Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 990

MELANESIA

1) Sapot blong GJP long Sanma Provins i stap kam antap

Olgeta,

Long las wiken mi travel i go long Santo.

Wan mein tingting blong go long Sanma hemi blong risivim ol niufala man i kam insaed long pati.

Ol pres rilis we i go long media i stap daon.

Ta, Vanuatu Minister for Lands Ralph Regenvanu.

PRESS RELEASE #1: Former MP Loren Solomon and his executive join GJP

On 1st June at the nakamal of Chief Jerome at Deproma in south-east Santo, former UMP MP for Santo Loren Solomon, Chief Rodson Morris of Mavea Island and the executive committees and supporters of both candidates who failed to win seats in the 2012 general elections performed a custom ceremony to join the Graon mo Jastis Pati (GJP) in the presence of GJP President Hon. Ralph Regenvanu and MP for Santo Hon. Alfred Maoh.

Loren Solomon was MP for Santo from 2008 to 2012 and contested the 2012 election on the UMP ticket but failed to regain his seat, mainly because his former supporter Chief Rodson Morris of Mavea Island ran against him as an Independent Candidate. Between them the two candidates scored over 1,000 votes in the 2012 general elections. Now the two have reconciled and with their executives, sub-committees and supporters from Tutuba, Mavea, Aore, Aese, Deproma, Banban, Fanafo, Turtle Bay, Suranda among other areas have joined the GJP.

Both former MP Solomon and Chief Morris announced that although their elders, themselves and their people in the south-east Santo area had been UMP supporters since the birth of that party in the 1970’s, they were now switching their allegiance to the GJP because they had lost faith in the leadership of the UMP. Hon. Regenvanu as President of the GJP and Hon. Alfred Maoh as a National Executive member welcomed the new supporters into the party and declared their commitment to working with these political leaders to improving the lives of the people and communities of south-east Santo. Earlier in March this year, SANMA Councillor Chejin Garae of the Nagriamel party representing South Santo Area 1 had also performed a custom ceremony to join the GJP.

PRESS RELEASE #2: New GJP subcommittee established in West Malo

On 2nd June, a new sub-committee of the Graon mo Jastis Pati (GJP) was officially established at Nanucu village in in West Malo. Nanucu village is the second largest polling station in Malo and currently two of the three Councillors for Malo Island come from this polling station. The new sub-committee established on the 2nd June consists mainly of former members of the UMP and Nagriamel who elected the two current Councillors and current MP Havo Moli

The other Malo Councillor, Councillor for East Malo, Wara Tamata, performed a custom ceremony In October last year to join the GJP and the East Malo Subcommittee of GJP was established at that time. Councillor Wara Tamata was previously President of the Aore-Malo Region for Nagriamel and won the highest number of votes in Malo Ward in the last Provincial elections.

The establishment of the new West Malo Sub-Committee of GJP was witnessed by GJP President Hon. Regenvanu, GJP National Executive member Hon. Alfred Maoh and Councillor Wora Tamata. They welcomed the new supporters into the party and declared their commitment to working with these political leaders to improving the lives of the people and communities of Malo.

2) Protest in Vanuatu closes an airport

5 June 2014

An airport on Ambrym Island in Vanuatu has been closed by landowners claiming the government owes them rent.

A landowner and chief, August Taliban, says Craig Cove’s all weather airport has been closed until the Government fulfills its promise to pay the land rent.

Vanuatu’s Director General for Infrastructure, Johnson Binaru, says such land issues take time to settle and the closure of the airport will impact on the local people.

There is another airport on the western side of Ambrym.Radio NZ

POLYNESIA

3) Local Chinese business growth in Tonga raising concern

By Online Editor

10:03 am GMT+12, 05/06/2014, Tonga

In Tonga, and in fact most other islands in the Pacific, the employment sector is limited, meaning many people struggle to find work.  
 
It’s a situation under more pressure according to locals here, particularly for retail business, due to the growing Chinese presence.    
 
It’s clear to see China has a strong presence in Tonga.
 
There are around 3000 businesses there, and more than half are owned by the Chinese, a situation causing resentment amongst locals.
 
Pauline Siasau has spent nine years analysing the business sector in Tonga.  
 
In past years, riots have broken out in Tonga with many Chinese stores being burnt down, a sign some say relates to the anger towards Chinese reaping business benefits.     
 
It’s a complaint looked into by the Tongan government, however, it’s a difficult political issue given the amount of aid given by China to Tonga.
 
As a way of combating this problem, the Tongan government has introduced business exclusivity to Tongan residence in the sectors of tourism and agriculture as well as staple foods such as butter and sugar.      
 
It may be an example for other islands as the face of the Pacific continues to change.

SOURCE: MAORI TV/PACNEWS

4) Depopulation in the Cooks needs addressing – economist

By Online Editor
4:04 pm GMT+12, 04/06/2014, Cook Islands

A development economist in the Cook Islands says depopulation will continue until the government starts funding infrastucture and industries in the outer islands.
 
The Statistics Office figures released this week show that i the past two years, the total resident population has dropped by 1000, from 14,400 to 13,400.
 
Vaine Wichman says the government needs to take the issue seriously, as more people leave the country to chase job opportunities.
 
Wichman says people from Pa Enua, or outer islands, will be encouraged to stay if more funding is put into developing their handicrafts, fishing and agriculture projects.
 
