Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1031 ( Thursday 9 October 2014 )
1) West Papua independence activists accuse Indonesia of using students as spies
Updated 8 October 2014, 0:55 AEST
By Hamish Fitzsimmons
West Papuan independence activists and their supporters in Australia have accused Jakarta of using students to spy on them.
Lateline has been told postgraduate students are providing information to Indonesian intelligence about Australian citizens and has obtained photos that are claimed to be of some of the student spies.
The pictures were taken in June when the self-proclaimed Federal Republic of West Papua (FRWP) opened an office in Melbourne, as the West Papuan community and its supporters celebrated what they saw as a landmark in their long-running campaign for independence from Indonesia.
The celebrations were interrupted when three men, who had never been seen at any independence movement events, were seen recording the proceedings on smartphones.
The “foreign minister” of the FRWP, Jacob Rumbiak, confronted one of the men and was told they were there to gather information for the Indonesian government.
I think that the photos they took were sent to the Indonesian government by intelligence.
Jacob Rumbiak of the Federal Republic of West Papua.
“He’s explained that he’s studying a PHD at a Melbourne university and that also he works in the (Indonesian) department of foreign affairs. So he works in the government of Indonesia,” Mr Rumbiak said.
He said the man explained he would be reporting back to Indonesian authorities.
“Another two also came and they took photos of this office. I think that the photos they took were sent to the Indonesian government by intelligence,” Mr Rumbiak said.
The ABC has indentified and contacted one of the three Indonesian men who attended the opening of the office and asked for his version of events, but he has not responded.
The man is a post-graduate economics student at a university in Melbourne, and his Facebook page lists his employer as the Indonesian finance ministry.
The Indonesian embassy rejects the claims.
“The Indonesian Government does not assign its students studying in Australia, or anywhere, to collect/gather information from any sources,” the embassy said in a statement.
“The possibility of Indonesian students’ presence at open-to-public events, including Papua-related ones, might relate to their studies or personal interests.”
Melbourne-based independence movement hacked and harassed
The West Papuan independence movement is strongest in Melbourne.
They said aside from low-level harassment, their office website has also been hacked twice. They claim they were able to trace the IP addresses of the computers threatening the website to addresses in Jakarta and Melbourne.
“We are faced with Jakarta. I do believe that’s them and we also have a monitoring system so we can know from which county and the address,” Mr Rumbiak said.
It’s well known amongst the activist community that this does go on. It seems overt and not very subtle.
Reverend Peter Woods
The Indonesian Embassy in Canberra denied the attack originated from its foreign affairs offices.
“We can confirm that the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is not involved in that website hacking incident, as the ministry does not have a policy nor intentions to hack other institutions.”
Anglican minister Peter Woods, who has long campaigned for an independent West Papua, said incidents like this are becoming more frequent and blatant.
“It seems to be very blatant. It’s well known amongst the activist community that this does go on,” he said.
“It seems overt and not very subtle.”
Australian security services aware of student spies: academic
At a talk Reverend Woods gave in Melbourne last month describing his most recent trip to West Papua, he asked two men of Javanese and Timorese origin to leave before he started as he believed they were there as informants.
“I was about to speak and we noticed that there were two non-Papuans there and we spoke to them and realised that they were agents doing surveillance. We asked them not to be there,” he said.
Lateline has spoken to several academics who all believe it is not uncommon for Indonesian post-graduate students to also provide intelligence to their country’s consulates or embassy.
“A number of students have been found to have been reporting to the consulate in Melbourne over the years,” said Damien Kingsbury from Deakin University.
“As academics, we deal with these students and we know what they are doing. They often tell us what they’re doing so we do know they report to their consulates. They do act as spies.”
Mr Kingsbury was an adviser to the Free Aceh and Timorese independence movements, and said Australian agencies are aware of this sort of intelligence gathering, but overlooked it due to it proving a comparatively low threat to Australia’s interests or security.
“The Australian security services see this as low level activity. They don’t see this as more formal espionage and a lot of the information that’s being picked up is open access anyway,” he said.
However, he said he does believe boundaries are being crossed.
“They also report on private conversations, so that is of more concern,” he said.
In the coming weeks a crucial meeting to garner support from Pacific nations for the West Papuan movement will be held in Vanuatu.
Indonesia’s president-elect Joko Widodo has indicated he is not opposed to dialogue with the independence movement about their desire for more autonomy, but Jakarta remains firm that independence is off the table. http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2014-10-07/west-papua-independence-activists-accuse-indonesia-of-using-students-as-spies/1376477
Watch the full report on Lateline at 10.30pm on ABC TV.
2) Vanuatu daily news digest | 9 October 2014
- Seabed mining has been a major concern during the week. Minister Ralph Regenvanu summed up the value of Vanuatu’s seabed minerals rather well at the Deep Sea Minerals Consultation. “Up to now,” he said, “our minerals are like a Fixed-Term Deposit. They are not costing us anything, and indeed, are increasing in wealth all the while. The late Fr Walter Lini,” he added, “pointed out that they are for us like a bank. If we start spending this wealth now, unfortunately there will be no renewal of it.”Regenvanu was opening a consultation with Malvatumauri chiefs from all regions and representatives of women, youth, churches and NGOs.
