Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1030 ( Monday 6 October 2014 )


1) Fiji safe from aftershocks of Vanuatu quake

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Update: 11:57AM A 5.0 magnitude earthquake was recorded 376 kilometres north north-west of Port Vila in Vanuatu earlier today.

The earthquake was recorded at a depth of 10 kilometres and was 1318.6 kilometres west north-west of Suva.

In a statement, the Mineral Resources Department said there was no felt report from Vanuatu observatory and there was no threat to the region.

2) DEEP SEA MINERALS POLICY: Draft and Consultation

Olgeta –
Wan anaonsmen (sori, i stap long English nomo):

The Government of the Republic of Vanuatu through the Council of Ministers has appointed a National Offshore Minerals Committee to oversee the drafting of a National Offshore Minerals Policy for the country. The First Draft of the Deep Sea Minerals Policy has now been completed and can be read and downloaded from the Ministry of Land website here.

The Government recognises that the decisions we make and the actions we take in performing our regulatory roles and other activities will affect our communities, our environment and other organisations in this regard.

While Deep Sea Mining is a new frontier in the mining industry and a potential game changer to our economy, our vision is for our stakeholders and citizens to have a high level engagement in scrutinizing the Deep Sea Minerals Policy draft before its finalization. A prerequisite consideration is whether indeed Vanuatu wants to proceed down the seabed mineral exploitation pathway at this time.

The launch of national consultations on the Deep Sea Minerals Policy will commence with a first Conference to be held from the 7th to the 9th of October 2014 at the Chiefs Nakamal in Port Vila. Invitees include all political parties represented in Parliament, the Malvatumauri National Council of Chiefs (whose participation has been funded), the VCC, the VNCW and the National Youth Council, other NGO’s, the private sector (through the Chamber of Commerce), and overseas experts.

Interested members of the public are also invited to attend the Conference.

Following the Conference, further consultations will be undertaken in the Provinces and with different stakeholder groups.

Ta, Vanuatu Minister For Lands – Ralph Regenvanu

3) Vanuatu daily news digest | 6 October 2014

by bobmakin

  • On the Chamber of Commerce page in Daily Post today, the Business Column, the Chamber makes clear why entrepreneur David Russet has been so critical of government in reports in the media very recently. The Asian Development Bank (ADB), along with the Australian and NZ Governments in this region, recently funded a study concerning the performance of not only our State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs), but those of nine other Small Island States. Lots of SOEs were studied in Vanuatu but only two in this country have completed their audits for 2013. Well done Air Vanuatu and the National Bank. No Brownie points for the others. Whilst this does not mean Messrs Russet, Bayer, Kernot and Faivre, or nominees, could turn Air Van, the Housing Corp, VBTC, the Asset Management Unit, VCMB, Vanuatu Post, AVL, the Agriculture Bank and others around at a stroke, the Chamber report does indicate a need for robust legal and regulatory frameworks for these outfits which simply must appoint professionals to their boards. And these, in turn, must give clear, transparent and accountable mandates to properly qualified and professional managements. The well-written Chamber page points out where political interference gets in the way: “Political will is needed only to ensure that SOEs function the way they are intended to. Politicians are ill-suited to own commercial companies.” Indeed they are, as their period of responsibility is never more than 4 years. Buy today’s Daily Post for this report on a hugely important study, if you buy it for nothing else.
  • But also buy Daily Post for news of the amazing “fair trade” project of market ‘mamas’ at the magnificent ACTIV association handicraft centre at the Stella Maresubdivision just beyond Second Lagoon. The very best of handicrafts are on display in beautiful surroundings for residents and visitors alike who can buy items of quality and know the majority of what they pay goes to the artist. Micro-projects really can work for their owners. ACTIV Handicraft Centre is open during normal business hours.
  • There is also news of an ACP countries’ Pacific Coconut Facility to be initially housed at Santo (and have VT 2.5 billion spent on it) in Daily Post today. It is enthusiastically backed by the Minister for Agriculture, David Tosul, although there is not a lot of information for the general Vanuatu public about how it will work.
  • The general public of Port Vila will, however, appreciate a Port Vila Municipality clean-up competition involving the youth of the various town wards. Not only will it give an often seemingly aimless sub-culture something to do, it might even give them some cash to do it with.
  • Happy Constitution Day.

4) Vanuatu daily news digest | 4 October 2014

by bobmakin

  • In an extraordinary manifestation of oddball reporting today both Saturday papers come out with the same page one news lacking any kind of byline and repeating the same thing at great length. It is a rant allegedly by David Russet to insist that he and Messrs Bayer, Kernot and Faivre and their nominations be board members of State-Owned Enterprises. The following are listed – the Reserve Bank, Provident Fund, Investment Promotion Authority and Vanuatu Agriculture Development Bank. Russet, Bayer, Kernot and Faivre “would definitely help these statutory bodies to make better, informed and effective professional decisions,” if the government would appoint them, Russet says. Should the whine of the deputy chairman of the Chamber of Commerce not have appeared on the Letters pages? Is the Chamber itself not able to produce its own position paper in this matter? At least we now know what David Russet thinks of government’s so-called inaction to work with the private sector.
  • Daily Post today also headlines the government getting around 48 – 49 percent of the revenue of the shipping registry in New York, Vanuatu Maritime Services Limited (VMSL).VMSL licenses foreign ships to fly the Vanuatu flag and gets 51% of the revenue.Daily Post carries the earnings figures for the last ten years on its front page. This news is in relation to Prime Minister Natuman suggesting in New York that management of the registry needs to be improved and more ni-Vanuatu employed to work on flagged ships.
  • The environmental concerns over dust, noise and water from the Entreprise Pierre Brunet concrete mixing plant at Switi, Tagabe, continue. Concerns were first raised by the Lands Minister in 2007 following complaints from residents. Factory management insists the factory’s operations have been mis-interpreted. The Environment Department’s Albert Williams says the best solutions are being negotiated.
  • The Luganville Mayor supports the nickel smelting project for the Cape de Queiros on his island.
  • The Acting Public Prosecutor’s contract finishes this week and the courts apparently have a backlog of criminal cases to be adjudicated. A “source” pointed out to The Independent that European funds had been successfully negotiated for a successor to the acting Public Prosecutor, but it seems no action has yet resulted.
  • From more than 1,000 applicants to join the Vanuatu constabulary, 32 succeeded and passed their tests. Thirteen of the new recruits are women, the highest number to date on a single appointment. Training has been greatly assisted by the Defence Cooperation Programme between Australia and Vanuatu.
  • Following a National Day flag raising on December 1, the conference of the West Papuan liberation movements’ leaders will start on December 4, says The Independent. It will end on that day says Daily Post, which I am more inclined to believe. Well, at least the papers are now back to not saying exactly the same thing.


5) Politics affecting businesses in Tonga

6 October 2014

The Tongan Chamber of Commerce says it is hoping to be the bridge between government and businesses in the country.

The new President of the Chamber, John Paul Chapman says the political situation in the country has limited the Chambers activities and caused some of its larger members to lose faith in its functions.

Mr Chapman who will be taking up the President’s role this month says his vision is for a chamber that bridges the gap between the government and the private sector.

“Tonga is going through a politically challenging time at the moment so that has affected the way Chamber has been able to operate. I am sure that we just need more engagement from members and we really need to be that forum to of how to get members to conduct business with government and get government to see that way that business member groups are thinking at the moment.”

