Special Retreat meeting by Forum Leaders on 5 May in the Cook Islands they had agreed that the Pacific Plan should be overhauled.

The Pacific Plan for strengthening regional cooperation and integration was endorsed by Pacific Leaders at a PIF meeting on October 2005. The Plan is considered to be “a living document ensuring flexibility so that the Vision of the Leaders and the goal of regional integration extends far into the future.”

During the one-hour session with the media, private sector and the NGOs representatives, some of the issues that were highlighted in the consultation included:

The Leaders’ Pacific Vision
The Pacific regional values – to be reflected and upheld in all policy making
Strategic Direction
Path to deeper Integration.

The Leaders’ Pacific Vision states that “Leaders believe the Pacific region can, should and will be a region of peace, harmony, security and economic prosperity, so that all of its people can lead free and worthwhile lives.”

“We treasure the diversity of the Pacific and seek a future in which its cultures, traditions and religious beliefs are valued, honoured and developed.”

“We seek a Pacific region that is respected for the quality of its governance, the sustainable management of its resources, the full observance of democratic values and for its defence and promotion of human rights.”

“We seek partnerships with our neighbours and beyond to develop our knowledge, to improve our communications and to ensure a sustainable economic existence for all.”

At the end of the current consultations a draft Framework for Pacific Regionalism will be presented to Pacific Leaders at their annual Forum meeting in Palau, during the last week of July.

Matangi Tonga Magazine


18) Eurosceptic ‘earthquake’ rocks EU elections

By Online Editor
3:48 pm GMT+12, 26/05/2014, France

Eurosceptic and far-right parties have seized ground in elections to the European parliament, in what France’s PM called a “political earthquake”.

While the French National Front and UK Independence Party both appear headed for first place, the three big centrist blocs in parliament all lost seats.

The outcome means a greater say for those who want to cut back the EU’s powers, or abolish it completely.

But EU supporters will be pleased that election turnout was slightly higher.

It was 43.1%, according to provisional European Parliament figures. That would be the first time turnout had not fallen since the previous election – but would only be an improvement of 0.1%.

“The people have spoken loud and clear,” a triumphant Marine Le Pen told cheering supporters at National Front (FN) party headquarters in Paris.

“They no longer want to be led by those outside our borders, by EU commissioners and technocrats who are unelected. They want to be protected from globalisation and take back the reins of their destiny.”

Provisional results suggested the FN could win 25 European Parliament seats – a stunning increase on its three in 2009.

The party also issued an extraordinary statement accusing the government of vote-rigging.

Across the board, the centre-right European People’s Party was set to win 211 out of the 751 seats, with 28.1% across the bloc, according to estimated results issued by the European Parliament. That would make it the biggest group – but with more than 60 seats fewer than before.

That put it ahead of the Socialist group with 193 seats (25.7%), Liberals with 74 (9.9%) and Greens 58 (7.7%).

The right-wing Eurosceptic Europe of Freedom and Democracy group, incorporating the UK Independence Party (UKIP), looked to have about the same number of seats as last time, but there looked set to be a rise in the number of non-attached right-wing MEPs boosting the Eurosceptic camp.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage was predicting that his party would come first in Britain, saying: “The inevitability of European integration ends tonight.”

The anti-bailout hard-left group in parliament was set to make big gains, largely thanks to Syriza in Greece and United Left in Spain, gaining about 12 seats.

Martin Schulz, the former Socialist president of the European Parliament – said of the FN victory: “It’s a bad day for the European Union, when a party with a racist, xenophobic and anti-Semitic programme gets 25% of the vote.”

The election is the biggest exercise in multi-national democracy in the world. The vote will affect the lives of the EU’s 500 million citizens.

The parliament’s powers have expanded since the last election in 2009, and it is hoping to have a decisive say in who gets the EU’s top job, president of the European Commission.

The frontrunner for that will now be EPP candidate Jean-Claude Juncker – though that would need the approval national government leaders, which is by no means guaranteed, correspondents say…..



19) Doctor says PNG health aid lost to corruption

27 May 201

An Australian doctor who has been working in Papua New Guinea says it is going to be impossible for the country to meet any of their Millennium Development Goals by 2015.

Australia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs recently expressed concern that PNG had regressed in key areas such as health, despite an increase in aid funding over the years.

Dr Merrilee Frankish agrees the delivery of health services in PNG is deteriorating and corruption is partly to blame.

