Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1041 ( Sunday 9 November 2014 )
1) PNG Commits To Integrating Papuan Refugees From Indonesia
Tens of thousands living in camps for decades to get citizenship
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Nov. 6, 2014) – Papua New Guinea has committed to integrating Papuans who fled across the border from Indonesia.
The PNG foreign minister, Rimbink Pato, says West Papuan refugees will be issued a PNG passport or certificate of identity.
Mr Pato says the process will happen over the next 12 months and will be assisted by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
He says most West Papua refugees have already met the requirements for PNG citizenship and the government will waive the application fees.
Tens of thousand of West Papuans have fled the Indonesian-controlled provinces bordering PNG, with many having lived in makeshift refugee camps for decades.
Mr Pato says those asylum seekers held by Australia in its Manus detention centre who get refugee status will be given training in English, Tok Pisin and PNG culture.
He says non-refugees will be required to leave PNG either voluntarily or through deportation.
Radio New Zealand International
2) New Caledonia Must Protect Nickel Resources: Dang
Benefits of industry could be threatened by foreign interests
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Nov. 5, 2014) – A leading figure in New Caledonia’s nickel sector has warned against possible outside predators in the industry, which is the territory’s economic backbone.
Andre Dang, who has been instrumental in developing the nickel plant in the north, made the comment in an interview with the Nouvelles Caledoniennes newspaper after being appointed to run the board of the three provinces’ joint industry company.
Mr Dang says there is a need to secure the territory’s nickel resource, saying New Caledonia’s stake in companies like Eramet is small.
Eramet is the parent company of SLN which runs the territory’s oldest smelter in Noumea.
He says as a listed company, Eramet could be taken over with catastrophic results for the territory.
Mr Dang is also wary of the Chinese involvement with the local Mai group as their plans to build a smelter in Vanuatu could depress prices.
He says the nickel ore reserves are not unlimited and it’s advisable to produce nickel for as long as possible at a price as high as possible.
Radio New Zealand International
3) Vanuatu daily news digest 8 November 2014
Radio Vanuatu began at 6 by telling us the bulletin would be heard at 12.
- The Independent headlined with someone on drug charges being an ‘anti-drug activist’.
- Daily Post did, however, cover the opening of the new Central Hospital Outpatients Deprtment, pharmacy, emergency admissions, laboratory, radiology and the new VCH operating theatres. All this took place yesterday.
- Daily Post states that PM Natuman will be meeting with French President Hollande of France next weekend or on the Monday. This will take place in New Caledonia, and details are being finalized, French Ambassador Boispéan confirmed.
- Post also has the Clerk of Parliament insisting on an apology from the Acting Commissioner of Police who is frequently heard on national radio, the Acting Commissioner most recently having refused a march by the Vanuatu People’s Investment Equity Fund about which little is known. Acting Commissioner Maralau made various allegations concerning the Clerk, subsequently denied by Clerk Kalnpel.
- Post has the team investigating the loss of the landing craft MGY reporting full cooperation from everyone able to help. Team Leader Richard Coleman (CEO of the Vanuatu Maritime College) said there was “full cooperation from all persons interviewed.”
- In Vanuatu Times the mamas of the Seafront are being given 3 months notice to remove their stalls to Dumbea owing to development at the site.
- In the Times former PM Moana Carcasses is still promising million vatu loans to MPs in a ‘special project fund’ in connection with a Motion of No Confidence over which he has not yet condescended to give us a reason. One is forced to assume he wishes to buy back his old job on the hill. Times understands the funds are provided locally, forcing one to wonder who would have this kind of money and with whom Carcasses hangs out.
4) Vanuatu daily news digest | 7 November 2014
- Radio Vanuatu News reports questions concerning exam papers for Year 12, allegedly containing many mistakes, raised by the Luganville lycée. It was said these mistakes are likely to have confused the students. VBTC also refers to the new Vanuatu centred curriculum being introduced in certain classes from next year.
- Daily Post today leads with the Airports Vanuatu Limited Portfolio being moved back to Infrastructure from Foreign Affairs following the court hearing a week ago which changed the board back to the previous one and following orders from the shareholders, the ministers of finance and infrastructure. More is likely to be heard concerning these moves in due course.
- More is also likely to be heard concerning the refusal to permit a march through townin support of the Vanuatu people’s Investment and Equity Fund because of the Commissioner of Police not approving. He is said to have refused because a leader of the march was Parliament Clerk Louis Kalnpel “a member of a hoax agent recruiting ni-Vanuatu for Australia.” This curious statement was never explained. Nor has the Fund been adequately introduced by its leaders.
- A meeting between high officials of the Co-operatives Department and MSG has explored ways in which the MSG could assist Vanuatu in trade agreements and capacity development. Practical points were the constraints found by local producers such as lack of availability of equipment to produce cassava or manioc flour which could be exported to Fiji and New Caledonia.
- A Vanuatu Economics Society has been launched. The President is Dr Hililan of the Reserve Bank. Vice President is David Hopa at the MSG. The Society wants to to encourage members to engage in debate on economic issues.
- In Daily Post Letters today the Vanuatu Seafarers’ Association points out to the Vanuatu Shipping Registry that 7,000 seafarers have been trained by the Vanuatu Maritime College without any provision having been made by government or the shipping registry for them to be placed on Vanuatu flag-carrying ships of the registry.
5) Accountability push in Tonga election
7 November 2014
Three weeks out from elections in Tonga, the Democratic Party says it will be pushing for the next Cabinet to comprise only politicians elected by the people.
Tonga’s governments have always been dominated by the nobility and the Lord Tu’ivakano administration over the past four years has been no exception.
The Democrats leader, Akilisi Pohiva, says this is something the democracy movement has been pushing for more than 30 years.
He says it would ensure accountability to the people, which is vital for the country if it is to make progress on issues like governance and economic development.
“Accountability is very important. Members of Cabinet have to be accountable to the people and now we have split accountability. The Prime Minister as a member of Parliament, as a member of the nobility – he was elected by the nobles – he is not accountable to the people.”
Akilisi Pohiva says the Democrats will also want a law change to have the nobles elected by the people.RNZI
6) Faleomavaega not ready to retire from politics
8 November 2014
American Samoa’s Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin says he may have lost Tuesday’s Congressional elections but he is not yet ready to throw in the towel and quit local politics.
The 70 year-old, who has been American Samoa’s delegate to Congress for nearly 30 years, was beaten by challenger Aumua Amata in the election.
He concedes that his health was one of the main factors contributing to the results but also credits his long time political foe and now Congresswoman elect Aumua Amata for running an effective campaign.
He told KHJ News he was surprised by the results.
“I didn’t expect it but you know that’s what democracy is all about. The will of the people has been expressed and I want to congratulate Amata for wonderfully taking the campaign that I thought was very, very well productive and she did a fantastic job and I have to commend her for that.”
Faleomavaega says he is finishing a book that he’s written on and off and will then contemplate his next move but he’s certain that he’s not retiring from politics.
He returns this weekend to Washington D.C. with his wife Hinanui Hunkin and will prepare to vacate his office by the December 31st.RNZI
7) Budget Bashing In Full Force In Cooks Parliament
Opposition criticizes inaccuracies in Finance Minister’s speech
By Phillipa Webb
RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, Nov. 5, 2014) – Budget bashing was in full force in Parliament yesterday as reading of the appropriation bill continued.
One Cook Islands Party leader Teina Bishop again rose to challenge Finance Minister Mark Brown on his financial statement at the first reading of the appropriation bill.
After months of delay due to July’s snap elections, a budget with details on government spending for the remainder of the financial year was tabled in Parliament last week.
Brown said the Government planned to spend in three key areas – education, health, and infrastructure.
But yesterday, Bishop spent a lengthy speech criticising mistakes and inaccuracies in the speech made by Brown last week.
On Tuesday Brown admitted the copies of the statement given to members of parliament were in fact a draft, littered with spelling errors, missing words and incorrect sections.
He asked the House to disregard the draft copy and submitted a fresh copy of the speech.
“I take full responsibility for this mistake,” he said.
But Bishop addressed Parliament in a rage, saying, “Madame Speaker this is so messy”.
