Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1044 ( Thursday 13 November 2014 )

MELANESIA

1) Vanuatu daily news digest | 13 November 2014

by bobmakin

Keith Woodward OBE died at Bath in England, early this morning Vanuatu time. His role in Constitutional development from the New Hebrides to Vanuatu was colossal. An obituary will be read in tomorrow’s Daily Post.

Both Radio Vanuatu and Daily Post reported the appointment of the new Public Prosecutor today. He is a Fijian lawyer practising in the United Kingdom. Judicial Affairs Minister Alfred Carlot made the announcement at the opening of the completely renovated Public Prosecutor’s Department, although the new PP’s name was not given.

  • The Greens are claiming the Daily Post article on million vatu deposits to the bank accounts of Opposition MPs are defamatory, but they do not deny they made them, actually claiming they were indeed made, and in support of the former and next Prime Minister Moana Carcasses. They say they are looking after their MPs in opposition like a “shepherd looks after the pasture to feed his sheep.” We have not been very good at sheep husbandry in this country. We have much more experience of pigs. The Opposition statement is totally at odds with the Leadership Code, which, of course, is broken by those receiving as well as those offering bribes.
  • Parliament meets next Tuesday, 18 November. The new Head of State will be honoured by a special welcome ceremony.
  • Further steps have been taken to enable re-cycling of certain waste materials region-wide with the help of the Japanese aid agency JICA. Radio Vanuatu News reported waste solids such as aluminium and steel cans now having streamlined disposal places at Freswota. The JICA volunteers see Port Vila’s as a pilot project for the region. The bulletin also referred to the efforts of Wan Smolbag and its youth members undertaking similar waste management plans.
  • Ports & Harbours is planning to tighten the regulations concerning derelict shipsbecause of the environmental risks, Daily Post reports today.
  • And Post also carries interesting articles on Vanuatu trade with the other MSG countries and the Ministry of Agriculture involving its personnel in planning issuesthrough a national retreat on Pele island.

2)Vanuatu daily news digest | 12 November 2014

by bobmakin

  • The really good news today is on page 2 of Daily Post, the Chinese design team and the Ministry of Education agreeing to the new designs for Malapoa College. This will mean 24 new classrooms. And then 8 laboratories and space for teachers’ offices, an administration block, library, dormitories, etc. Chinese Ambassador Xie Bohua referred to the college as the cradle of the elites in Vanuatu. Tru ia. The professional work of the design team of Wang Dan was praised by Minister Loughman and College representatives.
  • Daily Post leads with the news that Northern and Southern Stars are to be sunk at last thank goodness. These rust buckets have been dangerously serving no useful purpose for far too long.
  • In other maritime news, Minister Regenvanu was this morning to sail under Sydney Harbour Bridge with other leaders on the canoes which were recently here and are part of the Mua Voyage. It is opening day of the IUCN World Parks Congress which hopes to deploy nature-based solutions to global environmental challenges.
  • Radio Vanuatu this morning advised that an agreement has been signed with Pro Medical (VEMSA) to supply ambulance services in Port Vila and Luganville. Minister Wells pointed out that many are the complaints regarding the usual government ambulance service and Pro Medical has proven itself over a number of years with its larger professional establishment.
  • The curriculum reform will remove the ban on the use of Bislama in schools VBTC reports today. At the basic education level to class 3 better communications are thus assured. Understanding of what is being taught will be improved.

3) Dairy cattle herds face TB outbreak

Ana Madigibuli
Thursday, November 13, 2014

A SERIOUS outbreak of tuberculosis in cattle in Tailevu has been detected by the Ministry of Agriculture.

And the Fiji Co-operative Dairy Company Ltd says the outbreak will likely cripple the dairy and cattle farming industry in Fiji if not controlled soon.

Cattle farmers in Tailevu have stressed the seriousness of the disease and the recent increase in the number of infected cattle in just a few months.

Ministry of Agriculture principal veterinarian officer Dr Stephen Angus, when asked what will happen to the infected cattle, said the ministry was trying to control the spread of TB.

“The cattle that are infected are taken to the abattoir where they are inspected and the infected parts are removed,” Mr Angus said.

“If it’s a generalised TB infected cattle then the whole carcass is condemned.

“The outbreak of TB is normally caused by direct contact of a cow that is infected with those not infected, it normally happens when herds are moved together.”

FCDL director Kashmir Singh of J Singh Farm in Waimaro said he had 800 stock and 26 of them had been infected with tuberculosis.

“In the last test conducted we had only 12 infected cattle but now we have 26 cattle infected,” Mr Singh said.

“This is a huge problem because we produce milk and beef and it can affect our production.”

Responding to questions on whether the outbreak had the capacity to cripple the Fijian dairy and cattle farming industry, Mr Singh said: “Yes it would cripple the industry.”

Harness Farms Ltd manager Martin Compain said many dairy farmers in Tailevu faced the same problem and were worried about their cattle stock.

“Nobody has given us an explanation on the increase of TB infected cattle around the area and we have more than 50 cattle infected from the recent tests conducted,” Mr Compain said.

“We can’t get any authority to come and talk to us about the increase in TB infected cattle in our area.”

POLYNESIA

4) Beach Restoration Underway In Tonga’s Vava‘u
Healthy ecosystem to improve climate resilience

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Nov. 12, 2014) – A project is currently underway in Vava’u to restore Talihau Beach and protect it from erosion. The beach is about 100-metre long, located on the small Vava’u Island of ‘Utungake at the entrance to Neiafu’s harbour.

The beach restoration project is being implemented by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environmental Programme (SPREP) and funded by the Australian Government. Its aim is to restore a healthy ecosystem to Talihau, making it more climate resilient and better able to bounce back from the impacts of severe weather patterns and natural disasters.

According to assessments by SPREP’s Environmental Monitoring and Reporting Officer, Mr Paul Anderson, the beach is badly eroded largely due to human and animal activity.

“The good news is that there is a lot we can do to curb the harmful impact of humans and animals, and here in Talihau we’ve been able to implement a lot of them in a relatively short period of time. Some of the interventions we’ve put in place have included fencing to prevent livestock from damaging beachside vegetation, putting systems in place to prevent the mooring of boats on degraded areas of the beach and talking to the community about the damaging impact of sand mining,” he stated.

Vegetation is also being replanted along the coast. Brush protection mats are being used in the re-vegetation process. The brushes root and grow on the soil that it is placed on the mats.

SPREP Officer at the scene, Mr Vainuupo Jungblut thanked the community for its support.

“It was really hard work but the great community effort and support made light work of it all. I take my hat off to the community of Talihau for their hard work, dedication and ownership of this initiative.”

The project is being welcomed by the community in Talihau, they will help oversee the maintenance of the beach.

Talihau resident, Ms ‘Ana Finau stated her enthusiasm “I am happy now. This is like a dream come true to have something like this to help us to protect our beach. We are so happy to have this work as we know it’s for the benefit of our community and for our grandkids in the future. We will work together and help each other by replanting trees, replacing the fence if it breaks and help to conserve the areas from being abused by animals and visitors.” 

Matangi Tonga Magazine

5) Samoa minister on trial on theft and forgery charges – Samoa’s Associate Minister of Trade, Commerce, and Industry, Muagututagata Peter Ah Him, is standing trial on charges of theft, false pretences, forgery and altering documents. The charges against the minister arose from an investigation into a complaint by the Grand Ocean company in which the minister is a share holder. Muagututagata is accused of offences involving about 30 thousand US dollars that the Chinese company had paid for the release and clearance of two containers from Customs. Muagututagata has denied all charges.
http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/259236/samoa-minister-on-trial-on-theft-and-forgery-charges

6) ‘Con Kava’ Supplier In Samoa Let Off With Warning
Mislabeled kava distributor told to comply with Health requirements

By Lanuola Tupufia

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, Nov. 12, 2014) – The suppliers of kava described by the authorities as “con kava” have been let off the hook with a warning.

But they will not be so lucky next time. 

