Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1016

MELANESIA

1) Fijian Soldiers’ names released, Military Commander Tikoitoga appeals for support 

By Online Editor
9:41 pm GMT+12, 01/09/2014, Fiji 

Fiji’s Military Commander Brigadier-General Mosese Tikoitoga Tuesday appealed to the public to offer their support and be sensitive to families as the names of the 45 Fijian soldiers detained by rebels in Syria have been released.
 
Tikoitoga’s comments come in the wake of reports from affected families of negative stories about the situation in the Middle East they had been told by relatives and the public.
 
“I’m asking and I’m appealing to the public to help and be sensitive to the families in this difficult time and give them encouraging words and give them the support they need,” Brig-Gen Tikoitoga said in a press conference in Suva Tuesday.
 
He has also appealed to community and church leaders to look after these affected families and support them through this difficult time.
 
“It is quite appalling to hear stories of these families who have visited the centre on what other people are telling them. I appeal to all Fijians that while we pray for our soldiers in Syria that we be sensitive to the families. The least they want is negative stories, the least they want is lies of the situation in Syria.
 
“To the families this crisis centre remains open for you. If you can’t get the support wherever you are or if you think you are not getting the full story of what’s happening in Syria, call or visit the centre we will give you a full briefing about what’s happening in Syria.”
 
Tikoitoga also confirmed at a briefing today that there are indeed 45 soldiers.
 
“Initially the UN gave us a figure of 43, then we confirmed with our headquarters who gave us a figure of 44 and a list of 44 names. Then we reconfirmed in the last two days and we have got a disposition of all our 434 troops in Syria. We can confirm that the group is made up of 45 Fijians.”
 
The group in detention is led by Officer in Command, Captain Savenaca Siwatibau Rabuka who is assisted by Captain Simione Qionibaravilala.
 
Names of soldiers detained: PTE Timothy John Anthony, PTE Apisalome Rokotakala Waqa Balawakula, PTE Mosese Bevu, PTE Kasimiro Bose, LCPL George Rodney Burt, SGT Viliame Cavubati, PTE James Danford, CPL Sakiusa Kamikamica, PTE Talaiyasi Koro, LCPL Josefa Lewenilovo, PTE Nemani Matevakaloloma, PTE Apenisa Muavesi, LCPL Waisea Nabotiloma, PTE Orisi Nasomia Naio, LCPL Josefa Naivola, WO2 Marika Nakicobula, Capt Simione Qionibaravilala, Capt Savenaca Siwatibau, CPL Nasi Vilani Racaca, LCPL Sanaila Radevo, PTE Semi Radrodro, PTE Tevita Kaloulasulasu Rakabu, PTE Manasa Rasalato, PTE Atanio Vereti Ratucoko, PTE Panapasa June Ravai, CPL Paula Ravuso, CPL Tevita Madakiliva Rokobuli, PTE Aminisitai Rokoli, CPL Niumaia Romala, PTE Petero Samuela, PTE Severo Saqacala, PTE Jemesa Saqamaitoga, PTE Sevuloni Busa Duikete Sereinagata, PTE Ratu Emori Tunaosara Tagivakatini, PTE Maika Takavesi, PTE Eparama Tamanivakabuta, CPL Manasa Leone Taraki, PTE Jowasa Togavou, CPO Laitia Usa, PTE Ratu Emosi B Ranatawake, PTE Mosese Lekanagata Vatanitawake, PTE Iosefo Iferemi Vilolo, PTE Asaeli Ratusema, PTE Jone Wainiqolo,  and AB Ilitomasi Nawalu Waqavonovono.
 
Meanwhile, the  United Nations have sent a hostage negotiator to Syria as the rebel group, Al Nusra, makes three demands one which is to be taken off the U.N. terrorist list in exchange for the release of the detained 45 Fijian soldiers.  
 
Brigadier-General Mosese Tikoitoga said the rebels have also demanded humanitarian aid to the Ruta area of the embattled Syrian capital as well as compensation for three of their men who died in a shootout with U.N officers.  
 
“A negotiation team is now in place in Syria and they have now taken over the negotiation from the crisis management team of the Force Commander and his senior officers at Dafour,” Brig-Gen Tikoitoga said.
 
“Negotiations have moved up to another level with professional negotiators now in place to take over negotiation.
 
“Tikoitoga said the whereabouts of the 45 soldiers is still be established, but they remain firm in the belief the soldiers would be released unharmed. He acknowledged the assistance of the U.N and it’s secretary general who have assured their full support in efforts to rescue the men.  
 
