Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1027 ( Saturday 27 September 2014 )


1) Foreign Correspondence Club: Lift Ban On Journalists In Papua
Organization calls on new President to remove restrictions

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Sept. 26, 2014) – The Jakarta Foreign Correspondents Club is calling on the incoming administration of Joko Widodo to immediately lift all restrictions on foreign journalists travelling to the Papua region.

It says it’s concerned by the continued detention without charge of French journalists Valentine Bourrat and Thomas Dandois.

The pair were arrested in August in Wamena, and remain detained in Jayapura by Indonesian police, accused of violating their visas.

The Jakarta Foreign Correspondents Club says indications that the pair could face a five-year prison sentence for a visa violation, or even a much more serious charge of sedition, are of particular concern.

It says the larger issue is the continuation of restrictive state policies on journalists reporting in the Papua region and wants all restrictions on foreign journalists travelling to the region lifted.

The club says these restrictions only harm Indonesia’s international reputation as a country that values press freedom, and encourages inaccurate and simplistic reporting of the issues in the region.

Radio New Zealand International 

2) Papua conference in Vanuatu delayed

By Online Editor
4:52 pm GMT+12, 25/09/2014, Vanuatu 

The West Papua conference that was expected to open in Vanuatu next week has been postponed.
The West Papua Reunification Committee’s chairman, Pastor Alan Nafuki, says the meeting will now take place from October the 30th.
Pastor Nafuki explained that they have sent invitations to 80 West Papuan representatives, but so far, they have received only about 20 confirmations because of fundraising and visa problems.
“So we decided that it is best that we postpone the meeting to give chances to everyone to fundraise or to fix their visa up, or other problems that they’re facing, because at the end of the day, we want to get everybody to this meeting in Vanuatu.”
Pastor Nafuki says the conference is to provide an avenue for the different groupings in West Papua to come to an agreement on a unified bid for membership in the Melanesian Spearhead Group.
A formal membership application by the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation was knocked back by the MSG earlier this year, whose leaders called for a more representative bid.


3) Vanuatu daily news digest | 27 September 2014

by bobmakin

  • While the people of Vanuatu are awaiting a decision from the Vanuatu Government concerning nickel smelting operations at Cape de Queiros on Santo, Radio Vanuatu reports Sanma Province considers it a good project. Secretary-General Sakaria Daniel spoke of the many job opportunities such a project would bring to the region. “School dropouts would be able to find career pathways,” Daniel told the national broadcaster.”In Vanuatu we have no mining. We don’t know what it is. In my letter I said, as the executive officer of the province, I have no objection to the project. Once we have support of the national government we then don’t have any good reason to stop the proposal. It will help our revenue base.” Acting PM Ham Lini met the manager of the project yesterday afternoon in Port Vila. The decision of the government will be announced in the coming week.
  • Daily Post also covers the nickel treatment plant and has the Mai Holding Company (MHC) PRO Taupua Christian saying cheap labour and low tax are not the main reasons for the smelting to be moved from New Caledonia to Cape de Queiros on Santo. Rather he draws attention to the strong Melanesian bond Santo has with New Caledonia and the sister city agreement between Luganville and the Mont Dore suburb of Nouméa from where the company is seeking to relocate its smelting operations.
  • Daily Post also draws attention to the first Deep Sea Minerals Policy conference to be held in Vanuatu. It will take place between 7 and 9 October at the Malvatumauri chiefs’ nakamal. Minister Regenvanu says “Our vision is for our stake-holders and citizens to have a high level of engagement in scrutinising the Deep Sea Minerals Policy draft before finalisation.” Why was there no such initiative before government approval of nickel smelting near Port Olry?
  • The Independent this week headlines with the royal visit of Princess Anne, to take place October 24 – 29. The Deputy British High Commissioner from Honiara, Simon Gore, has been in Port Vila this week to discuss the visit and the Emerging Pacific Leaders Dialogue (EPLD) with which it is associated. The Princess has inherited the role of patron of the EPLD from her father, Prince Philip. Navigating Our Future Together is the theme of the conference which will have representatives from 23 Pacific countries. Older people in Vanuatu will recall the previous royal visit on the Royal Yacht Britannia in 1974 when the Queen, Prince Philip and Princess Anne visited the Naggol on Pentecost on their way to Santo.
  • A meat and food safety workshop has been continuing over four months in the capital. The Agriculture Department is responsible, and 16 participated. The South Pacific Community assisted with funding.
  • Vanuatu Times carries news of the VBTC planning with Huawei Technologies of China towards digital TV that could be accessed around the islands with mobile telephony. The discussions between the major broadcaster in Vanuatu and the world’s largest telecoms equipment maker are said to be “a collaboration” by that newspaper.
  • The Reserve Bank has been advising that the Tuvatu money which has been illustrated in Daily Post and discussed on Buzz FM 96 is not recognised as legal tender. Only the vatu is legally permitted as the currency of Vanuatu. Trading in indigenous currencies is done against the risk of prosecution.

4) Vanuatu daily news digest | 26 September 2014

by bobmakin

  • The government is ready to meet the manager and representatives of the MKM Company involved with nickel smelting in New Caledonia when they arrive in Port Vila later today. Lands Minister Regenvanu made it clear that the team was arriving at a time when a number of ministers are absent from the capital. The government will inform the group of the need for stringent precautions in bringing nickel into the country, the Radio Vanuatu report added. The NKM Company still insists is has the approval of government to open the project and says it has all the legal documents needed from when it came to Vanuatu last month and signed for the project with Acting PM Ham Lini at that time. The manager also says a successful meeting was held yesterday in Santo with the President of Sanma Province, land owners and chiefs, and he said they agree that the project should proceed. Ignoring the foregoing, there could not yet have been an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) for the area of great natural beauty where the smelting installation is intended to be located. Further, a Santo community leader has denied that there is the support for the project as implied in Radio Vanuatu News this morning.Whatever ministerial approvals are in hand, the EIA is the one which matters.
  • Radio Vanuatu also reported Vanuatu looking to enter the age of renewable energy rather than depending on fossil fuels. Minister of Energy James Bule says the government has taken all possible steps and should be starting with North Efate Geothermal and Maewo hydro-electricity.
  • All media today cover Onesua beating Malapoa in the schools debating competitionorganized by the Pacific Institute of Public Policy (PiPP).
  • And Daily Post features a great cover photo of tourism industry personnel holding single-letter placards in front of the colourful new Handicraft Centre on the Wharf Road. Dressed in equally technicolour outfits, the 70-odd ni-Vanuatu tourism models spell outHAPPY WORLD TOURISM DAY 2014 FROM VANUATU’s ISLANDS. The world theme this year focuses on tourism’s ability to empower people and provide them with skills to achieve change in their local communities. So happy world tourism day everyone, tomorrow, Saturday 27 September.


5) Cook Islands Party Loses Majority, Court Upholds Petition
Democratic Party candidate takes Tamarua seat away from CIP

RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, Sept. 25, 2014) – The Cook Islands High Court has upheld a number of grounds in a petition launched by the Democratic Party which contested the result in the constituency of Tamarua in Mangaia.

As a result, Demo candidate Tetangi Matapo has now been declared as the island’s Member of Parliament, taking away the seat from the Cook Islands Party.

With today’s announcement, the CIP has now lost its majority in Parliament.

Current makeup of the House has the CIP with 12 seats, the Demos with 9, and One Cook Islands with 2.

The final seat – representing the constituency of Mitiaro – will be subject to a by-election, likely to be held in November.

Cook Islands News


6) Deal Signed For $300 Million Casino Development In CNMI
Alter City Group leases land for resort on Tinian

By Cherrie Anne E. Villahermosa

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Sept. 26, 2014) – Alter City Group Inc., a casino investor on Tinian, and the Department of Public Lands yesterday signed a land lease agreement for a new $300 million casino on Tinian.

Gov. Eloy S. Inos, Lt. Gov. Jude U. Hofschneider and Tinian Mayor Ramon M. Dela Cruz witnessed the signing ceremony held in the governor’s conference room at the administration building on Capital Hill.

