Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1047

MELANESIA

1) $10m of AusAID funds stolen in Solomon Islands

THE AUSTRALIAN
NOVEMBER 22, 2014 12:00AM

Ean Higgins

FRAUDSTERS in suspected collusion with Solomon Islands government officials have embezzled an estimated $10 million in Australian foreign aid funds destined for hospitals and clinics, some through a fake company called Joke Shipping Services.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has tried to hush up the theft of AusAID funds, which occurred over the course of a year from September 2012. The Weekend Australian can reveal that without making it public, in September last year when the fraud was discovered the federal government froze all Australian funds within Solomon Islands government systems while it improved financial controls and compliance measures.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told The Weekend Australian “this matter took place under the previous Labor government”, and ­declined to comment further.

The revelation of the scam represents a significant embarrassment, since Australia has spent $2.6 billion over the past 11 years on the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands, which is designed to bring stability to the country and stamp out corruption and lawlessness.

A Solomon Islands national, John Poloso, was recently jailed for 2½ years over the fraud. The case of another Solomon Islands national is before the courts, and several officials are subject to an investigation.

A Solomon Islands court heard that, in late 2012, the procurement unit of the Ministry of Health and Medical Services put out tenders for the reconstruction of two health clinics, both to be funded by AusAID.

Poloso, a taxi driver described by his lawyer as a “toy boy” who was a junior player in the conspiracy, admitted he had registered a company called Joke Shipping Services which, the court heard, had “no shipping facilities”, and set up a bank account in its name. Joke Shipping won the tender, and the court heard ­AusAID made two payments for the projects, of $716,467.60 and $878,467.50.

Poloso collected the payments in June last year at the government’s Treasury division, deposited it in the bank account, and withdrew the money as cash. Police prosecutor John Adifaka told the court “there was no record of recovering the amount of money involved in this scheme”.

While Poloso was convicted of fraudulently processing the $1.6m for the two AusAID projects, the court heard a total of $10m in ­AusAID funds had been stolen.

DFAT did not put out a press release on the theft, and, while spokesman Jonathan Muir yesterday said it was mentioned in the department’s latest annual report, the only reference is one line saying “the Solomon Islands government responded swiftly to a large-scale fraud in the health sector”, with no mention that they were funds provided by AusAID.

Mr Muir said the investigation was being led by local police, but Australia was “providing investigative and forensic ­assistance”.

He would not say whether DFAT had made up the stolen aid funds, or whether Solomon ­Islanders due to receive the improved medical services would go without.http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/foreign-affairs/m-of-ausaid-funds-stolen-in-solomon-islands/story-fn59nm2j-1227131161914?sv=d2c0100215977a52c1683c8aba1bde6d&login=1 

2) Clash in West Papua leads to shooting; arrests

24 NOvember 2014 

Security forces in Indonesia’s Papua province have shot a separatist and arrested 11 other members of the West Papua National Committee, or KNPB.

The Papua regional police public relations chief, Senior Commissioner Pudjo, has told the Antara news agency in Jayapura that the incident began with a demonstration by 300 KNPB members in Moanemani.

He says a range of armed forces had tried to persuade the protesters to disband, including police, the district military command, an infantry battalion, the mobile police or Brimob and the Air Force’s special forces.

Senior Commissioner Pudjo says the group did not heed the requests and security personnel fired warning shots, after hearing gunshots from the group.

A KNPB member, Ansalmus Pigay, was hit by a rubber bullet and is being treated at a hospital.RNZI

3) Stand by big brothers

Shayal Devi
Monday, November 24, 2014

WHILE Papua New Guinea is looking to strengthen its relationships with emerging world powers, the Pacific’s fastest-growing economy says it will not abandon traditional partners Australia and New Zealand.

PNG Foreign Affairs Minister Rimbink Pato said Pacific Island Countries needed to connect with international players such as India and China for outcomes that were mutually beneficial — but in the process of developing relations, existing partnerships should remain unchanged.

“We need to look at new opportunities without losing sight of our traditional ways because when we have difficulties, Australia and New Zealand are always there for our Pacific Islands,” he said.

“We need to connect, we need to look at new opportunities without losing sight of our traditional ways. So if we partner properly, we can bring about outcomes which are mutually beneficial.”

PNG and seven other Pacific leaders met Chinese President Xi Jinping in Nadi at the weekend.

Having met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier last week, Mr Pato said establishing relations with India and China was a thrilling prospect for the Pacific as a whole.

“India is offering a lot to the states of the Pacific Islands as they have expertise in IT and risk management,” he said.

“Risk management is a timely solution for times of disaster because the Pacific Islands are prone to many natural disasters and India has substantial experience in that.PNG has very strong relationship with India, some substantial companies in India are working in PNG, work running into billions of dollars.”Fijitimes

4) PNG thanks Fiji support for Dame Taylor

By Online Editor
6:47 pm GMT+12, 23/11/2014, Fiji

By PACNEWS Editor, Makereta Komai

Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill has thanked Fiji for supporting the appointment of Dame Meg Taylor as the new Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS).

Fiji is host to the Suva-based Forum Secretariat.

