Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1038 ( Monday 27 October 2014 )

MELANESIA

1) Former Head Of Solomons Truth And Reconciliation Commission Dies
Reverend Sam Ata lead effort to investigate causes of ethnic tension

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation, Oct. 26, 2014) – The funeral of the former Head of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Reverend Sam Ata will be held in Honiara tomorrow.

Reverend Ata passes away on Friday night following a period of illness.

He was a former Dean of the St Barnabas Cathedral Church in Honiara and was appointed chairman of the TRC in 2009.

As head of the TRC, Ata led a team of commissioners to investigate the causes of the ethnic tension.

Following his work at TRC, he was appointed general secretary of the Solomon Islands Christian Association.

In April this year he was recruited by the Pacific Theological College in Suva, Fiji as a lecturer.

Whilst in Fiji, he took ill and returned to the Solomon Islands last month.

Reverend Ata was also a former national soccer player and a popular rugby player in 1970s, and was a member of the famous Kakamora Soccer Club.

A statement from the family says Reverend Ata will be laid to rest at the St Barnabas Cathedral in Honiara tomorrow afternoon.

Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation

2) Vanuatu daily news digest | 27 October 2014

by bobmakin

  • Princess Anne is in the country and presented an MBE to Tony Whitley, founder of the Rowhani Bahai School at Santo (covered by Daily Post) as well as attended a reception at the Australian High Commission. The Princess Royal’s time is now given over to the Emerging Pacific Leaders’ Dialogue involving young Pacific Islanders from a number of Commonwealth countries, on behalf of her father. She will also be visiting one of her favourite charities, Save the Children, and her visit ends on Wednesday.
  • Radio Vanuatu News this morning carried the Agriculture Department insisting on replanting of coconuts since the majority inspected are considered beyond the useful age. Coconuts continue to be the cornerstone of the rural economy.
  • Radio Vanuatu also carried the Teaching Service Commission’s Derek Alexander (Chairman) saying that starting next year all teachers must be graduates of the Vanuatu Institute of Teaching Education, rather than only from universities. Work has begun in issuing teaching licences at year’s end. They are to be the guarantee of quality education, he said.
  • Daily Post also reports a legal framework for the Efate Port Vila Land Transport Assn. An Ambassador drivers’ training workshop has been taking place at the Vanuatu Hotels Training Centre, with New Zealand assistance, and the Chairman of the Tourism Ambassador Programme, George Borugu, announced the new policy at the training activity.
  • Training of trainers on career counseling for young people was the subject of an ILO course greatly assisted by the Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry(VCCI) very recently. The training was said to be particularly helpful for VCCI staff representing employers, to be able to understand the preparation the young persons need. The Chamber was also greatly assisted by Rotary in recently in training for small and micro-business owners.
  • A Designs Act and Trademarks Act have been gazetted and came into effect on October 9. Full details are given in Daily Post.

3) Vanuatu daily news digest | 25 October 2014

by bobmakin

  • Daily Post’s today outlines the steps being taken by the Natuman Government to remedy the situation as regards Bauerfield Airport. A World Bank team is arriving this week to assess the situation and a geotech consultancy is being appointed, Marango is advised by the PM’s Information Officer Kiery Manassah. The consultancy will give a study concerning the extent of the damage to the runway and the funding required for repair. There is a new Task Force. It is having nothing to do with VTDL which took the results of its survey with it when Parliament voted against its proposals.
  • The Independent, the newspaper run as a charity, however, has its editor saying that “absolutely nothing is happening as regards repairs at Bauerfield”. He is certainly not very charitable in what he says, nor even slightly accurate, and must still be listening to the sacked Task Force. That one certainly did not see anything happen in a year or so
  • Customary land owner Kalpovi Mangawai has agreed the Ministry of Infrastructure and Public Utilities (MIPU) use his land and beachfront near Ifira Point for the location of a temporary inter-island wharf facility. It will be a pontoon for loading and unloading of inter-island vessels as the Star Wharf is reconstructed under the Inter-Island Shipping Support Project.
  • Diamond-backed squid have been confirmed by Fisheries as being found in Vanuatu waters under the Grace of the Sea project. It is felt they may be able to be harvested in commercially worthwhile quantities. The Fisheries Department has been demonstrating the catch at their headquarters, VBTC News reports. Tourism personnel were also present.
  • The Independent reports Princess Anne here for the Emerging Pacific Leaders Dialogue for this year, involving chosen young people from around the region.
  • Santos Vatoko, CEO of the VNPF, responds to recent criticism in the media. On the Post VNPF page he suggests the Banian subdivision investment was processed in accordance with normal assessment protocols. A VNPF Erangorango decision has been delayed until certain conditions are fulfilled.
  • A Supreme Court order presently prohibits the government from acquiring Freshwind land, some 58 lease titles to protect the water source for the town. It appears a Supreme Court case, No. 171 of 2011, must first be determined before an acquisition can proceed. (Daily Post.)
  • The fair trade association ACTIV on Thursday launched a delicious new local industry which ‘adds value’ in a way all can appreciate – a chocolate industry. Cocoa beans used in the manufacture and testing of the local product were tested by a panel of experts. Daily Post reveals the very best seemed to be from Malekula,

4) Vanuatu chiefs hesitant to approve deep sea mining

By Online Editor
10:07 pm GMT+12, 26/10/2014, Vanuatu 

Vanuatu’s National Council of Chiefs, Malfatumauri, will not take a position on deep sea mining until after villages around the country have been consulted by the Government.
 
The chief executive of Malfatumauri, Jean Pierre Tom, says chiefs will make a resolution on the Government’s proposed deep sea mining bill based on what the people want.
 
Tom says during the first round of consultations in Port Vila earlier this month, the members of the Malfatumauri reserved their right to keep silent on the issue.
 
However, Radio New Zealand correspondent says most of them have reservations about the proposal for foreign companies to mine minerals from the seabed.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

5) Fiji PM Sets Conditions For Return To Pacific Islands Forum
Bainimarama silent on demands, widely believed to want Australia, NZ out


By Maika Bolatiki

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Sun, Oct. 25, 2014) – Fiji has set conditions for its return to the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), says Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.

He confirmed yesterday that he had received the letter from PIF leaders that Fiji’s suspension had been lifted.

Mr Bainmarama said now that they had welcomed Fiji back, PIF leaders should really look at the conditions set by Fiji.

While he did not elaborate, it is no secret that Fiji will only return to PIF if Australia and New Zealand reliquish their seats as members.

Fiji feels that because they are major aid donors in the region, they wield considerable influence and dictate things.

[PIR editor’s note: Fijilive reported that ‘Opposition Leader Ro Teimumu Kepa has welcomed the lifting of the Pacific Islands Forum suspension on Fiji, calling on the Fijian Government to exercise good sense and sound judgment towards the forum.’]

While opening the new Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF) seretariat in Nasese early this year, Mr Bainimarama said: “We don’t see the PIDF as a competitor for the existing Pacific Islands Forum. It is not a question of governments having to choose between the two.

“However, Fiji no longer believes that the Pacific Islands Forum, in its existing form, adequately serves the interests of all Pacific islanders. We also believe that the forum has become overly bureaucratic.”

He said the ceremony was the beginning of a new era of regional co-operation – “one that is much more inclusive than that of any existing structure.”

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, said Fiji’s position was very clear.

“Fiji is not going back to PIF till some changes and reforms are made in the organisation; for example Australia and New Zealand to move out of PIF,” he said.

He said the two should become development partners only like Japan, China, Korea and others.

Tommy E. Remengesau Jr, the president of Palau, had signed the PIF letter to Mr Bainimarama.

Mr Remengesau Jr said forum leaders were unanimous in their decision to lift Fiji’s suspension based on a recommendation to the leaders by the Forum Ministerial Contact Group (MCG) on Fiji.