There’s a bit of dispute over the actual distribution of that money and so now those poor health centres have actually got less money than they ever had. Many many people have been sacked for corruption but they’re all being paid in their former positions while they dispute that in court. And I believe there are over 170 people being paid for positions but they’re not actually working. So that just blocks up and it just makes the whole department grind to a halt.

An Australian doctor Merrilee Frankish…Radio NZ


20) Solomon Islands Political Parties Integrity Bill likely to pass into law

By Online Editor
4:03 pm GMT+12, 26/05/2014, Solomon Islands

The government of Solomon Islands says its Political Parties Integrity Bill is “very close” to finally becoming law.

The bill passed its second reading, despite lacking a quorum, and parliament will work through its details this week.

The bill aims to promote solidarity in parliament by providing for ‘the registration, administration and development of political parties to promote integrity in their operations’.

It also seeks to ‘make consequential amendments to the National Parliament Electoral Provisions Act’.

Earlier incarnations of the controversial bill included a clause to prevent MPs from changing allegiance mid-term.

The bill was amended in February to exclude this clause, but a number of MPs still see it as an anti-defection measure.

Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo has denied this.

“It’s designed to develop legislative mechanisms that provide for registrations and setting up standards and requirements for the development of political parties,” Lilo told parliament last week.

The prime minister’s director of governance Calvin Ziru told Pacific Beat the primary objective of the bill is to improve political stability.

“Prime Minister Lilo has introduced a bill that focuses by-and-large on strengthening first and foremost political parties,” he said.

“So he’s correct in saying this isn’t an anti-defection piece of legislation it’s intended to improve political party integrity by providing means for registration and also the governance of political parties in Solomon Islands.”

Ziru says the bill would create a more established party system and solid base, that should decrease the risk of defection.

“That’s the rationale that the government is taking for this proposed law,” he said.

This bill is expected to be just the first step in many to combat corruption in Solomon Islands.

“There’s a lot more work to do, we’re strengthening political parties there’s also various other reforms that need to be thought about by the next government that will all simply complement this legislation,” Ziru said.

“[But] it’s a very good start indeed, very good legislation for us to pass.”.


21) New Caledonia’s Ponga re-elected as the French Pacific’s member of the EU Parliament

By Online Editor
3:56 pm GMT+12, 26/05/2014, New Caledonia

New Caledonia’s Maurice Ponga has been re-elected as the French Pacific’s member of the European parliament.

Ponga of the centre-right UMP Party is one of three French overseas politicians to be elected for a five-year term.

The vote elicited little interest, with the abstention rate across the overseas territories rising to a record 83 percent.

In Wallis and Futuna, however, almost half the voters cast their ballots, with Ponga winning most votes.

Ten of the 19 candidates failed to win a single vote in Wallis and Futuna.


22) New Caledonia road block problems persist

27 May 2014
A Mont Dore resident in New Caledonia says demonstrators are still intermittently blocking the road to Noumea and throwing stones at cars trying to pass.

The blockades were set up with burning tyres on Saturday by those calling for the Goro nickel processing plant’s permanent closure.

Operations at the Vale plant have been suspended for almost three weeks because of an acid spill.

Tuo Chinula says most people from Mont Dore haven’t been able to go into work this morning.

She says even if the road is temporarily opened, there is a risk it will be closed again after nightfall when people are returning from work, which could lead to a dangerous situation.

“The demonstrators were throwing stones at cars, pretty big stones, breaking windows and windscreens. Most people had decided to go back rather than risk going past even though the riot police are there in quite large numbers actually.”

A Mont Dore resident, Tuo Chinula.

Meanwhile, police have reportedly arrested 13 people after a minivan was deliberately driven into a police vehicule.

Reports say they arrested its 11 occupants, including the handicapped driver, as well as two people throwing rocks.Radio NZ

23) Doubts over Fiji regime’s willingness to cede power

27 May 2014

The president of the Fiji Law Society Dorsami Naidu says decrees which control rules around the elections suggest the current regime does not want to relinquish power.

Government issued decrees such as the Political Parties Decree and Electoral Decree have been widely criticised for placing onerous conditions on parties which want to contest the election in September.

At the same time Rear Admiral Frank Bainimarama has been accused of breaching the Political Parties Decree for campaigning and appointing candidates before his party has been registered.

Mr Naidu says it appears the restrictions don’t apply to the current regime.