”Rarotonga is always going to be the strong hub for the tourism sector, but it doesn’t mean that our Pa Enua can’t feed them, or our Pa Enua women handicraft can’t merge into this thriving Rarotonga sector. We just haven’t had serious government or leadership to make that integration.”
 
Wichman says better harbours and airports would encourage people to return to the Cook Islands.


SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

MICRONESIA

5) Kiribati seeks solutions to health issues

5 June 2014
Kiribati’s Ministry of Health says it is consulting widely with the community to find ways of solving problems stemming from over population.

The Health Outreach Programme for Equity known as HOPE is aiming to boost prevention of non-communicable diseases, family health and community health resources.

Dr Teatao Tiira says overcrowding is a big issue in urban areas of Kiribati and there are a number of health indicators the Ministry is wanting to address through the village meetings.

“Water quality is going down, even the food security is there, the gender based violence is also an issue, and even the NCDs are also related to over crowding because people they don’t have land to plant the crops that they used to eat in the past, they don’t have spaces for exercise.”

Dr Tiira says the Ministry wants to empower people to take more responsiblity for maintaining their own health.Radio NZ

6) More Nauru MPs expelled

5 June 2014
Two more opposition MPs have been suspended from the Nauru parliament amid claims the government is trying to avoid scrutiny.

Three opposition MPs were banned from Parliament in May and another two – a former president Sprent Dabwido and Squire Jeremiah – were suspended on Thursday for behaving in what the government claims was an unruly manner.

The pair had opposed the earlier suspensions of Roland Kun, Kieren Keke and Mathew Batsiua.

Mr Batsiua says with just three opposition MPs left, the government can operate unchecked.

“You know they have intervened in the judiciary and all they things they have done have brought disrepute to Nauru. So without the appropriate members in the House to scrutinise the bills that they have put into Parliament – today (Thursday) they rushed through three laws without opposition.”Radio NZ

7) Mega-Casino Resort Project Reportedly ‘Still On The Table’ In Yap
10,000 room Chinese-backed project ‘continues to divide … community’

By Lexi Villegas Zotomayor

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, June 5, 2014) – With all the talk about the controversy-riddled Saipan casino operation, a much larger casino is still looming in Micronesia.

A group of Chinese investors is still working on constructing the much-talked about mega casino project on the island of Yap.

A member of the Council of Pilung — composed of elders — confirmed to Variety that the proposal is still on the table.

More: Marianas Variety

TOK PISIN

8) PNG Oposition askim gavman long tok klia long bigpela dinau moni

Updated 5 June 2014, 13:07 AEST

Caroline Tiriman

Namba tu Opppositon lida bilong Papua New Guinea, Sam Basil i askim PNG Gavman long tok klia stret long ol bigpela dinau moni em kisim long ol narapela kantri

Odio: Namba tu Opposition lida bilong Papua New Guinea Sam Basil i askim Gavman long tokaut klia long ol traipela dinau moni em kisim long ol narapela kantri

Mr  Basil i mekim despla toktok bihaenim ol wari olsem gavman i makim pinis olgeta win moni em kantri bai save kisim long LNG gas projek long baem bek ol despla bikpla loans.

Wanpla long ol despla bikpla loan em $3Billion dola ikam long UBS bank blong Switzerland long Europe.

Gavman ibin kisim narapla bikpla dinau ikam long Maxim Bank blong China.

Long wik igo pinis, Ombudsman komisin ibin tokaut olsem em bai mekim sampla wok painimaut long despla dinau em gavman ibin kisim long UBS Bank.

Em itok bigpela wari bilong kantri nau olsem, olgeta winmoni bilong resources bilong kantri bai bekim dinau igo igo nau kantri karim nem nating long ol resource.

Mr Basil itok bigpela wari tu em long ol yangpela generation ikam bihain bai haitwok long beckim despela ol traipela dinau gavman iwok long kisim nau.Radio Australia

9) Miting bilong Pacific Tsunami Warning System Task tim kamap long Port Vila

Updated 4 June 2014, 12:59 AEST

Hilaire Bule

Miting blong Pacific Tsunami Warning System Task Tim long graun guria  long we bilong  Sharim information ibin kamap insait long  Port Vila last wik.
Stori:
Insait long despela miting ol ibin wanbel long Oceania Regional Netwok,ORSNET, olsem em ikamap wanpela netwok bilong ol kantri iken usim long ol taim nogut olsem long bigpela guria
ORSNET, em wanpela program we Vanuatu na New Caledonia, ibin stat usim stat yet long  2011 blong serem ol  information or data long guria.
Meri em ikam long ORSNET, Eslyne Garae ,bihain long em pinisim stadi blong em long Universiti blong Franis na em igo beck long Vanuatu wantaim
Mater’s Degree  long meteorology, vulcanology na  seismology.
Ms Garae i makim ORSNET olsem wanpela ‘baby’ blong em  na nau bai kamap baby blong Pacific.
Em itok ORSNET, em  istap  long  PHASE 2 or namba 2 hap bilongen na em bai karamapim ol narapela kantri long region blong oli save serem ol data long
guria na tsunami.
Long  wik igo pinis gavman blong Franis,ibin givim moa long  5 milien vatu blong sapotim despela namba tu hap bilong  ORSNET.Radio Australia

FRENCH

10) Brèves du Pacifique – jeudi 5 juin 2014

Mis à jour 5 June 2014, 13:22 AEST

Caroline Lafargue

Le Samoa ratifie le traité sur le commerce des armes, signé en avril 2013 à l’initiative de l’ONU. C’est le premier pays du Pacifique à le faire.