“We have also been assured by the UN headquarters of the safe return of our soldiers and for that we are thankful. The U.N has assured they will use all of their available resources for the safe return of our soldiers.”  
 
Tikoitoga also appeals to the public to offer their support to the soldiers’ families, particularly those in the outer islands and may not have the means to make contact with the Fijian Military or visit the crisis centre which has been set up over the weekend in Vatuwaqa to offer support for the families.
 
Tikoitoga said since then, over 30 families have visited the centre. The military has also set up teams for deployment to offer support to families who live in far flung areas.

SOURCE: FIJI LIVE/PACNEWS

2) Sam nyus blong Ministri blong Lands mo Pati

Olgeta –

Yu save ridim sam nyus – 1 blong Ministri blong Lands mo wan blong Pati nomo:

PRESS RELEASE (2nd September 2014): Applications for new leases can now be received

The Department of Lands is now able and ready to receive applications for new leases in both rural and urban areas, for new subdivisions in rural areas and for changes of lease type in rural areas.

The new application forms, which are consistent with the requirements of the new Custom Land Management Act and the amended Land Reform and Land Leases Acts, were gazetted on 1st September after being approved by the Land Management Planning Committee.

The Department of Lands can now once again receive and process applications for all types of land dealings.

The Application Forms for:
1. negotiator’s certificates for new leases over customary land
2. new leases over state land
3. new rural subdivisions, and
4. changes in lease type in rural areas;
are available from the Department of Lands or can be downloaded from the Ministry of Land website.

GJP PILOTS SUPPORT FOR SEASONAL EMPLOYMENT

Graon mo Jastis Pati (GJP) has entered into a pilot arrangement to finance people going on the Seasonal Workers Program to Australia. The first group of 60 workers who were assisted by the GJP to undertake seasonal employment in Australia left on the morning of Thursday 28th August to work on asparagus farms in Victoria. They will be working there for 6 months. The next group of 28 workers will leave on the 5th of September. The company that is hiring them is Connect Group Pty Limited of Australia.

GJP has recognised that seasonal employment in Australia and New Zealand is one of the key means by which households and communities in both urban and rural Vanuatu are raising their living standards and providing access to education for their children. Party President Ralph Regenvanu says that the party wishes to see more people going to Australia and New Zealand to work and bringing back money to develop their communities and the country, and as such the Party Executive has approved a pilot scheme to provide funding assistance to support this.

GJP is the first political party to establish such a scheme of direct support to enable ni-Vanuatu to engage in seasonal employment opportunities abroad.

Ta, Vanuatu Minister for Lands:  Ralph Regenvanu.

3) Vanuatu daily news digest | 2 September 2014

by bobmakin

  • The motion lodging sport of parliamentarians has already come un-stuck, all media are reporting today. Five MPs of the government side have withdrawn their alleged sponsorship of the motion of no confidence in PM Joe Natuman. The motion was found to be not in order.
  • Today is the last day in office of Head of State Iolu Abbil and Parliament, as the principal body of the electoral college for choosing the next President of the Republic, will need to meet soon in order to appoint Abbil’s successor. Provincial council leaders are also required to participate in this election.
  • Daily Post today reveals the promissory notes which Parliament would have been obliged to authorize had the government not changed. They were to be irrevocable and unconditional promissory notes. The winners of the hugely rewarding financial opportunity, Vanuatu Trade Development Pte Ltd of Singapore, lacking an enviable record of international airport construction, wanted to be sure of receiving 350 million US dollars, anyway, and “on demand”. It is believed there are likely to be calls for an Ombudsman Report in this matter.
  • Radio Vanuatu News this morning recorded the death of Charley Douglas, ni-Vanuatu scientist who was originally employed by the Geological Survey of Vanuatu and did much work relative to the volcanic activity on his home island of Ambrym.

Correction

by bobmakin

This news blog apologizes to the family of the late Cherley Douglas for a factual mistake.

His home island was Tongoa, not Ambrym.

  • Evidence presented by Prosecutions in the case of the murdered schoolgirl from Montmartre was insufficient to establish proof of guilt on the part of the suspect who had pleaded “not guilty” to the offence. Post reports acquittal of the suspect.
  • Daily Post reports over 900 patients receiving professional assistance from the Chinese medical ship in Port Vila. State Minister Esmon Sae (MIPU) actually underwent an operation on board the Ark Peace, a floating hospital, the report states. Patients have been attended to on board the ship or at the Chinese Club in town.

MICRONESIA

4) Kiribati proposes death penalty

By Online Editor
11:34 pm GMT+12, 01/09/2014, Kiribati 

The Kiribati parliament has passed the first reading of the amendment to the penal code to adopt the death penalty.
 