“I think they want to get back in power, it’s very unfortunate what’s happened because we’ve had coups since 1987 and none of the coups have been successful. Anyone who says that they were right, you know coups should have been carried out, need to get themselves checked out I think.”

Dorsami Naidu says it’s a big concern that under the Electoral Decree the courts can’t pursue election officials for omitting any votes if it’s deemed it did not affect the result of the election.Radio NZ

24) Fiji Party Commits To Review Constitution If Elected
National Federation Party wants changes in ‘imposed constitution’

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, May 25, 2014) – Fiji’s National Federation Party plans to review the 2013 Constitution if it is elected into government.

Addressing supporters at their first working committee meeting in Tacirua today, party leader Professor Biman Prasad said they will seek an “urgent review of the constitution within the parliamentary framework.” “The NFP will review the constitution.

Those in power will have to get used to this fact,” he said.

Some of the provisions in the legal document the party will seek changes to include the powers of the Prime Minister and Attorney General, and the Bill of Rights.

“We make no apologies for our commitment to review this imposed constitution.” The move to change the constitution is one of five issues, the NFP leader spoke on today including rising cost of living, state of health services, short-term education policies, and rising unemployment.

[PIR editor’s note: Fijilive reported that at the committee meeting Fiji’s National Federation Party president Tupou Draunidalo encourages people to “Vote for no more coups, vote for economic growth, vote for respect for indigenous culture and all other cultures that make Fiji our own, vote for peaceful coexistence through dialogue and understanding, vote for dignity.”]

Under the 2013 Constitution, the legal document cannot be abrogated or suspended by any person other than in accordance with Chapter 11 which provides that it can only be amended by a 75 per cent vote in Parliament and a referendum with three-quarters of registered voters in support.

About 80 people turned up for the meeting.



25) Fiji to host 5th Pacific Media Conference

By Online Editor
5:01 pm GMT+12, 25/05/2014, Fiji

Fiji has been selected to host, for the first time, the 5th Pacific Media Conference (PMC), in Nadi from 17 – 19 November, 2014.

The Permanent Secretary for Information, Sharon Smith-Johns, said the ministry was delighted to host an international conference such as the PMC in Fiji which allows the local media organisations the opportunity to gain a global perspective of the media landscape.

With the theme “Partnering for Broadcast Development”, the conference will attract more than 100 senior delegates and 20 speakers from across the Asia Pacific region.

“We are grateful to the Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) for giving Fiji the opportunity to host this major media conference which will provide a platform for local broadcasters to coordinate closely with their peers from the region and share knowledge and expertise to improve and promote broadcasting,” Ms Smith-Johns said.

The Fijian Government recognises that the media plays a major role in national development and is committed to the professional enhancements of the media industry.

“There are more sources of news, information and more data than ever before.

Media technology is rapidly changing and every media organisation, no matter how small, can now reach a global audience.”

Smith-Johns said everyone in the public and private media sectors should contribute to the development of media and improve accessibility of information to rural and remote islands.

The PMC will feature several workshops and meetings where discussions will centre on all aspects of broadcasting including journalism, sports coverage, digitization, disaster management, and the role broadcasters in a rapidly changing media landscape.

The conference is jointly organised by the ABU and the Pacific media partners in collaboration with the Ministry of Information.


26) Akauola to end term with MIDA in October

By Online Editor
12:42 pm GMT+12, 26/05/2014, Fiji

Veteran journalist Matai Akauola’s term as the director of Fiji’s Media Industry Development Authority (MIDA) is expected to end in October.

Although he signed up for a three-year term with the authority, Akauola will end his term prematurely to join the Oceania NationalOlympics Committee (ONOC) as its regional communications specialist.

He told the Fiji Sun he had already tendered in his resignation but had to reconsider to complete the work he was tasked to do with MIDA hoping it would be completed by October.

He also revealed that one of the reasons behind his resignation was to contest the general elections.

“My initial desire was to maybe contest the general elections. During the 2006 elections count at Natabua High School in Lautoka, as we gathered as journalists we discussed anything and everything as we awaited the results,” Akauola said.

“One school of thought asked, why don’t one of us stand in the next elections? We seem to be meeting every five years and we are seeing the type of people getting into parliament. So it was something at the back of my mind.”

He said he could not refuse the job offered to him by ONOC citing his love of sports journalism.

Akauola was the manager of the Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) based in Suva before he joined MIDA in October last year.