Un brasier d’armes au Rwanda. Le traité ratifié par le Samoa concerne les petites armes, les chars, les avions de chasse, les navires de guerre. (Photo: Ministère rwandais de la Défense)

Kiribati, Nauru, Palau et le Vanuatu l’ont signé, mais pas encore ratifié. Seuls 40 des 118 pays signataires ont ratifié ce traité. Il n’est donc pas encore entré en vigueur. Le traité concerne les petites armes, les chars, les avions de chasse, les navires de guerre. L’objectif est d’empêcher le commerce des armes avec les criminels de guerre, les pirates, le crime organisé et les États qui ne respectent pas les droits de l’homme.

Vanuatu: ils se sont finalement rendus. Les deux derniers prisonniers en cavale se sont présentés aux chefs de leurs villages, qui les ont accompagnés à la police hier. Les deux détenus s’étaient évadés vendredi dernier en compagnie de cinq camarades de cellule, repris lundi par la police. Le numéro 2 de la police vanuataise, a du nier des accusations de mauvais traitements des détenus. John Taleo indique que les gardiens sont formés au respect des droits de l’homme.

Hawaï: les baleines à bosses et les tortues de mer vertes se portent bien, trop bien même, selon Malama Solomon. La sénatrice veut les supprimer de la liste des espèces en danger. Elle affirme que les baleines et les tortues menacent l’industrie de la pêche. Selon Malama Solomon, les pêcheurs doivent payer de lourdes amendes s’ils blessent des baleines ou des tortues, mais ils n’ont aucune assurance si ces animaux font des dégâts sur leurs bateaux, ils sont légalement, automatiquement en tort. Au début des années 80 il ne restait plus que 1600 baleines à bosse dans les eaux hawaïennes, aujourd’hui il y en a 21 000.

Les Îles Cook se vident de leurs habitants. Le Bureau des statistiques a publié un nouveau rapport cette semaine. En deux ans, la population a chuté de 14 400 à 13 400 habitants. L’auteur des statistiques, Vaine Wichman, demande au gouvernement d’agir vite. En commençant par remettre à niveau les routes et en subventionnant des projets agricoles, aquacoles, artisanaux, spécialement dans les îles plus isolées.

Tonga: la Nouvelle-Zélande finance la rénovation du stade national. John Key a débloqué 1.7 million de dollars américains pour finir les travaux avant les Jeux du Pacifique de 2019, qui se tiendront à Nuku’alofa. Le Premier ministre tongien en a profité pour inviter les All Blacks à venir jouer un test match contre Tonga. La semaine dernière le joueur samoan Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu s’en est pris violemment aux All Blacks. Selon lui, les rugbymen kiwis refusent de faire une tournée en Polynésie parce qu’il n’y a pas assez d’argent à la clé.

Îles Marshall: l’armée américaine testera un intercepteur de missile le 23 juin. Il sera lancé depuis la base Ronald Reagan de l’atoll de Meck, rattachée à l’atoll de Kwajalein. Les habitants du nord-est de Kwajalein devront quitter la zone. Ceux qui voudront se rendre sur les autres îles de la région, Utrik, Ailuk, Likiep et Mejit, devront s’abstenir pendant deux jours, les avions seront cloués au sol pour éviter une rencontre intempestive avec un missile dans le ciel.

Japon: Peter O’Neill sera sur le quai pour accueillir le tout premier chargement de gaz naturel liquéfié sorti de Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée. Le Premier ministre papou est arrivé au pays du Soleil levant mercredi. Le gazier arrivera en fin de semaine, c’est une livraison pour Tepco, l’opérateur de la centrale électrique de Fukushima. Exxon Mobil a démarré la production de gaz naturel liquéfié en mai. Radio Australia.

HEALTH

11) WHO urges prompt action after Solomons diarrhoea outbreak

By Online Editor

09:49 am GMT+12, 05/06/2014, Solomon Islands
The World Health Organisation says young children in Solomons Islands are particularly vulnerable to severe effects of dehydration and it’s urging parents to seek medical advice to limit the spread of diarrhoea illness.
 
An epidemiologist Jennie Musto says the WHO is now reporting a total of nine outbreaks across Solomon Islands, with 16 young children dying and more than 1,000 people infected with the illness in the past two weeks.
 
Musto says the outbreaks are thought to be caused by rotavirus and could continue for up to another month.
 
She says early action by parents is key.
 
“If your child develops diarrhoea take them to a health centre and they will get appropriate treatment, which is oral rehydration salts and zinc tablets which will prevent severe dehydration. If you’re worried about your child, if they seem as if they’re dehydrated or they’e not drinking adequately, take them to a health centre.”.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

EDUCATION

12) Termination of Fiji scholarship must be explained

5 June 2014
A former professor of the University of the South Pacific says those who terminated a student’s scholarship have an obligation to Fiji taxpayers to explain their decision.