The lease agreement was signed by DPL Secretary Pete A. Tenorio, Alter City Group Holdings Limited president and chairman Leong Kin Lan, executive vice president Ken Lin and chief executive officer Edvon Sze.

The lease agreement must also be approved by the Legislature.

The governor said his administration will do everything possible to ensure that the project serves the best interests of the CNMI.

More: Marianas Variety 


7) Ol risos ona long Melanesia i kisim heve long ol divelopa: Ken Mondiai

Postim 26 September 2014, 15:50 AEST

Sam Seke

Direkta blong dispela NGO grup Partners With Melanesians, Ken Mondiai i tok planti long ol risos ona long Papua New Guinea na ol arapela kantri long Melanesia ino kisim gutpela benefit long ol risosis blong ol.

Odio: Direkta blong dispela NGO grup Partners With Melanesians, Ken Mondiai i toktok

Em i tok ol papa na mama graun tu ino klia long sait long ol kainkain developmen we i wok long kamap na ol heve iken kam long ol.
Mr Mondiai i tok dispela i mekim planti long ol komuniti i kisim bikpela heve long ol projek we i sainim wantaim sampela foran investa.
Em i tok logging nau em i wanpela kain divelopmen we i save bagarapim laip na sindaun blong ol pipol long PNG na tu long Solomon Islands.
Mr Mondiai i tok NGO blongen i gohet long wok long traim na kamapim save long ol komuniti long heve we i save kamap wantaim ol kainkain developmen.Radio Australia

8) New York fait ville pleine contre le réchauffement climatique

Trois cents mille manifestants ont appelé les chefs d’’Etat qui se réuniront, mardi, aux Nations unies pour un sommet extraordinaire à ’agir sans délai.

Le | 2014/09/22 08:13:04

9) Brèves d’Australie et du Pacifique – vendredi 26 septembre 2014 

Mis à jour 26 September 2014, 10:34 AEST

Caroline Lafargue 

Vanuatu: nouveau report de la conférence d’unification des mouvements indépendantistes papous. 

Le drapeau papou, l’Étoile du Matin, a en effet été brandi pour la première fois le premier décembre 1961. Les Papous qui le portent s’exposent à une peine de prison.  

Le comité d’unification de la Papouasie occidentale, basé au Vanuatu, a annoncé hier que la conférence d’unification des différents mouvements indépendantistes papous aurait finalement lieu le 4 décembre, trois jours après la fête nationale de la Papouasie occidentale. Le drapeau papou, l’Étoile du Matin, a en effet été brandi pour la première fois le premier décembre 1961. La conférence devait débuter la semaine prochaine à Port-Vila, mais les fonds manquaient pour financer le voyage des 80 délégués invités. Les délégués doivent en outre convaincre les autorités indonésiennes de les laisser sortir du territoire. L’objectif de la conférence est de rédiger une candidature commune au Groupe Mélanésien Fer de Lance.

  • Îles Salomon: l’épidémie de rougeole fait trois nouveaux morts. Selon les statistiques publiées ce matin par le ministère de la Santé, le virus a fait 6 morts jusqu’à présent. Actuellement, 2300 Salomonais sont infectés par le virus de la rougeole, et 829 nouveaux cas ont été enregistrés ces 7 derniers jours. 200 000 doses de vaccins sont arrivées hier à Honiara. C’est la principale façon de lutter contre ce virus extrêmement contagieux.
  • Guam: Chad Ryan De Soto a été condamné à trois peines de prison à perpétuité incompressibles. En février 2013, ce jeune homme de 22 ans a foncé dans une foule de touriste avec sa voiture, il est descendu armé d’un couteau et a commencé à frapper les gens autour de lui, tuant trois touristes japonais. Il en a aussi blessé 11 autres, dont deux bébés. La juge, Anita Sukola, l’a condamné à la peine maximale, car Chad Ryan De Soto n’a manifesté aucun remords pendant le procès.
  • Fidji: la sécheresse frappe de nouveau. Il n’y a pas eu de pluies substantielles depuis le 17 mai. Et d’après le service météo, les pluies ne sont pas au programme des semaines qui viennent, il faudrait attendre janvier pour que les pluies reviennent. Les centrales hydrauliques n’ont plus qu’un mois de réserve d’eau pour produire leur électricité, en prévision de quoi le gouvernement a déjà investi dans des générateurs d’électricité au diesel. Le gouvernement a aussi du envoyer de l’eau dans plusieurs villages sur des îles éloignées.
  • Cyclisme: Cadel Evans a annoncé sa retraite hier, à l’âge de 37 ans. Le premier et unique vainqueur australien du Tour de France – c’était en 2011- descendra de son vélo en février prochain, après un dernier Tour Down Under, qui est la course cycliste la plus importante en Australie, organisée chaque année autour d’Adelaïde. Avant de partir en retraite, Cadel Evans inaugurera aussi sa propre course, dans le Victoria, baptisée Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road, le 1er février. Le champion cycliste australien a reconnu que les performances n’étaient plus au rendez-vous depuis le tour d’Italie l’année dernière, même s’il s’est dit très fier de la régularité de ses performances sur les vingt années de sa carrière. Radio Australia


10) One In Four Pacific Islanders Live Below Poverty Line: UNDP
Regional social and economic landscape is changing, report says

By Struan Purdie

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (Pacific Scoop, Sept. 26, 2014) – Poverty is increasing in the Pacific with one in four people now living below the poverty line, says a recent report released by the United Nations Development Programme.

The report, The State of Human Development in the Pacific, presents a picture of a changing social and economic regional landscape, based on new data and analysis.

Economies are shifting from traditional systems built on the exchange of products to market-led cash-based ones; young people are migrating from their villages to find jobs in cities and abroad, leaving women, the very old and the very young behind; traditional family and social protection systems are in decline; climate change is threatening agricultural production and traditional livelihoods and intensifying the impact of natural disasters.

“Many good initiatives are already happening in the Pacific,” says Nicholas Rosellini, deputy director of UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific.

“But, as our report points out, major challenges persist.”

While rates of extreme food poverty and starvation in the Pacific are much lower than other developing countries, rising levels of hardship and poverty in the region are now of major concern to governments and development partners.

The generally poor performance of Pacific Island communities against the UN Millennium Development Goals has become a central concern for governments and aid advocates.

Struan Purdie is a BCS (Hons) student on the Inclusive Journalism Initiative (IJI) programme at AUT University on the Pacific Media Centre’s Asia-Pacific Journalism course.

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 –


11) Hikers hurt as Mount Ontake volcano erupts in Japan

SEPTEMBER 27, 2014 8:34P

A VOLCANO has erupted in central Japan, shooting ash and rocks into the air that reportedly left 11 hikers injured, including seven unconscious, and forced 150 people to shelter in cabins near the summit.

The eruption of the 3067-metre Mount Ontake straddling Nagano and Gifu prefecture happened around midday local time on Saturday, the meteorological agency said.

Television footage showed huge clouds of smoke billowing from the peak, which is a popular destination for trekkers.

Raw footage (below) also appeared on YouTube shortly after the volcano erupted.

Several cabins near the summit were fully covered with grey ash, while some window glasses appeared shattered.

“There was a thunder-like noise and the sky became dark because of the smoke,” Shuichi Mukai, who runs a mountain lodge near the summit, told Kyodo News.

“There are 15 centimetres of ash on the ground,” Mukai said. In Tokyo, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ordered the military to dispatch troops to the peak to rescue hikers.

More in4 –

12) Fragilenet: ‘Panic at ‘worst ever computer bug…’ (The Independent [UK],26.9.14)


Friday, September 26, 2014

BLACKBERRY has launched a distinctive handset featuring a square screen and a keyboard that offers both physical keys and touch-enabled gesture controls.

It said work-focused users in particular should benefit from the Blackberry Passport’s innovations.

Sales of the company’s handsets — which are powered by its own operating system — have been in decline. Analysts said the new device should appeal to existing Blackberry owners but might struggle to win over others.