Speaking to the Samoa Observer, the Assistant Chief Executive Officer of the Health Prevention and Environment Division, Seve Sinei Fili, said members of the public should take the decision as a warning.

“Following our investigation, we have decided to warn them,” said Seve. 

“We have written to them, informing them they cannot sell kava unless they meet the requirements.”

“From the investigation, there is no scientific evidence that the kava is harmful but our issue is the misleading of information.”

Last month, members of the public who consume kava were warned that what had been found as “fake kava” sold using local labels could lead to health problems.

At the time, the Director General of the Ministry of Health, Leausa Dr. Take Naseri, confirmed that his Ministry had launched an investigation into the issue.

“Someone has been conning locals (with the ava) selling it under a different label,” Leausa said.

“We’ve had a complainant that had an allergic reaction to the kava and we are investigating.”

Seve said the investigation has ended and they found that the supplier did not really understand the law. He did not elaborate.

The business involved, registered under the name of Sale Mataia, is run by an Indo-Fijian couple. The investigation found the kava, which was imported from Fiji, was sold under several different labels, including Kava Tonga.

The Ministry of Health also found the business had not met labeling requirements by not giving information about who owns the kava, its weight and other important information.

The A.C.E.O pointed out that while the family disputed that they supplied the four different labels of kava, their investigation points to the one conclusion and that is all the different labels came from one place.

Asked if the business had a license, Seve said yes and confirmed that it was issued by the Ministry of Revenue.

He explained that the family had applied for the license to trade kava years before a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Revenue and Health.

“The M.O.U was signed two years ago while the family had their licensed issued four years ago,” he said.

“The M.O.U with the Ministry of Revenue means all applicants for licenses that involve food and beverages have to come through the Ministry of Health for inspection and then we assess whether they meet requirement.”

“In this case the license was given by Revenue (prior to the M.O.U) and it is why we are not aware of the license.”

A senior staff from the Ministry of Revenue, who is not authorised to speak to the media, confirmed the license was issued by them under the name of Sale Mataia in 2012, 2013 and 2014.

Samoa Observer

7) Samoan man gets 11 years for domestic violence

 13 November 2014

A Samoan man has been sentenced to 11 years in jail for causing actual bodily harm, and attempting to kill his Tongan partner.

32 year-old, Talapelo Soi, had attacked the woman with a machete at her workplace leaving her with serious injuries.

The police summary of facts also revealed the woman had been assaulted several times by Soi. A police protection order was issued to the Samoa victim support group for her safety.

The presiding Judge, Vui Clarence Nelson, has described the offences as one of the worse domestic violence cases in Samoa.

The court had heard Soi had met the woman in Fiji while he was studying.RNZI

8) Counting Of Votes In Cook Islands By-Election On Hold
Mitiaro result could produce hung parliament


WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Nov. 13, 2014) – The Cook Islands electoral office says the counting of votes in a by-election on the outer island of Mitiaro has been put on hold pending court action.

The by-election has the potential to produce a hung parliament.

It follows an election night tie in July between Tuakeu Tangatapoto of the Cook Islands Party and the island’s previous Member of Parliament, Tangata Vavia.

If the Democratic Party wins the by-election, the One Cook Islands Movement, with its two seats, could be king maker.

The Chief Electoral Officer, Taggy Tangimetua, has told the Cook Islands News that the vote counting and the declaration of the result will be deferred pending a court order.

Radio New Zealand International 

9) Samoa minister on trial on theft and forgery charges

 12 November 2014
 
Samoa’s Associate Minister of Trade, Commerce, and Industry, Muagututagata Peter Ah Him, is standing trial on charges of theft, false pretences, forgery and altering documents.

The charges against the minister arose from an investigation into a complaint by the Grand Ocean company in which the minister is a share holder.

Muagututagata is accused of offences involving about 30 thousand US dollars that the Chinese company had paid for the release and clearance of two containers from Customs.

Muagututagata has denied all charges.

Samoa’s cabinet minister Peter Ah Him

Related

Samoa minister denies charges
Associate minister in Samoa faces arrest

RNZI

MICRONESIA

10) Guam Residents Encouraged To Comment On Military Projects
Development in Finegayan could affect historical sites

By Jerick Sablan

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Nov. 13, 2014) – Residents have a chance to comment on a proposed military project in Finegayan that could affect eight historic sites.

The Department of Defense identified eight sites that will be affected during the proposed first phase for Finegayan utilities and site improvements as part of the military buildup at Andersen Air Force Base.

Naval Facilities Engineering Command released the Programmatic Agreement memo for the project and residents have until Nov. 17 to comment.

Residents can review the memo online at www.navfac.navy.mil or at the Department of Parks and Recreation office in Agana Heights.

Some of the properties have pre-contact artifacts while others have World War II-era camps, the memo states.

The Defense department found the sites would be adversely affected by the proposed project and are eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Place.

The sites include: an early 20th-century water catchment cistern; a WWII-era encampment; a large previously bulldozed pre-contact habitation site and artifact scatter; a WWII-era Seabee Camp; a pre-contact artifact scatter; three probable pre-contact refuse deposits and a habitation site.

Pacific Daily News 

TOK PISIN

11) Solomon Islands media i redi long 2014 ileksan

Updated 13 November 2014, 15:34 AEDT

Caroline Tiriman 

Ol wok nius itok ol niusman-meri nau istat long go nau long olgeta nainpla provins long redi long ikelsan

Odio: Leni Delavera President blong Media Association blong Solomon Islands i toktok wantem Caroline Tiriman 

Leni Delavera President blong Media Association blong Solomon Islands i toktok wantem Caroline Tiriman (Credit: ABC) 

Ol wok nius long Solomon Islands itok oli redi gut nau long bringim na tokaut long ol nius long National ileksan em bai kamap long trinde long wik bihaen.

President blong Media Association blong Solomon Islands, na nius edita blong  Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation Leni Dalavera itok ol niusman-meri igo pinis long olgeta nainpla provins long kantri long redi long despla ileksan.

Solomon Islands, wankaen olsem ol narapla ailan kantri long Pacific igat planti ailan tumas na emi save hard long bringim nius igo long olgeta pipal.

Tasol Mr Dalavera i tok oli redi gut long mekim wok blong ol long ileksan.Radio Australia

12) PNG i sot tru long ol Dokta

Updated 13 November 2014, 14:11 AEDT

Sam Seke 

Papua New Guinea igat bikpela heve i stap long em i nogat inap dokta blong lukautim ol sik pipol long kantri.

Odio: Dr David Mills, President blong PNG Society blong Rural na Remote Health i toktok wantem Sam Seke 

Papua New Guinea igat bikpela heve i stap long em i nogat inap dokta blong lukautim ol sik pipol long kantri.

Dr David Mills, President blong PNG Society blong Rural na Remote Health i tok narapela isiu, em long planti long ol dokta i stap tasol long ol bikpela senta na i nogat dokta long bus.

Dr Mills i tokaut long dispela long wanpela repot blong dispela society long Port Moresby aste.

Em i tok PNG i nogat inap dokta long wanem long moa long 20 yar, kantri i trenim 45 dokta tasol long wanwan yar.

Na em i tok insait long dispela taim, polulesen blong PNG i grou long samting olsem 3 na hap million i kam nau klostu long 8 million.

Dr Mills husat i Medical Superintendent long Kompiam Rural Hospital long Enga Provins i toktok moa long dispela wari.Radio Australia

13) PNG Cricket Team i hamarim gut Hong Kong

Updated 12 November 2014, 15:32 AEDT

Sam Seke 

Hong Kong Cricket team i kisim taem long Papua New Guinea International Cricket team Hebou PNG Barramundis.

Odio: Rarua Dikana, Assistant Coach blong ol Hebou PNG Barramandis criket tim i toktok wantem Sam Seke 

Rarua Dikana, Assistant Coach blong ol Hebou PNG Barramandis criket tim i toktok wantem Sam Seke (Credit: ABC) 

Ol Hebou PNG Barramundis ibin paitim bikpela skoa long 469 ran long nabawan 3-day intenasenal blong ol agensim Hong Kong taim ol ibin declare tede long moning.