Two weeks ago, a Bachelor of Commerce student, Tamani Seruiraduvatu, was told by the Tertiary Scholarship and Loans Board his government scholarship was taken away because of his work with aspiring independent candidate, Roshika Deo.

Wadan Narsey says the scholarship is funded by taxpayers, who have a right to demand accountability from the board chairman, Dixon Seeto, and the USP vice chancellor, Rajesh Chandra, who is also a board member.

“Public officers are simply refusing to be accountable to the public on a matter which is so important. If they do not reinstate this scholarship, it is going to reflect very, very badly on Bainimarama’s party and whoever has been responsible for terminating this scholarship. I mean it is a shameful episode in the history of this regime.”

A former USP professor, Wadan Narsey.

The USP has said it is independent from the Tertiary Scholarship and Loans Board and queries should be addressed to its chairman, Dixon Seeto, who however has refused all comment to Radio New Zealand International.Radio NZ

13) Strike looms over PNG teachers pay issues

By Online Editor

4:26 pm GMT+12, 05/06/2014, Papua New Guinea
The Papua New Guinea Teachers Association is planning to take industrial action against the state for salary discrepancies on teachers’ payroll.
 
National general secretary for PNGTA Ugwalubu Mowana said they have given an ultimatum to the Department of Education, Finance Department, Teaching Service Commission and the Department of Personnel Management to print the pay slips of all the teachers starting next fortnight.
 
Mowana said for the last two years teachers in the country have not received pay slips in order for them to vet their gross pay, their deductions, their increases and their take home pay.
 
He said a research done on payroll discrepancies for teachers found out that out of the 47,000 teachers on the payroll, more than 25,000 are not paid at the right level of salary.
 
“This is costing about K1.4 million (US$515, 000) and is a breach according to the 2014-2016 teaching service salary fixation agreement,” Mowana said.
 
He said some of the teachers who are currently teaching are not on the payroll as well.
 
These include elementary, primary, secondary, teacher education and vocational schools, and that many new graduates are also among them.
 
“We have noted that the Education Department has commissioned payroll audit for education. The exercise is contributing to delays and creating discrepancies on the pay levels of teachers for this year,” Mowana said.
 
He told a media at a press conference Wednesday that the association has written a letter to the office of the Industrial Registrar reporting on the breach of the teaching service salary fixation agreement relative to salary matters.
 
“We have informed the office of the registrar that we will be requesting for a secret ballot to conduct industrial action in August.
 
“We have also informed the Industrial Registrar to advise the chairman of the Teaching Service Conciliation and Arbitration Tribunal for a compulsory conference this week to understand the problems,” he told the media


SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

POLITIC

14) PNG – Indonesian border opens, then closes as OPM strikes

By Online Editor

09:43 am GMT+12, 05/06/2014, Papua New Guinea
The  Indonesia-PNG border was officially opened on Tuesday this week but closed down again three hours later due to the killing of an Indonesian soldier by OPM (Organisasi Papua Merdeka) rebels.
 
Security officials told the Post-Courier the joint Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF) and the government team stationed at Wutung closed down the border again to crossers because of the killing.
 
They said the PNGDF soldiers closed the border to crossers specifically for security reasons and to protect the PNG citizens that are crossing to do business across Batas and those that maintain their markets at the PNG side of the border.
 
“The PNGDF soldiers have been instructed not to allow Papua New Guinea citizens to cross over to Indonesia at the PNG-Indonesian boarder at Wutung for security reasons,” the officials said.
 
“The situation at the border has become tense again and there is no guarantee that the lives of PNG citizens will be protected. The OPM rebels killed one Indonesian soldier after attacking the Indonesian establishment at Batas, so for security reasons because it was unsafe for PNG citizens, our officials on the ground closed the gates.
 
“We officially opened the border for general business after it was closed amid fears over a shooting incident in April this year. We had a small ceremony for it at 11:30 am on Tuesday and three hours later, at 3 pm our soldiers closed the gates again because of the killing of one of the Indonesian soldiers by the OPM rebels.
 
“Just in case there is a shootout between the OPM rebels and the Indonesian army, we don’t want any of our PNG citizens and soldiers to be caught up in this fight.”.

POST COURIER/PACNEWS

15) PNG Government Proposes Constitutional Changes On No-Confidence Votes
Opponent decries move as entrenching ‘dictatorial or authoritarian leadership’

By Alexander Rheeney

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, June 5, 2014) – The Government has proposed constitutional changes which will restrict candidates for the position of Prime Minister after a successful vote of no confidence to politicians from the ruling party.

The People’s National Congress (PNC) led by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill will be the sole beneficiary of the proposed legislation as it was the political party which was invited by the Governor-General to form government in August 2012 after the general election.

A copy of a circular to all MPs dated May 28, 2014 from the office of the Clerk of the National Parliament obtained by the Post-Courier confirmed that amendments will need be made to the Organic Law on the Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates and the PNG Constitution for the changes to take effect. Parliament will reconvene on June 24 when the proposed legislation is expected to be tabled.

The proposed laws will be introduced in the next meeting of the National Parliament according to the circular which was signed by the National Parliament Clerk, Vela Konivaro. The background brief which was attached to the circular included a notice from Theo Zurenuoc, Speaker of the National Parliament, to alter the constitution.