- In his opening address the Minister pointed out that there had never been a decision taken as regards this wealth by the Council of Ministers. That is why a committee was formed to look into all the related issues. It is the National Off-Shore Minerals Committee. It will spearhead the Deep Sea Minerals Policy document for Vanuatu which will, in turn, pave the way for alterations to the mining legislation which has simply let former ministers agree to issue prospecting licences to those mining interests requesting such. Over 150 have been issued. A great deal of work has gone into a proposal to amend the 1980 Minerals and Mining Act. The amendments were available to those attending the Consultation.
- Who gets the royalties is a question the Consultation and provinces will need to decide. Whilst most attending were certain the wealth belongs to the people of Vanuatu there are a lot of considerations beginning with the extent of the asset. Much must be decided including whether prospecting should proceed. What minerals there are needs to be evaluated as Vanuatu’s position on the New Hebrides Trench, where the Australian and Pacific plates collide, makes this country unique and important. However, it is certain Vanuatu has massive sea-floor sulphides and these certainly have value, and it was equally sure those attending the Consultation felt Vanuatu should not quickly waste its wealth as Nauru once did.
- The consultation now moves to the provinces … Matters to be decided start with ownership. Who exactly owns the deep sea minerals – like provinces or the state? Who decides what happens (if anything) with this wealth? And how can we be certain to enable a licence to be declined if appropriate? And then what about Umaeneag and Umaenupne (Hunter and Matthew) which are not as yet recognized as exclusively ni-Vanuatu?
- The possibility of a likely damaging smelting operation at Big Bay Santo has taken rather a back seat in the mining discussions this week as Deep Sea Mining (from now on DSM) received all the attention.
3) 1445 Fijians get dual citizenship – A total of 1445 Fijians have acquired dual citizenship since the inception of the Acquired Citizenship under Former Category in 2009 by the Fijian Government. And Australian Fijians have been identified by the Immigration Department to be the highest number of those that have made use of dual citizenship. Figures released by the Immigration director Nemani Vuniwaqa to FijiLive sees Australians top the list since 2009 ahead of New Zealand Fijians, and American Fijians.
4) Coalition Talks In Cook Islands Hint At New Prime Minister
Demos offer One Cook Islands party head Bishop PM post
By Emmanuel Samoglou
RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, Oct. 8, 2014) – The role of Prime Minister and Minister of Finance has been offered to Aitutaki Member of Parliament Teina Bishop under a potential coalition agreement between the Democratic Party and One Cook Islands.
On the eve of the first sitting of Parliament since July’s general elections, each of the country’s three representative political parties provided further details on what has been a week of intense, behind-the-scenes dealmaking.
Yesterday, Prime Minister Henry Puna revealed Bishop was offered the two high-level posts and Tupapa MP George Maggie was offered a Cabinet position by the Demos in return for support from the two One Cook Islands MP’s.
Bishop has since confirmed the details.
More in4 : Cook Islands News
5) First Samoa Casino Officially Opens Its Doors
PM speaks at small ceremony opening Whitesands Casino
By B. Chen
PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (The Samoa News, Oct. 7, 2014) – The Whitesands Casino, the first casino to open its doors — in Samoa — officially opened this past Friday (Saturday, October 4 Samoa Time), in a small ceremony attended by local residents, parliament members, heads of different government departments, with special remarks offered by the Prime Minister of Samoa.
The event included the presence of visitors from American Samoa, the Orient, as well other countries, i.e. New Zealand, Australia, etc.
More in4 : The Samoa News
6) Uncertainty Reigns On Eve Of Cook Islands Parliamentary Session
Both Democrats and Cook Islands Party courting One Cook Islands MPs
By Emmanuel Samoglou
RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, Oct. 7, 2014) – Discussions last week between Prime Minister Henry Puna and One Cook Islands Leader Teina Bishop on a possible power sharing arrangement yielded no tangible results, with each side placing blame on the other.
Both leaders met at the Offices of the Prime Minister last Thursday evening, where – in the words of Bishop – the two “ironed out their interests”.
According to Puna’s advisor Trevor Pitt, Bishop attended after meeting with the Democratic Party earlier in the day, and “wanted to hear what the major parties were willing to offer”.
Coalition chatter has been running rampant in the lead-up to tomorrow’s scheduled sitting of Parliament.
Barring any last minute changes, 12 Cook Islands Party MP’s will be walking into Parliament with a working majority.
The Democratic Party and OCI hold the balance of power with nine and two MP’s respectively.
With the CIP’s fragile majority, political players from all parties have been working overtime to solidify their position and consolidate power.
[PIR editor’s note: Cook Islands News reported that ‘Possible coalition partners, One Cook Islands and the Democratic Party, have shrugged off Prime Minister Henry Puna’s allegations that they are destabilising the Cook Islands Party-led government.’]
More in4: Cook Islands News
7) Rough Seas Delay Shipments Of Supplies To Rota
Even before typhoon, prices skyrocketed due to limited supplies
By Gaynor Dumat-ol Daleno
HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Oct. 8, 2014) – Rough seas have delayed shipments of rice, other food, building materials and vehicles to the island of Rota, officials from two shipping companies said yesterday.
The last time Rota received a sea shipment of consumer goods was Aug. 11, said Bong Banzuela, operations supervisor at Saipan Shipping.
Saipan Shipping uses a tugboat and barge to bring about 15 containers of goods to Rota every month, weather permitting, Banzuela said.
