Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1017

MELANESIA

1) Legacy of West Papuan leader remembered

6 September 2014

The Secretary-General of the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation says the West Papuan cause has lost a good leader, following the death of Dr John Otto Ondawame.

Rex Rumakiek says Dr Ondawame, who died in Port Vila Thursday night following a reported heart attack, was the figurehead for the Coalition as it elevated the West Papuan bid to join the Melanesian Spearhead Group to its current level.

Mr Rumakiek says that being an educated fellow and having long been involved in major campaigns pushing for a peaceful solution to the West Papua issue, Dr Ondawame’s legacy is substantial.

“He became sort of symbolic because despite (his people) being rich in mineral resources in this country, he was one of the poorest of all the campaigners. He was an ex-freedom fighter in the bush, as so many of us did, but especially him because he was arrested. He never planned to leave the country but he was arrested in Papua New Guinea and put in jail.”

Rex Rumakiek.http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/253912/legacy-of-west-papuan-leader-remembered

2) Al-Nusra cuts communication with negotiators

6 September 2014

Fiji’s military commander says a Syrian rebel group holding 45 Fijian soldiers captive in the Golan Heights has cut communication with UN negotiators.

Commander Brigadier General Mosese Tikoitoga has told Fiji media that negotiators are working hard to re-establish contact with the al-Qaeda affiliated group, Al Nusra.

He says he been informed it is normal for negotiations to stall at times and he expects the rebel group to make contact again soon.

He says the peacekeepers’ location remains unknown.

Al Nusra has given no deadline for the UN to meet its three demands for their release which are: removal from the UN terrorist list, humanitarian aid, and compensation for three rebels who died in a shootout with UN officers.http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/253930/al-nusra-cuts-communication-with-negotiators

POLYNESIA

3) Tuvalu signs regional fisheries treaty
By Online Editor
8:00 pm GMT+12, 04/09/2014, Samoa

” My Government recognizes the benefits and strength that can be gained through regional cooperation facilitated through the Niue Treaty Subsidiary Agreement (NTSA) to effectively police and combat illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing.” – says Tuvalu’s Prime Minister, Enele Sopoaga. It is this recognition that led to Tuvalu ratifying the NTSA in a brief ceremony at the Tokelau Office in Samoa
 
This simply means that Tuvalu, like other small islands who have signed up to the NTSA including Samoa, has now improved its capacity in fisheries surveillance and law enforcement as well as enhancing its power to effectively enforce its fisheries laws.
 
This has been an area of concern for many small islands in the region.
 
Tuvalu, for example, has one patrol boat covering an exclusive economic zone of 900,000 square kilometers.
 
“In a year, due to budgetary constraints, the patrol boat can only spend approximately 50 days at sea patrolling. These and other constraints make it difficult for Tuvalu to effectively control and monitor is vast EEZ,” said Prime Minister Sopoaga.
 
This is why the Prime Minister said his government has welcomed the NTSA and what it stands for, especially for small island states like Tuvalu whose estimated fisheries revenue accounts for approximately 40 per cent of total Government revenue annually.
 
“Tuvalu has very strong intrinsic economic, social and cultural interests in the fisheries sector. Not only is it important in regards to food security for our people but it also provides significant revenue for the Government. We therefore recognize that this Agreement will also secure the broader social and economic benefits linked to fisheries,” said the Prime Minister.
 
The Director General of the Forum Fisheries Agency, James Movick, said that Tuvalu getting on board is a “milestone that needs to be celebrated” and that it is “also appropriate to celebrate it amidst the SIDS conference”.
 
“This region has a history of relying on regional cooperation. Our successes have always been rooted in the strength of our partnerships and the fundamental value of regional cooperation. The problem of illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing is an ongoing global challenge that affects our sovereignty and revenue opportunities,” said Movick.
 
“The NTSA provides a practical application of a value added arrangement that will benefit the region. The whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts”.
 
Prime Minister Sopoaga also urged other Pacific island states to become a party to the Niue Treaty Subsidiary Agreement.
 
“Pacific island countries need to recognize that we can no longer exist and operate in isolation; our strength is in our unity,” he said…..PACNEWS

SOURCE: SIDSLIVE/PACNEWS

4) Voter Registration In Tonga Up 17% Over Last Election
Young people make up the bulk of new registrations

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Sept. 4, 2014) – Around 49,000 people have registered to vote in Tonga’s General Election on 27 November, which is a 17 percent increase from the number who registered in the last General Election in 2010.

The Commissioner and Supervisor of Elections, Pita Vuki, expected the number of voter registration to reach 50,000 for 2014.

He said in the 2010 election they recorded around 42,000 voters. To date, after a provisional electoral roll was published in May this year, they had recorded 49,000 people.

“This was after we removed from the roll around 800 names of deceased persons confirmed by the Ministry of Justice, National Civil Registry office, and district and town officers throughout Tonga.”

He said the provisional roll updated the 2010 roll and a final roll would be published on September 22, after the registration for voters ended on September 16.

Pita said a supplementary roll would be the last to be published on November 13 to include persons who turned 21 after the voter registration closing date.

“It is compulsory for a Tongan person who is over 21 and is not a noble to register to vote. A person who fails to register incurs a $50 pa’anga fee.”

“The number of voter registration is definitely higher than the last election with the increase due to new voters. The majority of the new voters are young people between the ages of 21-35, which is good. I think this is because youths have have come to realise the importance of their participation in the election process.”

Registration is free and first time voters are issued with national identification cards for the election free of charge. However, registered voters who have lost their cards but want new ones must pay $50 pa’anga.

Pita said if they choose not to get a new card, they can still vote by using either their passports or driver’s license.

“If one does not have either they can take an oath at the polling station to confirm their identity and vote. This is to encourage and make it easier for people to vote. We do not expect to have a 100 percent voter turn-out but we hope to get the highest number possible,” he said.

In the 2010 election 91 percent of the 42,000 registered to vote turned out and voted. “We also expect a high number of turn outs this year,” he said.

Candidates

In the meantime, candidates registration will be held on October 23-24.

Candidates eligible to run must be registered voters who have no outstanding debts with the courts. They must pay $400 fee and have the nomination of 50 signatures of registered voters from the constituencies they are running in.

Pita said potential candidates had started their campaigns.

“They can campaign by appearing on radio, TV or by putting out advertisments on any media forum, just as long as these programs and ads are signed and authorised by either the candidates or a person above 21. The person who signs for the ads is responsible for its content,” he said.

However, all campaigns must cease 24-hours prior to the start of the voting at 9:00am on November 27.

Pita said $10,000 is the amount of money allowed for candidates to spend during the election. They can use the money for their campaign programs and ads but it is clear in the law that bribery of any kind with the aim to get votes is prohibited, he said.

“Candidates must also declare details of their spending within 14-days after the voting results are announced.”

In the meantime, the number of polling stations for the 17 constituencies will be announced soon most likely before the end of this month.

Pita said he did not expect there would any big difference from the 169 stations in 2010.

“Our work is ongoing and preparation is progressing well.”

King Tupou VI is expected to issue the Writ of Elections on September 30, 2014.