According to the notice the benefits of the proposed laws including political stability, promotion of citizens’ participation in political processes and improve transparency and accountability of political leaders and their parties.

The proposed amendments include changes to section 145 of the constitution on “motions of no confidence” which relate to a motion of no confidence in the Prime Minister or Ministry.

The proposed amendment will see the inserting of a new subsection that would read: “Where a Prime Minister is removed in a vote of no confidence in accordance with this section, a person from the party invited to form Government after a national election shall be elected as the next Prime Minister.”

The PM, who is currently in Japan on a bilateral visit, said the changes were proposed by the registrar of political parties.

“These changes that are put forward are from the registrar of political parties and are consistent with the invitation by the Governor-General after the elections to the party with the biggest number,” Mr O’Neill said in response to questions posed by this newspaper.

“If that party fails to secure the number, then the Parliament can elect any MP from the floor of Parliament.”

But Kandep MP Don Polye, who was sacked from cabinet in April but still retains leadership of THE Party which remains in Government, slammed the bill last night and vowed to oppose it.

“PNG demands more democratic and participatory leadership more than dictatorial or authoritarian leadership,” Mr Polye said.

These proposed amendments will breed corruption and protect thieves and deceivers or liars under the convenient disguise of political stability.”

Bulolo MP and Deputy Opposition Leader Sam Basil said the proposed amendments showed how “power hungry” the Government has become.

“Every 111 members of parliament has the liberty and equal rights to contest the seat of the prime minister should any vacancy exists in within a term of a parliament’s life after each general election,” he added.

A coalition partner in the Government last night confirmed receipt of the circular and expressed concerns at the mooted changes.

PNG Post-Courier

16) New Caledonia gets new government

By Online Editor

4:22 pm GMT+12, 05/06/2014, New Caledonia
New Caledonia’s Congress has chosen the territory’s new 11-member government following last month’s election.
 
In line with a post-election deal within the anti-independence camp, the Congress has proceeded to choose Cynthia Ligeard as the new president.
 
She is the second woman to secure the top post after Marie-Noelle Themereau ten years ago.
 
Under the collegial system, six ministries have been attributed to the anti-independence side and five to the pro-independence side.
 
The vice-presidency has not been immediately filled because of discord within the pro-independence side in the northern province.
 
The power-sharing deal has seen Gael Yanno become the Congress president late last month after the biggest party emerging from the election, Caledonia Together, secured the presidency of the southern province.


SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

17) Fiji opposition groups say intimidation, lack of coverage means September polls won’t be free and fair

Updated 5 June 2014, 13:32 AEST

By Liam Fox in Suva

Opposition parties in Fiji say intimidation and a lack of media coverage mean the coming elections will not be free and fair.

The September poll will be the country’s first since the 2006 military coup in which Frank Bainimarama seized power.

Rear-Admiral Bainimarama has been on been on the hustings promoting his new party, but opposition groups say the political playing field is far from even.

Ro Teimumu Kepa from the opposition Social Democratic Liberal Party of Fiji (SODELPA) says their own election campaign has been troubled.

“Up to this moment in time there are some things that are happening which does not augur well for the free and fair that we are hoping for,” he said.

When the party has campaigned in some communities, Ro Teimumu says police have turned up afterwards to question people about what was said.

“When a stranger arrives at a village, you know right away that person does not belong to that village,” she said.

“If they come from the police or the military then they believe it’s some form of intimidation.”

Around the world media coverage is part of any election campaign, but SODELPA says it can’t get its message out.

“We normally have coverage towards the back of the paper – after Bainimarama’s photo and whatever he has to say on the front page, and then after all the supermarket ads and the sports and film and television ads.

Ro Teimumu Kepa, Social Democratic Liberal Party of Fiji

Ro Teimumu says media censorship after the coup means many outlets won’t run comments or stories critical of the government.

“We normally have coverage towards the back of the paper,” she said.

“[It comes] after Bainimarama’s photo and whatever he has to say on the front page, and then after all the supermarket ads and the sports and film and television ads.”

There’s also concern that Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum is also the elections minister, which SODELPA says is a conflict of interest.

Their concerns are echoed by the National Federation Party’s leader, Dr Biman Prasad

“We’re telling the whole world we’re holding an election – yet the world must also see there are all these restrictions that are in place which do not allow political parties to engage freely,” he said.

Dr Prasad says laws governing the elections, political parties and the media all favour the government.

“People who are opinion makers, academics, NGOs, trade union officials – they’ve all been barred from taking part in political activities and actually talking about issues,” he said.

Independent candidate

Audio: Young Fijian defies threats to run for Parliament (ABC News)

If opposition parties are finding it difficult, independent candidates are doing it even tougher.

Roshika Deo and the supporters of her ‘Be The Change’ campaign lack the funds to buy TV and newspaper ads, and have been forced to turn to social media

“We’ve been in a military dictatorship and we still remain in a military dictatorship and as a result it makes it hard,” she said.

Ms Deo is running as an independent candidate after gaining prominence raising the issue of violence against women and children.

We’ve had the misogynist attacks, the rape threats…the threats of violence on social media.

Roshika Deo, Independent candidate

The subject matter, her young age and gender have prompted an angry backlash from some communities.

“There has been certain older, seasoned people that have not been very supportive,” she said.

“They have been created additional barriers for us, have been using a lot of sexist, ageist language.