Conditions related to Typhoon Vongfong mean it will take about a week before the next attempt to bring goods to Rota, Banzuela said.
“Entering the Rota harbor can be challenging, hence the need for good weather to ensure safety of the crew and cargo,” said Bernie Valencia, Matson’s Guam general manager.
Matson carries some of the goods from the U.S. mainland that Rota needs. The Rota-bound goods are offloaded on Guam, and then transhipped on to a smaller ship that takes the shipment to Saipan, and then on to Rota.
The Saipan Shipping tug and barge have postponed their last few trips to Rota due to inclement weather, Valencia stated.
The shipping delays have caused a shortage of supplies and skyrocketing prices in Rota, Guam’s closest neighbor to the north.
Henry Atalig, the resident director for community affairs in Rota, said Monday that Rota’s food supply in recent weeks has been air-flown from Guam, making items scarce and raising prices.
Rota’s seaport facilities also are in need of upgrades, Banzuela said. The port doesn’t have lights for nighttime cargo operations and its crane capacity is limited, he added.
Pacific Daily News
8) News Release
Yap State Government
Colonia, Yap, FSM
October 9, 2014
Tests Indicate Dengue Fever Returns To Yap State
Preliminary tests indicate that dengue fever is back in Yap.
The Yap Memorial Hospital has identified an increase in the number of patients presenting with fever, joint pain, and headaches. Preliminary testing indicates that these infections may be caused by the dengue virus.
Dengue fever can be severe and may lead to death. The dengue virus is spread through the bite of infected mosquitoes. It is not spread through person-to-person contact.
The Department of Health Services is urging the public to take the three following precautions to protect themselves:
Avoid all mosquito bites. The mosquito that spreads the dengue virus tends to bite during daylight hours, especially in the early morning and late evening. Use mosquito repellent, bed nets and coils from local stores to prevent getting bitten. Stay in screened or air conditioned areas and wear long clothing to help prevent bites.
To stop the outbreak from growing, eliminate potential mosquito breeding grounds by removing trapped water around homes and properties, and screen water containers from mosquitoes. Also, infected persons should be kept from being bitten by mosquitoes, as it would infect the mosquitoes and further spread the dengue virus.
Visit the hospital or closest community health center if suspicious symptoms appear. The common signs of dengue fever are headache, fever, joint pain, rash, nausea and sometimes bleeding. Do not take aspirin or Motrin while with dengue fever, as it can increase the risk of bleeding.
In order to slow the spread of the dengue virus, Public Health personnel may be conducting home inspections and spraying to assist in mosquito eradication. The Department of Health Services is asking the public’s cooperation in allowing these home visits to help prevent a large outbreak of dengue fever.
9) Indonesia i spai long ol West Papua pipal ino nupla samting
Updated 9 October 2014, 15:14 AEST
Wanpla politikal ektivist itok despla kaen pasin ibin stat long ol yia 1960’s.
Odio: West Papua Activis Ronnie Kareni itok tok wantem Caroline Tiriman
West Papua Activis Ronnie Kareni itok tok wantem Caroline Tiriman (Credit: ABC)
Wanpla politikal ektivist blong West Papua hia long Australia itok emi no kirap nogut long ol toktok emi kamap olsem ol sumatin blong Indonesia isave mekim ol wok hait oa spai long ol t Papua pipal.
Ronnie Kareni, i mekim despla toktok bihaen long ABC lateline program ibin tokaut olsem ol sumatin blong Indonesia iwok long kisim toktok na ol photo blong ol West Papua pipal na salim igo bek long gavman blong Indonesia.
Mr Kareni itok tu olsem, Indonesia iwok long mekim ol despla wok spai long wonem ol toktok na awenes long ol wari long wok politik long West Papua nau iwok long kamap strong.
Indonesia ibin kisim nating West Papua long long ol yia 1960’s bihaenim wanpla vout we liklik laen tasol ibin stap insaet long en.
Stat long despla taem ikam inap nau planti pipal long west Papua iwok long fait long bruk lusim Indonesia long wonem oli tok oli pipal blong Melansia, wankaen olsem ol pipal blong New Caledonia, PNG, Fiji, Solomon Islands na Vanuatu. http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/tokpisin/
10) Graon bai kamapim iet heve long Solomon Islands
Updated 9 October 2014, 15:23 AEST
Wari long graon bai save kamapim iet planti kros na sidaon nogut long Solomon Islands.
Odio: Dr Tarcicius Tara Kabutaulaka Associate Professor long University blong Hawai’i’ itoktok wantem Caroline Tiriman
Wari long graon bai save kamapim iet planti kros na sidaon nogut long Solomon Islands.
Despla em toktok blong wanpla politikal saintis blong Solomon Islands Dr Tarcicius Tara Kabutalaka, emi blong Solomon Islands husat itok bikpla wok em laen blong Regional assistans mission igo long Solomon Islands oa RAMSI ino bin lukluk tumas long despla.
RAMSI em Australia ibin go pas long en ibin go long Solomon Islands bihaenim bikpla trabal emi bin kamap long ol kros long graon namel long ol pipal blong Guadalcanal provins na ol pipal blong Malaita.
Dr Tarcicius Tara Kabutalaka, emi blong Solomon Islands iet na Associate Professor long School of Pacific na Asian Studies University blong Hawai’i na mi askim em long despla wari.
