Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1020

MELANESIA

1 ) PNG PM Shares Optimistic Independence Day Message
For 39th Anniversary, O’Neill paints bright future of country


By Gorethy Kenneth

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Sept. 15, 2014) – Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has painted a bright future for Papua New Guinea that all citizens should look forward to as they celebrate Independence Day tomorrow.

“When we celebrate our nation this week, we must celebrate both where we have come from and where our nation is going. This is a pride that all Papua New Guineans can share as we move the country forward together,” he said in his 39th Independence Day message.

More than previous governments, he said his coalition had achieved more and that was for the people to judge as they look around. “It has been hard work and determination for the nation of Papua New Guinea for 39 years.”

Tomorrow, Mr O’Neill will officially raise the PNG flag at Independence Hill in Port Moresby. He said his Government and PNG’s seven million people had everything to celebrate this year, many great achievements so far.

“Papua New Guinea has turned a corner and I hope every citizen takes the opportunity to feel good about our nation,” Mr O’Neill said. “Everywhere in the country something is happening that is improving the lives of Papua New Guineans”.

“I hope all citizens can feel proud when they look at the roads and buildings under construction, when they see children who are in school for the first time, when the health of our people is taken care of and when they feel safer in our streets.

“We must celebrate both where we have come from and where our nation is going. This is a pride that all Papua New Guineans can share as we move the country forward together,” Mr O’Neill said.

“When people move into their new family home that they have bought through our housing program, I hope they will feel the pride that comes with being a part of our nation’s growth.”

PNG Post-Courier

2 ) Report: Qatar paid $20 million ransom for Fijians’ release

By Online Editor
00:23 am GMT+12, 15/09/2014, Qatar

Al-Nusra front reported to be in control of 80 percent of Syrian border with Israel.
 
Syrian opposition forces said on Saturday that Qatar had paid militants from the Nusra front a $20 million ransom for their return.
 
This comes a day after Qatar’s Foreign Affairs Ministry announced that it had brokered the release of 45 Fijian U.N. peacekeepers “at the request of the government of Fiji.”
 
“The efforts of the State of Qatar led to the successful release of the Fijian soldiers… who had been held for two weeks,” the Qatari foreign ministry said in a statement.
 
The reports of a ransom fly in the face of earlier statements from the UN that no concessions had been made to secure the peacekeepers’ release.
 
Meanwhile, the Al-Arabiya network reported on Saturday that al-Qaeda-led rebels have seized most of the Syrian side of the armistice line with Israel on the Golan Heights.
 
Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra Front and its allies launched a major offensive against government forces in Quneitra province last month, capturing the sole crossing point over the armistice line to the Israeli-occupied sector of the strategic plateau.
 
“The regime is on the retreat before the advancing rebels,” Syrian Observatory for Human Rights director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.
 
“The regime has now lost control of about 80 percent of towns and villages in Quneitra province.”
 
The rebels seized 45 UN peacekeepers on the Golan on August 28 and held them hostage until Thursday.
 
They are part of the 1,200-strong UN Disengagement Observer Force, which monitors a 1974 ceasefire between Israel and Syria on the Golan.
 
Israel seized 1,200 square kilometers (460 square miles) of the territory during the Six-Day War of 1967, then annexed it in 1981 in a move never recognized by the international community.
 
Syria has never relinquished its claim to the territory and its return was the subject of peace talks with Israel in the 1990s and again in 2008.
 
Any prospect of the talks’ resumption has been torpedoed by the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime that erupted in March 2011 and swiftly escalated into a civil war that has claimed more than 191,000 lives.

SOURCE: i24 NEWS/PACNEWS

3a ) Descendent Of Blackbirded Ni-Vanuatu Reclaims Citizenship
Australia allows dual citizenship for victims of labor trade


By Catherine Graue

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Sept, 14, 2014) – A Queensland woman has become one of the first Australians to claim dual Vanuatu citizenship on behalf of her ancestors, who had been victims of Australia’s colonial labour trade.

Raechel Ivey’s great-grandparents arrived in Australia from Vanuatu in the late 19th century.

Her great-grandmother, Fanny Battingarra, was only eight years old. Her great-grandfather, James Tuku, was about 20.

Both Fanny and James were victims of “blackbirding” – a colonial labour trade in which Pacific Islanders were recruited, or kidnapped, to work as indentured labour on plantations in Australia from 1863 to the early 1900s.

More than 150 years after the trade started Ms Ivey, from Emerald in Queensland, has become one of two Australians to be granted Vanuatu citizenship.

It followed moves by Vanuatu’s government last year to change the constitution to allow descendants of the trade to apply for citizenship.

Australia’s South Sea Islanders had been pushing for citizenship rights for some time, as they sought to reclaim what they described as their “stolen identities”.

James and Fanny were among an estimated 60,000 people from more than 80 islands in the Pacific – the majority from Vanuatu and Solomon Islands – who were brought to Australia under the labour trade.

While recalling the journey to Australia, Fanny would tell her daughter she remembered sitting in the hull of a large ship, crying for days.

Most were put to work on sugar and cotton plantations in Queensland. James and Fanny were domestic servants for a Sydney family, working as a gardener and maid.

Most South Sea Islanders were eventually deported from Australia under the Pacific Island Labourers Act, legislation which related to the White Australia Policy.

But James and Fanny got married after they were set free in the early 1900s and stayed on in Australia to raise their family.

Citizenship gives ‘a sense of identity and belonging’

There are now believed to be around 40,000 descendents of those first Australian South Sea Islanders.

Ms Ivey has spent many years trying to uncover her family’s stories and in 2011 she visited Vanuatu for the first time.

“Just flying over the Pacific Ocean, my husband and I cried all the way over, because we knew our great-grandparents came over on a ship as prisoners, as slaves in chains,” she said.

“It was very emotional before we even got off the plane.

“And when we went down the stairs of the aeroplane, we took shoes off and stepped our feet on the ground and said ‘we’re home’.”

Ms Ivey received confirmation of her Vanuatu citizenship in late August.

“It took about 10 minutes for it to sink in. I was emotional, I just didn’t know what to do,” she said.

“It’s just given me a sense of identity and belonging. To me, it wasn’t just about my identity – it was regaining my great-grandfather’s identity, who was brought over here.”

She now plans to move to Vanuatu permanently next year, where she hopes to set up a new business.

She also wants to find her long-lost family.

“Hopefully we can go to Santo [island], it is one of my goals and go find my great-grandmother’s family. It’s a matter of going there and actually retracing her,” she said.

“It’s about reconnecting, I suppose, with part of our history.”

More applications expected

John Enock Ware, secretary-general of Vanuatu’s Citizenship Commission, said more applications are now expected.

He said applicants were required to provide evidence of their ancestry in order for his commission to approve them.

“The first two were able to provide sufficient information to the commission. They also provided us with their ancestry and their family tree,” Mr Ware said.

“We have received a lot of enquiries through emails from the ancestors of South Sea Islanders in Australia, so my office has responded and I am pretty sure more applications will be processed in future.”

He said he also expected to receive applications from South Sea Islanders now living in New Caledonia.

Radio Australia 

3b) Vanuatu daily news digest | 13 September 2014

by bobmakin

  • Radio Vanuatu this morning reports Bishop John Bosco Barames, leader of the Vanuatu Catholic Church, saying there must be good, clear and strong understanding of the spirit of the Vanuatu Christian Council (VCC). This follows the particularly strident Seventh Day Adventist criticisms being made through the SDA rally taking place presently at Freswota. Bishop Barames said a healthy relationship between the churches of Vanuatu has been established now for many years and must continue.
  • Radio Vanuatu News yesterday carried news that Gilles Daniel, who lost his citizenship this week, claims the government made a big mistake owing to “political instability”.The Independent today has him saying the Citizenship Commission “didn’t even call him to get his side of the story.” The Commission cancelled Daniel’s citizenship saying it was obtained by fraud. Daniel is seeking legal advice.
  • VBTC News reported new methods being used by the Agriculture College and interesting many people of Santo. It concerns livestock production in small areas, and gives rise to “model farms.” Facilities have been improved. An important aspect of this form of production is making animal feed available first of all.
  • The secretary general of the Torba provincial council, Ketty Napuat, has backed the teaching which takes place in kindergarten years. She did so as a kindy teachers’ training programme continued at Sola.

POLYNESIA

4) El Nino may bring drought to Tonga

By Online Editor
8:27 pm GMT+12, 14/09/2014, Tonga

Cool nights and low rainfall for August indicates that Tonga may be affected by a climatic conditions known as “El Nino” with the potential of droughts occurring in the coming months.
 
A national weather advisory released Sunday stated that there is a 50% chance of an El Nino developing in Tonga in the coming months, and an El Nino watch remains in force.
 
“The effects of El Nino usually include cooler night time temperatures, lower rainfall and more tropical cyclones,” stated the advisory issued by the Tonga Meterorological Service.
 
El Nino is the movement of warm ocean water from the north of Australia to the South American coast along the tropics. It brings warmer than normal water to the central and eastern tropical Pacific, which usuallly results in changes in weather and climate.
 