John Paul Chapman of the Tongan Chamber of Commerce.RNZI

6) Tonga gets new machine to fight cancer

6 October 2014

The Tongan Breast Cancer Society says the long held dream of gaining a mammogram machine is about to come true.

A spokesperson for the society, Leta Kami, says October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the new cancer screening tool will be in use when the Mammography Unit opens at Vaiola Hospital this week.

She says the service now means women will not have to endure the financial and emotional costs of leaving the country and being separated from their families to have their breasts screened.

“This has been a dream with the Tongan Breast Cancer Society, seven years old. I remember from the meeting five years ago when we were talking about a mammogram machine, and some of our members knew of assistance that we can get. And so we are really, really happy that finally this has come true.”

Leta Kami says the Breast Cancer Society has worked with the Ministry of Health and other donors to bring the new service to Tonga.RNZI

7) 11 years for social media sex case in Samoa

6 October 2014
In Samoa, a 27 year old man has been jailed for eleven years after he was found guilty of nine charges including rape, indecent assault, and filming his unlawful sexual acts.

There is concern in Samoa at the increase in cases involving the new crime of filming and uploading to social media cases of sexual assault.

The police said the defendant threatened the 19 year old woman that he would show the world what had happened to her if she told anyone.

Four months after the offences the woman was told by her fellow students they had seen naked images of her on Facebook.RNZI

Number Of Mormons Surpasses Catholics In Tonga
At 18%, Tonga is the world’s ‘most Mormon country’

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Oct. 2, 2014) – There are now more Mormons in Tonga than Catholics, making Mormonism (LDS church) the second largest Christian denomination in the Kingdom after Methodism. Tonga is also the world’s “most Mormon country”, having a higher proportion of Mormons per capita than any other nation.

The Catholic Church has traditionally been the second largest Christian denomination in Tonga. However according to the most recent statistics from the Tonga Department of Statistics, in 2011 there were 18,554 Mormons (18%) compared to 15,441 Catholics (15%). These numbers are a significant shift from the 1996 census when there were only 13,225 Mormons (14%) compared to 15,309 Catholics (16%).

Vava’u has the largest concentration of Mormons (18.5%) whilst Niuafo’ou and Niuatoputapu have the lowest (only 4% or 59 people). The village with the largest Mormon concentration was the village of Matahau in Tongatapu with 400 of its 628 residents identifying as Mormon. The LDS church is also predominant among the Tongan diaspora in the United States.

The island of Niuatoputapu has the largest Catholic concentration with more than half (52%) of its 523 inhabitants identifying as Catholic. Niuatoputapu is the only island in Tonga where Methodists are not the majority.

However, Methodism remains the predominant Christian denomination in Tonga with 56,351 of Tongans (54%) identified as Methodist, the Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga (FWC) having the most adherents (35.5% or 36,592 people). The Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga has been in recession since 1986 when it once boasted 40,371 followers. The number of Seventh Day Adventists in Tonga has also stagnated from 2,381 followers in 1996 to 2,331 followers in 2011.

The fastest growing denominations in Tonga are the Pentecostal and Gospel churches. The largest Pentecostal church in Tonga is the Assemblies of God, which has more than doubled in followers from 1,082 in 1996 to 2,602 followers in 2011.

Matangi Tonga Magazine

8) Cook Islands Secondary School Students Missing Too Many Classes
Athletic, cultural, church activities hurt exam prep: Principal

By Matariki Wilson

RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, Oct. 2, 2014) – There are concerns at the national college over the large number of students absent from school due to Manea Games commitments and families taking advantage of cheap airfares.

Cultural and church activities are also contributing to large numbers of absent students.

While the Tereora College senior management team understand that sometimes events are not easy to organise and that parents want to involve their children in a range of valuable life experiences – this time of year is the most critical for students as they prepare for end of year assessments and exams.

“Many of those going away are at risk of failing their NCEA qualification or potentially missing out on a merit or excellence endorsement,” says Tereora College principal Bali Haque.

“This qualification is vital. Success or failure impacts directly on long term tertiary and job prospects.”

Tereora College senior management believe that almost all of the students they are concerned about feel torn between meeting their obligations at school and the obligations placed on them by the adults who organise activities which clash with school terms.

“We understand that sometimes events are not easy to organise and their timing is dictated by external authorities. Parents, families and other organisations, of course, want to provide children with a range of valuable experiences.”

However Haque says the result is that this term, an eight week term, intended by teachers to be a time for critically important preparations for NCEA examinations , school based assessments and catch up activities, is shaping up to be a mess .

“Too many classes are missing far too many students.”

Teachers try hard to make up for lost time by running holiday catch up programmes and tutorials, but even these are increasingly difficult to run simply because many of the students are still away.

Educators are continuously told that NCEA comes first by sports bodies including the Cook Islands Sports and National Olympic Committee (CISNOC) and other community groups and parents.

“But we are appalled by the way that in reality, too often, our students are forced to choose between their academic progress, and participation in (worthy) sporting, cultural or other out of school activities. The schools are closed for 12 weeks a year. Please can we leave school terms for school work?”

Cook Islands News


9) Nauru still teeters on brink of bankruptcy

6 October 2014

Nauru’s government will have to wait another week before it has any chance of accessing the money in its frozen bank accounts.

On Friday, the government won a court case against the US-based funds management company Firebird, which last week had the country’s bank accounts frozen pending a garnishing order.

Nauru challenged the freeze at the Supreme Court in New South Wales, saying that as a sovereign nation it was immune from the orders to freeze the accounts.

Justice Peter Young agreed, and gave Firebird a week to appeal the decision before the freeze would be lifted.

Aid money from both Australia and New Zealand is included in the frozen accounts.

Nauru’s finance minister David Adeang says that without access to the money, government services including the hospital, electricity supply and services for Australia’s asylum seeker detention centre will be unable to operate.

Mr Adeang says he is meeting with lawyers to try and determine how the government can access its money.RNZI

10) 23 species in CNMI and Guam at risk

 3 October 2014
More than 20 species of plant and animal in the Northern Marianas and Guam could shortly be added to the endangered list.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to list 23 species as either endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

Public Information Officer Ken Foote says endemic species on the CNMI and Guam face a lot of threats, some of which are unique to the area.

“One of the primary threats is habit loss and degradation due to urbanisation and development. Big one is competition with non-native plants and animals, predation by non-native animals, climate change of course and the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms to prevent the introduction and spread of non-native plants and animals. There’s also another threat of live ordnance from military training.”

There will be a community consulation period over the next 6 weeks to seek new information that will assist in making a final determination within a year.

11) $2million ‘cyber theft’

Radio Nz
Saturday, October 04, 2014

THE police in Kiribati have launched an investigation into the theft of more than $US1.1million ($F2.108m) through what the government is calling cyber crime.

The Minister of Commerce Pinto Katia has told parliament that the missing money has been stolen and there was nothing they could do to avoid such theft as it involved highly sophisticated skills.

The Kiribati Independent reports that the money relates to the wiring of money to an overseas account in order to purchase a landing craft for the Line and Phoenix islands.

Earlier the government claimed the money was wired to their supplier in the Philippines but they were informed that the money has been transferred to the wrong account.

Butaritari MP Alexander Teabo urged the government to tighten controls to ensure contributions for projects were safe.

Mr Teabo says in his view the theft indicated a lack of competence, care and responsibility.

Taiwan contributed $1.5million in January for the project.