Solomon Islands, wankaen olsem ol narapla kantri blong Melanesia olsem PNG na Vanuatu isave kirapim kros na fait long wonem oli tok, graon emi bulut blong ol http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/
11) Brèves d’Australie et du Pacifique – jeudi 9 octobre 2014
Mis à jour 9 October 2014, 10:40 AEST
Dans le Queensland, une jeune femme erre pendant 17 jours dans la forêt tropicale près de Cairns et survit miraculeusement.
Shannon Leah Fraser a passé 17 jours à tenter de sortir de la forêt tropicale autour de Cairns.
Shannon Leah Fraser marchait avec son fiancé, qui la devançait, et elle s’est finalement perdue. Complètement désorientée, pendant 17 jours, la jeune trentenaire a survécu en mangeant de petits poissons d’eau douce et des insectes, et en buvant l’eau de la rivière. À ce régime, la jeune femme a perdu 17 kilos. Finalement mercredi matin elle a émergé de la forêt près d’un point d’eau où un cultivateur de bananes prenait tranquillement son petit-déjeuner. Il l’a emmenée à l’hôpital, où elle est traitée pour déshydratation et pour des brûlures causées par le soleil.
- MH370: 7 mois après la disparition du Boeing de la Malaysia Airlines, les recherches ont repris en début de semaine dans l’océan Indien. La zone de recherche actuelle s’étend à 1000 km de la côte ouest de l’Australie, et à plus de 2000 de sa côte sud. Le GO Phoenix est déjà arrivé sur place, il sera rejoint la semaine prochaine par le Fugro discovery, un autre navire qui peut tracter des sonars. Quant à l’équipage du Fugro Equator, il fait des mesures bathymétriques, pour déterminer la configuration du fond de l’océan Indien dans cette zone. Mais les experts continuent d’analyser les signaux automatiques envoyés aux satellites par l’avion pendant le vol, entre autres par les moteurs. La zone de recherche pourrait être encore redéfinie. Le scénario privilégié par les enquêteurs est celui de l’arrêt du moteur droit en raison de l’épuisement du kérosène dans le réservoir, mais selon eux, le moteur gauche a également pris feu, du coup le Boeing serait descendu très vite, en spirale. L’épave devrait donc se trouver dans la zone du dernier contact satellite. C’est en tout cas le pari des enquêteurs australiens, malaysiens, britanniques et américains.
- Îles Salomon: 37 candidats aux élections du 19 novembre ont accepté de prêter un serment d’intégrité. Ils promettent de respecter la loi, de dévoiler leurs intérêts financiers et leurs éventuelles business, et de rendre compte de l’utilisation des fonds publics. C’est Transparency International qui a lancé ce défi aux candidats. Mais d’autres ONG salomonaises soutiennent l’initiative.
- Vanuatu: Efate a reçu 158 millimètres de pluie en deux jours. Les pluies torrentielles ont fait un mort, un homme qui tentait de secourir son bétail, pris au piège par la crue de la rivière Zono, sur Efate. Il a été emporté par les eaux. Et plus de 100 personnes ont perdu leur maison. Le bilan des dégâts est toujours en cours. Le bureau de gestion des catastrophes naturelles, la police et la Croix-Rouge distribuent des bâches et des produits de première nécessité dans les centres d’évacuation.
- Mariannes du Nord: après le passage de l’ouragan Vongfong, 220 personnes sont toujours dans des centres d’hébergement d’urgence, sur Tinian, Saipan et Rota. La Croix-Rouge leur a fourni des bâches et de quoi déblayer les débris dans leurs maisons, et réparer les toits endommagés.
12) Fiji Status As A Member Of The Pacific Islands Forum Yet Unclear
Fiji previously questioned Australia, New Zealand’s membership
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Oct. 9, 2014) – The Secretariat of the Pacific Islands Forum is not commenting on when Fiji’s suspension from the body might be lifted.
Fiji was suspended from the regional body five years ago for failing to hold elections in 2009.
But as of three weeks ago Fiji has a democratically elected government, headed by Rear Admiral Frank Bainimarama, who had been running the country after seizing control in 2006.
This would appear to meet conditions for Fiji to re-enter the body but the organisation will only say that its Ministerial Contact Group has to make a recommendation to Pacific leaders before any re-admission.
Fiji has previously said it is not interested in re-joining the Forum if New Zealand and Australia remain members.
Radio New Zealand International
13) Pacific Island Leaders Meeting In Japan Set For Next May
PALM7 to address issues such as climate change, ocean conservation
NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Oct. 7, 2014) – Pacific Island leaders met the Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe in New York last month in preparation for the Pacific Island Leaders Meeting (PALM7) to be held in May 2015 in Iwaki, Japan.
The meeting held alongside the 69th Session of the United Nations General Assembly on September 25, attended by Tonga’s Prime Minister Lord Tu’ivakano, reaffirmed the commitment between Japan and the Pacific on development cooperation and strengthened partnerships.
The Japanese PM said Pacific Island countries have established a strong relationship with Japan in a number of areas, including climate change and disaster risk reduction.
HE Tommy E Remengesau Jr, the President of the Republic of Palau and Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum urged Japan to work closely with Pacific countries to enhance efforts to action the Majuro Declaration for Climate Leadership, the Palau Declaration on Oceans and the Samoa Pathway outcomes.