 “El Nino events normally last for around a year; however they can be shorter, or last much longer depending on the nature of the event. The effects of El Nino on Tonga usually varies but for most of the time it brings cooler dry seasons (like we are experiencing now) and drier wet seasons than normal and more cyclones. Usually Tonga is affected by one cyclone per year but it increases to around two during El Nino.”   
 
The advisory stated that if an El Nino were to occur, severe water shortages would occur towards the middle of 2015. It encourages rainfall sensitive sectors to follow El Nino advisories. Water conservation is advised across the whole of Tonga as  below normal to normal rainfall is the most likely outlook across the country in the next three months.
 
The observed rainfall for August has been very low in Tongatapu and below normal for Vava’u, Ha’apai and Niuafo’ou except for Niuatoputapu wher it received above normal rainfall.
 
El Nino is a natural occurrence and happens about every three to seven years.
 
The worst droughts to be recorded inTonga happened during El Nino years in 1982-83 and 1997-98 cause dwater shortages to a point where water had to be distributed to the islands of Ha’apai and caused  food shortages.
 
Tropical Cyclone Isaac (Cat 4) in 1982 and Tropical Cyclone Ron (Cat 5) in 1997 occurred during El Nino years.

SOURCE: MATANGI TONGA/PACNEWS

5) Tonga’s north running out of water

By Online Editor
5:15 pm GMT+12, 14/09/2014, Tonga

Tonga’s northern islands may have to start using seawater desalination plants by the middle of this week to deal with an extreme dry season affecting the area.
 
Radio Tonga has reported more than 40 percent of water tanks in Ha’apai are running out of water after a lack of rain.
 
The National Emergency Management Office’s director, Leveni Aho, says rain in the next few weeks is unlikely, partly due to El Niño.
 
He says Ha’apai is the most vulnerable as many people are still living in tents following a category-five cyclone which struck the island at the beginning of the year.
 
Aho says an officer has been sent to the northern groups to assess how much water is left and long it will last.
 
“Then we start to activate other stage by stage, delivering water and get to the point of mobilising desalination and other assets to try to alleviate the problems.”
 
Aho says the community must conserve water as much as they can.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

6) Tonga Wharf To Get Major Upgrade, Environmental Survey Underway
Japan provides $30.5 million grant to add ferry terminal at Faua


NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Sept. 12, 2014) – The Faua wharf will get a major upgrade and extension next year when construction work begins funded with an estimated US$30.5 million dollar grant from the Government of Japan.

Mosese Lavemai the General Manager of Ports Authority Tonga said today a preliminary environmental survey was currently underway in Nuku’alofa carried out by a team from Japan.

He said this is part of the initial works required to be done before a groundbreaking ceremony to start the construction is held around mid-2015. It is expected that the construction will take around two years.

“It is a big project costing around US$30.5 million (over $60 million pa’anga) from Japan. The upgrade includes the extension of the wharf for the domestic ferry service and the construction of a terminal building to house passengers and cargo,” he said.

The Japanese team have been here for two-weeks now carrying out the enviromental survey of the reef and the ocean and to meet other stakeholders.

The proposal to Japan was submitted by the Tongan Government through the Ministry of Infrastructure. There was a need for the extension of the wharf to properly accomodate the domestic ferry service and have a safe terminal building for its many passengers. The submission was made to Japan since they had generously assisted by providing Tonga with the inter-island ferry, the MV ‘Otuanga’ofa, he said. 

Matangi Tonga Magazine

7) Samoa Government Puts Off Response To Finance Committee
Parliamentary committee extends response time to audit report


By Lagi Keresoma

APIA, Samoa (Talamua, Sept. 12, 2014) – The stipulated 90 days deadline for the Government to respond to the recommendations of the Parliamentary Finance Committee has been extended.

This was confirmed by Parliament Speaker La’aulialemalietoa Leuatea Polataivao with Talamua today.

However, he did not say when the extension expires.

The extension was based on a request from the Government.

“Cabinet asked for more time and I granted it because I know the hard task they face of trying to respond to every detailed recommended by the Committee,” said the Speaker.

Government was given 90 days to respond to the recommendations of the Parliamentary Finance Committee on the Auditor General’s Report on the Samoa Land Corporation report which was passed in Parliament in April this year and the 90 days is now four months past the deadline.

The Speaker also said part of the delay in the Government’s response was due to the many commitments such as international conferences for the Prime Minister including the Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) conference which Samoa hosted last week.

The Speaker is expecting a response next month when Parliament reconvenes.

A vocal critique of the SLC Report who had been pushing for the implementation of the recommendations including legal action is the Chairman of the Parliamentary Finance & Expenditure Committee Papali’i Niko Lee Hang. He said if the Government response is not to their expectation, they have another option in line.

Talamua

MICRONESIA

8) Rocket debris found on Marshalls’ atoll

By Online Editor
5:13 pm GMT+12, 14/09/2014, Marshall Islands

The fuselage of what is thought to be a booster rocket from a recent NASA launch washed up on the beach at Wotje Atoll in the Marshall Islands recently.
 
A U.S. Embassy official in Majuro said based on identifying marks on the sections of the rocket that washed ashore it appears to be the stage one booster of a Pegasus rocket that helped launch an IRIS solar observatory into orbit. The most recent launch was on June 27 from Vandenberg Air Force base.
 
This was not a U.S. Army Garrison-Kwajalein Atoll or Reagan Test Site-related mission, said Embassy political and economic officer Jeff Shelden. Last year, a section of the booster stage of a rocket used during missile defense interceptor tests from the Army base at Kwajalein washed up on Mili Atoll in the southern Marshall Islands.
 
The stage one part of the rocket landed in open ocean off the coast of California’s Baja peninsula, which is a similar location to where Jose Alvarenga, the El Salvadoran fisherman who drifted for 13 months before finally arriving in the Marshall Islands in late January, was originally lost at sea.
 
Shelden’s observation about the booster rocket: “It drifted like the fisherman, except a little faster.”
 
The purpose of the NASA launch was environmental research, not weapons testing, Shelden said.
 
Officials at the Army base at Kwajalein are developing a coordinated plan for the cleanup of the rocket parts.
SOURCE: MARIANAS VARIETY/PACNES

9) Hiring Of Bangladeshi Workings In Palau Temporarily Halted
Workers called ‘least prepared, disoriented and unqualified’


By Peter Erick Magbanua

KOROR, Palau (Island Times, Sept. 11, 2014) – Vice President and Justice Minister Antonio Bells has directed Bureau of Labor and Human Resources director Ringsang Rechirei to stopped processing applications for working permit for Bangladesh foreign workers.

Bells sent out the letter dated September 9 stated that processing of working permits for Bangladesh nationals will be temporarily stopped until further noticed. He also stated that the stopping in the processing of the working permits for Bangladesh nationals stemmed from complaints received from the general public to the Bureau of Labor and Human Resources, Bureau of Immigration, Office of the Vice President/Justice Minister, and to the Office of the President.

“This temporary suspension is to allow time for the Bureau of Labor and Human Resources to review the problems reported, evaluate the issue raised and develop procedures to addressing those problems before continuing to employ Bangladesh nationals to Palau,” Bells stated in the letter.

Among the problems that have been brought to their attention includes employees are discovered to be least prepared, disoriented and unqualified for positions they are granted working permits; rushed employer arrangement – employees tickets from Bangladesh are prepaid and employees are recruited by other Bangladesh workers who are already in Palau; employees lack understanding of basic English language to communicate; suspicious employee’s loss of travel documents (misplaced/destroyed passports); problems authenticating Bangladesh official documents; and Bureau of Labor experiencing problems tracking employees to their employers records.

Bells also stated that the order is to take effect starting September 10 and that applications that have been received by the end of the working day of September 9 may still be processed. But after that all processing of Bangladesh national working permits will stop.

Copies of the letter was also sent to the Office of the President, House of Delegates, Senate and to the Bureau of Immigration. 

Island Times 

NEW ZEALAND

10) New Zealand Election Candidate Using Unregistered Matai Title
While illegal in Samoa, misuse in NZ beyond jurisdiction


By Lanuola Tupufia

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, Sept. 13, 2014) – The Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Justice and Courts Administration, Masinalupe Tusipa Masinalupe, re-confirmed yesterday that a matai title being used by a candidate in the New Zealand election is not registered in Samoa.

However, the C.E.O was also quick to point out that there is nothing Samoa can do about it.

The title in question is the Misa that’s been used by National Party candidate, Misa Fia Turner.

Contacted for a comment yesterday, Masinalupe said the title has not been registered. As such, he said the use of the title Misa by candidate Fia Turner therefore was illegal.

“Our records show that she (Misa Fia Turner) hasn’t registered her matai,” said Masinalupe.

“Under our legislations, it is illegal to use a matai title that hasn’t been registered. You could be charged for that.”

But in this particular case, there is a snag. “If someone uses it in New Zealand, it’s different,” he said. Asked to elaborate, Masinalupe reminded that Samoa has no jurisdiction over what happens in New Zealand. He said the Samoan government cannot stop someone in New Zealand from using an unregistered title.

