Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1022 ( 18 september 2014 )

MELANESIA

1) Papuan human rights lawyer attacked

18 September 2014

Amnesty International says a Papuan human rights lawyer, defending a tribal leader accused of separatist activities by Indonesian authorities, has been attacked.

Amnesty says it has concerns for the safety of Anum Siregar

The rights group says the lawyer was attacked on the way back to her hotel from a court hearing.

The attacker, armed with a knife, stole her bag and injured her hand before fleeing.

Ms Siregar and another lawyer had travelled to Wamena to represent the Head of the Lani Besar Tribal Council, at a pre-trial hearing.

Amnesty says both felt they were being monitored.

They were challenging the Tribal Council leader’s arrest and detention which they believe to have been unlawful.

Areki Wanimbo was arrested last month after meeting two foreign journalists who were making a documentary on the separatist movement.

He was accused of supporting separatist activities and charged with “rebellion” under the Criminal Code.http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/

2a ) OPM fighter killed in Papua

 18 September 2014

A member of the Free Papua Organisation has been killed in a firefight with Indonesian security officers at an airfield in Papua’s Lanny Jaya district.

The Jakarta Globe reports the shootout involved about 30 OPM fighters from a group led by Puron Wenda, and police and military personnel, which wounded several people.

It reports Mr Puron has confirmed the confrontation, but is still collecting information to find out how many casualties there were.

The Jakarta Globe says the group is thought to have been responsible for shooting and killing two police officers in Lanny Jaya in July.

The Papua Police Chief Inspector Yotje Mende says the strategy is not to chase after the armed group, but to step by step reduce its area of operations.

He says they probably felt cornered and launched an attack, but security officers were prepared with back-up from an armed group in Puncak Jaya.http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/

2b) Vanuatu daily news digest | 18 September 2014

by bobmakin

  • The continuation of the work of the Electoral Collegetoday being well-known from yesterday, and that’s something more to be expected, rather than really ‘hard’ news.
  • Daily Post this morning has the Vanuatu National Provident Fund – VNPF explaining why there is no distribution of annual interest for 2013. Postings on Facebook have been highly critical of this. It would seem that previous interest payouts have been higher than financial achievement of the VNPF properly suggested. Following an international accounting company audit, property values have had to be revised and then VNPF practices reviewed.
  • Pastor Alan Nafuki told listeners to Radio Vanuatu this morning that tomorrow, Friday (8am – 12 noon), will see the launching of the Conference Committee and its visions for West Papua. This will take place at Independence Park. Government and representatives of the Vanuatu chiefs, churches, women and youth are requested to give addresses. Nafuki calls on the general public to come and witness the launch.
  • A customary land management workshop will bring together the chiefs of west Efate tomorrow at Tanoliu. The customary lands officer of Shefa, Daniel Lukai, said the seven chiefs listed in the custom register of West Efate will attend.
  • Daily Post this morning details new municipality parking places to be set aside for taxis in the capital – and the charge being levied. If the system is going to work it will suggest a much greater level of municipal policing of the VT 500 a month taxis will have to pay. Or will they all have to pay? Who says?

POLYNESIA

3) Tonga Business Incentive Program Not Attracting Investors
Low-cost loan packages in agriculture, other sectors go unused


NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Sept. 17, 2014) – A current attempt by the Tongan government to attract business investments, and to revitalize business growth by offering very low interest loans packages so far remains an unattractive proposition for businesses in Tonga.

A loans package, launched in early August and handled by the Tonga Development Bank, offered 1% to 4% interest on loans to investors in Agriculture, Fisheries, Tourism, Manufacturing and Wholesale, Retail Trades and Priority Sectors. However, since the investment incentives were launched in August, there have not been any takers other than for eduction.

A spokesperson from the lending section of the Tonga Development Bank said that after a burst of interest at the beginning because of the very low interest rates, it appeared that potential lenders were put off by the terms of the loans package, which varies from sector to sector.