In Nadi on Saturday, PM O’Neill told journalists PNG has always reciprocated Fiji through its support for the Pacific Island nation, even when Fiji was suspended from the regional grouping of nations.

“PNG as a brother to Fiji has always been strong supporter of Fiji during the era when Fiji was out of the Pacific Islands Forum and we are looking forward to Fiji taking its place back in the Forum.

“We are looking forward to Fiji joining the family again and we have no problem with that. We are thankful to Fiji for supporting us with the issue of the appointment of Dame Meg, a very strong leading PNG and Pacific woman who is going to lead the Secretariat for the first time.

Apart from Fiji’s support, PM O’Neill pleads with the rest of the Pacific Islands Forum to do likewise.

“We are asking all Pacific islanders to support a woman taking leadership at the Pacific Islands Forum, said PM O’Neill.

PACNEWS understands that Dame Taylor will take up her three-year appointment next month. She replaces Tuiloma Neroni Slade of Samoa who completed two terms as head of the Secretariat.

SOURCE: PACNEWS

POLYNESIA

5) Former Tonga minister says too soon for more reform

24 November 2014

A former Justice Minister and Attorney General in Tonga, Alisi Taumoepeau, says it is premature to call for more constitutional change.

Tongans go to the polls on Thursday this week in just the second election since major political reform in 2008 gave the people more say in the make up of parliament.

The Democratic Party led by Akilisi Pohiva is campaigning to have all the parliament, including the nobles, elected by the people.

It says this will ensure greater accountability from leaders.

But Ms Taumoepeau says it is too soon for more change.

“We have gone up from 9 members to 17 members. We have only had 4 years and we are in the process of learning how to deal with that. To talk about reviewing the constitutional amendments after 4 years is probably premature.”

Alisi Taumoepeau.RNZI

6) More Drama In Cooks’ Undecided Parliamentary Seat
Court finds ruling party appeal can proceed, ballots remain uncounted


By Phillipa Webb 

RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, Nov. 24, 2014) – Three strikes and they’re out – was the message from the Cook Islands Party when their electoral petition on the Mitiaro seat was upheld against a petition by the Democratic Party in the Court of Appeal.

On Election Day Tuakeu Tangatapoto of the Cook Islands Party and the island’s previous MP, Tangata Vavia of the Democratic Party each received 50 votes.

But Vavia lodged a petition with the High Court, claiming Tangatapoto committed acts of bribery and treating in the election run-up.

The Cook Islands Party lodged an appeal against the decision with their own counter petition.

Yesterday in Court judges David Williams, Sir Ian Barker and B.J Paterson decided that appeal was allowed.

The ruling of the Court means that the Mitiaro election petition hearing has not been completed.

It must be sent back to the High Court for hearing.

The High Court will have to hear the petition, if the petitioner – who had earlier sought leave to withdraw the petition – decides to proceed with it.

Whether or not the petition proceeds to a hearing, the matters raised by the Appellant in the counter-petition will need to be investigated by the High Court.

Chief Electoral Officer Taggy Tangimetua said that now means that votes from last week’s by-election in Mitiaro will not be counted.

The by-election had the power to produce a hung Parliament or hold One Cook Island’s Party as kingmakers.

But Minister of Finance Mark Brown said the Cook Islands Party was pleased with the result.

“They lost the election, they lost the petition, and now they are losing the appeal – three strikes and they’re out.”

The counter petition will now go to the High Court for further investigation, while the fate of the Mitiaro seat remains unknown.

Cook Islands News

7) Samoa Minister Under Fire For Supporting Ousted Finance Minister
Associate Minister alleges a ‘cover-up’ to protect Faumuina

By Lanuola Tupufia

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, Nov. 23, 2014) – The Minister of Natural Resources and Environment (M.N.R.E), Fa’amoetauloa Dr. Faale Tumaali’i, has come under fire from within the ruling Human Rights Protection Party (H.R.P.P) for speaking up to defend former Minister of Finance, Faumuina Tiatia Liuga.

On Friday, Fa’amoetauloa rejected claims that his Associate, Faumuina, violated Cabinet protocol when he signed a $28.2million [US$12 million] project with the United Nations Development Programme (U.N.D.P).

The Minister said Faumuina signed the project on his behalf because he had a plane to catch.

But the explanation has been booted to touch and described as “absolutely ridiculous.” The description comes from the Associate Minister of Public Enterprises, Papali’i Niko Lee Hang, and the Associate Minister of Education, Sports and Culture, Tu’u’u Anasi’i Leota.

8) More French Polynesia To Seek Nuke Compensation From France
$930 million sought for environmental damage caused by testing


WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Nov. 24, 2014) – The French Polynesia assembly is poised to ask France for 930 million US dollars in compensation for environmental damage caused by its nuclear weapons tests.

The request has been prepared by an assembly committee and marks the first time that the ruling anti-independence Tahoeraa Huiraatira Party has taken issue with the French testing regime.

The proposed resolution also demands an additional 132 million US dollars for the continued occupation of Fangataufa and Mururoa atolls, which France excised for its tests, but has not returned yet.