“Someone did not do their job properly – the excuse provided is not accepted by people of this house.
“This speech is so important – it paves the principles and merits of the actual bill.”
Sounds of agreement could be heard from the opposition.
Democratic Party member Albert Nicholas said the budget spending allocations saddened him, particularly the Cook Island’s reliance on overseas aid.
“There is no free lunch when you are dealing with China. The more reliance, the more we will have to make compromises.
How many more years will our children have to live off handouts – our latest debt level is the highest and biggest cancer we have.”
Nicholas also defended claims in the CINews Smoke Signals in Monday’s edition that he “picked on a minor” at the Avatiu sports clubhouse at the weekend.
“I’m a lover not a fighter,” he said.
Debates on the budget will continue this week.
Cook Islands News
8) Tokelau starts preparation for Cyclone season
By Online Editor
3:05 pm GMT+12, 05/11/2014, Tokelau
Tokelau shifts gear in its preparation after an overview in cyclone forecast prediction. Tropical cyclone within the Pacific region has increase 55% (14 tropical cyclones) above average from 1 November to the end of April next year.
Office of the Council for the Ongoing Government says the Disaster Coordinators has encouraged everyone to get well acquainted with the Tokelau National Disaster Risk Plan. The document state in details the approach and responsibilities of various appointed groups during and after a disasters.
Everyone during the next few weeks will carry out drills, check supplies and emergency groups to be notified in their preparation.
“The Tokelau National Disaster Risk Plan states directions and emergency groups as well as secure location assigned to ensure the safety of the communities in any disaster”.
“Village Emergency Committee needs to get together and brief them with the Plan in terms of their role and responsibilities. It is important for people to know the Emergency Operation Centres and prepare safe houses that are in place”.
“We need to check that sufficient food and water supplies are available on the atolls for the likely duration of expected threats such as cyclone. We need to maintain the security and protection arrangements for boats, essential equipment, and supplies in case of strong wind and storm surge. For Communication Coordination we need to ensure warning systems are operational, said the office of the ongoing Government.
SOURCE: TOKELAU GOVT/PACNEWS
9) Nauru MP says court decision will be test of judiciary
8 November 2014
One of Nauru’s suspended MPs says a decision by the country’s Supreme Court over the legality of the group’s expulsion from Parliament will be a key test of the judiciary’s independence.
Five opposition MPs have been banned this year amid claims the Government is trying to avoid scrutiny.
One of the MPs, Roland Kun, says the court’s decision will reveal whether the independence of Nauru’s justice system has been restored.
“We have new justices in position so this will be telling of how independent they are, I believe. I believe that an independent judiciary will find in our favour because it is a constitutional matter and only the Supreme Court of Nauru has jurisdiction over decisions regarding that.”
Roland Kun, who is currently living in New Zealand, says he is confident he will return to Parliament next year.RNZI
10) U.S High court upholds Hawaii health care cuts for Micronesian migrants
By Online Editor
3:09 pm GMT+12, 05/11/2014, United States
Hawaii could begin cutting some state-funded medical services for Micronesian migrants now that the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld a ruling allowing the state to reduce health care coverage of noncitizens.
The state could begin cutting services by the end of the week to non-pregnant, adult noncitizens.
The state Department of Health has prepared emergency rules in anticipation of Monday’s ruling.
A federal appeals court ruled in April that Hawaii isn’t required to fund Medicaid for migrants from three Pacific Island nations in Micronesia to make up for reduced federal funding. The ruling said Hawaii has no constitutional obligation to fill a gap left in 1996 when Congress cut health care funding for migrants under the Compact of Free Association.
The compact gives Palau, Marshall Islands and Federated States of Micronesia citizens the right to live and work in the U.S. In exchange, the U.S. military controls extensive strategic land and water in the Pacific Ocean.
“The state will strive to ensure that our neediest residents, including noncitizens, have access to quality health coverage,” Governor Neil Abercrombie said in a statement Monday.
The health department said state-funded assistance will continue for eligible migrants who are elderly, blind and disabled.
The state’s plan going forward includes a program that provides Medicaid-like coverage to our neediest, aged, blind and disabled noncitizens,” Human Services Director Patricia McManaman said. “Coverage for children and pregnant adults will remain unchanged.”
Adult noncitizens who aren’t pregnant will be directed to get insurance through the Hawaii Health Connection, and a state-funded program to help very low-income noncitizens pay their share of premiums.
Micronesia officials are hopeful Hawaii’s new governor will continue health services for migrants despite the high court ruling. “We are waiting for a new administration,” said Marshall Islands Consul General Noda Lojkar.
11) Balance Of Power In Guam Legislature Remains Unchanged
Minority Republicans hope to work across the aisle
By Jerick Sablan
HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Nov. 6, 2014) – The Democrats will remain the majority in the Legislature when nine Democratic and six Republicans senators go to work this January.
For most of the current Legislature, the Democrats held an 9-6 majority. But after Sen. Ben Pangelinan, D-Barrigada, died in July, it became 8-6.
And after Tuesday’s vote, two more senators of the current Legislature won’t be serving come January.
Republican Sens. Aline Yamashita and Chris Duenas said they were humbled and honored to have served the people of Guam. Unofficial results of Tuesday’s General Election show Yamashita and Duenas falling just short of the top 15 vote-getters in the Legislature race. Thirty candidates — 15 Republicans and 15 Democrats — vied for 15 seats.
Read more: Pacific Daily News
12) Australia na PNG imas stretim toktok blong tupela long ol refugee: Ronnie Knight
Postim 7 November 2014, 15:12 AEDT
Australia na Papua New Guinea imas stretim gut save blong tupla long ol refugee em oli stap long Australian Asylum detensan senta long Manus.
Odio: Ronnie Knight, Memba blong Manus Open long PNG palamen i toktok
Ronnie Knight, Memba blong Manus Open long National Palaman i mekim despla toktok bihaen long PNG Foran Minista Rimbink Pato ibin tokaut olsem sampla asailam sika ol i lukim olsem ol i refugee trutru bai ol i surikim ol igo long nupla ples blong ol klostu long Lorengau taon.
Taem ol despla refugee i lusim ditensan senta bai oli skulim ol long tok English, Tok Pisin na tu skul long luksave long ol pasin kalsa blong ol pipol.
Tasol Mr Pato ibin tok tu olsem nogat wanpela long ol refugee bai stap long PNG.
Australia i laikim ol despla refugee long stap olgeta long PNG, tasol M r Knight i tok em bai had long wanem graon emi stap long han blong ol asples pipol.
Em i tok tu olsem kastom na pasin blong ol dispela asailam sika i narapela olgeta na em bai had long ol i stap namel na bihainim kastom na pasin blong pipol blong PNG.Radio Australia
13) Fiji i larim ol Solomon Airlines charter blong karim ol sumatin
Postim 7 November 2014, 14:42 AEDT
Problem namel long Fiji na Solomon Islands long airlines blong tupela i stap yet, tasol ol Fiji otoriti i wabel long Solomon Airlines igo karim aut ol sumatin blong Solomon Islands long ol i skul long Fiji.
Odio: Gus Kraus, Manager blong operations blong Solomon Airlines i toktok
Manager blong operations blong Solomon Airlines, itok emi tok tenk yu long Gavman blong Fiji long givim tok oraet long Solomon Airlines i ronim ol charter balus long kisim ol sumatin em oli save skul long Fiji igo bek long Solomon Islands long taem blong krismas.
Mr Gus Kraus itok sapos Fiji gavman ino givim tok oraet, ol Solomon Islands sumatin bai no nap go bek long ples.
Solomon Airlines na Fiji Airways ibin stopim ol ron blong ol namel long kantri blong ol faipla mun igo pinis bihaenim kros long ol ron blong balus oa flights.
Sampela ofisel blong Solomon Islands ibin go toktok long ol otoriti long Fiji long dispela problem namel long tupela kantri ia.
Tasol wari ia i stap yet.Radio Australia
14) Brèves du Pacifique – vendredi 7 novembre 2014
Mis à jour 7 November 2014, 18:47 AEDT
Melbourne: 13 000 personnes signent une péition contre Julien Blanc, “l’expert en séduction” suisse qui prône des méthodes de drague extrêmement agressives.