The Agriculture Sector has two allocations:

$1 million [US$523,000] to be lent at 1% but to be repaid within nine months. (The maximum amount that one may borrow is $100,000 [US$52,300]).
$4 million to be lent at 4% and the terms for repayment to be negotiated.

Other sectors and their allocations are:

Fisheries – $1.5 million [US$785,000];
Priority Sector – $500,000 [US$262,000];
Livestock – $500,000 [US$262,000];
Forestry – $500,000 [US$262,000];
Tourism – $1.5 million [US$785,000];
Manufacturing – $500,000 [US$262,000];
Construction – $1 million [US$523,000] ;
Retail and Wholesale – $500,000 [US$262,000].

According to the Tonga Development Bank, the only sector that is rolling out, is a $1 million allocation for Educational Loans at 1% interest to be repaid within four years. Parents are snapping up this opportunity for pay for their children’s education.

Despite the virtual standstill in the lending of the loan allocation for other sectors the Tonga Development Bank is hopeful it will be able to restructure the investment incentive loan terms to make it more appealing to investors.

Meanwhile, Tufui Faletau from the Ministry of Finance and National Planning told Matangi Tonga that processing of enquiries about the investment incentive loans had been realigned so that instead of investor’s applications coming straight to the ministry, then to Cabinet, it now had to go the Ministry of Commerce first and after the application had been formalised, it would go to the Ministry and to Cabinet.

Matangi Tonga Magazine

4) American Samoa Economy Declined In 2013
Real GDP down 2.4% despite increase in consumer spending

By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (The Samoa News, Sept. 17, 2014) – An increase in consumer spending — the first since 2004 — helped offset the decline in American Samoa’s economy in 2013, according to American Samoa’s estimated gross domestic product (GDP) report released Monday by the U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA)

According to the report, the GDP for American Samoa shows that real GDP – GDP adjusted to remove price changes – decreased 2.4 percent in 2013. In contrast, real GDP for the U.S. — excluding the territories — increased by 2.2 percent in 2013.

The decline in the American Samoa’s economy reflected a decrease in territorial government spending that was partly offset by increases in consumer spending and private fixed investment, it says.

A footnote in the report explains that consumer spending is referred to as “personal consumption expenditures” while government spending is referred to as “government consumption expenditures and gross investment”.

According to BEA data, territorial government spending in 2013 declined by 3.70% (from $333 million in 2012 to $308 million last year) while consumer spending increased by 1.11% (from $446 million in 2012 to $461 million last year).

BEA says territorial government spending declined for a second year (2.26% decline in 2012), primarily reflecting reductions in construction spending and equipment purchases.

“Federal grant revenues, which make up a significant portion of the central government’s revenues, also decreased for a second year,” the report said.

Overall total spending for both federal and local government was $331 million compared to $355 million the year before, the BEA report shows.

For consumer spending, BEA said it grew for the first time since 2004 and the largest contributor to the increase in 2013 was in the purchases of nondurable goods, an increase of 1.24%. The growth in nondurable goods was driven primarily by food and beverage purchases.

In 2013, total consumer spending was $461 million — with $224 million in goods ($200 million in nondurable goods).

The BEA report also says that private fixed investment, which includes spending by businesses on construction and equipment, grew in 2013 by 0.35% (from $19 million in 2012 to $23 million last year)

This growth reflected investments by the tuna canning industry, including the completion of a multimillion-dollar cold storage facility in April 2013, the report says, referring to Tri Marine International’s cold storage at its Samoa Tuna Processors Inc. facility in Atu’u.

Released together together with the 2013 GDP is American Samoa’s GDP by industry, and compensation for 2012. It says that the estimates of GDP by industry for American Samoa show that the private sector declined — by 4.9% — in 2012; and the decline was due to a decrease in non-manufacturing industries that was partly offset by an increase in the manufacturing sector, in particular, the tuna canning industry.

For the government sector, there was growth of 3.4% in 2012, reflecting an increase (of 4.0%) in territorial government compensation.

It also says that total compensation grew from $285 million in 2011 to $295 million in 2012, which shows $123 million for private sector and $171 for government compensation.

