Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 986
1a) Vanuatu daily news digest | 28 May 2014
- An historic signing over to custom owners of two titles to the land of the Belmol Santo cattle project, operated as Milai Vanuatu Limited, took place yesterday in the Ministry of Lands in the Pompidou Building. Custom owner declarations have been made to the huge property over eight years, and Nicholas Lee of Milai said he was pleased that at last a start could be made to the issuing of lease agreements. The Lands Ministry and Department are working to resolve disputes where custom owners of the remaining Belmol/Milai land are concerned. This is the first such land return since Independence in 1980. Minister Regenvanu praised the commitment of Milai Limited to ensure the correct process was followed.
- The Sarakata hydro project land claim is being settled and four land owners have confirmed to Radio Vanuatu News that resumption of power from the VUI hydro project will resume this week. Power to Luganville households has had to be supplied from town generators rather than the new hydro source owned by Vanafo people recently. Energy Department personnel attended a meeting at Santo yesterday. A payment is being transferred this week to the custom land owners. Namele fronds will be removed from the site by the custom owners today.
- PM Natuman has committed the government to finding ways of ending the practice of floor crossing to remove governments. He stated that he wanted to give credibility to the performance of the country’s national leaders. The people of Vanuatu must be able to make inputs to the proposed legislative and other changes needed during the next 12 months in meetings in constituencies, he said.
- Graon mo Jastis Efate MP, Gillion William Kalotiti has allocated an amount of VT 300.000 from his MP allowances for 25 students from his constituency allowance. This will be handed over tomorrow. The amount will be for the second term of the academic year.
- Entrepreneur Ross Wilson of the Joint Court area died on Monday. Long associated with Wilco and the Cocoa Project at Lambubu he was also involved in the building industry – BFJ Construction. He had been active in the golf and yacht clubs. His funeral will take place at 9 on Friday at the Port Vila Cemetry.
- Despite the Belmol and VUI energy cases at Santo being quickly taken up by the infant Natuman Government, Santo Rural Iauko Group MP Hosea Nevu remains unhappy that Santo has not had a ministerial appointment in the new government, Daily Post reports today. The paper also reports ousted PM Carcasses had to witness his leaders Regenvanu, Natapei and Natuman crossing the floor. Carcasses, it says, is now “regularly courting toppled MPs” for a motion of no confidence in the Natuman Government. Daily Post says it has established that a motion cannot be deposited during the month of June because of the World Cup.
- Tomorrow, Ascension Day and a public holiday in Vanuatu, there will be held thelargest garage sale ever and family fun day at the Saralana Park opposite Parliament and adjacent to the Cultural Centre. Friends Vanuatu and the Vanuatu Society for Disabled People are raising money for specialised therapy equipment for children and adults. The events start at 9am and donations of clothing, household items, jewelry and books, garden and household items are still appreciated.
2a) MINISTRY OF INFORMATION
MEDIA MONITOR/MAY 28TH 2014/11:00AM/
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1. PRIME MINISTER’S OFFICE
- PM attends international sugar meet- Prime Minister Rear Admiral Voreqe Bainimarama is currently in Jamaica to attend the 45th Annual International Sugar Organisation (ISO) Council conference. Presentations at the conference will include discussions on issues pertaining to cane breeding and development needs, opportunities for sugar, molasses and co-products amongst others. With the theme, “Positioning for the New Market Frontiers”, the conference will feature keynote speakers such as the executive director for the ISO, José Orive and the International Sugar Council chairman, Ambassador Derick Heaven.
- NLC plans to take VKB registration issue to Minister- The Native Land Commission is planning to take up an issue to the Minister for iTaukei Affairs soon which relates to the non-registration of children in the Vola Ni Kawa Bula whose father is non iTaukei and mother is iTaukei. Commission Chairman Ratu Sireli Vananalagi Vesikula said the current law states that only a person who has an iTaukei father can be registered. The other option is for a single mother who is an iTaukei is allowed to register her child in the Vola Ni Kawa Bula.
- FNPF has $7.4m in suspense account- The Fiji National Provident Fund is holding $7.4m in its suspense account. These are members’ contributions that remain unidentified given mismatches in employee details provided by Employers and member records held with the Fund. The money will be kept in the suspense account until such time the Fund is able to determine the owners of these funds. Chief executive Aisake Taito says while every effort is undertaken to reduce this problem, it can only be resolved through a collective effort by members, employers and the Fund.
2. ATTORNEY GENERAL’S OFFICE
- Elections office renovated to accommodate staff- The Elections Office has renovated its premises in Toorak, Suva to cater for additional staff for the September elections. There are 112 days left for the elections and the Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem says they will have three hundred staff to serve the public. “We have considered the needs of all Fijians including those who are disabled and hence we have put proper access to cater for their needs.” Saneem says staff recruitment is continuing.
3. MINISTER J. COKANASIGA
- Police arrest drug dealers- The Police Drug Unit is investigating cases where men were found in possession of dried leaves believed to be marijuana. Police arrested a 49-year-old man of Newtown, in Nasinu who was found in possession dried leaves believed to be illicit drugs. The man was arrested during a Police patrol around the Newtown area on Monday morning.
- Students injured in early morning bus accident- An unknown number of students have been taken to the CWM Hospital with broken limbs and other injuries after a bus accident in Kalabu, Nasinu this morning. The bus carrying students reportedly went off the road and hit other students walking to the nearby Kalabu Primary School before coming to a stop. Two ambulances rushed to the scene to ferry the injured to hospital.
4. MINISTER N. SHARMA
- More improvements in Health sector from past 5 years – Tora- More improvements have been done in the Health sector in the past 5 years compared to the previous 20 years. Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor Eloni Tora made this comment while responding to statements made by the Fiji Labour Party and the National Federation Party. He stresses that emergency cases are being seen at the Labasa Hospital at any time. Doctor Tora said once they get more doctors, a new health centre will be opened in Labasa town early next year with extended opening hours till 10pm.
- Our son wasn’t deported: Kumar- The family of the Fijian man who passed away at the Lautoka Hospital on Monday morning from kidney failure have rejected claims their son was deported from New Zealand as reported in media. Thirty year old Sanil Kumar left New Zealand on April 24 after being told by the New Zealand Immigration that his work permit wasn’t renewed. His father, Ronald Kumar says his son returned to Fiji because he was told that if he was deported he will not be able to return to New Zealand for further treatment.
- Clashes near Vale plant in Noumea- Two more police officers in New Caledonia have suffered gun shot wounds in renewed clashes near Noumea with scores of Kanak youth opposed to the nearby Vale nickel plant. About 150 riot police with armoured vehicles have been trying to reopen a key road south of Noumea which was first blocked on Saturday when the unrest started. The Vale plant has been shut for three weeks after a further acid spill, which has prompted calls for the six-billion US dollar plant to be closed for good. About 15 people are reported to have been arrested after driving a van into a police car. At the weekend, an unidentified group caused an estimated 20 million US dollars in damage by vandalising Vale offices and wrecking cars and trucks over the weekend. The nickel company has said the plant’s closure is out of question.
PS TALKBACK SHOW
RADIO FIJI ONE
- Fiji Commerce Commission representative Rents Officer, Mr. Sekope Ciriyamotu appeared for the morning talkback show. Mr Ciriyamotu discussed the role of the commission since its establishment in 2010. He highlighted the functions of the commission in regards to the operations of businesses and consumers. Mr Ciriyamotu explained the achievements of the first quarter which saw the implementation of 2 guidelines, namely the Towing guideline and the Rent for land lords guideline. The commission did a research and study at the ports on freights charges for local and overseas shipments. He also explained the announcement of the IPP rate of 33.08 cents per unit. He further mentioned other achievements and the plans for the 2nd quarter.
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2b) MINISTRY OF INFORMATION
MEDIA MONITOR/MAY 27TH 2014/7:30PM
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3. H. E PRESIDENT’S OFFICE
- President praises troops in Sinai – President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau has praised the peacekeeping work carried out by Fijian troops serving in the Sinai region. As Ratu Epeli rounded up his tour visiting troops serving in various peacekeeping missions in the Middle East, he thanked them for their service and for upholding Fiji’s historic commitment to peacekeeping missions. He pointed out that every Fijian was proud of the sacrifices made by each peacekeeping troop serving around the world.