“We’ve had the misogynist attacks, the rape threats, you know the threats of violence on social media.”

While opposition parties and independents battle to be heard, Frank Bainimarama has no such worries, with every move of his Fiji First Party relayed by the media

Despite facing what appear to be very long odds, opposition figures like Ro Teimumu Kepa say they won’t stop campaigning.

“We can just live in hope,” she said.

http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

LAND

18) Indigenous pastoral stations join forces, look to China to revive industry

Posted 5 June 2014, 21:00 AEST

By Ginny Stein

In northern Australia, Aboriginal landowners are looking to China to help revive their pastoral industry.

Ten of Australia’s largest Aboriginal pastoral stations are joining forces in the hope of winning foreign investment and creating jobs.

“We do have a vision and it’s the same vision of running a profitable cattle station and we just need that support towards getting it to that stage,” said Anthony Watson, a senior Aboriginal elder.

“Having a partnership to come in will help us see our dream come true.”

The Aboriginal Pastoral Co-op aims to pool resources between stations to produce better cattle and employ more Indigenous workers, and it is looking to China to fund its expansion plans

Wayne Bergmann, the chief executive officer of the Indigenous development trust KRED, has been the driving force behind the project.

“As we went through and assessed the viability of collectively working together, a block of Kimberley pastoral stations, it occurred to us that this could actually work,” he said.

Uniting of stations ‘a game-changer’

On the banks of the Fitzroy River, a legal decision 18 years in the making last week gave Aboriginal leaders further hope.

A native title claim over 26,000 square kilometres, between Derby and Broome and including the lower Fitzroy River, was handed down in favour of the Nyikina Mangala people.

One station, Mount Anderson, is at the centre of the claim. Already owned outright by an Aboriginal corporation, and with no debt, it has been struggling to survive.

“It’s the game-changer in how you connect all these pastoral stations together,” Mr Bergmann said.

“Having exclusive possession on it, also gives us a level of control about where the main players who can determine how that land is going to be utilised for the best interest of our group.”

When Mr Bergman went looking for backers, he went beyond Australian shores to what he believes are the continent’s newest explorers.

“They are doing business here in exploring for minerals, oil and gas in this region. Why not reinforce the relationship in a business venture with traditional owners, Aboriginal people in this region?” he said.

Our principle is, as traditional owners we cant lose the land. So it is absolutely fundamental we create a model where the land is not at stake.

Wayne Bergmann

Early negotiations made clear that ownership of land and employment of Aboriginal people were non-negotiable matters.

“Our principle is, as traditional owners we cant lose the land,” Mr Bergmann said.

“So it is absolutely fundamental we create a model where the land is not at stake.”

Area ‘already very famous’ with Chinese investors

The Aboriginal Pastoral Co-op is working close with Chinese consortium ASF Group to bring foreign investors in.

ASF Group’s chair and director Min Yang flew out from Hong Kong to be part of the Nyikina Mangala’s historic day.

With legal structures close to finalised, it will soon be time to bring in the investors, and Ms Yang believes they will come quickly.

“I think it is not very hard to achieve because firstly this area is already very famous in China,” she said.

“Because of the movie ‘Australia’, you know. Every time I tell them, that’s the area, you know there are already a lot of cattle there and so they sort of feel very familiar.

“The other thing, which is mostly important, is this location is close to China.” http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

BUSINESS

19) PX bosses confirm big cuts at Air Niugini

By Online Editor
1:23 pm GMT+12, 05/06/2014, Papua New Guinea

Air Niugini has confirmed that the national airline is about to embark on 10 per cent cut in jobs.
 
The Loop’s exclusive report cited a memo issued to staff several days ago saying that the company would cut 250 jobs.
 
PNGloop.com contacted the airline chief executive officer Simon Foo and board chairman Sir Frederick Reiher who are overseas, travelling on duty and they authorized the release of a statement about the situation.
 
It  says the completion of the LNG construction phase and slow movement of the country’s economic activities and the fall in value of the kina are reasons it has embarked on a staff reduction program.
 
The statement has not addressed our questions on rumours that the company is running at a loss.
 
A highly placed source informed PNG loop that the cost saving exercise is a result of the company suffering operating losses.
 
According to a statement circulated by Air Niugini the cost saving exercise is called the “Value Enhancement Program” and is aimed at saving up to 10 percent across the organisation including staff costs.
 
ANG says its board of directors approved a 10 percent staff reduction representing 250 employees.
 
The reduction in staff numbers will be achieved in a number of ways including natural attrition, retirement, voluntary redundancy and redundancy.
 
This exercise will begin this month and will be progressively carried out over a 12 month period.
 
Air Niugini says  changes will build a platform for future growth, and to meet the challenges for the benefit of Air Niugini customers and staff and the people of Papua New Guinea.

SOURCE: LOOP PNG/PACNEWS

20) Election Outcome Key For Fiji’s Access To Work Scheme: NZ
Fiji participation in seasonal employee scheme would increase its size

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, June 4, 2014) – Fiji’s return to New Zealand’s RSE (Recognised Seasonal Employer) scheme would depend if it went ahead with planned September elections, says New Zealand Prime Minister John Key.

The NZ Herald reports that doing so would mean that the New Zealand would have to increase the number of Pacific Island workers who take part in the scheme which currently stands at 8000.