12) Jubilee Australia: Withdrawal Of Bougainville Report ‘Unlikely’
NGO’s chairman to investigate complaints from President, landowners

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Oct. 2, 2014) – An Australian NGO says it is unlikely a controversial report on public opinion surrounding the reopening of a copper mine in Bougainville will be withdrawn.

Jubilee Australia’s researchers interviewed 65 people from villages near the Rio Tinto-owned Panguna copper mine and found overwhelming opposition to the reopening of the mine.

The report, titled Voices of Bougainville, also found universal dissatisfaction with the consultation process led by the autonomous Bougainville government (ABG).

It prompted anger from landowner leaders from mine-affected areas, who have joined Bougainville’s president in demanding the withdrawal of the “divisive and misleading” report.

Jubilee’s chairman Luke Fletcher said every complaint, including the request that the report be withdrawn, will be assessed on its merits.

“It is a request that we take very seriously,” he said.

“If we find that the report is so flawed that it merits being withdrawn then we will take that action.

“I would say it is very unlikely and I would say that for this particular reason is that… all the questions that are being raised about the report are questions we had with ourselves and very deeply before we released it.”

The Panguna mine on Bougainville closed in 1989 when environmental damage and compensation sparked a civil war.

Bougainville’s president John Momis said Jubilee Australia’s Voices of Bougainville report was not helping restore peace in his country.

Theresa Jaintong, chair of the Siokatei Association on Bougainville, said landowner leaders have been heavily involved with consultations on the mine, and their views should have been taken into account.

But Mr Fletcher said the decision to exclude the associations from the survey was deliberate.

“We had the sense that if we were in any way associated with the current landowner associations of ABG, that may make it difficult to feel comfortable in talking to us, so it was a deliberate strategy to try and come in as independent and not be perceived and to be part of any particular agenda.

“As it turned out, it is really important that we did do that, because even though we only spoke to a small number of people, the feelings of the small number of people suggest to us that they wouldn’t have spoken to us if we were allied with these groups.”

The Panguna mine was Papua New Guinea’s major source of revenue when the country became independent in 1975.

Severe environmental damage and a lack of benefits to local people sparked unrest, which forced the mine’s closure in 1989 and contributed to a decade-long civil war that left more than 10,000 people dead.

The mine is considered a crucial part of Bougainville’s referendum on independence, to be held in the next five years.

Radio Australia 


13) PNG Suprim Kot disisin long paua blong polis komisina long warrant blong arest

Postim 3 October 2014, 12:42 AEST
Sam Seke

Suprim kot blong Papua New Guinea i nau mekim klia long ol paua blong Polis Komisina aninit long mama loa long sait long arrant blong arestim praim minista.
Odio: Wesley Manuai, niusman blong ABC long Port Moresby i toktok
Suprim kot blong Papua New Guinea i givim aut disisin olsem polis komisina i nonap stopim warant long arestim praim minista.
Tasol ol 5 pela judge long kot i painim olsem polis komisina i ken stopim ol polis ofisa long ol i noken karim aut warrant blong arrest long praim minista.
Kot i mekim dispela disisin long keis we i lukluk long sapos polis komisina i gat paua long stopim warrant blong arrestim praim minista.
Dispela kei i kamap bihain long dispela warrant blong arrest long praim minista Peter O’Neill long sait long korapsen bihain long ol tokwin olsem em ibin oraitim gavman long peim 71 milion kina long Paraka Lawyers kampani.
Mr O’Neill ibin salensim dispela arrest warrant long kot na Nasenal Kot ibin givim disisin olsem dispela warrant blong arest i orait long loa.
Niupela polis komisina we praim minista i makim, i no laik karim aut dispela arest warant na em nau keis i go long Suprim Kot gen na kot i givim disisin longen aste.
Long odio blong dispela stori, niusman blong ABC long Port Moresby i toktok tu long ol threat na demand blong Manus Provincial Executive long provins i mas kisim trutru benefit long em i hostim dispela Alysum Seeker Detention Centre blong Australia long Manus Island.


14) Brèves d’Australie et du Pacifique – vendredi 3 octobre 2014

Mis à jour 3 October 2014, 17:09 AEST
Caroline Lafargue

Le gouvernement devrait autoriser aujourd’hui la participation de l’armée australienne à des frappes aériennes en Irak.

Jusqu’à présent les avions australiens fournissaient un support logistique à la coalition. Cette fois-ci les Australiens bombarderaient eux-mêmes les positions de l’État islamique, sous commandement américain.

  • Papouasie occidentale: des employés de la mine de Grasberg entament leur troisième jour de grève. Ils bloquent depuis mercredi l’accès à la mine, exploitée par la filiale de l’américain Freeport. En jeu : la multiplication des accidents dans la mine. Quatre mineurs ont été tués samedi dernier dans une collision routière sur des routes de la mine à ciel ouvert. 35 mineurs sont morts en 2013 à Grasberg dans divers accidents. Les mineurs réclament des normes de sécurité plus strictes.
  • Îles Salomon: les propriétaires coutumiers de la mine de Gold Ridge vont recevoir leurs dernières royalties dans les prochains jours. 1.2 million de dollars pour 16 tribus, versés par Santa Barbara, via le ministère salomonais des finances. Il s’agit vraisemblablement des dernières royalties, car la compagnie minière australienne a décidé de cesser l’exploitation de l’or à Gold Ridge en avril, en raison des dégâts causés par les inondations, mais aussi, a précisé la direction de la compagnie, en raison des problèmes de sécurité autour de la mine. Un problème qui n’existe pas, selon le gouvernement salomonais. Quoi qu’il en soit, Santa Barbara a rapatrié tout son personnel. Et le gouvernement salomonais pourrait reprendre la mine.
  • Tonga: 8000 personnes sont touchées par la sécheresse dans le groupe des îles Ha’apai. Depuis début septembre, les réserves d’eau potables sont remplies à 20% seulement. La Croix Rouge néo-zélandaise a envoyé deux unités de désalinisation et un technicien pour montrer aux habitants comment les utiliser. Chaque unité peut produire 2000 litres d’eau potable par jour.
  • Hawaï: un malade a été mis à l’isolement dans un hôpital d’Honolulu, car il pourrait être infecté par le virus Ebola.Une mesure de précaution plus qu’un danger réel, précise la direction du Centre Médical de la Reine. Le premier cas d’Ébola a été diagnostiqué aux États-Unis il y a cinq jours, dans le Texas.


15) Trained health workers needed in PNG

3 October 2014

Researchers say there are not enough trained health workers in Papua New Guinea to deal with the rapidly growing problem of non-communicable diseases.

Staff at the University of Auckland’s School of Population Health presented findings from projects they have been involved with in PNG.

Professor Chris Bullen has done research around how SMS text messages could help health workers in PNG manage the treatment of malaria, and hopes to look at how this might help with treatment of NCDs.

But he says health staff are currently overwhelmed and under-resourced to deal with non-communicable diseases like heart disease and diabetes.

“But it’s happening in an accelerated fashion, on top of already a heavy burden of communicable diseases like malaria tuberculosis, etc. So they’ve really got their hands full. But there’s been very little focus on the non-communicable diseases because most of their expertise has been dealing with the traditional infectious diseases.”

Professor Bullen says the good work that’s already being done with communicable diseases, needs to be incorporated with NCDs as well.


16) Free Education in Fiji Pre-Schools To Start Next Year
Pre-schools must be fully accredited to qualify: Minister

By Vuniwaqa Bola-Bari

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Oct. 3, 2014) – Free education at pre-school level will begin in the second term of school next year.