Matangi Tonga Magazine

MICRONESIA

5) Chinese Investors Check On Large Resort Plans In Palau
300 room project in Airai awaiting environmental permits

KOROR, Palau (Island Times, Sept. 5, 2014) – Several top officials of the Palau Pacific Star Corporation (PPSC) came to Palau last week to check on the status and conduct review of the hotel project that their company will undertake in this island nation.

The group was led by Hunter Tian, President of the PPSC. The Chinese investors were accompanied by their families, a lawyer and an assistant.

The PPSC group came on a private Boeing 737 jet that flew from Beijing, China to Palau nonstop for six hours. The group arrived here on August 28 and departed for China on August 31.

Businessman Jackson Henry, who is a consultant for the company, said the group came to Palau to review and check on the status of the hotel project that is going to be built at the Airai side of the Japan-Palau Friendship Bridge.

“They wanted to check if everything is okay,” he said.

Henry stated that the investors are ready to proceed with the project. “We are just waiting for the EQPB (Environmental Quality Protection Board) to issue a permit,” he added.

Henry disclosed that they made some modifications to the plan. “Instead of 210 rooms, it will have 300 rooms,” he informed.

He said that some of the rooms will be on land, while some will be over the water. “It is a very advanced design that Palau can showcase to the outside world,” he said.

Henry also disclosed that they are bringing in a septic tank system from the United States (US) just for the project. “It is a very advanced design, a first in Palau,” he exclaimed.

Henry stated that they are making sure that the project will not harm the environment. “The investors are sparing no penny just to make it environmentally-friendly,” he said.

The PPSC has acquired the 81,910 square meter leasehold waterfront property called Klubed from the Tmetuchl family to build the resort facility.

The resort facility will include a multi-purpose restaurant, a luxury shopping center, traditional Chinese medical facility, a swimming pool, a waterfront bar, a driving range and a yacht club. Bulk of the rooms will be bungalow type designs with waterfront views of the ocean and the high bridge in Airai.

The hotel project in Airai is slated to be the biggest resort hotel in the country and will rival established multi-stars hotel establishments like the Palau Pacific Resort (PPR) and the Palau Royal Resort (PRR).

Island Times 

6) Agriculture Project In Kiribati Outer Islands Launched
$7 million project to make atolls more self-reliant


WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Sept. 4, 2014) – A seven million US dollar project has been launched to make four of Kiribati’s outer islands less reliant on imported foods.

A spokeswoman for the International Fund for Agricultural Developement, which supports the project, says imports are often of very poor quality.

The Outer Island Food and Water Project will target 43 communities on the islands of Abebama, Beru, North Tabiteuea and Nonouti, where soil quality is often poor.

The spokeswoman says a lot of research has gone into testing which fruit and vegetables can be grown in different areas and with this information hope to encourage the growing of a wider array of foods.

Radio New Zealand International 

TOK PISIN

7) Solomon pipol i dai long solwara

Postim 5 September 2014, 16:18 AEST
Sam Seke

5-pela long seven pela pipol i go long wanpela bot we i kapsait long solwara long Solomon Islands ol i dai pinis.

Solwara namel long Gizo na Kolombangara ailan we bot i kapsait 
Odio: Godfrey Abia blong Solomon islands Police Media toktok
Ol polis long Solomon Islands i ting olsem ol 4-pela pipol husat ibin lus taim boat blong ol i kapsait long solwara long Western Province long naba 31 long July, ol i dai pinis.
 
Seven pela pipol nau ibin lusim Gizo long go long Choiseul taim fibreglass boat blong ol i kapsait namel long ailan blong Vella Lavella na Kolombangara.
 
Godfrey Abia blong Police Media itok tupela long ol 7 pela ol i painim alive long solwara, na ol i lukim bodi blong narapela long solwara sampela wik bihain.Radio Australia

FRENCH

8) Brèves d’Australie et du Pacifique – vendredi 5 septembre 2014

Posté à 5 September 2014, 14:30 AEST
Caroline Lafargue

Papouasie indonésienne: les avocats de Valentine Bourrat et Thomas Dandois donnent une conférence de presse aujourd’hui à Jayapura. 

La mésaventure des deux reporters d’ARTE a pris un nouveau tour lundi, les autorités indonésiennes ont prolongé leur détention pour une durée indéterminée, le temps de boucler leur enquête et d’identifier les gens interviewés par les deux reporters. Amnesty International a de nouveau exigé leur libération immédiate. 

  •  Samoa américain: le gouverneur demande la déclaration de l’état de catastrophe naturelle à Barack Obama. En juillet le territoire a été touché par de graves inondations et des glissements de terrain. Et le gouverneur n’a pas suffisamment de fonds pour aider à la reconstruction. La facture des inondations se monte à plus de 5 millions de dollars rien que pour les biens publics. Certains habitants sont toujours dans des abris provisoires.
  • La guerre des tranchées continue entre Fidji Airways et Solomon Airlines. Les vols directs entre Fidji et les Salomon sont suspendus depuis début juillet – les passagers doivent passer par l’Australie ou le Vanuatu. En cause : le refus de l’autorité de l’aviation civile salomonaise d’allouer un créneau supplémentaire à Fidji Airways. La compagnie aérienne fidjienne voulait en effet ouvrir un deuxième vol hebdomadaire entre Nadi et Honiara. En représailles, les autorités fidjiennes de l’aviation civile ont donc interdit l’accès à l’aéroport de Nadi aux avions salomonais. Hier le directeur de Solomon Airlines, Gus Kraus, a de nouveau demandé aux Premiers ministres fidjien et salomonais de régler le conflit à leur niveau.
  • Vanuatu: des centaines de malades font la queue devant le navire-hôpital chinois. L’Arche de la Paix est arrivée dimanche dernier et l’équipe médicale a déjà soigné et opéré plus d’un millier de patients. Les soins ont même du être suspendus momentanément, le temps d’imprimer plus de billet d’admission. L’Arche de la Paix a commencé sa tournée à Tonga, où l’équipe médicale chinoise a soigné 4000 malades, avant de continuer sur Fidji et le Vanuatu. Prochaine destination : la Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée.
  • Elle n’a pas convaincu Tony de Brum, le ministre marshallais des Affaires étrangères. Julie Bishop a participé au sommet  mondial des États insulaires en développement qui s’est clos jeudi à Apia. La ministre australienne des Affaires étrangères a déclaré que l’Australie avait pris des mesures fortes pour lutter contre le changement climatique, en remplaçant le marché carbone par un plan d’action directe de 2.5 milliards de dollars – en clair, des subventions aux entreprises pour qu’elles réduisent leurs émissions. La réponse de Tony de Brum : « il est très frustrant que les plus gros pollueurs reportent les mesures nécessaires, comme si ce n’était pas un problème actuel, nous espérons que l’Australie va prendre ses responsabilités. » Radio australia

WORLD

9) Somalia put on high alert after Al Shabaab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane confirmed dead

Updated 6 September 2014, 17:59 AEST

Somalia sends warning Al-Qaeda-linked rebels are planning retaliatory attacks after their leader was killed in a US airstrike.

Somalia’s government has warned that the country’s Al-Qaeda-linked Al Shabaab rebels were planning a wave of retaliatory attacks after it was confirmed their leader, Ahmed Abdi Godane, was killed earlier this week in a US air strike.