Long biksan dispela apinun, Assistant Coach Rarua Dikana i tok skoa blong Hong Kong ibin stap long 28 ran na 2 pela wicket ibin pudaun pinis.

Em i tok dispela mak i putim ol Hebou Barramandis long gutpela sans long ol iken winim dispela gem we bai pinis long tumora apinun.

Rarua Dikana i toktok moa long ol skoa inap long namel long dei tede.Radio Australia

FRENCH

14) Brèves du Pacifique – mercredi 12 novembre 2014 

Mis à jour 12 November 2014, 17:27 AEDT

Caroline Lafargue 

Le Pape demande à Tony Abbott de ne pas oublier les pauvres lors du G20, qu’il organise ce week-end à Brisbane. Le souverain pontife a envoyé une lettre au Premier ministre australien – qui est un ancien séminariste, catholique.  

Les dérives du système financier, « c’est une forme d’atteinte aux droits de l’homme moins évidente mais très sérieuse », souligne le souverain pontife.  

Il réclame aussi la mise en place de garde-fous pour éviter une nouvelle crise financière, qui a plongé le monde dans la récession en 2008. Les dérives du système financier, « c’est une forme d’atteinte aux droits de l’homme moins évidente mais très sérieuse », souligne le souverain pontife. Enfin, le Pape François recommande aux membres du G20 de s’attaquer au chômage des jeunes, qui favorise « l’activité criminelle et même le recrutement de terroristes ». Nous saurons ce week-end si Tony Abbott, ancien séminariste catholique, se montre sensible aux recommandations du Pape.  

  • La Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée a accordé des visas à 10 réfugiés mercredi. Ce sont les tout premiers détenus de Manus qui reçoivent un titre de séjour pour un an, conformément à l’accord passé par l’Australie avec le gouvernement papou en juillet 2013. Les 10 premiers libérés séjourneront d’abord à Lorengau, la capitale de l’île de Manus, pour y apprendre l’anglais, le tok pisin, et la culture du pays. Les réfugiés, originaires du Pakistan, d’Iran, d’Afghanistan et de Birmanie, ont été sélectionnés parce qu’ils sont qualifies – un horloger, un bijoutier, un ingénieur, un comptable. Les autres demandeurs d’asile seront libérés avec un visa d’un an au rythme de 10 par semaine.
  • Îles Salomon: la concentration d’arsenic à la mine de Gold Ridge est inquiétante. La saison des moussons va commencer, et s’il y a des inondations, les déchets chimiques vont se propager autour de la mine. En avril dernier, Santa Barbara, a abandonné la mine, après les inondations, qui ont fait déborder les bassins de rétention des déchets. Pour remettre la mine en exploitation, il faudrait investir d’importantes sommes pour réparer les dégâts. Le gouvernement a suspend les négociations sur la vente de la mine de Gold Ridge en attendant de régler ce problème urgent.
  • Bougainville: le Chebu effectue son premier voyage aujourd’hui entre la capitale, Buka, et la Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée. Ce ferry acheté aux Philippines vient remplacer le vieux Rabaul Queen, qui a coulé il y a trois ans au large de Lae, sur la côte est de la Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée. La tragedie a fait 173 morts.
  • Australie: les Travaillistes quittent la table des négociations. Le gouvernement libéral veut revoir à la baisse la part des énergies propres dans la consommation du pays. En 2008, les deux grands partis avaient conclu un accord, l’objectif était de produire 41 000 gigawatts heures d’électricité à partir d’énergies renouvelables, soit 20% de la production totale, d’ici 2020. Le gouvernement Abbott affirme que les foyers australiens consomment moins d’électricité et veut donc reviser cet objectif à 26 000 gigawatts heure. L’opposition travailliste accuse le gouvernement de refuser de faire des concessions. Radio Australia


PASIFIK

15) Feleti Teo after Tuna Commission director’s post

 13 November 2014

The director of the Suva-based Pacific Islands Development Forum is the only Pacific Islander shortlisted for the job as head of the Tuna Commission.

Feleti Teo, who is Tuvaluan, also spent two terms at the Suva-based Pacific Islands Forum’s secretariat, and earlier headed the Forum Fisheries Agency.

He is one of five candidates vying to become the new director of what is formally known as the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission.

The Commission’s office in Pohnpei has been vacant since August, when Australian Glenn Hurry stepped down at the end of his four-year term.

It was established over a decade ago to regulate fishing on the high seas.

A decision on who will fill the post is to be made at the Commission’s annual meeting in Apia at the beginning of December.

Related

PIDF hailed as significant milestone for green energy
Pacific leaders to be urged to relaunch revitalised Pacific Plan
Pacific plan initiatives to help ensure food security
Acting Forum Secretary General says climate discussions will be important
Teo stakes Forum secretariat leadership claim
RNZI

16) China offers Pacific Island countries $1.9billion

Rnzi
Thursday, November 13, 2014

China has offered Pacific Island countries a $US1billion ($F1.9b) concessionary loan for infrastructure developments.

The China Daily reports the assistance has been offered to those countries in the region which have diplomatic ties with China.

The loan is part of a package of measures including 2000 scholarships over the next four years to train local technicians and more medical facilities and Chinese medical teams for the region.

The China Daily reports China will also increase trade in the agriculture and forestry sectors, continue projects promoting Chinese farming methods and invest in green energy facilities.

The Vice-Premier, Wang Yang, made the announcement at the China-Pacific Island Countries Economic Development and Co-operation Forum in Guangzhou.

It was attended by representatives from the Federated States of Micronesia, Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, the Cook Islands, Tonga, Niue and Fiji. Chinese media report Mr Wang as saying developing a good partnership with the Pacific Island countries is a long-term strategy in China’s diplomatic work.

WORLD

17) Germany cracks down on ‘benefit tourism’

Bbc News
Thursday, November 13, 2014

THE European Court of Justice said member states can deny certain payments to unemployed EU citizens who move to that country just to claim benefits.

The court said Germany was right to deny an unemployed Romanian woman a particular allowance because she showed no sign of seeking work. Correspondents say the ruling sets a precedent for the rest of the EU.

Politicians in several member states have promised to crack down on what they call “benefit tourism”.

British Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed the ruling, describing it as “simple common sense”.

Meanwhile German MEP Manfred Weber, the leader of the main conservative group in the European Parliament, told the Associated Press news agency that the decision proved EU countries could “avoid social benefits tourism without violating the free movement of citizens”.

HEALTH

18) PNG AIDS council staff sacked in ‘review’

By Online Editor
6:11 pm GMT+12, 11/11/2014, Papua New Guinea 

Six senior officers of the Papua New Guinea National AIDS Council Secretariat, including the deputy director, Philip Tapo are now without jobs.
 
They were told last Thursday that their services were no longer required and therefore their contracts would not be renewed.
 
However the six claimed they got the boot without notice and warning last Thursday when told to vacate their offices at close of business.
 
At the same time their computers were disabled so they could not access office information.
 
Tapo, who had previously worked with the Manus provincial administration, said he had worked for 21 years with the public service, including 10 years with NACS, and he did not expect to be unceremoniously dumped.
 
“The notice did not state the reason why our contracts were not renewed,” said Tapo. “This was unprofessional.”
 
Similar comments were made by Joseph Mage, who served a total of 30 years with the public service, eight of them with NACS.
 
The others who got the boot were Sebastian Masufi (finance, budget officer), Ismael Robert (regional manager for Highlands), Samson Drewei (finance officer) and David Langer (accountant).
 
They also claimed that their contract were not renewed because at different times in the past they had stood up against financial decisions made by NACS director Peter Bire which, they claimed, were not in line with the Finance Management Act.
 
Bire however, denied the claims saying the six officers’ contracts were not renewed as part of a review to trim NACS so that it would function effectively.
 
He said he and NACS chairman Dr Banare Bun had on separate occasions told staff that most contracts had expired and the management was in the process of deciding whether or not to renew them. He added that more NACS officers may follow suit in coming weeks.
 