The French Polynesian president, Edouard Fritch, who is the Tahoeraa deputy leader, was reportedly unaware of the assembly move and expressed his disappointment at the action.

The assembly move is being spearheaded by its new president, Marcel Tuihani, who is seen as a protege of the party leader Gaston Flosse – the veteran politician ousted from public office in September over a corruption conviction.

At the time, Flosse accused the French president, Francois Hollande, of being weak for not pardoning him and showing gratitude that he for decades defended the French tests.

Between 1966 and 1996, France carried out 193 nuclear weapons tests in the South Pacific and at its end, Flosse negotiated an annual transfer of 150 million US dollars to help restructure the economy. 

Radio New Zealand International 

MICRONESIA

9) CNMI Casino Developer Looks At Garapan Land On Saipan
Best Sunshine enters into lease agreement for phase 1, 2 of project


By Alexie Villegas Zotomayor 

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Nov. 24, 2014) – The Saipan casino developer is considering Garapan among other locations as the site for its $7.1 billion integrated resort.

In the Nov. 22 filing in the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, Imperial Pacific International Holdings, the parent company of Best Sunshine International Ltd., stated that Best Sunshine and Imperial Pacific have been actively looking for quality land on Saipan for the development of its business plan and has engaged a team of specialists in the relevant fields, including construction planning and design and operational management to develop the implementation schedules.

Imperial Pacific announced that it entered into an agreement with independent, private land owners on Sept. 19 to lease an aggregate area of 20,500 square meters of land in Garapan.

This property, Imperial Pacific said, will be used for the development of phases 1 and 2 under the Business Plan.

The lease is about $6.5 million.

“Of the Garapan Property, approximately 18,900 m2 of land has a lease term of 55 years while approximately 800 m2 and also 800 m2 of land have a lease term of approximately 39 and 30 years respectively,” the filing stated.

Based on Best Sunshine’s business plan as filed by its parent in the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, phase I involves the construction of a town hotel of 50 rooms with a launch date set for 2016.

This hotel, is to have 300 gaming tables and 500 slot machines.

Phase II will involve another town hotel, but this time, with a total of 200 rooms.

The launch date for this hotel is 2017.

The bigger property set to be launched in 2018 is the construction of an integrated resort under Phase III.

This will involve 1,201 rooms.

Best Sunshine plans to have 400 gaming tables and 1,000 slot machines for this resort.

Phase IV involves the construction of 2,000 rooms and 300 villas set for completion in 2019.

This will also have 400 gaming tables and 1,000 slot machines.

Phase V is a moderate construction of an integrated resort with 801 rooms. This resort will have 500 gaming tables and 1,000 slot machines. This is expected to be completed by 2020.

In total, Imperial Pacific said the plan will involve the construct ion of 4,252 rooms and 300 villas with a total of 1,600 gaming tables and 3,500 slot machines.

Last week, Best Sunshine senior vice president Jackie Wu and CEO Mark A. Brown told Variety that they were continuing to look for available land that has access to a beach. 

Marianas Variety 

10) More Than 100 Attend Second Palau Economic Symposium
Partnership between government, business highlighted


KOROR, Palau (Island Times, Nov. 21, 2014) – The 2nd Annual Economic Symposium was held at the Palau Vacation Hotel yesterday with more than a hundred attendees from different sector of society present.

Among those attending the gathering were ministers, senators, delegates, governors, business leaders, chiefs, community leaders, representatives of the Diplomatic Corps, and many others.

President Remengesau, who is still off-island, had his message delivered by Minister of State Billy Kuartei.

Remengesau began his message by thanking Palau’s partners in economic development.

“I want to take a minute to thank our international partners who continue to provide us vital assistance and expertise on our economic policy making and planning. As a small and growing nation with limited resources, we rely on our partners to provide the expertise we lack. We look forward to continuing to work with you to build an economy that we all envision- one that is prosperous, sustainable, and above all, Palauan,” he said.

The President then dwelled on the importance of partnerships.

“Partnerships are an important key to our future. Too often we tend to focus on our areas of disagreement rather than to our vast mutual interests. If we can find ways to work together to achieve our common goals, then the differences that are roadblocks today will become mere speed bumps tomorrow,” he stated.

Read More: Island Times 

TOK PISIN

11) PNG Oposisan i sutim tok long gavman olsem giaman laen

Postim 24 November 2014, 15:00 AEDT

Caroline Tiriman

Deputi lida blong oposisan long Papua New Guinea i sutim tok long gavman blong Peter O’Neill olsem emi nogutpla laen long lukautim kantri.

PNG MP blong Bulolo na deputi oposisan lida Sam Basil i toktok wantem Caroline Tiriman (Credit: ABC) 

Deputi lida blong oposisan long Papua New Guinea i sutim tok long gavman blong Peter O’Neill olsem emi nogutpla laen long lukautim kantri.

Sam Basil i mekim despla toktok bihaen long Ombudsman Commission ibin makim namba tri minista blong Gavman, Minister blong Works na Implementation Francis Awesa long go long kot long mekim ol korap pasin.

Tupla narapla sinia gavman minista em Ombudsman Commission ibin makim ol pinis long sanap long kot em Praim Minista iet Peter O’Neill na namba tri Palaman memba em Tourism na Culture Minister Boka Kondra.