27) PNG rakes in K900m

By Online Editor
5:12 pm GMT+12, 25/05/2014, Papua New Guinea

OIL Search Limited shares have reached an unprecedented record high, trading at $9.30 as of Saturday morning, bringing in a windfall gain of more than K900 million (US$317 million) in just three months.

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said the share price may even go higher in the next few months, bringing enormous benefits in terms of credit ratings, financial standing and credibility internationally.

O’Neill, in an interview with the Post Courier at the Airways Hotel in Port Moresby, said critics have been saying it is a speculative investment but PNG has been a long time shareholder of Oil Search.

“We have been holding these shares for a very long time, it has been a speculative investment before, what was different then and what is the difference now, the only good thing about this is that the value has gone up, it is a much better value, in less than three months, our windfall is around K800 going K900 million.”

The government early this year borrowed K3 billion (US$1.1 billion) from the United Bank of Switzerland (UBS)to purchase a 10.01 per cent in Oil Search that has come under the radar by critics.

“It is generally clear to everyone that these are very valuable shares and the government was right in making sure of that,” O’Neill said.

“We have been a long term shareholder of OSL and we have waited long enough, and it would have been very unfortunate if we have to allow the upside being received by someone else, when we have held it when it was on the lower side and when we have held it for so long.

“So it will be really unfair if we did not participate in the upside. And the upside of that is that because of the investments that Oil Search have made, the value is starting to go up and the market is reacting to that.

“I think the shares are likely to reach $12 within the next year or so and that is a very good indication for our country. We bought it at $8.20 at a very substantially discounted price and all the gain of that pricing goes to the nation.”

O’Neill said the benefits are not only monetary in terms of money coming into the country, but the investment increases the value of net assets and investments by the country. He said the immediate value from such investment is financial credibility, standing and lifts the value of assets and the economy.

“This kind of value will also give confidence to investors who want to come into the country, they know that they can come to PNG and make a decent return on their investments, so they are attracted to come here. It just adds credibility,” the PM said.

28) ExxonMobil Ships First Cargo from PNG LNG Project

By Online Editor
12:52 pm GMT+12, 26/05/2014, Papua New Guinea

Exxon Mobil Corporation today said it shipped the first cargo of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the US$19 billion PNG LNG project ahead of schedule.

PNG LNG, operated by ExxonMobil affiliate ExxonMobil PNG Limited, is expected to produce more than 9 trillion cubic feet of gas over its estimated 30 years of operations. The first cargo is bound for LNG customer Tokyo Electric Power Co. Inc. (TEPCO) in Japan.

Production from the first train started in April and production from the second train has also started as additional wells came online.

“The PNG LNG project exemplifies ExxonMobil’s leadership in project execution, advanced technologies and marketing capabilities,” said Neil W. Duffin, president of ExxonMobil Development Company. “Our demonstrated expertise will enable us to progress other LNG opportunities in our portfolio, including expansion opportunities in Papua New Guinea and to meet growing global demand. Disciplined project execution has enabled us to supply Asia’s increasing energy needs and will benefit the people of Papua New Guinea for decades.”

Construction of PNG LNG began in 2010, and took more than 190 million work hours to complete. At its peak, the project employed more than 21,000 people.

Flooding, minimal pre-existing infrastructure and extremely steep slopes were among obstacles that were overcome in constructing the project. Pipe had to be airlifted in some areas because the soil could not support heavy machinery and lack of infrastructure required construction of supplemental roads, communication lines and a new airfield.

“This project has brought significant economic benefits to our country that will last for generations to come,” said Papua New Guinea Prime Minister,Peter O’Neill.

“Not only will the people of Papua New Guinea now benefit, their children and grandchildren will continue to enjoy the benefits and positive effects from this valuable resource development for many years to come,” O’Neill said.

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

The four major customers for the project’s output are China Petroleum and Chemical Corp. (Sinopec), Tokyo Electric Power Co. Inc. (TEPCO), Osaka Gas Co. Ltd., and CPC Corp. Taiwan.

In addition to ExxonMobil PNG Limited, co-venturers are Oil Search Limited, National Petroleum Company of PNG, Santos Ltd., JX Nippon Oil & Gas Exploration Corp., Mineral Resources Development Company (representing landowners) and Petromin PNG Holdings Limited.

ExxonMobil continues to assess and advance new expansion and development opportunities in Papua New Guinea.


29) Long Delayed Business Complex Opens In Solomon Islands
Honiara’s ‘Landmark Plaza’ at Town Ground receives occupancy permit

By Daniel Namosuaia

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, May 25, 2014 ) – The controversial business complex at Town Ground, West Honiara which is now called ‘Landmark Plaza’ has finally got its occupancy permit last week.