In section 21 of the Land and Titles Act 1981 under a sub-clause called “Wrongful user an offence” it states that “a person other than the rightful holder who uses a matai name or title, or permits himself or herself to be addressed by a matai name or title, or otherwise acts as the holder of a matai or title, commits an offence and on conviction is liable to imprisonment for 12 months.”

In his view, Masinalupe said it is common for families in Samoa to refer to titles that identifies their roots and families. For example, he said the title Masina is used and referred to by his relatives to show who their family is when they attend fa’alavelave and other occasions.

“That is okay because it’s used in a way that points out to your identity and where you’re from,” he said. “But it would be wrong to say that you earn a title and use it in that intent when it’s not registered.”

The matter in relation to Ms. Fia Turner’s Misa title was raised by Mangere’s Labour M.P, Su’a William Sio, who argued that the woman candidate should not be using the title.

“If National’s candidate is using a title she has not had, that is an affront to the people of Samoa and the Samoan community in New Zealand,” Su’a said.

Su’a then called on the National Party to investigate the discrepancy between Ms. Turner’s title and the view of the Samoan government.

Asked for a comment, Misa Fia said the title was passed down to her from her father and that it was the family’s business, not anybody else’s.

She also said she would not be following it up with officials in Samoa because it was none of their business, TV3 reported. The title Misa comes from Falelatai.

Samoa Observer

TOK PISIN

11) PNG i makim 39 yia indipendans tumora

Updated 15 September 2014, 13:18 AEST

Caroline Tiriman

PNG i makim 39 yiar  indipendans na igat askim olsem emi strongim agrikalsa

Odio: PNG MP blong Bulolo na deputi oposisan lida Sam Basil i toktok wantem Caroline Tiriman

Papua New Guinea imas strongim ken ol wok blong agrikalsa na kamapim downstream processing long despla fopla ten yia ikam.

Deputi lida blong Pangu party Sam Basil i mekim despla toktok taem ol pipal blong kantri i redi long makim 39 yia indipendans tumora.

Mr Basil itok olsem long taem blong indipendans PNG nau imas lukluk na strongim agrikalsa na noken salim olgeta natural resosas igo long ol narapla kantri.

PNG ibin kisim indipendans long Australia long 16 September 1975.

Mr Basil itok tu olsem PNG igat planti natural risosas tasol long despla taem kantri ino save kisim olgeta benefit long ol despla samting long wonem emi save salim ol despla samting igo long ol narapla kantri.

Emi tok bai gutpla sopos PNG imas prosesim oa kamapim sampla samting emi save kam aut long graon blong PNG long kantri iet, olsem Oil, Gas na ol diwai oa logging.Radio Australia

FRENCH

12) Brèves d’Australie et du Pacifique – lundi 15 septembre 2014

Mis à jour 15 September 2014, 15:49 AEST

Caroline Lafargue

Papouasie indonésienne: le procès de Thomas Dandois et Valentine Bourrat s’ouvrira d’ici la fin du mois. 

Valentine Bourrat et Thomas Dandois, avec un officier du département indonésien de l’Immigration, à Jayapura. Ils sont détenus par les services de l’immigration depuis le 6 août. (Credit: AFP) 
Les deux reporters d’ARTE sont accusés d’avoir commencé un reportage avec un visa de touriste, ce qui est interdit. Ils sont également accusés par les autorités indonésiennes d’avoir eu des contacts avec « des groupes criminels armés ». Thomas Dandois et Valentine Bourrat ont été arrêtés le 6 août alors qu’ils allaient interviewer des indépendantistes papous. Selon Victor Mambor, le président de l’Alliance des Journalistes indépendants de Papouasie occidentale, les deux reporters français risquent d’être jugés coupables. Ils écoperaient d’une peine de prison inférieure à 5 ans.  

  • Fidji: J-4 avant les élections. Ce sera le premier scrutin démocratique depuis le coup d’État de Franck Bainimarama en 2006. Le parti du Premier ministre fidjien sortant, Fiji First, a organisé un dernier grand meeting à Nausori ce week-end. La campagne électorale se clôt en effet lundi matin. Pour ce dernier meeting, Fiji First a sorti les grands moyens : une grande roue pour les enfants, distribution de t-shirts, de parapluies, de bracelets, aux couleurs de Fiji First. Le principal rival de Fiji First, le parti indigène social-démocrate SODELPA, accuse la police de l’avoir empêché de tenir un meeting vendredi.
  • Samoa américain: le Sénat a voté la loi interdisant la distribution de boissons et repas gratuits le jour des élections. Le texte prohibe également les affiches électorales et l’installation de tentes par les partis autour des bureaux de vote. Les électeurs samoans américains avaient l’habitude de bénéficier des barbecues offerts par les différents partis le jour des élections.
  • Îles Marshall: les débris d’un lanceur ont été découverts sur une plage de l’atoll de Wotje ce week-end. D’après l’ambassade américaine à Majuro, il s’agit du lanceur, de la fusée, Pégase, utilisée par la NASA le 27 juin 2013 pour mettre sur orbite le télescope spatial IRIS, La mission d’IRIS est d’observer le soleil et ses éruptions.
  • Pacifique: deux avions de chasse américains se sont abîmés en mer ce week-end, à environ 500 km à l’ouest de l’île de Wake, au nord des Îles Marshall. Ils étaient partis du porte-avion USS Carl Vinson. L’un des pilotes a pu s’éjecter, et il a été secouru, il est actuellement soigné à bord du porte-avion. Mais l’autre pilote est toujours porté disparu. La marine américaine poursuit ses recherches.  Radio Australia

PASIFIK

13) 11 countries to get internet boost

15 September 2014

A regional internet company says an agreement to provide 11 Pacific countries with fully equipped e-centers shows the area is desperate for internet connectivity.

Kacific Broadband Satellites was one of four companies to sign an agreement with the International Telecommunication Union for the development of communications capacity.

The project will establish 55 e-centers to service communities in remote islands or rural areas.

The e-centres will all have satellite connectivity for emergency telecommunication as well.

Kacific pledged to donate a total of 50Mbps of dedicated bandwidth for a full year along with 40 terminals worth close to 400-thousand US dollars.

Kacific CEO Christian Patouraux says the demand for bandwidth in the Pacific per capita, is the highest in world.

“There is a tremendous demand in the Pacific and we have verified that with our previous contracts we have signed with different parties such as Tuvalu telecommunications, with Solomons telecommunications. We know that the craving for bandwidth is absolutely there in the Pacific. The need for bandwidth is enormous.”

Kacific CEO Christian Patouraux.Radio New Zealand International

POLITIC

14) New directorates for ABG

By Online Editor
5:21 pm GMT+12, 14/09/2014, Papua New Guinea

 As part of Autonomous Bougainville government’s restructure of its public services, the department of the president and Bougainville Executive Council (BEC) are consolidating their authority and prioritising certain government divisions.
 
The former divisions of peace and reconciliation, the bureau of media and information, veterans affairs and the division of autonomy have not been made departments as part of the restructure but are now directorates under the department of the president and the BEC.
 
Bougainville president John Momis has made assurances that the move does not seek to undermine these former divisions but is a strategic approach to prioritise them.
 
In his ministerial address in the parliament, Momis said these new directorates will be working together to implement the prerogatives of the executive government. He said the autonomy directorate will embark on a mass awareness campaign in conjunction with the other three directorates.
 
Momis said the implementation of autonomy although seen by many critics as slow, has been steadily increasing its assistance to our government departments and agencies as this report has outlined.
 
“It has been fostering the drawdown of powers and functions has been implemented and absorbed into the ABG structures through the enactment of legislations as mentioned earlier,” he said.
 
With the peace and reconciliation directorate the government recognises the deepest value of having a peaceful and united Bougainville as we move ahead.
 
“We will be investing on promoting social cohesive programs, this includes mobilizing communities including peace building partners to advance national cohesion and integration activities as we know there are multiple benefits in having a national cohesive and integrated population,” Momis said.
 
He said the veterans affairs directorate will continue its previous prerogatives but will also work towards designing programs that will foster the two other directorates as they all are interrelated.
 
The media and communication bureau has embarked on a new trend to create more awareness to the people using all mediums available to it, specifically radio and print media.
 
This is to build partnerships with mainstream media as well as the people of Bougainville.
 
“We continue to lack capacity at both the strategic and implementation levels, however, the Departmentalization process will solve some of these problems once all the staffing levels and structures are completed,” Momis said.
 
“Under the new departmentalisation process it is envisaged that additional qualified staff will be engaged to fully get the public service machinery operational at both the strategic and implementation levels so that quality government services can be delivered to the people of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville,” he said.
SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

15) Solomon Islands aims for November election

By Online Editor
8:32 pm GMT+12, 14/09/2014, Solomon Islands

The Solomon Islands electoral commission plans to hold the general election in November.
 
However, it’s understood that an official proclamation is not expected for at least a week.
 
The exact date will be announced by the Governor General Sir Frank Kabui after which the election is to be held within 42 days.
 
The announcement will also mark the start of a 14-day nomination period for intending candidates.
 