Sur les rives de la Yarra, à Melbourne, jeudi soir: manifestation contre Julien Blanc, expert es séduction dont les méthodes agressives choquent les esprits. (Herald Sun / Rob Leeson)
Julien Blanc, l’expert en seduction Suisse, est passé en Australie, pour enseigner aux hommes comment mettre les femmes dans leur lit. Il a conduit un séminaire très suivi à Melbourne jeudi soir, sur un bateau-mouche, sur la rivière Yarra. Il est mondialement connu depuis la publication, le week-end dernier, d’une video dans laquelle on le voit agresser des Japonaises. Il les attrape par le bras dans la rue, et leur met la tête entre ses jambes. Ses exploits ne sont pas appréciés par tout le monde en Australie. 13 000 Melbourniens ont signé une pétition contre la tenue de son deuxième séminaire. Il était prévu mercredi prochain à l’hôtel Como, dont la direction a finalement été contrainte d’annuler. Julien Blanc a quitté l’Australie vendredi.
- Îles Salomon: l’attaque d’un pensionnat de filles provoque la fermeture d’un lycée de Guadalcanal. Armés de machettes, de marteaux et de haches, 15 jeunes hommes ont forcé la porte du dortoir des filles à Ruavutu, dans le nord-est de l’île. Ils ont violé une jeune fille et en ont enlevé une autre. La police a arrêté cinq suspects, des jeunes déscolarisés, qui vivent dans les villages autour du pensionnat, dans le nord-est de la province. La direction de l’internat a renvoyé chez eux tous les 500 pensionnaires, prématurément, alors que l’année scolaire finit officiellement à la mi-décembre.
- Îles Salomon: le réarmement des policiers a fait l’objet de consultations publiques cette semaine. Depuis l’arrivée de la RAMSI, la force régionale de maintien de la paix, à l’issue de la guerre civile, les policiers salomonais ne portent pas d’armes. La RAMSI prépare son départ des Salomons depuis plus d’un an, la police salomonaise va reprendre les rênes, et sera donc à nouveau dotée d’armes. Une disposition cruciale pour la protection du pays et sa souveraineté, ont estimé les participants d’une consultation publique organise à Honiara cette semaine. Mais ils veulent que les policers soient bien entraînés au maniement des armes, et surtout, que les armes soient placées dans des armureries impossible à cambrioler.
- Revirement de situation en Nouvelle-Zélande. Finalement Paul Rudd n’est plus accusé d’avoir commandité deux assassinats. Le batteur du groupe australien AC-DC a comparu hier matin devant l’équivalent d’un juge d’instruction. Lequel a abandonné ces charges. Mais le rockeur sexagénaire reste mis en examen pour possession d’amphétamines, possession de cannabis, et menaces de mort. L’enquête étant en cours, aucun détail ne filtre sur la potentielle victime de Paul Rudd, qui comparaîtra de nouveau devant les juges à la fin du mois.
- Fidji: le groupe chinois XINFA Aurum Explorations reçoit le feu vert pour ouvrir une deuxième mine de bauxite dans la province de Bua, sur Vanua Levu. Un remplacement nécessaire, car la première mine de la compagnie chinoise, située dans la même province, est déjà épuisée, après 3 ans d’exploitation. Elle a produit 1.2 million de tonnes de bauxite, exporté vers la Chine. La bauxite sert principalement à fabriquer de l’aluminium. Radio Australia
15) PIDF invited to key regional meetings- The Pacific Islands Development Forum has been invited to participate at two key Pacific regional meetings this month. PIDF will attend the Forty-fourth meeting of the Committee of Representatives of Governments and Administrations of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community in Noumea, New-Caledonia. The PIDF will be participating in this meeting for the first time since it signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the SPC in June this year.
16) Republican Senate victory dooms Obama to lame duck status
By Online Editor
8:46 pm GMT+12, 05/11/2014, United States
Republicans seized control of the US Senate last night, leaving a lame duck President Barack Obama to contend with a Republican-dominated Congress in his last two years in office.
American voters vented their frustration with Obama’s six years in office on his Democrat political allies, giving the Republicans a majority in the Senate for the first time since 2006.
Although Democrats had been braced for a bad night, the results were even worse than many had feared. The President’s party lost key races in North Carolina, Colorado and Iowa – all states that first propelled Obama to the White House in 2008.
In a particular snub to the President, voters in his home state of Illinois cast out their Democrat governor and replaced him with a Republican, despite Obama campaigning on his behalf.
Republicans won at least 52 of the Senate’s 100 seats. Final results were not confirmed in Louisiana and Alaska, but both states looked likely to eventually fall into the Republican column, giving them a total of 54.
Obama’s opponents also expanded their majority in the House of Representatives, giving them complete control in Congress.
Although the President was not on the ballot, he was a driving force in his party’s defeat and 54 per cent of voters said they disapproved of the job he was doing, according to a CNN exit poll.
Obama watched the Republican victory unfold from his private residence at the White House but did not offer any immediate public reaction.
However, he did call several Republicans to offer congratulations and announced he would meet with leaders from both parties at the White House on Friday in an attempt at post-election reconciliation.
Mitch McConnell, the Republican senator who will lead his party’s new majority, also struck a bipartisan note as he claimed victory in his homestate of Kentucky.
“I don’t expect the president to wake up tomorrow and see the world in a different way than he did before. And he knows I won’t either,” said McConnell after winning a comfortable seven-point re-election victory in Kentucky.” [But] we do have an obligation to work together on issues where we can agree.”
However, few believe that the election will usher in a new era of cooperation, especially as both parties gear up for an all-out battle for the White House in 2016.
In the coming weeks, Obama is expected to announce plans to allow millions of illegal immigrants to begin a path towards American citizenship. Republicans are furious at the prospect, calling it an “illegal amnesty” that runs contrary to the US constitution.
Republicans are expected to use their control of Congress to pass a bill that Obama will be forced to veto. “Under Mitch McConnell’s leadership we will send the President bill after bill, until he wearies of it,” said Rand Paul, a Republican senator and potential 2016 contender.
Democrats had long-expected to lose seats in the Senate but their position deteriorated rapidly in the final days of the race.
Colorado, once thought a relatively secure Democrat seat, fell quickly to the Republicans. North Carolina, where Democrats had been ahead in the final days before the election, also went red despite tens of millions of dollars spent trying to save it.
In Virginia, a state Mr Obama won in both 2008 and 2012, the Democrat senator survived by only a few thousand votes and a recount looked possible.
Democrat losses extended to governor’s races across the country. Pat Quinn, Illinois’s Democrat governor, was defeated handily even though Mr Obama had campaigned for him.
Republicans also won the governor’s race in Maryland, a deeply Democrat state where Mr Obama had also campaigned in an effort to turn out black voters.
Scott Walker, the Republican governor of Wisconsin who is expected to run for president in 2016, also survived a spirited Democrat effort to unseat him.
In one of the few conciliations of the night for the White House, Democrats narrowly held on to their Senate seat in New Hampshire.
SOURCE: THE TELEGRAPH/
17) U.S. election results resonate globally, with fears of a deepening leadership void
By Online Editor
8:45 pm GMT+12, 05/11/2014, United States
A Republican romp in U.S. midterm elections that was built in part on American anxiety about an increasingly dangerous world prompted concerns from overseas Wednesday that President Obama’s global role will only be further diminished.
With little prospect of an end to Washington gridlock on major domestic issues, Obama will have no shortage of foreign crises to turn to, including Russian advances in Ukraine, the disintegrating order in the Middle East and the threat of a spreading Ebola virus.
But from London to Tokyo, observers said the bruising defeats suffered by Obama’s Democratic allies will probably leave him with less clout to navigate global troubles — and could add to a leadership void that Republicans seized on to help gain advantage with voters.
“Obama has become the incredible shrinking president,” said Jeff Kingston, director of Asian studies at Temple University’s campus in Tokyo. “He’s very much weakened by the midterm results, and that’s going to diminish him in his foreign policy. Leaders in Asia will now view him as a lame duck.”