Fiji TV News 6PM
4. PRIME MINISTER’S OFFICE
- India’s new PM thanks Fijian counterpart – Narendra Modi was sworn in as India’s 15TH Prime Minister yesterday. Modi led his Bharatiya Janata Party to a decisive victory in India’s national elections this month, winning 282 of 543 seats in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of Parliament. Meanwhile, tech-savvy Modi in his Tweeter account has thanked his Fijian counterpart Voreqe Bainimarama for his well wishes after he won the elections.
FBC TV News 6PM
- PM directs WAF to waive bills in Rotuma – The Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has directed that over half a million dollars in unpaid water bills on the island of Rotuma be waivered. The debt had been accumulating for decades WAF Team Leader Rural and Maritime Water and Sewerage Sakaraia Radovu says government’s intervention to clear the debts accumulated by Water Authority of Fiji customers on Rotuma now allows for continuous water supply.
FBC TV News 6PM
- NLC plans to take VKB registration issue to Minister – The Native Land Commission is planning to take up an issue to the Minister for iTaukei Affairs soon which relates to the non-registration of those children in the Vola Ni Kawa Bula whose father is non iTaukei and mother is iTaukei. Commission Chairman Ratu Sireli Vananalagi Vesikula said the current law states that only a person who has an iTaukei father can be registered. Based on this, the Native Land Commission Chairman said the issue will be taken up to the Minister and the itaukei Affairs Board soon.
- The Ministry of I-Taukei Affairs has now confirmed and gazetted the appointments of seven provincial councils heads. In Kadavu, Ratu Seci Nawalowalo as chairman of their provincial council. Alipate Radrodro is chair of the Bua Provincial Council while Atunaisa Kaloumaira is the chairperson of the Lomaiviti Provincial Council. In Namosi, Ratu Romanu Matanitobua is chairman of the provincil council there while Ratu Meli Bolobolo heads up the Ra Provincial Council.
Fiji TV News 6PM
- Prime Minister Rear Admiral Voreqe Bainimarama is in Jamaica to attend the 45th International Sugar Organisation council conference. The three day conference started today and is being attended by 100 delegates from 40 countries. Presentations at the conference will include discussion on issues relating to cane breeding and development needs, opportunities for molasses and sugar products amongst others. Bainimarama is also the immediate past chair of the council after Fiji successfully hosted the 43rd council session in Denarau last year. He is being accompanied by the permanent secretary for Sugar Manasa Vaniqi, director Viliame Gucake and the Sugar Cane Growers Council chief executive Sundresh Chetty.
Fiji TV News 6PM
- FSC prepares for next sugarcane crushing season – The Fiji Sugar Corporation is now preparing for the next crushing season starting next month. Executive Chairman Abdul Khan said they have finished repairing all four mills. He said the current wet condition will not have any impact on the crushing season.
- Upgraded cane access roads should soon enable sugar cane farmers to supply cane to the four mills in a an efficient manner. Ministry of Sugar permanent secretary Manasa Vaniqi says upgrade works on some cane access roads will start very soon. Vaniqi said with a budgetary allocation of $2million this year, works on cane access roads will ensure a smooth supply to all sugar mills. Work has already started on the construction of a $300,000 Irish crossing at Uluisila at Cuvu in Sigatoka. This will be completed in July and benefit up to 20 cane farmers. He says one of the biggest successes of the cane access roads last year was the low number of standing cane in the field.
Fiji TV News 6PM
- PIFS commends Fiji’s financial sector – The Pacific Island Forum Secretariat has commended Fiji’s financial sector which has made great strides in financial inclusion in the past years. PIFS Program Manager – Reuben Simmerlin says 150,000 Fijians now have bank account and insurance policies, a target which was set in 2009. Simmerlin says Fiji’s Financial Inclusion Strategy enables all members of the community especially the marginalized and the poor to have access to the financial sector.
- Over $7M in FNPF suspense account – There is more than $7 million in Fiji National Provident Fund’s suspense account. According to FNPF $7.4 million of member’s contributions remain unidentified due to mismatches in employee details provided by Employers and members records held with the Fund. FNPF said the contributions are held in the suspense account until the Fund is able to determine the owners of these funds.
FBC TV News 6PM
5. ATTORNEY GENERAL’S OFFICE
- Fiji increases IPP tariff rate – In an effort to attract major renewable energy investments into the country, the Commerce Commission has approved a ten per cent increase of the Independent Power Producer tariff rate. The 3.08 cents increase comes into effect immediately. Commerce Commission Chair Dr Mahendra Reddy they had earlier determined to adopt a rate of 33.08 cents to be awarded in two phases.
Fiji TV News 6PM
FBC TV News 6PM
- Church, minister ordered to pay damages – Seven years after their home in Gau was partially torn down after they were falsely accused of practicing witchcraft, a father and his son return home today with more than $30,000 in compensation, after a high court in Suva ordered defendants including the Methodist Church in Fiji to pay up for damages. Court papers show that the house in question at Nacavanadi village was vacant at the time and belonged to Ravuama Vonu and his son Akariva Vura – the former who was living in Suva and the latter, a schoolteacher, was teaching in Koro Island. Justice Kotigalage said the church was also liable for the damages because it failed to exercise his duty which was to monitor the actions of its ministers, in this case Rev. Koroi.
- 136 Fijians register in PNG voter drive – Less than half of the eligible Fijian voter population in Papua New Guinea registered in the recent voter registration drive in the Pacific Island country last week. Out of the 289 eligible voters – of 229 in Port Moresby and 60 in Lae – only 136 people were registered in PNG – of 103 in Port Moresby and 33 in Lae. Two officials from the Fiji Elections Office were in PNG to carry out the five-day-long registration drive in Port Moresby and Lae which started on Wednesday, May 14 and ended on Monday, May 19.
- We have itaukei support: Draunidalo – Fiji’s National Federation Party president Tupou Draunidalo insists the party has the support of the i-taukei community despite a low turnout at the party’s meeting in Tacirua on Sunday. Out of the 80 people who attended the meet, there were only about 10 representatives from the i-taukei community. Speaking to FijiLive, a confident Draunidalo says the party has a good support base.
- Starting yesterday the Fijian Elections Office also opened up voter registration centres across the Middle East. This is for those working across the region such as our former nurses, pilots and soldiers. In order to register, Fijians must produce a valid Fijian passport and be at least 18 years of age. There are two teams carrying out this important exercise with the first starting from the United Arab Emirates at Fijis embassy there in Abu Dhabi. This week the registration team will be at four separate centres around UAE. From this weekend, the team travels to Oman for two days and also starting today the second registration team started its work in Qatar for a day long registration drive before moving on to Kuwait tomorrow and Thursday. They will conduct their final registrations in Lebanon from Friday right up to next Monday when they wrap up
Fiji TV News 6PM
- The Fiji Labour Party will launch its manifesto and announce candidates for the September 17 General Election soon. Party Leader Mahendra Chaudhry confirmed this after returning from the North in a trip to visit supporters of the Party. Chaudhry says he is confident that the party support in the North is intact after attending 14 meetings with supporters.
Fiji TV News 6PM
- The Fijian Elections Office has renovated its office in Toorak, Suva to proivde space for additional staff as the elections approach. There are 112 days left for the elections in September and the Elections Office says they will have 300 staff to serve the public.
FBC TV News 6PM
6. MINISTER I. KUBUABOLA
(FOREIGN AFFAIRS/INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION)
- Fiji’s newly appointed permanent representative to the United Nations Office in Geneva has presented her credentials to the UN. Senior UN representatives, led by the acting director general of the UN office in Geneva Michael Moller received Nazhat Shameem’s credentials. He assured close cooperation between his office and the Fiji Mission. The establishment of the Geneva Mission will enable the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation to carry out the multitude of work in international organizations in Geneva that are relevant to Fiji’s interest. Fiji’s mission in Geneva will be opened on next Monday by Prime Minister Rear Admiral Voreqe Bainimarama.
Fiji TV News 6PM
7. MINISTER J.COKANASIGA
- Tourist died due to less oxygen – Police have confirmed the death of a 37 year old Australian tourist in Sigatoka on Sunday was caused by ‘Asphyxia’ due to drowning. This is a condition of severely deficient supply of oxygen to the body that arises from abnormal breathing. Police spokesperson Atunaisa Sokomuri told FBC News the post mortem was conducted by Dr Pon Sami Goundar at the Lautoka Hospital.