He further called on Japan’s support to ensure that the interests of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are not lost in the forthcoming negotiations of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Hon Henry Puna, the Cook Islands Prime Minister emphasized the importance of the PALM process and the need for a comprehensive PALM7 meeting agenda.
Important issues to the Pacific were raised by the leaders to likely feature during PALM7 included but not limited to: climate change, disaster risk reduction, ocean conservation and people to people exchanges.
PALM is a forum held every three-years since 1997 between the Government of Japan and leaders in the Pacific island region to faciliate and strengthen relations.
During the last PALM6 in 2012, leaders agreed on the need for a comprehensive response to climate change adaption in the Pacific and the importance of promoting sustainable development based on human security through the Millennium Development Goals.
Matangi Tonga Magazine
14) PNG to improve intake for tertiary training
9 October 2014
Papua New Guinea’s Minister of Higher Education says efforts are being made to improve the intake of students from secondary school.
A new report prepared by the Office of Higher Education has found that only 4500 of the 17,000 students who sat national exams last year were selected for tertiary institutions.
Malakai Tabar says Higher Education is working to streamline accreditation so to better direct students towards suitable career paths whether it be a vocational programme, technical college, or study in science and innovations.
He says new tertiary institutions such as the Western Pacific University in Southern Highlands province, and a couple of polytechnics, are being established.
“As the programme of accreditation and assessment is able to push redirect or push students through to a certain area of academic work, then we make sure that we can achieve those areas, achieving them through those other institutions that we are establishing.”RNZI
15) Date Announced For Solomons Islands Election
First post-RAMSI polls will be November 19
MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Oct. 8, 2014) – The Solomon Islands governor-general has announced that the country will go to the polls on November 19 in the first vote since an Australian-led security mission departed in 2013.
The regional assistance mission, RAMSI, was sent into Solomon Islands in 2003 to help the government and security forces regain control after a crippling civil war and threats from militants.
Sir Frank Kabui signed the proclamation for the 2014 national elections on Tuesday, also marking the beginning of a two week nomination process for those intending to contest the polls.
More than 280,000 voters are registered for the elections after an audit removed 160,000 fraudulent, incorrect or duplicate registrations.
In a statement, the office of the prime minister said the newly audited voter list is expected to contribute to a fair and credible election.
The registrar of the Political Parties Commission, Calvin Ziru, told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat that nine parties have already applied to contest the election, and two more are expected to by the close of the nomination process.
Many members of parliament were criticised by a Transparency Solomon Islands report in September for being largely inactive in the life of the government of prime minister Gordon Darcy Lilo.
It found only seven MPs contributing to more than half of the bills debated in parliament.
But Mr Ziru said newly registered parties seem to have actively recruited from the provinces in a clear sign of a switch away from the entrenched elite of Honiara.
The economy of Solomon Islands, the third most populous nation in the South Pacific after Papua New Guinea and Fiji, is at a turning point as mining interests increase and its unsustainable logging industry continues to drag on its income and environment.
In August, the ANZ’s Pacific Economic Quarterly reduced growth expectations to negative 1.5 per cent as the full impact of a recent cyclone and flood become apparent.
16) UN asked to mediate in New Caledonia
9 October 2014
New Caledonia’s main pro-independence party has asked the United Nations to be an official mediator in talks with France in order to set up a fair and transparent referendum on independence by 2018.
The call was made at the UN in New York by Roch Wamytan, who was one of the signatories of the 1998 Noumea Accord that has served as the territory’s decolonisation roadmap.
Mr Wamytan says his group has already approached the UN five times to express its concern about the electoral rolls being flawed, describing the issue as the mother of all battles in every decolonisation case.
He says there is now an impasse over the rolls because last week’s meeting in Paris with New Caledonian leaders again deferred the issue.
Another Kanak leader, Daniel Goa, says electoral fraud has been combined with a policy of massive immigration with the aim of marginalising the Kanak people.RNZI
17) Salaries Established For Fiji Ministerial Line-Up
Salaries and allowances total $1.8 million
By Mere Naleba
SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Oct. 9, 2014) – The Fiji Government’s 20-member ministerial line-up will be paid a total of about $3.4 million [US$1.8 million] in salaries and allowances.
The salaries, inclusive of all allowances, were set in the Parliamentary Remuneration Decree 2014 on Friday.
Also set by the decree were the remuneration for Speaker of the House, Leader of the Opposition and members of Parliament.
According to the decree, the President will receive a non-taxable salary of $130,000 [US$67,000], while the Prime Minister will receive a salary of $328,750 [US$170,000].
The Minister for Finance portfolio carries a salary of $235,000 [US$122,000] while the salaries for Ministers for Health (Jone Usamate), Minister for Education (Dr Mahendra Reddy) and the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport (Pio Tikoduadua) will receive $200,000 [US$103,000] each.
The decree also sets a salary of $185,000 [US$96,000] each for the other 10 ministers with the five assistant ministers slated to receive $90,000 [US$46,500] each.
Other salaries include $150,000 [US$78,000] for Speaker of the House, $120,000 [US$62,000] for Leader of the Opposition and $50,000 [US$26,000] each for members of Parliament.