Polis itok oli wok long mekim ol wok painimaut iet long 15 ol narapla Palaman memba long ol korap pasin.

Mr Basil itok tu olsem maski Praim Minista ibin tokaut bifo olsem emi laik daonim pasin korapsan, despla kaen pasin ino stop liklik.Radio Australia

12) Planti MP blong bifo i winim Solomon Islands ileksan

Updated 24 November 2014, 14:46 AEDT

Sam Seke

Ol risalt blong ileksan long Solomon Islands we ol ibin holim long wik i go pinis i soim olsem planti long ol kendidet husat ibin win, em i ol memba long last palamen.

Na planti moa long ol memba husat ibin win, ol ibin ron long ileksan olsem ol independent kandideit.

Risalt i soim olsem wanwan long ol 12 pela politikol pati we i kontestim ileksan ol i winim liklik namba tasol, na sampela ino winim wanpela memba igo long palamen.

Dr Gordon Nanau, Lecturer long sait long Politics na International Affairs long University blong South Pacific long Suva, Fiji i toktok dispela i mekim wok long kirapim niupela gavman i interesting.

Em i tok dispela em long wanem olgeta independent memba ia imas joinim wanpela politikol pati aninit long niu politikol pati pastaim long ol i kirapim niupela gavman.Radio Australia

 13) Wanpla Solomon Islands meri i winim ileksan

Updated 24 November 2014, 14:31 AEDT

Caroline Tiriman

National Council of women i hamamas long wanpla meri i winim ileksan na makim vois blong ol meri long Palaman

National Council of women blong Solomon Islands i tok oli hamamas tumas long wanpla meri i winim ileksan bihaen long Freda Komua blong Tikopia long East blong kantri ibin winim sitting memba Clay Forau.

Moa long 20 ol meri ibin sanap long 2014 National ileksan, na i luk olsem Freda Komua bai wanpla meri tasol long nupla Palaman.

General Secretary blong National Council of women long Solomon Islands, Lorio Sisiolo itok, long 2006, na 2010 national ileksan ibin gat moa long 20 ol meri ibin sanap, tasol nogat wanpla ibin win.

Nau Ms Sisiolo itok oli hamamas long win blong Freda Komua.Radio Australia.

14) Gordon Darcy Lilo i lus long Solomon Islands ileksan

Updated 21 November 2014, 15:53 AEDT

Sam Seke

Praim Minista blong Solomon Islands Gordon Darcy Lilo i lus long nasinal ileksan.

Odio: Philothea Ruaeho blong Solomon Islands Electoral Commission ofis i toktok

Philothea Ruaeho blong Solomon Islands Electoral Commission ofis i toktok (Credit: ABC) 

Long sampela risalt blong ileksan long Solomon Islands long Trinde we i kam aut pinis i soim olsem Praim Minista Gordon Darcy Lilo i lusim Gizo-Kolombangara Constituency blongen.

Niupela memba nau em i Jimson Tanangada husat ibin winim Mr Lilo long 242 vout.

Gordon Darcy Lilo i 49 yar old na em ibin go insait long palamen long festaim long 2001 na i praim minista stat long16 November 2011. 

Pastaim long em i go long palamen, em ibin wok olsem Permanent Secretary long ministri blong faenans.

Namel long ol 9 pela konstieuensi we ol i kaundim pinis, 6 pela long ol em i ol niupela memba.

Narapela longtaem memba husat i lus tu long North New Georgian Constituency blongen em i Job Dudley Tausinga.

Mr Tausinga em ibin go nabawan taim long palamen long 1984 na ibin win gen long ileksan long 1989, 1993, 1997, 2001, 2006 na 2010 na palamen i makim em tu olsem Deputy Speaker oblong Parliament stat long 2011 inap long 8th September 2014.Radio Australia

FRENCH

15) Brèves du Pacifique – lundi 24 novembre 2014

Mis à jour 24 November 2014, 17:20 AEDT

Caroline Lafargue

Papouasie: les forces indonésiennes ont blessé un indépendantiste mercredi dernier en marge d’une manifestation du Comité National pour la Papouasie occidentale.

La Papouasie étant quasiment totalement fermée aux journalistes, nous n’avons pas de photo de la manifestation du Comité. (Ici, des indépendantistes papous, dans le documentaire “Forgotten bird of Paradise” – http://www.forgottenbirdofparadise.com/).  

Environ 300 militants y participaient. Ils ont refusé de se disperser malgré les sommations. La police a tiré des coups de feu en l’air. Sans succès. Elle a alors ouvert le feu sur les manifestants, avec des balles en caoutchouc. Un indépendantiste a été grièvement blessé et emmené à l’hôpital. La police a aussi arrêté 11 indépendantistes et saisi cinq drapeaux du Comité National pour la Papouasie occidentale (KNPB).