- Students arrested for giving false information – Two tertiary students will be appearing in the Labasa Magistrate Court for giving false information to Police. It is alleged the first accused, a 19 year old female student and her boyfriend stole $1,400 cash and over $6,000 worth of jewelries belonging to the girl’s mother. The two then called other two friends and partied with the money.
- Police continue probe into 3 separate drug cases – Investigations continue after three cases of illicit drugs were reported to Police yesterday. In the first case a 48-year-old man of Newtown was found in possession of dried leaves believed to be illicit drugs when police were patrolling around the Newtown area. In the second case a 56-year-old caretaker of Vatudamu, Savusavu found 12 pots with 16 plants believed to be marijuana in his compound yesterday. In another case a 35-year-old farmer of Tavea, Bua has been questioned and released yesterday after he was found in possession of marijuana which is believed to be in a packet.
8. MINISTER I. SERUIRATU
(BIOSECURITY AUTHORITY OF FIJI)
- There is now confirmation from the Biosecurity Authority of Fiji that the species of iguana found yesterday near Udu on Vanua Levu was in fact the pest American Iguana. This is after a team from BAFs Savusavu office visited Tawake Village where the species was found to verify it. BAF executive chairman Xavier Riyaz Khan has confirmed that his officers also established that it was a male American Iguana and was later put to sleep. The authority is now investigating how the pest species ended up in Tawake Village in Macuata. BAF says it is highly unlikely for it to have swam across from either Taveuni, Qamea, Matagi or even Laucala where it has become a pest. BAF has also advised that public that there is still an emergency declaration against the pest and anyone found moving or transporting it can face a fine of up $40,000 for an individual and $200,000 for a corporate body
Fiji TV News 6PM
9. MINISTER N. SHARMA
- More improvements in Health sector from past 5 years – Tora – More improvements have been done in the Health sector from the past 5 years compared to the previous 20 years. Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor Eloni Tora made this comment while responding to statements made by the Fiji Labour Party and the National Federation Party. Fiji Labour Party Leader, Mahendra Chaudhry raised serious concerns over the closing hours of the outpatients department at the Labasa Hospital saying that during weekdays the outpatient department closes at 4pm, on Saturdays the department closes at 12pm while on Sunday the department remains closed. Doctor Tora said the Accident and Emergency Unit is open 24/7 for emergency cases while the general outpatients are closed after 4pm and also closed during weekends and public holidays.
- A young Ba resident who returned to Fiji last month after his work permit wasn’t renewed in New Zealand died from kidney failure yesterday morning. 30-year-old Sunil Kumar died at the Lautoka Hospital after developing an infection a week ago. The family is outraged with New Zealand’s Immigration decision and claim the media had defamed their son. New Zealand media reports that New Zealand minister for immigration Kaine was advised by the Fiji Health Ministry that appropriate dialysis treatment was available in Fiji and she stands by her decision to send Sunil to Fiji. Questions sent to the Health Ministry and Fiji Cancer Society remained unanswered
FBC TV News 6PM
- Meanwhile in a statement last this afternoon Fiji Kidney Foundation says it had advised New Zealand immigration of the availability of haemodialysis treatment service available in Fiji. It adds the patient may be depressed of the situation turnaround and deportation orders without any concern for humanitarian or merciful thoughts. It adds that when a patient gets infected, they are always taken care of by nurses
FBC TV News 6PM
- PNG gets large solar project – The World Bank, through its commercial arm the International Finance Corporation or IFC, has unveiled plans to get solar generated electricity services delivered to about half a million people in remote parts of Papua New Guinea. The IFC’s Vice President for Asia Pacific, Karin Finkelston, says their off-grid lighting scheme will boost business and educational opportunities, cut household spending and improve safety. It has been launched in Port Moresby today with details of an analysis of the market, which Ms Finkelston says shows a widespread need and a market poised for strong growth.
PS TALKBACK SHOW
RADIO FIJI TWO
- Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) representatives Sangeeta Singh and Arti Naidu appeared for the evening show. They explained the role of the organisation in trying to advocate against the corruptive practices that exist in the government ministries and organisations. They highlighted the second quarter plans and the achievements of the organization. The achievements of the first quarter has had major impacts to the appropriate stakeholders through the awareness programs that have been conducted nationwide. The fight against corruption also involves close cooperation with the police, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Justice. They elaborated the successful outcomes of the awareness programs and the actions taken by the public to report on corrupt acts. They also explained the plans for this quarter.
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3) American Samoa Power Authority Prepares For Possible Drought
El Niño likely to bring severe dry season
By Fili Sagapolutele
PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (The Samoa News, May 27, 2014) – The American Samoa Power Authority is preparing for possible drought conditions during the upcoming dry season as well as an active tropical season later this year, according to ASPA executive director Utu Abe Malae.
ASPA’s drought program and preparations were revealed by Utu last Thursday during a news conference called by the Department of Health to update the community on the diarrhea outbreak, which has affected more than 150 people.
Utu said ASPA will implement support services to help those families affected by the outbreak and the services are being combined with ASPA’s drought program.
Responding to separate email questions last Friday afternoon, Utu said that ASPA is planning for a drought based on the Pacific Enso Update of Apr. 23 which indicates that “…drought conditions will likely occur as American Samoa enters its dry season.”
The dry season for the Samoas begins in June. “ASPA is also preparing for an active tropical cyclone season starting November because of the intense El Nino event developing in the Pacific,” Utu said.
He said the last serious drought for American Samoa was during an intense El Nino event in 1998. “We almost had to shut down the canneries; if that had happened, government would have suffered a furlough,” he said. “In fact, during the droughts of 1974 and 1983 ASG did have to cut back on hours, and the canneries curtailed operations.”
Normal rainfall for the year is about 120 inches (measured at the airport) but in 1998 there was only 56.87 inches of rain; in 1974 it was 77.89 and 1983 in was 87.36, according to data provided by Utu per the National Weather Service in Tafuna.
Asked about details or information involved in the drought program, Utu explained that ASPA will find and repair leaks in transmission, distribution, service lines and even at customer homes.
Additionally, ASPA will “work with canneries to reduce water consumption; seek other sources of water for non-potable use, such as through rain-water harvesting at the canneries; enforcement for the program for non-technical water losses (e.g., theft); plan the rationing protocol; and hire plumbers and plumbing companies to implement the repairs,” he said.
Utu also says that the drought preparation program was developed in 1998. “We assigned a program leader to a War Room and he conducted the entire program successfully. The canneries continued production, and there were no ASG layoffs or reduced hours,” he said. “ASPA is looking for a couple of people like that who can drive this effort as well as others.”
The budget for the drought program, combined with the DoH sanitation program, is set at $560,000, Utu said.
The Samoa News
4) Guam Kicks Off Fundraising For Festival Of The Pacific Arts
Committee hopes to raise $2 million of $13 million budget
By Jasmine Stole
HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Marianas Variety Guam, May 28, 2014) –Organizers of the Festival of the Pacific Arts have estimated a working budget of $13 million to host 26 island nations for the festival in 2016 on Guam.
Theresa Arriola, event chairwoman, said $11 million of the $13 million will come from the local government or company sponsorships, which leaves about $2 million for the committee to come up with through various fundraising events and sponsorships. Arriola said she is optimistic about the amount the committee could raise and said $2 million in two years is a manageable goal.
“We have established a working budget of $13 million; $5 million of that will come from the government appropriations; $6 million we’re looking at in-kind contributions from the government as well as the private sector,” Arriola said.
So far, two companies have already pledged support. United Airlines has been named the official airline service of the festival and Bank of Guam has been recognized the official bank sponsor of the festival. Arriola said both companies have pledged $100,000 each.
The committee also launched its first community fundraiser last night, entitled Dinanña Kotturan Guahan. Though it started late, the fundraiser served as a preview of what can be expected during FestPac 2016. Arriola said the event featured cultural performances, local art and local foods.
“It’s not even close to what the plans are in 2016,” Arriola said. “It’s a glimpse of what Guam will do.”
Arriola said the FestPac organizing committee hoped to collect about $20,000 from the event and nearly made it. The event chairwoman also said most of the tickets for last night’s event were sold prior to the doors opening at 6 p.m.