President Anote Tong says his country will have the opportunity to comment on the amendment during the consultation.
 
Tong says the bill is a deterrent for deliberate killings in the country.
 
His comment comes after five women recently lost their lives at the hands of their husbands or former partners.
 
However, the opposition leader, Dr Tetaua Taitai, warns the government to be mindful of the implications of the death penalty because sometimes the courts may be wrong in their judgments.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

AUSTRALIA

5) Federal Parliament recognises mistreatment of South Sea Islander workers

By Online Editor
11:25 pm GMT+12, 01/09/2014, Australia 

A motion has been presented in Federal Parliament expressing regret over the treatment of thousands of South Sea Islanders brought to Australia in the 1800s.
 
The motion said the men were essentially kidnapped or lured onto ships and then transported to Australia to be used as indentured labour.
 
Queensland Nationals MP Keith Pitt, who seconded the motion, said debating the issue was particularly important for his electorate.
 
“There are a number of South Sea Islanders who remain in this nation and it should be recognised the very large contribution they’ve made,” he said.
 
“They’re a wonderful part of our local community. They’ve produced many sporting stars, they work very hard.”
 
About 60,000 Sea Sea Island people were brought to Australia, mostly from Vanuatu and Solomon Islands, in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
 
They worked mainly in the sugar, cotton and grazing industries.
 
Pitt said their efforts need to be better recognised.
 
“One of the things we are asking for is inclusion [of South Sea Islanders] on the national census as a separate people,” he said.
 
“It is important that we put the spotlight on this issue
 
Prominent Australian South Sea Islander Lola Forester said the motion was well overdue.
 
“It is a huge day considering it has taken so long,” she said. “It’s very exciting for all of us.
 
“A lot of people don’t understand about the South Sea Islanders and how they contributed to the economy, mainly in Queensland.
 
“The significance is that we have always been the forgotten people.”
 
Forester said this recognition was an important first step but more needs to be done.
 
“A lot of people still don’t understand that there was slavery in this country,” she said.
 
“I think we should get some form of compensation or something like that should happen.”.

SOURCE: RADIO AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS

HEALTH

6) PNG School of Medicine and Health Science starndard down

By Online Editor
9:45 pm GMT+12, 01/09/2014, Papua New Guinea 

The School of Medicine and Health Science, the country’s premier learning institution for doctors, is churning out sub-standard graduates, senior local doctors said Monday in Goroka.
 
Specialist medical officers and private practitioners Dr Fredrick Kambual and Nikama Moiya, with John Tonar of Kundiawa General Hospital, were among others who told the medical symposium that the school, which is the medical faculty of the University of PNG at Taurama, lacked qualified teaching staff.
 
They said the school was in a pathetic state without any qualified lecturers to take on the responsibilities of professors.
 
It has declined to a stage where graduates who passed out of Taurama would not be recognised as medical officers in other parts of the world, unlike in the past.
 
The specialist medical officers said during their time, every section at the faculty was well equipped and staffed with well-known specialist clinicians and professors, hence quality doctors were produced, but the specialist training required in medical training was not there now.
 
“We did training in a very well setup faculty with special clinicians in all areas,” Dr Kambual said.
 
“Our academics were highly qualified. Now there is no professor in every medical discipline.”
 
“What’s the Government doing? What’s the University administration doing? Where are we going?” Dr Kambual said.
 
“Every doctor that has come out of the Medical Faculty knows the quality of our doctors has declined. We lost all our specialist academics. Those of us who came out earlier can go anywhere in the world and work but not the recent graduates,” Dr Tonar said.
 
The doctors supported Professor Isi Kevau in opposing the idea of creating another medical school as proposed during the symposium. They added that rather than plan for a second school of medicine in the country, the Government should pour all resources to bring Taurama back to international recognition.
 
Prof Kevau said the current school developed over the years without any major Government support and said the proposed Western Pacific University in the Imbongu electorate, Southern Highlands Province, should not have a medical faculty.
 
Public Service Minister Dr Puka Temu said he would raise the issue in Parliament.
 
Since the Medical School began training doctors in 1973, a total of 168 doctors, of which 306 were women, have graduated. There are 291 specialist doctors from this total.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

POLITIC

7) Six members of the Democratic Party will stand as independents

By Online Editor
11:33 pm GMT+12, 01/09/2014, Tonga 

Six members of the Friendly Islands Democratic Party, kicked out by party leader Akilisi Pohiva, will campaign independently for the upcoming 27 November  general election.
 
They will not campaign for the party.
 