The permit was issued by the Honiara city council environmental health division following the Town and Country Planning board’s resolution last week.

Documents have confirmed approvals from the division of planning and the environmental health division regarding inspections that qualify the occupancy over the years.

Issuance of the occupancy permit was the problem which stops any occupation of the business complex over the years.

It has taken until last week when the Town and Country Planning Board(TCPB) who has finally agreed to overturn its initial stand and made the approval for the issuance of the permit.

The occupancy permit was later issued this week to China United for the completion of the building’s first stage which has satisfactorily met the building and environmental health standards.

Managing Director of China United said this is good news for the country despite the struggles and hardship the company had faced over the years over legal battles with the building.

“I am glad that Honiara city council has finally issued occupancy permit for this complex. It shows that they have seen the importance of opening this building for commercial and recreational purpose for the benefit of the public and the country as a whole,” Shiyao Guo said.

Mr Guo said now that this building is open to public, it will reduce the stress of unemployment the country is facing and will also contribute to the country’s development and economy in terms of revenue through tax and employment opportunities.

Mr Guo said he acknowledged the TCPB’s decision despite a lengthy battle to try and get the occupancy permit for years.

“It’s good to see that council has realized the benefit this business complex will bring to the public of Honiara and also for us as investors.

“This signals a good message to other investors too despite legal issues that delayed this permit to come forth. It is a win-win situation because for the past years, millions in revenue and job opportunities could have already been realised if the permit was issued some years ago.

“But I believe this permit has just come at the right time to address the socio-economic situation this country and Honiara city had faced,” Gua added.

He said the plaza is now open for business houses and individuals who wish to occupy any of the rooms.

He said over the years a lot of businesses have opted interest to occupy the business complex but due to the delay of the occupancy permit businesses and Solomon Islanders are left disadvantaged.

The building which is now called the Landmark Plaza is offering 23 shop spaces at the ground floor,15 office spaces on the first floor and 3 multi-function halls.

It also provides 19 self contained apartments.

Meanwhile the management said they have taken steps to fix and repair the damages caused to the building.

“We have just replaced the broken window glasses, tiles and paints. We are currently working on cleaning up the building and make things ready now for new tenants wishing to move in,” Mr Guo said.

Chief health inspector of city council George Titiulu said has confirmed the issuance of the occupancy permit.

Mr Titiulu said the issuance of the occupancy permit was based on the TCPB resolution last week.

“TCPB is the only board who has the right to revoke its own decision. And now they revoked it therefore the certificate of occupancy permit was granted,” Titiulu said.

Solomon Star

30) Millions unidentified in FNPF account

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Update: 4:36PM MORE than $7million of members’ contributions remain unidentified because of mismatches in workers’ details provided by employers to the Fiji National Provident Fund.

In a statement this afternoon, FNPF said the funds were held in its suspense account, which was created for contributions paid by employers for their workers.

FNPF CEO Aisake Taito said employers needed to ensure that all new workers were registered with FNPF a week after they commenced employment.Fijitimes

31) Fiji Scores Low In Union Ranking For Workers Rights
Trade Union Congress ranks country in 2nd worst tier

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 26, 2014) – A newly released global index on workers rights ranks Fiji among the world’s worst countries for workers.

The International Trades Union Congress Global Rights Index ranks 139 countries with a score of one to five plus on how they protect workers in law and in practice.

The worst rating – five plus – goes to eight countries where the rule of law has completely broken down, including Somalia, Libya and the Central African Republic.

Fiji is among 24 countries with the second worst rating alongside Bangladesh, China, Egypt and India.

The index describes countries with this rating as having legislation which may spell out certain rights but workers have effectively no access to them, leaving them exposed to autocratic regimes and unfair labour practices.

No other Pacific Island country features in the ranking but Australia scored three and New Zealand two.

The body says the results show almost every country can improve its treatment of workers with only Denmark receiving a perfect score of zero for respecting all 97 indicators of workers’ fundamental rights.

Radio New Zealand International


32) Solomons Police Yet To Arrest ‘Big Players’ Behind Riots
Initiators of unrest yet to be identified, investigations continue

By Bradford Theonomi

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, May 25, 2014 ) – Police are yet to make any arrest on the ‘big players’ behind the recent riot and looting in east Honiara last week.