Despite a stacked social calendar, Arriola said the committee was able to sell enough tickets and collect an amount “very, very close” to $20,000.
The details of the next fundraiser have not been finalized. Arriola said the plan is for another group of island cultures to preview their FestPac performances and artwork in the same way as last night’s Dinanña Kotturan Guahan event. The next fundraiser is expected to occur in the latter part of this year.
“It’s a daunting task and the festival is not a GVB event; it’s not a government event; it’s not a private sector event. It really is all of us pulling together,” Arriola said. “The wonderful thing about the festival is that it’s the island’s event – Guam is hosting.” She added that the last time an event this large was held on Guam was the South Pacific Games hosted in 1999.
Arriola said it won’t be for another few decades that Guam will host an event of this stature and said it is an exciting time in the island’s history. “This is the first time Guam is hosting a cultural, international festival,” she said.
The 12th annual Festival of Pacific Arts will run from May 22 through June 4, 2016. About 2,500 performers, artists and cultural practitioners are expected to showcase the unique cultures of the 26 other island nations within the Pacific.
Thousands of festival attendees are also expected, a statement from FestPac said. The festival is held every four years. The 11th Annual FestPac was held in the Solomon Islands in 2012.
Participants are expected from American Samoa, Australia, Cook Islands, Easter Island, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji Islands, French Polynesia, Hawaii, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Norfolk Island, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Pitcairn Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, and Wallis and Futuna.
Marianas Variety Guam
5) PNG NBC kisim brodcast rait bilong namba 5 Melanesian arts na Culture fest
Updated 28 May 2014, 15:20 AEST
National Brodcasting Corperation (NBC) long Papua New Guinea i kisim tokoarit bilong bodcastim namba 5 Melanesian Arts na Culture em bai stat long namba 28 de bilong mun June igo inap long namba 11 de bilong July long despela yar.Radio Australia
Odio: Siaman bilong National Cultural Commission long Papua New Guinea Dr Jacob Simet i toktok wantaim Pius Bonjui
6) Brèves d’Australie et du Pacifique – mercredi 28 mai 2014
Mis à jour 28 May 2014, 13:14 AEST
Franck Bainimarama a redit son soutien au peuple kanak dans le processus d’autodétermination. Il oublie les autres territoires, à commencer par la Papouasie occidentale.
Le Premier ministre fidjien Franck Bainimarama salue l’Équatorien Xavier Lasso Mendoza, Président du Comité Spécial des 24, à Suva, le 21 mai dernier. (Source: ministère fidjien de l’Information)
Le Premier ministre fidjien a asisté la semaine dernière lors du sommet du Comité des 24 à Suva. Mais il a oublié d’autres territoires qui veulent leur indépendance dans le Pacifique, « Maohi Nui, Rapa Nui, Guam, et la Papouasie occidentale », souligne François Pihaatae, le secrétaire-général de la Conférence des Églises du Pacifique. Fidji a accepté en janvier dernier de ne pas se mêler de la politique indonésienne en Papouasie occidentale. Le Président indonésien Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono se rendra à Fidji le 18 juin. Ce sera l’occasion de vérifier la position de Franck Bainimarama vis-à-vis des revendications indépendantistes papoues.
Mardi, la Malaisie a publié les données satellitaires du MH 370. Celles enregistrées par l’opérateur britannique Inmarsat et qui ont orienté les recherches au large de la côte ouest de l’Australie, dans l’océan Indien. Les familles des victimes chinoises demandent en effet des preuves que l’avion s’est bien abîmé là. En Australie, les experts de l’organisation de science et de technologie de l’armée mènent une nième vérification des données du MH 370 communiquées par Inmarsat. Angus Houston, le coordonnateur des recherches, insiste : pour lui la piste de l’océan Indien est la plus probable.
Îles Cook: une petite boule brune-noirâtre rejoint le musée national. Ce nodule de manganèse ne paie pas de mine. Mais il est historique. L’Autorité des Minéraux des Fonds océaniques l’a offert mercredi au musée, car c’est l’unique rescapé de la collection de nodules prélevés dans les eaux des Iles Cook dans les années 70 et 80. Mais au moins 10 milliards de tonnes de ces nodules sommeillent au fond des eaux rarotongaises. Ils contiennent du manganèse, du nickel, du cuivre, du titanium, du cobalt, des métaux recherchés.
Le Samoa américain prépare son réseau électrique à une sécheresse importante. La saison sèche, qui débute en juin, devrait être aggravée par El Nino, qui entre en piste dans le Pacifique Sud. Le fournisseur d’électricité, ASPA, répare en ce moment le réseau électrique en prévision de la sécheresse. En 1998, lors de la dernière grande sécheresse, le réseau électrique était en surchauffe, les conserveries de poisson ont failli fermer.
Tonga: après la Nouvelle-Zélande, la Banque mondiale elle aussi estime que l’avion de Real Tonga est trop dangereux et devrait être cloué au sol. Le fameux MA 60 a été donné par la Chine pour remplacer celui de la compagnie néo-zélandaise Chathams Pacific, qui a cessé son activité à Tonga. Le gouvernement tongien demande du temps pour répondre à la Banque Mondiale. La très mauvaise réputation de cet avion a fait chuter le tourisme à Tonga.
Australie: Qantas va fermer ses centres d’appel à Brisbane d’ici 2016 et Melbourne d’ici juin 2015. 450 salariés vont perdre leurs emplois. Il ne restera que le centre d’appels de Hobart, la capitale tasmanienne. Ce n’est que le début d’une restructuration de la compagnie aérienne. Qantas va supprimer en tout 5000 emplois pour faire 2 milliards de dollars d’économies.
L’Australie envisage d’interdire les colorants azoïques, ces teintures potentiellement cancérigènes. La commission de la consommation et de la concurrence rendra son rapport au gouvernement en juillet. Depuis mars, 208 000 articles, jean, draps, etc., de 8 marques australiennes ont été retirés du commerce en raison de leur concentration en colorants azoïques. Tous les colorants azoïques sont interdits en Allemagne depuis 1996. En France, certains sont encore autorisés aujourd’hui.
Australie: il tente une traversée de l’océan Indien à la rame. Tim Spiteri est arrivé à Geraldton. Ce policier originaire du Victoria quittera ce port au milieu de la côte ouest de l’Australie ce week-end. Il devra ramer sur 8500 kilomètres à bord de son bateau de 14 mètres. Tim Spiteri espère arriver en Afrique du Sud au bout de 60 jours. Objectif : inciter les gens à donner pour la recherche sur la sclérose en plaque. Sa mère est en effet atteinte de cette maladie. Tim Spiteri est un rameur aguerri, il a déjà traversé l’Atlantique, des Canaries à la Barbade, en 2003.
7) Forum Trade Ministers Meet In Kiribati
PACER Plus agreement important item on agenda
NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, May 27, 2014) –Trade ministers from around the region will attend the Pacific Forum Trade Ministers tomorrow 28 May in Kiribati.
The meeting is annually organised by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat for members to discuss Pacific trade and trade negotiations. One of the most important trade negotiations being discussed this year is the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) Plus.
The PACER Plus is a proposed trade, development and economic cooperation agreement currently being negotiated by 13 Pacific Island countries (including Tonga) with New Zealand and Australia.
Secretary General of the Pacific Forum Secretariat, Tuiloma Neroni Slade stated “The focus on trade promotion and facilitation initiatives will assist our members in translating opportunities into real trade transactions immediately. It also aligns with global efforts towards improving trade facilitation and is in recognition of the outcomes of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Conference held in Bali in December 2013.”
“Trade promotion and trade facilitation reforms need to become a priority for the Forum Island Countries to enable them to benefit from the global trading opportunities,”
Matangi Tonga Magazine
8) With urban population set to soar, UN convenes major event on sustainable cities
By Online Editor
4:24 pm GMT+12, 28/05/2014, United States
With 6.3 billion people expected to live in urban areas by 2050, the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) today kicked off a three-day event to look at challenges and opportunities for the sustainable future of cities.
Sustainable urbanization is the focus of the event, which is the first-ever meeting of ECOSOC’s integration segment – a new annual segment on the economic, social and environmental pillars of sustainable development.