“Security agencies have obtained information indicating that Al Shabaab is now planning to carry out desperate attacks against medical facilities, education centres and other government facilities,” National Security Minister Kalif Ahmed Ereg told reporters.

“The security forces are ready to counter their attacks and we call on people to help the security forces in standing against violent acts,” he said, adding nevertheless that “we congratulate the Somali people” on the death of Godane.

On Friday the Pentagon confirmed that Godane, the leader of Al-Qaeda’s main affiliate in Africa, perished in an attack on Monday in which US drones and manned aircraft rained Hellfire missiles and laser-guided bombs on a gathering of Al Shabaab commanders.

Godane has been fighting to overthrow the war-torn country’s internationally-backed government, carrying out a wave of bombings and assassinations.

Godane 37, who reportedly trained in Afghanistan with the Taliban, had overseen the group’s transformation from local insurgency to major regional guerrilla threat, carrying out attacks in countries that contribute to the African Union force fighting in Somalia.

He claimed responsibility for the July 2010 bombings in the Ugandan capital Kampala that killed 74 people, and was also believed to have masterminded the Westgate Mall attack in Nairobi, Kenya – a four-day siege in September 2003 in which at least 67 people were killed.

‘Major symbolic and operational loss’: US

The White House says Godane’s death is a major blow to Al Qaeda’s network.

In a statement, it called it “a major symbolic and operational loss to the largest Al Qaeda affiliate in Africa and reflects years of painstaking work by our intelligence, military and law enforcement professionals”.

Somalia’s president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has thanked the US for killing Godane.

“The Somali government thanks the US government and individuals in the Somali security forces who helped the operation,” the president said in a statement.

“We are confirming that no-one in that convoy survived the attack.”

In the statement, the president also called on Al Shabaab fighters to lay down their arms.

“One of the main pillars of the Somali war has gone, so there is no reason for Somalia’s youth to continue with a war when its day are numbered,” it said.

What is Al Shabaab?

How has Al Shabaab emerged from Somalia’s crucible of anarchy to become feared throughout the Horn of Africa?

Mr Mohamud also said the government was offering an amnesty to members of the militant group.

“[The government] is willing to offer amnesty to Al Shabaab members who reject violence and renounce their links to Al Shabaab and Al Qaeda – but for the next 45 days only,” he said.

“While an extreme hardcore may fight over the [new] leadership of Al Shabaab, this is a chance for the majority of members to change course and reject Godane’s decision to make them the pawns of an international terror campaign.”

There was no immediate comment from Al Shabaab, which has so far refused to confirm or deny reports of Godane’s death.

The US State Department had listed Godane as one of the world’s eight top terror fugitives, with a bounty of $7 million on his head.

ABC/Reuters/AFP

EDUCATION

10) PNG Education Minister reveals staggering bills

 5 September 2014

Papua New Guinea’s Education Minister has revealed that repair bills for National Capital District schools are a staggering 125 million US dollars.

The Post Courier reports Nick Kuman told parliament the information is contained in final audit reports of the Finance Department which detailed shocking high costs by contractors since 2007.

He admitted that half of the claims are bogus and that the reports did not list whether projects were completed, incomplete or not done at all.

He has referred the audit back to Finance Department to include these.

Responding to questions from the Kikori MP Mark Maipakai, Mr Kuman said the audit failed to conclude the level of corruption that took place in the procurement process and the accounting process.http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/253874/png-education-minister-reveals-staggering-bills

POLITIC

11) East Timor spy row: Australia, East Timor postpone ICJ case to seek ‘amicable settlement’

Updated 6 September 2014, 18:33 AEST

Australia and East Timor have agreed to suspend the International Court of Justice hearing into their bitter spy row as they try to “resolve [their] differences amicably”.

A spokesman for Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade told the ABC the parties will postpone the proceedings in the UN’s highest court for an initial period of six months.

They have also agreed to suspend a separate, behind-closed-doors case on the Timor Sea Treaty before the Permanent Court of Arbitration, which is in the same building as the ICJ.

“This is a positive step, which provides an opportunity to seek to resolve our differences amicably. Australia and Timor-Leste will meet regularly to discuss these issues,” the spokesman said in a statement.

East Timor dragged Canberra to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague to seek the return of sensitive documents seized by Australia in a raid on an East Timor lawyer’s office in the capital.

The documents relate to a controversial oil and gas treaty between the two countries which East Timor wants torn up.

“The ICJ decided to grant the parties’ request to postpone the oral proceedings in the case,” the ICJ said in a statement on Friday.

Lawyers were to argue their cases at the hearing’s opening, set for September 17 before the ICJ, which rules in disputes between countries.

Video: Fact Check: Would spying on East Timor by ASIS be illegal?

ICJ judges in an interim ruling in March ordered Canberra to stop interfering with East Timor’s dealings with its lawyer and to ensure that the content of the seized documents be put under seal.

East Timor opened a case against Australia last December following a raid on the Canberra offices of Bernard Collaery, in which electronic and paper documents were seized.

East Timor contended that the seizure violated its sovereignty and rights “under international and any relevant domestic law.”

At the heart of the David and Goliath dispute is the treaty signed in 2006 between Dili and its southern neighbour, four years after East Timor’s independence from Indonesia.

Australia allegedly used an aid programme as cover to bug East Timor’s cabinet offices so it could listen in on discussions about the treaty.

East Timor has accused Australia of spying to gain a commercial advantage during 2004 negotiations over the Timor Sea gas treaty, called the Certain Maritime Arrangements in the Timor Sea, or CMATS, which covers a vast gas field between the two nations worth billions of dollars.

East Timor now wants the treaty scrapped.

ABC/AFP

12) PNG Government Lawyers Admit PM Released ‘Inaccurate’ Info
O’Neill’s claims about Development Fund lawsuit misleading

By PNG correspondent Liam Cochrane

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Sept. 4, 2014) – Lawyers for Papua New Guinea’s government have admitted the prime minister released “factually inaccurate” information about a court case in Singapore.

The case is part of a bitter struggle for control of a $1.4 billion development fund linked to the Ok Tedi mine, as well as the mine itself.

Last week, a media release from prime minister Peter O’Neill claimed the PNG Sustainable Development Fund (PNG SDP) withdrew money inappropriately from its Long Term Fund, which is set aside for after the mine closes.

But PNG SDP chairman Sir Mekere Morauta said a letter submitted to Singapore’s Supreme Court by the PNG government’s lawyers admitted the statements were misleading.

“The State recognises that some of the points presented in the last three paragraphs of the news release as reported by the PNG press are factually inaccurate and will be issuing clarifications in this regards shortly,” said lawyers for the PNG government, according to the PNG SDP.

The paragraphs cited by the lawyer’s letter allege the PNG SDP withdrew $7 million from the Long Term Fund to finance “general expenses”, including $3.8 million for legal representation.

The government has not issued a public clarification.

The allegations against PNG SDP have been discussed in Parliament by the prime minister and attorney-general.

Sir Mekere said the PNG SDP will take action against the government for breaching Singapore’s court rules by misrepresenting the Supreme Court’s judgement.

“Those [2013] accounts have been audited and were found to be in order,” he said.

“They were issued unqualified by the auditors, the respected international firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers, and I am confident the 2014 accounts will be the same.”