AGREEMENT

The estimates released in the report were developed under the Statistical Improvement Program funded by the U.S. Interior Department’s Office of Insular Affairs.

In moving forward, the report said, an agreement between OIA and BEA will extend and improve the estimates of GDP for American Samoa.

“The information provided by the American Samoa Government will continue to be critical to the successful production of these estimates,” it says.

The Samoa News

MICRONESIA

5) Nauru Looks At Investment Opportunities In PNG
Vice President visits Port Moresby to establish office


PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Sept. 18, 2014) – The World’s smallest nation but one of the richest, the Republic of Nauru, now wants to set up an office in Papua New Guinea and explore possibilities of investing in the country.

On independence day, in a very low key ceremony, Vice President of the Republic of Nauru David Adeang signed a sub-distribution agreement on behalf of Eigigu Holdings Corporation with Kiel Consultants, to be distributors of this project in PNG.

Eigigu Holdings Corporation (South Pacific) is a corporation organised and existing under the laws of the Republic of Nauru. Minister Adeang, who is also a Papua New Guinean, (mother from New Ireland) and his entourage left PNG yesterday after several low key meetings in the country.

The Post-Courier spoke to Mr Adeang and his team who said that it is now the right time to come and invest in PNG and establish a bilateral but brotherhood relationship with PNG, the fastest growing nation in the Pacific.

Nauru has a population of 12,000 and a parliament comprising 19 members of parliament, with only two on the opposition side.

The tiny potato-shaped republic was once among the world’s richest with Phosphate mining as its only economic means. The island is still very economically strong now with the Asylum Seeker centre placed there by the Australians.

PNG Post-Courier

TOK PISIN

6) Vanuatu Chief Justice i toktok strong long kantri imas gat Head of State

Postim 18 September 2014, 13:00 AEST

Sam Seke

Chief Justice blong Vanuatu, Justice Vincent Lunabek i tokim tupela sait blong gavman na oposisan wantaim long imas traim na makim wanpela niupela head of state long tumora.

Odio: Chairman blong Vanuatu Electoral Commission, John Taleo i toktok
Chief Justice i tok olsem long palamen haus long Port Vila tede, bihain Electoral College i nonap gen long ilektim wanpela niu president blong Ripablik blong Vanuatu.
 
Dispela 58-memba Electoral College ibin mit tupela taim long aste to na i nonap makim wanpela long ol 13 pela kandidet.
 
Long vout long dispela moning, Clerk blong palamen bipo Lino Bulekuli dit Saksak nau ibin kisim bikpela naba blong vout long 21, Sethy Regenvanu 10, Barak Sope i kisim 9, na eitpela kandidet ino kisim wanpela vout.
 
Chairman blong Vanuatu Electoral Commission, John Taleo itok College bai mit gen long tumoro apinun ol i mas traim na makim wanpela niupela Head of State blong Vanuatu.
 
Taim blong  President nau ia, Johnson Iolu Abil ibin pinis long naba 2 long September, na Mr Taleo i tok konstitution i tok kantri i mas gat niupela Head of State insait tripela wik.Radio Australia

FRENCH

7) Brèves d’Australie et du Pacifique – jeudi 18 septembre 2014

Mis à jour 18 September 2014, 17:45 AEST

Caroline Lafargue

Fidji: le décompte des voix n’est pas terminé, mais on en est à plus de la moitié. Et selon les résultats provisoires, Franck Bainimarama et son parti Fiji First caracolent en tête, avec 60% des voix.

Les candidats de sept partis et deux indépendants briguent les 50 sièges que compte le Parlement. (Source : Fiji ministry of Information)
Le SODELPA, le parti indigène social-démocrate de l’ancien Premier ministre Laisenia Qarase, arrive pour l’instant en deuxième position avec 26% des voix. Le nouveau Parlement fidjien compte 50 sièges, et le mode de scrutin est proportionnel. Selon l’un des observateurs australiens envoyés à Fidji, « les élections se sont déroulées dans le calme, sans violences ni tentatives d’intimidation ».     