“The decision to focus on sustainable urbanization for the first session of the segment was sensible and timely in view of the growing impact of urbanization trends on sustainable development; and in view of the growing importance of cities in delivering practical results to reduce poverty, protect the natural environment and improve disaster reduction and resilience,” said ECOSOC Vice-President Vladimir Drobnjak.
More than 50 per cent of the world’s population lives in urban areas today. By 2050, about 70 per cent of the world’s population is expected to live in urban areas, and more than 60 per cent of the land projected to become urban by 2030 is yet to be developed. Ninety-five per cent of urban expansion will take place in developing countries.
“Urban areas are at the heart of many great challenges, opportunities and promise,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the gathering. “People move to cities for jobs and other opportunities. But too many cities face challenges, including weak infrastructure, unemployment and pollution. Climate change is increasing risks in all cities, where the poorest people are hit the hardest.”
He noted plans and policies must consider the people that they affect. This means that urban transport policies should focus on the safety of women, access for the disabled, and meeting the needs of all vulnerable people; that efforts to encourage business activity should also promote corporate responsibility; and that the capacity of governments should be strengthened to plan, construct and manage urban areas.
Isabelle F. Picco, Vice-President of the General Assembly, said that with the right policies and approaches, urbanization can be a “transformative force” that helps address some of the world’s major challenges, such as poverty, unemployment and climate change.
“We must harness the creative energies and resources of cities. For they will be the fertile ground where our global sustainable development efforts take root,” she added.
The President of Rwanda, the Vice-President of Colombia, and the mayors of Istanbul, Kingston, Johannesburg, Paris and Victoria, amongst other cities, are among the participants at the event being held at UN Headquarters, as well as former Mayor of New York City and UN Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change Michael Bloomberg.
SOURCE: UN NEWS CENTRE/PACNEWS
9) PNG records 800,000 malaria cases in 2012
By Online Editor
1:34 pm GMT+12, 28/05/2014, Papua New Guinea
More than 800,000 malaria cases in Papua New Guinea were confirmed in 2012 in PNG while 94% of the population live in high-transmission areas, an official says.
British MP and global malaria promoter Stephen O’Brien said the country carried “one of the highest burdens in the Pacific region”.
He is the leader of a United Nations delegation on “roll-back malaria partnership” which arrived in the country on Sunday.
They will look at local malaria programmes and meet authorities.
“This visit will highlight the importance of the private sector investment in malaria control to help expand access to health services and unlock resources. It will strengthen partnership for malaria control in PNG,” he said.
“PNG is an important partner in our global development efforts. I’m happy to visit the country,” he said.
UN official Herve Verhoosel said: “As we enter these last days of UN’s Millennium Development Goals of 2015, and in the face of financial and biological challenges, I encourage the private sector to consider the role they might play in the communities in which they operate and how they will help advance our efforts to fight malaria unlock the potential of all Papua New Guineans.”
Verhoosel said there had been an increase in malaria interventions under the Government’s national malaria strategic plan. It has helped achieve a 95% nationwide coverage rate of long-lasting insecticide treated nets and a 35% increase in anti-malaria treatment between 2009 to 2012.
SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS
10) Anti-AIDS treatment ineffective
By Online Editor
4:10 pm GMT+12, 28/05/2014, Papua New Guinea
The anti-retroviral treatment (ART) for HIV/AIDS is not working for some patents.
This was highlighted at the discussion on treatment failures between Papua New Guinea’s National AIDS Council and it development partners.
The executive director for Igat Hope, Annie Mcpherson, said four people on ART died recently.
Igat Hope hosted the first forum yesterday in Port Moresby with the donors and development partners, national network for people living with HIV and United Nation AIDS.
The forum was to look at issues and challenges that people living with HIV in the countrywere facing and to find solutions and real actions to address them.
“Apart from the ART treatment failure, some issues raised like care and access to service support also contributed to the deaths of the four people,” Mcpherson said.
Mcpherson raised some questions about what was happening with the treatment and who was responsible to follow up and monitor treatment failures and complications.
She relayed the questions to the parties that gathered.
“It no longer a piece of paper or a policy, it’s about human beings dying and people continue to suffer in silence and continue to struggle with stigma and discrimination,” she said.
“There has to be some commitment done to help the treatment to work effectively and reduce stigma and discrimination.”
She said people receiving treatment had said that there was still failure in some areas where there was not enough counselling, quality care for people living with HIV having dropped significantly and the barrier between them, the health workers, doctors and nurses was still existing.
After long discussions, UNAIDS country director Steven JKraus ended the forum with immediate actions plans to address some of the issues raised.
SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS
11) Fiji Halts United Arab Emirates Nurse Recruitment
Testing upon arrival in UAE prior to hire frustrates effort
SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, May 26, 2014) – The Fijian Government has halted the recruitment of local nurses for United Arab Emirates (UAE) health sector.
Fiji’s UAE Ambassador based in Abu Dhabi, Robin Nair said the decision to halt the recruitment stem from a requirement that nurses had to travel to the Emirates and sit for a test before they were hired.
Nair said they would want to see that requirement amended and a contract set up to safeguard the interests of locals serving in UAE.
“We asked them if they could allow them to take that test in Fiji to give them the opportunity to come across,” Nair said.
There are a total of 25 local nurses serving in the UAE.
Nair said they were also working on identifying lucrative job markets for Fijians overseas and ensuring welfare of these workers.
“We want to ensure that when Fijians come to work here, they are looked after well,” he said.
In the UAE, there are also 25 locals who work as pilots, 20 as cabin crew and others who work in the hotel industry and seafarers.
Meanwhile, the economy received a boost in excess of $300 million in 2013 in the form of remittance from Fijians working abroad which is an increase from the $93.4 million that was remitted to Fiji in 2000.
12) Solomon Islands electoral candidates accused of buying votes
By Online Editor
4:15 pm GMT+12, 28/05/2014, Solomon Islands
Transparency Solomon Islands has heard allegations that the new biometric registration system designed to reduce election fraud is being abused by candidates.
The group is calling on the government to make it illegal for anyone to buy or collect voter registration cards.
Transparency chief executive Daniel Fenua has received reports of one candidate buying official voter registration cards and exchanging them for his own ‘supporter cards’.
He then intends to return the official cards to voters with a cash incentive to vote his way.
“Just before the polling date, their card will be given back with some cash, some influence for people to vote for them,” Fenua told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat.
“Given we have this Melanesian culture of reciprocity, if someone gives you money just during that day, you feel obligated to support that person’s candidacy by voting for him or her.”
But Solomon Islands’ chief electoral officer Polycarp Haununu argues there is no guarantee that buying votes yields results, given there is no way of knowing which candidate a voter chose.
“The rumour has it that some have bought cards but that doesn’t mean that whoever’s card has been held, will vote for that political candidate,” Haununu said.
“It’s up to the electors to choose to vote for that person or otherwise.”
Haununu says he has not yet received any formal complaint against candidates buying voter registration cards.
He says the electoral commission and police will only be able to investigate the allegations if a formal complaint is made.
“If candidates are buying votes, people have to report such cases to the police and the police will investigate,” he said.
“Unless I receive any formal complaint, I can’t take the case to the police to investigate.”
Fenua has voiced concerns to the electoral commission over electoral fraud allegations but cannot register a formal complaint until the rumours are confirmed and more claimants come forward.
“A lot of people are too afraid to come forward and report these allegations,” he said.
“They are not really brave enough to come forward and they’re in fear that something will happen to them.”
So far, only one “client” has come forward with a complaint to Transparency Solomon Islands.
“We are trying to get in touch with the client, [to find out] if it is OK with him for us to take that matter forward,” Fenua said.
“I encourage others to come in and support those kinds of similar cases.”.
SOURCE: RADIO AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS
13) Vanuatu Republican Party doesn’t support any new motion, former PM quit politics
By Online Editor
4:17 pm GMT+12, 27/05/2014, Vanuatu
The Vanuatu Republican Party (VRP) Secretary General, Jossie Masmas has dismissed rumours that the Party has signed a motion of no confidence against the newly elected Prime Minister, Joe Natuman.
“VRP is not part of the current Opposition sponsored motion by the ousted and former Prime Minister Moana Carcasses.
“It is not the VRP’s intention to sign the motion and shall never sign the motion.
“The reason is simple. The VRP President Marcelllino Pipite who is also the Santo rural MP was one of the key political figures behind the ousting of the former Prime Minister Carcasses and at the same time was instrumental also in the election of the Tanna MP Joe Natuman as the new prime minister of Vanuatu,” said Masmas.