PIF leaders welcomed and accepted the recommendation of the forum’s MCG. They very much look forward to Fiji’s participation and contribution in all forum activities, including the meetings of the forum leaders.

The acting secretary general of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Andie Fong Toy, said: “We welcome the decision of the forum leaders to lift Fiji’s suspension from the Forum.”

Australia and New Zealand pressed for Fiji’s suspension after it would not follow an election timetable they wanted.

FijiSUN

6) Fiji Public Accounts Chair Notes Widespread Abuse Of Public Funds
Audits Show ‘blatant disregard of fundamental financial procedures’


By Nasik Swami

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Oct. 27, 2014) – Public Accounts Committee chairman Professor Biman Prasad says it has now become abundantly clear there has been widespread abuse of public funds and blatant disregard of fundamental financial procedures, highlighted by the Auditor-General through his audit reports on State finances and ministries for the past seven years.

In an interview yesterday, Prof Prasad said pilferage, wastage and abuse of public funds had been highlighted in the reports of the Auditor-General together with continuous disregard of recommendations by the Auditor-General.

“This is causing disquiet amongst the people,” he said.

Prof Prasad said while the job of the committee would be difficult, he was confident the committee would be able to scrutinise all reports and make appropriate recommendations to Parliament.

“We will not hesitate to summon where appropriate heads of ministries, departments and public enterprises to appear before the committee to explain the lapses.

“The committee will also not hesitate to refer cases of fraud, abuse of office and mismanagement to the appropriate authorities to deal with.”

The vocal economist also highlighted that the last Public Accounts Committee appointed by the interim government had already prepared reports on 2007 and 2008 Auditor-General’s reports said that those reports should also be tabled in Parliament as per that Committee’s terms of reference.

“Those reports should also be made available to the new Public Accounts Committee. We are also concerned that reports of audits of statutory organisations have not been made available to Parliament.

“The Auditor-General’s Corporate Plan of 2012 talks about outputs and targets for 2012. The plan specifically states that 15 audit reports will be issued to Cabinet in 2012 through the Prime Minister and Minister for Finance.”

Prof Prasad said the only reports which were referred to in the plan and which had been made available were:

Report on audit of the whole of government accounts for 2011: and 

Reports on audits of ministries and departments under the General Administration Sector, Social Services Sector, Economic Services and Infrastructure Services Sector. 

He said the following reports the Auditor-General talked about in his Corporate Plan had not been tabled in Parliament:

Audit reports on government commercial companies, commercial statutory authorities, off-budget stage entities and majority owned entities; 

  • Audit reports on municipal councils;
  • Audit reports on provincial councils;
  • Audit reports on statutory authorities;
  • Audit reports on performance audits; and
  • Audit report on IT (Informational Technology) audit.

Fiji Times Online.

POLYNESIA

7/8) Cook Islands Budget Includes Highest Ever Figure For Education
Planned $11 million totals 13% of total government appropriation

By Emmanuel Samoglou

RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, Oct. 25, 2014) – Next week’s budget will feature over $14 million [US$11 million] in actual spending on education, says the Government, which it describes as “the highest amount ever allocated” for the sector.

According to a Government-prepared media release, spending in the sector will represent approximately 13 per cent of the total appropriation. 

A personnel budget of $9.6 million [US$7.5 million] will amount to nearly 21 per cent of the government’s total personnel budget. A further $4.4 million [US$3.5 million] is provided in operating expenditure and payments to private schools.

Minister of Education Mona Ioane said there is always more pressure to put money into education.

“Education is an important investment in our people, there is always a need for more,” said Ioane. “For example, the New Zealand Treasury outlines in the functional categorisation for expenses in 2013-14 that education was just over 14 per cent of total expenditure.”

Under the Cook Islands Party, the Government said the Ministry of Education was quarantined from savings which were applied to many other agencies, and in the 2013-14 budget, teachers’ base salaries were increased by $1.3 million.

Despite the boasts, the numbers could have the potential to disappoint. 

In the 2013-14 budget, $14.06 million was allocated towards education, excluding depreciation. Personnel costs were budgeted at $9.6 million and operating expenses at $4.4 million.

Comparing both the 2013-14 and the 2014-15 financial years, the numbers appear identical.

In an article published last August in CINews, Tereora College Principle Bali Haque described the funding of the nation’s schools “grossly inadequate”, saying education spending as a percentage of government spending and gross domestic product (GDP) has declined in the last five years.

Along similar lines, Secretary Sharyn Paio previously said the government needs to allocate adequate resources if it identifies education as a priority area for the nation’s development. 

In addition to a reported sharp drop in GDP in 2013, Finance Minister Mark Brown previously said he expected “… a number of competing priorities for government funding.”

In the Government’s statement, Ioane outlined some highlights of funding to be included in the budget.

The Government will be budgeting funds to financially support students in the Pa Enua to continue their senior secondary education at an accredited College offering the final years of formal schooling.

“Families hosting students providing them with room and board as well as pastoral and other support during their time in Rarotonga were previously paid $50 per week, this will now be increased to $100 a week,” reads the Ministry’s release. 

Under this improved scheme, 95% of the funding is distributed to caregivers and students for personal items. The remaining five per cent is utilised to meet the cost of the students’ NCEA fees and course materials. 

In addition, this scheme also meets the cost of return transport from the students’ home islands.

The Ministry says roughly 45 students benefit from the support of the allowance, which amounts to $230,000.

A further $221,000 will be provided over the next three year period to upgrade ICT equipment. This is on top of the annual $110,000 which the Ministry normally gets for equipment purchases. 

Cook Islands News

9) French Polynesia working with France on new land tribunal

27 October 2014

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French Polynesia is a step closer to establishing a land tribunal after talks in Paris between its Lands Minister and the French Overseas Minister.

No date has been given for when the body will be set up but it is likely to be funded by France.

The publisher of the Tahiti Pacifique monthly, Alex Du Prel, says land ownership issues in the territory are historical and complex.

He says if the new land tribunal does go ahead the constitution needs to be adjusted.

“So our Minister went to Paris and talked to the lady who is in charge of French justice. She said ‘yes’ she ‘might be favourable’. The problem is that all the laws that have to do with justice that apply in French Polynesia, are French laws. So they would have to go through a modification of the Constitution and so on.”

The publisher of the Tahiti Pacifique monthly, Alex Du Prel.RNZI

MICRONESIA

10) Domestic Violence Complaints Skyrocket In Marshall Islands
Heightened awareness of problem, new police unit fuel increase

By Giff Johnson

MAJURO, Marshall Islands (Marianas Variety, Oct. 27, 2014) – A sudden increase in domestic violence complaints has resulted in the Marshall Islands High Court issuing numerous restraining orders against men over the past two months.

The nine complaints of domestic violence filed by women in the High Court this year far exceeds the two violence complaints filed over the previous three years. Six of the nine complaints were filed with the High Court over the past two months.

It appears that heightened awareness of domestic violence since the passage two years ago of a law on violence against family members, coupled with a proactive domestic violence unit at the police department and quick High Court response has fueled the dramatic uptick in complaints filed by battered women.

Three female officers at the Marshall Islands Police Department have been trained to respond to domestic violence, and are assisting women to take their complaints to the High Court. They also assist the women to get medical checkups to provide reports to the court on physical injuries sustained in the assault.

The High Court has acted quickly in every instance, usually convening a hearing on the same day that the petition for a protective order is filed. In virtually all of the cases, High Court Chief Justice Carl Ingram and Associate Justice Dinsmore Tuttle issued temporary protection orders directing that the men stay at least 200 feet away from the victims.

In all of these cases, the High Court set a hearing date within a week to review whether to dismiss the protection order or extend it.

After the initial filing of the complaint and the issuance of the court order, in many cases the women either did not appear at the next scheduled hearing or, by agreement with their partners, dismissed the complaints. In the case of no shows, the judges dismissed the protection orders but said complaints could be re-filed by the victims at any time.