Bire also denied allegations that he had hired a consultant at a cost of K600,000 to work for NACS without going through the normal tender process.
 
Other allegations they made against  Bire included allowing travel allowances to be made to Dr Bun for his travels to Port Moresby for reasons other than council meetings. Dr Bun denied any misuse.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

19) Drones at war in PNG’s fight against TB

By Online Editor
3:06 pm GMT+12, 12/11/2014, Papua New Guinea 

An international humanitarian organisation has begun trialing the use of unmanned drones to give Papua New Guineans sick with tuberculosis in isolated communities more access to treatment.
 
Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), a Nobel Peace Prize winning organisation, has teamed up with American drone-making company Matternet to begin using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to transport TB test results, medicines, blood work and other medicinal entities from some of the country’s most inaccessible areas to towns where hospitals and TB treatment can be found.
 
This revolutionary technology, which prior to 2005 had only been used for military operations, is now being trialed in the Western Province to ease the painstaking exercise of TB patients travelling for days for treatment in Kerema town.
 
MSF programs manager Eric Pujo said in an interview that the NGO had seen the difficulty TB patients from remote PNG areas had in travelling to urban areas for treatment. But the use of UAVs will now tackle that problem.
 
He explained that with this new system of treatment and testing, a village health care worker could run tests and have them sent on the UAV to Kerema for analysis before the treatment is sent back on the same craft within the space of a day.
 
Pujo admitted that the transport and logistics element of the whole TB issue was one of the main reasons why the epidemic was serious, adding that this was particularly bad in Gulf Province, which has the highest number of deaths per annum in the country.
 
“Many villagers in the Gulf contract the airborne pandemic and have to travel days and even weeks at a time to get to the nearest health centre where they are tested and asked to come back later. This we feel needs to stop as this gross wastage of valuable treatment time is costing us lives on a daily basis,” he added.
 
So far more than 15 trial UAV flights have been done with only one reported failed run due to what Matternet technical experts say was a technical issue with the range equipment.
 
Pujo expressed confidence in the trialling of the drones, saying it is going to be successful and can be replicated in other parts of the country.
 
The trials come close to two months after Prime Minister Peter O’Neill launched a national TB awareness campaign after health authorities expressed concern at the spreading epidemic and picked out the provinces of Gulf, Western and parts of Central as hot spots for the disease.
 
Early this month the Government announced the establishment of a Ministerial Task Force on TB chaired by the Health and HIV/AIDS Minister Michael Malabag.
 
SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

20) MSP assists sexual assault victims – Medical Services Pacific has managed to assist 148 sexual assault victims through counseling. And to further enhance its services, MSP yesterday signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the Fiji Police Force. MSP executive director Jennifer Poole said the MOA was one that was needed to see the organization continue with the work they have done from the last two years. Under the MOA, both parties are mutually committed to ensuring that a high quality of health care service is provided to those affected by gender violence and sexual assault in Viti Levu.
http://fijilive.com/news/2014/11/msp-assists-sexual-assault-victims/59638.Fijilive
http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/24446/police-force-renews-agreement-with-msp

21) Negligence of doctors at CWM: 2013 Audit Report – The Auditor General in its 2013 report has recommended that the Health Ministry should investigate and take disciplinary actions against doctors if they are found to be negligent. This after the audit noted that last year a number of patients were not properly treated by the doctors at CWM Hospital which resulted in additional cost from further treatment overseas. These were surgeries undertaken by local doctors which were not successful and were later referred to hospitals in India. 
http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/24449/negligence-of-doctors-at-cwm-2013-audit-report#sthash.iRaxnNqq.dpuf

22) The rise of cancer

Felix Chaudhary
Thursday, November 13, 2014

SINCE its establishment 20 years ago, the Fiji Cancer Society has witnessed a significant increase in the number of people diagnosed with cancer and those seeking treatment.

Speaking at the Bushells Fiji’s Biggest Morning Tea in Nadi yesterday, Fiji Cancer Society manager Rajshree Baleisuva said along with the increase in patients came increased demands on resources and services.

“When we began, cancer patients were very few or rare but things have changed so much since then,” Ms Baleisuva said.

“Two ladies out of every eight that come forward for checks every week are diagnosed with breast cancer and two women are diagnosed with cervical cancer every month.

“One child a month is diagnosed with cancer.”

Ms Baleisuva said assistance for young patients was readily available and the biggest challenge for the society was helping adult patients.

“In the case of children, we are blessed because we have a link with the Christchurch Oncology Unit, we do teleconferencing and treat children with their valuable participation.

“Children are also fortunate because there are grants and aid available from the Australian and New Zealand Governments for treatment.”

Ms Baleisuva said money raised from fundraising efforts like the morning tea was used to buy patients’ consumables.

“These include diapers and pads which are used on breast cancer patients because normal dressing is not effective due to the size of wounds.

“The money is also used for groceries, transportation and medical costs.

“Not all patients can afford the expensive antibiotics and other drugs that are needed (and) that is not always available at the government pharmacy.”

The Motibhai Group handed over $21,352 raised at the morning tea in Nadi yesterday, however, the group has given the Fiji Cancer Society more than $54,800 this year alone.Fijitimes

EDUCATION

23) Teachers trained on counseling – All teachers will be trained in basic counseling skills from next year. The Ministry of Education believes this is one way teachers can address hidden problems faced by students who misbehave in class. Education Minister Dr Mahendra Reddy says teachers will soon not only be involved in teaching the curriculum. ’’We have plans to ensure students behave in a way that will not disturb the class and to organize the teachers. We want to set up committees in different districts including people from Social Welfare, officers from our Substance Abuse Department and community leaders who will be given opportunities to address students on a monthly basis.” 
http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/24447/teachers-trained-on-counselling#sthash.xkqMZtBS.dpuf

POLITIC

24) RAMSI assists Solomon Islands Police with election security

By Online Editor
6:19 pm GMT+12, 11/11/2014, Solomon Islands 

There will be a temporary increase in the number of personnel under the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) Participating Police Force (PPF) as the mission assists the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) to conduct major security operations around the 2014 Solomon Islands National General Election.
 
This is the largest operation the RSIPF will be leading since RAMSI arrived in 2003.  
 
About 90 additional police officers from Australia, New Zealand and several Pacific Island countries including the Cook Islands, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Tonga and Tuvalu will join the RAMSI PPF. They will be working side by side with the RSIPF in election security planning and conducting high visibility operations. They will also be engaging with communities, providing mobility and logistical assistance, and tactical support if required.
 
The additional RAMSI PPF personnel from Australia arrived Monday in Honiara and personnel from New Zealand arrived Tuesday.  
 
Australian High Commissioner Andrew Byrne said the deployment of additional Australian police officers to bolster RAMSI’s PPF was part of Australia’s ongoing commitment to stability in Solomon Islands.   
 
“I’m confident that the RSIPF will maintain law and order throughout the election period”, said High Commissioner Byrne, “but securing an election is a big exercise, so Australia is happy to provide some additional police under RAMSI to help out the RSIPF at this busy time.”
 
“New Zealand is pleased to provide additional police personnel to support the RSIPF during the election period, continuing the assistance New Zealand has provided since the PPF was established,” said Marion Crawshaw, New Zealand High Commissioner to Solomon Islands.
 
RAMSI Special Coordinator, Justine Braithwaite said: “We are very grateful to Australia, New Zealand and our Pacific partners for making additional police officers available. This is a very good example of regional security cooperation, as police officers from around the region come together to support the people of Solomon Islands.”
 
The Royal Solomon Islands Police Commissioner, Frank Prendergast said: “The RSIPF has worked closely with the PPF for a number of years now. With this extra PPF support and the ongoing cooperation and assistance from the Community I am confident that the RSIPF is well positioned to ensure the security of the Election. I would like to thank RAMSI for the ongoing assistance.”
 
RAMSI PPF Commander Greg Harrigan said: “The PPF are looking forward to working closely with the RSIPF who will lead the security operation.
 
“We will be providing operational support capabilities and if requested we will deploy specialist public order management resources in support of our colleagues.”
 