The Canadian company’s chief operating officer said the handset’s release was part of a broader turnaround strategy led by John Chen, who became chief executive in November.


13) Solomons Measles Outbreak Worsens, Six Total Dead
Authorities working to obtain, distribute vaccine to halt outbreak

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Sept. 26, 2014) – Three more people have died from measles in Solomon Islands bringing the death toll from the outbreak to six, with 2300 cases reported so far.

The Emergency Operations centre in the Ministry of Health released the statistics today to counter misleading reports in the local newspapers that cases were on the decline.

The incident controller at the centre, Dr Aaron Oritaimae, says there has been a dramatic rise in the rate of infection with 829 cases reported in the last week alone.

200,000 additional doses of measles-rubella vaccine, which arrived into the capital, Honiara, yesterday, are the main line of defence and authorities are scrambling to vaccinate the population to curb the spread of the highly contagious virus.

Radio New Zealand International

14) Reduce salt intake

Mere Naleba
Saturday, September 27, 2014

FIJIAN men consume more salt than women.

This was confirmed by the World Health Organization in its bid to inform Fijians to reduce their salt intake.

With the World Heart Day celebrated internationally on September 29, WHO is once again reminding people that increased amount of salt in the diet is a contributing factor to heart disease and stroke.

The WHO in a statement said Fijians on an average consume around nine grams of salt per day and that men take more salt than women. WHO confirmed the nine grams per day is almost double the WHO recommended maximum daily intake.

WHO’s assistant director general for non-communicable diseases and mental health Dr Oleg Chestnov said countries should now take action by spreading the gospel of reducing salt intake to 5grams per person per day which is equivalent to one teaspoon.

“Together, we can save an estimated 2.5million lives each year by globally reducing salt intake to less than 5grams per day,” Dr Chestnov said. “Salt is found in most food we eat. It is added to many processed foods during production and in our homes during food preparation and consumption.”

He said many deaths in the Pacific were because of cardiovascular related diseases.

“High salt intake contributes to raised blood pressure and hypertension which is a key risk factor for heart disease and stroke,” he said

“High blood pressure is a public health problem in many Pacific Island countries and areas.

“In some countries, the prevalence is as high as 45 per cent of the adult population. Reducing salt intake in the region would reduce blood pressure, saving thousands of lives every year.”


15) Fiji and Guam to learn Russian

By Online Editor
4:46 pm GMT+12, 25/09/2014, Russian Federation

Russia’s Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU) is set to open Russian language learning centers on the islands of Fiji and Guam, the University’s President Sergei Ivanets said Thursday at the Third APEC Conference on Cooperation in Higher Education.

“The expansion of scientific, research and educational cooperation remains a priority for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and internationalization plays a key role in this cooperation,” said Ivanets.

“In the framework of such cooperation, our university is set to open Russian language learning centers for the local populations of Guam and Fiji. Both sides have expressed an interest and we are currently in negotiations with the local authorities. We expect to sign the necessary agreements this year.”

Similar centers are already operating in China and the students tend to apply to study at FEFU afterwards.

The president also added that the university encourages exchange programs with educational establishments within the Asia-Pacific region. Since the start of the conference, an agreement on a student exchange program has been signed with one of the South Korean universities.

Ivanets also added that the number of foreign students who had enrolled at FEFU this year has doubled from 600 to 1,200. The administration of the university therefore hopes the number will increase to 7,500 by 2019, or a total of 25 per cent of the total number of students.

The Third APEC Conference on Cooperation in Higher Education opened on Thursday on Vladivostok’s Russky Island. Delegations from the US, Australia, Brunei, Japan, China, South Korea, The Philippines, Bangladesh, Peru and Vietnam are set to discuss further cooperation in education within the Asia-Pacific Region.

The first two conferences were also held in Vladivostok, in 2012 and 2013. The results of the first meeting were then passed to the heads of the states for further discussion at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit and were documented in the final declaration of the meeting.

The second conference set forward the aims and practical implementation for all the projects documented in the above declaration.



16a) Voices of Bougainville Report and Launch events (25.9.14 Sydney University: Jubilee Australia)

‘There are 2 report launch events left….September 25, 12-2 pm at Uni Sydney, and Oct 16 and Amnesty Int’ Australia, 6-7.30 pm  The report is available at  ‘

16b) PNG MPs: We are with PNC

By Online Editor
4:49 pm GMT+12, 25/09/2014, Papua New Guinea

Three Papua New Guinea Cabinet Ministers have distanced themselves from a move by the political party they were members of during the general election to join the Opposition.

Community Development, Youth and Religion Minister Delilah Gore, Forest Minister Douglas Tomuriesa  and  Labour and Industrial Relations Minister Benjamin Poponawa clarified yesterday that they had left the Triumph Heritage Empowerment (THE) Party to join the People’s National Congress Party led by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.

They clarified their positions after a spokesperson for THE Party said its MPs would be joining the Opposition before parliament’s October session.

Deputy Opposition leader Sam Basil yesterday told reporters that he welcomed the decision by THE party leader Don Polye to join the Opposition with Gore, Tomuriesa and Poponawa.

Gore this week maintained that she had joined the PNC Party and was in Government.

Tomuriesa said it was all wishful thinking and their support was with the O’Neill Government. Our support is with the prime minister.

“We are no longer with THE party.

“We are with PNC. We’ll give him full support until 2017,” Tomuriesa said.

“I am part of the Government until 2017.”

Poponawa said in a statement: “In July this year, several of my colleagues and I made a collective decision to leave THE Party and join the People’s National Congress Party.

“We joined PNC to ensure stability so the Government can continue to deliver its development programmes for our nation.

“Stability in Government is vital for a rural electorate like my own that has been neglected for so long.”
Basil said he welcomed THE party’s move to cross the floor because the country needed a vibrant Opposition.

He said the Opposition MPs would later decide who should be their leader, depending on the number of MPs each party had.


17) Fiji to give ‘due consideration’ to Commonwealth re-entry

27 September 2014

Fiji’s foreign minister says his government will give due consideration to the Commonwealth’s decision to lift Fiji’s supension from the organisation.

The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group decided to lift Fiji’s suspension at a meeting in New York on Friday in recognition of the country’s recent elections.

Fiji was partially suspended in 2006 after a military coup and fully suspended in 2009 when the country’s constitution was repealed.

The foreign minister, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, says Fiji is grateful for the lifting of the suspension.Radio New Zealand International

18) Two elected Member of Bainimarama pre- election Cabinet without ministerial appointments

By Online Editor
11:29 pm GMT+12, 24/09/2014, Fiji

Doctors Neil Sharma and Jiko Luveni are the only two elected members of Frank Bainimarama’s pre-election Cabinet who have not retained ministerial appointments.

While Luveni – Bainimarama’s Minister for Women in his last Cabinet – has been appointed Speaker of Parliament, Sharma has moved from the Health Ministry to the backbench.

Former Youth Minister Viliame Naupoto failed to receive the required number of votes to qualify as an MP.

Meanwhile, Bainimarama has appointed six former military officers (seven including himself) to ministerial positions, taking up 35 per cent of Cabinet posts.

This signals his continued reliance on military personnel to implement decisions quickly.

Seven Indo-Fijian ministers make up 35 per cent of Cabinet – the highest proportion since Mahendra Chaudhry was prime minister in 2000.

There are four women ministers making up 20 per cent of Cabinet and this is the highest number of females at this level of politics since Laisenia Qarase’s 2001-2006 government.

Qarase appointed five women in a 28-member Cabinet.

Meanwhile, Mahendra Reddy, Fiji’s newly appointed Minister for Education and Heritage believes the free education policy by the Fijian Government is by far the best policy for any developing nation.

The former Commerce Commission chairman has also not ruled out fine tuning the programme. We’re into the first year of it, there’s room for fine tuning if there’s a need we’ll re-look at that,” Reddy said.

Having been appointed to lead the Education Ministry he acknowledges the position requires a lot of commitment given the challenges that come with it.