In Europe, where Obama remains considerably more popular than he is at home, leaders long ago gave up on the idea that he could fundamentally reorient America’s global role. But Tuesday’s defeat confirmed that there will continue to be a vacuum in the final two years of what many Europeans once hoped would be a transformational presidency.
“I don’t think Europeans were expecting much in terms of U.S. leadership over the next two years, and this will reinforce their beliefs,” said Mujtaba Rahman, Europe director for the Eurasia Group, a global consulting firm.
The election results also could embolden American adversaries to further prod the limits of U.S. power.
“If they see that the U.S. is tied hand and foot at home because of domestic constraints, those in Moscow, Beijing or at Islamic State headquarters might be thinking America is a house divided against itself, and a house divided against itself is weak,” said Michael Cox, co-director of LSE Ideas, a London-based think tank. “Given the complexity of the challenges facing the West, this is about the worst time possible for a divided America and a weak Europe.”
In Russia, which has been locked in an intense battle with the West over Ukraine, lawmakers greeted the Democratic defeat with glee and seized on it as a moment to attack Obama.
“I believe this ‘democratic failure’ is a personal defeat for Obama, the result of his very low ratings, a sharp deterioration of his image, as he has evolved from the president of hope to the president of disappointment,” Alexei Pushkov, head of the foreign affairs committee in Russia’s lower house of parliament, told the state-owned Tass news agency.
But he tempered his comments with caution about the consequences for Russia. Republicans are likely to take a harder line against Russia than has Obama, and the Republican takeover of the Senate will result in an “unfavorable vector,” Pushkov said.
While Obama and congressional Republicans have broadly agreed on the need to adopt a tough line on Russia, a potential clash looms over the handling of another key antagonist: Iran.
SOURCE: WASHINGTON POST/PACNEWS
18) Obama to deliver ‘landmark’ speech in Brisbane: G20
By Online Editor
8:42 pm GMT+12, 05/11/2014, Australia
U.S President Barack Obama will deliver a “landmark” speech on American leadership in the Asia-Pacific while in Brisbane for the G20 summit.
Premier Campbell Newman told News Corp the government had been working with US officials to organise the speech in Brisbane.
However there were no details on where the president will deliver his address or who will be in the audience.
“It’s very pleasing and exciting to hear the news officially from United States authorities that it indeed looks like it’s going to happen,” Newman told News Corp.
“People will be potentially referring to the ‘Brisbane Speech’ in years to come.”
Other G20 leaders will also deliver speeches across the country before and after the summit.
Three leaders – China’s Xi Jinping, Britain’s David Cameron and India’s Narendra Modi – have accepted invitations to address the parliament in Canberra.
Modi has put out a personal plea on the internet for Australians to suggest what he might do while visiting the country.
SOURCE: THE AGE/PACNEWS
19) US troops to Iraq
Sunday, November 09, 2014
WASHINGTON – The US is to send 1500 more non-combat troops to Iraq to boost Iraqi forces fighting Islamic State (IS) militants, the White House says.
The Pentagon said the troops would train and assist Iraqi forces.
President Barack Obama authorised the deployment following a request from Iraq’s Government, the Pentagon added.
IS militants control large areas of Iraq and Syria but have been targeted by hundreds of air strikes by a US-led coalition since August.
The 1500 additional US troops will join several hundred military advisers who are already in Iraq to assist the country’s army.
A statement from the Pentagon said the troops would be establishing several sites to train nine Iraqi army and three Kurdish Peshmerga brigades.
The US military would also be setting up two “advise and assist operations centres” outside Baghdad and the northern city of Irbil, the statement added.
“US troops will not be in combat, but they will be better positioned to support Iraqi security forces as they take the fight” to IS, White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters.
He said President Obama would also be asking Congress for $5.6b ($F10.8b) to support the ongoing operations against IS fighters in both Iraq and Syria.
The announcement came hours after Mr Obama met congressional leaders in Washington for the first time after the Republicans won control of the Senate in Tuesday’s elections.
20) PM orders destruction of homes
Sunday, November 09, 2014
JERUSALEM – Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered that the homes of Palestinians who have carried out attacks in Jerusalem be demolished.
The decision, taken on Thursday, follows weeks of unrest in the city.
Four people have now died in two separate attacks on pedestrians in Jerusalem in the past two weeks.
The latest incident occurred on Wednesday when a Palestinian rammed his van into people waiting at a tram station, then attacked police.
One person was killed at the scene and another died from his injuries on Friday morning.
Hamas said it carried out the attack, while Israel blamed Hamas and the Fatah faction of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, both of which formed a unity government earlier this year.
Meanwhile, several small explosions in Gaza targeted the homes and cars of Fatah officials.
No-one was hurt, but Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah cancelled his trip to Gaza because of the attacks.
21) In the dark on AIDS
By SHALVEEN CHAND
Sunday, November 09, 2014
IT was the dawn of the millennium and people in Fiji were still living in the dark ages when it came to dealing with HIV/AIDS.
With more focus on the Y2K bug, even the medical fraternity didn’t know how they would deal with a case if someone who was HIV positive turned up for care.
A HIV positive couple in Lami had locked themselves in their house because of the stigma and they were unaware of what they were dealing with.
This led Dr Jiko Luveni to establish a support system for people who were HIV positive which is now called the FJN+.
The Speaker of the Parliament was hosted to a lunch and awarded honours by the dental alumni of the Fiji National University’s School of Medicine yesterday.
Dr Luveni is the first female graduate from Fiji’s dental program.
She said after leaving the United Nations Fund for Population activity in 2000, she joined the Health Ministry and the discrimination against people with HIV/AIDS was the first thing she encountered.
“My time with the UNFPA exposed me to how people around the world and the Pacific responded to HIV/AIDS and this led me to feel strongly about helping establish a system of support at home in Fiji,” Dr Luveni told the dental alumni.
“How can our medical people treat HIV/AIDS if they haven’t encountered anybody with the disease?
“I talked to a pastor and asked him if he knew anybody in Fiji with HIV.
“I went to Lami where I met a couple who had locked themselves in. I got them out and had to show the world that nothing would happen to me if I interacted with them.”
Dr Luveni said this led to more people coming out publicly about their HIV status and this meant better medical care and support system.
As of January 30, 2014, there were 493 cases of HIV/AIDS in Fiji.http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=285639
22) Traditional architectural skills must be taught in schools
By Online Editor
6:34 pm GMT+12, 05/11/2014, Samoa
Although they come from different parts of the Pacific, the common goal is to safeguard and preserve traditional architectural skills and knowledge through teaching them in the education system.
These are the participants in the Unesco workshop progressing in Apia to safeguard the knowledge and skills on traditional architecture.
Education is the key entity for the future of any country and is the “perfect vehicle” to drive traditional skills into the mindset of the future generation.
Traditional builder Maulupe Fa’atali Faiga supports the inclusion of traditional architecture in the education curriculum.
Maulupe is one tufuga (traditional builder) from Saipipi who is attending the workshop.
He believes the only way to safeguard and pass down the traditional architectural skills, is to implant it in the mindset of the youth through education.
“This unique skill is disappearing and Government has to put in place a programme to protect and preserve it,” said Maulupe.
He acknowledged the presence of the youths from Vailele and Vaitele Congregational Christian Church in the workshop.
“These young people are the future and learning the skills at a young age will not only build up their interest but will know the value of our measina,” said Maulupe
Maulupe was also concerned about the possibility of losing traditional designs of Samoan fale to overseas architects and developers.
Maulupe’s late father Tatau Faiga Faiga was the builder behind the pulenu’u fale (Village mayors meeting house) in Apia.
Mauluoe said a few months after the dedication of his father’s work, a Government official brought two New Zealand men to see him.
“They wanted to look at my father’s design and my father gave it to them,” he said.
Maulupe said his father later told his family that handing over his designs was a mistake, because “someone was building a smaller house based on his design.”
UNESCO Director Etienne Clement noted the importance of education and the role they play in the future of this heritage.
“The Samoan fale and the skills to build it are in need of urgent safeguarding and many other Pacific island nations are facing the same challenges,” said Clement.
In Fiji, there traditional houses are called “Bure”.
“You will find bure only in Navala village out of the many Fijian islands and villages,” said the Fiji representative Mary Nagobuda.