The additional officers from Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific island countries will leave after the formation of a new Solomon Islands Government.

SOURCE: RAMSI MEDIA UNIT/PACNEWS

25) 91,023 voters didn’t vote: FEO – The Final Report by the Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem for the 2014 general election shows that 91,023 registered voters did not vote. The report highlighted that 84.6 per cent of the 591,101 registered voters voted, this was 500,078. Of this 500,078 that cast their ballots, 3714 votes were invalid. Despite this significant number of registered voters that did not vote, Saneem praised the system that was used because of the low number of invalid votes he said.
http://fijilive.com/news/2014/11/91023-voters-didnt-vote-feo/59642.Fijilive

MEDIA

26) CLICK TV announces PNG’s first regional HD service

By Online Editor
9:39 pm GMT+12, 11/11/2014, Papua New Guinea 

Papua New Guinea broadcaster Click TV has launched its Port Moresby services announcing the country’s first regional direct to home service spanning 100% of PNG, Melanesia and Polynesia.
 
In conjunction with its own channel PNG TV, the new digital broadcaster has launched the sale of PNG’s first HD set top boxes with twenty – five channels launched to Port Moresby today.
 
At its launch today the broadcaster also announced a five year lease of a transponder on the satellite Intelsat 19 to beam 30 channels of local, regional and international channels to Papua New Guinea with services to be launched into Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Cook Islands and small island states in the South Pacific from December 14.
 
Its own local channel PNG TV will be available in the region and through its local and satellite footprints be available in all PNG cities and rural areas and will also be available to broadcasters and subscribers in parts of Australasia and the South Pacific.
 
In Port Moresby the company announced it had secured two retail channels for customers to acquire the necessary equipment to enjoy what the platform had to offer.
 
Included in its Phase 1 content plan are three free to view channels and 22 Pay TV channels including the broadcast of Hope Channel free to the Seventh Day Church of Papua New Guinea.
 
“We’re excited to finally launch our platforms. Viewers will see an improvement in local content with PNG TV and it will provide to local producers and PNG citizens more opportunities to not only partner with us but more importantly foster real change in the community. We would like to play a major part in providing family oriented learning programs to the community”, Managing Director Richard Broadbridge said.
 
Click has announced Rapid Fones and Datec Mega store as their initial retail channels with early paying subscribers receiving all their channels for free.
 
The broadcaster says all the Set Top Boxes will be broadcasting some content in HD with their devices having the capability to record content.
 
Click says they are the first broadcaster to offer HD with each Set Top Box having wifi capability meaning access to the internet using the subscribers TV screen.
 
“We’re offering PNG what it deserves. We will raise the bar in terms of local programmes, a strong and trustworthy newsroom and both LIVE and delayed sport including the first ever Pacific Games in HD, exclusively Click TV’s in Papua New Guinea.
 
Port Moresby Set top boxes go on sale from today with their national rollout using terrestrial transmitters will occur over the next few months.
 
Clicks satellite only customers to be able to access their Set Top Boxes from December providing access to 30 channels of TV to viewers in remote areas of PNG and the Pacific Islands.
    
SOURCE: PACNEWS

BUSINESS

27) Kava now a fourth ACP commodity, a major breakthrough – Ambassador Roy

By Online Editor
6:38 pm GMT+12, 12/11/2014, Vanuatu 

A major breakthrough has been achieved in Brussels for Pacific kava within the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group.
 
Kava has been accepted as the fourth item in the ACP commodity programme for 2015-2020. The other three commodities are sugar, cotton and banana.
 
The good news was shared by Vanuatu’s Ambassador to the European Union, Roy Mickey Joy in an exclusive interview with the Vanuatu Times this week.
 
“For the last 30 years, ACP and the European Union (EU) have given so much attention to sugar through the Sugar Protocol, the cotton producing countries in Africa and bananas.  Now I wish to confirm at this stage that kava from the Pacific region has been accepted as the fourth item in the whole ACP commodity program beginning in 2015-2020, said Ambassador Joy.  
 
This decision means that kava from the Pacific will be given equal treatment as other commodities in terms of program funding from the EU.
 
“They will treat kava equally as they treat and give financial support to sugar and bananas in the Caribbean and cotton from five producing countries in West Africa.
 
“Never before have we seen kava come to this stage, an excited Ambassador Joy told the Vanuatu Times.
 
With the breakthrough in Brussels, the Vanuatu diplomat urged kava producers in Vanuatu and the Pacific to plant noble varieties for export to European markets.
 
“The only challenge now is for our local industry in Vanuatu. The Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Trade and the Chamber of Commerce need to come together to start organising themselves.
 
“They need to play their part and be part of the entire process otherwise we can have legislations and the work done, but if the industry is not prepared, we won’t be able to fulfill the aspirations that are expected from this important work we’re doing outside.
 
Ambassador Roy said kava farmers should plant in earnest to meet the demand and benefit from the envisaged increase in price.
 “I want to encourage the farmers to continue to plant even more kava, because the future is looking bright for them with how things are evolving now in regard to this commodity. They should plant more to prepare for the opening that the EU and the world market outside will take into kava.
 
Ambassador Roy was bold in his prediction that kava is the future of Vanuatu.
 
“I think it is high time that we, policy makers assist in preparing the enabling environment to facilitate trade and business in the kava trade. I think the general economic trend would see a large increase of the pricing of kava locally between the islands into the urban centres in Port-Vila and Luganville and also in the export market. The farmers will be able to make enough money out of their kava products for the first time. And we could also expect an increase of the kava price in the Nakamals (kava bars) in Port-Vila and Luganville, said Ambassador Roy.
 
Vanuatu has been instrumental in pushing for the inclusion of kava as a recognised commodity of the ACP.
 
“We worked really hard with the EU to convince them to recognise kava as an emerging commodity for Pacific Islands Kava producing countries, said the Brussels based diplomat.
 
The renewed interest in kava, especially from producers in the Pacific exports came after the German company BfArM’s lifted its ban on kava in June this year.

SOURCE: VANUATU TIMES/PACNEWS

28) PM to launch cane industry WebGIS Portal – Prime Minister and Minister for Sugar, Voreqe Bainimarama will launch the Sugar Cane Industry WebGIS Portal in Lautoka tonight. The digitization of cane farms and the capturing of all data in the WebGIS portal will enable access a number of features including geographical location of cane farm, cane access road used by each cane farm and area under cane. 
http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/24448/pm-to-launch-cane-industry-webgis-portal#sthash.LFP5bjgL.dpuf

29) We stand by our nomination for Public Accounts Committee chair – Kepa – The Leader of the Opposition, Ro Teimumu Kepa said her nomination for Biman Prasad to chair the Public Accounts Committee will not be changed although the government side is raising concerns about his public comments. Ro Teimumu has called on the Secretary General, Viniana Namosimalua to convene the Public Accounts Committee as soon as possible as many Auditor General’s Reports have to be scrutinized.
http://fijivillage.com/news-feature/We-stand-by-our-nomination-for-Public-Accounts-Committee-chair—Kepa-s95kr2/

30) Taxman monitors illegal imports

Geraldine Panapasa
Wednesday, November 12, 2014

BUSINESSES caught importing blank digital versatile discs (DVDs) and compact discs (CDs) illegally will face the full brunt of the law.

And according to Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority CEO Jitoko Tikolevu, there was zero tolerance on businesses cheating the Government coffers and evading duty payment.

He said the authority was investigating a local company for allegedly importing DVDs illegally and selling it to DVD outlets at a cheap price.

“The current fiscal duty on a blank DVD is $2. In addition, importers have to pay 10 per cent import excise duty and 15 per cent VAT on the total imports. All these duties and taxes are evaded through illegal imports,” Mr Tikolevu said in a statement yesterday.

“DVD outlets should ask receipts and invoices upon purchase of blank DVDs and CDs. FRCA investigations have established that the company under investigation was not providing receipts or invoices relating to the sale.

“This is a clear breach of the Customs laws and uncovers the extent of duty evasion adopted by some companies.”