“I’m ready for it given that I’ve been in the education sector for so long. I’ve also been an economist.” Reddy replaces Filipe Bole at the helm of the ministry.


19) Salaries to be known soon for Ministers and MPS: Fiji Finance Minister 

By Online Editor
11:24 pm GMT+12, 24/09/2014, Fiji

Salaries for ministers and all members of parliament have already been worked out and should be released soon, says Minister for Finance Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

Other people at committee levels also need to be catered for, he said.

Sayed-Khaiyum said the cabinet’s task now would be to sustain economic growth.

“The point is that we now have an elected government, a Prime Minister who has received overwhelming endorsement by the Fijian people,” he said.

“He has created a platform that has in fact brought about unprecedented growth rates and now of course our task ahead is to build upon those fundamentals and to ensure that we have a sustained economic growth by better delivery of services and focus on long-term plans.”
Sayed-Khaiyum further said all aspects of governance need to be on the same page to see very rapid economic growth.

20) Felix Anthony steps down as People’s Democratic Party leader, Induction for new MPs next week

By Online Editor
4:57 pm GMT+12, 25/09/2014, Fiji

Felix Anthony has stepped down as leader of Fiji’s People’s Democratic Party citing “poor performance” at the recent election.

Adi Sivia Qoro takes over as leader. Anthony said he stepped down because of the party’s performance.

“As leader of the party, I take full responsibility for the party’s poor performance,” Anthony said.

“During my election as leader of the party, I did undertake to deliver and if I did not, I should step down.”

He did not say what his immediate plans are, only that he needed to take a break before mapping out his way forward. He has assured the party of his continued support.

Meanwhile, Fiji’s 50 parliamentarians will be inducted next week where they will also undergo training on the country’s parliamentary system, their roles and the do’s and don’ts in parliamentary procedure.

Speaking to FijiLive, Secretary General to Parliament Viniana Namosimalua confirmed the induction of members is scheduled for Tuesday.

On induction day, the members of parliament (MPs) will be introduced to the parliamentary system and taught how it works, they will also be taught their roles in the parliamentary system and in a parliamentary democracy.

“It is very important they know how they will operate, their understanding of their privileges and responsibilities as well as their roles in parliament,” Namosimalua said.

At the end of the session, the new MPS will be taken for a tour around the complex where they will be shown to their respective offices.

According to Namosimalua, there will be two separate offices – one for government and the opposition – to allow their officials to work.

In the meantime, works in the interior of the parliament is nearing completion and Namosimalua is optimistic it will be ready on time.


21) NGOs look to re-engage with new Fijian govt

By Online Editor
4:55 pm GMT+12, 25/09/2014, Fiji

For any country, non governmental organizations play a key role in a democratic society.

With Fijian parliament soon to take place in a few weeks, leading NGOs here are hoping to re-engage more with the new Government.

For Non Governmental Organizations here, returning to democracy has been a long time coming.

“We welcome the election and the elected members to parliament. The new government. Also this is a big step towards democracy and we of course as NGOs we have had a rough time particularly human rights based NGOs,” said Fiji Women Crisis Centre’s Coordinator, Shammima Ali.

Citizen’s Constitutional Forum’s CEO, Reverend Akuila Yabaki also lamenting the road to democracy.

“To have a parliament that runs its course to the next elections. We have not had that much and now we have four years ahead of us and we should preside the fact that the election is going to be the first step into that transition of democracy,” Reverend Yabaki said.

The Pacific Islands Association for Non Governmental Organizations also shared the same light.

“Democracy is not a destination, it’s a journey and democracy doesn’t end with an election – a free and fair election and so in terms of democratic participation. We have not seen a lot of that in the past in terms of consultations, vote consultations, public consultations ownership by communities which is what NGOs and civil society is about,” said PIANGO’s Executive Director, Emele Duituturaga.

With now an elected government already taking shape, NGO’s hope that dialogue can once again open up.

“Just restrictions can be lifted but also for us those spaces to be opened up. Democratic spaces to be opened up. We definitely want collaboration with the elected ministers, with the parliament and with all the MP’s in parliament,” added Shammima Ali.

“Previous parliament under the 1997 constitution we worked well with MP’s, academics, trade unionists, stakeholders, civil society organizations in providing a bill for freedom of information,” said Reverend Yabaki.

“We are very hopeful that the environment will get better for NGOs because we have observed regressive regulations in a regulatory environment so we are pleased to see this and of course good governance, transparency and accountability these are hallmarks of a democratic elected government,” PIANGO’s Duituturaga said.

For NGOs themselves, the representation of women in the elections and now in Parliament and also Government is another positive sign.

“We welcome the number of women in parliament. That is a great plus and its a great achievement for Fiji the number of women who stood. The number who actually have been elected and in parliament as ministers but also the fact that we have a female speaker of the house which is a first for Fiji and the Pacific and welcome these people and offer our support where ever we can,” Shammima Ali said.


22) Transparency International commends Fiji for successful election

By Online Editor
4:54 pm GMT+12, 25/09/2014, Fiji

Transparency International Fiji has commended Fiji, following the 2014 General Election, saying that now Fiji must make commitments towards achieving “a visible national culture of accountability”.

In a report issued by the organisation this week, Chairperson of Transparency International Fiji Dr Donasiano Ruru said this was an important step to take post-election.

“Despite perceptions about conditions not being ideal, the people have demonstrated their desire to participate in the election,” Dr Ruru said in the report.

“TI Fiji supports and is committed to the nation’s return to democratic rule.

“The successful national election is an important step in the nation’s return to democracy.”

Dr Ruru said in order for democracy to be sustainable however, accountability and transparency were both paramount.

“We need to make a new commitment to achieving a visible national culture of accountability, in order to build sustainable democracy in our country.

“Transparency International’s Plain Language Guide (2009) defines “accountability” as the concept that individuals, agencies and organisations (public, private and civil society) are held responsible for executing their powers properly. We welcome the choices cast by our citizens on whom they will entrust their welfare and development, as well as authority and resources.



23) Land issues

Nasik Swami
Friday, September 26, 2014

Land and Mineral Resources Minister Mereseini Vuniwaqa will reform procedures to make her ministry’s work more customer friendly.

Mrs Vuniwaqa said to start off, she would first take stock of the processes within her ministry.

“For the Ministry of Lands, it doesn’t only deal with iTaukei lands but Crown land as well.

“I will be very interested, first of all to take stock of the processes within and further this government’s work in reforming procedures and processes to make it more customer friendly and conducive to sustainable development.

“That I think will be the realms of my priority and working with the law that’s already there,” she said.

Mrs Vuniwaqa also said it was unfortunate some people were still not reassured about land because Section 28 of the Constitution guaranteed its protection.Fijitimes


24) Fake trade deals

Saturday, September 27, 2014

CHINA has uncovered $US10billion ($F19.2b) worth of fake trades as part of a nationwide crackdown on companies.

The currency regulator said 15 fraud cases had been handed over to the police for prosecution.

Companies sometimes falsify transactions as a way of getting money in and out of China.

“Fake trade deals can do severe harm to … the overall economy,” said Wu Ruilin, deputy head of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE).

“They not only increase the pressure of hot money inflows, but also provide illegal channels for cross-border capital flows.”

Blame has also been placed on banks operating in China.

“Some banks facilitated the abnormal increase in transit trade financing and fake trade deals by failing to fulfil the responsibility of authenticity checks and offering services of transit trade financing and receipt and payment,” Mr Wu was quoted as saying in Xinhua — the state news agency.

The crackdown started in 13 provinces and cities last year, and has widened to 24 this year.

25) Positive signs for Fiji

Geraldine Panapasa
Saturday, September 27, 2014

THE economic challenge for Fiji’s new leadership will be in maintaining the momentum and commitment to drive growth through increased intra-regional and broader international trade and foreign investment moving forward, says ANZ Pacific and Fiji CEO Vishnu Mohan.

He said Fiji had come a long way in a short time and the signs were evident of a strong economy with vast potential for sustainable growth.