She said the art is dying out and it is worse because only one village is carrying the load for all Fijians.
“Now the Ministry of Health is said living in bure’s is not hygienic,” said Nagobuda.
This is due to the fact that a bure is covered on all four sides and cooking is mostly done inside, said Nagobuda.
She said the Government is now asking every village to at least build a few bures in their village community.
According to Nagobuda, it is one way Fiji is trying to revive their traditional architecture work, but she agrees that passing the skills on to others will help preserve the dying skills.
UNESCO plays a major role in the safeguarding of heritage properties and adopted the UNESCO Convention for the safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2003.
“This was a response to the growing concern over the adverse impact of globalization on communities and their cultures and traditions,” said Clement.
He hopes the workshop will discuss how the Pacific islands can “effectively implement the Intangible Cultural Heritage Convention in order to revitalize indigenous architecture.
SOURCE: TALAMUA ONLINE/PACNEWS
SYDNEY, 06 NOVEMBER 2014 ( AAP) —-
23) Aussie students to research Fijian children’s literacy
By TORIKA CHANDRA
Sunday, November 09, 2014
Update: 2:03PM TWO university students from Australia have been awarded national scholarships by the Australian government which will allow them to conduct research into children’s literacy acquisition in Fiji.
The duo, Suzanna Hopf and Sarah Verdon from Charles Sturt University, will begin their research next year, looking into a range of children’s literacy aspects including speech and language in the three major languages – English, iTaukei and Hindustani.
They were awarded the 2015 Endeavour Postgraduate Scholarship and 2015 Endeavour Research Fellowship, respectively.Fijitimes
24) Solomons Election Commission: Preparations Are Proceeding Well
902 polling stations to be set up across the country
HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation, Nov. 5, 2014) – The Solomon Islands Electoral Commission has confirmed preparations for this month’s elections is progressing well, with printing outlets already engaged in printing ballot papers.
The Commission’s Public Relations and Communication officer, Philothea Ruaeho confirmed in a media conference today printing companies are now engaged in printing the ballot papers.
She told local reporters their civic education groups are also out in the field doing face-to-face awareness programs in constituencies across the country, adding that Polling Assistants and Presiding Officers have also been recruited.
“We also have our civic education groups out in the field who are doing face-to-face awareness in constituencies and also we have completed the recruitment of Polling Assistants and Presiding Officers to work during the polling day, and will be trained just two to three days before the polling day and their training will be in their respective provincial headquarters and the Returning Officers will conduct the training.”
She adds, they have a total of 902 polling stations across the country and are hoping to publish the list next week.
Meanwhile, according to the Commission’s Logistics Officer, Freddie Bosoboe, the first boat with election kits will leave for the Eastern Solomon Islands this Sunday, followed by other boats to the rest of the provinces.
“The first boat leaves on Sunday, the following day the next boat will leave until the next Sunday, so practically by then we should be able to roll out our delivery and cover every province.”
In terms of confirmed numbers the Commission confirmed the candidates list published in the papers this week are final, after revising their initial lists.
The Commission’s Public Relations and Communication Officer, Philothea Ruaeho told local reporters at a media conference in Honiara yesterday afternoon, a total of 447 candidates have been received by the Commission.
She says of the total, 421 are male candidates while 26 are female candidates contesting the elections this month.
“And according to the list we’ve published there are 447 candidates contesting the coming elections and out of this total, we have 421 are male candidates and 26 are women, so that’s the gender composition we have for the candidate list.”
From the nominations they received Mrs Philothea says 245 candidates are running as Independent candidates, while 202 candidates are running as part of a political party.
“And we also have 245 candidates are running as Independents and 202 are running as part of political parties, that’s according to the list we have received.”
SIBC News understands, most candidates are currently embarking on their individual campaigns in their respecting constituencies.
Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation
25) Fiji Loses $36 Million From Overseas Loans
Ministry failed to hedge against foreign exchange fluctuations
By Nasik Swami
SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Nov. 6, 2014) – The Fiji Finance Ministry incurred substantial amount of foreign exchange losses totalling tens of millions of dollars last year.
The Auditor-General’s report for 2013 reported a loss of $70,711,949.77 [US$ 36,273,000] in its review of the country’s overseas loans.
In the report, the audit of the ministry noted that these foreign exchange losses were incurred because of fluctuations in exchange rates.
The audit further stated that discussions revealed the losses were a result of changes in foreign currency exchange rates.
“Exchange rate variations over time are a potential source of risk to cross-border financial obligations,” the report said.
The Auditor-General’s report said the findings indicated ministry officials failed to discuss the hedging exposures with the overseas lenders to avoid foreign exchange losses.
Auditor General Tevita Bolanavanua recommended the ministry to ensure that foreign exchange losses are kept at a minimal level while borrowing overseas.
In response, the ministry’s management commented that the unit was assessing a number of foreign risk mitigation measures including hedging.
“It already has had discussions with a number of financial institutions. Some financial institutions are working on their hedge offer. MOF would be in a position to comment on the offer once all the analysis is completed,” the management comments stated.
The Auditor General’s 2013 report also revealed that its review of the ministry’s debt portfolios noted that the ministry did not utilise the amount set aside for repayment of various loan accounts totalling $3,255,000 and $1,169,506 for the year ended 2012 and 2013 respectively.
The report stated that the discussions with the debt unit revealed that it was likely that repayment will commence from 2015 since the Government of China has extended the loan.
“Providing unrealistic budget submissions indicates poor planning by Debt Unit and hence provides an unnecessary burden to manage the debt. This will further lead to increase in Government borrowings,” the report said.
The Auditor General recommended the ministry to make realistic budget estimates as it could lead to budget deficits and increase in borrowings.
In response, the ministry’s management commented that a review was undertaken on this issue and more care and verifications were now being undertaken to ensure that budget estimates are accurate and more precise for further budget estimates.
Public Accounts Committee chairman Professor Biman Prasad in an interview yesterday said losses and unpaid loans were an important issue which the committee will look into when it starts its meetings.
“I am glad that the Auditor General has highlighted this matter,” Prof Prasad said.
Fiji Times Online.
26) Fiji Labour Party: Reinstate Ghai-Draft Constitution
Chaudhry says UN concerns addressed in dumped draft
By Vuniwaqa Bola-Bari
SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Nov. 6, 2014) – The Fiji Labour Party recommends the reinstatement of the Ghai-draft Constitution saying it addresses the concerns raised by the United Nations Human Rights Council.
With calls by UNHCR to review the 2013 Constitution, FLP Leader Mahendra Chaudhry says it would be advisable to reinstate the Ghai draft to avoid additional expense and time-consuming task of another review of the constitution.
He said the Ghai-draft “reflects the will and aspirations of the people of Fiji.”
“The FLP has maintained all along that the regime’s constitution was undemocratic, that it undermined the fundamental rights of our people, and failed to maintain the separation of powers between the executive, the legislature and the judiciary, thereby undermining the independence of the judiciary,” Chaudhry said.
“While these are encouraging recommendations, FLP maintains that there is no need to go through the additional expense and time-consuming task of yet another review of the constitution.
“We should reinstate the draft Ghai Constitution and put it through parliament for its approval. After all, the Ghai draft addresses the main concerns of the UNHCR. It also meets the requirement for the constitution to reflect the will and aspirations of the people of Fiji.”
Chaudhry said the Ghai draft considered more than 7000 oral and written submissions from the people.
“We note that Fiji has been told to report back to the UNHCR by March next year. This gives ample time to put the Ghai draft before Parliament for its consideration.”
27) Adhere to recommendation: Ro Teimumu to Govt – Fiji’s Opposition Leader Ro Teimumu Kepa says the sooner the country aligns itself with global human rights standards as recommended by the United Nations Human Rights Council, the better and the sooner “we can get back to the real process of true democracy.” Ro Teimumu said they had been advocating for the same recommendations echoed by the council at the recent Universal Periodic Review (UPR) which included calls to review the constitution and to repeal decrees that restrict human rights in Fiji.