However, not all schools are expected to qualify for the free education scheme.

According to Minister for Education Dr Mahendra Reddy says the scheme will be available at recognised and accredited pre-school.

Addressing school principals at the Fiji Principals Association conference at Studio 6 in Suva yesterday, Dr Reddy said his ministry has other initiatives lined up that are awaiting cabinets approval.

“All these are geared towards dealing with improving quality of education, reducing administrative work by teachers, improving teachers contact hours, improving classroom teaching and many more which will be announced later,” he said.

Dr Reddy said all these initiatives will ensure that Fiji’s education system is highly dynamic, vibrant, responsive and relevant to meet the increasing aspirations of our people.



17) Solomon Islands voters list completed
By Online Editor
11:15 pm GMT+12, 02/10/2014, Solomon Islands

The Solomon Islands Electoral Commission says it will officially receive its completed voter’s registration list on Monday.

The Commission’s media unit has confirmed that the country’s first biometric voters list was completed today.

The new system was introduced to try to eliminate multiple registrations and ghost voting as seen in previous elections.

The Electoral Commission is yet to announce an election date and open nominations for the polls, which are tipped for mid November or early December.

10 political parties are finalising their registration under the Political Parties Integrity Act, which was adopted to curb political instability by strengthening party politics.


18) Tension on New Caledonia’s Lifou

3 October 2014

There is tension on the New Caledonian island of Lifou over the way the son of a local chief was arrested and sent to prison on the main island.

Last week, the chief was expected to hand over his son to the police to serve a one-year prison term.

However, he was reportedly seen in the township by four military men flown in from Noumea, who threw him to the ground and took him away.

The chief has now asked the territory’s police commander to remove the policeman in charge of the station in We on Lifou by Friday midnight or locals will occupy the police station starting from Monday.’s-lifou

19) French PM to visit New Caledonia

6 October

The French prime minister, Manuel Valls, says he will visit New Caledonia next year as the territory is in its last phase of the decolonisation process outlined by the 1998 Noumea Accord.

Mr Valls made the announcement in Paris where he hosted New Caledonian leaders for the annual review of the Accord which provides for a referendum by 2018 on possible independence from France.

Although Mr Valls said the talks were fruitful, they were marked by the sudden departure of a leading anti-independence delegate, Pierre Frogier, who is unhappy with the ruling Socialists’ stance on the process.

The talks were boycotted by the main pro-independence party, the Caledonian Union, which objects to the way the French authorities have managed the electoral rolls of those who will be eligible to vote in the referendum.

The French President, Francois Hollande, is due to visit Noumea next month.RNZI

20) First sitting of parliament in Fiji today

6 October 2014

Fiji’s new parliament is to hold its inaugural session today, its first meeting since the coup of 2006.

The 50 MPs are to be sworn in in the refurbished parliamentary chamber, part of the complex of government buildings in central Suva.

There will be heightened security in the area with Fiji Police putting in place measures to restrict movement in and around the complex.

The ceremony will be streamed live on two websites.

The Minister for Communications, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, says the internet relay will set new levels of transparency.

He says it will also keep MPs accountable, as standards of behaviour in the chamber are bound to be kept high if elected representatives know they are being watched.RNZI

21) Sayed-Khaiyum resumes role as Attorney-General

Monday, October 06, 2014

Update: 10:13AM A LAST minute change in Cabinet before the swearing in of the new Parliament sees Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum resuming his role as the Attorney-General.

A government statement issued this morning stated Mr Sayed Khaiyum sheds the role of Minister for Industry and Trade and Minister for Tourism, which will be taken up by Faiyaz Koya who was appointed as the Attorney-General after election.

The switches in the portfolio will see Mr Sayed-Khaiyum taking up the AG and Minister for Finance portfolio.

Prime Minister Rear Admiral (Ret) Voreqe Bainimarama said in the statement that the change had been made because of the heavy workload of Mr Sayed-Khaiyum’s other portfolio of Minister for Finance.

“There are two of the most important ministries in Government, they need specialist attention and a full-time minister,” he said.

“Faiyaz Koya will take charge of the Governments vital export effort – a key objective of the current Parliament term and also has a solid background in tourism as a former board member of Tourism Fiji and the Fiji Hotel Licensing Board.”

22) New democracy to open opportunities: PM

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Update: 12:23PM FIJI’S new democracy is bound to open up new avenues and opportunities and we must seize them, says the Prime Minister, Rear Admiral (Ret) Voreqe Bainimarama.

“So we intend, as a Government, to redouble our efforts to streamline our economy, improve its performance, attract new investment and create the jobs on which the prosperity of many of our people depends,” he said while opening the 2015 Budget Forum in Suva yesterday.

The forum was held in the lead up to the 2015 Budget announcement, which is likely to be in November as usual.

23) Australia to appoint new high commissioner soon

By Online Editor
10:02 pm GMT+12, 02/10/2014, Fiji

Australia will soon appoint a permanent High Commissioner to Fiji.

The appointment is an indication of improved diplomatic relations between Fiji and Australia.

Acting Australian High Commissioner to Fiji, Glenn Miles confirming the name proposed for ambassador designate.

“Margaret Towmey, she was put forward to the Fiji Government, she wasn’t rejected. They just said now is not time and we’ve now moved forward and we expect all that happen hopefully fairly soon,” said Acting Australian High Commissioner, Glenn Miles.

Miles says Australia has been impressed with Fiji’s successful return to democracy and looks forward to future collaboration.

“Two days ago, Fiji government advertised for the High Commissioner for Australia and New Zealand in the dailies. So we will continue in those discussions. We expect we will have a high commissioner in place soon.”.


24) Fiji Parliament receives state-of-the-art equipment

By Online Editor
11:17 pm GMT+12, 02/10/2014, Fiji

Fiji’s members of parliament and secretariat staff will get to use some of the latest technology, making it one of the most modern parliaments in the region, when the new Fijian Parliament opens next Monday after a lapse of over eight years.

ICT equipment worth over US$893,000 (FJD$1.6m), was handed over today by Osnat Lubrani, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative to Viniana Namosimalua, Secretary General to the Fijian Parliament.

Equipment included a delegate conferencing system that will enable the Members of Parliament (MPs) to vote electronically, portable delegate conferencing system to enhance the effectiveness of the work of the various Committees in engaging with citizens during public consultation process, the latest Hansard recording software and hardware that will ensure accurate record of the proceedings in Parliament, iPads to access documents related to a day sitting and other parliamentary papers online, desktops and laptops for Parliament Secretariat staff.

Expressing her appreciation for the support to the Fijian Parliament,Namosimalua said “I’m certain the Parliamentarians and staff, will put to good use the technology to effectively fulfil their functions and roles.”

“Through our Parliament project, UNDP is delighted to have been able to play a role in providing assistance to the reestablishment of the Parliament of Fiji,” said  Lubrani when presenting the equipment.

She added the support would not have been made possible without the generous funding from European Union, and Governments of New Zealand, Japan and Australia.

Also at the handover were Mark Ramsden, Acting Head of Mission, New Zealand High Commission; Ambassador Andrew Jacobs, Delegation of the European Union for the Pacific; Takuji Hanatani, Embassy of Japan, and Karinda D’aloisio, Deputy High Commissioner, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australian High Commission.

Since January 2014, UNDP has been working to provide support to Parliament of Fiji in a number of areas: undertake an assessment of the needs of the new Parliament building and outlining the steps that need to be taken to make the building ready for the first sitting of Parliament,the provision of technical assistance for the development of revised Parliament Standing Orders and laws relevant to the functioning of Parliament; the development of training programme and provision of training for parliament secretariat staff and MPs.