  • Îles Salomon: les résultats définitifs des élections de mercredi dernier seront finalement connus d’ici la fin de semaine. Le mauvais temps a en effet retardé le transport par bateau des urnes de plusieurs circonscriptions. Mais on sait déjà que 33 députés sur 50 ont été réélus, à l’exception notable de Gordon Darcy Lilo, le Premier ministre sortant. Selon les résultats provisoires, une seule femme a remporté un siège. Il s’agit de Freda Tuki Soria Comua, qui a battu le ministre des Affaires étrangères sortant, Clay Forau. Et le taux de participation a été de 80% à 85%.
  • Nauru: des réfugiés reçoivent une lettre de menaces. Elle a été distribuée à la centaine de migrants qui ont été libérés du centre avec un visa nauruan et un permis de travail. L’auteur de la lettre leur conseille de quitter leurs emplois, d’arrêter de se promener sur l’île, et de ne plus fraterniser avec les femmes nauruanes. Plusieurs demandeurs d’asile se sont déjà fait agresser à Nauru. Le gouvernement nauruan estime que cette lettre de menace émane des demandeurs d’asile eux-mêmes, pour se présenter comme des victimes. Mais selon Clint Deidenang, un photojournaliste base à Nauru, la lettre n’a pu être écrite que par un Nauruan. Pour lui, la majorité des Nauruans refuse d’accueillir d’autres cultures.
  • Australie: ce sont les dommages et interêts les plus élevés jamais versés dans le cadre d’une action de groupe.Près de 500 personnes ont été intoxiquées par du lait de soja Bonsoy entre 2004 et 2009. Le lait de soja contenait 50 fois le niveau autorisé d’iode. L’entreprise japonaise Marusan-ai avait en effet changé sa recette en 2003 et introduit une poudre d’algue kombu. En 2006, le producteur aurait constaté un niveau trop élevé d’iode dans son lait de soja, mais n’a pas rappelé les produits. Marusan-ai, ainsi que l’exportateur japonais, Muso, et l’importateur australien, Spiral Foods, ont refusé de reconnaître leur responsabilité. Mais ils ont opté pour un règlement à l’amiable et verseront 25 millions de dollars aux quelque 500 plaignants. Radio Australia

16) Vanuatu: la peine de mort pour les sorciers, pourquoi pas

Mis à jour 24 November 2014, 17:08 AEDT
Caroline Lafargue

Willie Jimmy, l’ancien ministre des Finances, réclame une loi pour punir la pratique de la magie noire. 

Willie Jimmy s’est exprimé suite à la torture et à la pendaison de deux hommes sur l’île d’Akam à la mi-novembre. Songi Samuel et Simion Bahvaus étaient soupçonnés d’avoir tué des villageois en pratiquant la magie noire. L’exécution publique aurait été menée par des pasteurs présbytériens et les chefs coutumiers de l’île.
 
En tout, une quarantaine de personnes ont participé au supplice. Elles ont été placées en garde à vue après le crime, mais on ne sait pas encore qui a été mis en examen. 
 
Selon Willie Jimmy, la sorcellerie est un fléau que le système juridique actuel ne permet pas de combattre. : 
 
« Je suis même prêt à soutenir une loi qui prévoierait la peine de mort pour les criminels qui utilisent la magie noire. » 
 
Au Vanuatu, le système juridique est basé sur les système britannique et français. Pour condamner quelqu’un, il faut des preuves tangibles. 
 
« Le problème que nous avons, nous qui croyons en la magie noire, c’est que le système légal inspiré de l’occident impose d’apporter des preuves concrètes, or c’est très difficile de prouver un cas de magie noire. » 
 
Voilà peut-être pourquoi aucune loi punissant la sorcellerie n’a jamais pu être adoptée dans le pays, alors que le débat resurgit presque systématiquement à chaque nouveau fait divers dont des sorciers présumés sont les victimes. D’autre part, la communauté internationale ne verrait pas d’un bon oeil le rétablissement de la peine de mort pour des crimes extrêmement difficiles à prouver. Willie Jimmy:
 
« La communauté internationale n’a pas les mêmes traditions que nous. Notre Constitution stipule que le Vanuatu est fondé avant toute chose sur les valeurs mélanésiennes traditionnelles, avant les principes chrétiens. Donc nos valeurs mélanésiennes sont bien vivantes, les bonnes comme les mauvaises. » 
 
Les expéditions punitives contre des sorciers présumés sont assez fréquentes au Vanuatu. En début d’année, la police a sauvé in extremis un homme soupçonné d’avoir pratiqué la magie noire dans un village de l’est d’Efate. Les villageois s’apprêtaient à le noyer. Radio Australia

WORLD

17) Fogo volcano: Cape Verde orders evacuations after eruption off West African coast


Updated 24 November 2014, 12:03 AEDT

A volcano in the Cape Verde archipelago off the coast of West Africa has erupted, prompting the nation’s prime minister to call for evacuations.

A photograph posted on the local RTC TV station website showed a huge plume of smoke rising into the sky, visible from the capital Praia on a neighbouring island.

“Things could deteriorate in the coming moments, in the coming hours,” prime minister Jose Maria Neves said in a statement.

“We’ve called on people to heed the authorities’ instructions, people should abandon Cha das Caldeiras.”

It was not immediately clear if there were injuries or deaths following the eruption.

The volcano last erupted in 1995, causing minor damage.