Acting Police Commissioner Ms Matanga said there are no initiators of the incident been arrest yet but investigations are still continuing.

“Investigation into finding key leaders is ongoing and police remains high alert to respond to any arising disturbances.”

Ms Matanga said so far 22 suspects have been arrested and charged, 6 of which have been released on bail condition.

Amongst those charged are four suspects on larceny and others on arson, criminal trespassing and unlawful assembly.

She said those arrested are of age 16 – 45 years and are mostly male.

The commissioner added while police operation remains on high alert, it is important that all stakeholders, responsible leaders and chiefs, and the public remain calm and help cooperate with the police.

Urging especially youths to refrain from such discouraging behaviour and do the right thing by staying away from trouble.

Ms Matanga acknowledged public cooperation so far and call for that same support to help reduce criminal activities in Honiara.

Solomon Star


33) PNG Court Voids Special Agricultural Leases
Oro Province customary landowners call decision ‘victory’

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, May 26, 2014) – The National Court has declared two special agriculture and business leases (SABL) covering 38,350 hectares of land in the Oro Province null and void and has ordered the State to cancel the title deeds.

The orders declaring the two leases null and void were through consent drawn up by the disputing parties and endorsed by the court.

The cancellation of the SABL titles has been described by the customary landowners as a victory for them and a case in point for other landowners throughout the country whose land may have been illegally given away in the guise of SABL to seek the courts’ intervention.

The land in question is part of the customary territory of nine indigenous tribes who rely on the natural landscape of the region as the basis for their economy and subsistence livelihoods.

Most of the land in question is pristine tropical forest containing extremely high levels of biological diversity.

According to the customary landowners, the SABL titles were issued on traditional land portions 113 and 143 in Collingwood Bay in Tufi, Oro Province, covering a land mass of 41,000 hectares.

Collingwood Bay holds many species of fauna and flora, with pristine and virgin forest, where fresh water is as pure as gold.

Under gazettal number G273 dated Friday, 27 July 2012; John Ofoi, the Acting Secretary for Lands Department, issued a 50 year SABL lease to Sibo Management Limited over Portion 113c . In the same Gazettal Notice, Mr Ofoi also granted a 50-year SABL lease to Wanigela Agro Industrial Limited for portion 143.

The two lands were then sub leased to ANG Agro Forest Management Ltd under the SABL. ANG Agro placed these assets under a company called Collingwood Plantations Pty Ltd and sold 51 per cent of the company to KLK for $US8.66 million. By KLK acquiring 51 percent of the company, it officially became the subsidiary of KLK.

The landowners initiated the court proceedings by way of a judicial review.

The application for leave was granted in December 2012 to pursue the case. The review was to determine whether proper procedures were followed pursuant to the Land Act to issue these titles.

The landowners were supported by Oro Governor Garry Juffa who also joined the court proceeding as the third plaintiff.

PNG Post-Courier


34) Concerns about asylum seeker in Pacific

27 May 2014

Psychiatrists say a new report showing high rates of distress and mental health problems in Australia’s asylum seeker camps should ring alarm bells.

The report was presented to the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists and is based on data collected by International Health and Medical Services.

That firm is contracted to look after the health of asylum seekers in the camps, including those on Nauru and Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island.

The Professor of Psychiatry at Monash University Louise Newman says the figures show the uncertain environment in offshore centres to be particularly stressful and she says the figures are unsurprising.

“They find that mental health deteriorates related to time spent in detention and again it raises the issues within the system of detention about our treatment and management of really high risk population groups.”

Professor Louise Newman of Monash University – Radio NZ


35) Day four without water

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Update: 2:37PM PARTS of Lautoka and Nadi are still without water supply, four days after the Water Authority of Fiji announced disruptions due to repair work on three major leaks.

In a statement, WAF said residents were still facing water cuts due to a break on a 32-year-old large water distribution main measuring 600millimeters.

WAF said a majority of repair work had been completed and it would take time for the reservoirs to be filled.

Trucks will continue to cart water to affected areas until supply is restored.Fijitimes

36) Pacific nations urge climate change action, ask Australia for help

Updated 27 May 2014, 16:26 AEST
Australian Network political editor Catherine McGrath

Delegates from Kiribati, Tuvalu and Papua New Guinea are in Canberra urging politicians to cut carbon emissions and to help them tackle climate change in their countries.

Songs of the Pacific have been heard at Parliament House as islanders from countries likely to be most at threat from rising sea levels braved the Canberra winter to highlight the issue of climate change.