However, Parliament must also take into account prevailing economic conditions based on evidence from an authoritative source and may set a lower remuneration level. The decree allows Parliament to determine by resolution the remuneration paid to the President, Prime Minister, Cabinet ministers, Leader of Opposition, Speaker of the House and members of Parliament. The amounts set by the decree fix remuneration until any parliamentary resolution.
The decree also states that when determining salaries Parliament must have regard to:
The need to achieve and maintain fair relativity with the levels of remuneration received by persons in the private sector;
That the salaries must be competitive so that persons of the right calibre are not deterred from stepping forward to lead the country;
The salaries should reflect the ethos of political service which entails making sacrifices;
The salaries must be transparent with no hidden components or perks; and
The need to be fair to the taxpayer and to persons whose salary is being prescribed.
The decree further states that setting allowances and benefits will be determined by recognising the need for public understanding the core of the work of persons or members of Parliament and the services required to enable them to carry out their roles and functions.
Fiji Times Online.
18) Fiji President—History Must Not Be Repeated; No More Coups
Ratu Epeli: ‘We gather… to establish genuine democratic rule’
By Vuniwaqa Bola-Bari
SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Oct. 7, 2014) – Fiji’s Head of State, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau says the taking over of elected Governments in Parliament at gunpoint should never be repeated.
He made these comments as he officially opened Parliament today at Government Buildings in Suva.
He adds the historical significance of what Fijians witnessed today cannot be overstated.
“We gather in a chamber that has seen some of the greatest events in Fijian history.
These include the meetings of the legislative council in colonial times that set the scene for our independence from Britain.
“At 10.00 am on May the fourteenth, 1987, a group of soldiers entered the parliament, stopped the proceedings and herded the newly-elected government of Dr Timoci Bavadra away at gunpoint.
“It was the first of four disruptions to elected government and the beginning of a cycle of instability that has plagued our nation and retarded its development.
It is a chapter in our history that must never be repeated,” Rt Epeli said.
He says the walls of the refurbished Parliament have echoed voices of the great historical figures who fought for Fijians rights and those who led Fiji to nationhood.
He mentioned Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, AD Patel, Ratu Sir Edward Cakobau, Siddiq Koya, Dr Timoci Bavadra, Ratu Sir Penaia Ganilau, Julian Toganivalu, Semesa Sikivou, Douglas Brown, Bill Yee, Loma Livingstone, Adi Losalini Dovi, and Irene Jay Narayan as those that spoke to Fijians across the decades.
“They speak to us across the decades today urging us to complete the task they started in this place with so many other men and women of goodwill, who are no longer with us but who we also remember with gratitude.
“Regrettably, this chamber was also the setting for one of the most traumatic and painful events in our history, whose impact lingers with us almost three decades on.
“Now, 27 years later, we gather at the site of that first coup to establish genuine democratic rule.
And to finally draw a line under the years of division that have held Fiji back and herald in a new era of unity and purpose.” He said the symbolism of returning Fiji’s parliament to its current place at Government Buildings was extremely potent.
“History has today come full circle.
God has blessed us with another chance to build one nation.
“Let us dedicate ourselves once and for all to the democratic ideal – of genuine equality for all Fijians.
And resolve to work constructively in our new democracy and in this refurbished parliament for the benefit of all our people.”
19) Government wants to unlock further potential for i-Taukei landowners – The President, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau said the government wants to unlock the further potential for i-Taukei landowners to generate wealth from their land, not only to benefit themselves but the entire economy. While speaking to the 50 parliamentarians, Ratu Epeli said that $10 million will be set aside to help the i-Taukei use their land for subdivision and development. The President said for too long, landowners have leased out land for others to develop and make huge profits. He said the government will encourage landowners to become landlords while reaping direct commercial benefits from their land.
20) Solomons Mining Company Wins Appeal For Isabel Nickel Rights
Axiom prevails again against giant Sumitomo
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Oct. 9, 2014) – The Solomon Islands Court of Appeal has dismissed an application by the Japanese mining company Sumitomo for an interim injunction against the Australian company Axiom Mining.
The pair have been involved in a long court battle over land and prospecting rights for nickel deposits in Isabel Province.
Yesterday’s decision comes two weeks after a lower court had ruled in favor of Axiom.
Its CEO Ryan Mount says the company will recommence exploration of the Isabel nickel deposit this week.
Radio New Zealand International
21) BRED Bank appoints new Fiji CEO
By ROPATE VALEMEI
Thursday, October 09, 2014
Update: 8:52PM THE second largest banking group in France, BRED Bank, today appointed Frederic Reynaud as BRED Bank (Fiji) Ltd new CEO and member of the Board.
Mr Reynaud will be based at BRED Bank (Fiji) Ltd headquarters in Suva and will assume the position effective today.
Mr Reynaud brings nearly 20 years of banking experience in various positions, in France and in Africa.
Prior to joining the BRED group, he was a member of the executive committee, in charge of the corporate development.http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=282673
22) Fiji Kava Allegedly Sold In Samoa With False Labels
Imported product labeled as local or from Fiji, Tonga, Vanuatu
By Lagi Keresoma
APIA, Samoa (Talamua, Oct. 7, 2014) – The Ministry of Health has confiscated 172 packets of imported Fiji kava’s after reports of misleading labeling reached their office.
This was confirmed by MOH Principal officer Seve Sinei Fili to the media today.
He said there are four brands of imported kava with one sold under a local label Savelio Ava Samoa Fagaloa.