Police officials say a recently adopted anti-domestic violence law includes a “no drop” policy that requires police to maintain records on reports of violence even if women subsequently dismiss their complaints.

According to High Court records, there were no petitions from women seeking protection orders against abusive partners in 2011 and 2013, and only two in 2012.

Marianas Variety 

11) CNMI Senate Paves Way For Sea Touch Ocean Park
Governor must still sign bill allowing shark, stingray park

By Mark Rabago

SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, Oct. 27, 2014) – The Senate unanimously approved Friday the historic submerged land lease agreement between Sea Touch Saipan LLC and the Department of Land and Natural Resources, paving the way for the $1.125-million shark and stingray marine park project at the beachfront of Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan.

The bill, House Bill 18-198, HS1, now heads to Gov. Eloy S. Inos’ desk and if he signs it into law, it will mark the first time the islands would be profiting from its submerged lands, 10 months after President Barrack Obama signed Public Law 113-34 that gave the CNMI control of the underwater coasts of its islands.

Baldyga Group special projects director Troy Williams said, “We are extremely excited and ready to start building the operation,” when told via email that the Senate affirmed the submerged land lease with DLNR.

House Speaker Joseph P. Deleon Guerrero (Ind-Saipan) said he is very pleased and also relieved that the project is now only a step from being realized, despite all the lobbying efforts against it.

“Anybody who attended the public hearings and heard the arguments for and against it would agree that the benefits outweigh the concerns, which to me are really non-existent. [It’s] not based on science. …I’m a fisherman and I don’t agree with what was proclaimed…and I fished in that area,” he told reporters after the Senate session Friday.

The lawmaker said the $1.125-million shark and stingray marine park project would help the CNMI distinguish itself from tourist hotspots like Guam and Palau.

“I think it will go a long way in helping our destination’s enhancement efforts. This is one thing that can distinguish us from other islands. This has a potential, through word of mouth, of marketing this area even more. Best marketing is always word of mouth and we can’t even quantify what that is worth.”

One of the foremost proponents of the project, Diego Benavente, was also all smiles after the Senate passed Sea Touch’s submerged land lease deal with DLNR.

“I’m very happy, of course. This is something I’ve been helping with a good three or four months now. It’s long overdue and it’s something important for our tourism industry and I’m just so glad that the Senate acted quickly on it,” said the former lieutenant governor and House speaker.

Rep. Ramon Tebuteb (Ind-Saipan) once again testified in Friday’s session, reiterating his position that the area behind Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan are traditional fishing grounds.

He said he and over 100 people who signed the petition are not opposed to Sea Touch’s construction of temporary pens for sharks and stingrays; they just want the company to move it a little north to where Hyatt Regency Saipan’s waterfront is located.

Deleon Guerrero once again came to the defense of his bill and of Sea Touch’s project.

“He has a petition and I don’t know if all of them are fishermen. It may just be people who signed the petition to support it, I guess. Realistically, you ask around who fish there and what kind of fish do they catch. I only fish the small fish there and it’s only seasonal.”

In an earlier interview, Tebuteb showed Saipan Tribune a special permit granted by the Division of Fish & Wildlife to a group of fishermen who conducted a spearfishing competition allegedly in the area of contention.

In a Sept. 5, 2014, fishing data sheet submitted by the group to the division, it listed that it caught “71.3 lbs” of assorted fish in the disputed waters off Fiesta Resort.

Williams, during an earlier Senate hearing, said moving the project to the shallower part on Hyatt will be a deal-breaker, while moving it further out to sea will “kill” the concessionaires that use the channel for their activities. 

Saipan Tribune 

TOK PISIN

12) Vanuatu Asian Beach Volleyball Sempions

Updated 27 October 2014, 14:52 AEDT

Caroline Tiriman

Vanuatu beach volleyball team i kuin blong Asia Pacific rijan

Odio: Debbie Masafaukalo blong Vanuatu Beach Volleyball itoktok wantem Caroline Tiriman

Vanuatu nau i kamap olsem ol nambawan beach volleyball champions long Asia Pacific rijan bihaen long team blong ol  bin winim Gold  medal long bikpla beach volleyball kompetisan long Hong Kong wikend.


Despla team em Lineline Mansale  na Miller Pata  ibin winim Australia long Final aste.


Vanuatu igat strongpla beach volleyball team emi gat nem winim ol narapla kantri long Pacific rijan.


Debbie Masaufakalo tokmeri blong Vanuatu beach volleyball team na emi tokim Caroline Tiriman olsem win blong ol em blong Vanuatu na olgeta ailan kantri  long Pacific.


Lineline Mansale  na Miller Pata bai go nau long Bangkok, biktaon blong Thailand we tupla bai stap ken long narapla bikpla pilai.


Long mun bihaen despla tupla meri bai sanap makim Vanuatu long Oceania Championships long Sydney.Radio Australia

FRENCH

13) Brèves du Pacifique – lundi 27 octobre 2014

Mis à jour 27 October 2014, 17:28 AEDT

Caroline Lafargue

Canberra: 3 militants anti-burqa ont tenté de rentrer au Parlement avec leurs couvre-chefs: un casque de moto, une burqa, et un capirote – une cagoule pointue – du Ku Klux Klan. 

Burqa helmet and KKK hood at the Parliament – Mike Bowers for The Guardian

  • Un seul est sorti du contrôle de sécurité avec son couvre-chef – celui qui portait la burqa. Les deux autres ont du retirer leur casque et leur capirote pour rentrer dans le Parlement. Les trois hommes sont des membres du collectif Faceless, qui milite pour une interdiction totale de la burqa en Australie.  La semaine dernière le Parlement a levé l’interdiciton de la burqa dans le bâtiment, sur la pression du Premier ministre, Tony Abbott. Une interdiction qui n’a duré que quelques jours, car elle contrevenait aux lois fédérales contre les discriminations. Désormais, les personnes portant une burqa doivent retirer leur voile pour montrer leur visage lors du contrôle de sécurité, mais elles peuvent ensuite le remettre une fois passées les portes de sécurité.
  • Forum du Pacifique: Fidji pose ses conditions. L’opposition critique l’intransigeance du gouvernement Bainimarama. La semaine dernière le Forum des Îles du Pacifique a levé la suspension de Fidji, le Forum étant satisfait du déroulement démocratique des élections en septembre. Mais Franck Bainimarama n’a pas changé de position: il ne se réassiera à la table du Forum que si l’Australie et la Nouvelle-Zélande quittent l’organisation. Le Premier ministre fidjien estime en effet que les deux poids lourds de la region ont une trop grande influence sur les pays du Pacifique. Bainimarama souhaite aussi que le Forum accueille de nouveaux members: la Chine, les États-Unis, le Japon.
  • Braconnage dans le Pacifique: l’opération Kurukuru, c’est fini. Pendant dix jour, jusqu’à vendredi, des avions australiens, néo-zélandais, français et américains ont survolé une partie du Pacifique pendant 180 heures au total. Objectif: traquer les braconniers des mers, avec l’appui de plusieurs navires. 114 bateaux de pêche ont été inspectés, et 12 d’entre eux étaient en infraction et leurs équipages et propriétaires pourrait être poursuivis en justice. Radio Australia

PASIFIK

14) SPC and Pacific Island Farmers Organisation Network agreement signed

By Online Editor
4:56 pm GMT+12, 26/10/2014, Fiji

The Secretariat of the Pacific Community has signed a partnership agreement with the Pacific Island Farmers Organisation Network to address poverty alleviation through the promotion of agricultural livelihoods.

The partnership, which provides $400,000 support to the network in two years to December 2016, aims to also increase the contribution of the agriculture and forestry sectors to national economic growth in the Pacific region.