An electoral officer, Philothea Paul, says preparations are on track and the focus is on finalising the voter registration list.
 
“We are in the final stage of compiling the list. At the moment we are receiving data from the provinces on the decision made by the revising officers, centre and data officers are working on reconciliating all the forms and we will do the ammendment accordingly. So we are hoping to get the final list by the end of this month, yeah September.”.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

16) Vanuatu electoral college summoned to find new president

15 September 2014
58 members of Vanuatu’s electoral college will arrive in Port Vila to elect a new president on Wednesday after being summoned by the country’s electoral commission.

The electoral college consists of all 52 MPs and six provincial government presidents.

The principal electoral officer, Father Charles Vatu, says 23 people – including two women – have expressed an interest in becoming president, but only 13 of them qualify for the role.

Former Vanuatu Prime Minister Barak Sope

Photo: RNZI / Johnny Blades

Two former prime ministers, Barak Sope and Maxime Carlot Korman, have put their names forward.

Fr Vatu says a candidate needs to have the support of 38 members in order to be elected president of Vanuatu.

“The presiding officer is the chief justice who will ensure that the election of the president takes place as the constitution says, and also, it is the role and responsibility of the electoral college to make sure that a president is elected.”

Father Charles Vatu.Radio New Zealand International

17) French envoys gauge New Caledonia views

15 September 2014
Two French experts have begun a week of talks with New Caledonian leaders about the final phase of the decolonisation process.

Their visit has stirred controversy, with a main anti-independence leader saying the team is too heavily weighted in favour of the Socialists.

Walter Zweifel reports.

“Jean-Francois Merle and Alain Christnacht were among the architects of the 1998 Noumea Accord which has been the road map for the territory’s move towards greater autonomy. In early October, the territory’s leaders will be in Paris to progress their work under the auspices of the French prime minister Manuel Valls. The two envoys are to gauge views, analyse and advise as New Caledonia is to hold an independence referendum by 2018. But disagreements persist, most notably about the make-up of the electoral list which run so deep that one of the major parties may boycott the Paris talks.”Radio New Zealand International

18) Fiji campaigning closes

15 September 2014
Campaigning for the general elections has now finished in Fiji.

Parties have to make sure all posters, signs and banners were taken down last night.

But the drive to explain the policies of the 7 parties standing has ended with accusations from a number of sides that voters were being misinformed and mislead.

Several parties say the prospect ininstability has been raised to worry voters.

But the leader of the National Federation Party, Biman Prasad, has quashed any idea of unrest.

“I don’t believe there will be any instability. In fact we have had instability in the last seven and a half years. Fear, intimidation, abuse of office, lack of transparency, accountability. That’s instability.”

Voting gets underway on Wednesday and and indication of the outcome if expected later that evening.Radio New Zealand International

19) Fiji First stages big rally in Nausori

15 September 2014

Four days out from Fiji’s historic election Fiji Fiji, the party set up by the regime which seized power eight years ago, has staged a major rally at Nausori.

On Wednesday people go to the polls for the first time in more than eight years.

Under rules laid down by the Frank Bainimarama Government, campaigning and discussion of political matters, has to stop soon after day break on Monday morning.

Our reporter Philippa Tolley who is in Fiji says Fiji First’s rally at Nausori showed the vast financial resources they have available for their campaigning.

“It has been billed as a family fun day, this Fiji First rally, but all the candidates have been coming on stage one at a time talking about what is happening. It is like a theme park – there are ferris wheels, just in front of me there is a food tent, there are masses of children, everybody has got the Fiji First shirts on, Fiji First banners, bracelets, umbrellas – so it is absolutely everywhere, but Frank Bainimarama has already spoken and he spoke very strongly saying they want all 50 seats. They want a clean sweep of it. He says you vote for anybody else that is throwing your vote away.”

The Secretary General of Fiji First , Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, told Radio New Zealand that members of other parties were resorting to intimidating tactics.

“In fact the other political parties have their goons around. They have gone around slashing our posters and banners. So, a couple of people have already been charged for example in Vanua Levu. We’ve had vehicles vandalised, people’s homes have been stoned, including some journalists’ recently. That’s very disappointing – we thought they would have a certain level of maturity but it also goes to show a certain level of desperation on their part.”

The indigenous Fijian backed Sodelpa party says Frank Bainimarama runs the administration as if it were the military and he operates a dictatorship.

SODELPA says the party was stopped from staging a march on Friday even though it had been given police approval.

SODELPA and other groups have continued to raise concerns about the lack of awareness education by the government over what is a the new and unusual electoral process.Radii New Zealand International

20) Tough penalties if Fiji ban broken

15 September 2014

There is now a black out in force in Fiji on all political activity in the run up to elections on Wednesday.

No signs or banners are allowed and the media can only cover the process of the election itself.

The Supervisor of Elections, Mohammed Saneem says people in Fiji using social media need to respect the blackout as well.

“If they tweet something or do campaigning on Facebook, or publish electoral matters on Facebook – post the blackout period it will be up to the authorities how they will treat the matter.”

Any individual in Fiji who is convicted of breaching the black out provisions of the electoral decree could face a fine of up to 50 thousand Fiji dollars or a jail term of up to 10 years.Radio New Zealand International

21) Zero tolerance on Electoral decree breaches

By Online Editor
00:19 am GMT+12, 15/09/2014, Fiji

The Fiji Police Force has implemented a zero tolerance approach on Electoral decree breaches.
 
After the beginning of deployment of Police officers around the country this morning, Police Commissioner Ben Groenewald has also instructed his men to not tolerate any breach during the 48 hour blackout period.
 
“All deployed officers have been issued with an Election manual and they know exactly what’s expected of them.
 
“They will not only ensure that the Electoral Decree is enforced but will also act with full force of the law against any person who commits any crime,” Groenewald said.
 
“I have instructed them to implement a “zero tolerance” approach and offenders are warned not to expect any leniency in the enforcement of the law.”
 
He said with the Fiji Police as the executive arm of government, they would ensure a safe and secure Election.
 
“And I will not hesitate to request the assistance of the Fiji Military Forces to assist in maintaining law and order if necessary.
 
“I urge all political parties, election candidates, legitimate voters and other members of the community to behave in accordance with the law and participate with due diligence to see to a free and fair election,” Groenewald said.

SOURCE: FIJI LIVE/PACNEWS

22) Multinational Observer Group clarifies role
By Online Editor
00:17 am GMT+12, 15/09/2014, Fiji

The Multinational Observer Group members have attended a range of electoral events and met with election officials, politicians, media organizations, civil society, police and voters.
 
One of the group co-leaders Peter Reith of Australia says the MOG will have freedom of movement throughout Fiji to observe polling.
 
Reith says the observers are current and former members of parliament, elections officials, civil servants and diplomats.
 
“We would appreciate – the ambassador and myself and the whole team – we have a specific job to do – we are not commentators on politics – we are interested in the manner in which the election is run and we are very interested to hear what the people have got to say about that because as observers whilst we not running obviously the elections we want to know what’s happening and we have made significant efforts to get around and hear people what they want to say.”
 
MOG began observing the elections process on 18 August.
SOURCE: FBC NEWS/PACNEWS

23) Bainimarama, Ro Teimumu Hold Contentious Debate
PM told he would get ‘just deserts’ if immunity provisions lifted


WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Sept. 14, 2014) – The leader of Fiji’s indigenous-backed Sodelpa party Ro Teimumu Kepa has told Frank Bainimarama he will get his just deserts if immunity for coup-makers is lifted by parliament after the election.

Ro Teimumu challenged Fiji’s prime minister on the controversial clause in the constitution during the first face to face debate between Fiji’s prime minister and another party leader during campaigning for the election which takes place on Wednesday.

“My question is why are you asking for immunity when under this constitution you are talking about equal citizenry for everyone,” she asked.

Mr Bainimarama said the military needed protection for what needed to be done in Fiji after the George Speight-led coup of 2000.

He described them as brave soldiers who stood up against racial discrimination and turned Fiji around.

“I need that to protect my soldiers'” he said.

He challenged Ro Teimumu on whether she would remove the constitution’s immunity clause if she came to power.

Ro Teimumu said SODELPA would work within the parliamentary process under the 2013 constitution.

The debate which was broadcast live was eagerly anticipated in Fiji as the country heads towards its first polls since the Bainimarama-led 2006 military coup.

SODELPA which rose out of the ashes of the former SDL party ousted from power has been gaining in the polls to challenge the huge popularity of Mr Bainimarama’s FijiFirst party.

Rear Admiral Bainimarama accused Ro Teimumu of being confused and heading a party which would bring in discriminatory policies and that had lied to people in rural areas.

The SODELPA leader said the prime minister was throwing mud at her party and she accused him of betraying Fiji’s indigenous population for systematically dismantling indigenous structures.

Both party leaders said they would not be able to work with each other in a coalition and Mr Bainimarama reiterated he would get a clean sweep of the 50 seats on offer in Fiji’s new look parliament. 