“The National Executive Council of the Vanuatu Republican Party will never ever support the former Prime Minister Moana Carcasses Opposition sponsored motion because he was responsible for removing the VRP President and MP from the ministerial post of trade and tourism,” Masmas revealed to the Daily Post.
He confirmed that the VRP National Executive had taken the stand to support the new Prime Minister and pledged the support to see that Natuman remains in power until the end of the term of this government.
“VRP will stage its National Congress at Port Olry on Santo on August 19, 2014 and one of the priority agenda is to formally endorse the support for the Prime Minister Joe Natuman and the current coalition Government to remain in power until 2016.
“We want to assure the VRP supporters and the people of Vanuatu that VRP is benefiting from the coalition make up despite not being given a ministerial portfolio,” Masmas told the Daily Post.
Meanwhile, Vanuatu veteran politician 73-year – old Maxime Carlot Korman who has won back to back general elections since the 1979 elections except the one two years ago has decided to quit politics.
Korman, who was the country’s First Speaker of Parliament in 1979 and first the Secretary General of the Union of Moderate Parties to become PM in 1991 will Friday step down as President of the Vanuatu Democratic Party.
“After a political career beginning in 1977 to becoming Speaker at two separate occasions and two time Prime Minister at different times I have decided to hand over the Presidency of VDP to another person,” the Erakor statesman told Daily Post.
SOURCE: VANUATU DAILY POST/PACNEWS
14) Violence Continues Near New Caledonia Nickel Plant
Police shot, Vale offices, vehicle suffer $20 million in damage
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 28, 2014) – Two more police officers in New Caledonia have suffered gun shot wounds in renewed clashes near Noumea with scores of Kanak youth opposed to the nearby Vale nickel plant.
About 150 riot police with armoured vehicles have been trying to reopen a key road south of Noumea which was first blocked on Saturday when the unrest started.
The Vale plant has been shut for three weeks after a further acid spill, which has prompted calls for the six-billion US dollar plant to be closed for good.
About 15 people are reported to have been arrested after driving a van into a police car.
At the weekend, an unidentified group caused an estimated 20 million US dollars in damage by vandalising Vale offices and wrecking cars and trucks over the weekend.
The nickel company has said the plant’s closure is out of question.
[PIR editor’s note: RNZI reported that New Caledonia business organisation “MEDEF’s chief executive, Catherine Weahde, says Vale is waiting for authorisation from the government of the Southern Province for it to re-open, which should happen tomorrow. … She says some employees have been sent into the plant to set it up for re-start this week.”]
Radio New Zealand International
15) PNG govt to outlaw ‘scam’ land leases
By Online Editor
1:44 pm GMT+12, 28/05/2014, Papua New Guinea
Special Agriculture Business Leases (SABL) are nothing but a “scam” used by logging companies and will be outlawed immediately, Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill says.
He told a radio talkback show that the logging companies and certain individuals in Government were preying on the innocent and unassuming people in rural areas.
He responded to callers from around the country on the FM100 talkback show complaining about SABLs and the damage they were doing.
O’Neill said the National Executive Council at its next meeting would outlaw SABLs.
“Developers come in the guise of developing agriculture projects but get into logging. Our aim is to cancel all the SABLs in the country.”
He said several departments were responsible for issuing SABLs.
“There was not one department fully responsible for SABL,” he said.
“They were approved through forestry, agriculture, lands. There’s a big scam that’s going on. We all understand that now.
“Thousands of hectares of land are given to individuals, foreigners, displacing our people. This is a serious crime against our own people.”
O’Neill said certain leaders and public servants had given away traditional land with no sense of guilt whatsoever.
“Some of our leaders have had a no-care attitude,” he said.
“They’re participating in engaging with some of these foreign companies.
“One or two of them have benefitted enormously.
“They make millions and millions of kina out of this and become rich overnight at the expense of the majority of our people.”
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said Port Moresby was a rapidly growing city with so much land being illegally acquired.
He said the Government was repossessing pieces of land taken illegally by individuals and putting them into trust.
He was responding to a caller on FM100 radio talkback show who said Port Moresby did not have sufficient recreational facilities because of all the land grabbing going on in the city. The caller said recreational areas in Port Moresby had been taken up or sold to foreigners or individuals.
O’Neill said the Government was addressing the land grabbing problem in the city.
“This city I think has a population close to one million,” he said.
“People say it’s about 500,000, but we can see that it’s close to a million. That’s more than 10% of the country’s population living in Port Moresby.
“I think that some of the investments Government is making are clearly reflective of that. We are now investing a lot of money in the rugby league stadium, Sir Hubert Murray Stadium, Sir John Guise Stadium.
“We are repossessing a lot of the land that was taken by individuals and putting them into trust like the Bisini Parade, Five-Mile, David Unagi Park and some smaller portions that individuals blatantly went ahead and took possession of in under-the-table deals.
“We are cleaning that up. We are putting these into an NCD Trust and they never will be sold.
“It doesn’t matter who becomes prime minister or governor of NCD.This land will never be sold. It’s reserved specifically for sporting areas and recreational facilities. This city is growing and we need to protect this land.
“We are in consultation with the Department of Lands and most of this land has been compulsorily acquired back.”.
SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS
16) Kiribati completes Fiji land purchase
28 May 2014
Kiribati has made the final payment on land in Fiji in its bid to enhance its economic and social resilience to the effects of climate change.
The President Anote Tong says the government has made the final payment of 8.6 million US dollars to purchase the Natoavatu Estate on Vanua Levu.
Don Wiseman has more:
“Mr Tong, speaking in a national radio address, said the 2210 hectare property marks a new milestone in the Government’s development plans to address economic and food security issues resulting from climate change. He says he is glad the country has completed this deal with Fiji and hopes developed countries can engage with frontline countries like Kiribati, as a matter of taking simple actions rather than negotiating climate change issues where common ground is far from reach. The Kiribati government intends exploring options of commercial, industrial and agricultural development of the estate. This could involve fish canning, beef and/or poultry farming, fruit and vegetable cultivation, to name a few.’ Radio NZ
17) Review of Fiji government-owned media needed – PDP
28 May 2014
The People’s Democratic Party in Fiji is calling for an urgent review of government-owned media outlets in the country.
The party leader, Felix Anthony, says public broadcasters FBC TV and Radio Fiji are controlled by the government, and other media outlets are indirectly controlled through government decrees.
Mr Anthony says this results in unbalanced and unfair reporting.
He says if elected to government in September, reviewing media laws will be high on the PDP’s agenda.
“While we don’t believe that it would be wrong for government to have ownership, it is wrong for the government to interfere. PDP will ensure that this never happens again. Even if it should decide that the ownership should remain, there must be safeguards put in place, by law, to ensure there is no control in the future.”
Felix Anthony says the Media Industry Development Authority has been quick to pounce on media outlets that report on any negative issues about the government.
He says this is unacceptable and has forced the media to self-censor.Radio NZ
18) PANG says free trade not Pacific reality
28 May 2014
As Pacific Trade Ministers meet in Kiribati, the Pacific Network on Globalisation, or PANG, is calling on them to learn from their mistakes in previous negotiations and avoid binding commitments that will not support their exporters.
This week’s meeting is focussing on the economic opportunities from trade promotion and facilitation reforms, including the World Trade Organisation’s agreement on Trade Facilitation.
But PANG’s Adam Wolfenden says this deal along with the Pacific Plan’s renewed call for integration and the PACER Plus agreement, are very free-trade heavy, very neo-liberal, and do not reflect the reality in the Pacific.
“The Pacific needs to stop pursuing these agreements and this idea that free trade will save the Pacific. They need to step back a bit and ask what is the Pacific reality and then work out what they want it to be and ground it in that reality, which is far from the case with the agreements like PACER Plus.”
Adam Wolfenden of PANG…Radio NZ
19) Solomons Civil Society Group Plans Peaceful Protest
Malaita Ma’asina Forum calls for arrests over bech-de-mer theft
By Daniel Namosuaia
HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, May 27, 2014) – Malaita Ma’asina Forum (MMF) president is calling on RAMSI and police to arrest those involved in the recent bech-de-mer saga or else they will apply for a peaceful protest.