SPC deputy director-general Fekita ‘Utoikamanu said the partnership had been facilitated by their Land Resources Division’s intra-ACP agriculture policy program.

“The program encompasses the Pacific and Caribbean’s region, of which eight million euro ($F19.7m) has been allocated by the European Union for the Pacific component.

“The Pacific Agriculture Policy Program commenced in July this year and will run to 2017.

“APP’s main objective is to increase the capability of agricultural development organisations in the Pacific region and address the development needs of smallholder farmers by assisting them to adopt new technologies, build on traditional knowledge and strengthen linkages to markets.”

She said SPC had invested in a change process — restructuring and repositioning itself to better provide efficient and practical services delivering clear results for member countries.

“This partnership firmly places farmers at the centre of our development efforts.

“Without the hard work of our farmers, there is no food supply, no food security and it will be difficult to sustain the growth of our communities.”.

SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

WORLD

15a) Facebook’s anonymous message board app

AGENCIES

Monday, October 27, 2014

Update: 2:00PM Facebook is taking the wraps off a new app for iOS called Rooms that brings people together around their interests.

A “room” is a feed of photos, videos and text like Facebook or Instagram but the focus is on a single topic chosen by the person who created it.

Already popular on Rooms: beat boxing, Kicks from Above (cool shoes in cool places) and mouth-watering home-cooked meals, not to mention families who have ditched suburbia to raise their kids on the road and Facebook employees obsessively playing kendama, a traditional Japanese game.

For Josh Miller, Rooms is a throwback to the early days of the web when people from all over gathered in forums, message boards and chat rooms and used pseudonyms to discuss something they had in common.

As people spend more time on their phones, they are drifting away from the idea of the internet as a place to connect with people you don’t know in real life, said Miller, product manager for Rooms.

“Now you can connect with people anywhere around the world who like something as much as you do,” he said.

And in Rooms – unlike on Facebook – people will be able to use pseudonyms. That’s a major departure for Facebook, which has always insisted that people use their real names.

Rooms is the latest mobile app to emerge from Facebook’s Creative Labs.

Creative Labs is building a new generation of mobile apps as part of the company’s effort to grab people’s attention on their smartphones.

Rooms is targeting real-time conversations both public and private which are dominated by Twitter.


15b) Joko Widodo unveils Indonesia’s new cabinet, including first female foreign minister Retno Marsudi

By Online Editor
10:12 pm GMT+12, 26/10/2014, Indonesia

Indonesia’s new president has appointed the country’s first female foreign minister, who will take over the position today.

President Joko Widodo announced what he called his “working cabinet”, with eight of the 34 positions to be held by women.

“The process of cabinet appointment – I was conducting it carefully and meticulously,” Widodo said.

“It’s important because this cabinet is going to work for five years.

“These people are skilled in their fields; they have strong leadership and managerial skills.”

Key to relations with Australia is the new foreign minister Retno Marsudi, who is replacing Marty Natalegawa.

“Mrs Retno is a career diplomat,” Widodo said.

“Now she’s the ambassador in the Netherlands, she became an ambassador at a young age.

“She works hard and strong, she’s visionary.

“And now she’s the first female foreign minister for Indonesia.”

Marsudi was posted to Australia in 1991, when protestors targeted the embassy and Indonesian diplomats in Canberra over the Santa Cruz massacre by Indonesian troops in East Timor.

Her car was damaged, she was assigned police protection and her son had to  skip school.

But her decades of experience in the foreign service will benefit the new president, whose own foreign experience is limited.

Marsudi said she was waiting to hear whatWidodo wants her to focus on.

“After that I can answer the priorities of the cabinet,” she said.

Former military chiefs have been put in the powerful positions in charge of defence and security, which also deals with issues like asylum seeker boats.

Other key positions for Australia’s interests, like trade and agriculture, have gone to professionals with business backgrounds.

Joko Widodo is a reform-minded technocrat who will need to make tough decisions, analysts say.

Widodo wanted to announce his cabinet last week but the Corruption Eradication Commission eliminated at least eight names from the initial wish list.

“These people are the chosen ones, clean, that’s why I consulted the Corruption Commission and the Financial Transactions Reports and Analysis Centre over suspicion of corruption,” Widodo said.

“I wanted the right people in the job.”

Overseeing foreign affairs and defence is the coordinating minister for politics, law and security, which has been awarded to former navy chief Tedjo Edhy Purdijatno.

Coordinating ministers outrank normal ministers.

Widodo’s defence minister is another former military man, Ryamizard Ryacudu.

As army chief from 2002 to 2004, he commanded special operations in Aceh at a time when the military was accused of human rights violations there.

He also defended commandos who were later found guilty of killing a Papuan pro-independence activist, Theys Eluay, in 2003, describing the perpetrators as “heroes”.

He is close to Megawati Sukarnoputri, the matriarch of Widodo’s party, but denies that is how he got the job.

“I never asked [for a position] to Mrs Megawati or Mr Jokowi,” Ryacudu said.

“I just knew about it two to three days ago.

President Widodo has rewarded Puan Maharani, the daughter ofMegawati, with a coordinating minister position.

SOURCE: RADIO AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS

16) Calls for Jokowi to open up Papua

27 October 2014.

Human Rights Watch is calling on Indonesia’s newly-appointed president, Joko Widodo, to carry out his campaign promise to lift restrictions on foreign journalists visiting Papua.

On Friday, two French journalists were convicted for misusing their tourist visa to work in the region.

They are expected to be released today.

Human Rights Watch’s Indonesia spokesperson, Andreas Harsono, says outside access to Papua and West Papua has been restricted to foreign journalists and NGOs since the provinces were annexed in the 1960s.

Mr Harsono says journalists hoping to enter the region must apply for a permit that has the signatures of 18 ministries.

“Any beaureaucracy that requires 18 signatures to get a permit means there must be something terribly wrong in the area they want to enter. Even Jesus Christ, if he wants to visit Papua, I don’t think he would get a permit.”

Andreas Harsono says Joko Widodo must make good on his June promise to open access to West Papua.RNZI

17) Blog stirs New Caledonian leaders

27 October 2014.

There is unease among some New Caledonian leaders over accusations that officials have been blogging under pseudonyms.

The website Caledosphere has become a key platform for online political discussions and the president of the Congress Gael Yanno has publicly accused and named two Noumea officials of being behind controversial posts.

The two have denied being the person behind the blog identity, Rita.

The site’s editor, who is based in France, says efforts have intensified to curb Caledosphere.

He has assured contributors that the site is not tracking anybody’s computer.

He adds that he is being given information from a wide range of sources and warned that he would make a major revelation this week which will stun his critics.RNZI

18) Former Fiji Finance Minister unaware of military overspend

27 October 2014

Fiji’s former Minister of Finance says he was unaware of the military spending millions of dollars over its allocated budget while he was in office.

Recently released Auditor General’s reports of the last seven years show the Fiji military overspent 23 million US dollars in 2007, the year after it staged a coup.

Fiji Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry

Mahendra Chaudhry says the military has always operated independently of the Finance Ministry.

“Attempts in the past to get the military to assimilate its accounting system with that of the Finance Ministry did not succeed. They have always operated independently of the Finance Ministry and this was one of the reasons the overspending was not being properly monitored, could not be properly monitored.”

Mahendra Chaudhry says there is a lot that needs to be explained by the authorities, including overspending in other departments and money being transferred from particular allocations to other areas.RNZI

19) Fiji MPs to Visit New Zealand To Study Parliament
UNDP to facilitate EU, NZ, Australia, Japan funded project

By Atasa Moceituba

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Oct. 27, 2014) – A delegation of Members of Parliament will this week visit Wellington to study the way in which the New Zealand Parliament operates.

A statement released by the United Nations Development Programme states the visit is facilitated by UNDP which has been working to provide support to the Parliament of Fiji through a project funded by the European Union and the governments of New Zealand, Australia and Japan.