  • Tony Abbott assistera au départ des troupes australiennes pour l’Arabie saoudite aujourd’hui à la base militaire de Brisbane.L’Australie envoie 10 avions militaires, dont 8 avions de chasse, et 600 militaires, dont 200 soldats des forces spéciales. Ils resteront en Arabie saoudite en attendant d’intervenir en Irak contre les forces de l’État islamique. Hier Tony Abbott a déclaré que les forces spéciales australiennes auraient un rôle de conseillers militaires auprès de l’armée irakienne. Mais selon un ancien haut-gradé de l’armée australienne, interrogé aujourd’hui par le quotidien The Age, les forces spéciales « sont des tueurs très entraînés, et c’est donc ce qu’ils vont faire en Irak. »
  • Le gouvernement australien traque aussi les terroristes sur son sol. Ce matin 800 policiers et membres des services secrets ont arrêté 15 terroristes présumés à Sydney. Une arme a été saisie. Selon Andrew Colvin, le directeur de la police fédérale, le groupe ciblé avait « l’intention de commettre des actes violents en Australie contre la population. » Une autre descente de police a eu lieu à Brisbane, mais on n’en connaît pas encore le bilan. C’est la plus vaste opération antiterroriste jamais menée sur le territoire australien.
  • Australie: une baleine de 16 mètres de long a été découverte lundi sur une plage du Victoria. Il s’agit d’une femelle rorqual commun, le deuxième plus grand animal vivant sur la planète après les baleines bleues. Les causes de sa mort sont inconnues, mais elle pourrait être entrée en collision avec un navire. Le département de l’environnement du Victoria envisage de conserver ce spécimen, c’est un défi logistique de déplacer la carcasse de l’animal, qui pèse 25 tonnes.  Radio Australia

EDUCATION

8) Despite Fee Free Education Policy, Fees Go Up In Solomon Islands
Concerned parents questions legality of increases


By Daniel Namosuaia

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Sept. 18, 2014) – Increases in school fees has raised grave concerns for parents who have been struggling to foot their children’s fees every year despite the government’s fee free education policy.

The policy, which was implemented back in 2004 and carried on by the caretaker NCRA government, was part of the MDG (Millennium Development Goals), which stated that education must be given to everyone.

However, one of the concerned parents is questioning the legality of increased school fees the country’s state high school is charging on students this year.

A concerned parent whose child is undergoing studies at King George Sixth school is calling on the school board and its principal to explain whether the rise in school fees is legal.

“It is saddening to note the rise in school fees at KG Six which will give more headaches to parents and fee payers who will have to dig deep into their pockets to meet the increase,” the parent said.

The state owned school was said to raise its school fees for forms 1-3 from $300 to $1500 [US$41 – $204] this year and forms 4-5 $2400 to $4050 [US$327 – $551] respectively.

“This is concerning indeed and we want the KG6 school board and Principal to explain to us how this increase came about,” the concerned parent said.

But KGVI school principal said so far there was no increase in the school fees this year.

He said the fees remain the same and there were no changes.

However, the principal did not speak of any increase of school fees this year from last year when asked.

But the parent called on the school board who is believed to have administered the school to come out and explain to fee payers and justify their increase in school fees.

“If what the minister of education say early this month in parliament is true about justifying increase of school fees by the ministry, then parents and guardians of all students deserve answers from school administrators to justify their increase of school fees.

“Because it seems fee payers have been troubled with yearly increases of school fees that seems unrealistic when there is no tangible developments been seen over the years,” the parent added.

Solomon Star

POLITIC

9) PROVISIONAL RESULTS:

FijiFirst – 23,8364

FLP – 9268

NFP – 22, 156

PDP – 13,810

SODELPA – 105,188

ONE FIJI – 4360

FUFP – 648

ROSHIKA DEO – 832

UMESH CHAND – 173

http://fijivillage.com/

10) Fiji election: Frank Bainimarama on the brink of victory, Observer group says nation’s first poll ‘credible’

Updated 18 September 2014, 18:20 AEST

Fiji’s self-appointed leader Frank Bainimarama is set for a dominant election win, as counting in the long-awaited poll continues.