Key made the comments during a visit to Poutasi village in Samoa during his Pacific Island tour.

Before it can increase the numbers to about 10,000, the New Zealand Cabinet would need to be sure that the move would not deprive New Zealanders of a job.

During his visit, Key also announced a $1 million package for tourism in Samoa that would go towards upgrading a number of visitor attractions in the country and would also help Samoa’s recovery from Cyclone Evan in 2012.

Meanwhile, Fiji heads to the polls on September 17.

Fijilive

21) Fiji Casino Developer Requests Break From Penalties
Planned casino continues to incur penalties for delaying project

By Repeka Nasiko

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, June 5, 2014) – Casino developers One Hundred Sands Limited had requested for a two-month break from paying the monthly fine of $185,138 for failing to adhere to their license agreement.

Minister for Tourism and Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum confirmed this in Lautoka yesterday.

“They had paid their fines up till February,” he said.

He said government had requested a report from the company “to make some final decisions on it”.

One Hundred Sands was granted an exclusive licence to construct and manage Fiji’s first casino on Denarau Island in December 2011.

Prime Minister Rear Admiral (Ret) Voreqe Bainimarama officiated at the groundbreaking ceremony in April that year and construction of the $290m casino was expected to be completed by October last year.

Since then the company has been paying government a $US100,000 ($185,668) penalty each month for the delay in the project.

Fiji Times Online.

LAW&ORDER

22) Methamphetamine Is Largest Drug Threat To Pacific: UN
Fiji, located between South American and SE Asia, especially vulnerable

By Torika Tokalau

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, June 5, 2014) – Methamphetamine is the largest drug threat to Fiji and the Pacific, UN Office on Drugs and Crime regional representative for South East Asia and the Pacific Jeremy Douglas believes.

Mr Douglas, in an exclusive interview with The Fiji Times, said methamphetamine, a synthetic drug also known as meth or ice, could be made anywhere.

“You can move production wherever you want. You can’t make cocaine or heroin just anywhere because they are plant-based drugs but synthetic drugs, if you have the chemicals and if you have the smart chemists, you can make the drugs anywhere,” Mr Douglas said.

“And this region is next to the region in the world with the biggest meth problem which would be South East Asia, mainly China, Indonesia, Philippines. These countries have large production of meth.”

He said Fiji was vulnerable to drug trafficking because of its unique location between South America and South East Asia — the biggest suppliers of cocaine, methamphetamine and chemicals used in meth production.

“Drug traffickers look for opportunities and this is a nice place for them to move drugs through.”

“And also, this area is vulnerable to money laundering because its got banks, it has international connections to the regions I’ve mentioned so you can easily put money in and out as well.”

He said new products shown in other parts of the world were more pure forms of meth which was more addictive.

“This is crystal ice, but there are higher purity forms of crystal ice which has been seen in the market and trafficked from South East Asia to Fiji recently, and trying to use Fiji to get to Australia or just getting it to Fiji as a market.

“So I think they (Fijian authorities) really need to keep their eyes open for that.

“They need to keep their eyes open for chemicals coming here to make the drugs and possibly of organised crime groups from all those other regions, like East Asia setting up shop here to make the drugs here themselves.”

Assistant commissioner of police Rusiate Tudravu confirmed they were working with international and regional authorities to strengthen Fiji’s border security.

“We cannot rule out transnational crime issues and also drugs being transported through Fiji because we have registered reports in regards to that in the past,” Mr Tudravu said.

“We can confirm that there is no meth lab here in Fiji but we cannot rule that out for the future.

“We are closely monitoring our borders because of Fiji’s vulnerability in terms of location.”

AT A GLANCE

In 2004, a laboratory producing about 500kg of methamphetamine in one week was discovered in Suva;

On July 14, 2010, methamphetamine worth about $5m was seized in a raid in Suva; and

On February 2, 2014, a 60-year-old US citizen was apprehended at Nadi International Airport for allegedly being in possession of 7.5kg of methamphetamine.

Fiji Times Online.

SPORTS

23a) Pearls maintain form at Pacific Netball Series in Cook Islands

By Online Editor

10:51 am GMT+12, 05/06/2014, Fiji
The Fiji Pearls kept their winning run intact with a hard fought 50-46 win over Samoa yesterday at the Pacific Netball Series in Cook Islands.
 
Fiji carried on its momentum from their 59-36 thrashing of the host on Tuesday but was made to sweat it out for the win.
 
Pearls coach Julie Hoornweg said her players stepped up to the mark to deliver an above par performance.
 
”Well, Samoa has players from Australia and New Zealand which means their players are very strong,” she said.
 
”But our girls played quality and controlled netball which is something we had been working on for a while now.”
 
Fiji faces Papua New Guinea at 4.45pm today and Hoornweg said they were looking forward to another tough game.
 
”Well, PNG had a win today over the Cook Islands so they are also on track.
 
”It won’t be easy so we will prepare for them accordingly.”
 
Hoornweg said it was good news none of the players were carrying injuries and they would all be gunning for a starting spot for today’s game.

SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

23b) Penrith to roar during State of Origin

AAP
Thursday, June 05, 2014

Update: 4:25PM Penrith have a chance to go top of the NRL ladder by the end of the State of Origin period, with the high-flying Panthers seemingly off the radar for NSW and Queensland selectors.