Radio New Zealand International 

24) Fiji PM Names People He Alleges Were Behind 2000 Coup
Bainimarama: ‘Correcting lies’ not going after votes


By Ritika Pratap in Suva and Pacific Media Watch

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (Pacific Scoop, Sept. 14, 2014) – Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has revealed the names of people he alleges were behind the attempted Fiji coup of May 2000.

In a lengthy interview on the state-run Fiji Broadcasting Corporation (FBC) TV’s 4 The Record programme last night, Bainimarama, who was then military commander, named two men who he says were calling the shots while George Speight acted as the front man.

One of those men was a former minister in the Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua (SDL) government, the late Savenaca Draunidalo.

“He was a good friend of mine. He was part of the coup in 2000. He was waiting at the Travelodge (now Holiday Inn) to move into Parliament and take over the military part of George Speight’s group. He was part of the people who were behind the scenes and he was waiting at the Travelodge to go into Parliament.”

As the military commander, Bainimarama had access to information that many people until today have not been privy to.

In a rare moment, speaking openly about the upheavals of 2000, he singled out Iliesa Duvuloco as the main instigator – and the man who brought George Speight into the picture.

This, according to Bainimarama, was told to him by Maciu Navakasuasua – the man who led Counter Revolutionary Warfare (CRW) unit soldiers into Parliament.

“Duvuloco came with George Speight – he was even surprised when he saw the CRW soldiers. He [Maciu Navakasuasua] says who’s this guy, and Duvuloco says this is George Speight, he’s going to lead you into Parliament, he’s going to take you because he speaks very well.”

Duvuloco, who was the leader of the Nationalist Vanua Tako Lavo Party, served 187 months’ imprisonment. However, Bainimarama believes he got off lightly.

‘Correcting the lies’

As leader of the Fiji First party contesting the election next Wednesday, Bainimarama also said on 4 The Record that part of his programme – apart from going out there to win votes – was to try to correct the lies he alleged were spread by other politicians.

Bainimarama said he was telling the people in rural areas that this was a very important election for them and they needed to make the right choice.

“I want to make clear and tell the people listen to me, let me tell you what is exactly happening in our country with regards to the economy, with regards to the Land Bank, with regards to the Constitution. So when you vote, you don’t have to be lied to – to make that tick.

“And it’s most unfair. I have been telling them where I go to, whenever I speak to the people I tell them that it is most unfair when people – supposedly people who have held positions in the government – ratus and adis – and they sit down with the community and they tell them this is what is happening – knowing full well that most of our people in the rural areas have not read the Constitution.

“So they interpret the constitution in such a way to get the people feeling very shaky about what we have done – the government that is – so on that note they say don’t vote for Fiji First – there are a lot of lies being spread, so I go around and tell them – this is what is in the Constitution.”

Bainimarama said this opportunity to choose a government would not come around again for the next four years.

PMW note: Those named in this story were featured in the 2006 Nine Network Sunday programme report Fiji – Democracy and the Gun by Graham Davis.

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

25) 284 Police officers on standby, 389 deployed for Fiji election

By Online Editor
8:43 pm GMT+12, 14/09/2014, Fiji

The Fiji Police Force has deployed 389 police officers around the country with two assistant commissioners being sent to head the Northern and Western Division respectively as part of their Election Operations.
 
Police Commissioner Ben Groenewald has urged all political parties, candidates, members of the media and the general public to abide by the restrictions as stipulated in Section 63 (Campaign Restrictions) and Section 118 (Media Restrictions) of the Electoral Decree no. 11 of 2014.
 
“As of this morning I have deployed two of my Assistant Commissioners to head their contingents in the Northern and Western Division respectively, as part of the election operations task force.
 
“The additional deployment numbers for the respective divisions are; North – 119, West – 152, East – 118 and we have a reserve of 284 officers ready to be deployed if and when the need arises,” Commissioner Groenewald said.
 
Groenewald said members of the regular force were deployed this morning at 6am and would be on operations on a 24 hour basis.  
 
“They are well equipped to deal with any incidence and we will not tolerate any breach of law.” Groenewald has also assured that their daily police routine operations would not be affected due to the election operations.
 
“The push forward of manpower has been done to ensure the Fiji Police can conduct Election duties as well as routine police operations without hindrance as we focus on providing a safe and secure environment for every Fijian.
 
“My officers have been tasked with operations duty for both the pre/post-election period and I will keep them deployed until I am satisfied there is no immediate need to have extra numbers on the ground.”.
 
Meanwhile, Tuesday will be the last day to replace Electronic Voter Registration cards.  
 
Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem has reiterated to voters that have yet to get their voter identification cards replaced to do so before September 17.
 
At a press conference in Suva, Saneem has reminded voters that tomorrow, will be the last day to replace their voter id card if they have lost theirs.
 
“The last day to replace voter ID cards is September 16th, we have seen that there has always been a last minute rush, so we will be replacing lost voter ID cards till the 16th,” Saneem said.
 
He has also asked eligible registered voters that need this service to turn up early at their offices around the country in order to get their new cards.

SOURCE: FIJI LIVE/PACNEWS

26a) We will listen to everybody: MOG – The Multinational Observer group members have been and will be speaking to as many individuals as possible who are participating in the 2014 general elections. MOG co-leader Australia’s Peter Reith is urging people who have any concerns regarding the electoral process to raise it with their members.

http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/23001/we-will-listen-to-everybody-mog

26b ) Abide by restrictions of the Electoral Decree – Police Commissioner – Commissioner of Police Groenewald is urging all political parties, candidates, members of the media and the public to abide by the restrictions of the Decree as the country has entered the political campaign blackout period this morning. Groenewald said members of the regular force were deployed at 6 this morning and will be on operations on a 24 hour basis. He said they are well equipped to deal with any incidents and will not tolerate any breach of law.

http://fijivillage.com/news-feature/Abide-by-restrictions-of-the-Electoral-Decree–Police-Commissioner-k52s9r/

26c ) Police roll out elections operations – Police Commissioner Ben Groenewald has urged all political parties, candidates, members of the media and the general public to abide by the “black-out” period which began at 7:30 this morning. Groenewald has this morning deployed Commissioners to head their contingents in the Northern and Western Division as part of the election operations task force. Additional deployment numbers for the respective divisions are 119 in the Northern Division, 152 in the West. 

http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/22999/police-roll-out-elections-operations

http://fijilive.com/news/2014/09/284-officers-on-standby-389-deployed/58948.Fijilive


26d) Observers deployed for Fiji polls – A full group of nearly 90 election observers is now on the ground in Fiji ahead of Wednesday’s general election, the first in more than eight years. All campaigning has now ended and there is a media blackout on any political reporting.
http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/254618/observers-deployed-for-fiji-polls


26e) Fiji election: Media blackout comes into effect as polling day nears – A media blackout on political campaigning has come into effect in Fiji ahead of this Wednesday’s election. All political advertisements on radio and television have ceased and campaign posters have been taken down. The ban came into effect at 7.30am (local time) on Monday.
http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2014-09-15/fiji-election-media-blackout-comes-into-effect-as-polling-day-nears/1368129

26f) Contact DHL for postal ballots: Saneem – The Fijian Elections Office is urging people who applied for postal voting to contact DHL and check on their package. Elections Supervisor Mohammed Saneem says some people are yet to receive their ballot papers and they are in constant contact with DHL to know the progress they have made on distributing them. 

http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/22986/contact-dhl-for-postal-ballots-saneem#sthash.YGE6qCl4.dpuf


26g ) Fear tactics accusation as Fiji campaign ends – As Fiji political parties pitched to voters over the weekend, there were last-minute accusations that the FijiFirst party was using fear tactics, saying there would be instability if other parties were voted in. FijiFirst candidates Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and Rear Admiral Frank Bainimarama Speaking at a rally, the Prime Minister, Rear Admiral Frank Bainimarama said a vote for any party other than FijiFirst would be a wasted vote and a vote for× Sodelpa was one thrown in the rubbish bin. He warned anyone who might stir up trouble or put pressure on voters that they would, metaphorically, have a leg cut out from under them as the anti-corruption body was investigating complaints.

http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/254578/fear-tactics-accusation-as-fiji-campaign-ends


26h ) FijiFirst says other parties ‘desperate’ – A senior figure in the× Fiji political party headed by the military leader× Bainimarama has described the campaigning by the other parties as desperate and immature. Today is the final day of political activity before× Wednesday’s general election, the first for nearly eight years. The Secretary General of Fiji First , Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, told Zealand that members of other parties were resorting to intimidating tactics.

http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/254579/fijifirst-says-other-parties-‘desperate’


26i ) Some political parties in Fiji said to still be divisive – The party of Bainimarama says some of the opposing parties in Fiji’s elections are behaving in the same divisive way of the past. Fiji First’s Secretary General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, echoed that message of stability and said the party spent a great deal of time correcting scare mongering. He also blamed other parties for activities such as the slashing of banners and posters and vandalism of cars. “If this is the kind of thuggery that an alternate government is involved in then that’s the type of Fiji they actually want to have, where people will need to live in fear, and people will be divided along communal lines, etc, just so that a handful of people can win seats in parliament.”