The case in Singapore’s Supreme Court is a counter claim to the PNG SDP’s legal action, which seeks to block the government’s removal of board members and its chairman.

A separate action has been lodged with the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes in Washington DC.

Radio Australia 

13) FijiFirst releases its manifesto

By Online Editor
9:43 pm GMT+12, 04/09/2014, Fiji

The FijiFirst Friday released its manifesto which includes many new key targeted initiatives.
 
The party states that it will provide 91,250 litres of water free of charge per year to Fijian households earning less than a total annual income of $30,000 (US$16,000).
 
The FijiFirst said their calculation is based on an average of five members per household and takes into account a World Health Organization report that estimates that an individual requires 50 litres of water each day.
 
FijiFirst said it will increase the electricity subsidy for low-income families from the current 75 kilowatts per hour to 85 kilowatts per hour.
 
This will provide immediate relief to thousands of households.
 
The party confirms that it will continue to place zero VAT on powdered milk, rice, edible oil, tinned fish, flour, sharps and medicine. It will also continue to control the price of basic food items such as rice, flour, potatoes, dhal, cooking oil, and pharmaceutical and medical products.
 
The manifesto which has been launched by FijiFirst Leader, Voreqe Bainimarama in Nadi in the last hour states that FijiFirst will provide free medicine prescribed by a doctor and currently under price control for all Fijians who earn less than $20,000 (US$10,000) a year.
 
This includes medicine for Non-Communicable Diseases.
 
An allocation of $8 million (US$4 million) will be provided for this assistance to the low-income individuals.
 
It has been revealed that FijiFirst will follow the lead in taking control of the import fossil fuel, such as petroleum and gas, in place of the existing private companies.
 
The party said it will call for international tenders for the supply of fuel and the existing companies will then buy that fuel from the government.
 
The FijiFirst states that as well as being able to negotiate lower prices in the international marketplace, a FijiFirst government will generate revenue from the sale of fuel and be able to pass on the benefits of lower prices to consumers.
 
They have also promised in the manifesto that the current free tuition education for primary and secondary students will extend to pre-schools from the beginning of the second term in 2015.
 
According to the FijiFirst, free education will be available one year before admission to primary school at recognized and accredited pre-schools.
 
The party also plans to increase the ratio of teachers to students in primary and secondary schools by 2016.
 
It said this will not only result in a better learning environment but will also create jobs for young teaching graduates.  
 
The FijiFirst also said in its manifesto that it will provide 250 millilitres of milk a day to children enrolled in class 1 at all primary schools starting from Term 1 next year.
 
Preliminary discussions with Fiji Dairy Limited have already taken place and the cost is estimated at $2.5 million (US$1.3 million).
 
The party also said that by 2016, the Tertiary Education Loan Scheme will be extended to those who already have a diploma or who are in the workforce and want to gain formal qualifications.
 
The FijiFirst also said that it will revise the National Minimum Wage Rate upwards in line with the recommendation of the Reddy Report to a new rate o9f $2.32 (US$1.24) an hour from 1st July, 2015.
 
It also said the party will at least double the amount payable under workmen’s compensation for death and injury claims without the need to increase premiums for workmen’s compensation insurance.
 
On land, the FijiFirst said it intends to continue reforms of the i-Taukei Land Trust Board and to make it more efficient and address issues of corruption within the organization, in particular where landowners have been deprived of their say in the renewal of leases.
 
The party said it will also ensure that members of landowning units don’t have to pay an application fee when they lease their own land.
 
Plans are also underway for squatters to obtain 99 year residential leases in Nadonumai, Qauia, Wakanisila in Kalabu and Waidamudamu in Koronivia.
 
The FijiFirst also said that it will formalise leases on state land that were sold without proper consent in order to give tenants security of tenure and the ability to apply for consent to connect to electricity and water.
 
It said it will also set aside $10 million (US$5 million) to help the i-Taukei develop their land for subdivision and development.
 
The FijiFirst said for too long, landowners have leased out land for others to develop and make huge profits.
 
It said this initiative will encourage landowners to get into the business of being landlords while reaping direct commercial benefits from their land.
 
This funding will be made available as a grant to assist landowners to meet development costs such as provision of electricity, water and roads.
 
The party said it will uphold and implement the 2013 constitution.
 
The FijiFirst said it will uphold the rights, freedom and dignity of all Fijians, promote and foster common and equal citizenry, and to build a just and fair society where the benefits of progress include everyone.
 
Meanwhile, the Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) Leader Ro Teimumu Kepa said the claims made by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama that SODELPA has an immunity plot to free 2000 coup maker George Speight is completely false.
 
The claim was printed on the front page of the Fiji Sun newspaper Thursday and SODELPA has also registered a complaint with the police against the media organization.
 
Police Chief of Operations ACP Rusiate Tudravu said they have handed over the case to FICAC to investigate further on the claims.

SOURCE: LEGEND FM/ FIJI VILLAGE/PACNEWS

14) Fiji Party Files Complaint Against PM Over Coup Allegations
Fiji Sun story claims SODELPA had ‘immunity plot’ to free Speight

By Elanoa Turagaivui in Suva

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (Pacific Scoop, Sept. 5, 2014) – Social Democratic Liberal Party leader Ro Teimumu Kepa has filed a police complaint against Fiji First leader Voreqe Bainimarama and the Fiji Sunnewspaper over its front page article yesterday.

Fiji Sun reported that Bainimarama had claimed SODELPA had an “immunity plot” to free 2000 coup maker George Speight – a claim the party denies as untrue.

Bainimarama also claimed that opposition parties (including SODELPA) were trying to punish the soldiers detained in the Golan Heights who had carried out the coup in 2006.

The article further quoted Bainimarama as stating that SODELPA wanted to prosecute all those involved in the change of leadership in government in 2006.

A SODELPA statement said it strongly denied the allegations by Bainimarama and the Fiji Sun.

The party said both the Fiji Sun and Bainimarama must be held accountable for these statements which it says indicated a desperation to win votes and sway political leanings.

Police Chief of Operations ACP Rusiate Tudravu confirmed the complaint was lodged yesterday morning by a member of the party at the Central Police Station in Suva.

He said the allegation had been that the Fiji Sun article and comments made were “threatening”.

The initial investigation has been completed and the case has been forwarded to the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC).

Elanoa Turagaivui is a Fiji Broadcasting Corporation news reporter.

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

15) Islanders confused

Channel Saukilagi
Saturday, September 06, 2014

VOTERS on Kia Island in Macuata had difficulty understanding the polling system when they arrived at the polling station on Thursday.

The voters at Kia District School polling station in Ligau Village described the process as confusing.

Village headman Akuila Tutora said the villagers were frustrated about the system.

He said the subject was discussed at length by voters when they returned from casting their votes.Fijitmes

BUSINESS

16) PMs enter Fiji-Solomons Airline impasse
By Online Editor
4:44 pm GMT+12, 04/09/2014, Solomon Islands

The Prime Ministers of Fiji and Solomon Islands have been called on to sort out the row over civil aviation rights that has seen flights between the two countries suspended for seven weeks.
 
The impasse began mid July when Solomon Islands civil aviation authorities denied a Fiji Airways application for an additional Saturday flight into Honiara, citing a clash with an existing Solomon Airlines flight.
 