During the three-day visit, the delegation will, according to the statement, “observe proceedings in the Chamber, study the way in which committees operate, discuss the mechanisms used by the Parliaments Business Committee to arrange the Parliaments work and exchange experiences with their New Zealand counterparts as to the roles and functions of the whips in Parliament.”.

Deputy Speaker Ruveni Nadalo, Government Whip Semi Koroilavesau, Government Deputy Whip Sankit Patel, SODELPA Whip Ratu Isoa Tikoca and NFP Whip Prem Singh will be accompanied by Parliament secretary general, Viniana Namosimalua.

Fiji Times Online.

MEDIA

20a) Free-to-air Chinese movies

Ropate Valemei

Monday, October 27, 2014

A DEAL has been inked to view free-to-air Chinese movies on one of the local television stations.

Fiji Television Ltd and the Chinese Embassy inked the agreement last week in Suva.

Fiji TV chief executive Tevita Gonelevu acknowledged the Chinese Embassy for facilitating the content that would be shown on Fiji TV’s platform.

“We are quite happy that the shows will provide us with the opportunity to showcase Chinese culture on television.

“This is not only for Fiji but for the 13 countries in the Pacific region,” Mr Gonelevu said.

He said the content included TV series, dramas, cartoons and documentaries.

“We hope that this partnership will bear fruits looking forward to the future.”

Chinese Ambassador to Fiji Huang Yong said they were privileged to be a partner with the company to view their culture in the country.Fijitimes

20b ) French Journalists Convicted In Papua, Sentenced To Time Served
Dandois, Bourrat reportedly to be released on Monday

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (Pacific Scoop, Oct. 25, 2014) – Two French journalists were sentenced to two and a half months in prison yesterday for illegally reporting in Indonesia’s Papua province on tourist visas but will be released on Monday after having already served time in custody, their lawyer said.

Thomas Dandois, 40, and Valentine Bourrat, 29, were detained in August while making a documentary for Franco-German television channel Arte about the pro-independence movement in the eastern part of the West Papua region.

At their trial in Jayapura, the capital of Papua province, the pair were charged with breaking immigration laws since they were reporting on tourist, not journalist, visas – a crime punishable by up to five years in jail.

Indonesia is deeply sensitive about journalists covering Papua, where a low-level insurgency against the Jakarta government has simmered for decades, and rarely grants visas allowing foreigners to report in the region.

Prosecutors had sought a four-month sentence during the trial, which started this week, saying the journalists had admitted their mistake and apologised.

However, a panel of judges handed them a sentence of only two months and 15 days, their lawyer Aristo Pangaribuan told AFP. They will be released next week, he added.

“This decision is good because they will go home on Monday,” said the lawyer.

Legal perspective

“But from a legal perspective, this is not very good because it opens the door for the criminalisation of journalistic activities.”

They did not plan to appeal, he added.

Foreign journalists detained in the past for illegally reporting in Papua were swiftly deported.

Indonesia’s Independent Alliance of Journalists (AJI) has said this is the first time that foreign journalists have been tried for immigration violations in Papua.

Andreas Harsono, a Jakarta-based researcher for Human Rights Watch, urged Indonesia to overhaul the complex system for foreign journalists to apply for visas to report on Papua.

Currently, 18 different government agencies have to approve a foreign journalist visa for Papua, he said.

“Reporters won’t use tourist visas if it is fair to apply for journalist ones,” he said.

Dandois was detained at a hotel in the city of Wamena with members of pro-independence group the Free Papua Movement (OPM) and Bourrat was detained shortly afterwards, according to authorities.

The OPM has been at the forefront of the fight against the central government in the resource-rich region, which is poor and ethnically Melanesian.

In Paris, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) welcomed the imminent release of Dandois and Bourrat.

But RSF also criticised the fact that they were found guilty despite their right under international treaties to gather information as journalists.

“It is a big relief to know that Dandois and Bourrat will soon be released,” RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire. “Any other outcome would have set a terrible precedent for media freedom in Indonesia. We stress that, according to the principles of international law, they did not commit any crime by courageously undertaking their investigative reporting in Indonesia.”

Pacific Scoop
All editorial and news content produced under the principles of Creative Commons. Permission to republish with attribution may be obtained from the Pacific Media Centre – pmc@aut.ac.nz

21) TVNZ Plan To Outsource Maori, Pacific Programming Criticized
New Zealand broadcaster claims it remains committed to communities

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (Pacific Scoop, Oct. 25, 2014) – The move by Television New Zealand to outsource production of its Māori and Pacific programmes is catastrophic for the communities it serves in New Zealand and the region, says the Auckland-based Pacific Islands Media Association (PIMA).

PIMA says in a statement it is devastated by the announcement that may see the break-up of a team dedicated to analysing news in the Pacific community and making great informed programmes.

PIMA chair Sandra Kailahi is shocked to learn that TVNZ would consider such a move when the Pacific community in New Zealand is often misunderstood and then reported on without context or knowledge.

TVNZ chief executive Kevin Kenrick says the move would align Māori and Pacific programmes such as Marae, Waka Huia, Fresh and Tagata Pasifika with other TVNZ-commissioned local productions and create an attractive opportunity for New Zealand’s independent production community.

“We remain fully committed to reflecting New Zealand’s unique cultural identity and diversity on screen and we respect our special role under legislation to do so. The obligation is set, our commitment remains – what we want to do is to step aside from the in-house production of these programmes,” he is reported to have said.

The PIMA executive believes it will be difficult for outside organisations to match the knowledge, institutional background and cultural understanding amassed at TVNZ in Māori and Pacific progamming.

No-one told

No-one in the Māori and Pacific unit was told about the move and that also applied to the funding agencies.

PIMA believes outsourcing has consistently proved to be very difficult to manage and many New Zealanders will be familiar with the disaster that happened when the Education Ministry moved the teacher payroll to an Australian company called Talent 2.

Kailahi said that if the team was split then the programming would be a disaster for TVNZ as a regional centre of excellence and as a trusted source for accurate Pacific news.

PIMA said it was strongly opposed to this “short-sighted move” by TVNZ but was heartened to hear that the television company has firmly stated all programmes in the department are still in the current schedule and would continue.

According to PIMA, it is expected that a Pacific production company should produce Tagata Pasifika and Fresh and that the programmes should not be treated like the current stable of cooking, gardening or DIY shows as they both serve an important sector of New Zealand’s society.

Pacific Scoop
All editorial and news content produced under the principles of Creative Commons. Permission to republish with attribution may be obtained from the Pacific Media Centre – pmc@aut.ac.nz

22) Media remains independent despite Government funding says Samoan Prime Minister

By Online Editor
8:21 pm GMT+12, 26/10/2014, Samoa

Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi has made it clear in parliament Friday that the media remains independent despite likely Government funding to assist the Council establish itself in its initial phase of its their work.

However, Opposition Leader Palusalue Faapo 11 firmly believes the media’s independence will be jeopardized because of this financial assistance.

The issue raised concerns amongst some Parliamentarians; however, they changed their views after  clarification by the Prime Minister who tabled the Media Council Bill.

Using the Opposition Party Tautua Samoa as an example, Tuilaepa said the financial assistance given to the Media Council is the same as the financial assistance given to Tautua Samoa.

Directing the question to Palusalue, Tuilaepa asked if he (Palusalue) has succumbed to the wishes of the Government.

He reminded Palusalue that as a former Minister for Communications and the media, he should know about these things.

“There are other councils and organisations funded by the government but it has not changed their negative opinions and criticisms of the Government.

Tuilaepa said Government has previously been asked and give its support to the local media when it hosted international conferences in Samoa because it did not have the financial backing to do these things well.

“But has that changed the negative criticisms of Government by the media?” he asked.