He said FRCA would impose a monetary fine of up to three times the true import value for those who evaded duty.

“While we have such illegal operators, there are also businesses that are buying these DVDs and CDs, knowing full well that they have been imported illegally,” Mr Tikolevu said.

“If you are doing this, you need to stop right now. We may not catch you today, but eventually you will be caught.”Fijitimes

INFRASTRUCTURE

31) Fiji Could Get $50 Million For Infrastructure Improvements
World Bank, ADB reengage with Fiji, to prioritize funding


WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Nov. 13, 2014) – Fiji stands to receive 50 million US dollars to improve infrastructure in the country as part of the reengagement of International Donor Partners.

The World Bank working in partnership with the Asian Development Bank will be prioritising the funding for 2015 after meetings last week with Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama and Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum.

World Bank Country Director, Franz-Drees Gross, says this comes after a year of technical re-engagement with Fiji to get a sense of government’s direction.

“I think we look forward to a very productive partnership with Fiji. I think there is a lot of eagerness, from the government to re-engage with us, we are certainly eager to provide them with good service and I think that they are a sophisticated country and I think we can do a lot of very good things together over the next couple of years.”

Fiji has not accessed funding from the World Bank Group since the 1990’s.

Franz-Drees Gross said this was for a variety of reasons but would not elaborate. 

Radio New Zealand International 

CORRUPTION

32) More PNG MPs face arrest over fraud

By Online Editor
3:12 pm GMT+12, 11/11/2014, Papua New Guinea 

Warrants of arrest are expected soon on “a couple of fraud cases” involving members of parliament, police said Tuesday.
 
Investigations are in their final stages, says National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate head detective Chief Superintendent Matthew Damaru.
 
He confirmed that 15 members of parliament are being investigated, the latest being Maprik MP John Simon who was arrested last Friday and charged with false pretence and official corruption.
 
Although no names were disclosed to the Post-Courier, Chief Supt Damaru said more arrests would be made as investigators finalise their individual cases.
 
He said the John Simon case did not require a lot of investigation.
 
“If it is a simple straight forward case, it can be done very quickly but if the investigation is complex where investigators are required to travel around the country or get information from the banks for statements, it will take time,” he said.
 
Chief Supt Damaru said in recent times, the number of cases being reported by the public has increased.
 
Most cases were reported by people on the streets and the general public who were directly affected by the illegal and selfish actions of their leaders.
 
Other cases of corruption are being reported by auditors and public servants from various government institutions, he said.
 
Chief Supt Damaru is calling on the general public to report any suspected or alleged illegal activities of their leaders which his directorate could investigate.
 
“It is not compulsory for these complaints to be in written form, however, a verbal complaint over the office counter is enough to instigate an investigation after a credibility assessment is done.
 
“Fraud and official corruption is a big issue in the country now. It is infecting all our systems.
 
“All law-abiding citizens should report with the police anyone involved in corruption.
 
“Many times, people don’t report corrupt activities maybe because their wantok is involved in the corruption or they are feeding off the corruption themselves, or because they fear for their safety” the director said.
 
Chief Supt Damaru said such cases only encourage the corruption to flourish.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

33) Corruption hinders growth here, says Solomon Islands High Court judge

By Online Editor
9:10 pm GMT+12, 10/11/2014, Solomon Islands 

Corruption is a hindrance to development in Solomon Islands, a High Court judge says.
 
Justice Stephen Pallaras, who has completed his three-year contract, shared his observation in an interview with Solomon Star.

He said corruption is one of the obstacles that hold back the development of the Pacific Island nation.
 
“And this is from an outsider’s perspective and it’s not meant to be insulting to the Solomon Islands which I have grown to love greatly as a beautiful place,” he said.
 
“There is corruption in politics, there is corruption in business, there is corruption some say in the law, and there is corruption some say in the police force.
 
“There is corruption everywhere, everybody knows it and what astonishes me is it no body, absolutely no body in authority does anything about it.
 
“Someone says the governments haven’t done anything about it because the governments are corrupt, and that if they do something about it, it is not in their interest.
 
“Someone say the governments don’t know what to do. Well that’s not acceptable,” he said.
 
Pallaras said there is no country in the world that needs an Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) than the Solomons.
 
He said an ICAC is the most effective tool to tackling corruption because it investigates corruption and is independence of the government, the police, the judiciary, and everybody.
 
“And until and unless an ICAC is well funded and established in this country, I fear for the future of Solomon Islanders because children can’t get an education, hospitals are a disgrace,  roads are full of holes, public  safety is an issue, the little of mismanagement, government mismanagement it is so extensive as to beyond description beyond every field.”
 
He said in every field there is mismanagement.
 
“In every field I suspect there is corruption.
 
“That has to be the starting point for the Solomon Islands developing into a full-fledged, civilised, domestic community.
 
“And the best way to encourage business and economic growth is to tell people that if they invested money here, it will be treated fairly and everybody will be on an even playing field.
 
“So long as they have to pay the price of corruption, this country and the people, the poor people who cannot afford it will be forced to pay the cost of that.”
 
Pallaras said Solomon Islands needs to have a body such as the ICAC.
 
He added that a law that works well in other countries is the unexplained ‘Wealth Law’.
 
“And basically it’s this, if you are on an income of $100,000 or whatever and you’ve got five homes, each cost $200,000, you have to explain how it is that you were able to acquire those assets legally.”
 
He said if you can’t explain it, you are presumed to have obtained them illegally and the properties are taken off you and you are charged with a criminal offence.
 
“It’s an unexplained wealth law. For instance, have a man working at the public service to take five overseas trip a year, how does he afford to buy a new car, how does he afford to buy homes in Australia.
“If he can’t explain, then it is assumed he got them illegally.
 
“And that sort of law would force people to be accountable in this country. And it’s a pre-condition, I think for this country growing up, part of the development of Solomon Islands.”.

SOURCE: SOLOMON STAR/PACNEWS

34) Uncertainty over status of FICAC probe

 13 November 2014

There is confusion over the state of the official probe of Fiji’s health ministry by the Fiji Independent Commission against Corruption, or FICAC.

Leaked documents posted on the website Fijileaks this week show that FICAC concluded its investigation and recommended in 2012 that the then health minister, Neil Sharma, be charged for collusion and official corruption over a tendering process.

Last week, leaked FICAC documents on the same case were published, after which FICAC said it was still carrying out investigations into the ministry.

FICAC has declined comment on the authenticity of the leaked documents.

It says when conducting investigations, it reveals no details because it is not in the business of shaming people.

No charges have been laid and the Director of Public Prosecutions has not been able to be reached for comment about the FICAC recommendation.

Dr Sharma was elected to parliament in September as a member of the ruling FijiFirst Party but is no longer in government.

Related

Fiji’s corruption agency has responsibility to investigate – TI
Alleged incident in Fiji pre-polling referred
Fiji corruption commission searches NGO
Fiji watchdog queries FICAC scrutiny of leaders
FICAC investigates fraudulent election officials
RNZI

35) Fiji Chief Justice told to end extravagance

 13 November 2014

The Auditor-General in Fiji has advised that the Chief Justice, Anthony Gates, should stop using a government limousine for private matters while at the same time receiving a yearly motor vehicle allowance of more than 7,000 US dollars.

In the report for 2013, the Auditor General says this was raised earlier and continues to lead to extravagant and unnecessary expenditure for the justice department.

The report says the government car was mostly used to pick up and drop off the Chief Justice for his early morning walk.

It recommends to the Registrar that Mr Gates be told to use the government car for official purposes only.

However, the department ‘s comment on the matter says the Office of the President approved a government vehicle, and the driver was assigned to pick up a bodyguard to go for a morning walk with the Chief Justice every day except Sunday.