http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/254584/some-political-parties-in-fiji-said-to-still-be-divisive


26j) Fiji campaigning closes – Campaigning for the general elections has now finished in Fiji. Parties have to make sure all posters, signs and banners were taken down last night. But the drive to explain the policies of the 7 parties standing has ended with accusations from a number of sides that voters were being misinformed and mislead. Several parties say the prospect ininstability has been raised to worry voters. But the leader of the National Federation Party, Biman Prasad, has quashed any idea of unrest. “I don’t believe there will be any instability. In fact we have had instability in the last seven and a half years. Fear, intimidation, abuse of office, lack of transparency, accountability. That’s instability.”

http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/254581/fiji-campaigning-closes


26k) Fiji PM challenged on immunity in debate – The leader of Fiji’s indigenous-backed Sodelpa party Ro Teimumu Kepa has told Frank Bainimarama he will get his just deserts if immunity for coup-makers is lifted by parliament after the election. Ro Teimumu challenged Fiji’s prime minister on the controversial clause in the constitution during the first face to face debate between Fiji’s prime minister and another party leader during campaigning for the election which takes place on Wednesday. “My question is why are you asking for immunity when under this constitution you are talking about equal citizenry for everyone,” she asked. Mr Bainimarama said the military needed protection for what needed to be done in Fiji after the George Speight-led coup of 2000. He described them as brave soldiers who stood up against racial discrimination and turned Fiji around. “I need that to protect my soldiers'” he said. He challenged Ro Teimumu on whether she would remove the constitution’s immunity clause if she came to power. Ro Teimumu said SODELPA would work within the parliamentary process under the 2013 constitution.

http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/254561/fiji-pm-challenged-on-immunity-in-debate

MEDIA 

27) NZ Foreign Minister urges media access for Papua

15 September 2014

New Zealand’s Foreign Minister has expressed hope that Indonesia’s president-elect Joko Widodo will open up Papua region to international media.

This comes as two French journalists remain detained in Jayapura following their arrests in Papua over a month ago for alleged visa violations.

Johnny Blades reports.

“During his recent campaign, Jokowi said there was no impediment to opening up Papua which is restricted for foreign journalists. New Zealand’s Murray McCully says his government hopes that once in power, Jokowi will move to relax the rules related to media access and ensure that journalists have the opportunity to report on Papua. Mr McCully also voiced concern about recent Indonesian police mistreatment of two young West Papuans. Amnesty International says the pair, who had painted pro-independence signs in Manokwari, were tortured, beaten, forced to roll in a sewer filled with dirty water and to drink paint. One of them is facing an incitement charge.”Radio New Zealand International

28) Trial Of French Journalists In West Papua Coming This Month
Two accused by Indonesia of working while on tourist visas


WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Sept. 15, 2014) – The trial of two French journalists arrested in West Papua for illegally working when on tourist visas is expected to begin later this month.

Indonesian police say Thomas Dandois and Valentine Burrat violated their visas and are suspected of involvement with armed criminal groups.

The pair remain in custody in Jayapura after being arrested in early August.

The chairperson of the West Papua branch of the Alliance of Independent Journalists, Victor Mambor, says immigration officials have advised the pair would likely be found guilty, but would serve a shorter sentence than the five years originally sought.

Mr Mambor says the international community is urging Jakarta to open up Papua for foreign media, but that Indonesia is sending a message back.

“It means this is Indonesian authority. So any foreigner, even a journalist, they need to show respect of Indonesian rule. Of course, it’s Indonesian rules but for the democracy and the press, freedom of expression is not good,” says Mambor.

Radio New Zealand International 

29) Blackout On Campaigning, Media Coming Before Fiji Elections
Voters need to make decision without ‘undue influence’

By Shalveen Chand

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Sept. 15, 2014) – The blackout on campaigns and media reports on the general election is to allow voters to make up their mind on who they will vote for without undue influence which a campaign, commercial or report have, said the Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem.

“It is due to start at 7.30am tomorrow (today). The blackout period is a blackout on campaigns. It starts at 7.30am and ends at 6.00pm on September 17,” he said.

“During the blackout period, the media should not publish, print or broadcast any campaign advertisements.

“They should not interview or have debates on any election issue nor can there be any interview of any politician or political party.

“Under the decree, MIDA has allowed media to publish election information issued by the Fijian Elections Office.

“Media blackout also applies to social media and on the internet as well.”

For the general election, overseas journalists, including from Australia and New Zealand, have been given accreditation.

[PIR editor’s note: The Fiji Times also reported that ‘The co-leaders of the Multinational Observer Group arrived in Fiji on Saturday night.’]

Mr Saneem told them if the material they publish can be accessed by people in Fiji, then they too were affected by the blackout period.

“The blackout applies if it is going to be covered in Fiji so as per the accreditation, you agreed to apply and respect the laws of the country.

“We expect everybody to adhere to that.

“If you put it on your website, if its accessible in Fiji, that’s where you fall into the boundaries of jurisdiction.

“You will have to decide how that will work.

“If your broadcast frequencies are in Fiji and are accessible in Fiji, then you will have to be careful about the reporting because there is a blackout period enforced in Fiji,” said Mr Saneem.

Fiji Times Online.

BUSINESS

30) Miner killed in rockfall at controversial Papua mine

14 September 2014

A mine worker has been killed in a rockfall at a controversial copper and gold mine in Indonesia’s Papua province.

The Papua Police spokesman, Senior Commissioner Sulistyo Hartono, says the incident happened at the Freeport McMoRan mine at Grasberg, at 4am local time on Saturday, while workers were installing safety equipment in the tunnel’s ceiling.

He says rocks started falling as the team were using a piece of heavy machinery called a “jumbo jack”.

The operator of the machine, Roby Hermawan, was crushed by the collapsing ceiling.

Mr Hermawan’s body was recovered by rescuers, and taken to hospital.

The team also managed to evacuate and save another victim in the incident.

The Jakarta Globe reports Freeport’s Indonesia spokeswoman, Daisy Primayanti, was not available for comment.

The mine is the world’s second-biggest copper and gold mine, where 28 workers were killed in May last year in a tunnel collapse.Radii New Zealand International

31) PNG loses K2bn in fisheries, experts reveal

By Online Editor
5:23 pm GMT+12, 14/09/2014, Papua New Guinea

 Expert from the fisheries industry have estimated that Papua New Guinea loses up to K2 billion (US$808 million) annually because it does not process all the fish caught in its waters.
 
Commerce, Trade and Industry Minister Richard Maru has said in this regard to the completion of the government’s multi-million kina Pacific Marine Industrial Zone (PMIZ) project.
 
He said its successful completion will then position the country to stop issuing fishing licences to companies that don’t have onshore processing facilities and in turn, minimise loss in revenue.
 
“The real winners who are reaping all our fisheries resources are the licensed boat owners who are bringing all our unprocessed catch overseas to their fisheries factories,” the MP said.
 
“Collectively, the fishing industry should be making billions for our country, but it isn’t. The PMIZ is one of our best initiatives and should be supported by all stakeholders to ensure we maximise value we get from our marine resources by value-adding on-shore, resulting in more jobs and getting better export earnings and tax revenue from our fisheries sector.”
 
Maru said he would be recommending to Prime Minister Peter O’Neill to engage a competent firm to undertake a comprehensive study into fisheries.
 
This, he said, would be to determine what the PNG government makes from the sector annually compared to what it is losing by not processing locally and by transfer of prising by current operators.
 
He said this is a must so that the Government can make critical decisions to increase the country’s current revenue, especially with the new opportunities the PMIZ project will provide.
 
Meanwhile, the  China Export Import (Exim) Bank has lifted the freeze it placed on the government’s multi-million kina Pacific Marine Industrial Zone (PMIZ) at Vidar, Madang.
 
This follows successful talks held by the bank’s chairman and president, Li Ruogu, and a PNG delegation headed by Trade, Commerce and Industry Minister Richard Maru last week.
 
The nod was given for the freeze on the loan to be lifted after Maru had not only requested but given his assurance that all prerequisites had been met by the O’Neill/Dion government.
 
This includes the Government’s counterpart funding of K39 million (US$15 million) which Maru had assured would be included in the 2015 budget when it is handed down in November.
 
Maru stated the loan to be critical for the project as when it was obtained from the bank in 2011, a five-year grace period was given. This lapses in 2016.
 
“This was critical because the PNG Government needed to start generating income from its investment in the PMIZ project before it can start servicing the loan,” Maru said.
 
“We now only have three years of the grace period left and need to start the construction as soon as practical.”
 
Maru assured the chairman that he and his delegation had met the president of the China Shenyang International Economic and Technical Cooperation Corporation Limited, the major contractor to the project, and have already agreed to an action plan.
 
He said with the strong support of the government, they expect to complete the project within the next 12-16 months.
 
Maru said the contractor has already started mobilisation and will proceed to complete the geotechnical studies within eight weeks. Design is set to follow and will be presented to the National Executive Council for approval with all eyeing construction for early 2015.
 
He said the team will now proceed to meeting with stakeholders in Madang, including the impact communities, to ensure all issues they may have are ironed out.
 