UNDP’s commitment to working with the Fijian Parliament is long-term with the aim of providing ongoing and continuing support as the new Parliament undertakes the important work of legislative, oversight and representation functions.


25) Silence no more

Timoci Vula And Shalveen Chand
Saturday, October 04, 2014

A RETIRED teacher who made headlines in the past two days over allegations that he was arrested and assaulted has finally broken his silence.

In a signed statement sent to this newspaper yesterday, Josefa Bilitaki, 60, related last Friday night’s visit by a group of officers at his Qauia home in Lami, and the events leading up to his hospitalisation at the CWM Hospital in Suva.

In his letter, Mr Bilitaki also confirmed the Commissioner of Police Ben Groenewald visited him at the hospital on October 1 and assured him of police protection.

On September 26, Mr Bilitaki said he awoke about 10pm when a policeman told him that some officers were outside to take him to the “station” over text messages he allegedly sent out earlier that day. He said he could not recall what he did or said and regrets his actions.

He claimed there were four officers, and he claimed the police officer who accompanied them told one of his daughters they were military intelligence officers.

“I got dressed and they brought me to a place I do not recall as I was very frightened. There were four trucks (twin cabs). They parked and asked me to come out. They ordered me to board another vehicle where I was told to get into the back seat,” Mr Bilitaki claimed in the letter.

He claimed he was later assaulted.

He said the officers then took him to Totogo Police Station where he was locked up in a cell.

He claimed police officers were concerned about his condition.

Mr Bilitaki claimed on Saturday afternoon, he was feeling weak and requested to be taken to the hospital where medical officers took his blood pressure and ECG, and administered medical treatment for five hours before he was admitted to the Paying Ward.

He claimed he was never interviewed by police nor had been asked to give a statement.

However, Mr Bilitaki said: “He (Mr Groenewald) assured me that the police will do everything in their powers to protect my life and asked me to get better and not to worry about anything. Another senior officer was with him, witnessed by my two daughters – Dominika and Vasemaca Bilitaki.”

When contacted, Mr Groenewald said all comments regarding this matter would be made after the investigation has concluded and a report submitted to the Defence Minister.

Section 17(c) of the Public Order Act allows a member of the RFMF to perform all or any of the duties and functions of a prisons officer or police officer at the request of or with the concurrence of the Commissioner of Police.


26) Authority promotes PNG’s fishing industry in Africa

The National, Friday 03rd of October, 2014

National Fisheries Authority officials attended a conference in Africa last month to observe tuna trade, management, conservation and marketing relations among African, European and American nations.
The authority promoted Papua New Guinea’s seafood and fisheries products at the event held in Abidjan, from Sept 25-26.
5Bexim chief executive Jacques Brulhet said for many years such conference never emerged in Africa.
He said such tuna related meetings only emerged in Bangkok and Europe but this was a massive move the government of Abidjan, Ivory Coast, to host the event.
The conference addressed specific issues on illegal fishing, fisheries management issues, the role of tuna development and new opportunities in Africa.
NFA’s participation involved provincial support and industry development executive manager Welete Wararu presenting on the domestic market demand in Papua New Guinea and the Pacific.
She highlighted that the demand is significantly high and boosted tuna investments in PNG.
Parties to Nauru Agreement commercial manager Maurice Brownjohn also presented licensing and National Resources Management in the exclusive economic zone.

27) ADB talks of Fiji’s challenges
By Online Editor
11:19 pm GMT+12, 02/10/2014, Fiji

Fiji faces similar challenges as other Pacific island countries with limited public sector capacity and frequent changes in key staff, says the Asian Development Bank.

In its country profile of Fiji, the bank said the extent of its operations in Fiji fell below the levels of early ADB assistance.

It said Fiji was benefiting from technical assistance as maintaining an understanding of the present situation in key sectors had become challenging.

“ADB’s technical assistance is focused on government priorities to engender strong country ownership and counterpart support. “Where possible, consultants work with more than one counterpart to maximise the sustainable transfer of skills and knowledge.”

The bank said the lack of strong government-led development partner co-ordination was another challenge in Fiji.

It said traditional partners, including Australia, the European Union, Japan, and New Zealand, continued to provide assistance to Fiji, focusing largely on social welfare and human development.

“During the ADB sector assessment mission to Fiji in June 2013, the government noted that its priorities lay in infrastructure development-particularly in the transport, urban water supply and sanitation, and renewable energy sectors-and development of the non-sugar agriculture sector, including fisheries,” it said.

“Assistance by ADB under a future country partnership strategy will need to take into account increased rural poverty, the decline of key sectors (sugar and garment manufacturing), the vulnerability of the tourism industry, and government budgetary risks.”.


28) Cost of fruits and veg to skyrocket

Atasa Moceituba
Saturday, October 04, 2014

PRICES of fruits and vegetables around the country are expected to increase.

Ministry of Agriculture permanent secretary Ropate Ligairi says it is because of the current weather condition that the country is experiencing.

In an interview, he said people should expect price increase and be prepared to pay more.

“The Ministry of Agriculture is concentrating and trying its best to regenerate and increase vegetable production on markets and supermarkets.

“We are working with farmers and other stakeholders on how to solve this issue so that everybody is happy and satisfied with what is provided,” Mr Ligairi said..

He said they had been receiving complaints from people on the high prices of vegetables.


29) Women boost in Vanuatu police force

6 October 2014
A record number of women make up the latest batch of new police recruits in Vanuatu.

13 of the 32 new members of the country’s police force are women, the largest number to pass out in one go in Vanuatu.

The Acting Commissioner of Police Aru Maralau congratulated the recruits who have undergone their first five months of training at the Vanuatu Police Training College in Port Vila.

He stressed the importance of performing their duties ethically and professionally to provide peace and security for the people of Vanuatu.

He also thanked the Australian Government for funding the recruit course through the Vanuatu Australia Police Project.

For the first time, all recruits participated in driver training and are now all licensed to drive.RNZI

30) State lawyers ‘lack resources’

The National, Friday 03rd of October, 2014

THE Solicitor-General and State Solicitor can provide competitive legal services to the State and save millions of kina if adequately resourced, according to the Investigation Task Force Sweep.
Task Force chairman Sam Koim said that in the findings of an investigation into payments of court judgment debts and legal fees.
The Task Force was directed by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill in May to conduct an investigation into the allegations of fraudulent payments of legal fees and court orders by the Department of Finance.
“The benefits of equipping the two offices would far outweigh the cost thereof,” Koim said.
“The manner in which the legal services are delivered to the State is deficient in multiple ways, including structural, legislative and capability issues.
“Apart from the Solicitor-General, the office and role of State Solicitor is not clearly established by law, hence the ambiguity can potentially create confusion with the role of the Attorney-General.
“There is a need for the State Solicitor’s Office to be crafted into the Attorney-General Act with express provisions for appointment, functions and reporting.
“That includes defining the State Solicitor’s role in light of the Attorney-General’s powers under section 8(4) of the Attorney-General Act.”
Upon the Attorney-General’s instructions, the Solicitor-General and his/her team of lawyers have the primary responsibility of advocating for and on behalf of the State, particularly in civil claims/suits that are made by and against the State.
“Although most of the State legal services are provided by the Solicitor-General and State Solicitor, on occasions, however, the Department of Justice and Attorney-General relies on private sector law firms and lawyers, appointed as legal agents, to assist with the delivery of legal services,” Koim said. “Legal agents provide legal services upon a brief out from the Attorney-General.
“The Solicitor-General’s Office in particular used to be seriously under-resourced and does not have its office branches in many centres of the country.
“This has resulted in high rate of court judgments entered against the State and consequently millions of kina were paid out to claimants and litigants.”