Related

Anger in Fiji after Accounts Committee deferred
Fiji audit shows blatant financial mismanagement – Chaudhry
Fiji 2007 audit shows military overspend
Fiji military urged to release audit reports
Fiji government responds to audit reports
RNZI

LAW&ORDER

36) Case of Australian national found dead in Sigatoka treated as alleged murder – The body of a woman that was found in the Waiwai bushes Sigatoka is of an Australian national. Police are now treating the case as alleged murder. Commissioner of Police, Ben Groenewald confirmed the deceased has been identified as Tracy Ann O’Brien Maw of Victoria.
http://fijivillage.com/news/Case-of-Australian-national-found-dead-in-Sigatoka-treated-as-alleged-murder-5sk29r/

37) Mum gets life sentence for killing new-born – A mother will have to bring up her child behind bars after she was sentenced to life imprisonment by the High Court in Lautoka for killing her new born baby in 2010. Susana Cagimaira,30, a mother of two is now seven months pregnant with her fourth child and was yesterday sent to prison by Justice Sudharshana De Silva for murder. She had killed her third child straight after giving birth in 2010 by stepping on the child’s face. Cagimaira had pleaded not guilty to the charge and after five days of trial the three assessors found her guilty as charged.
http://fijilive.com/news/2014/11/mum-gets-life-sentence-for-killing-new-born/59637.Fijilive

38) Indonesian policeman sold ammunition to rebels

 12 November 2014

An Indonesian policeman has been dismissed for selling ammunition to an armed civilian group in Papua.

First Brigadier Tanggam Jikwa was found guilty of violating ethics and discipline after being arrested on Sunday in Wamena in the remote Papua region, while he met with rebel leaders.

The Jakarta Post reports Tanggam was caught selling 29 rounds of ammunition worth about $280 US dollars.

The Nduga Police officers later found 231 rounds of assault rifle ammunition when they searched Tanggam’s house.

In April, Tanggam sold 18 rounds of ammunition to the group, from which he earned $50 US dollars.

Tanggam admitted to the charges, saying he was forced to befriend the group in the hope that he could get back a firearm he lost in the area last year.

Tanggam will also face charges at the Jayapura District Court.

Police say ammunition is being smuggled into the regions, and five suspected suppliers of ammunition and firearms were arrested police on Saturday.RNZI

REFUGEE

39) First 10 Asylum Seekers In PNG Granted Refugee Status
Refugees to receive training in English, Tok Pisin, PNG culture

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Nov. 13, 2014) – Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister Rimbink Pato announced yesterday that Papua New Guinea has given refugee status to the first 10 asylum seekers at the Regional Processing Centre on Manus Island.

He made the announcement prior to meeting with his Australian counterpart Julie Bishop, and Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Scott Morison, adding that he would discuss this and other issues with them further.

These are the first refugee status determination made under PNG’s new refugee laws. It is a special class for these people who will initially be issued refugee status for a period of 12 months.

“The regional resettlement arrangement for asylum seekers is working. Those who need protection are receiving it. Non-refugees are returning home,” Mr Pato said in a statement.

“Now that I have started to hand down refugee decisions, these people can start to take the next steps towards their new lives.”

Mr Pato said he expected to continue finalising refugee decisions for at least 10 asylum seekers every week.

He said notification of these decisions will be handed down individually to the refugees. They will then be assisted to apply for a certificate of identity and a refugee status.

“The refugees will reside temporarily at a purpose built facility in East Lorengau. They will receive training in English, Tok Pisin, PNG culture and relevant skills to enable them to live and work in PNG,” the minister stated.

[PIR editor’s note: Radio Australia reported that ‘Papua New Guinea’s immigration minister says refugees released on temporary visas will be safe on Manus Island, despite fears of further attacks after deadly riots in February.’ RNZI reported that ‘The Member of Parliament for Manus province in Papua New Guinea says there is no way asylum seekers will be settled in his province. … Ronni Knight says about 96 percent of PNG’s land is customarily owned and the government doesn’t have enough of its own to permanently settle the refugees. … Mr Knight says even if the refugees were resettled locally, they would not be able to survive in the communities on subsistence living.’]

“Most of the refugees are skilled people, including an accountant, engineer, jeweller and a watchmaker. I am confident that employers will require skills that these refugees offer.

“No doubt they will make a strong contribution to PNG,” said Mr Pato.

He said these initial refugees have come from Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan and Myanmar but can now call PNG their home.

“We welcome refugees who wish to stay and are committed to making a contribution to their new country.

“Those who do not wish to stay are free to leave and travel to any country that will accept them.”

Mr Pato said PNG and Australian officials are finalising support arrangements for the refugees.

PNG Post-Courier

40) Australia Denies Having Jurisdiction Over Asylum Seekers
Nauru, PNG responsible for treatment in Aussie funded camps

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Nov. 13, 2014) – Australia has challenged the United Nations over the issue of jurisdiction of its asylum seekers, saying the governments of Nauru and Papua New Guinea are responsible for their care.

Australian officials have defended their record on the treatment of asylum seekers and refugees at a meeting of the UN Committee Against Torture in Geneva this week.

A member of the Australian delegation, Stephen Bouwhuis, says while the views of the Committee are considered seriously, they don’t bind the Australian government.

Mr Bouwhuis told the Committee the UN concerns over the processing centres should be redirected to Nauru and PNG.

“Asylum seekers are processed under the laws of those countries and as such those governments are the ones exercising the elements of sovereign authority in their own territory. Yes Australia acknowledges that it does contribute funding to the centres, but that’s not the same as exercising jurisdiction as recognised under international law.” 

Radio New Zealand International 

CLIMATE CHANGE,CONSERVATION & ENVIROMENT 

41) Urgent efforts underway to stop Pacific beach erosion

13 November 2014

Pacific Island nations are turning to low-cost and common-sense measures as part of increasing efforts to stop or even reverse the erosion of local beaches.

The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme has just finished strengthening a beach in Vava’u, Tonga, with funding from the Australian government.

A spokesperson for the programme, Paul Anderson, says staff are using techniques developed by the University of Tasmania that have already been tested in Samoa, Vanuatu and Kiribati.

He says that includes fencing to stop livestock grazing, replanting of coastal vegetation, and getting the community involved.

“For many of the coastlines in the Pacific beautiful, white, sandy beaches are a major attraction and asset and in those areas where they want to maintain a natural look and a natural-functioning beach, this is a really good method.”

Paul Anderson says the techniques are designed to be cheap, achievable and easily managed by local communities.

Related

Coastal protection for Tokelau underway
More research needed to examine how Pacific islands respond to rising sea levels
SPC says increasing soil salinity and erosion threaten food security
RNZI

42) High Levels Of Arsenic In Solomons Tailings Dam Of Concern
Gold Ridge dam to be diluted, drained before rainy season

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Nov. 13, 2014) – Arsenic levels in the tailings dam of the Gold Ridge gold mine in Solomon Islands have authorities concerned as the country enters the monsoon season.

The gold mine which was abandoned by its Australian owners, St Barbara, after flooding in April is supposed to be sold to the Solomon Islands government.

But the Special Secretary to the Prime Minister and lead negotiator on the government side, Phillip Tagini, says negotiations are on hold and the focus now is on securing the tailings dam hazard before the rainy season starts.

“Both parties have agreed that they will pick up that issue, that discussion after a new government is set in place. So we are working together to try and resolve this matter and we hope that we can do that in the next few weeks or months.”

Phillip Tagini says tests carried out on the Gold Ridge tailings dam show reduced levels of cyanide but a high concentration of arsenic.

He says consultation is being done with local communities before a plan to dilute and drain some of the water in the dam is carried out. 

Radio New Zealand International 

43) Climate Change Flotilla Welcomed To Sydney Harbour
Pacific Islands leaders sail in to join World Parks Congress


By Peta Yoshinaga and environment reporter Jake Sturmer

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Nov. 1322014) – New South Wales’ Environment Minister Rob Stokes has welcomed Pacific Island leaders into Sydney Harbour, as the World Parks Congress begins with more than 5,000 delegates gathering in the city to participate in this once-in-a-decade event.

A flotilla of canoes from the Pacific Islands has reached Darling Harbour marking the end of a voyage to highlight the need for more action to tackle climate change, with their final destination being the International Union for Conservation of Nature Sixth World Parks Congress (IUCN).