According to Seve, all four brands of kava have the same taste, which means there is only one brand of kava but with different labels.
The kava brands are Savelio Ava Fagaloa, Ava Tonga, Ava Vanuatu and Ava-Ava- Ava- Mefi.
All these brands are believed to be imported from overseas but after testing and tasting them, Seve said it was just one brand of kava.
“This is misleading and illegal act,” said Seve.
More in4 : Talamua
23) Around 3500 women market vendors to undergo training – Around 3500 women market vendors from 10 markets are expected to undergo financial literacy, business and education training following an agreement between United Nations Development program and Westpac Banking Corporation. UNDP will facilitate access to market vendors including logistical arrangements for the training with the respective city or town council in Suva, Nausori, Sigatoka, Nadi, Namaka, Lautoka, Ba, Tavua, Rakiraki and Labasa. This is a $10 million project which will spread over six years in three countries including Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.
24) Government promises to increase minimum wage – The Government says it will increase the national minimum wage, which is currently $2.00, to $2.32 from July, next year. Minister for Industrial Relations, Jioji Konrote says the call to increase the national wage has been reiterated by the President and is something the government will work towards in 2015. “I picked that up from the President’s address and I’m sure government is looking at it right now, as I said, you know, it’s part of my brief now and to make sure that is implemented, we’ll have to wait and see.”
25) Agriculture Ministry monitors ginger situation – The Agriculture Ministry is monitoring reports of calls by a group of Australian farmers to ban the import of fresh Fijian ginger. The group issued a statement following the arrival of the first shipment of ginger to Queensland two weeks ago. The Australian Banana Industry Imports Risk Committee is concerned about the shipments after reports of the discovery of live root-knot nematodes on the ginger.
26) Those traumatised by Bougainville civil war need help, says Minister
8 October 2014
The health minister of Bougainville in Papua New Guinea, says mental health specialists are needed in the autonomous region to help meet the needs of those still traumatised by the civil war.
Rose Pihei says social disorder in Bougainville is mostly connected to the trauma people went through during the crisis more than a decade ago, but that trauma has never been dealt with and is becoming a generational issue.
The minister says there is very little being done to address the issue, and only one organisation in the whole Bougainville region has the skills to treat mental health issues.
“It’s becoming a real burden on that organisation, and that’s why we will be needing specialist doctors to come in and aid us help, very little attention has been given to the whole region concerning mental health.”
Rose Pihei says she wants trauma and mental health issues to be key issues that both the national government and the Autonomous Bougainville Government work to combat.RNZI
27) Fiji Military ‘In The Dark’ About Military Ties With Australia
Government hasn’t informed RFMF of restoration of ties
By Luke Rawalai
SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Oct. 9, 2014) – The Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) is still in the dark about the restoration of military ties between Fiji and Australia.
Responding to questions sent by this newspaper about the situation, RFMF spokesman Joseva Bola in a statement said they had not received any correspondence by the Fiji Government to confirm the restoration of its military ties with the Australian Government.
“The restoration of defence ties between the two countries will be dictated by the Government of Fiji to the RFMF through its foreign policy,” he said.
“However, the RFMF has already established ties with other militaries which it highly values.”
This newspaper earlier highlighted the Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop’s confirmation in an email that the only remaining restrictions in place against Fiji were defence exports and military co-operation.
“I have said previously that Australia would move to restore a full and extensive Defence Co-operation Program with Fiji following election, and these steps are already underway,” she said.
“Even though these restrictions remained in place up to the election, I have personally endorsed any request for assistance to the RFMF received since February.
“I have also proactively ensured that Fiji was provided with Australian intelligence and other co-operation in the international efforts to secure the release of the 45 Fijian UNDOF personnel who were captured in the Golan Heights.”
Ms Bishop had also said a post-election visit would continue the positive momentum in bilateral relations.
Fiji Times Online.
CLIMATE CHANGE,CONSERVATION & ENVIROMENT
28) Vanuatu flood assessment due tomorrow
9 October 2014
Disaster authorities in Vanuatu have completed field assessments of flooding earlier this week that has claimed one life and left more than 100 people homeless.
The heavy rains started on Monday night and by Tuesday afternoon 158 millimetres of rain had fallen, causing flooding in and around the capital Port Vila on the island of Efate.
The director of the Disaster Management Office, Shadrack Welegtabit, says the full extent of the damage has been assessed and will be released by the National Disaster Commission tomorrow afternoon.
“And we are currently putting together all the reports and once all the reports are done the report needs to get to the NDC. Once the NDC has gone through that, the report will be distributed to all the government and partner agencies, to, to look at and take the appropriate action where necessary.”RNZI
29) PM briefed on prolonged dry spell affecting most parts of the country – Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama was briefed yesterday on the prolonged dry spell affecting most parts of Fiji. National Disaster Management Director, Manasa Tagicakibau said the dry spell is driven by the potential El Nino that has been trying to develop fully in the Pacific since May. Tagicakibau also highlighted how the Education, Agriculture, Livestock, Irrigation, Health, Sugar, Water, Electricity and communities have been affected by the prolonged dry spell. He added that 161 schools have been affected by the current dry spell but continue to operate due to carted water.