28) Polling Day Feedback Campaign – The Fijian Elections Office is holding a country wide Polling Day Feedback campaign throughout this week. Fijian Elections Office, Director Corporate Kamlesh Sharma says the campaign is taking queries from polling day workers to clarify allowances and also finalize any outstanding payments. Sharma says some of the issues that have been highlighted include incorrect bank details and the clarification of tax and superannuation deductions.
29) Why not: NFP to Govt over pending decision – Fiji’s National Federation Party says it is concerned by the Fijian delegation’s decision to defer their response to major recommendations by the United Nations Human Rights Council including the establishment of a Constitutional Commission, the amendment of regressive decrees and inviting special rapporteurs to the country. These recommendations are among 39 that will be considered by the Fijian Government and responded to before March 2015. NFP leader Biman Prasad said the delegation’s decision reaffirms the party’s belief that “we are not living and practicing genuine democracy.”
30) PNG Forestry Firm Launches Multi-Million Dollar Defamation Suit
Cloudy Bay sues PNG Post-Courier for linking directors to terrorism
By Papua New Guinea correspondent Liam Cochrane
MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Nov. 6, 2014) – The Australian directors of a timber business in Papua New Guinea are suing the News Corp newspaper Post Courier for $60 million over allegations of links to terrorism.
In September the PNG daily Post Courier newspaper published a front page story accusing an unnamed company of links to international terrorism.
The next day it published a story quoting the PNG prime minister, who identified the company as Cloudy Bay Sustainable Forestry and announced an investigation into the alleged links.
The two directors of the company who are taking the action have family links to convicted or wanted terrorists but have publically denounced terrorist actions and called for religious tolerance.
Cloudy Bay and the two directors are now suing the Post Courier in the PNG National Court for between $68 million and $229 million in damages, saying the reports were “grossly defamatory”, “utterly false” and “published in bad faith”.
A statement from the company said the amount of damages sought reflected the loss caused by the cancelation of commercial contracts after the allegations were published.
“Cloudy Bay and its directors have no intention of standing idly by while their reputations are destroyed, its business ruined, and consequently the livelihood of its employees and their dependants are taken away,” said a statement from Cloudy Bay dated November 4.
There was no immediate response from News Corp or the Post Courier to the legal action.
31) PINA President calls for strong media leadership
By Online Editor
10:00 pm GMT+12, 04/11/2014, Vanuatu
The President of the Pacific Islands News Association (PINA), Moses Stevens has called on members of the Media Asosiesen blong Vanuatu (MAV) to be proactive toward their national media association.
Speaking at the opening of a one day training workshop on Union Management and Leadership in Port Vila Tuesday, Stevens stressed the importance of solidarity within MAV if the media is to be accepted as an important player in the nationhood building of Vanuatu.
Stevens congratulated MAV and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) on their continued collaboration in developing professionalism in the Vanuatu media.
The PINA President recalled how MAV had gone to the 2007 PINA Convention in Solomon Islands and urged the regional media organisation to strengthen national media associations.
“MAV still stands by that call and as leaders in PINA we can assure you that our regional organisation also stands by that concept”, Stevens said.
“As you can see, this training aims to help you the participants understand the values of good leadership, and also understand the vision and mission of MAV. This is an opportune time for you to start developing your leadership skills.
“As people responsible for gathering, packaging and disseminating information in our society, you are very significant in our society in regards to giving them their right to know in your news reporting – be it in the newspapers, radio or television; So I urge you all to have respect for the work that you do, and hold your hands in supporting MAV achieve its vision and mission.
“MAV can only be strong if we have commitment and solidarity among us – the people in the media sector; Then we can stand together and help our people understand and accept the importance of the work that we do. If the media sector is to be respected, no other sector would make that happen; It requires a joint and collective effort from all of us in the industry to make that happen.”
Stevens then thanked IFJ for their continued support in the development of MAV and expressed the hope that the training could be a good model for the region to help strengthen leadership in PINA member countries.
He says PINA can only be as strong as its member national media associations
32) Additional channels for viewers
By GERALDINE PANAPASA
Saturday, November 08, 2014
SKY Pacific customers can expect changes to the pay TV platform following the announcement of two additional channels, FX and FOX Family Movies.
The subsidiary of Fiji TV made the announcement yesterday through the South Pacific Stock Exchange.
Fiji TV CEO Tevita Gonelevu said the addition of two premium FOX channels on the SKY platform brought the total number of channels to 25.
He said SKY Pacific viewers had been waiting for the launch of the channels.
“To make way for these two new channels, Fiji TV has moved Australian Plus and CCTV to be wallpapers for the Fiji One channel,” he said in a statement.
“FX is the home of award-winning compelling original television drama series such as The Shield, Archer, Dirt as well as comedies such as It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Lights Out.
“FOX Family Movies is a dedicated movie channel for movie buffs.
“FFM has first run contract for movies distributed by 20th Century Fox.”
33) Twists and turns in the LNG project saga
Friday, November 07, 2014
QUESTIONS are now being raised by petroleum industry experts and analysts on the PNG’s second largest LNG consortium project led by France’s Total SA.
Christine Forster, writing an analysis widely circulated on various marketwires including Shale Market, said it seemed there might still be some twists and turns in the long saga of InterOil’s LNG project, with analysts speculating that arbitration proceedings launched by Oil Search were ultimately aimed at replacing joint venture partner Total with ExxonMobil.
Ms Forster stated that Oil Search Limited (OSL) clearly saw itself as the key player in the Pacific nation’s emerging gas sector, by virtue of its 29 per cent stake in the new ExxonMobil-led PNG LNG facility near Port Moresby and its significant equity position in the InterOil project.
34) Fiji approves second bauxite mine
7 November 2014
A second bauxite mine has been approved in Bua province on Vanua Levu in Fiji.
The Minister for Lands and Mineral Resources, Mereseini Vuniwaqa, has handed over lease documents
for the new site in Lekutu to the same company that opened a mine in the west of the island in 2011.
Chinese-owned XINFA Aurum Explorations Limited says the mining operations at the Nawailevu site will be completed by the end of this month.
The mine has produced 1.2 million tonnes of bauxite over the past three years, all of which has been shipped to China.
Mrs Vuniwaqa says the government has recognised XINFA’s commitment to the people and employment opportunities the mine has created.
This week the minister held a public consultation session with the Tikina Naita in Lekutu Bua about the project.RNZI
35) Real Estate is a lucrative industry: REALB– The Real Estate sector in Fiji is going through one of its biggest growths in history but the boom is also making it difficult for locals to afford homes. Real Estate Licensing Board chief executive Ravinesh Murti says real estate is a lucrative industry, and demand has risen over the past twelve years. Speaking on FBC TV’s 4 The Record programme Murit says property prices are quite high.
36) Fiji Airways to look for new CEO – Fiji Airways will immediately begin the search for a suitable successor to Stefan Pichler who is leaving the airline to take up a new appointment in Germany next February. The airline’s Chairman, Nalin Patel, says they respect Pichler’s decision to respond to the call of his country to return home and help turn around his country’s national airline, Air Berlin. Pichler will continue as a Board Member of Fiji Airways and will assist with the selection and the transition to a successor, as well as with the further strategic development of the Group.
37) Export council consultations continue – The Fiji Export Council will be carrying out more consultations with its members in the North on the review of the Fiji Duty Suspension Scheme. Fiji Export Council CEO Jone Cavubati says they have had consultations in Nadi, Lautoka and Ba – which had a good mix of those who were under the scheme and those who were not. “Most of the recommendations were the inclusion of packaging, bottles, spare parts and consumables. Currently we only have raw materials, new machines and equipments that can be put in under the scheme. While raw materials enjoys duty free and VAT for new machines and equipment is only duty free but VAT is payable.”
38) Pacific five-year tourism strategy in need of support – The South Pacific Tourism Organisation is seeking donor and development partnerships to help it implement a five-year regional tourism strategy. The plan, which was approved at last week’s Pacific Tourism Ministers Council meeting in Tonga, aims to guide the promotion and development of the industry in the SPTO’s 16 member countries. Its Chief Executive, Ilisoni Vuidreketi, says a regional approach is a more efficient way to grow the industry. Mr Vuidreketi says while he cannot disclose how much the plan will cost to implement, help is needed and initial partnerships are being sought with New Zealand, Australia, China and the European Union.