Mr Mohan said the macro-economic outlook in Fiji was bright with four key sources of positive growth momentum through 2014-15.

This included private lending climbing sharply (17 per cent year-on-year in 2013) and supporting private consumption.

“Key drivers were income tax cuts and lump sum payments from the pension fund. Car loans are up 200 per cent year-on-year.

“Business lending is up (20 per cent year-on-year) – broad growth which signals the private sector is buying into a positive election result.

“The government has an aggressive spending goal in 2014 — with capital expenditure up 40 per cent.”

26) Qatar Airline begins Fiji recruitment

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Update: 9:06PM MORE than 200 young people turned up this morning at the Tanoa Plaza for the Qatar Airways recruitment drive.

According to an airline representative, today the interested applicants handed over their curriculum vitae.

Tomorrow, shortlisted candidates will be interviewed before a final decision is made.

The representative said there is no restriction as to how many applicants they will recruit from Fiji.

27) Airline reduces surcharge

Post Courier/Pacnews
Friday, September 26, 2014

PAPUA New Guinea national airline Air Niugini has announced a reduction in fuel surcharge for the domestic and international routes effective from Monday this week.

The airline’s chief executive officer, Simon Foo, said the decrease in fuel surcharge was because of a reduction in fuel prices on the world market as well as the present exchange rate.

He said most domestic ports would see a reduction of about 10 per cent of the fuel surcharge component of airfares.

“This means passengers travelling within PNG destinations can now save about K15 ($F11) per sector,” he said.

28) Axiom Wins Right To Prospect For Nickel In Solomon Islands
Company fends off suit brought by Sumitomo over Isabel deposits

By Ofani Eremae

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Sept. 25, 2014) – The High Court has rejected a bid Japanese mining giant Sumitomo Ltd brought against Australian firm Axiom Ltd, the national government, and some Isabel landowners.

This was over nickel prospecting rights in Isabel Province.

Sumitomo filed the case after the then Minister of Mines and Energy cancelled its preliminary Letter of Intent for nickel prospecting in Isabel Province in 2010 and instead awarded it to Axiom.

It argued the processes Axiom took to obtain its licence and register in Solomon Islands was improper, and wanted the court to review it.

But in his ruling late on Wednesday, Commissioner John Brown said the proceedings Sumitomo brought “have been shown to be an abuse of the court’s process”.

“Sumitomo does not come with a clean hand to justify exercise of the court’s discretion in its favour,” Commission Brown said.

“Its claim to judicial review is therefore refused.”

Commissioner Brown also ruled that Axiom’s lease over the Kolosori land, site of the Isabel nickel prospect, and its prospecting licence over the same area, are valid.

AxiomKB, Axiom’s joint venture company with the landowners, was awarded a Prospecting Licence for the tenement in 2011, and had started exploration activities when they were stopped by an injunction brought on by Sumitomo.

Axiom Mining chief executive officer Ryan Mount yesterday welcomed the ruling.

“The judgement vindicates Axiom’s assertions that we have always acted correctly and with integrity,” Mr Mount said in a statement.

Chair of the Kolosori Trustees Elliot Cortez said: “We are very pleased that we have been able to successfully defend our rights.

“It has been a long, difficult journey for us.”

Sumitomo’s office in Honiara last night said they’ll issue a statement on the ruling, today.

[PIR editor’s note: Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corp. reported that ‘Sumitomo will appeal the High Court’s recent rejection of its claims to nickel prospecting rights in Isabel Province. … Today, Sumitomo says it is conducting a detailed analysis of the decision with a view to commencing an appeal soon.’]

The hearing, which started earlier this year, was scheduled to last eight weeks.

But it went on for almost a year.

Solomon Star

29) Upgrade for fast connection

Ropate Valemei
Thursday, September 25, 2014

A MOBILE telecommunications company says 4G capable iPhones need upgrading to be able to connect to its super-fast 4G network.

Digicel also announced that the much-anticipated iPhone6 would arrive in the country next week.

However, the company says it will only supply iPhones to corporate customers at subsidised prices.

“This further endorses Digicel’s position as the best value operator within the corporate market,” says Digicel Fiji commercial director Andrew Skelton.

“Tthere are two variants of the new iPhone, iPhone 6 and iPhone6 Plus, and Digicel will have both on offer.”

When customers successfully upgrade their 4G capable iPhones to IOS 8.0, the company said, they would be able to surf Digicel’s superfast 4G network.

30) Mohan: Trade value increases to $3b

Geraldine Panapasa
Friday, September 26, 2014

TOTAL trade between Fiji and the world increased to about $US3billion ($F5b) in 2013, an increase from $US1b ($F1.8b) five years ago and more than double a decade ago, says ANZ Pacific and Fiji CEO Vishnu Mohan.

He said Fiji had increasingly tapped Asian supply chains for trade, adding 43.6 per cent of trade last year was with Asia and the Pacific Islands.

This ratio, Mr Mohan said, had climbed from 25 per cent a decade ago.

“Australian trade with Fiji was nearly $US450million ($F854m) in 2013, however it appears this has been a steady state level as over the past 15 years total trade has averaged $US458m ($F870m) between the two countries.

“There has been significant growth in total trade flows between the markets ANZ has a presence in Asia and the Pacific.

“Total trade flows between the Pacific and Asia have risen from $US1.7b ($F3.2b) in 2000 to almost $US10b ($F18b) in 2013.”

He said the signs of economic health in Fiji were robust, adding the election had removed an enduring geopolitical uncertainty — not just domestically but for international investors and governments.

“Investor confidence in Fiji is strong with the potential to be great in the very near future and beyond.

“ANZ’s own confidence in Fiji was clearly demonstrated in the shift of our Pacific headquarter from Melbourne to Suva in 2013,” Mr Mohan said.

31) Fiji holds rates, can remain accommodative for now

By Online Editor
5:00 pm GMT+12, 25/09/2014, Fiji

Fiji’s central bank maintained its benchmark Overnight Policy Rate (OPR) at 0.5 percent, saying the monetary policy stance “can remain accommodative for now to continue supporting growth” given the comfortable outlook for inflation and foreign reserves.

“The Reserve Bank of Fiji Board in its monthly meeting on 25 September agreed to keep the Overnight Policy Rate (OPR) unchanged at 0.5 percent.

The Governor and Chairman of the Board, Mr arry Whiteside while announcing the decision, stated that “the domestic economy is largely on track to achieve the 3.8 percent growth forecast for this year following the 4.6 percent expansion last year.

Consumption and investment spending by businesses and households continues to be firm and supported by strong credit growth, while sectoral performances of sugar and tourism have exceeded expectations”.

Whiteside added that the successful transition to parliamentary democracy following the General Elections will raise business and consumer confidence further over the coming year.

The Chairman however, cautioned that there are a few challenges moving forward. In the external sector, the continuous higher growth in imports relative to exports and the prolonged weakness in the global economy have potential to affect our balance of payments position in the medium term. Domestically, the on-going drought is also a cause for concern.

Nonetheless, currently the twin objectives of monetary policy remain intact.

Inflation was 0.7 percent in August and is forecast to be below 3.0 percent by year-end. Foreign reserves were around $1,741 million on 25 September, sufficient to cover 4.7 months of retained imports of goods and non-factor services and are projected to remain at comfortable levels over the medium term

The Governor concluded that given the comfortable outlook for inflation and foreign reserves, monetary policy can remain accommodative for now to continue supporting growth.


32) Axiom wins long battle to develop Solomons nickel 

By Online Editor
11:33 pm GMT+12, 24/09/2014, Solomon Islands

Tiny Australian prospector Axiom Mining has won a three-year court battle against Japanese giant Sumitomo Metal Mining to exploit a major nickel discovery in the South Pacific’s Solomon Islands left idle for more than half a century.

Axiom says the ruling in the Solomon Islands High Court could lead to the nickel deposit, spanning the islands of San Jorge and Santa Isabel, finally being developed within two years, just as nickel prices soar due to an ore export ban by major supplier Indonesia in January.