The chairman and president of the China Exim Bank, Li Rougu will visit PNG next month after the G20 talks.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

32) InterContinental Fiji named Fiji’s Best Resort in 2014 – The InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa has announced its most recent accolade – being named ‘Best Fijian Property’ at the prestigious Hotel Management (HM) Awards held in Sydney. The resort credits this success to an uncompromising dedication to delivery, quality, service to every guest and the hard work of their team.

http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/22998/intercontinental-fiji-named-fijis-best-resort-in-2014


33) NJV undertakes environmental impact assessment at Waisoi project – The Namosi Joint Venture is currently undertaking an environmental impact assessment at the× Waisoi project. The Waisoi Project is a copper and gold project. Country Manager of Namosi Joint Venture Greg Morris said this is to assess the potential social and environmental impacts of a mine at Waisoi. Morris said they are working and making the× Waisoi project one that can deliver sustainable benefits to all including Fiji and the host community.

http://fijivillage.com/news/NJV-undertakes-environmental-impact-assessment-at-Waisoi-project-ks5r29/

LAW&ORDER

34) Vanuatu PM praised for anti-corruption stance

By Online Editor
00:18 am GMT+12, 15/09/2014, Vanuatu

Transparency International Vanuatu says it is getting a lot of support in its fight against corruption from the country’s Prime Minister, Joe Natuman.
 
Natuman, a veteran politician, became prime minister for the first time in May.
 
TIV’s interim chair, Dr Willie Tokon says despite the organisation’s efforts to conduct civics education, there is still not a lot of understanding of what corruption is.
 
But he says the new government is supportive of its efforts.
 
“TIV received an invitation to go and take part in a workshop trying to set up an anti corruption commission in Vanuatu – something that Vanuatu ratified in the United Nations about 3 or 4 years ago, [but that] hasn’t been done. So we regard this new prime minister in Vanuatu as a very strong ally in our fight.”.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

35) Lower than expected tax take in Solomons

15 September 2014
Weak economic growth has led to a ten percent fall in income for the Solomon Islands government.

The caretaker Finance Minister, Rick Hou, says tax revenue dropped because of the April floods, which led to the closure of Gold Ridge Mine and less profitable trading for Honiara based businesses.

Mr Hou says this meant the tax revenue was just over 20 million US dollars lower than his government had estimated in its 2014 budget.

He says total state revenue for this year is now expected to be about 233 million US dollars.Radio New Zealand International

36) Reports suggest Qatar paid for Fiji soldiers’ release

15 September 2014
News reports in the Middle East say that the captors of 45 Fijian troops who were released in the Golan Heights last week were paid a ransom by the government of Qatar.

Quoting Syrian opposition forces Israel’s Channel 10 news channel says Qatar paid the al-Nusra militants 20 million US dollars for the release of the peacekeepers, who were serving as part of a United Nations force in Golan.

The reports are at odds with earlier UN statements that no concessions had been made.

However, in a statement released this evening, Fiji’s foreign minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola says he met with his Qatari counterpart last week, where he was promised that no efforts would be spared in releasing the soldiers.

They were released 24 hours later.

Ratu Inoke says Fiji is grateful to the government of Qatar for its efforts in the release of the soldiers.Radio New Zealand International

CLIMATE CHANGE,CONSERVATION & ENVIROMENT

37) Red Cross and SPREP partner on climate change

15 September 2014
The Red Cross and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme will work together to improve the way weather information is delivered to communities living with the impacts of climate change.

The partnership is just one of 137 climate change or disaster resilience projects registered during the Small Islands Developing States conference in Apia.

A Red Cross climate advisor in Vanuatu, Rebecca McNaught, says the effects of climate change are becoming more evident across the region.

She says the new agreement means more engagement with fishers, farmers and villages who depend on climate information for their livelihoods.

“A partnership with meteorological offices to try and improve early warnings in the Pacific region and working with communities to create action plans on the disaster risks that they face, setting up community disaster committees, so that they can respond. They’re often the first responders when disasters happens.”

Rebecca McNaught says it has also been creating materials like cartoons to try to bring weather information to a community level.Radio New Zealand International

38) Huge Papua estate cause of high gas emissions

15 September 2014

An official from Merauke in Indonesia’s Papua province says the regency’s alarmingly high greenhouse gas emissions rate results from deforestation.

Bintang Papua reports that Merauke Regency’s contributes nearly half of the province’s emissions.

A Merauke official, Tangke Mangi, says the high rate results from rapid forest degradation caused by the huge agro-development project known as the Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate.

Mr Mangi says there is a need for strategic action to mitigate the emissions which are expected to increase as more companies take up permits at the Estate.Radio New Zealand International

39) Ocean algae can evolve fast to tackle climate change, study finds

By Online Editor
8:24 pm GMT+12, 14/09/2014, United Kingdom

 Tiny marine algae can evolve fast enough to cope with climate change in a sign that some ocean life may be more resilient than thought to rising temperatures and acidification, a study showed.
 
Evolution is usually omitted in scientific projections of how global warming will affect the planet in coming decades because genetic changes happen too slowly to help larger creatures such as cod, tuna or whales.
 
Sunday’s study found that a type of microscopic algae that can produce 500 generations a year – or more than one a day – can still thrive when exposed to warmer temperatures and levels of ocean acidification predicted for the mid-2100s.
 
The Emiliania huxleyi phytoplankton studied are a main source of food for fish and other ocean life and also absorb large amounts of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, as they grow. Their huge blooms can sometimes be seen from space.
 
“Evolutionary processes need to be considered when predicting the effects of a warming and acidifying ocean on phytoplankton,” according to the German-led study in the journal Nature Climate Change.
 
Thorsten Reusch, an author of Sunday’s study at the GEOMAR Helmholtz-Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel, cautioned the findings about were only for one species of algae in a laboratory test, in water with no predators or disease.
 
He said it was not an argument that global warming was less serious than expected.
 
Longer-lived creatures, from fish to shellfish, would not be able to evolve their way out of trouble.
 
A U.N. panel of scientists says that man-made greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere are warming the planet. And carbon dioxide, the main gas, turns into a weak acid when it dissolves in water, slowly acidifying the oceans.
 
Last year, a study by 540 experts said that acidification was a silent storm in the oceans and threatening life from coral reefs to fish stocks. It said the seas could become 170 per cent more acidic by 2100 compared to levels before the Industrial Revolution.
 
Sunday’s study showed that algae, taken from water 15 degrees warm off Norway, tended to evolve to a smaller size in higher temperatures in experiments lasting more than a year but also grew faster, producing a larger mass overall.
 
Stephen Palumbi, a professor of biology at Stanford University, said there was evidence that some coral reefs or sea urchins could be more resilient than expected to ocean changes.
 
“What we don’t know is how far these mechanisms will go. I suspect personally that they will not solve the future climate problem because climate is changing far too fast.”
 
“But perhaps these abilities will give some important marine life a few more decades than we previously thought,” he said.
 
A U.N. panel of scientists says it is at least 95 per cent probable that manmade emissions of greenhouse gases are the main cause of global warming since 1950, causing more heatwaves, droughts and rising sea levels.
 
Opinion polls, however, indicate that many voters believe that natural variations are to blame. The mismatch between scientific and public opinion complicates a plan by almost 200 governments to work out a deal to limit global warming at a summit in late 2015 in Paris.
 
SOURCE: REUTERS/PACNEWS

INFRASTRUCTURE

40) Lami residents still without water – Several areas in× Lami have been without water for about two weeks and residents are now asking when the problem will be fixed. Lami resident× Kotoisuva says intermittent water supply has been on-going for some time, but for the last two weeks its gotten much worse. “Sometimes like it’s from whole day or two days we don’t have water. It’s just little drips that falls down and we stand for a very long time outside the house but otherwise all throughout this year we’ve been having water cuts.” 

http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/22983/lami-residents-still-without-water#sthash.XehNwnKL.dpuf

41) 3 million liters of water carted to various homes due to dry weather spells – Three million liters of water has been carted to various homes in the Division and Maritime areas in the last two months. The dry weather spell has affected a number of areas in the Western division and according to Western, the maritime islands including Yasawa, Malolo and Vatulele are the most affected. Luke Moroivalu said they are carting water to the affected areas on a daily basis and a barge left for the islands yesterday.
http://fijivillage.com/news/3-million-liters-of-water-carted-to-various-homes-due-to-dry-weather-spells-9k5r2s/

WOMAN/YOUTH/CHILDREN

42) Judge Encourages Solomons To Change Treatment Of Women, Children
Justice said ‘small communities’ have power to be whatever they choose

By Assumpta Buchanan

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Sept. 15, 2014) – “You have the power to mould your communities in a way that large countries or big cities do not have,” said Solomon Islands High Court judge, Justice Pallaras QC, on Sunday when he was giving an awareness talk based on the topic on how to treat women and children in our community at an Anglican church at Saint Albans Chapel.

He told the congregation that this is their community, their country.

“It is a small community and a small country and it can be what they want it to be.

He said in order to mould the communities, everyone has to act and do something about respecting women and children.