The confirmation comes after Mr Pohiva had claimed on television last week that some of the People’s Representatives who have been left out of the party’s candidate list for the election will still campaign with the party.
 
The six members are the MP for Tongatapu 9, Falisi Tupou, the People MP for Tongatapu 8, Sione Taione,  the People MP for Tongatapu 3, Dr Sitiveni Halapua, People MP for ‘Eua 11, Sunia Fili, People MP for Tongatapu 10,Semisi Tapueluelu and the people MP for Tongatapu 4, Isileli Pulu.
 
Pohiva had said that Pulu and Tupou will be part of his candidacy team for the upcoming election.
 
But both Pulu and Tupou have confirmed that they will campaign independently.
 
The MPs said they are still party members as they have not resigned from the party.
 
They also have not been removed from the party – although they have not been endorsed as party candidates.

SOURCE: TONGA DAILY NEWS/PACNEWS

8) Fiji Police on guard as postal ballots come in 

By Online Editor
5:01 pm GMT+12, 01/09/2014, Fiji 

The Fijian Elections Office has started receiving ballot papers sent in by those who registered to vote by post.
 
The first received was from a local voter which was sealed in the presence of a polling agent, the media, a representative from the political parties and a rep from the Multi-National Observer Group.  
 
Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem said the sealed ballot box will be sealed every afternoon also in the presence of a police officer.
 
During the day, a police officer will be assigned to watch over the box.
 
Saneem says they will also organise a time when ballot papers are put inside the box. “It’s not going to be as soon as it comes in we put it in,” Saneem said.
 
“We will have polling agents and observers present when put in the box.”
 
The FEO is also preparing for pre-polling which starts tomorrow in 547 designated areas in the outer islands and some rural communities.  Pre-polling spreads over two weeks.
 
Meanwhile, Fijian Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama has called on voters to know the important role they will play for the future of this country.
 
Bainimarama made this comment while opening the new Public Rental Board housing units in Raiwai.
 
No longer bothered about criticism on mixing his official Government duties and national politics, Bainimarama  called on voters to make wise choices.
 
He urged voters to make wise choices – choices he said that will redefine our future.
 
“The choice you face on Election Day is perhaps the most important in our Nation’s history. It is a choice between the future and the past, a future in which Fiji moves forward – united and strong or moves backwards. Retreats to the divisions of the past that kept our nation week,” Bainimarama said.
 
Bainimarama says that voters have to judge his Government on its track record, and not  sectional interests.
 
“Rather than turn back the clock, I am asking you to help me rewind it by moving Fiji forward. Because we not only have a proud record, we have a plan. That plan is to build on the progress that every Fijian can see with their own eyes that has transformed our nation and set it on a better course.”
 
With just 15 days left to the polls, Bainimarama is making use of every opportunity such as these to get his elections message across.
 
“So reject the lies and look at the facts. Look at our record. And then decide who can be trusted – the person who has defended your interests or the people who claimed to defend your interests but betrayed you.”
 
And Bainimarama also sent out a clear message on the issue of I-Taukei rights.
 
Acknowledging that this has now become a major talking point for his political opponents, Voreqe Bainimarama has once again re-assured that all the rhetoric around the issue of insecurity of I Taukei land and culture is based on lies.
 
Bainimarama went on to say that the average i’Taukei doesn’t need protecting, nor do they want it.
 
He said all they want is respect and a fair share of the Nation’s resources and wealth.

SOURCE: FIJI LIVE/ FIJI TV/PACNEWS

LAW&ORDER

9) Fijian Soldiers’ names released, Military Commander Tikoitoga appeals for support 

By Online Editor
9:41 pm GMT+12, 01/09/2014, Fiji 

Fiji’s Military Commander Brigadier-General Mosese Tikoitoga Tuesday appealed to the public to offer their support and be sensitive to families as the names of the 45 Fijian soldiers detained by rebels in Syria have been released.
 
Tikoitoga’s comments come in the wake of reports from affected families of negative stories about the situation in the Middle East they had been told by relatives and the public.
 
“I’m asking and I’m appealing to the public to help and be sensitive to the families in this difficult time and give them encouraging words and give them the support they need,” Brig-Gen Tikoitoga said in a press conference in Suva Tuesday.
 
He has also appealed to community and church leaders to look after these affected families and support them through this difficult time.
 
“It is quite appalling to hear stories of these families who have visited the centre on what other people are telling them. I appeal to all Fijians that while we pray for our soldiers in Syria that we be sensitive to the families. The least they want is negative stories, the least they want is lies of the situation in Syria.
 