“We can now re-commence our exploration of the tenement with our partners,” said Axiom’s Australian managing director Ryan Mount, who moved to the Solomon Islands to be close to the project.

Geologists have been aware of the Isabel deposit since 1957 but little development work has been done because of ownership changes and legal wrangling.

Analysts estimate the discovery compares in size or grade to other large South Pacific nickel mines, such as Vale SA’s Goro mine in New Caledonia and the China-owned Ramu mine in Papua New Guinea.

Axiom, along with the local Kolosori and Bungusule landowner groups, was granted a prospecting licence to explore the Isabel site in 2011, but were blocked by an injunction brought through a civil claim by Sumitomo.

“We have had to endure doubt and uncertainty as Sumitomo tried to cause internal disharmony amongst us,” Elliot Cortez chair of the Kolosori Trustees said. “But now that is in the past and we are looking forward to a bright future.”

But developing the resource-rich veins of scattered South Pacific island nations is often not smooth sailing and has in the past led to civil unrest, a secession movement and environmental crisis. Mines have been left abandoned, leaving the jungle to devour them.

The Solomon Islands, whose main exports are palm oil, copra, timber and fish, has a GDP of about $3,450 per capita, putting it on par with Ghana and Pakistan. It has little history of mining beyond start-and-stop exploitation of the Gold Ridge gold deposit on Guadalcanal Island.

Gold Ridge was worked briefly in 1999-2000 but closed when civil unrest broke out between warring islands, restarting in 2011 only to be suspended again in April by its Australian owner owner St Barbara Ltd

The Republic of Nauru is the South Pacific’s poster child for a mining frenzy gone wrong. After decades of phosphate mining Nauru had the world’s highest GDP per capita, only to go broke once its reserves were mined out, leaving a legacy of squalor and a mostly unemployable workforce.

In New Caledonia local opposition to nickel mining is mounting following a half-dozen environmental incidents at the Goro nickel plant, the latest discharging 100,000 litres of acid-tainted effluent in May.

While the Panguna mine on Papua New Guinea’s Bougainville island, one of the world’s largest sources of copper and gold, has laid idle for a quarter of a century following a secessionist rebellion. Mining giant Rio Tinto has all but abandoned restarting Panguna.

“The difference with Axiom is that they have shown a real commitment to the country, aligning themselves with local landowners and displaying their long-term interest in their welfare,” Tony Parry, a mining analyst with Resource Capital Research in Sydney said.

“I think this went a long way with the court.”

Axiom, with a market value of just A$55 million (US48.82 million), will aim initially to ship unprocessed ore within two years to Chinese buyers to make nickel pig iron.

Sumitomo, on the other hand, had indicated it was interested in a larger, long-term development to produce refined metal.

“There is certainly a market for the nickel ore in China right now and this puts Axiom in a good position to generate cash flow at an early stage,” said Parry.

A Sumitomo spokesman said the court ruling was being studied and the company was not in a position to make a comment.



33) Media Release 

26 September 2014

UN Secretary General’s Climate Summit in New York – A step towards the end of the fossil fuel era and a critical role for Pacific Island States.

The UN Secretary General’s Climate Summit in New York opened with a sensational poem delivered by Marshall Islands writer Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner to the gathered leaders – she challenged them over their collective climate inaction, she told them that all climate impacted communities deserve to thrive not just survive, receiving a standing ovation.

Maria Tiimon-Chi-Fang, from the Pacific Calling Partnership, originally from Kiribati and now resident in Australia, said this morning,

“I am very proud of our Pacific leaders and the young woman from the Marshall Islands, Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner for the challenges that they put to the emitting countries. I am also proud of the spirit of resilience and determination that they showed and their strong commitment to renewable energy.

“I am sad and disappointed that Australia is not taking this issue seriously enough. Ms Bishop’s statement described Australia’s 5% emissions reduction by 2020 as ambitious. 5% reduction is not ambitious. 5% reduction is not in line with what the science is saying Australia needs to do. Australia could be a leader and instead it isn’t even a follower. As the representatives of African states and Small Island States respectively pointed out – existing measures are far from enough.

“I will be holding the Pacific Calling Partnership banner high as I join other supporters of renewable energy outside the office of the Treasure, Mr. Hockey, in North Sydney today.”

At the Summit 122 government leaders gathered to discuss climate change for the first time in five years marking another step towards the end of the fossil fuel era. With more than 700,000 people around the world having taken to the streets over the weekend to call for action not words on climate change, many leaders – including US president Barack Obama – said they could no longer ignore the will of the people’s movement.

More than 70 countries including China and Russia joined 22 states, provinces and cities, and over 1,000 businesses and investors to support carbon pricing. Together, the governments represent 54 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and 52 percent of global GDP.


34) Dry spell concern

Shalveen Chand
Saturday, September 27, 2014

WATER in dams used to supply drinking water to the Central Division could reach critical levels if the drought continues, says the Water Authority of Fiji.

And it is forecast the dry spell could run until January.

The long dry spell has led to the Savura stream flowing at 50 per cent and now it is being topped up by pumping from the Waimanu River to Savura and Tamavua.

WAF chief executive officer Opetaia Ravai said this was managed by operating all four pumps at Waimanu.

“Because of the drought, the water level in Waimanu has reduced and that is a serious danger to the pumps,” Mr Ravai said.

“If the pumps are not fully submerged then its operation could become crippled.

“To ensure smooth hydraulics on the intake, WAF built what is called a coffer dam — sandbags rimming the intake area from the Waimanu that has created a pond which is now deep enough to protect the pumps.”

Water from Waimanu is pumped to Savura where the river is being filled up.

Mr Ravai said a week ago, the Savura river had dried up with nothing but mud. More in4

35) The Guardian(UK/Australia) : ‘France promises $1bn for climate change fund at UN summit’

Pledge comes on a day of impassioned speeches from some 120 world leaders – as well as a cameo from Leonardo DiCaprio

UN climate change summit in New York – live coverage

From activism to arrest: one polar bear’s adventure with Flood Wall Street

Suzanne Goldenberg in New York

Tuesday 23 September 2014

The Guardian

France promised $1bn to a near-empty climate change fund for poor countries on Tuesday and called for the establishment of a new green economy in the first concrete result of a milestone United Nations summit.

The pledge came on a day of impassioned speeches from some 120 presidents and prime ministers – as well as a cameo by the actor and now UN ambassador Leonardo DiCaprio – telling the summit they had wasted precious time and now needed to deal urgently with climate change.

Both China and America, the world’s two biggest emitters, pledged their support for a climate deal, without offering specifics.

Chinese vice-premier Zhang Gaoli said his country’s emissions would peak “as soon as possible”, and pledged $6m to help developing countries fight climate change. Barack Obama, in a stirring address, said America would lead efforts to reach a global compact on climate change. “We are the first generation to feel the impact of climate change and the last to be able to do anything about it,” he told the summit.

David Cameron touted his government’s environmental policies. “As prime minister I pledged to lead the greenest government ever and I believe we have kept that promise,” he said.

But leaders from Africa and the Pacific islands threatened by rising seas said rich countries needed to do more.

“We must get away from the ‘wait and see who is doing what’ style of leadership before deciding what needs to be done,” said Anote Tong, the president of Kiribati, which could be drowned by rising seas.

The summit – the first such gathering of world leaders in five years – was convened to move countries towards an international agreement in Paris to fight climate change by the end of next year.

The French leader, François Hollande, said it would be impossible to reach such a deal without laying the foundations of a new green economy. “We need to define a new economy for the world.” “You can’t fight climate change without development,” he said, pledging $1bn (£600m) to a fund to help poor countries deal with climate change.

The Green Climate Fund was founded in 2010. UN officials and developing-country diplomats have said repeatedly it will not be possible to reach a deal in Paris without a significant fund for the countries which did the least to cause climate change but will bear the brunt of its effects.

Officials had been hoping to raise $10bn to $15bn by the end of the year. The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, made the first significant pledge last July, committing $1bn. South Korea, which hosts the fund, also committed $100m yesterday. But the fund remains well below its goal.