31) Task Force notes rise in money laundering

The National, Friday 03rd of October, 2014

LAWYERS’ trust accounts are being increasingly used for money laundering as their professional ethics decline, according to Investigation Task Force Sweep.
Task Force chairman Sam Koim said that in the findings of an investigation into payments of court judgement debts and legal fees.
“Law firms trust accounts are increasingly becoming instruments of money laundering,” Koim said.
“Lawyer’s trust account, which was conceived as the beacon of unblemished lawyering integrity, is becoming the vehicle of squalid criminality.
“The ease with which law firms trust accounts are being used to launder proceeds of crime demands tougher measures to subject their activities to enhanced scrutiny.
“Solicitor/client professional privilege and confidentiality must not prevent the need to subject lawyers to the reporting requirements.
“ITFS has noted a decline in the established traditions and canons of professional ethics of lawyering in this country.”

32) Investigation team uncovers bogus legal fee claims

The National, Friday 03rd of October, 2014

THE great majority of legal bills submitted directly to the Department of Finance are bogus, according to Investigation Task Force Sweep.
Task Force chairman Sam Koim said bills submitted directly to the department avoided judicious vetting by the Solicitor-General.
“The State was left guessing the particulars of its obligations to pay,” Koim said in his findings into payments of court judgment debts and legal fees.
“Block billing obscures the amount of time spent on each particular task, precluding State from determining whether the time billed was reasonable.
“Individualised, separate billing entries add transparency to legal bills and enable the State to avoid payment for improperly billed tasks.”
Koim said according to section 62(2) of the Lawyers Act 1986 and Order 22 rule 49 of the National Court Rules 1983, all legal bills should contain particulars such as the work done by the lawyer, his/her servants and agents; the disbursements made; and the costs claimed for the work done, among others.
“Despite the expressed provisions of the law, private lawyers and law firms submitted and received payments on bills that were not particularised. To further isolate the bills from being scrutinised, the bills were submitted directly to the Department of Finance instead of through the Office of the Solicitor-General,” he said.
“Department of Finance does not have the legal mandate and capacity to vet legal bills.”

33) Bribe puts cop in trouble

The National, Friday 03rd of October, 2014

A POLICEMAN in Morobe, who had received a K100 bribe to release a rape suspect, was suspended for 21 days by his superior last Friday.
John Bernard, a police constable attached with the Bulolo police, was suspended after he allegedly released the detainee from his holding cell after receiving the money from the suspect’s relatives between 2-3pm on Sept 4.
Bulolo police station commander Insp Leo Kaikas yesterday said Bernard, from Manus, was on duty when the rape suspect went missing from his cell.
“I asked him (Bernard) where the suspect was and he said he did not know,” Kaikas said.
“I sent my men out to look for the suspect and they caught him at the Bulolo Market,” Kaikas said.
“The suspect told us that he had given K100 to Bernard to release him,” he said.
“The officer had lied to me,” Kaikas said.
Kaikas said administrative action was already taken against the accused and he was criminally investigated.
“He will be charged with aiding a prisoner to escape from police custody,” Kaikas said.
“This carries a serious penalty including complete dismissal from the force,” he said.
Kaikas said the rape suspect in from Menyamya and had allegedly committed the offence a few weeks back at the New Camp Compound in Bulolo.
Kaikas had last week instructed the Wau police station commander to suspend two other officers who had allegedly aided seven criminals including a robbery suspect to escape.
The two officers are being criminally investigated.
Kaikas said any officers getting bribes to release prisoners will be dealt with under police administrative procedures and the criminal law.

34) Fraud warning

Shalveen Chand
Saturday, October 04, 2014

THE High Court in Suva has warned those defrauding taxpayers they would be given jail terms.

Justice Salesi Temo sounded the warning when sentencing businessman Manoj Khera to four years in jail for obtaining money by false pretences and money laundering.

Khera was convicted on July 30 for filling four VAT return forms with false information and collecting $44,611.22 through four different cheques in 2004.

Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority investigated his claims after discovering the anomalies and charges were laid. Justice Temo said this was a deliberate fraud against FRCA.

“I got the impression from him that the system was there to be exploited,” said Justice Temo, adding that the jail term was to reflect the public’s disgust and outrage at the offence.

Khera will be eligible for parole after serving three years.


35) Green climate fund may boost Pacific projects

3 October 2014

A green climate fund of up to US$100 billion per year has been pledged to developing nations for climate response projects as a result of the 2009 negotiations in Copenhagen.

Our correspondent in Majuro says environment specialists from around the Pacific region are meeting in the Marshall Islands to address issues such as climate funding, disaster preparedness and alternative energy.

Giff Johnson says the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environmental Program will have a role in translating the pledged money into action but Pacific nations need clear climate priorities.

“So Pacific Islands that want to access the funding also need to do their part. They’ve got to have their national plans set up. Because frankly there’s just a higher standard of requirement for donor funding these days.”

36) Committed to the Conservation of Biodiversity and Sustainable Land Use

By Online Editor
11:20 pm GMT+12, 02/10/2014, Kiribati

A one-day workshop was held in Tarawa, Kiribati on the setting up of the Resilient Islands Resilient Communities (RIReC) project.

The workshop was attended by more than 20 people from a wide range of sectors. The aim of the RIReC project is to apply an integrated approach to land use planning and biodiversity conservation in urban areas and outer Islands of Kiribati.

The workshop was inaugurated by the Deputy Secretary of the Ministry of Environment, Lands and Agriculture Development (MELAD), Teue Baikarawa. Baikarawa emphasized the importance of the partnership between the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and MELAD.“The benefits to Kiribati will be significant”, she said. “The project will be able to assist the communities in the areas of integrated land management and biodiversity protection.”

Participants listened to presentations made by representatives from the Division of Land, Agriculture, Fisheries, Environment, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP)  and the New Zealand High Commission.

The RIReC project requires consultation with local community/outer islands to identify areas where people are open to establishing and supporting protected areas. One of the objectives of these protected areas is to ensure that land remains liveable and ecosystems sustainable.

The RIReC project is under the regional umbrella programme called “Ridge to Reef”, which helps collaboration between countries to  better understand the links between salt and freshwater ecosystems.

Dialogue groups at the workshop discussed site selection, ongoing activities, timeline and the coordination of the project. Through these discussions possible project sites and establishment of a network of stakeholders were identified and prioritized.

Participants at the workshop identified the following two urban sites and a list of priority sites in the outer Islands.

•Urban sites: Tarawa and Kirimati.
•Outer Islands: Abaiang, Abemama, Butaitari, Makin, Nonouti, all from the Gilberts.
About the Project:
Resilient Islands Resilient Communities (RIReC) project is a Global Environment Facility (GEF) funded project, which is part of the regional Ridge to Reef (R2R) program. The Environment and Conservation Division (ECD) of Ministry of Environment, Land and Agriculture Development (MELAD) is the lead Government Institution for development and implementation of the project. FAO is the GEF implementing agency for the Project and responsible for providing support to the GOK in the development, implementation, and management of the project. The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) is a partner in the process of project document preparation. The total size of the GEF financing for the project is USD 4.72 million and the project is expected to leverage additional USD 12 million in co-financing.