“You have to learn your rights what they are for women and what they are not for men.

“You have to lead by example.

“You have to demand your political representatives that they tell you what they have done to solve this problem.

“Not what they have said, not what they are planning to do, what they have done.

“And if they have passed this bit of legislation or signed that convention, tell them that no piece of paper has ever prevented a woman being beaten or a child being raped.”

Justice Pallaras added that if the political representatives have not done enough then this nation has to tell them people are not going to vote for them but will vote instead for someone who cares, someone who does not talk but act.

He stressed that people needs to demand of it again and again as it is not for us but for our children.

“We don’t want another generation whose thinking is stuck in the 18th century.

“You have to make a noise.”

He said his country is a signatory to the United Nations Conventions on Human Rights.

The judge said it is fantastic that this country is a signatory to the UN Convention on the elimination of all discrimination against women.

He said signing up to a hundred conventions and making themselves look good on the international stage will absolutely mean nothing to any Solomon Islander until they back their words with actions.

“Until they build refuges for women who get bashed, daily child care for their children, medical help for victims, social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists to help them recover from the years of trauma, police officers who no longer think ‘its only a family matter, I won’t get bothered to get involved.

“Until the government actually does something these treaties and conventions (including family protection Bill) are barely worth the paper they are written on,” Justice Pallaras said.

A report into sexual offending produced by the Solomon Islands Law Reform last year found an alarming level of sexual violence.

Justice Pallaras said the report also looks back to the time of the tensions and says that sexual violence during those times were high with amnesty international reporting that women and girls experienced high rates of sexual violence in Guadalcanal and Malaita.

He said no prosecutions were conducted because women were too frightened to press charges or were persuaded by their relatives not to press charges.

“Now I don’t know what was like before the tension, and I don’t know whether the tensions were the beginning of this problem, hatred and disrespect shown to women and children.

“But it is here now, it is in your families, your villages.

“It is destroying the childhood of two out of every five children under the age of 15,” he said.

Justice Pallaras said if government, leaders and community does not do anything to stop and change it, what it might say about this nation is that it might share some of the distorted, outdated, insulting beliefs and values of the men who rape women and assault children.

“Maybe some of us share those beliefs and maybe that is why we don’t have the courage, the nerve, the guts to do something about it.

“And if that is right, then this country is in real trouble.

“Because if good men and women cannot see what is happening right under their noses is wrong, then the children have no hope.

“It is time for change, a time for a revolution in thinking, in attitude. It is time for you to take control of your own future and more importantly, the future of your children.”

Solomon Star

SPORTS

43) Fiji, China, France and SA qualify for Series
By Online Editor
9:06 pm GMT+12, 14/09/2014, Hong Kong

Fiji, China, France and South Africa will play at every event on the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series 2014/15 after reaching the Cup semi-finals of the qualifier at Shek Kip Mei Sports Ground in Hong Kong on Saturday.
 
The Fijians had entered day two as the top seeds after three victories on day one and proved too strong for Portugal, scoring four tries to win the opening quarter-final 28-7.  
 
Asia’s leading women’s Sevens side China had wrapped up their place as a core team by half-time with some powerful running and impressive passing resulting in five tries against Brazil. The Rio 2016 hosts had no answer and could only manage a consolation try just before the final whistle.
 
France scored early but then spent long periods on defence as Japan kept possession in the third quarter-final. Two tries from Caroline Ladagnous, though, helped France lead 21-0 at half-time.
Japan fought back bravely in the second half but slipped to a 21-12 defeat.
 
It was left to South Africa, therefore, to cause the one upset in the Cup quarter-finals by beating the Netherlands 22-7. The Dutch had, like Fiji, won all three games on day one, but three first-half tries gave South Africa a 15-0 lead and some strong defence ensured they won 22-7.
 
The four nations – three of whom faced each other in Pool A on day one in Hong Kong – will join defending champions New Zealand, Australia, Canada, England, Russia, Spain and USA as core teams on the 2014/15 Series, which starts in Dubai in December and features six rounds.  
 
Fiji, who are coached by former men’s coach Iliesa Tanivula, and France went on to reach the Cup final and treated the crowd to an exciting affair with only two points separating the teams at the break. France, though, looked on course for victory after two tries took them out to a 19-5 advantage.
 
The Fijians took time to regroup and battled back to tie the scores with just seconds on the clock. France fumbled the restart and Fijiana capitalised to grab the winning try and the silverware in Hong Kong.
 
China, who had narrowly lost 21-19 to Fiji in the semi-finals, finished third after edging South Africa 12-7 in a tightly fought match where the Asian side’s consistency proved the difference.
 
Plate competition
 
Japan won the Plate final with a convincing 38-7 victory over Brazil. The Japanese will be pleased with their strong finish to the tournament, having beaten the Netherlands 14-5 in an exciting match and then proved too strong for Brazil. The Brazilians had reached the final after battling past Portugal 10-0 in a much closer affair than their meeting in the pool stages the day before.
 
The Netherlands had to settle for seventh place after beating Portugal 31-7.
 
Bowl competition
 
Their dreams of qualification had ended on day one, but Hong Kong delighted the home crowd with a strong second-half performance in the final against Argentina, going from level at half-time to comfortable 26-7 winners.
 
Hong Kong, coached by Black Ferns legend and four time Women’s Rugby World Cup winner Anna Richards, had edged Kenya 14-12 in the semi-finals and the African nation then finished on a high with a 55-0 victory over a tiring Mexican side to finish 11th.

SOURCE: IRB/PACNEWS

44) ‘Next stop Rio’

By Online Editor
9:05 pm GMT+12, 14/09/2014, Fiji

The 2016 Rio Olympics is the next stop for the Telecom Fijiana team after it qualified as one of the core teams for the 2014/15 IRB Women’s Sevens World Series.
 
The Iliesa Tanivula-coached side won the Women’s Sevens World Series qualifier in Hong Kong after beating France 24-19 on Saturday night (Fiji time) to confirm its spot in the upcoming series.
 
In a statement, Fiji Rugby Union chairman Filimone Waqabaca said the qualification had brought much joy and encouragement to rugby house.
 
“Next stop Rio,” Waqabaca exclaimed.
 
FRU CEO Radrodro Tabualevu said the achievement was a timely reminder that diligence and perseverance reaped rewards.
 
He said there was much to learn from the players and officials adding their “selfless desire to represent the country was refreshing and uplifting”.
 
Fijiana coach Tanivula hailed the players for the milestone achievement.
 
He hopes the qualification as a core nation in the women’s 7s series will raise the profile of women’s rugby in the country.
 
“It’s huge, not only for Fijiana but for the whole country. It’s a historical moment for women’s rugby in Fiji and I know these girls have really worked hard for it,” Tanivula told Times Sport from Hong Kong yesterday.
 
The 2014/15 women’s 7s series will start with the Dubai 7s on December 4 and 5 followed by Brazil (February 7-8), US (March 14-15), Canada (April 18-19), England (May 15-16) and Netherlands (May 22-23).
 
Tanivula said they had to step up their preparation in order to compete effectively in the series. Vodafone Fiji 7s coach Ben Ryan congratulated the team and said he was looking forward to working together with Tanivula to ensure success for both national teams.
 
“It’s great that Fijiana won the qualifying tournament and can now be exposed regularly to the best women’s sides in the world which will hugely help their quest for Olympic qualification,” Ryan said.
 
“A good positive culture between the men’s and women’s programme already exists and it’s sure to get stronger over the next 12 months.”
 
Ryan said it was exciting times for Fiji rugby.
 
“I think Fijiana did brilliantly to qualify for the series. Their preparation for this tournament was tough financially for them and hopefully this will improve.
 
“It’s also important to see that the programme is a very new one and our goal should be just as focused on 2020 Tokyo Olympics as on Rio 2016.
 
“It’s vital in the women’s game we do talent ID and talent development now for the next generation post Rio.”

SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

45) First up losses for PNG, EAP cricket teams

15 September 2014
Pacific teams have made a losing start to the Top End Cricket Carnival with Papua New Guinea and an East Asia Pacific selection both suffering first-up defeats in Darwin.

Batting first, the Australian Indigenous team posted a daunting 290 from their 50 overs.

The Barramundi’s began their run-chase strongly, racing to 60 without loss after six overs, but collapsed to be all out for 243 in 44 overs.

Meanwhile the EAP selection, featuring players from Samoa, Vanuatu, Fiji and PNG, came up well short in their opening encounter against Northern Territory, losing regular wickets in pursuit of the hosts 272.Radio New Zealand International

46) Fijiana qualify for women’s sevens series

15 September 2014

Hong Kong qualifier event at the weekend.

Fiji will play at every event on the upcoming IRB Women’s Sevens World Series after winning the

Hong Kong qualifier event at the weekend.

The Fijiana had entered day two as the top seeds after three victories in group play and proved too strong for Portugal in the quarter-finals before beating China in the semis and France in the final.

China, France and South Africa also earned core-team status for the upcoming season which features an expanded six tournaments.Radio New Zealand International.

www.voiceofmelanesia.c

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