Meanwhile, former District Court Judge Lefau Harry Schuster has commended the Journalist Association of Samoa (JAWS) for setting up a Media Council as a statutory body.

In an interview with Talamua, Lefau said “not many organisations in Samoa are established as statutory bodies.”

Lefau was referring to the establishment of a Media Council that will be administered by the Journalists of Samoa JAWS which is the process of being established as a legal entirty as a statutory body. The Media Council Bill has passed the second reading in parliament and is now in the committee which is to report back to parliament for the Bills third and final reading.

Established in the 1970’s, JAWS was previously registered as an Association under Ministry of Commerce Industry & Labour (MCIL). However, due to non-compliance in filing annual returns, JAWS was de-registered in 2012 on MCIL’s advice to de-register then have the association re-registered as a new association.

Following a year-long lapse and without a clear explanation from MCIL, the association was written into the Bill that will now establish a Media Council. JAWS will be along the same status as a few other legal entities such as the Samoa Law Society, the Accountants Society and the Doctors Association.

“As a statutory body, there are rules and regulations that guide and protect the media,” said Lefau.

“You can’t get that protection being registered as an association with MCIL,” said Lefau.

He said the Media Council Bill is good for the media.

When it becomes law, the Media Council Bill has a complaints procedure and mechanism to deal with complaints from the general public against the media.

The Council also has the potential to assist in the professional development of the media.

Member of Parliament (MP) for Faleata West Lealailepule Rimoni Aiafi said JAWS should be a separate entity from the Media Council.

He believes since the Council is now a legislated body, JAWs freedom of expression could be affected.

However, Lefau said the Bill is very clear on the distinct roles to be played by JAWS as the professional body and the Council as the regulatory body for the media and its work.

During the wide consultations to set up the Media Council and the Bill that now establishes the media body JAWS as a statutory body, senior media practitioners suggested that the Government to provide initial funding for the Council to set up and funding to be phased out over a period of time when the council should be self-sustaining.

The Media Council Bill is now with the Select Parliamentary Committee for further scrutiny and for public submissions then it reports back to Parliament for the third and final reading…..PACNEWS

SOURCE: TALAMUA ONLINE/PACNEWS

LAW&ORDER

23) Ex-combatants want involvement in operation

By Online Editor
4:44 pm GMT+12, 26/10/2014, Papua New Guinea

The ex-combatants from South, Central and North Bougainville have been in discussion with the Autonomous Bougainville Government last week.

The purpose of their meeting was to find ways on how former fighters who have been part of the Bougainville Peace Agreement (BPA) can be involved in the operation render safe 2014 that is currently being conducted by the Australian Defence Force (ADF) to clear live war ordinance and ammunitions in Torokina district.

Former hardliners Sam Kaouna, Thomas Tari and other ex-combatants were present to table their views and concerns on the operation.

Kaouna said they have not been consulted by the ABG regarding their last meeting on 28 August this year whether an agreement has been signed or not.

He said since the ADF team was already on the ground and in due respect of their legitimate government, they have to involve their men in case of any precise confrontation that might be faced from the people of Torokina.

ABG Member for Torokina, Steven Suako said he stands firm on his decision that the ABG must have development plans for his people in place in order for this exercise to take place.

All parties have come to a common understanding to have this issue put forward urgently with a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that was drafted and aligned with the BPA with issues raised by the combatants.

The contents of the MoU will be released once it is signed by the president, the high commissioner and the ex-combatants.

“We must have our men in there so there is a positive feedback to their communities to minimise or link any suspicion from the people regarding the engagement of the ADF,”  Kaouna said.

Chairman of South Bougainville Veterans,Thomas Tari said the ABG’s lack of consultation on the issue has caused a lot of anxiety amongst the ex-combatants so they could not educate their people about the operation.

He said they have met with ABG President John Momis and presented a draft MOU and are looking forward to working together.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

24) East Timor government to sack foreign judges, advisers

By Online Editor
10:14 pm GMT+12, 26/10/2014, Timor-leste

East Timor, a country that counts Australia as a major donor, is sacking all the foreign judges and advisers in its justice system.

The decision was made in a closed session of parliament in Dili on Friday night amid concerns about the judiciary’s handling of a bitter dispute between East Timor and oil companies operating in the Timor Sea.

The resources companies, such as ConocoPhillips, have been challenging AUD$360 million in tax payments and in the Dili courts the cases have not been going East Timor’s way.

The Timorese government had criticised the way the public prosecutor handled the cases and argued the courts had misunderstood the country’s tax laws.

“There has been some issues regarding decisions that were made that did not comply with our laws,” said Joao Goncalves, a former government minister who works in the office of Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao.

The parliamentary vote to sack the international judges was not unanimous, with some members of the opposition Fretilin party voting against it.

They were worried the decision would be seen as interference in the justice system.

But Goncalves insisted the resolution was justified.

“Of course, you know, for the government and for the national parliament of course to act on that,” he said.

As a young developing nation, East Timor relied on international staff to help establish its judicial system.

But the parliament’s resolution said the international staff lacked capacity to do their jobs, let alone to train and empower East Timorese judicial officers

The East Timor government was cancelling their contracts, whether they were judges from Portuguese-speaking countries or international advisers working in bodies such as the anti-corruption commission.

“This is correct, yes all the international judges and advisers within the judicial system, which means with the courts, the prosecutor’s office and everything that is the judicial system,” Goncalves said.

He said East Timor could seek help from bodies such as the NSW Judicial Commission to help with an audit of the justice system.

Earlier this year, the outgoing president of East Timor’s highest court, Claudio Ximenes, raised concerns about the judicial system.

AM obtained his resignation letter. He wrote that what was happening constituted a violation of the principles on which justice was founded.

He argued that a corruption case involving a government minister was compromised because judges were asked to make assessments of their own decisions.

SOURCE: RADIO AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS

25) Solomons Has First Ever Female Deputy Police Commissioner
Commissioner Prendergast touts Juanita Matanga’s experience, dedication

By Jeremy Inifiri

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Oct. 24, 2014) – Juanita Matanga has created history by becoming the first female Police Officer to be promoted as Deputy Commissioner, the second in charge of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF).

Commissioner Frank Prendergast revealed this at a press conference on Thursday.

Mr Prendergast said that the promotion of Ms Matanga was indeed an excellent decision for the future of the RSIPF.

“With her vast experience, knowledge, dedication and hard work, Juanita Matanga deserves the rank that she has been promoted to.

“Her leadership qualities displayed throughout her time as Acting Commissioner has been amazing and therefore is the rightful choice of being the Deputy Commissioner of the RSIPF,” Mr Prendergast said.

Mr Prendergast also highlighted that leadership in Policing is of great importance as it requires time, dedication and experience.

Asked on her reaction towards the promotion, Ms Matanga said that she was indeed honoured to have been promoted to one of the highest ranks within the RSIPF, adding that with that she also knows her responsibilities and what is expected of her from the RSIPF, the Government and the people of Solomon Islands.

She added that working together is vital toward the development of the RSIPF and also in the development of the country.

“The key is to work together with my executive colleagues, the entire force and also the general public as together we can help build an even more peaceful and better Solomon Islands,” Ms Matanga said.

Along with Ms Matanga, 13 other senior officers were promoted yesterday.

Solomon Star

26) UN to review Fiji Human Rights laws

By Online Editor
8:22 pm GMT+12, 26/10/2014, Fiji

-Fiji’s Human Rights laws will be reviewed during the twentieth session of the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) which commences tomorrow.

The meeting will be held in Geneva from 27 October to 7 November where 14 States including Fiji are scheduled to have their human rights records examined under this mechanism.

A statement from the UN’s office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights says reviewing of Fiji’s Human Rights laws is scheduled for Wednesday 29th October.