The overall aim of the project is to demonstrate an integrated approach to land use planning and biodiversity conservation in urban areas and outer Islands of Kiribati.

For further information, please contact:

• Taouea Reiher, Acting Director, ECD, MELAD, Tarawa, Kiribati. E-mail: [email protected] , Telephone: (+686) 28425

• Ganesh Bhattarai, FAO GEF Programme, Apia, Samoa. E-mail: [email protected]  , Telephone: (+685) 221 27 Ext.17


37) Pacific Tsunami Warning Center Devolves Alert Power To Countries
Hawai‘i-based center to advise and inform local forecasters

By Repeka Nasiko

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Oct. 3, 2014) – The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre (PTWC) will play more of an advisory role as regional countries prepare to take ownership of their tsunami warning systems.

Confirming the change that came into effect on October 1, UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission program officer Rajendra Prasad said the move would allow more regional countries including Fiji to make more informed forecasts.

“For the past 40 years or so, we would receive our tsunami warnings from PTWC and we would make forecasts based on that warning,” Mr Prasad said.

“With this new initiative, the PTWC will now take on a more secondary role and they will provide advice instead of the actual warning that we have been receiving from them.

“Our local forecasters will be able to have more freedom and independence to do their own forecasts and issue more informed warnings according to their localised information, which would be more accurate.”

The PTWC will now provide enhanced tsunami products placing countries under various threat levels based on forecast of tsunami amplitude or wave heights.

Fiji Times Online.


38) Unforgettable farewell for Sam as Burgess boys take the spoils

DateOctober 5, 2014 – 11:39PM

Adrian Proszenko

Chief Rugby League Reporter

Rabbitohs break 43-year premiership drought

South Sydney complete a comprehensive 30-6 victory over the Canterbury Bulldogs in the 2014 NRL Grand Final.

John Sattler only had to play 77 minutes of a grand final with a broken jaw.

Forty-four years after Sattler courageously battled through the pain to deliver South Sydney glory, a modern-day Rabbitoh wrote himself into rugby league folklore.

A fitting farewell: Sam Burgess saved his best until last. Photo: Getty Images

Sam Burgess had to carry his suspected broken cheekbone for the entirety. Had Burgess gone off when he sustained the injury, his last game of rugby league would have been a short one indeed. Instead it was memorable for all the right reasons after Burgess was awarded the Clive Churchill medal. No one has been more deserving.


“It feels like I cracked my eyeball in the first half,” Burgess said.

“I just played on adrenaline and my teammates got me through it. I’m pretty sure I’m going to be sore tomorrow but I’d do it all over again. It’s a feeling that you can’t replicate. I’m just very lucky to be in this position.”

Click for more photos

2014 NRL Grand Final

George Burgess scores for the Rabbitohs during the 2014 NRL Grand Final. Photo: Brendan Esposito

The Bath-bound forward had the privilege of taking the first hit-up of the game. Predictably, the first man to meet him was his great friend and English teammate James Graham. Everyone braced for a damaging collision but no one could have predicted this. Heads collided and Burgess came off much the worse. The Dewsbury product reeled out of the tackle and was immediately attended to by the trainer. The early prognosis was a fractured cheekbone. It should have ended his night, his season and potentially his NRL career. Instead, with Sattler and mum Julie watching on from the stands, Burgess played on.

And how.

In one of the bravest performances in the history of the game, Burgess produced a blinder. He was asked by commentator Brad Fittler how the injury was. Whatever he said, with mouthguard inserted into a busted mouth, was indecipherable. Although most observers reckon it resembled ‘It’s f—ed, it’s gone”. By that time he had made 13 runs — the most of any player — for 113 metres, along with 18 tackles. And that was just before half-time.

He finished with almost 200 metres, 30 tackles, three offloads. And very nearly a sideline conversion to top it off.

This would have been a supreme performance if produced by a fit man. Rather than steer clear of Graham, it was as if Burgess made a conscious attempt to find him. When the Bulldogs dropped the ball in the third minute, it was Burgess forcing the error. Midway through the opening half, the 25-year-old came agonisingly close to scoring after charging towards the tryline. He got the next best result when he earned a penalty.

At one point opposing prop Tim Browne appeared to try to take advantage of Burgess’ misfortune when throwing his head forcefully towards him when a scrum was being packed. It was only fitting that a crowd of 83,833 — the biggest since ANZ Stadium was reconfigured — was on hand to witness the heroics. This after Rooster Shaun Kenny-Dowall played the majority of last year’s decider with a fractured jaw.

Even now, 44 years after it happened, Sattler’s deeds are still revered. Only this year, a book was released and became an immediate bestseller. One can only hope to secure the rights to this tale. The Englishman who came to Australia, shed his playboy image to become not only a player of substance but the best on ground when Souths broke their premiership drought. It was made the more special because he rode every moment of the journey with his three brothers. And then, after breaking his cheekbone, celebrated a premiership while playing alongside two of them. There are further chapters to be written as he embarks on his next adventure in the 15-man code.

And, if there wasn’t already enough Hollywood in this story, Burgess paid tribute to co-owner Russell Crowe.

“Russell, good on you buddy, what a man,” Burgess said. “My mum is the greatest mum in the world .. it’s been a cracking year.”

While Burgess is irreplaceable, the three brothers tasked with filling the void are from good stock. George was the outstanding player in the opening quarter but he too suffered a head knock. Seemingly knocked senseless, he was duly taken from the field as required under the new concussion laws. He returned shortly afterwards and continued to make an impression on the game and the defence. The try he scored after steamrolling hapless Bulldogs defenders is as good as any scored by a forward in a grand final.

Tom Burgess also was involved in a controversial moment when he was placed on report for a shoulder charge. And to think their opponents on Sunday are considered ‘The Family Club’.

Burgess wasn’t the only Bunny to be taken out by Graham’s head. Underrated prop David Tyrrell was also floored after being involved in a head clash with the Canterbury co-captain. However, Tyrrell didn’t get up. The former winger, now playing in Souths’ famed pack, had to be taken off late in the match via medicab and may not recall much of the most memorable night of his life.

Read more:

Or go to for pictures/pix/photos.

29) Flying Fijians aiming to foot it with the best

6 October 2014
Fiji rugby coach John McKee says next month’s European Tour is an opportunity to prove they can compete with the best teams in the world.

The Flying Fijians will play test matches against France, Wales and the United States in November to start a massive 12 month period, that includes Rugby World Cup pool games against hosts England and fellow heavyweights Wales and Australia.

John McKee says it’s important they perform well against the top teams when given the chance.

“One of my goals around coaching the Fijian team is that we go to these games against tier one [teams] as equal competitiors. We know we’ve got a lot of work to do to achieve that but certainly I believe we’ve got the talent pool of players … that’s very, very achievable. Results count and the better placed you are in the world rankings and the better results you have against tier one nations you get better games so if we’re performing well over time we will get a good calendar of games to play and hopefully we get to see Australia or New Zealand up in Fiji before too long”.RNZI

30) Australian rugby league legends to run coaching clinics in Fiji

Rashneel Kumar
Saturday, October 04, 2014

RUGBY league legends Brad Fittler and Andrew Johns will arrive on Monday for their annual “Footy for Fiji” tour.

The tour supported by InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa is a four-day coaching clinic starting on Tuesday at the resort in Natadola.

This is their third consecutive visit to Fiji.