Speaking to this paper last week, Charles Dausabea said police and RAMSI has to make arrest of those suspected in the issue of the two ton beach-de-mer that was removed from the ministry of fisheries eight months ago.
“I kindly urge the acting police commissioner and her executive with RAMSI to act urgently to arrest those involved in this saga or else we will apply to stage a peaceful protest.
“The way in which police has dealt with this issue clearly shows corruption and incapable leadership within the force.
“If RAMSI can arrest me before finding evidences to support their case, then why not arrest those involved in this beach-de-mer which has all the evidences readily available before their eyes?” Dausabea questioned.
Dausabea said if police is not arresting those involved, they will apply to stage a peaceful protest.
The Forum president said all citizens of this country and especially resources owners of the beach de mer products need to know where these two tons of beach de mer has gone.
“These products cost millions of dollars that should have benefited people in terms of social services. So why hideaway such product. I urge the government and police to come out clear. We are not fools. If you fail us then it might as well be right to move out from the ruling and leadership roles,” Dausabea added.
He also stressed that police must not stop them if they apply for the peaceful protest.
Adding that all citizens in this country have the right to protest and call on police to stop their nonsense attitude to deny people’s right to stage peaceful protests.
“Over the past years, police has denied the rights of people to protest by not giving them the permission. So as you see, all the illegal riots are happening because police has turned down all our applications for peaceful protests.”
“This has caused anger to people and as a result they turn violent instead. So I urge the acting police commissioner and RAMSI not to stop anyone to stage peaceful protest because people have the right to voice their concerns,” Dausabea said.
20) World Bank Supports Large Solar Electricity Project In PNG
Plan calls for half a million people in remote areas to be electrified
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 27, 2014) – The World Bank, through its commercial arm the International Finance Corporation or IFC, has unveiled plans to get solar generated electricity services delivered to about half a million people in remote parts of Papua New Guinea.
The IFC’s Vice President for Asia Pacific, Karin Finkelston, says their off-grid lighting scheme will boost business and educational opportunities, cut household spending and improve safety.
It has been launched in Port Moresby today with details of an analysis of the market, which Ms Finkelston says shows a widespread need and a market poised for strong growth.
“So what we are doing then is looking at what products are best suited to this market and then trying to bring those companies into the market and offer them a roadmap or handholding process into how they can enter the market and then we have teamed up with Origin Energy on the distribution side, so looking at how we can get to these remote areas,” says Finkelston
Radio New Zealand International
21) Bougainville President Questions Wisdom Of Cocoa Project
Momis worries leasing land to Australian company not ‘ethically right’
By Jemima Garrett
MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, May 28, 2014) – Bougainville’s president John Momis says a major Australian cocoa project may not be ‘ethically right’.
The President of Bougainville has cast doubt on the future of a major cocoa project being developed by an Australian-based company.
Bougainville Island’s Group, owned by Australian businessman Godfrey Mantle, has acquired 99-year-long leases to 15 abandoned cocoa plantations, totalling 12,500 hectares.
Mr Mantle said the traditional landowners will receive a 30 per cent stake in the company and up to 4,000 locals will get jobs.
“We just don’t want their ownership we want their involvement, we want to show how a business should be run in best practice but with transparency and a high level of integrity,” he told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat.
“I see the CEO of the business in a fairly short period of time being a Bougainvillean, in fact I have got somebody in mind … but we want to build the skills first.”
However, Bougainville’s president John Momis said while the land leases may be legal, they are not ethical.
“We have just had a war over land,” Mr Morris said.
“For one foreigner to own so much, in fact to own the best, choicest lands, is not seen as ethically right.”
But Mr Mantle said he has addressed all of the President’s concerns.
He said his company will bring a skilled marketing, distribution and scientific team that will benefit all the island’s cocoa growers.
“You need scientists. And the people who benefit from that are not just your plantations,” he said.
“That is an extension to the rest of the Bougainville cocoa producing community.”
Joint ventures preferred
An inquiry into the project is due to report on its findings next month, but president Momis said it will still take a lot of convincing.
“In the final analysis, the people will respect the government,” he said.
“We are spending a lot of time with them … telling them that international best practices must be adhered to.
“Our zeal to make money should not be used as pretexts to break rules and to break conventions and protocols.”
He said the Bougainville government would like to encourage joint venture deals between foreign and local companies, rather than stand-alone foreign businesses.
“The reason for that is to make the people feel they have a sense of ownership and therefore they will take responsibility to protect the properties and operations of the companies,” Mr Momis said.
Cocoa production is booming on the autonomous island.
It is putting 200 million kina ($A74 million) a year directly into the hands of small holders.
President John Momis said it will delivering more in the near future.
“There [are] a lot of new cocoa plantings and we are told by experts that by 2017, cocoa price will triple,” he said.
22) Reforms to end polygamy marriage in PNG
By Online Editor
1:32 pm GMT+12, 28/05/2014, Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea Civil Registry Act amendment tabled in Parliament recently will only allow one-wife and one-husband marriage in 2015, according to the National Civil Registry office.
Registrar-General Dickson Kiragi said the amendment would include other changes to the existing legislation.
Kiragi said it would allow every marriage to be documented.
“Under the amendment, every customary marriage will be a registered marriage,” Kiragi said.
“By law every marriage must be established within law. So every child that is born within the family is accounted for and issued a birth certificate.”
The birth certificate will identify a person, which includes where the birth occurred and the date of birth.
He said in instances where a person had a same name as another, “we will go back to find out who the father or mother is”.
Kiragi said the amendment would mean the decentralisation of civil registry offices in provinces.
“For instance, Central will have its own civil registry and will be administered by a provincial registrar. I will be delegating certain statutory powers to these registrars.”
The amendment will cater for a new ward registrar.
He said a “reputable person will be delegated the task to register every new birth, marriage or divorce”.
He said if the population figure was required, the manual registry could give that information.
However, under the law, this information was not subject to public consumption.
SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS
CLIMATE CHANGE,CONSERVATION & ENVIROMENT
23) Two-Thirds Of Pacific Communities Could Be Out Of Fish In 15 Years
Current fisheries, inshore and deep ocean, not sustainable, warns researcher
By Sarina Locke
MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, May 27, 2014) – Two-thirds of the Pacific Islands communities could run out of fish to feed their populations within 15 years.
The concern is over both inshore and deep ocean fisheries that are not sustainable.
The warning comes as the Pacific Islands prepare to talk tuna fisheries management in Samoa in early July.
Dr Quentin Hanich, fisheries governance program leader at the Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security, says 60 per cent of the world’s tuna comes from the Pacific, and there are big boats with large capacity to remove stocks.
The tuna species are albacore, skipjack, big eye and yellow fin.
“Some of the world’s biggest fishing boats from Spain, 500 feet long, for example, will fish for those tuna.
“When you manage that fishery you need to make it sustainable, but then you’ve also got to start prioritising where you want to feed.
“If you need to worry about food security for a small island country that doesn’t have many other opportunities, you need to prioritise what you’re going to feed them, whereas perhaps it’s not quite so important to get fish onto the market of a Los Angeles restaurant if they can also eat cattle or sheep.”
Dr Hanich says Australians should look for sustainably caught tuna to help the Islanders.
“Skipjack tuna that comes to you in a can, that’s fine.
“You should eat that, it’s healthy and some money goes back to the Pacific Islander community.”
But he warns people should check the tuna fishing technique doesn’t catch too many sharks, or too many juvenile fish.
Gleaning for fish
An age-old practice in the Pacific Islands is gleaning, but it’s become unsustainable because of population growth.
“You’ll be sitting on a beach somewhere and all the kids and women come out and glean; which is basically sitting on the sand with a teaspoon and maybe some tupperware and collecting shells out of the sand, making a soup out of that,” Dr Hanich said.
“Netting is popular and also traps. In Kiribati, you’ll see complex coral rock traps that will herd the fish in at high tide and then at low tide, they’ll go in and get them.”
He says small boats now have outboard motors that can enable local fishermen to exploit stocks further out.
He’s also concerned about shore fisheries like snapper. Traditionally that was sustainable, but now that commercial Asian markets have been developed, this long-lived species is not coping.
“Lack of management combined with overpopulation is creating some serious challenges.
“In some countries, we can see opportunities where we can see them move into oceanic tuna fisheries.”
But Dr Hanich says that has to be well managed.