39) Fiji businesses want more Aust market access – The Fiji-Australia Business Council has welcomed the full restoration of diplomatic relations between the two countries, saying it represents a new dawn. In a joint announcement on Friday, Australia lifted all remaining sanctions against Fiji, as well as announcing that the two countries would exchange High Commissioners, following September’s election. The Council’s vice president, Rajeshwar Singh, says the door has now been opened to step up trade between the two countries. He told Jamie Tahana there needs to be easier access for Fiji businesses into the Australian market.
40) $1m for bus stand
By LUKE RAWALAI
Sunday, November 09, 2014
COSTING about $1 million, the Labasa bus stand refurbishment project is set to be completed soon says Fiji Roads Authority chief executive officer Neil Cook.
In an interview, Mr Cook said the cost included refurbishment works being done at the former stand and the relocation of the station to the new site.
Mr Cook was recently in the North to inspect the progress of projects in the division including the bus stand refurbishment project.
He added work was progressing well at the former bus stand site and the project has been well managed by contractors, Fulton Hogan Highways.
“From what I have seen the temporary bus stand is working well to cater for buses and members of the public for the time being,” he said.
“Our appeal for members of the public is if they could be cautious whe n using the temporary station during peak periods because the area is often busy. We assure members of the public that their bus stand should be up and running soon.”
Mr Cook also confirmed that they would carry out improvement works on the Taxi stand located at the Labasa bus stand.
“There has been no schedule for a full refurbishment works to the stand though,” he said.
“As we speak the laying of cement in the bus stand pavement is underway and work is progressing well.”
Mr Cook also confirmed that work on the Lomaloma slip between Savusavu and Labasa is complete.
He commended the work carried out on the portion of road saying it is an integral part of transportation.http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=285644
41) New bill aims to protect victims of violence in Solomon Islands
By Online Editor
8:55 pm GMT+12, 05/11/2014, Solomon Islands
The Child and Family Welfare Bill in Solomon Islands aims to protect and support victims of violence and not to punish offenders.
However, acting Director of Social Welfare in the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, Linda Tupe said offenders who abuse children will be dealt with under the Penal Code.
“The bill focuses on the roles and responsibility of the Social Welfare Division as the main government agency responsible for organising services to strengthen families and protect children,” Tupe said.
“For example, if a child is abused in the family through incest, we will decide who will look after the child in consultation with the family.
“But we will also be given power under the Bill to get the child out of the family if he or she receives ill treatment,” she added.
She said the National Advisory Committee for Children (NACC) is responsible to oversee the Bill.
NACC consists of Civil Registry, Social Welfare Division, Ministry of Women, Youth and Children’s Affairs, Police, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Save the Children, Ministry of Health and Medical Services, Christian Care Centre and Ministry of Education and Human Resources.
Tupe said UNICEF is the major funder of the project to formulate the bill.
Anika Kingmele, National Child Protection Officer of UNICEF Pacific office in Honiara said the bill is still in process and should be submitted to cabinet for deliberation when the new government comes in after the election.
The bill came about through a nation-wide consultation throughout 2010 and 2011 through series of workshops.
It takes into considerations:
• Existing social welfare and community practices
• International standards and best practices
• Solomon Islands context and culture.
SOURCE: SOLOMON STAR/PACNEWS
42) NBF scandal – the biggest scandal in Fiji’s history: PM Bainimarama
By Online Editor
10:21 pm GMT+12, 04/11/2014, Fiji
The National Bank of Fiji scam remains the biggest financial scandal in Fiji’s history and must never be forgotten or repeated, says Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.
Speaking at the opening of the 7th Pacific Credit Union Technical Congress 2014 in Suva today, Bainimarama said the sorry saga of the first 100 per-cent Fijian-owned financial institution teaches us valuable lessons and it was a disaster of the first order which took many years to recover, both from the financial loss and the loss of Fiji’s reputation.
“When it was launched in 1976, there were the same high hopes that it would be a people’s bank that would create a new level of prosperity in Fiji. Instead a greedy elite – after the two coups of 1987 – used the people’s bank as their personal piggy bank.”
“With their noses stuck firmly in the trough, this elite – aided by a grossly irresponsible management and board – raided the National Bank of Fiji for loans that many had no intention of repaying.”
“They ripped off their fellow Fijians,” he said. “When the NBF finally crashed in the late 1990s, it had debts of $220-million dollars or 8 per cent of Fiji’s gross domestic product.”
He said the ultimate blame lies with other Governments, which presided over a prolonged period in which the funds of ordinary Fijians were misappropriated.
“These elites effectively robbed their own countrymen and women – decent, hardworking ordinary people who had put their trust in the Bank and the Government.”
“Our Reserve Bank – which is meant to oversee the system – also shoulders some of the blame for failing to see what was happening, turning a blind eye to it or at the very least, failing to go public with its concerns.”
“By the time the whole fiasco ended, 51 per cent of the remnants of the NBF was sold off to foreign interests for what was widely considered a pittance. Any notion of good governance took second place to other Government’s political interests.”
“After all, many of those treating the NBF as their personal piggy bank were its ministers, supporters and hangers-on. Under the SDL Government, the remaining 49 per cent was sold at what would again be considered a pittance.”
“I tell this story today because it has resonance in this room – the absolute need for the highest standards of probity, accountability and good governance in all our financial institutions, whether banks or credit unions.”
“My Government will have zero tolerance for any institution that fails to meet these standards. And we will be ruthless in upholding the interests of shareholders, investors and the interests of our nation and its reputation in the international marketplace. Put simply: If you raid the piggy bank now, the elephant will step on you,” he added.
Bainimarama urged the participants to learn from each other and return home with fresh insights to improve the level of service to their respective members.
“This Congress is not only an important networking event but a forum for the exchange of ideas and information. It brings together credit union movements, their leagues, federations and government regulators from throughout the Pacific region.” “I know that in the three days ahead of you, you intend to have a robust dialogue about the state of the movement, to share your experiences, learn from each other and return home with fresh insights.”
The congress ends on Friday..
SOURCE: FIJI LIVE/PACNEWS
43) Police requests for support from Kadavu to fight against marijuana cultivation on the island – The Fiji Police Force is requesting the full support of the Kadavu Provincial Council and the people of Kadavu in their fight against marijuana cultivation on the island. Police spokesperson, Atunaisa Sokomuri said that marijuana cultivation in Kadavu will only be eradicated if the people of Kadavu work with the police. He said the Kadavu Provincial Council should stick to the agreement which they signed with the Fiji Police Force in their meeting in 2012 for the eradication of marijuana on the island.
44) Uni students charged with attempted aggravated robbery – Two University students who allegedly stabbed a taxi driver at Beach Road, Suva Point on Sunday morning have been charged with attempted aggravated robbery. It is alleged that one of the students in the taxi picked up two other of his colleagues at Grantham Road and asked the driver to take them to Suva Point.
45) Phones vs graft
By Online Editor
2:58 pm GMT+12, 04/11/2014, Papua New Guinea
Sending text messages to report corruption is the latest weapon Papua New Guinean authorities are considering in the fight against corruption.
Using mobile phones in the comfort of your home and away from the public eye to report dodgy deals will give PNG whistle blowers confidence and go a long way in addressing corruption, authorities are hoping. A “phones against corruption” initiative by the United Nations Development Programme and the Department of Finance, which was launched in July this year and trialled amongst 1200 department staff, attracted 1500 text messages from 384 different users up to September.
This is an average of 41 text messages a day, according to officials.
The pilot project enabled users to send anonymous and free of charge text messages to the department’s internal audit and compliance division for further investigation, in collaboration with the relevant state agencies responsible for criminal investigations and prosecution.
“Whistle-blowers have been living in fear but ‘phones against corruption’ now gives us confidence to report misconduct,” said one of the project participants.
The next step, according to officials, is to expand the initiative to the general public. It is understood that separate awareness campaigns will be held to alert the public and get them to participate. As mobile phone usage and Internet access around the world increase, technologies are transforming society and opening up new possibilities for citizens to demand change and public accountability.
Lawrence Stephen, chairman of the PNG Chapter of Transparency International (TIPNG), told the Post-Courier it was an excellent initiative and the Department of Finance and the UNDP should be congratulated. “TIPNG welcomes opportunities for people to report suspicions of corruption,” Stephens said.