30) Fiji’s PM briefed on dry weather – Fiji’s Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama has been briefed on the prolonged dry spell affecting most parts of Fiji. FBC news reports the Prime Minister was briefed by the National Disaster Management director, Manasa Tagicakibau. Mr Tagicakibau says this dry weather is affecting education; agriculture which includes livestock, irrigation and health in particular. He says they have to cart water daily to 161 schools to keep the classes going normal. Mr Tagicakibau says the Ministry of Health has activated its cluster to coordinate support activities and are also advising the public to practice personal hygiene.
31) MALAMPA & FIJI DEI SELEBRESEN PROGRAM – PORT VILA
Fraede 10 Oktoba 2014, SARALANA PARK, PORT VILA
7.00am Ol man MALAMPA and Fiji oli mit tuketa long Port Vila Municipal Maket Haos – Vanuatu Mobile Force i lidim maj blong MALAMPA-Fiji iko long Saralana Park
8.00am Hangem Salusalu long ol invaetet kes – Welkam mo opening prea – Flag raising – Fiji mo MALAMPA flag
8.30am Kastom Seremoni ‘Nasautonga’ – Ol Jif blong MALAMPA mo Fiji long Vila i mekem iko long ol lan ona blong Efate – Spesel toktok blong ol Jif blong MALAMPA mo Fiji iko long Jif blong Efate mo lan ona
9.00am Toktok ikam long Jeaman blong Selebreisen – Toktok ikam long Representatif blong Fiji Kavman long Vanuatu – Toktok ikam long Represenatif blong ol MP we oli kam long MALAMPA Province – Key Not Address ikam long MALAMPA Provincial Government Council mo Declarem Official Opening blong Selebresen
10.45am Lonjing blong MALAMPA-Fiji Asosiesen Konstitusen
11.00am Saening blong Memorandam blong Anadanding bitwin MALAMPA province mo Ripablik blong Fiji – Ekjens blong ol kastom kifs mo Pig Kiling mo Kava Seremoni
11.45am Ol kaljarel mo sports aktivitis
12.00pm Lanj blong everiwan
1.00pm Open Forom blong MALAMPA Province mo Fiji
2.30pm Ol Kaljarel mo Spot Aktivitis
3.30pm Musik (pop, string band, etc) blong Entatenmen
6.00pm Las toktok – Selebresen Komiti – Las prea mo ol Prokram i klos
32) Hayne happy to avoid facing PNG
9 October 2014
Kangaroos fullback Jarryd Hayne admits he’s happy not to be lining up against Papua New Guinea this weekend in the annual Prime Minister’s 13 clash in Kokopo.
The Dally M medal winner is expected to be a key player for Australia in the defence of their Four Nations title against New Zealand, England and Samoa later this month.
The former Fiji international is one of the few star names remaining, with Johnathan Thurston’s omission bringing to nine the number of incumbent Kangaroos unavailable for the tournament opener in a fortnight.
Some of the contenders will line up against the Kumuls on Sunday and Hayne says he’s happy to be sitting that one out.
“They’re beasts, you know. That’s probably the most physical game that you can play on an international scale. It’s like the closest thing you get to going to war – they don’t hold anything back, I tell you that much. [If] they want to put a shot on that’s it. They’re getting better every year and the way they’re built as well: very low to the ground, very strong and it’s always a tough game”.
Meanwhile the Governor of East New Britain has confirmed the provincial government will offer 1,000 subsidised tickets to fans for Sunday’s clash.RNZI
33) Fiji sevens coach demands fast start to new season
9 October 2014
Fiji sevens coach Ben Ryan says it’s important to make a strong start to the IRB World Sevens Series, which kicks off this weekend on the Gold Coast.
The Fijians finished third in the overall standings last season, behind New Zealand and South Africa, in Ryan’s first year at the helm.
The 2011 and 2012 Gold Coast champions were knocked out in the Cup quarter finals of last year’s season opener, going on to win the Plate title.
Ben Ryan says they need to start better this time.
“That means firstly making sure that you’re into the Cup and then get into those semi finals and those top four to get in there because, historically, I think once those teams around Christmas have settled into the top four very rarely does anyone pop in from outside that top group. Certainly if you were in the top two you won’t find yourself out of the top four unless you have a horrific run of tournaments so it’s very important we start well. I’ve been pleased – it’s a short pre-season but it’s been an intense one”.
Fiji are in the same pool as Australia, Scotland and Portugal, Samoa have been drawn alongside New Zealand while American Samoa will take on South Africa in the group stage.RNZI
34) Record local contingent for Vanuatu league team
9 October 2014
Vanuatu will field a record number of local players this weekend in their rugby league international clash with the Philippines in Santo.
The Melanesians have been slowly building their national programme over the last few years.
They played a pre-season match against Queensland Cup side the Sunshine Coast Falcons earlier this year and last year played tests against Solomon Islands and Niue.
Vanuatu Rugby League founder Dane Campbell says last year’s test squad had just three local players but that number’s been boosted to 13.
“The beauty about getting more guys from Vanuatu [is] that was our remit when we very first started this whole process a few years back. We really wanted to give guys on the island an opportunity to represent their nation and their people and now we’re seeing the fruits of that labour where players are not only getting that opportunity but, as a result of the exposure, they’re then getting opportunities to come here to Australia and link in with local club sides, which is giving them more experience and opportunity to travel”.
Dane Campbell says Australian scouts have been invited to this weekend’s game, for which they’re expecting a crowd of three to four thousand.RNZI