A larger eruption occurred in 1951.

The government is planning to send a plane providing assistance to residents.

The former Portuguese colony is located about 600 kilometres off the coast of Senegal.

Fogo’s volcanic peak, surrounded by vineyards, is also a popular hiking destination.

Reuters

POLITIC

18) Lilo accepts defeat

By Online Editor
8:53 pm GMT+12, 23/11/2014, Solomon Islands

Outgoing Solomon Islands Prime minister Gordon Darcy Lilo says he has accepted his shocking election defeat.

Lilo, a heavy weight in the Gizo/Kolombangara contest, was unseated in a dramatic election upset that took the nation by surprise.

“This is an election, it’s anyone’s game. I’ve accepted the outcome and would like to congratulate Jimson Fiau Tanangada on his victory,” Lilo told the Sunday Star from his home village at Kolombangara, on Saturday.

“I know my election defeat has been at the centre of every discussion, especially on social media,” he added.

“But what I can say to those accusing me on social media of all kinds of allegations is that I lose cleanly.

“I’ve done nothing wrong during my campaign. My losing the Gizo/Kolombangara seat is the people’s decision so I have to respect it,” Lilo said.

Lilo served in parliament for the last three terms, holding several ministerial positions before becoming the nation’s prime minister in 2011.

He said the results from last Wednesday’s polls proved he still maintained the same number of voters who backed his 2010 election victory.

Lilo lamented the late arrival of M.V Maetalau, which carried a good number of his supporters, to Kolombangara on the eve of last Wednesday’s polls.

He said had they arrived in time and cast their votes the results would have been different.

“Let me, however congratulate my nephew Jimson who will represent our people of Gizo/Kolombangara in the next parliament.”

For now, he said he’ll be focusing on private business matters and work quietly on them. Lilo was the co-founder and president of the Solomon Islands Party for Rural Advancement (SIPRA).

SOURCE: SOLOMON STAR/PACNEWS

19) One woman elected in Solomons – The third woman ever to be elected to Parliament in Solomon Islands has won a seat Temotu province, holding out the country’s Foreign Minister, Clay Forau, by 22 votes.

Voters take to the streets in Solomon Islands. Freda Tuki Soria Comua, from the People’s Alliance Party, won the Temotu Vatud seat, and appears to be the only woman to have won, out of the 26 women candidates. A member of the Commonwealth Observer Group, Jessica Nkuuhe, says there are still big challenges for women and attitudes she encountered show equality is a long way off.
http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/260105/one-woman-elected-in-solomons

20) 85% turnout for Solomons elections

24 November 2014

The Solomon Islands Electoral Commission says preliminary estimates indicate a average voter turn out of 80 to 85 percent across the country.

Although a handful of seats have yet to be counted electoral authorities say that according to the electoral rolls the lowest actual attendance in a constituency was 79 percent and the highest was 95 percent.

Final election statistics are expected later this week.

As of last night winners in 44 of the 50 constituencies had been officially declared. 33 of them are sitting MPs who have retained their seats and 11 are new MPs.

The most surprising result so far has been the ousting of caretaker Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo from his Gizo Kolombangara seat by school teacher, Jimson Fiu Tanangada, who is understood to be Mr Lilo’s former campaign manager.

Counting continues today for the final seats in the country among them Temotu Vatud and Temotu Pele both remote eastern constituencies where weather conditions have delayed the transportation of ballot boxes to the provincial counting centre.RNZI

21) Vanuatu Govt has numbers for motions

24 November 2014

It appears the Vanuatu Prime Minister has the numbers to move a motion to suspend the leader of the opposition, Moana Carcasses and 15 supporting MPs.

Joe Natuman is expected to have the support of 30 MPs against 22 from the opposition in Parliament on Tuesday after the session resumed today.

Both sides have deposited separate motions.

Mr Natuman lodged a motion to suspend the 16 opposition MPs alleging they had contravened the Leadership Code in accepting a monetary offer from Mr Carcasses.

The Opposition meanwhile is pushing to have a motion of no confidence in Mr Natuman, but it cannot be heard before Thursday.

Our correspondent in Vanuatu says so far the Speaker hasn’t ruled on whether the opposition motion is in order.

A motion needs to have the support of 27 members to be passed.RNZI

22) No consensus reached on PAC – The Standing Order appears to agree with the stance taken by both the Fijian Opposition and the Fijian Government which are still to reach an agreement over the Public Accounts Committee. Section 117 (1) of the Standing Order provides that “at the first meeting of each standing committee, the members must elect a chairperson and a deputy chairperson from among themselves”, backing up government’s stance.
http://fijilive.com/news/2014/11/no-consensus-reached-on-pac/59755.Fijilive

BUSINESS

23) LNG Project In PNG’s Gulf Province Valued At $20 Billion
Production from massive gas field due to begin in 2020 or 2021


By Patrick T Wundai

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Nov. 24, 2014) – The Elk-Antelope gas field in Gulf Province will be developed into the biggest liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Papua New Guinea, its developers say.

The US$20 billion (K50 billion) project will take at least five years to build with construction due to start within 14 months and the first LNG export due in late 2020 or early 2021.