The shortfall matched the plaintive calls from presidents and prime ministers who said the United Nations and world leaders had been talking about the threat of climate change for years – without actually following through on action.

“Why today are we still so passive and so dispersed that we do not have a common strategy for the fight against climate change? Why can we not agree on a pragmatic strategy in the fight against climate change?” Ali Bongo Ondimba, th president of Gabon, told the summit.

The summit did produce other agreements – in addition to cash – but these too were relatively modest.

Some of the world’s biggest palm oil and paper producers committed to stop destructive logging by 2030, and restore a huge area of forest equivalent to the size of India.

Nigel Purvis, the chief executive of the Climate Advisers consultancy which worked to get the deal, said: “This is like if Exxon Mobil and the Koch brothers got together to cut greenhouse gas emissions.”

But Brazil – despite its critical role protecting the Amazon rain forest – said it was left out of the negotiations, and a number of campaign groups did not sign onto the agreement saying it did not go far enough to protect the rights of indigenous people who rely on the forest, or to hold the big forestry companies to account.

“I think that it’s impossible to think that you can have a global forest initiative without Brazil on board. It doesn’t make sense,” Izabella Texeira, the Brazil environment minister, told the Associated Press.

Article ends.

36) Lapita gardens were necessary for survival

By Online Editor
11:16 pm GMT+12, 24/09/2014, Vanuatu

Isotopic analysis of skeletal remains from a cemetery on the tiny island of Uripiv off Vanuatu’s Malakula Island is providing information about the changes in the diet of the Lapita people who lived there over a period of 3,000 years.

“We’ve been able to find burials there almost all the way through the sequence,” Stuart Bedford of Australian National University told ABC Science.

The earliest Lapita settlers survived on wild resources such as fish, shellfish, marine turtles, wild birds, and fruit bats. Later inhabitants transitioned to growing plants such as yam, taro, and banana as the tortoises and birds became extinct.

“There’s a combination of gardens being established and wild resources being impoverished,” Bedford said. Microfossil remains of yam, taro, and banana have been found in the soil and in the plaque on the teeth of the Lapita people.

“There’s no yam or taro or banana naturally in Vanuatu so people had to bring them with them to establish gardens,” he added. To read about how the Lapita people practiced body modification, see ARCHAEOLOGY’S “Ancient Tattoos.” .


37a ) Obama to create world’s largest protected marine reserve in Pacific Ocean

By Online Editor
11:30 pm GMT+12, 24/09/2014, United States

U.S President Obama will use his legal authority Thursday to create the world’s largest fully protected marine reserve in the central Pacific Ocean, demonstrating his increased willingness to advance a conservation agenda without the need for congressional approval.

By broadening the existing Pacific Remote Islands National Marine Monument from almost 87,000 square miles to more than 490,00 square miles, Obama has protected more acres of federal land and sea by executive power than any other president in at least 50 years and makes the area off-limits to commercial fishing.

The proclamation will mean added protections for deep-sea coral reefs and other marine ecosystems that administration officials believe are among “the most vulnerable” to the negative impacts of climate change.

While the new designation is a scaled-back version of an even more ambitious plan the administration had floated in June, it marks the 12th time Obama will have exercised his power under the 1906 Antiquities Act to protect environmental assets. The decision to continue to allow fishing around roughly half the area’s islands and atolls aims to limit any economic impact on the U.S. fishing interests.

The unilateral move comes as the administration has found it nearly impossible to achieve many of its other domestic priorities. Consumed by foreign crises and blocked legislatively at home by congressional Republicans, the president and his aides have worked methodically to pursue their environmental objectives through executive action.

Even as it uses its authority to expand a monument first established by George W. Bush in 2009, the White House is preparing to act under the same law to designate national monuments in Chicago’s historic Pullman district and the San Gabriel mountain range northeast of Los Angeles.

“I hope we’re at a tipping point,” said Kristen Brengel, senior director of policy for the National Parks Conservation Association, noting that many of the bills aimed at creating parks and wilderness areas are stalled on Capitol Hill. “It’s every community’s right to go to the president and say, ‘We just can’t get this passed by Congress, can you step in and help us there?’ ”

White House counselor John D. Podesta made it clear during a dinner last week celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act that Obama was eager to designate additional national monuments before leaving office. Obama still trails many of his predecessors when it comes to using the Antiquities Act: Bill Clinton created 23 national monuments, according to the NPCA, while Franklin D. Roosevelt designated 22.

“And believe me, believe me, his signing pen still has some ink left in it,” Podesta said, drawing applause from activists in the audience.

Rep. Rob Bishop, who chairs the House Natural Resources subcommittee on public lands and environmental regulation, said in an interview that the president has stretched the intent of a law designed to protect archeological treasures and “doing it in a roughshod way, with no appreciation for the people who actually know anything” about the sites in question.

“He is using the Antiquities Act not to save or preserve anything, but as a political weapon before the election,” Bishop said, adding that his committee sought to advance wilderness bills but encountered resistance from Democrats who objected to provisions that allowed motorized vehicles in some areas.

Under the new designation, the administration will expand the fully protected areas from 50 miles offshore from three remote areas — Johnston Atoll, Wake Atoll and Jarvis Island — to 200 miles, the maximum area within the United States’ exclusive economic zone. The existing, 50-mile safeguards around Kingman Reef and Palmyra Atoll, as well as Howland and Baker islands, which are also part of the existing monuments, will not change.

Obama has protected 297 million acres of federal lands and waters through executive action, surpassing George W. Bush, who safeguarded 211 million acres.

While the islands in question are uninhabited, U.S. tuna operators and some officials in Hawaii and American Samoa have opposed the expansion on the grounds that it could make it more difficult to catch tuna and other species at certain times of year. Fish caught in the area around all seven atolls and islands account for up to 4 percent of the annual U.S. tuna catch in the western and central Pacific, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Sean Martin, president of the Hawaii Longline Association who organized a bus to bring in about 100 fishermen to a public meeting on the proposal in Hono­lulu last month, said the operators of 145 boats that fish in the region want “the opportunity to go where the fish are, hopefully.”

And Claire Poumele, director of the American Samoa Port Authority, said she was concerned about the $600 million worth of fish her territory processes each year: “It definitely could have an impact,” Poumele said.

But scientists and conservationists who have lobbied for the bigger monument argue that these vessels can catch tuna outside the protected zone and that it provides shelter not only for 130 underwater mountains that serve as hot spots for biodiversity but for nearly two dozen species of marine mammals, five types of threatened sea turtles, and a variety of sharks and other predatory fish species.

“If you put aside the emotion and put aside the rhetoric on both sides, less than 3 percent of the Pacific is in under effective protection,” University of Hawaii professor Robert H. Richmond said.

Marine Conservation Institute chief scientist Elliott Norse, who has been conducting underwater research since 1969, said “the seas have been emptied,” adding the point of the Antiquities Act is “about having places in our realm where we don’t kill off the wildlife.”

Matt Rand, who leads the Pew Charitable Trust’s Global Ocean Legacy project, said that because more than half-a-dozen other nations are considering creating new protected areas in the Pacific, “This could be the wave that ultimately propels these marine reserves to become reality.” Taken together with the U.S. announcement, these areas could encompass more than 2.3 million square miles of sea.



37b) Aussie boys beat Fiji U18

Rashneel Kumar
Saturday, September 27, 2014

THE Vodafone Fiji Schoolboys was humbled 15-50 by Australia in its opening Tri Nations Series match in Wellington, New Zealand last night.

The Elemaca Ravulo-coached side was down 10-24 at the break in the match held at the Levin Domain Stadium.

The national side will face New Zealand on September 30 and NZ Barbarians on October 4 in their remaining matches.