Already second on the table and just one win behind first-placed Canterbury, the mountain men have a golden opportunity over the next six weeks to set up their season.

The Panthers have several New Zealand internationals in their line-up, a bunch of youngsters not yet in Origin contention and two experienced halves who were overlooked by NSW selectors.

But it’s proving an ideal formula for coach Ivan Cleary, who is no stranger to sailing through this period of year from his years at the Warriors.

While other NRL teams are struggling to fire amid the high Origin attrition rate, the Panthers are purring.

Last year, the Kiwi-centric Warriors won seven of eight matches through the Origin period.

Winger Josh Mansour is the only Panther being talked about for game two duties, and Penrith are primed to ride the slipstream.

“It can only be a benefit for the Panthers,” said Kiwi back-rower Elijah Taylor.

“We do have a young side.”

Penrith will start favourites away to Gold Coast this weekend and then clash with a St George Illawarra outfit next week minus Trent Merrin and possibly Josh Dugan.

They then have a bye straight after Origin II, before heading to Auckland for a tough road trip in round 16.

On the eve of Origin III, Penrith tackle a Wests Tigers side without linchpin Robbie Farah and, after that, they catch a Brisbane side who will have several players backing up or unavailable from the Wednesday night.

Meanwhile, the Bulldogs have to back up and play before and after Origins II and III.

Taylor says the Panthers are starting to gel under Cleary and he believes the side’s best football is ahead of them.

“We’re still learning about each other’s games and still building combinations and timing,” he said.

“You look back three years ago and it’s a whole new Panthers roster.

“Ivan’s a great coach and a great bloke as well and that’s important. He’s straight to the point – there’s no beating around the bush.

“All the boys respect him and want to play for him.”

24) Proud moment for Fiji soccer

Rashneel Kumar
Thursday, June 05, 2014

OUT of the 209 nations affiliated with FIFA, Fiji is one of the lucky 24 to compete in the 2015 FIFA under-20 World Cup to be played from May 30 to June 20 in New Zealand.

That’s how big this is — an achievement that many Fijians including others will remember for some time.

There were tears of joy when Fiji defeated Solomon Islands 2-1 in the crunch decider on Saturday night.

The realisation that life wouldn’t be the same for them now, they have eventually become the bunch of finest football players that Fiji has ever produced.

Even coach Ravinesh Kumar couldn’t hold the emotion.

For him, to coach this team, which became the first-ever national side to qualify for the World Cup, without doubt is the pinnacle of his career.

Kumar struggled to stamp his mark in the domestic competition with Lautoka, and this achievement with the Vodafone Fiji U20 puts him among the best mentors we have.

Fiji Football Association president Rajesh Patel was on his feet a number of times to protest the calls made by the referee in the match against Solomon Islands.

He also lashed out at a fan based at the beer parlour that made some ugly remarks at the Fiji FA officials when the team was trailing by a goal.

The qualification speaks volumes of work that Patel and Fiji FA had been doing in development of football in the country.

They are overjoyed and have plans in place to ensure this team gets the best preparation it can for a memorable outing in the FIFA U20 World Cup.

It is a proud achievement for all Fijians irrespective of their love for the sport.

As coach Kumar puts it “this may be the first time some people will know there is a place called Fiji”.

To him and the boys, thank you very much!

Football in Fiji has seen many bad days, hope this will inspire some better days ahead.Fijitimes

25) Barefoot runners steal the show

Arin Kumar
Thursday, June 05, 2014

SOME hidden talents were unearthed during the 5km Fun Run in Nadi last weekend.

Barefoot runners from the hills of Nabukelevu Village in Serua, 25km away from Pacific Harbour, won the primary schools boys and girls grades.

Viliame Lakia won the boys competition while Mereia Rabo won the girls competition and race director Abinesh Kumar of Nadi wants to see them compete more.

“The two tiny tots travelled all the way from Navua last weekend with their headteacher Epineri Vuli and teacher Nikita Maharaj and managed to win their respective events in the 5km Fun Run in Nadi,” he said.

“During Easter weekend, I visited the village and conducted a coaching clinic for four days.

“The villagers welcomed me in a big way and through that I was able to bring them for the Fun Run.”

Kumar said the villagers were unfortunate to not have basic necessities but they had the passion for sports.

“I found out the village does not have electricity and they drink river water.

“The villagers have got a lot of talent and they can not only run but play good rugby.

“The youths travel 10 to 15km to work in their farms.

“Despite not having proper playground, the village youths and kids are very strong and can do their talking through athletics, boxing or rugby.

“Whenever they have small tournaments in Serua on weekends, they would walk 25km to play their games.”

Kumar said the clinics he conducted were successful and he managed to identify some potential national reps.

“From the Easter weekend they all started to train for the Fun Run and trials were conducted to choose the best two out of sixty.

“We were also able to find one disabled athlete who can do wonders for Fiji if given the right guidance.

“The head teacher will coach a team of 10 athletes to represent Serua for the Chow Games and we are now looking for sponsors and the village has started fundraising for the event.

“He (Vuli) also said he will try to bring 10 runners to the next Fun Run which will be hosted by Jet Runners Club on July 27 at Korovuto College in Nadi.Fijitimes

www.voiceofmelanesia.com

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