Over previous years, the tour raised over $20,000 for local schools and distributed over $10,000 worth of National Rugby League clothing and equipment to schools and local communities.

Last year, six different schools and local communities benefited from their visit.

The tour will feature rugby league coaching clinics at local schools and nines competition to be held at Lawaqa Park on October 10.

The duo will also award two major rugby league scholarships that will be handed to the two most promising players.

“The resort has supported the “Footy for Fiji” tour for three years and it’s exciting to watch the NRL greats unveil rugby talent in our local communities,” David Pearson, the director of conference and events, said in a statement.

“InterContinental Fiji is honoured to be involved in this initiative, which will inspire our up and coming stars to keep chasing the dream.”

The main event will be the Footy for Fiji Fundraiser on October 9 at InterContinental Fiji, a rare opportunity to meet legends of rugby league at a night that will include entertainment, guest speakers, and auctions with great prizes.

31) Pacific pride on the line in Oceania Sevens

By Online Editor
6:07 pm GMT+12, 02/10/2014, Australia

Four core teams will fine tune their preparations for the start of the HSBC Sevens World Series 2014/15 next weekend by competing in the Oceania Sevens Championship, which kicks off on Friday in Noosa on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast and forms part of the popular Noosa International Sevens

Fans from around the world will be able to watch the action as all the matches over the course of the two days are being streamed live. Full Oceania Sevens tournament details and the streaming schedule can be viewed at

The 12-team men’s competition features such heavyweights as New Zealand – who are making their first appearance at the event, Australia, Fiji and Samoa. At the conclusion of the pool stages the top two teams in each pool and the next two best-performing teams across the three pools will progress to the quarter-finals.

As well as being the perfect launch pad for the HSBC Sevens World Series, the Oceania Sevens doubles as a qualifying tournament – with the top performing non-core men’s team qualifying for the Hong Kong and Wellington tournaments. The second-best non-core side will also go through to Hong Kong. In 2015 the Oceania Sevens takes on added significance as an Olympic Games qualifying event for Rio 2016.

NZ top seeds

New Zealand are top seeds, reflecting their position as the current HSBC Sevens World Series champions. The Oceania Sevens debutants are in Pool A with ever-improving American Samoa, Papua New Guinea and Niue.

Fiji, third in the last Sevens World Series, will be favourites to top Pool B, which includes the Cook Islands, Solomon Islands and Tahiti.

This year has already been a busy one for the Cooks. They played in the Series qualifier in Hong Kong and the Commonwealth Games Sevens in Glasgow. In Noosa the team is coached by former New Zealand Sevens players Chad Tuoro and Hayden Reid, who are both very excited about the weekend’s prospects.

“It’s been a great year for our programme so far with our highest ever finish at the Commonwealth Games, but this tournament is vital to continue our progress for 2015 with a place at the Wellington and Hong Kong tournaments up for grabs,” stated Tuoro.

Reid added: “Many of our experienced players are unavailable due to work commitments so the average age of the team has gone down from 28 to 23. Having so many young players brings a lot of enthusiasm and energy to the team which is great. It’s our job as coaches to help them use this in the right way and at the right times.”

Tahiti plan surprise

Like the Cooks, Tahiti are not in Noosa just to make up the numbers. Tahiti is one of the emerging nations when it comes to Sevens, and captain Jean Tautu believes they can surprise a few people. “We have just had our first training run at the venue and it is good to acclimatise. We are looking forward to another run tomorrow before the tournament starts on Friday.

“I think we can surprise a few teams in our pool; we can do something, I trust my team. We are a young, inexperienced side but we have every confidence in our ability.”

Hosts Australia find themselves in a very competitive Pool C with reigning Oceania Sevens champions Samoa, Tonga and New Caledonia. Mick O’Connor is back at the helm for the tournament – with new coach Geraint John assuming a watching brief –  and knows his side has a mighty challenge ahead of it.

“We are running a team with a core of experience but at the same time there are several fringe players we want to have a look at ahead of the World Series, to see if they are ready to step up. Plus it is an opportunity to bring back some boys who have had injuries such as Allan Fa’alava’au,” O’Connor said.

“The standard of teams here this weekend is very high. I have been coming to the Oceania Sevens for many years but there is an added dimension this year with it leading into this year’s Sevens World Series on the Gold Coast.

“New Zealand being here, for example, is a first. That said we need tough games as we prepare for the start of the season and we will certainly have that with Tonga and Samoa in our pool on the first day.”

Fiji women aim to go one better

Seven teams will compete in the women’s Oceania Sevens tournament, including IRB Women’s Sevens World Series core teams Australia, New Zealand and newly-promoted Fiji, who won the Series qualifier in Hong Kong last month.

The Pacific Island side caused the upset of the Oceania Sevens last year by beating world champions New Zealand in the semi-finals, and will be looking to go one better this year after losing to Australia 22-5 in the final. It is anticipated that the women’s title will be a fight between these three teams.

Each of the women’s teams will play each other once within a single pool, with the top two teams progressing to the final. New Zealand coach Sean Horan has a young team in Noosa sprinkled with some of his established leadership group, as they build towards the first Women’s Sevens World Series event in Dubai in December.

“This is a great start to the season for us in Noosa, some of the girls will then play in an invitational event in the Central Coast in New South Wales in October then we have a women’s series in November at home,” Horan said.

“It is a challenging format this year in Noosa – we play everyone in the pool stage. It is harder to focus and build for particular matches as you have to keep an eye on everyone.The two big two matches, of course, will be Australia and Fiji who, in particular, have had the recent benefit of a World Series qualifying tournament. But I see no reason why we can’t be successful here this weekend.”

Australia’s challenge has suffered a blow with IRB Women’s Sevens Player of the Year 2014 Emilee Cherry ruled out of the Oceania Sevens with a thigh injury, but her withdrawal has seen Rachel Crothers elevated from the Aussie Pearls side which will take part in the Noosa International Sevens.

There are still plenty of key players in the side, including captain Sharni Williams, Women’s Rugby World Cup 2014 captain Shannon Parry and Charlotte Caslick, while Australia’s Youth Olympic Games gold medallist Brooke Anderson is also included. Her co-captain from that historic Youth Olympic Games success Tiana Penitani will add experience to the Aussie Pearls side as she aims to secure a return to the senior squad, having miss the entire 2013-14 Series through injury.

“This will be great preparation for Dubai and is a competition we will be taking very seriously. It will be an opportunity for us to put into practice everything we have been doing in training during our first ever full pre-season as a squad,”  insisted coach Tim Walsh.


32) PNG cricketers hoping to build momentum from breakthrough win

3 October 2014
The Papua New Guinea cricketers are hoping a breakthrough victory last weekend can spur them on to bigger things in the remainder of the South Australian Premier League.

The Barramundi’s finally tasted success at the fourth attempt in Darwin on Sunday, beating the Southern Force by three wickets in a 50-over clash.

The team has since arrived in Adelaide to begin their T20 campaign against an Outback Country XI and Dipak Patel says it was nice to finally finish on the right side of the ledger.

“We’d been threatening for a number of games prior to the win on the Sunday so it was nice to put a performance together in the little areas that we’ve been really working hard on, and try and get some processes in place, and get some more structure into our game, whether it be batting, bowling or fielding. Look, we’re making good progress – albeit our results don’t quite show it – but last Sunday was very encouraging, certainly from my perspective”.

After the T20s PNG will also play a series of two-day matches and next month will play their first full ODI against Hong Kong.RNZI


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