In traditional dress, the group performed a cultural dance and spoke about their concerns.

When it comes to high tide you can see the tide everywhere it seeps through the whole island. It kills the crops – it kills our traditional root crops.

Maina Talia

The delegates, from Kiribati, Tuvalu and Papua New Guinea, are meeting federal politicians and officials representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop and Environment Minister Greg Hunt.

They are seeking a cut in carbon emissions and more assistance for their countries’ climate change mitigation.

Kiribati, which is only about two to three metres above sea level, and Tuvalu, at four metres above sea level, are already battling rising sea levels and crop losses.

The delegate from Wewak in PNG says her region in the East Sepik province is also in danger.

Apisaloma Tawati, 19, from Kiribati says the group is taking its campaign to the world.

“I am here today to make everyone aware of our hardship and to convince you that we need your help and … you can help us,” he said.

“As a youth I am afraid of climate change. I see our land is becoming thinner and thinner.

“We live near the coast and we see a lot of things. We saw coastal erosion, the land has been eroded away, sea walls have broken.

“I come to Australia to tell the world of our hardship and our stories back in Kiribati.

“Kiribati is enduring a lot of problems due to climate change.”

Delegates urge Australia to change climate change policy

Maina Talia, 29, from Tuvalu wants Australia to rethink its climate change policy.

“We are the most vulnerable of the most vulnerable countries,” he said.

“Since we don’t have any mountains or rivers, for us to adapt is very difficult. It is a burden to the people of Tuvalu as to how they can adapt.

“Now when it comes to high tide you can see the tide everywhere it seeps through the whole island.

“It kills the crops – it kills our traditional root crops.

“It (the rising sea levels) are just there and we don’t know how that happens but we believe it is climate change.”

Mr Talia says it is important to keep campaigning because people from Tuvalu feel so vulnerable.

“It is difficult to determine who is listening and who is not listening,” he said.

“I believe they have heard our message so many times but we keep on pushing and advocating for Tuvalu and Kiribati and low lying atolls [so] that leaders of Australia and other industrialised countries will continue to hear our voice.”Radio Australia


37) Vanuatu U20 footballers seek scoring touch

27 May 2014

The Oceania Under 20 football Championship reaches the halfway point on Tuesday with Vanuatu hoping to rediscover their scoring touch against American Samoa.

Vanuatu have yet to concede in their first two matches but have only found the back of the net once.

They’re in a tie for second place on four points, alongside Papua New Guinea, two behind hosts Fiji, who they play on Thursday.

American Samoa are buoyed are earning their first ever point at Under 20 level with a draw against PNG.

Assistant coach Anthony Pisano watched that game and says they’ll be tough to break down.

“They’re actually a fairly well-organised team and they really spoiled the party for PNG so we can’t be complacent today. We’ve got the boys motivated and up for today’s game so we just need to improve on our transition and our decision making in the last third. We’ve made some bad decisions in attack so that’s what we’ve been working on and hopefully today we will manage a few more goals”.

Elsewhere on Tuesday Fiji face PNG and New Caledonia take on Solomon Islands.

The winner of the six-team tournament will join hosts New Zealand as Oceania representatives at next year’s Under 20 World Cup.Radio NZ

38) Japan beats Hong Kong to book place in rugby WCup

By Online Editor
6:01 pm GMT+12, 25/05/2014, Japan

Yoshikazu Fujita scored three tries as Japan beat Hong Kong 49-8 Sunday to qualify for next year’s Rugby World Cup.

Fujita scored two of his three tries in the first half at the National Stadium when Japan took a commanding 27-3 lead.

Fujita ran in his third try in the second half to widen the advantage to 37-8.

As the top team in Asia, Japan will compete in Pool B against South Africa, Samoa, Scotland and the United States at next year’s World Cup in England.

Hong Kong, meanwhile, enters the repechage qualifying stage. It plays Uruguay on Aug. 2, with the winner taking on either Russia or the runner-up of the African qualifying tournament for a place in Pool A.

39) Brazilians blowing up over 2014 FIFA World Cup song
Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Update: 4:22PM THE official World Cup song is definitely striking a chord, the wrong one with many in host country Brazil.

Since the recent release of FIFA’s We Are One (Ole Ola), hordes of fans in Brazil have been slamming the official 2014 Cup theme.