The group of States to be reviewed by the Universal Periodic Review Working Group during this session are (in order of scheduled review): Italy, El Salvador, Gambia, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Fiji, San Marino, Kazakhstan, Angola, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Madagascar, Iraq, Slovenia, Egypt and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The meeting will take place in Room 20 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. Representatives from the countries concerned would go before the Working Group, which comprises the entire membership of the 47-member Human Rights Council.

This is where they will need to present efforts they have made in fulfilling their human rights obligations and commitments, assessing both positive developments and identifying challenges.

The twentieth session is the eighth of the Universal Periodic Review Working Group to be held during the second cycle of the Universal Periodic Review process.

As an integral part of the second cycle of the Universal Periodic Review, States under Review are expected to spell out the steps they have taken to implement accepted recommendations posed to them during their first review, as well as present developments that occurred since the previous review and share challenges in their follow-up action.

The session will see an interactive dialogue between the country under review and the Council takes place.

After the review which will not take longer than four hours, an additional half hour will be devoted to the adoption of the Working Group’s report for each country.

The first universal periodic review (UPR) cycle, emphasized that Fiji considered it was its “obligation to ensure that it ratifies all core human rights conventions” in a “time frame of 10 years”.

SOURCE: FIJI LIVE/PACNEWS

CLIMATE CHANGE,CONSERVATION & ENVIROMENT

27a) ’Cyclones for Fiji’

By Online Editor
10:06 pm GMT+12, 26/10/2014, Fiji

There is a possibility of two tropical cyclones hitting Fiji between the November to April cyclone season with one possibly reaching category three.

And there is a high probability that these cyclones will pass close to, or over, the northern and eastern parts of Fiji.

This has been forecasted in the Fiji Meteorological Service annual Tropical Season Outlook released Saturday.

The outlook predicts the possible tropical cyclones would also bring about heavy rainstorms.

Permanent secretary for Infrastructure and Transport, Commander Francis Kean said while the tropical cyclones were predictions only, it was critical that communities across Fiji acted responsibly and paid close attention to all weather updates issued by the Fiji Meteorological Service and Government.

“It is very important that Fijians are quick to heed warnings and take the necessary precautions in order to save lives and protect property,” he said.

Cdr Kean said there were higher than average chances that severe tropical cyclones would affect the region this season.

He said based on the latest information, tropical cyclone activity for Wallis and Futuna, Tuvalu, Samoa, Niue, Tonga, Southern Cook Islands, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu were predicted to be high while cyclone activity for Fiji, New Caledonia, Northern Cook Islands and French Polynesia were predicted to be moderate and cyclone activity for Tokelau was predicted to be low.

Cdr Kean said the chances of severe cyclones were high this season for Tuvalu, Samoa, Niue, Tonga, Southern Cook Islands, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands and moderate for Fiji, New Caledonia, Northern Cook Islands and French Polynesia and low for Kiribati, Tokelau and Wallis and Futuna.

The official 2014/2015 tropical cyclone season begins on November 1 and ends on April 30 next year and the peak period for cyclones in the region is usually from January to March.

SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

27b) Identifying Fiji turtles

Luke Rawalai

Monday, October 27, 2014

IN what is regarded as a revolutionary phase for turtle conservation works, WWF Pacific and the University of the South Pacific will soon begin genetic works on sea turtles to identify those that were hatched on Fijian shores.

Speaking during an interview WWF Pacific’s Marine Species co-ordinator, Ilaitia Tamata said this would involve extracting of genetic tissue samplings in turtles to determine a code that would set Fijian turtles apart from other turtles that traversed the world’s oceans.

Mr Tamata said through the genetic project, they would be able to identify which turtles were from Fiji — enabling them to concentrate and collect data on a specific species of turtles.

“The project will begin next year as funding will be given by USP,” Mr Tamata said.

“The project is mainly aimed at determining the species of turtles that originate from Fiji to streamline the scope of our data collection.

“At the moment we cannot specifically say whether there has been an increase or decrease in sea turtles around the country because we cannot establish which turtles exactly originate from our waters.”

Mr Tamata said as a migratory species, other turtles migrating from other areas around the globe also visited Fiji waters.Fijitimes

27c) Voices of the isles rise to the world

Ana Madigibuli

Monday, October 27, 2014

SEEING the Pacific Ocean rapidly change because of climate change was the reason behind Colin Philp’s move into becoming one of Fiji’s climate warriors.

Mr Philp, who turned 50 last week, said the best part of his life was spent sailing the beautiful Pacific Ocean.

He said seeing the rapid change in the ocean had made him realise that he needed to be part of something that protected the ocean in the Pacific.

“Over the past 50 years, I have noticed the difference, especially in the ocean and the local environment,” he said.

“I haven’t always been a climate change warrior but being so close to the ocean all my life, I noticed the changes taking place and the fact that the ocean is changing so rapidly is what made me so conscious of what we do have here in the Pacific.

“I have just become very passionate about protecting the ocean and at a young age, I have been into sailing as my father built sailing boats in the past.”

In 1972, Colin did his first ocean crossing.

“The fact that our waters are changing is the reason for The Mua Voyage to Australia, which is to take the message to the Western world.

“Everyone knows how important the Pacific Ocean is, as every second breath we take comes from the ocean.

“And a lot of pollution from the land ends up in the ocean so it is important for us to make the journey to the IUCN World Parks Congress.”

He said a lot of young people were on The Mua Voyage because it was important to teach young people about protecting their ocean and environment and the importance of traditional sailing too.

The voyagers — who had entered Australian waters last night, headed for their first stop on the Gold Coast in Queensland — are on board Samoa’s Gaualofa, Marumaru Atua of the Cook Islands and Fiji’s Uto Ni Yalo.

Maori voyagers on board the Haunui were racing across from New Zealand to join the Mua fleet, who are expected to arrive on the Gold Coast late Tuesday or Wednesday.

Most of the Fijians who sailed with the Pacific Voyagers to Tahiti (2009-2010) and to the Americas and returned in 2012 under the captainship of Johnathan Smith, were co-trained by Mr Philp.

This voyage has more significance for him and the veterans of traditional Pacific sailing as their message goes on to the international stage in front of world leaders.

These campaigners are fighting the pollution of the ocean and showing the answers in sustainable development of Pacific island nations.

Being able to celebrate his 50th birthday at a time where warriors from the Pacific are making a difference in the IUCN World Parks Congress in Australia was a great birthday gift for Mr Philp.Fijitimes

SPORTS.

28a) NZ takes lead in OFC tournament

27 October 2014

The second round of the OFC Women’s Nations Cup will be played in Papua New Guinea today.

Tonga will play the Cook Islands which both lost the weekend’s first round matches.

Tonga lost to New Zealand 17-0 while the Cook Islands went down one goal to four to host Papua New Guinea.

The second match today will see the PNG play New Zealand.

The OFC Head of Competitions Michael Song says there is a lot at stake in the four-team tournament.

“The winner of this tournament will not just be crowned Oceania champions but they will also be qualified for 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada. That takes place in June and July next year. Whoever comes through I’m sure they will represent our region proudly.”RNZI

28b) Packer becomes new co-owner of Rabbitohs

Abc

Monday, October 27, 2014

Billionaire James Packer has joined Russell Crowe as co-owner of NRL premiers South Sydney.

Packer has purchased Peter Holmes a Court’s 37.5 per cent share in the Rabbitohs with the deal signed off early on Thursday morning, ensuring the long term financial viability of the club.

Rabbitohs chairman, Nicholas Pappas, said in a statement released to club members: “I join with the Rabbitohs senior management team, our staff and our Members in welcoming James Packer to the Rabbitohs family.”

Packer, chairman of Consolidated Press Holdings, said: “This is a very proud day for my family.

“My father had a long history and association with Souths and to now be a co-owner with Russell Crowe and the members is an honour and a privilege.”

Pappas thanked Holmes a Court for his contribution to the Rabbitohs.