Fiji retaliated by cancelling all existing Solomon Airlines flights into Nadi and Solomon Islands reciprocated over Fiji Airways flights into Honiara.
 
A Solomon Airlines official, Gus Kraus, says the situation is out of control and even attempts at a shared circuit through Vanuatu have been rejected by Fiji.
 
“By this time I think both airlines have been consulting with the regulators and the Foreign Affairs Ministry and the Aviation Ministry and its gone up to the Prime Ministers level. So I think both sides are waiting for the both Prime Ministers to get involved directly and then make the direction downwards.”.
SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

17) M’sia tops investment

Source: 
The National, Thursday September 4th, 2014

 Foreign direct investment by Malaysian companies in Papua New Guinea is said to be one of the biggest compared to investments from other countries.
Last year, its total trade in PNG amounted to US$651.7 million (K1.58 billion).
The country is rich with agriculture and natural resources products and Malaysia sourced mainly these products from PNG.
Information from the Investment Promotion Authority shows investments by Malaysian firms are in all three sectors of the economy.
In the primary sector, 69 companies are involved in forestry, 15 in agriculture, six in mining and petroleum and one in fisheries.
In the secondary sector, 16 are in business management and consultancy services, 10 in the manufacturing industry. In tertiary sector, 51 are in wholesale and retail businesses, 44 in real estate, 29 in construction work, 12 in transport services and 11 in financing services.
According to the Malaysian diplomatic office, its investment in PNG is among the highest in terms of value. Last year, proposed investment recorded at K6.3 billion mainly concentrated in wholesale and retail, financial intermediation, forestry, manufacturing and agriculture.
The IPA has certified a total of 650 Malaysian enterprises to conduct business since 1999 with estimated 40,000 jobs created for local at various levels.
 
18) PNG Logging Company Dismisses Reports Of Terrorism Links
Cloudy Bay says media reports are false, misleading


PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Sept. 5, 2014) – Logging operator Cloudy Bay Sustainable Forestry Limited (CBSFL) yesterday disassociated itself from reports that it may have links with international terrorists.

Cloudy Bay said in a statement that its board of directors and its wide workforce, consisting of local and expatriate employees, were deeply disappointed and disturbed by recent “artificial” reports published by the Post-Courier, seeking to suggest members of the company hold links to terrorism.

It was reported that a Middle-East family with alleged terrorism links has poured millions of kina into PNG businesses in the past 10 years, including logging and security service. The story was brought to the Parliament’s attention, prompting Prime Minister Peter O’Neill to ask for an investigation and what steps to take if laws were broken.

Mr O’Neill said the Government would move quickly to rid PNG of people with terrorist links who pose danger to national security.

[PIR editor’s note: PNG Post Courier reported that ‘Triumph Heritage Empowerment (THE) Party leader and Kandep MP Don Polye yesterday warned that Prime Minister’s outburst on terror links in the media was childish and could have repercussions on investments. Mr Polye said Mr O’Neill’s public outburst on Australian investors in PNG as having terror links is childish. … O’Neill cannot just base his criticism on media propaganda as it was in yesterdays print papers because the allegations were sensitive and it requires proper collaborative investigation to confirm before speaking in Parliament or even to the media,” Mr Polye said.’]

However, CBSFL said it was not one of the companies; it “confirms that the subject media reports are false, whereby the offending articles are fraught with erroneous and misleading information and imputations.

“CBSFL confirms that all its members oppose and condemn all forms of terrorism, and contrary to the undertones of the subject media reports prominent members of the company are outspoken critics of terrorism and its abhorrent effects,” the company said in a statement yesterday.

The company’s legal adviser Abdullah Reslan said “the initial media reporting and public statements made thereafter by certain members of the country’s political establishment clearly aim to unjustly tarnish the good standing of the company and its members, while plainly carrying political overtones and diversionary facets intended for the current highly polarised political environment.”

“CBSFL seeks the unreserved withdrawal of the suggestions made together with a public apology from the PNG Post-Courier newspaper and other individuals that have acted to mislead the public and cause harm to the company and its members,” Mr Reslan said. “BSFL shall pursue all available remedies as a result of this unfortunate episode.”

PNG Post-Courier

19) Betel Nut Vendors Back On Honiara Streets
Police unable to effectively enforce ban


HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Sept. 5, 2014) – Honiara City Council has appeared to have lost the battle to keep betel nuts sellers off the capital’s streets.

Despite the best of efforts, the main streets are once more occupied by vendors.

A good number of them were seen sitting in front of shops, and at the bus stop at the Central market selling their betel-nuts.

During the past weeks, Honiara City law enforcement officers were seen patrolling the streets, but betel-nut vendors seemed to be oblivious to them.

Though the law enforcers remove a good number of people sitting along the streets selling betel-nut and cigarettes, most of the vendors would return once law enforcers disappeared.

And whenever the law enforcers are patrolling the streets, the vendors will pack their betel-nuts into their bag and once they disappeared, the vendors will start their sale again.

City clerk Charles Kelly early this year had advised betel nut vendors to sell their products at Kukum market because they won’t be issued licences to sell on the streets.

He had said that the removal of betel nut vendors from the streets was done according to the council’s by-laws so the public must respect that.

Solomon Star

20) New kava export rules in Vanuatu

6 September 2014
The Vanuatu Agriculture Minister says Vanuatu will be introducing new stringent measures to ensure kava exports comply with regulations.

The new measures come after a ban that stopped exports of kava to Europe since 2002 was lifted.

To preface the new measures, the ministry has launched a national kava awareness campaign.

The minister, David Tosul, says the new measures include introducing a director to train field staff and ensuring security checks on exports.

“After the awareness we will try and enforce the law. There will be enforcement officers in the islands inspecting all the ships, and there will be an officer at the wharf, checking all the kava coming in from all the island. And also we have to make sure that the quaranteen people check every kava that is exported.”

Agriculture Minister David Tosul.http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/253925/new-kava-export-rules-in-vanuatu

21) Negotiations for FOX channels successful

Geraldine Panapasa
Saturday, September 06, 2014

SUCCESSFUL negotiations between Fiji Television Ltd management and FOX International Channels (FIC) have resulted in the return of some of the channels that were initially dropped from the SKY Pacific digital platform.

FTV CEO Tevita Gonelevu said four FIC channels would be activated this month and those included Star Plus, NatGeo Wild, FX and FOX Crime.

He said the remaining channel FOX Family Movies would be activated once fibre bandwidth was sorted.

“All FOX Channels are cleared for Papua New Guinea with the exception of Star Plus, which can only be viewed in Fiji and other Pacific islands,” he said in a statement yesterday.

A major concern for FIC and FTV was the piracy of FIC’s channels by commercial subscribers in Fiji and throughout the Pacific Islands.

“Piracy has had a negative impact on Fiji TV’s business. Piracy of broadcaster channels and programs is an ongoing challenge within the Pacific region where copyright laws are not strongly adhered to.”

He said FTV took into consideration concerns and comments from subscribers.Fijitimes

22) Vodafone Fiji, Tonga Communication Corp. Become Strategic Partners
Telecom companies to leverage each other’s experience

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Sept. 4, 2014) – Tonga Communications Corporation and Vodafone Fiji have signed a strategic partnership alliance that will allow the Tongan telecommunications company to leverage the extensive industry experience of Vodafone Fiji.