Many expressed their frustration on Twitter under the tag #VoltaWakaWaka a plea for the return of the widely loved song that Colombian artist Shakira performed for the 2010 tournament in South Africa.

Although Brazilian Claudia Leitte is also featured in the official theme, critics say they don’t understand why Cuban-American rapper Pitbull and Bronx-born Puerto Rican singer Jennifer Lopez were chosen for the song when there are so many other great musicians in the land of Bossa Nova.

They also complain that the song is mostly in English and Spanish, leaving only a few seconds at the end for Leitte to sing in her native Portuguese.

“What I don’t like about the music is that it’s a poor, dull, generic pop theme,” said Gaia Passarelli, a Brazilian music journalist and a former VJ for MTV Brazil.

“It’s a shame considering Brazils rich musical tradition, which is admired all over the world.

“In the end, we lost a chance to do something rich, inspiring and cool. I’m feeling ‘saudades’ for Shakira,” Passarelli said, using a Portuguese word that roughly translates as painful longing.

Shakira does have a song on FIFA’s official World Cup album, the driving Dare (La La La).

By Sunday, a video of it featuring Barcelona players such as Argentina’s Lionel Messi and Brazil’s Neymar had been viewed nearly 27 million times on YouTube in the three days since its release. But i’ts not the designated official song for the event.

FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke emphasised Leitte’s involvement when the song was released earlier this year.

“In my many visits to this country, I’ve heard a lot about the great Brazilian music tradition and it gives me great pleasure to see a Brazilian artist at the heart of this song,” Valcke said after the theme was presented at Rio de Janeiros Maracana stadium.

The songs music video features images of Brazil’s icons like Rios Christ the Redeemer statue as well as Brazilian soccer stars.

But critics say it also reinforces stereotypes with smiling, barefoot children and semi-naked, samba-dancing women.

Naming an official FIFA song dates back to the 1966 Cup in England. Since then, fans have hummed to favourites such as Unestate italiana by Edoardo Bennato and Gianna Nannini in Italy 1990 and La Copa de la Vida by Ricky Martin in France 1998.

While Shakira’s catchy Waka Waka (This Time for Africa) was popular, Placido Domingos El Mundial for Spain 1982 was less so.

“The music in other World Cups was also stripped of local colour,” said Leonardo Martinelli, a composer and music critic who lives in Sao Paulo.

“Whether it’s in South Africa, Germany or Japan-Korea, the regional musical element was used only as a very light seasoning, just enough to give it a discreet local colour,” he said.

In the case of this latest song, the seasoning has its right amount of cliches and stereotypes usual with commercial music.

40) Fiji plans for PNG

Arin Kumar
Tuesday, May 27, 2014

FIJI U20 soccer coach Ravinesh Kumar is working on a plan to hand Papua New Guinea its first defeat of the OFC U20 Championship’s today.

Both sides are unbeaten with Fiji winning both their matches while PNG has won one and drew one.

Kumar took the Vodafone-sponsored side for a recovery session at the Damodar City Aquatic Centre yesterday morning to help the side recuperate from their 2-0 win over New Caledonia on Sunday.

He said there were a few bumps and bruises but the team had turned their focus on beating PNG.

“The next game against PNG is very important because we want to keep our winning run intact,” Kumar said.

“Two wins now and we are targeting the same for our next three games.”

He said his players would need to maintain consistency and deliver improved performances in every game.

“The players are following instructions and going according to the game-plan but one thing they must maintain is consistency.

“Because if they don’t, then their performance will fluctuate and that is not very good especially against PNG who are at the moment second to us,” he said.

Kumar thanked the fans for coming out in numbers to support the team and asked for them to be present at today’s game.

“I would urge the fans to continue coming to the ground to support the boys or the watch the games on FBC TV and to keep praying for these young players.”

PNG coach Wynton Rufer said his side would miss the services of goalkeeper Vagi Koniel who is injured and Joshua Talau who was suspended after he was shown the red card in their match against American Samoa.

“Vagi had a dislocation of the knee cap about two months ago and he’s recovered quite well from that but his first game since the injury was the 2-0 win against the Solomon Islands,” Rufer told

“He did well in that match but we think he may have reinjured the knee which means he probably won’t be able to play the next game.

“But miracles happen, we’re always looking for miracles as we were in the second half here against American Samoa. But at this stage we’re unsure if Vagi is going to be able to play in the Fiji game.”

The Fiji versus PNG match kicks off at 2.30pm at the ANZ Stadium.Fijitimes

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