“A number of the new initiatives the Rabbitohs embarked upon since privatisation began with Peter, and he has undoubtedly played an integral part in our transformation,” he said.

“I know that he will remain a devoted member and active participant in all that we do.

“Today is the commencement of a new era for the Rabbitohs as we mark another milestone in our quest to make our club the benchmark in Australian sport in terms of success both on and off the field and through community engagement.

“I look forward to working with James, Russell and our devoted members to make this happen.”

Holmes a Court praised the support of the members during his time with the club.

“The members have now saved this club twice, and with their continued support, future success is assured,” he said.

Packer’s stake is set to be officially announced this afternoon.

28c) Maloney names his Thursday night NRC dream team

News.com.au

Monday, October 27, 2014

Update: 7:00PM THE National Rugby Championship enters its final week, with Brisbane City to host Perth Spirit in the inaugural grand final on Saturday night at Ballymore.

The first edition of the NRC has seen tries by the truckload, big hits, running rugby and the odd head-scratching moment.

Commentator Sean Maloney has called all the matches broadcast live on Fox Sports on Thursday nights throughout the season, which kicked off back when Brisbane City hosted Sydney Stars on August 21.

To celebrate NRC grand final week, Maloney has named his best 15 from those televised matches. Its the players who aimed up under the bright lights of the TV cameras, its the Thursday night NRC dream team.

THURSDAY NIGHT NRC DREAM TEAM

1. Lee Makin (UC Vikings)  The first player in the NRC to gain a full-time Super Rugby contract off the back of his work in the Championship. Hes on board with the Brumbies next year, a handy pick-up for Stephen Larkham.

2. Lala Lam (UC Vikings)  This guy is a bona-fide bone-crusher. When he hit blokes in defence they generally required a complete rib realignment. Line-out throwing needs plenty of work but was great around the field and at scrum-time.

3. Mitch Lewis (North Harbour Rays)  Scored world rugby’s first ever own try and dominated in general play. Held his own against a number of far more experienced props, and can play both sides of the scrum. An NRC success story.

4. Jarred Barry (Greater Sydney Rams)  This bloke is still quite raw but under the guidance of a Super Rugby set-up, could be anything. Giant unit, has silky offloading skills, gives punch in tight and out wide too.

5. Dave McDuling (captain, Brisbane City)  Has led his team to the Big Dance beautifully. Exceptional work-rate, durable and extremely fit. Captains our TNF Dream XV to boot.

6. Tala Grey (NSW Country Eagles)  Has just one Super-Rugby cap to his name with the Waratahs but expect that to become many more in years to come. Another guy who dominated in the rough stuff, explosive with the ball, classy.

7. Sean McMahon (Melbourne Rising)  Buildcorp NRC Player of the year. He’s a machine in every sense of the word and has been rewarded with a Wallabies Spring Tour spot. No-nonsense kid who just got it done.

8. Sam Ward (North Harbour Rays)  One of the shining lights out of the Warringah club. Fearless trucking the ball up, just as game when tackling. Jagged a hat-trick of tries in match vs grand finalists Perth Spirit.

9. Nick Frisby (Brisbane City)  Turned the NRC into his own playground, dummying here, goose stepping there flick passing at will. Key to Brisbane City’s charge to the GF.

10. Jack Debreczeni (Melbourne Rising)  All but assured himself the starting flyhalf position for the Melbourne Rebels next year. Mixed his game up superbly, unleashed his dangerous backline at will and also kicked smartly. Bright future for Jack.

11. Andrew Kellaway (NSW Country Eagles)  The 19-year-old we dubbed The Fire back in round three finished as the top-try scorer in the Championship. There’s still a bit to learn, but his balance at full-tilt was beautiful to watch.

12. Samu Kerevi (Brisbane City)  Had himself a party in the inaugural match of the Buildcorp National Rugby Championship and he just kept charging. Always broke the first-up tackle, offloaded well in contact and was unstoppable at times.

13. Ed Stubbs (NSW Country Eagles)  Lethal in defence and rock solid in attack. Always looking to pump up his teammates, rounded out one of the tries of the year v North Harbour Rays.

14. Chris Kuridrani (Brisbane City)  Appears to have spent hours studying tapes of Henry Speight because the similarities are uncanny. Spins into and out of tackles with ease, has great feet and can offload out of the darkest corners. Will have Reds coach Richard Graham smiling in the pre-season.

15. Dave Feltscheer (North Harbour Rays)  The fullback from Sydney’s Northern Beaches is built like a matchstick and can spark things just as well. He excelled in the broken field, is deceptively strong and proved to be a top finisher.

28d) South African football captain Senzo Meyiwa shot dead

AP

Monday, October 27, 2014

Update: 11:00AM South Africa captain Senzo Meyiwa has died after being shot on Sunday, South African police said in a statement without giving any further details.

The 27-year-old Meyiwa was a goalkeeper for Orlando Pirates and had captained South Africa in their last four matches in the African Nations Cup qualifiers.

“We can confirm that Bucs (Pirates) keeper Senzo Meyiwa has been shot and sadly declared dead on arrival at hospital,” the South African Police Service (SAPS) said on its twitter feed.

Meyiwa had played on Saturday when his side advanced to the semi-finals of the South African League Cup.

29) Beaten City keen to move on

Aap

Monday, October 27, 2014

MELBOURNE – Melbourne City boss John van ‘t Schip isn’t sure how his side lost their advantage or their nerves in the Melbourne derby on Saturday night, but he isn’t about to panic.

Three games into the Manchester-sponsored City revolution and van ‘t Schip’s men are yet to register an A-League win.

Though their first-half effort in the derby showed all the right signs.

City were bright and determined, with Damien Duff sharp on the wing and Aaron Mooy a force in midfield.

They deservedly led twice, with Robbie Wielaert and Jason Hoffman heading home before they let it all slip away.

Two Besart Berisha goals a minute either side of the halftime break rocked City, falling to 5-2 loss.

Gone was their lead and midfield discipline.

City allowed Victory to run rampant in the second half.

Now van ‘t Schip must discover what went wrong.

“The 3-2, the boys didn’t recover from that and that’s something that we should analyse and talk about because you have to be mentally strong,” he said.

“You have to be concentrated and know what you’re doing.

“After the halftime break we were just not there.”

Van ‘t Schip said the biggest disappointment was not failing on the big derby stage but not playing to their potential.

30) England beats Samoa in Nations thriller

Abc

Monday, October 27, 2014

England has overcome an early attack of the dropsies and a ferocious Samoan outfit to open the Four Nations rugby league tournament with a 32-26 victory in a 10-try thriller at Lang Park.

Both sides crossed five times in a highly entertaining tournament opener on Saturday afternoon but, in the end, it was goalkicking which cost Samoa a slice of history.

No fourth nation has tasted victory in the tournament but the Pacific Island underdogs were well on track by grabbing the lead midway through the second half. Down 20-10 on a hot Brisbane day, the Samoans — and the 35,000-plus crowd — roared to life when super-sub Pita Godinet darted over for two dummy-half tries in five minutes.

But their hopes of a stunning upset were effectively bombed in England’s next two sets when Matty Smith kicked swirling high balls which full-back Tim Simona could not defuse.

While it has been the Burgess twins who have attracted most of the English attention, it was another pair of brothers, the Tomkins, who ultimately sealed the result with Joel and Sam crossing from the Smith bombs for a 32-22 advantage.

Samoa, brilliantly led by Frank Pritchard and Josh McGuire, rallied when Pritchard showed Simona how it was done to set up winger Antonio Winterstein.

Only desperate scrambling English defence prevented golden-point extra-time and another loss like their pre-World Cup ambush by Italy last year.

Gareth Widdop’s six-from-six goalkicking effort compared to three from five by the Samoans proved the difference.

www.voiceofmelanesia.com

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