Vodafone Fiji CEO, Mr Pradeep Lal has called the partnership a win-win extension of a long-standing relationship between TCC and Vodafone Fiji. “We have in the past hosted industry visits from our TCC counterparts to share our industry knowledge and experience..and the partnership signing further strengthens our relationship for mutual benefit,” he said.

“The partnership provides opportunities for both parties to leverage each other’s strength and, where possible, to team up together to negotiate better deals from suppliers and vendors for the benefit of customers in both countries.

Mr Lal since taking office in July, had earlier signed on Vodafone Tahiti.

The Chairlady of TCC Tonga Aloma Johansson said Vodafone Fiji has an enviable and proven track record in the mobile telecommunications industry in Fiji. “They also maintain an impressive 85% market share post six years of full competition; that is a remarkable achievement in light of the competition. TCC being the market leader in Tonga can certainly learn from Vodafone Fiji’s competitive strategy to strengthen its own market position.”

She said that TCC had recently launched 3G services and the partnership entailed leveraging Vodafone Fiji’s scale and knowledge to procure many products and services such as 3G data devices, dongles, handsets, and smartphones, and to procure network infrastructure.

Vodafone Fiji would also assist and share technical and commercial expertise with TCC in the launch of mobile roaming services, and assist with billing and revenue assurance. TCC was also interested in procuring branding and marketing services from Vodafone Fiji.

Tongan students studying in Fiji as well as Fiji based businesses operating in Tonga, and others, would benefit from competitive mobile communications services between the countries.

Matangi Tonga Magazine

23) Digicel proposes submarine cable

Source: 
The National, Wednesday September 3rd, 2014

 DIGICEL is proposing a new cable to connect the Pacific Island nations and increase connectivity, Group chairman Denis O’Brian says.
He has called for the undersea cable to run from Papua New Guinea through the Pacific and back into Sydney.
O’Brian said it would deliver an unlimited connectivity to consumer and business customers and have a major impact in developing the economies of these island states. Speaking at the private sector forum in Samoa on Sunday, he said there would be real change in economic growth of most Pacific Islands when this is built. 
“Broadband is the umbilical cord for economic development.  The private sector  must partner with the World Bank, Asia Development Bank, International Finance Corporation, European Union and Pacific Governments to come together to build a submarine cable in order to close the digital divide that exists where Pacific Island nations do not have access to broadband. 
“This cable would lead to the ‘death of distance’ and bring this last geographic frontier into the global information age,” O’Brian  said.  
The cable would connect PNG, Palau, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Wallis and Futuna, Fiji, Tonga, Samoa and Cook Islands and Sydney.  
 
LAW&ORDER

24) Vanuatu adamant about deportation

5 September 2014

The Vanuatu government says deported a Australian lawyer, Robert Herd, had been playing a key role in the latest bid for a motion of no confidence in the prime minister.

That bid collapsed earlier this week.

Mr Herd, who is the principal of Herdlaw, was deported on Thursday.

Don Wiseman has more:

“The opposition says the move was illegal but the government says Mr Herd was one of a number with selfish interests and agendas, aiming to prey on the shortcomings of so-called leaders. The acting Prime Minister, Ham Lini, says Vanuatu does not welcome such people because they do not appreciate the hospitality of the country or respect its laws. Mr Lini says people like Mr Herd obviously do not care whether or not their actions compromise Vanuatu’s future. He says the opposition would require more than the cunning efforts of people like Mr Herd to get back into government. The opposition has said the government could face claims for hundreds of millions of vatu for damages to Mr Herd’s reputation.”http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/253873/vanuatu-adamant-about-deportation

25) Former PM: Solomon Islanders Unaware Of RAMSI’s Mission
Sogavare says ‘root causes’ of ethnic tension have not been addressed

By Jeremy Inifiri

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Sept. 5, 2014) – Former Prime Minister and MP for North East Choiseul, Manasseh Sogavare says a vast majority of Solomon Islanders do not have a clue what the roles of RAMSI are since the mission’s arrival in 2003.

Mr Sogavare highlighted this in Parliament on Wednesday during the opening of the debate on an Independent Report on RAMSI.

Mr Sogavare also referred to the RAMSI survey conducted, which showed that a majority of answers people gave were that RAMSI was in the country to restore law and order.

“It is clear that a majority of Solomon Islanders do not have a clue as to what roles of RAMSI in the country,” Mr Sogavare said.

“Apart from restoring law and order, many still do not have a clue what other roles RAMSI have with regards to development in the country,” he added.

Mr Sogavare also highlighted that the questions in the RAMSI survey carried out were structured, therefore depicting people’s limited knowledge of RAMSI in the country.

Mr Sogavare also highlighted that the root causes of the ethnic tension are still yet to be addressed.

He added that it is also clear RAMSI have no interest in addressing these issues.

He quoted Australia and then Prime Minister, John Howard making it clear that addressing the root cause of the ethnic tension is the sole responsibility of the Solomon Islands government.

However, Mr Sogavare added that Australia must also consider that they are protecting their own interests within the territory of a sovereign state.

“To protect their own interest, they must be cautious of doing so within the territory of a sovereign state,” he said.

Mr Sogavare said that despite the many success stories in the RAMSI report, it still poses a negative image as to how Solomon Islanders know very little of RAMSI and its roles in the country.

He said that such stories will soon be forgotten if it is not addressed.

Solomon Star

INFRASTRUCTURE

26) Former West Sepik Governor wary of Indonesian link

6 September 2014
The former Governor of West Sepik province in Papua New Guinea has sounded a note of caution about joint infrastructure projects with Indonesia.

PNG’s national government is committing the country to joint roading, hydro and power projects with its neighbour, intended for the area around their common border.

PNG’s Prime Minister Peter O’Neill says they see economic development as the best vehicle for solving border issues such as incursions by Indonesian military chasing Papuan rebels.

Mr Solo says he is weary of PNG entering into arrangements where it is dependent on Indonesia.

“But in the long run, we feel that we are not safe for safety risk. In terms of why I’m saying this, because when we got the problem with the Indonesian people, they can automatically shut down the whole operation and we’ll have a blackout throughout the province and the country because they control the economy over there.”

Simon Solo.http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/253886/former-west-sepik-governor-wary-of-indonesian-link

27) Highlands highway road project underway

Source: 
The National, Friday September 5th, 2014

 By ELIAS LARI
THE four-lane Highlands Highway project will begin this year in Mt Hagen to connect the six provinces in the region, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill says. 
He said that yesterday during the groundbreaking ceremony for the K15 million Catholic Church cathedral at Rebiamul in Mt Hagen. 
O’Neill told the people that it was time to start moving on the Government project. The highway will start from Kagamuga to the Togoba junction, joining the road leading to Enga, Southern Highlands and Hela.
He said the design was with the Works Department and would shortly go out for tender. He said there had been a lot of discussion over the four-lane highway project. 
He said millions of kina would be invested in developing Kokopo, Lae, Port Moresby and Mt Hagen as the major urban centres. The Mt Hagen provincial hospital will receive funding next year to improve its status plus upgrading of roads in the city.
 