The Vaka canoes of the Mua Voyage sailed across the harbour this morning with Pacific Island leaders from Kiribati, Cook Islands and Palau on board.

They sailed under the Sydney Harbour Bridge before arriving at the Australian National Maritime Museum for the official welcoming ceremony.

It is the first time a fleet of traditional voyaging canoes has sailed to Australia, with crews embarking on a 6,000 nautical mile journey.

The Mua voyaging canoes have navigated by the stars on the voyage from the Cook Islands, Samoa and Fiji to Coffs Harbour – and finally Sydney.

Indigenous land managers have big role to play: Greg Hunt

Environment Minister Greg Hunt said the IUCN World Parks Congress brings together people from all walks of life to identify better ways of looking after our protected areas for future generations.

Delegates from 168 different countries, including 30 international environment ministers and five heads of state, will share knowledge and innovation, setting the agenda for protected areas conservation for the decade to come.

Building on the theme of Parks, People Planet: Inspiring Solutions, the event will present, discuss and create original approaches for conservation and development, helping to address the gap in the conservation and sustainable development agenda.

“Australia’s Indigenous land managers and rangers play a big role in this,” Mr Hunt said.

“By managing parks and Indigenous Protected Areas they are keeping culture and country strong, benefitting all Australians, while providing meaningful jobs and business development opportunities back to their own communities.

“That’s why it’s important Australia contributes to the conversation at IUCN World Parks Congress.”

Mr Stokes echoed his federal counterpart.

“Traditional owners continue to be an immense source of knowledge in the management of protected areas in NSW with almost a quarter of the state’s parks estate now under Aboriginal joint management agreements,” Mr Stokes said.

NSW announces new national park

During the launch of the Congress, the New South Wales Government announced it had created a new national park in the Northern Rivers region.

Mr Stokes said the park, called the Everlasting Swamp, was a crucial wetland area.

“[It] provides a critical role in terms of migratory bird habitat, and also in purifying the local waters that travel into the Pacific Ocean,” he said.

“[It] is one of the largest coastal floodplain wetlands remaining in NSW and an intact ecosystem of this size is extremely rare and globally significant.

“The Congress will provide a wonderful opportunity to showcase to the world, the state’s … 865 national parks and reserves, further bolstering the approximately 38 million visitors our parks estate attracts each year.”

The future of the Great Barrier Reef is likely to feature in many discussions at the meeting but the IUCN is optimistic that the Great Barrier Reef will not be placed on the World Heritage Committee’s in-danger list.

The committee is currently deciding whether to recommend the reef be declared “in danger” at its meeting in Germany next year.

But IUCN director-general Julia Marton-Lefèvre said she believed the government was listening to the concerns raised by the committee and the union.

“I’m grateful for the fact that the Australian government has entered into a dialogue with us about this. So we will know next year but I think we’re making progress together,” she said.

Radio Australia 

SPORTS

44) IRB avoids Samoa boycott of England test

By Online Editor
9:09 pm GMT+12, 12/11/2014, United Kingdom 

” Action by the International Rugby Board and the International Rugby Players’ Association has averted a threatened boycott by Samoan rugby players of next week’s match against England in protest at the management of the Samoan Rugby Union.
 
In a statement Wednesday, the IRB said it learned late last month “of concerns raised by the Samoa senior men’s national squad regarding the administration of the Samoa Rugby Union. This included an indication that the players would withdraw from the match against England on November 22 if their concerns were not heard.”
 
The IRB said it had “engaged in dialogue with the Samoa Rugby Union and the International Rugby Players’ Association to facilitate urgent and collaborative resolution” and the England test at Twickenham would take place as scheduled.
 
“With all parties, including the players, committed to ongoing dialogue, just under two weeks ago the players withdrew their proposed action to withdraw from the England match and the IRB fully expects the Union to undertake its obligation to honor its November test program commitment in full,” the statement said.
 
The Samoan players outlined their concerns about the Samoan Rugby Union in a letter to the IRB on Oct. 27.
 
They are reported to have cited dissatisfaction with the union’s financial management and transparency, along with concern over its general administration and alleged interference in team selection.

SOURCE: AP/PACNEWS

45) PNGFA not able to foot the bill for the 2015 Pacific Games: Chung warns

By Online Editor
10:04 pm GMT+12, 11/11/2014, Papua New Guinea 

Pacific Games organisers for soccer are faced with a dilemma.
 
As the host, the Papua New Guinea Football Association (PNGFA) does not have the capacity to ensure the competition will have OFC/FIFA endorsed officials to run the matches.
 
PNGFA president David Chung said it is a difficult obstacle to negotiate, but something the Games Council cannot avoid.  
 
Chung said Games organisers have earmarked K100,000 for the PNGFA to stage the competition, but indicated that this is not enough.
 
“As this is not an OFC (Oceania Football Confederation) sanctioned event, they will not support the Games in principle due to non-affiliates also taking part,” he added.
 
“We (PNGFA) are faced to foot the bill for match officials travel and wages as the hosts if we want the competition to get recognition and suffice to say at this stage we will be left short-changed,” Chung said.
 
He said his aware that officials are being levied by their respective team management’s if they want to attend the Games.
 
“As this is not a FIFA sanctioned event, it will be very difficult for an official to pay his own to come to PNG,” he added.
 
Chung said the last Games in Noumea, New Caledonia cost in the region of NZD $400,000 (K808,897) to run.
 
He said is keen to find the remedy for this situation sooner than later.
 
“As this is one of the blue-ribbon events that will run throughout the duration of the Games, it will be disappointing if it doesn’t live up to expectations,” he added.
 
Chung said he has already heard that some countries may not come or will send their youth teams instead, if the competition does not get OFC/FIFA endorsement.
 
“The Games Council must meet the costs to make this happen,” he added.

Chung likened the scenario to a catch 22 situation. “If the Games Council decides to save costs then it may lead to chaos,” he said.
 
Chung who also wears the hat as OFC president/FIFA vice-president, said he is in a difficult situation and is bound by the Games Council to solve the issue.

source:  post courier/pacnews

46) Japan coach-less before Socceroos match

Aap
Thursday, November 13, 2014

SYDNEY – Japan will be without a coach until the eve of their international friendly against the Socceroos next week.

Mentor Javier Aguirre has left the national team camp and returned home to Mexico to “attend a ceremony”, the Japanese FA website reports.

Aguirre, who took over the top job in July replacing Italian Alberto Zaccheroni, will return to Japan on Monday, with his side to face the Socceroos in Osaka the next day.

Japan, who are eyeing an Asian Cup defence in Australia next year, have a friendly against fellow 2014 World Cup side Honduras on Friday, with assistant coach Stuart Gelling taking the reins for the game.

All but two of Japan’s 23-man squad have begun training for their crucial Asian Cup warm-up matches, with Standard Liege goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima and Borussia Dortmund midfielder Shinji Kagawa yet to join the side.

47) Netball Fiji welcomes news of Oceania Series

 13 November 2014

Netball Fiji says to have teams like the Silver Ferns and Samoa coming to play in their country is an honour and they will make sure the Oceania Series is a memorable event for everyone.

Netball New Zealand has announced that the Silver Ferns will take part in an Oceania Netball Tri-Series in Fiji in January.

Netball Fiji Chief Executive Wainikitia Bogidrau welcomes the news.

“It is great news indeed, it is historic and quite significant. The fact is, the Silver Ferns, this is their first trip to Fiji and first test match outside of the world cup against Fiji and we are just excited to host them here. They are high profile and we are ready to welcome them in January.”

Bogidrau says with the tournament happening during the lead-up to the world cup it will bring enormous benefits to the islands.

“As a leadup to the world champs, both Fiji and Samoa can take lessons from the series and hope to improve on their performance against other nations. For Fiji, we have been out of most of the international competition, bar the world cup, we were not allowed to get into the Commonwealth Games so for us we need these kind of matches.”

The Silver Ferns will play three test matches, two against Fiji and one against Samoa with every match broadcast live on regional television. The first match will be on January 19th.RNZI

www.voiceofmelanesia.com

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