The Elk-Antelope LNG project will be bigger by cost and production output, surpassing the current PNG LNG project cost value and gas output with an estimated 9.9 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas.

It will be operated by the State preferred operator, France’s energy giant Total SA partnering with InterOil Corporation and the National Petroleum Company of PNG (NPC) as the State nominee.

The project partners, in a press conference with the Minister for Petroleum and Energy Nixon Duban last Thursday at project site, disclosed that the project is eyeing two LNG trains.

InterOil chief executive Dr Michael Hession and Total managing director Philippe Blanchard told reporters that the they are focused and committed to delivering PNG’s second LNG project which would be bigger than the current PNG LNG Project which has a blown out cost around K50 billion.

“This is a major US$15 billion to US$20 billion project. We are looking at going into FEED (front end engineering design) next year and looking at possibly early works to commence as soon as possible.

“We want to deliver this project cost effectively,” Dr Hession said.

Mr Blanchard added, “we are happy Total has joined the project. We will get this project move forward.”

“Total had invested substantial resources and effort and we are committed and working towards the FEED and final investment decision (FID),” the Total executive said.

“We are very much focused on delivering a two-train LNG project in PNG.”

PNG Post-Courier

24) Grant amnesty

By Online Editor
6:50 pm GMT+12, 23/11/2014, Fiji

Fijians will have six months to declare undeclared assets kept offshore without copping any penalties.

And according to the Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority (FRCA), the grant amnesty for the declaration of assets outside Fiji would run for six months in 2015 where local residents would have the opportunity to voluntarily declare assets kept offshore.

FRCA CEO Jitoko Tikolevu said they wanted to give Fiji residents a chance to declare offshore assets and income.

The move was part of a number of revenue policies for tax and Customs in the 2015 Budget supplement.

“We also want to know if they are paying taxes in the countries where the assets are kept. The amnesty will be on all penalties payable on outstanding tax liabilities.

“All amnesty applications will be considered by a committee consisting of the FRCA board of directors and the CEO,” Tikolevu said.

He said the Government initiative would include amounts not reported or incorrectly reported in tax returns regarding assets offshore.

This included foreign income or a transaction with an offshore structure, deductions relating to foreign income that have been claimed incorrectly, capital gains in respect of foreign assets or Fijian assets transferred offshore, income from an offshore entity that is taxable in Fiji and offshore deductions relating to domestic income.

SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

25) Mobile firm recognised as world class 

By ROPATE VALEMEI
Monday, November 24, 2014

Update: 2:12PM VODAFONE Fiji was recognised as a world class organisation in the small service category, being the only company from the Pacific to be recognised for this prestigious award yesterday. 

The company was presented with the world class Global Performance Excellence Award for achieving the highest level of quality performance by the Asia Pacific Quality Organisation at a gala dinner and awards ceremony in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Company CEO Pradeep Lal said he was extremely proud to receive this prestigious award on behalf of Vodafone Fiji. He dedicated the award to his hard working staff who had embraced quality as a Vodafone way of doing things. Fijitimes.

26) Trade Commissioner to PNG soon: Ali- Fiji’s Permanent Secretary of Trade and Industry Shaheen Ali says there is still time before the year ends to appoint a trade commissioner to Papua New Guinea. The appointment was outlined in the 2014 Budget with a view to “to take advantage of the burgeoning opportunities in our biggest Melanesian neighbor.” A sum of $464,000 was allocated for the appointment. But, since no appointment has been made.
http://fijilive.com/news/2014/11/trade-commissioner-to-png-soon-ali/59757.Fijilive


27) Heralding in a new Fiji: Academic- A regional academic says Fiji’s profile on the world stage has been enhanced with the recent state visits by the political leaders of India and China. USP’s Doctor Sandra Tarte says Fiji is heralding in a new era increasing its political influence not only on the global front but in the region as well. “The big challenge for Fiji is always been finding new Export market and I think China’s announcements in recent times goes some ways of encouraging exports to their market and India perhaps will be another opening for us, we’re obviously interested in investment as well as technical cooperation, but Fiji doesn’t rely on AID so much as our neighboring countries, Fiji relies on trying to develop its infrastructure, its using loans for that, its trying to diversify its markets and so on.”
http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/24719/heralding-in-a-new-fiji-academic#sthash.y4wf3BP4.dpuf


28) Kubuabola welcomes progress made towards Fiji’s inclusion in NZ’s RSE – New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully and his Fiji counterpart, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola have welcomed the progress made towards Fiji’s inclusion in New Zealand’s Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme. This represents another significant step for New Zealand’s relationship with Fiji. At a meeting in Auckland, the Ministers noted that an agreement will be signed in Fiji on 11th December to set out the Seasonal Employer Scheme arrangements between the two countries. 
http://fijivillage.com/news/Kubuabola-welcomes-progress-made-towards-Fijis-inclusion-in-NZs-RSE-r2s59k/

29) Government will prioritize exports – Bainimarama- Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has promised that his government will continue to make exports a priority. Speaking at the Westpac Prime Minister’s Exporter of the Year Awards at the Sofitel Resort and Spa in Denarau, Bainimarama said the government will continue to provide the environment and the incentives that our exporters need to grow. He said as announced in the 2015 budget on Friday, his government will from next year give a zero percent tariff protection and other duty incentives to businesses which will bring in semi- finished products for completion in Fiji and for 100 percent export.
http://fijivillage.com/news/Government-will-prioritize-exports–Bainimarama-259skr/

30) 2 per cent ‘raise’

Geraldine Panapasa
Saturday, November 22, 2014

EMPLOYERS will be mandated to contribute 10 per cent to the Fiji National Provident Fund effective from January next year.