Kiribati, Solomons and Vanuatu project
Fisheries research Dr Quentin Hanich works on an Australian aid program through ACIAR of $3.7 million to help Pacific Islanders manage their fish stocks better as they face challenges like population pressure, climate change and foreign fishing boats.
The Secretariat of the Pacific Community has estimated that ’75 per cent of the Pacific Island coastal fisheries will not meet food security needs by 2030 because of population growth, overfishing and inadequate national distribution networks’.
Over the time that he’s been working in Kiribati, Dr Danich has noticed big projects don’t work as well as small community-based projects.
“In North Tarawa, in Kiribati, the bone fish is being overfished. Too many people catching them at the wrong time, when they’re aggregating for breeding.
“If you ask the locals they’ll tell you the best time to fish, so they can help you develop the conservation management methods.”
Climate change is the ever-present threat, but Dr Hanich says resilience is the key.
“The only way to survive the next 100 years of climate change is to strengthen the resilience of these communities to maintain their food security and minimise the impacts of climate change on these communities.”
For example, coral bleaching may reduce the productivity of a coastal fishery, so locals should be allowed to develop an oceanic tuna fishery just offshore.
If Australia doesn’t help improve management, Dr Hanich says, there’s a real risk some Pacific Islands states will become ‘failed states’ and the only way out will be emigration.
24) Kiribati, Tuvalu, PNG Urge Australia To Change Climate Policy
Delegations seek cuts in carbon emissions, more mitigation assistance
By Australian Network political editor Catherine McGrath
MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, May 27, 2014) – 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.
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.”
25) Smith: Origin will be hate against hate
By Online Editor
11:09 am GMT+12, 28/05/2014, Australia
Forget state against state or mate against mate.
Queensland captain Cameron Smith says it will be hate against hate in the State of Origin opener against NSW in Brisbane tonight..
Smith revealed Tuesday he was good friends with Paul Gallen and thought the Blues captain’s “two heads” comment about Queenslanders was funny.
But the Maroons leader said the “hate” for the Blues team was stronger than ever as Queensland prepared to launch their quest for a ninth straight Origin series win.
“That is Gal being Gal,” Smith said.
“That was a loose comment. I don’t think he meant too much by it.
“He is actually quite a good mate of mine, to be honest.
“But that mateship will be gone tonight, he will be the enemy.”
Smith said Queensland did not have to resort to name calling to fire up their all-conquering side.
But when asked about the feeling between the sides, Smith said: “It’s no secret Queensland hates NSW and NSW hates Queensland.
“I can guarantee you the hate for NSW hasn’t gone out the window.
“State of Origin and the feeling around the game, I have never seen it so great.
“The hate will be there.
“I am pretty sure you will see it when Paul Gallen runs out.”
Gallen will again be public enemy No.1 when he emerges at Suncorp Stadium.
Especially after angering Lewis who believed Gallen’s jibe “was an indication of a long-held disrespect for Queensland”. But Gallen said yesterday: “My comments weren’t aimed at insulting Queensland, they were a light-hearted jibe and I was just explaining how hostile and tough it is up here.
“I was giving them a rap.”
Asked if it would backfire, Gallen said: “It was a joke, why would it backfire?”
It may have stoked the fire in Lewis’ belly but Gallen’s barb barely registered in the Queensland camp.
“I did not know about it until a couple of days ago,” said 30 Origin-game veteran Smith.
Asked why Queensland did not weigh into a war of words, Smith said: “We don’t need to. “We are quite comfortable with the way we prepare.
“Whether Gal is trying to fire us up or stir us up or upset us I am not too sure.
“But I had a bit of a laugh. It’s quite funny I reckon.”
Smith said their humble approach had been rammed home by coach Mal Meninga since he took over the reins and inspired a dynasty in 2006. “That’s something Mal brought to the group, to be humble, always enjoy success but never get carried away with what you have done and always show respect to the opposition,” he said.
“For 80 minutes we are enemies then after that it is done and dusted.”.
26) Fiji U20 on track
By Online Editor
11:02 am GMT+12, 28/05/2014, Fiji
The Vodafone Fiji under-20 side remains on track to qualify for the FIFA U20 World Cup, thanks to their 3-0 win over Papua New Guinea Tuesday.
It was another superb performance from the youngsters who ensured Fiji continued its winning run in the OFC U20 Championship and managed to keep another clean sheet.
That makes it three wins in a row for the Ravinesh Kumar-coached side and with two games remaining, they sit on pole position with nine points.
At first they found it hard to break through the stubborn PNG defence but when they did, there was no stopping them. Ba man Praneel Naidu showed his class time and again when he made numerous breaks down the flanks to provide beautiful crosses but the finishing element from the strikers was missing.
However, after 43 minutes, one of Naidu’s trademark crosses found Altaaf Sahib in the box and the New Zealand-based forward was lucky enough to deflect the ball into the net for the opening goal.
With Fiji up by 1-0 at the breather, Kumar told his players at the half-time break to make better use of their possession and score more goals.
Ten minutes into the second-half, and it was Mataisi Toma who connected to a Narend Rao-cross to put the ball into the back of the PNG net for a 2-0 lead.
Then play slowed down as fatigue from playing against two quality sides — American Samoa and New Caledonia — took its toll on the Fijian players.
But then another break through the middle of the PNG defence allowed Ashnil Raju to make a casual pass to Saula Waqa who found the net once again past PNG goalkeeper Gibson Jimmy.
Rao was shown a yellow card in the dying stages of the match for deliberately slowing play but it didn’t have any impact on the final score-line.
Kumar said now they would need to recover before they turned their focus on their next opponents, Vanuatu.
“Now the next one is Vanuatu and we aim to do our best and win that one as well,” he said.
“PNG was tougher (than previous opponents) and our plan worked, we played the ball, we had possession but the goal was not coming and then we finally created the chances and then the goals came.
“They (players) have played three 90-minute games and any team would be tired and we have plans for recovery.”
Meanwhile, team captain Jale Dreloa, who was injured in Fiji’s 2-0 win over New Caledonia on Sunday, is expected to recover by this afternoon and feature in the starting line-up against Vanuatu tomorrow.
SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS
27) Pressure mounts for All Blacks to play in Samoa
By Online Editor
11:09 am GMT+12, 27/05/2014, New Zealand
The pressure continues to mount on the New Zealand Rugby Union to take the All Blacks to Samoa, with an historic test in the Pacific Islands thought to be edging closer to reality.
With Prime Minister John Key in Samoa next week, it’s understood the Government is interested in making some progress towards an All Blacks visit.
In election year, Key would strike a huge chord with New Zealand’s large Pacific Island community if he was able to broker a fixture, or even claim some progress..
The PM’s office referred all inquiries to the “rugby union”. NZRU chief Steve Tew was not available to speak on the hot topic, but recently said: “The reality for us is, and I’ve said it often enough, we have to do what’s best for New Zealand Rugby, and playing an All Blacks test match in the islands just doesn’t suit our programme. Right now we can’t fit one in.”
But after TV3 current affairs show Campbell Live took up the baton during the week, the rugby anomaly has once again come under the spotlight.
And if there’s one factor, other than money, that will persuade to the NZRU to rethink the issue, it’s public pressure.
The All Blacks are an iconic sporting brand, and if head office perceived damage to its image through refusal to go to the islands, its stance could change.
Considering the links between the islands and New Zealand, and the strong Polynesian influence in All Blacks rugby, it’s inconceivable to some that they’ve never played a test in Samoa, Fiji or Tonga.
After confirming a test in Chicago against the US en route to the UK in November, the NZRU has again come under fire.
The Samoa Observer headlined a front-page story on the Chicago test “Shameful Samoa snub” and leading Manu Samoa rugby figures have been vociferous in their desire for a visit.
“There won’t be any financial gains but in terms of growing the game, it would be huge,” Seilala Mapusua told Fairfax Media. Campbell, whose show trended on Twitter with the hashtag #ABsToSamoa after their item on Thursday night, believes the fixture has to go ahead.
“I would say to the New Zealand Rugby Union ‘do the right thing’, and we all know what the right thing is,” Campbell said. “Manu Samoa played its first test match in 1925, and in 90 years of Samoan test rugby we have never been there. That is so profoundly wrong …”.
SOURCE: STUFF NZ/PACNEWS
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