With more than half of the ballots counted, the leader of the Fiji First party has a compelling lead with 233,005 votes, or 60 per cent.

The next closest party, the Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA), led by Ro Teimumu Kepa, has won less than half that number.

It has 103,463 votes or 27 per cent.

Fiji First president Dr Jiko Luveni said the party was expecting a bigger victory.

“We really anticipated a good landslide victory, given the approach that we took,” she said.

“This election was really just between two parties and that is Fiji First and SODELPA.”

Dr Luveni said she believes the election was free and fair.

“This is the first election where the system has changed and there are a lot of lessons to be learned and this will be the basis of how we will approach the next election,” she said.

Claims of electoral irregularities

A coalition of opposition parties said Wednesday’s historic election was far from free and fair.

They have complained of multiple breaches including tampering and illegal removal of ballot boxes.

“We are asking for issues to be dealt with, satisfactory explanations to be given, otherwise these can’t be regarded as free and fair elections,” Fiji Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry said.

“We don’t consider these elections to be free and fair, I don’t think it meets the benchmark for free and fair elections.”

Photo: An election supervisor (L) counts votes after polling closed in the capital Suva. (AFP: Peter Parks)

Five political parties want counting to be suspended until their allegations have been addressed.

The Multinational Observer Group (MOG) overseeing the first post-coup Fijian election has found conditions were in place for Fijians to vote freely.

“This was a credible election,” it said in a preliminary statement.

“While counting is ongoing and the results are yet to be finalised, we assess that the outcome is on track to broadly represent the will of the Fijian voters.”

However, the MOG highlighted that civil society participation was restricted, as was the media’s ability to examine the claims of candidates and parties.

Australian MP Matt Thistlethwaite, who was one of the observers, told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat program the election is just the first step on the road back to democracy.

“It’s been eight years since they’ve had the right to express their democratic freedoms and they’ve turned up in droves,” he said.

“We spoke to many people who were excited, who were thankful for the opportunity to have their say in Fiji’s future.”

Australia impressed with election process

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has congratulated Fiji on a successful execution of the poll, paying tribute to Mr Bainimarama.

Ms Bishop said Australian election observers have told her the poll appears to have run well.

“There are over 90 international observers in Fiji and Peter Reith has informed me that the process has gone very smoothly,” she said.

“It’s been peaceful, there have been no reported incidents to date of violence or intimidation, indeed he was impressed with the way people came out to vote.”

But Ms Bishop warned there is more to democracy than a fair election.

“There are a number of countries that have held elections but one would hardly call them democracies,” she said.

“We will continue to work with Fiji to ensure the press can be free, that the judiciary is independent… to achieve what I think will be an acceptable level of democracy and an appreciation of democratic values in Fiji.”

Ms Bishop said she looking forward to further tightening Australia’s relations with Fiji in the wake of the election.

“We’ll continue down that path of rebuilding trust, supporting each other, embracing Fiji back into the Pacific family as well as the international community,” she said.

“There’s quite a menu of matters for us to look at in terms of trade, investment, defence ties… arrangements between our respective public servants, educational opportunities.”

High voter turnout

Photo: Ballots being taken into the counting centre in Fiji’s capital Suva. (Twitter: MOGfiji2014)

Fiji’s election supervisor Mohammed Saneem said the turnout was impressive, with more than half a million people voting.

“I would like to thank all the voters, all the Fijians who turned out in numbers to come and vote, who braved the sun and also all the queues that were there,” he said.

“The Fijian elections office will ensure we will assess all the lessons learnt in this election.”

Under the proportional representation system that Fiji has adopted, the number of votes the party gets is factored in as well as the number of votes a candidates gets.

Seven political parties and two independent candidates are standing for representation in the 50-seat parliament.

Under the constitution, a government must be formed within 17 days of the election, leaving open the possibility of a coalition of several minor parties.Radio Australia

11) PNG backs Fiji polls through funding
By Online Editor
10:35 pm GMT+12, 17/09/2014, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea has not sent political observers to the Fiji elections because it was not officially invited, said Affairs and Immigration Minister Rimbink Pato.
 