REFUGEE


28) Jobless young people desert sinking Pacific islands
By Online Editor
4:43 pm GMT+12, 04/09/2014, Samoa

To some, it will smack of deserting a sinking ship. Young people are leaving their island homes in the Pacific and Caribbean in search of jobs and higher education. Without youthful citizens, small islands will struggle to cope with the effects of rising sea levels.

So says a report from the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). “The lack of opportunity pushes the best and brightest to look elsewhere,” says the report.

The exodus from islands including Samoa, Granada, Antigua and Dominica accounts for half the resident population, sometimes even exceeding it. Those left behind are mostly older people and children. “There’s a lot of migration away from small island, developing states, creating a brain drain,” says Melissa Gorelick, who is a UNEP information officer.

The impact of the exodus was on the agenda this week in Apia, Samoa, where delegates from dozens of Pacific and Caribbean islands met at the Small Island Developing States conference to discuss the effects of climate change on small islands. Denied the energy and ingenuity of young people to help mitigate climate change, individual islands could struggle logistically to manage the impacts of storms, hurricanes and tidal surges.

“It’s something of an ongoing concern,” says Ria Voorhaar of Climate Action Network International in Beirut, Lebanon. She says that incentive schemes to attract young doctors, researchers and teachers back to rural regions in Australia have worked well, so similar schemes might work on the islands.

Delegates at the meeting also set up a new consortium, called the Pacific Ocean Alliance, to provide the island states with a united front in their efforts to persuade bigger countries to do more in the fight against global warming.

SOURCE: NEW SCIENTIST/PACNEWS

29) Climate change ‘refugees’ won’t be allowed into NZ, says National
By Online Editor
9:37 pm GMT+12, 04/09/2014, New Zealand

New Zealand’s ruling party will not allow Pacific Islanders affected by climate change to seek refuge if it wins next month’s election.

Speaking at “The Great Climate Voter Debate” held in Auckland , New Zealand Trade Minister Tim Groser of the National Party, said the government had helped Pacific Island states with renewable energy and climate change adaptation projects.

“I am nowhere near convinced that we should start to divert what level of capacity we have to help refugees,” added Groser, who is also the Climate Change Minister.

He was roundly criticised by John Minto of the Mana Party, who said his party supported a change to the United Nations definition of “refugee” so that those affected by climate change would be able to seek refuge in other countries.

“We are a Pacific country and we do have responsibility to places like Kiribati,” Minto said.

The National-led government was “not doing anything to stop New Zealand’s emissions” and was also not doing anything to support the Pacific Islanders who were most affected by New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions, said Minto, describing National’s policy on climate change as a “double negative”.

Russel Norman, Green Party co-leader, said his party also wanted the UN definition to change so that those forced to move because of climate change could claim refugee status.

The Green Party would ensure that New Zealand accepted “climate change refugees” because the relocation of people in islands under threat from rising sea levels needed to start immediately.

The New Zealand First candidate said her party was aware of the plight of Pacific Islanders in Kiribati and Tuvalu, where the ocean was rising fast and would welcome the opportunity to discuss further the relocation of those affected.

Māori Party representative Nancy Tuaine said her party was “first and foremost committed to helping you [Pacific Islanders] stay on your land but if you need to come here we should be supporting you first and foremost as our Pacific neighbours”.

At the debate, both National and the Labour Party said they did not agree with a carbon tax, which was supported by the Green party and the Mana.

Radio New Zealand reported that Groser “came in for the strongest criticism from the near 300-strong crowd” at the debate, which attracted a studio audience of more than 300 people, another 500 at live screening venues nationwide and 13,000 online viewers.

The Climate Voter initiative is a non-partisan alliance of six leading New Zealand organisations: Forest and Bird, 350 Aotearoa, Greenpeace, Generation Zero, Oxfam New Zealand and WWF New Zealand. The alliance aims to have 70,000 New Zealanders sign up as “Climate Voters” before election day on September 20.

So far, more than 57,000 people have signed up to pressure politicians to commit to concrete action on climate change.

Only one family of “climate change refugees” have won the right to stay in New Zealand – but their case won’t set a precedent because their climate change asylum application was rejected, but they won an appeal on humanitarian grounds based on family ties to New Zealand.

SOURCE: SCOOP NZ/PACNEWS

WOMAN,YOUTH

30) Widows raise their voices

Source:
The National, Friday September 5th, 2014

MORE than 200 widows and their families marched from Bumayong to Top Town in Lae yesterday to create awareness on their plight.
Members of the Morobe Tears of Widows Association and their family members, led by Julie ,Seye plan to register their group and draw the attention of government authorities to the challenges they faced.
The group was formed in Kaisa, Bumayong, in 2009, and is steadily increasing its membership. Seye said it was sad to see authorities turning a blind eye to their plight and ignoring their welfare as destitute.
The march blocked traffic in the city with people contributing cash to the group. About K500 was raised.
Association spokesman Michael Karia said after its registration, the group would approach authorities to help alleviate the suffering of widows.

SPORTS


31) Singapore Super Rugby bid a chance to fight off NRL push into Pacific
By Online Editor
6:02 pm GMT+12, 04/09/2014, Australia

SINGAPORE’S bid for the 2016 Super Rugby expansion franchise could represent rugby union’s last best chance to fight off rugby league’s relentless push into the Pacific islands.

Chief executives of the three core SANZAR nations, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, are meeting this week in Sydney to work their way through the due diligence process as they evaluate rival bids from Singapore and Japan to join Super Rugby when it expands to an 18-team com­petition in 2016.

A decision is expected by early next month. Suggestions that Singapore has established itself as favourite appear wide of the mark but the Asia-­Pacific Dragons’ proposal to build their team around players from Fiji, Samoa and Tonga could well swing the votes of Australia and New Zealand its way.

For all of the shameful neglect of the Oceania region by Australia and New Zealand — the All Blacks have never played a Test in the ­Pacific islands, the Wallabies only three, all in Suva, the most recent of them in 1984 — the Polynesian influence on the two rugby superpowers is profound.

Indeed, one British journalist quipped during the 2005 British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand that while the All Blacks had to face the combined might of four nations, so too did the Lions.

To date, SANZAR has shown no inclination to involve the islands in Super Rugby directly.

That could change, however, following the NRL’s launch last month of its Pacific Strategy, which was nothing less than a dec­laration of war on rugby, traditionally much the stronger of the two rugby codes in the region.

NRL chief executive David Smith visited Samoa in company with dual international Sonny Bill Williams and Kangaroos coach Tim Sheens last month, with Jarryd Hayne set to visit Fiji with other league stars at the end of the season. Smith boasted at the launch that 37 per cent of NRL players already come from the ­Pacific islands.

It was a slightly spurious claim, given that players are classified as islanders even if they were born in Australia but have Polynesian parents or grandparents, but it’s a number nonetheless to send a chill through rugby union.

No less worrying is the NSWRL’s plan to bring Fiji into the NSW Cup in 2016.

Singapore is an unlikely battlefield in the war between the two codes but if the Dragons, who plan to establish feeder academies in Fiji, Samoa and Tonga to prepare young islanders for Super Rugby, do manage to beat Japan for the expansion licence, it could tip the balance back in favour of the 15-a-side game.

Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, the Samoan Prime Minister and chairman of the Samoa Rugby Union, strongly endorsed the Singaporean bid in a recent ­statement.

“We firmly believe that the ­Pacific islands players must be strongly represented in the ­expanded format in 2016,” he told the Sunday Samoan newspaper.

“The composition of our Asia Pacific Dragons side is the ideal platform to include these players.

“I don’t think anyone in the world of rugby, with hand on heart, can dispute that the Pacific islands players should not have the first option to be included.”

South Africa already is understood to be supporting Singapore because it can be directly accessed from Johannesburg, whereas there are no direct South Africa-Japan flights.

Australia has not indicated which way it is leaning, but was ­assumed to favour Japan after strongly supporting its successful campaign to win the 2019 World Cup.

The reality is that the ARU is keeping an open mind while awaiting a report on the two contenders from Andrew Fagan, its general manager of national teams and competitions.

If Singapore were to emerge as the winner, it would put increased pressure on SANZAR to flex its muscles during its ongoing television rights negotiations to force broadcasters to improve their at present ­sporadic Super Rugby coverage throughout the Oceania region.

SOURCE:THE AUSTRALIAN/PACNEWS

32) OFC President Chung outlines academy vision for PNG

By Online Editor
5:55 pm GMT+12, 04/09/2014, Papua New Guinea

OFC President David Chung says the future of new infrastructure projects in Papua New Guinea depend upon how quickly work is completed on existing ones.

Chung was speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony at the Emiovi Football Academy in Bougainville last Friday.

“The setting up of a football academy and elite development programmes is the key for the future of football in Papua New Guinea and we have plans to build other academies, too.

“But we can only acquire more FIFA funding if the Goal Project-funded academy in Kimbe is 90 per cent complete,” Chung says.

The Kimbe project is currently undergoing phase one of its development and phase two would be paid for with a funding of K1 million by the provincial government.

FIFA Development Officer Glenn Turner is also pushing hard for the project to be completed as soon as possible.

Chung outlined what his academy vision looked like.

“If everything goes according to plan, the PNGFA will submit for funding to upgrade the main academy in Lae.

“We hope to push for an academy to be built in Port Moresby and install floodlights so national teams can train and play at night,” Chung says.

He says the cost of all the projects was K1.2 million.

“We need to evaluate and monitor players involved in our technical development programmes and use statistics and data to track their progress.

“This is an important aspect of elite development that the PNGFA is fully committed to,” Chung says.

The Bougainville Academy was built using K1.8 million from FIFA’s Less Privileged Member Association programme.

The Autonomous Region of Bouganville Government matched that total in a kina-for-kina arrangement.

Papua New Guinea’s next international match is a friendly with Singapore scheduled for Saturday 6 September.

SOURCE: OFC/PACNEWS

33) Kumuls miss NRL talent

Source:
The National, Friday September 5th, 2014

SOME of Papua New Guinea’s National Rugby League talent will not be available for the representative season.
James Segeyaro, David Mead and Nene McDonald are unlikely to be picked for the Prime Minister’s XIII match or the test match against Tonga following week.
PNG Rugby Football League chief executive officer Brad Tassell said during the week the trio would most likely be unavailable because of eligibility rules and for personal reasons.
“We’d love to have them in but unfortunately for one reason or another it looks like they won’t be available,” Tassell said.
“James (Segeyaro) declared his intention to play Origin footy (Queensland) this year and that means he won’t be available to represent PNG. With state eligibility rules the way they are, if you’re committed to Queensland and then you play for another country, you won’t be allowed to play for the state.”
Segeyaro, who returned to the country last month following the death of his father Iffysoe, has been one of the standout hookers of 2014 and his side the Penrith Panthers will play finals football this year.
The 24-year-old represented the Prime Minister’s XIII last year and was included in Adrian Lam’s World Cup squad to England but pulled out after injuring his shoulder in that PM’s XIII match in Kokopo.
Mead, who played for PNG at last year’s World Cup and first represented the country at the 2008 World Cup in Australia, will not be available because he will be getting married next month.
He represented New South Wales Country this year, signalling his intent to play State of Origin.
“David’s getting married in October so that rules him out. Rod Griffin (Ipswich Jets) is another player who is getting married around the same time so he won’t be available either. With a hectic regular season this is the only free time players get between the end of their season and the start of pre-season training so it’s understandable.”
Nene Macdonald is the other player that selectors were considering, however, the 20 year-old, who played three test, for PNG at the 2013 World Cup, could jeopardise his chances of playing Origin football for Queensland after representing the state at Under-20 level this year.
The 192-centimetre, 103-kilogramme centre/winger is a big loss for the Kumuls.
Macdonald is part of the Sydney Roosters top grade squad and could feature in this month’s finals series.
Tassell said South Sydney’s Alex Johnston had indicated his availability and even though he played for NSW at U16 level in 2011.
Tassell said Ray Thompson (North Queensland) as well as Wellington Albert (Penrith) and Mark Mexico (Cronulla) were into contention provided they were fit.

34) Locals give land to soccer

Source:
The National, Thursday September 4th, 2014

IT was an historic moment for the people of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville  (AROB) when Papua New Guinea Football Association  president David Chung officiated at the ground-breaking ceremony of the Emiovi Bougainville Football Academy at Manetai, in Central Bougainville.
Accompanied by FIFA’s director for member associations and development division, Thierry Regenass, FIFA development officer Glen Turner, with PNGFA executive committee members, Chung said the academy was would play a crucial part in the development of football in New Guinea Islands region.
Chung said he was grateful that ABG Minister for Economy and Services,  Nicholas Daku had given the land freely to the association to develop.
Daku is the principal landowner of the area that will accommodate the academy.
“In PNG land is very important for us and we fought for the land but for Daku to do that is because he has a big heart for his people.”
He acknowledged his family and clan for supporting him in providing the 10.66 hectares of land to FIFA for  future development.
Regenass thanked everyone and gave a brief on FIFA’s priorities in the country.

35) Fijiana names squad

Arin Kumar
Saturday, September 06, 2014

THE Telecom Fijiana 7s side has been pooled with Japan, Argentina and Kenya for the Hong Kong tournament next week.

The tournament is a qualifier to determine which teams could become core teams on the IRB Womens Sevens World Series next season.

Among the hopeful teams is the Fijiana which named their travelling 12-member side to the tournament yesterday.

Prop Rusila Nagasau has been named captain to lead the side at the tournament.

Asinate Savu, Elina Ratauniluva, Litia Naiqato, Talica Vodo, Priscilla Siata, Ana Maria Roqica, Timaima Ravisa, Rusila Tamoi, Lavenia Tinai, Luisa Basei and Roela Radiniyavuni are the other members of the team.

Team coach Iliesa Tanivula said their preparations went well and their off-season training was one factor that really boosted the profile of the team.

“When we had one on one session with the players at first, they said they wanted off-season training which is something we introduced and it worked out well for us,” he said.

“After that, when it came to intense training, the girls delivered and they performed up to the level and they all put their hands up for selection.”

Tanivula said they didn’t know much about the teams they would face but they would concentrate on their own game.

“We haven’t really seen them yet or know about them and we are working with our IT guys to get us some of their videos so that we can prepare before we leave next week.”Fijitimes

www.voiceofmelanesia.com

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