Australia – 1. Vunipola Fifita, 2. Ed Craig, 3. Shambeckler Vui, 4. Reece Hewat, 5. Andrew Vatuvei, 6. Maumau Monu, 7. Connor Moroney, 8. Harley Fox, 9. Nicholas Duffy, 10. Connor O’Shea, 11. Joey Fittock, 12. Sione Tuipulotu, 13. Izaia Perese, 14. Ah-Mu Tuimaleali’ifano, 15. Jordan Fulivai

Reserves – 16. Phil Bradford, 17. Evan Pritchard, 18. Gavin Luka, 19. Tom Blake, 20. Hugh Summerhayes, 21. Harrison Goddard, 22. Jordan Jackson-Hope, 23. Sepesa Lola-Tarogi

Fiji – 1. Samuela Onoono Tawake, 2. Sitiveni Kubu, 3. Onisimo Sina, 4. Jone Seuvou, 5. Aisea Volavola, 6. Seveci Naisilisili, 7. Josefa Rauga, 8. Epeneri Uluiviti, 9. Waisea Daroko, 10. Sela Toga, 11. Waisea Niumataiwalu, 12, Simon Lilicama, 13. Manasa Mataele, 14. Edward Sawailau, 15. Onisimo Dakaikuro

Reserves: 16. Eroni Mawi, 17. Vuniani Mokalou, 18. Epeli Matiavi, 19. Kitione Kamikamica, 20. Alipate Orisi, 21. Jimione Raiwalui, 22. Filipe Qoro, 23. Marika Kubu

38) Souths beat Roosters to make NRL decider

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Update: 3:15PM South Sydney coach Michael Maguire placed the champagne on ice after watching his Rabbitohs end the Sydney Roosters’ NRL title defence to power into their first grand final in 43 years on Friday night.

Finals bunnies no more, the Rabbitohs will take on either Penrith or Canterbury in Sunday week’s premiership decider after recovering from an early 12-point deficit to post a commanding 32-22 victory at ANZ Stadium.

The thumping win – after holding the premiers try-less for 71 minutes – softened the painful memories of bitter preliminary finals losses to Canterbury and Manly in 2012 and 2013 and left the league’s most successful club just 80 minutes away from a record 21st title.

“The last few years were tough, but we’ve got a different group and we’re very tight and it showed tonight,” said jubilant Souths captain John Sutton.

But while urging long-suffering fans to enjoy their first grand final week in more than four decades, Maguire said his players needed no reminding to hold off celebrating just yet.

“For us as players and staff, it’s easy to keep a lid on it because we haven’t achieved yet,” Maguire said.

Souths’ stirring win denied their century-old rivals a shot at becoming the first team since Brisbane in 1992-93 to secure back-to-back titles in a united competition.

It also ended the stellar NRL careers of the Roosters’ record-setting captain Anthony Minichiello and code-hopping superstar Sonny Bill Williams.

But the victory earned veteran winger Lote Tuqiri and rugby-bound forward enforcers Sam Burgess and Ben Te’o a dream opportunity to farewell the code in the ultimate fashion.

After being stripped of two titles for Melbourne’s salary-cap rorting, Greg Inglis is also eight days away from earning his “first” premiership ring after the champion fullback’s second-half double clinched victory in front of 52,592 fans.

Thirteen years after their re-entry to the competition following a lengthy and emotional court battle with the league, Souths will be hot favourites against the Panthers or Bulldogs to end their long title drought.

But they may have to chase grand final glory without Issac Luke after the livewire hooker was placed on report for a first-half dangerous tackle on Williams.

The New Zealand Test star has 55 carry-over points from his last appearance at the judiciary and will be sweating on the match review panel charge sheet on Monday.

“I don’t normally make comment, but I don’t think there was too much in it,” Maguire said.

Like Rabbits caught in the headlights, Souths presented more like road kill than premiership favourites in a spectacular opening to the match.

Roosters halfback Mitchell Pearce left Inglis and back-rower Kyle Turner clutching at air with some brilliant footwork for the premiers’ opening try in the fifth minute.

Surpassing Luke Ricketson as the Roosters’ most-capped player, Minichiello opened his 302nd appearance for the club with an eighth-minute leap above Inglis three minutes later to have the tri-colours flying.

But there will be no fairytale record seventh grand final for the 34-year-old former world player of the year after the Rabbitohs dominated the remainder of the match.

Souths’ oldest player, 35-year-old Lote Tuqiri, and youngest, 19-year-old first-season flyer Alex Johnston sparked the revival with classic wingers tries to have the final locked up at 12-all at halftime.

It was one-way traffic after the break as back-rower Ben Te’o, making an inspired comeback from a month-long suspension, and Inglis put the Roosters to the sword with tries in the 44th, 52nd and 65th minutes.

Aidan Guerra and Minichiello crossed for four-pointers in the final two minutes but they were little more than consolation efforts from the fallen premiers.

39) Having teams from Oceania at Asian Games could damage rowing and rugby development, warn top officials 

By Online Editor
6:19 pm GMT+12, 25/09/2014, Korea, Republic of

Having Oceanic rugby and rowing teams at the Asian Games could suffocate the sports development in the continent, leading officials from those two sports have warned.

Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) President Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah had earlier this week opened the door to countries from Oceania to one day competing in the Games, a proposal which has been widely greeted with enthusiasm in that region, particularly Australia.

But Trevor Gregory and Ken Lee, the President and secretary general of the Asian Rugby Football Union (ARFU) and the Asian Rowing Federation respectively, have both admitted that they fear countries will be unable to compete, having widespread and damaging repercussions for their sports.

Australia is one of four Oceania nations ranked among the in the HSBC Sevens World Series Rankings, along with New Zealand, Fiji and and Samoa.

The top ranked Asian side is Japan down in 16th position.

Gregory, who is also head of the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union, welcomed the improved standard of competition.

But he admitted that he feared Asian sides would be outclassed which could ultimately affect their funding, including in Hong Kong.

Winning a medal at the Asian Games is one of the two criteria needed for continued support by the Hong Kong Sports Institute (HKSI), and, since rugby sevens became an elite sport last April, there are now close to 50 athletes who are part of the elite programme.

“Bringing in Oceania will mean less chance of Hong Kong winning a medal, then what will happen to our status at the HKSI?” Gregory told the South China Morning Post.

“It is one thing to win a medal against the rest of Asia, and another against sides like New Zealand and Fiji.

“It will be great to play against these top sides, but then the HKRFU would have to talk to the people at the [HKSI] and say these changes will have an impact on the criteria for elite status as far as rugby sevens is concerned.”

He added that the issue is due to be discussed at the next ARFU meeting in November.

Lee, meanwhile, has also warned that the admission of Oceania countries could stifle his sport’s development.

At last month’s World Rowing Championships in Amsterdam, New Zealand topped the overall medals table with a total of nine medals, including six gold, while Australia finished third with eight medals, two of them gold.

The only Asian country to win a medal in Amsterdam was China, who claimed a silver and five bronze.

“We need breathing time because Asian countries are going to need a lot more time to develop their rowing,” said Lee, a South Korean.

“New Zealand in these [past] two years is at the top of world in rowing and that would make a major impact in Asia, and in the short term [it] may well have a negative impact to discourage a number of the smaller countries from competing or developing further in rowing.

“In the longer term, of course, good competition will improve standards, but we need to be very careful [about] how that transition is managed.”

It has already been confirmed that the 17 countries that make up the Oceania National Olympic Committees (ONOC) are due to take part in the 2017 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.

A special signing ceremony will take place between Sheikh Ahmad and his ONOC counterpart Robin Mitchell during the Association of National Olympic Committees General Assembly in November.

Dennis Miller, Executive Director of ONOC, told ABC Radio today they would wait and see how preparations for the Indoor and Martial Arts Games go before making a specific commitment to taking part in future events organised by the OCA, including the Asian Beach Games and the Asian Winter Games.

But he admit there was a “growing friendship and relationship” between the two organisations.

He also spoke about the potential for training exchanges and further collaboration, highlighting a Court of Arbitration for Sport Seminar held for Asian and Oceanian NOCs in Kuwait earlier this year as one postive example of this growing interaction.

The move would also boost Asian countries, he added, because the presence of Australia and New Zealand would provide potential host cities, at a time in which Asia has struggled to find willing hosts for its many of its events, Miller claimed..


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