Pato said in a Radio New Zealand International interview that to his knowledge the Government “received no formal invitation from Fiji on that matter”.
 
“So that was probably the reason why we haven’t sent a member there. We are supporting the natural process. We are providing 20 million dollars US (K50 million) to support the election as you know. So we’re committed to the process of democratic elections in Fiji. It’s just that we have not had formal notice,” Pato said.
 
Additional Foreign Affairs Department officials had been deployed at the PNG diplomatic mission in Suva to observe the elections which started Wednesday.
 
“Papua New Guinea has met its commitments to support the Fijian electoral process as agreed through ongoing discussion with Fiji,” said a statement from the Prime Minister’s office.
 
“This was the subject of ongoing coordination over recent months with the evolution of the proposed observer program that involved several differed components for consultation.
 
“As part of this support, Papua New Guinea has deployed additional Foreign Affairs Department officials to our diplomatic mission in Fiji.
 
Papua New Guinea made a commitment of K50 million (US$20 million) to support the Fiji electoral process – half of which was agreed to be provided before the election, which has been delivered, and half following the election.
 
“The first K10 million was delivered three months ago and a further K15 million was delivered last week. The remainder of this commitment will be provided according to the agreed schedule.
 
“Papua New Guinea wishes Fiji every success in its transition back to democratic rule and we will work with Fiji to ensure this process is successful. It is timely that Fiji’s election is scheduled for the day after PNG’s 39th independence day celebrations.
 
“While PNG has faced its challenges, we are celebrating another anniversary of our democracy. We look to continuing to share our experience and provide ongoing support and friendship to our friends in Pacific Island countries on a range of issues that include governance and development issues,” the statement said.

But the Fiji Prime Minister’s office told the Post-Courier that instruments for an observer mission from PNG have been sent to the PNG Government. They could not give futher details.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

12) Fiji government rejects poll fraud claims

18 September 2014

Fiji’s Minister of Elections Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has rejected five political parties’ claims of a fraudulent election.

The parties have called on Fiji’s election authorities to suspend the vote count because they say they have seen many corrupt and unlawful practices during the polls.

Provisional results show an overwhelming 60 percent of the vote for the FijiFirst party led by the prime minister Frank Bainimarama.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum who is also a candidate for FijiFirst says the claims lack credibility.

“It is very interesting that they are now making these types of claims after the results are now coming out where it would indicate that Fiji First is going to win government. They had all the time yesterday [wednesday]. If they found any anomalies they should have made those concerns brought to the attention of the election officials almost immediately.”

Fiji’s Elections Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum- Radio New Zealand International

13) Fiji parties claim systematic fraud

 18 September 2014

Five political parties in Fiji have called on election authorities to suspend all counting and verification of provisional results, saying they will not accept the results of Wednesday’s poll.

The parties have been running in the polls against the FijiFirst party led by the prime minister Frank Bainimarama.

According to provisional results he has a commanding lead of 60 percent of the vote.

Mick Beddoes of the Sodelpa party says the parties are not happy.

“The political parties do hereby declare that they will not accept the outcome of these general elections based on the evidence available which points to a co-ordinated and systematic effort to defraud the citizens of Fiji of a free and fair election.”

Mick Beddoes of Fiji’s Sodelpa party.http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/

14) Solomons Govt urged to act over Fiji airline dispute – A former Solomon Islands government minister has called on the Government to intervene in an ongoing airline dispute that he says is costing the country dearly. Alfred Sasako says only a political move at the highest level will help to find a solution to the increasing tension between the nation’s carrier, Solomon Airlines, and Fiji Airways. In July, Solomon Airlines refused a request from Fiji Airways to send an extra Saturday flight to Honiara.
http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/254861/solomons-govt-urged-to-act-over-fiji-airline-dispute

BUSINESS

15) PNG Mining Representative Seeks Chinese Nickel Investment
Mineral Resources Authority looks to diversify mineral exploitation

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Sept. 17, 2014) – Potential Chinese investors and financiers were given an insight into mining investment opportunities available in Papua New Guinea especially PNG’s efforts to diversify the country’s mineral base.