“We welcome also efforts by our enforcement agencies to examine information received with integrity.
“There will be challenges. We have already seen efforts by the corrupt to divert our attention with lies and distortion of the truth.
“We can imagine propaganda machines flooding the service with false claims and reports. We are aware of the damage caused to individuals and families by spurious denunciation from anonymous neighbours in other countries.
“These are risks. But the opportunity for citizens to direct attention to offences is a huge step forward. It is an innovative approach to huge challenges.”
Officials have indicated the enthusiasm of the project’s participants was noted and it is hoped the project will be rolled out next year.
The Department of Finance and UNDP initiative – if managed with integrity and efficiency – could be “great gift” in the fight against corruption, said Stephens.
SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS
46) Australia dismisses Manus case claims
7 November 2014
The Australian government has rejected claims that it offered to resettle asylum seekers held abroad in Australia if they withdraw statements about a killing at its camp in Papua New Guinea.
The claim was made by an Australian human rights lawyer, Julian Burnside QC, who said a confidential source had told him that asylum seekers who witnessed the death of the Iranian man in Manus in February would be settled in Australia if they withdrew their statements.
The Australian immigration minister, Scott Morrison, has told the Australian broadaster SBS this is a false.
The minister says it is an offensive suggestion made without any basis or substantiation by advocates with proven form of political malice and opposition to the government’s successful border protection policies.
Mr Burnside says asylum seekers arriving by boat are mistreated in every possible way.
Two former guards of the private company hired to provide security at the Manus camp have been arrested over the killing.
Dozens more asylum seekers at the Manus camp were injured.
CLIMATE CHANGE,CONSERVATION & ENVIROMENT
47) Hydro project concerns
By LUKE RAWALAI
Sunday, November 09, 2014
THE Forestry Department will soon dispatch personnel to Taveuni to monitor the clearing of trees along a portion of the island’s coastal road for the island’s hydro power project.
In an interview the Divisional Fisheries Officer Asaeli Mata says he will personally visit the island on Wednesday to inspect works to ascertain claims by members of the public that trees are being cut down unnecessarily.
Mr Mata said the iTaukei Land Trust Board was in charge of conducting surveys and laying down boundaries to demarcate land which is to be cleared for the project.
“I am aware that the clearance of land for the main project site has been completed so far,” he said.
Nakia Resort owner and conservationist, Robin Kelly had earlier raised her concerns on the number of trees that were being mercilessly cut down for the construction of electricity poles along the coastal road on the island.
“Some of these trees are really old and have become part of the landscape on the island and cutting them down does have an impact on the environment,” she said. “I am not against the development project that is currently progressing on the island but all I am asking is that if this needs to be done why don’t we ensure that our environment is not affected.
“No sort of development is worth the pristine resources that we have on the island.”
Other members of the public on the island had also raised their concern on the number of trees being cut down for the project.
Adi Asenaca Viodro of Waimaqera said work on the island needed to be monitored just to ensure that contractors work within the terms and conditions of their contract.http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=285641
48) RU:France beat Fiji 40-15
By Barnaby Chesterman, AFP
Sunday, November 09, 2014
Update: 1:35PM Teddy Thomas scored a hat-trick of tries on his France debut and South African-born Scott Spedding also shone on his first appearance for les Bleus in a 40-15 victory over Fiji in Marseille on Saturday.
The 21-year-old Thomas barely budged from his left wing position but was in the right place at the right time to finish off three excellent French moves.
Spedding, whose selection had caused much controversy in France, was the architect for two of those tries while Thomas’s fellow Basque, fly-half Camille Lopez, kicked 13 points.
Pascal Pape and Wesley Fofana also crossed the whitewash for France who had seven players making their international rugby debuts.
French-based wings Watisoni Votu and Timoci Nagusa crossed for Fiji’s two tries as the Pacific islanders lost to France for the ninth time in as many attempts.
France went into the game with their 13th half-back pairing in 30 matches under Philippe Saint-Andre, yet the in-form Sebastien Tillous-Borde and Lopez helped the hosts take a first minute lead.
Tillous-Borde moved quick ball from the breakdown and Lopez played an inch-perfect crossfield kick for Thomas to take in midair and touch down.
France led 14-0 at halftime, and when Fiji closed to within six points, Thomas’ next two tries in as many minutes sent France racing away at 26-8.
Fiji had the final word, though, with a length of the field try from Montpellier’s Nagusa after running the ball from behind their own line.
France host Australia next weekend, when the Fijians visit Wales.
49) FIFA panel to study video replay options
Sunday, November 09, 2014
ZURICH, Switzerland – FIFA says football’s rule-making panel is preparing to study options for video replays to help referees.
A call by FIFA President Sepp Blatter for coaches to challenge on-field decisions could be assessed when the International Football Association Board meets which is scheduled on November 24-25 in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Meetings of the full IFAB panel and two new advisory groups will shape the agenda for a decision-making session scheduled February 27-March 1.
Blatter’s proposal, which he put forward in a pre-recorded video for the SoccerEx conference in September, would have to be widely tested before getting IFAB approval.
Blatter said he wanted TV replays to be used in a domestic league and at the Under-20 World Cup in New Zealand in 2015. Coaches would have the right once or twice in each half to challenge a refereeing decision.
FIFA says the November meetings will look at using “sin bins” removing players temporarily instead of dismissing them in youth matches and modifying offside laws.
The football and technical advisory panels will look at the possible triple punishment of penalty, red card and suspension for some penalty-area fouls.
50a) Van Gaal fearful about Rojo injury
Sunday, November 09, 2014
MANCHESTER, England, – Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal warned yesterday that there is a danger that defender Marcos Rojo’s shoulder injury could recur in the future.
Argentina international Rojo dislocated his shoulder in United’s 1-0 derby defeat by Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium last weekend.
Rojo, who joined United from Sporting Lisbon in August, is likely to be out for up to six weeks, although more of a worry is the possibility that the injury could happen again.
“Maybe with Rojo’s injury, it is very difficult that it shall not happen again and that is the problem,” van Gaal told his weekly news conference.
“Marcos dislocated his shoulder, but he did it in the right way.
“He doesn’t need an operation, which is a relief.
“It could be less than six weeks, but with an operation it would be 12 weeks.”
Rojo’s absence has added to van Gaal’s problems in the heart of defence ahead of the visit of Crystal Palace today.
Chris Smalling is suspended after he was sent off in the derby against City and Phil Jones is out with shin splints, while Jonny Evans is nursing an ankle injury.
Midfielder Michael Carrick is poised to deputise in central defence alongside either Tyler Blackett or Paddy McNair.
50b) Goundar scoops A grade event
Sunday, November 09, 2014
NIGEL Goundar won the Fiji Golf Club monthly medal for October event at the Vatuwaqa golf course yesterday.
Goundar scooped the A-grade of the Low & Hill-sponsored day-long tournament.
He won the top place on countback from Joseph Rodan who had to settle for second place after both recorded 70 nett each.
Keshwa Reddy managed 71 nett to finish on third.
In the B-grade, Ramesh Goundan finished on top after hitting 74 nett followed by Nemani Yavala on 75 nett.
Shaun Hon Hwang won the third place in the grade on countback after managing 77 nett.
Dinesh Prasad won the C-grade on 71 nett while Ravineet Kumar claimed the second spot on countback from Sanjay Singh after both scored 72 nett.
The ladies division one prize was won by Gye Oh on 75 nett while Geri Ferguson took home the division two prize.
The nearest-to-the-pin prizes were won by Robert Li and Mohammed Rizwan on the second and twelfth holes, respectively.
Tomasi Tuivuna won the professional grade on 72 gross while Isei Waqa was crowned the overall gross winner in the A-grade on 78.
Tournament co-ordinator Veramu Rokotavaga said 102 golfers took part in the event.
“The early morning drizzle affected us a bit but after that everything went smoothly,” Rokotavaga said.
Meanwhile, the East versus West tournament will be held today starting at 8am.
Rokotavaga said the East team were gunning to win the A-grade title which the West hasdbeen winning for the past two years.Fijitimes.