“To the families this crisis centre remains open for you. If you can’t get the support wherever you are or if you think you are not getting the full story of what’s happening in Syria, call or visit the centre we will give you a full briefing about what’s happening in Syria.”
 
Tikoitoga also confirmed at a briefing today that there are indeed 45 soldiers.
 
“Initially the UN gave us a figure of 43, then we confirmed with our headquarters who gave us a figure of 44 and a list of 44 names. Then we reconfirmed in the last two days and we have got a disposition of all our 434 troops in Syria. We can confirm that the group is made up of 45 Fijians.”
 
The group in detention is led by Officer in Command, Captain Savenaca Siwatibau Rabuka who is assisted by Captain Simione Qionibaravilala.
 
Names of soldiers detained: PTE Timothy John Anthony, PTE Apisalome Rokotakala Waqa Balawakula, PTE Mosese Bevu, PTE Kasimiro Bose, LCPL George Rodney Burt, SGT Viliame Cavubati, PTE James Danford, CPL Sakiusa Kamikamica, PTE Talaiyasi Koro, LCPL Josefa Lewenilovo, PTE Nemani Matevakaloloma, PTE Apenisa Muavesi, LCPL Waisea Nabotiloma, PTE Orisi Nasomia Naio, LCPL Josefa Naivola, WO2 Marika Nakicobula, Capt Simione Qionibaravilala, Capt Savenaca Siwatibau, CPL Nasi Vilani Racaca, LCPL Sanaila Radevo, PTE Semi Radrodro, PTE Tevita Kaloulasulasu Rakabu, PTE Manasa Rasalato, PTE Atanio Vereti Ratucoko, PTE Panapasa June Ravai, CPL Paula Ravuso, CPL Tevita Madakiliva Rokobuli, PTE Aminisitai Rokoli, CPL Niumaia Romala, PTE Petero Samuela, PTE Severo Saqacala, PTE Jemesa Saqamaitoga, PTE Sevuloni Busa Duikete Sereinagata, PTE Ratu Emori Tunaosara Tagivakatini, PTE Maika Takavesi, PTE Eparama Tamanivakabuta, CPL Manasa Leone Taraki, PTE Jowasa Togavou, CPO Laitia Usa, PTE Ratu Emosi B Ranatawake, PTE Mosese Lekanagata Vatanitawake, PTE Iosefo Iferemi Vilolo, PTE Asaeli Ratusema, PTE Jone Wainiqolo,  and AB Ilitomasi Nawalu Waqavonovono.
 
Meanwhile, the  United Nations have sent a hostage negotiator to Syria as the rebel group, Al Nusra, makes three demands one which is to be taken off the U.N. terrorist list in exchange for the release of the detained 45 Fijian soldiers.  
 
Brigadier-General Mosese Tikoitoga said the rebels have also demanded humanitarian aid to the Ruta area of the embattled Syrian capital as well as compensation for three of their men who died in a shootout with U.N officers.  
 
“A negotiation team is now in place in Syria and they have now taken over the negotiation from the crisis management team of the Force Commander and his senior officers at Dafour,” Brig-Gen Tikoitoga said.
 
“Negotiations have moved up to another level with professional negotiators now in place to take over negotiation.
 
“Tikoitoga said the whereabouts of the 45 soldiers is still be established, but they remain firm in the belief the soldiers would be released unharmed. He acknowledged the assistance of the U.N and it’s secretary general who have assured their full support in efforts to rescue the men.  
 
“We have also been assured by the UN headquarters of the safe return of our soldiers and for that we are thankful. The U.N has assured they will use all of their available resources for the safe return of our soldiers.”  
 
Tikoitoga also appeals to the public to offer their support to the soldiers’ families, particularly those in the outer islands and may not have the means to make contact with the Fijian Military or visit the crisis centre which has been set up over the weekend in Vatuwaqa to offer support for the families.
 
Tikoitoga said since then, over 30 families have visited the centre. The military has also set up teams for deployment to offer support to families who live in far flung areas.

SOURCE: FIJI LIVE/PACNEWS

10) VIDEO UPDATE: FIJIAN COMMANDER BRIEFS MEDIA ON FIJIAN PEACEKEEPERS IN THE GOLAN REGION

Editors,

The Commander of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces Brigadier-General Mosese Tikoitoga updated members of the Press this morning on the Fijian peacekeepers in the Golan region. 

A video of this update can be accessed at http://youtu.be/tKXqlWVfm7M

More information & updates can be accessed via the Ministry’s social & web media platforms. 

Many Thanks,

MINFO News.

www.voiceofmelanesia.com

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