Managing Director of the Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) Philip Samar in his presentation at the7th China International Nickel Industry Summit in Fuzhou, Fujian province in China, told participants that PNG was intensifying efforts to diversifying its mineral base and that investment in other minerals other than gold, copper and silver was encouraged. He said diversification was critical for a mineral dependent country such as PNG given the volatile mineral price shifts witnessed recently and in the event of a down-turn in world commodity prices for copper and gold, you could still have other minerals to maintain the revenue flows into the country.

Mr Samar told participants that PNG had world class nickel/cobalt exploration projects some of which needed financing and capital investment in order for these projects to be advanced to the next stage of development.

Wowo Gap and Mambare nickel projects along the Owen Stanley Ranges are large projects that boast resources larger than Ramu. These two projects were highlights which captured the attention of participants at the conference. Other known nickel occurrences around the country were also highlighted.

Papua New Guinea was the spotlight of the conference given the fact that the 2 largest nickel exporters, Indonesia and the Philippines, were both passing legislation restricting the export of nickel ore to China and therefore PNG was being targeted as the next supplier of nickel ore to the region particularly China.

The conference acknowledged the significant developments to date in the maturity of both the industry and the overall government efforts in promoting the exploration and mining sector. These include the review of the Mining Act 1992, the creation of the new tenements management system and the provision of new geological datasets through the airborne geophysical surveys that has been done on highly prospective areas of PNG.

As a result of the conference, the Fuzhou Department of Commerce will be visiting the MRA next week Tuesday with a delegation of 5 business houses to further enquire on the prospects of taking up nickel prospects in the country.

The MRA delegation also held a number of meetings on the side lines of the conference with potential investors and financiers including a meeting organized by the China Development Bank (CDB) and the Fujian provincial government’s department of commerce. This meeting was attended by more than 12 Chinese companies interested in seeking out further exploration and mining opportunities in the country.

PNG Post-Courier

16) More PNG Companies Investing In Solomon Islands
PNG also commits to providing 800 undergraduate scholarships

By Solomon Lofana

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Sept. 18, 2014) – More than 20 Papua New Guinea (PNG) companies are operating in the Solomon Islands as part of the two countries continuous strengthening of relationship in terms of trade and investment.

This was highlighted during a celebration to mark PNG’s 39th independence anniversary on Tuesday at Heritage Park Hotel.

Attending the ceremony was the country’s caretaker Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Manasseh Maelanga with other PNG nationals working here.

PNG high commissioner Fred Yakasa said about 25 PNG companies have registered in Solomon Islands with a total investment of around SBD $500million [US$68 million].

He said the number of companies operating in Solomon Islands signifies the good and strong relationship with Solomon Islands in terms of trade and investment.

Following its investment programmes, the PNG government has also made a commitment to the government to provide educational sponsorship for 800 tertiary level scholarships at the undergraduate level for four years.

“PNG has continuously played a vital role in this country’s human resources development since the establishment of diplomatic relation between the two traditional friends,” Mr Yakasa said.

The successful commitments of the supporting Solomon Islands PNG government also lead towards supporting the recent flood relief programmes with SBD $8.5 million [US$1.2 million] and following that a team of PNG state owned enterprises visited Solomon islands to assess the affected sites, victims, and to consider possible ways to collaborate and alleviate some of the flood relate problems.

Mr Yakasa said one of the important gestures that signifies the two country’s relation is the construction of PNG high commission’s chancery project.

“This project is anticipated to be completed by March 2015. The total cost of project is approximately PGK20m which equivalent to SBD$60 million [US$8.2 million],”said high commissioner Yakasa.

“PNG is one of closest Melanesian brothers and neighbour to Solomon Islands.

“This relation has been nurtured and strengthened over the years through cooperative dialogues at bilateral, sub regional and international.”

Mr Yakasa said PNG and Solomon islands continued to maintain robust relations through close cooperation across the political, economic, social and cultural spectrum.

Also on Tuesday PNG nationals took time to celebrate the day at Our Telekom recreational area in Ranadi.

Solomon Star

CLIMATE CHANGE,CONSERVATION & ENVIROMENT

17) Report Says Sea Level Rise Could Cost Australia $181 Billion
Coastal infrastructure at risk from climate change


By Hamish Fitzsimmons

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Sept. 17, 2014) – Future sea level rises could put more than $200 billion [US$181 billion] of Australian infrastructure at risk, a report by the Climate Council has found.

The report, Counting the Costs: Climate Change and Coastal Flooding, showed sea levels were likely to rise by between 40 centimetres and one metre over the next century.

The Climate Council succeeded the Australian Climate Commission, which was axed after the Federal Government took office last year.

The report’s lead author, Professor Will Steffen, warned national income would suffer huge losses if action was not taken to protect against rising sea levels and extreme weather events.

“You’re looking at anywhere from three tenths of a per cent of loss of GDP per year, all the way up to 9 per cent loss of GDP per year,” Professor Steffen said.

“That upper scenario is higher than the growth rate of GDP per year, so you’re looking basically at staggering economic costs if we don’t get this under control.”

The Victorian coast, the south-east corner of Queensland and Sydney would be the hardest hit by rising sea levels, the report found.

With more than 75 per cent of Australians living near the coast, Professor Steffen said large swathes of infrastructure were at risk.

“Much of our road, rail, port facilities, airports and so on are on the coast,” he said.

“If you look at a 1.1 metre sea level rise – which is the high-end scenario for 2100 but that’s what we’re tracking towards – you’re looking at more than $200 billion worth of infrastructure that’s at risk.”

Professor Steffen said so-called once-in-a-lifetime natural events could become regular occurrences.

“If you look at some of our most vulnerable areas, and the Sydney region is one of those, you would say toward the end of this century that a one-in-100-year flood is going to be happening every few days,” he said.

“That’s an impossible situation to cope with.”

Professor Steffen said infrastructure projects, like the new runway planned for Brisbane’s airport, needed to factor in future sea rises.

“The people who are investing actually went to the best scientists here in Australia, experts of sea level rises, and took the best science into account and decided they were going to build that third runway higher than previously planned,” he said.

If sea level rises were ignored, by 2050 the report predicted the global the impact of coastal flooding would cost $US1 trillion per year – the same size as the Australian economy.

Climate change impacting insurance premiums

The Climate Council warned sea level rises would put pressure on home insurance premiums, as rising sea levels fed coastal erosion.

Australian Local Government Association president Felicity-Ann Lewis said erosion was already causing problems for home owners.

“The insurance industry is very interested in this because some of the insurance premiums are becoming such that people can’t afford to take out insurance on their properties,” Dr Lewis said.

“This is a very big issue.”

Dr Lewis said a lack of coordination across all levels of government was impeding action.

“It’s a very mixed bag; there is no consistent view or approach for local government to try to deal with this,” she said.

“Each state and territory association is trying to deal with different guidelines; there is no consensus around that, so for us it’s a very big challenge.”

Radio Australia

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18) Still on top

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

PARIS – New Zealand remain firm favourites to retain the Rugby World Cup title they won on home soil in 2011, a year out from the 20-team tournament in England.

Thursday will mark exactly a year to the day until the first match of rugby union’s showpiece event, which will be staged in the sport’s birthplace from September 18-October 31, 2015.

The All Blacks buried 24 years of hurt by not, for once, choking and deservedly going on to scoop rugby union’s ultimate prize three years ago, although not before a desperately close 8-7 final win over France.

Victorious coach Graham Henry has since passed the reins to assistant Steve Hansen, who has seen fit to hand skipper Richie McCaw and fly-half Dan Carter — ruled out of the 2011 World Cup with a groin injury — sabbaticals to keep his key, albeit ageing, men in prime form for what promises to be a tough finale to their careers in England.

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