This was announced by Minister for Finance Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum in his 2015 Budget address in Parliament yesterday.

FNPF chairman Ajith Kodagoda said the increase of 2 per cent was a positive move for members and could be seen as an investment in their savings for retirement.

“At this point only the employers contribution has been increased, so the total contribution to FNPF would be 18 per cent — 10 per cent from employers’ side and 8 per cent from the workers’ side.

“It’s a good sign. It’s extra money for members, it’s like all workers are getting a 2 per cent pay rise across the board.

“If employers have to pay an extra 2 per cent on your behalf, it’s as if you’ve got a 2 per cent raise. The only difference is that it doesn’t come to your hand, it goes to your savings.”

He said the issue had been discussed before election and emphasised the importance of savings.

Mr Kodagoda said if people were encouraged to save then they would have more money when they needed it or when they retired.

Meanwhile, Mr Kodagoda said the 2015 Budget concentrated on key areas.

“In my opinion, this is a budget that the country wants. For any country to succeed, the key areas are education, infrastructure and health. If you’ve got it, you create a healthy population then 90 per cent of your problems are solved.”

Increasing employer contributions to 10 per cent was a notion in the FijiFirst manifesto.Fijitimes

LAW&ORDER/CORRUPTION+

31) PNG mobile police act over tribal fighting

24 November 2014

21 people have been arrested on the first day of an operation in Papua New Guinea’s Hela Province to try and stop tribal fighting that has plagued the area.

A combined force of police mobile squads, and a platoon from the PNG Defence Force conducted their first raids this morning.

However, the Hela Provincial Police Commander, Mike Yangen, says it is proving to be a difficult operation, with an entire village fleeing from the police.

“This morning was our first dawn raid into one of the villages involving the tribal fights, and you’ll be surprised to know there was nobody in the village, everybody had disappeared. I sent the troops across, but as the troops went in the valley at 4am everybody in the village had gone.”

Mark Yangen says the brief operation will only go so far, and it’s time for provincial leaders to sort out the underlying issues behind the fighting.RNZI

32) Watchdog refers PNG Works Minister

By Online Editor
6:35 pm GMT+12, 23/11/2014, Papua New Guinea

Another Member of Papua New Guinea Parliament has been referred by the Ombudsman Commission to the Public Prosecutor for alleged misconduct in office.

Minister for Works and Implementation Francis Awesa, who is the Imbonggu MP, was referred by the Ombudsman Commission on Friday.

Awesa is the third minister in the Peter O’Neill-led Government to be referred after the prime minister himself and Tourism and Culture Minister Boka Kondra.

An MP also facing alleged breaches of the leadership code is Manus Open MP Ronney Knight.

Other MPs facing the courts for alleged misuse of public money are Gulf Governor Havila Kavo, Komo-Margarima MP Francis Potape and Maprik MP John Simon.

Police investigations are continuing into 15 cases involving MPs, the fraud squad announced recently.

Minister Awesa was referred after the Ombudsman Commission investigated the alleged misconduct in office, which arose from his failure in upholding his duties and responsibilities of office as required under section 27 of the Constitution and the organic law on the duties and responsibilities of leadership.

In a statement released by the Chief Ombudsman Lua Rigo and Ombudsman Phoebe Sangetari the Commission stated that: “As required by section 20(2) of the organic law on the duties and responsibilities of leadership, the Commission notified the leader by a letter dated 18 November 2014 of its intention to refer the matter to the Public Prosecutor.”

They said they were satisfied, for the purposes of section 19(1) of the Constitution and sections 17(d), 20(4) and 27(1) of the organic law on the duties and responsibilities of leadership, that there was a prima facie case that Mr Awesa had been guilty of misconduct in office, therefore decided to refer him to the Public Prosecutor for his independent deliberation under section 177(1) (b) of the Constitution.

“The referral is in the hands of the Public Prosecutor who has the discretion to bring or decline to bring proceedings under the Leadership Code for alleged misconduct in office in accordance with section 177(1) (b) of the Constitution,” the statement read.

SOURCE: PO

33) Vanuatu MP Calls For Death Penalty For Witchcraft
Police treating recent hanging of sorcery suspects as homicide

By Bruce Hill

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Nov. 22, 2014) – Vanuatu MP and former finance minister Willie Jimmy is calling for witchcraft to be made a crime punishable by death.

The comment follows an incident last week on an island near Malekula in which a community, allegedly including chiefs and church pastors, hanged two men for suspected sorcery.

Police are treating the men’s deaths as homicide.

Mr Jimmy said having the law framed this way puts those who “innocently” kill accused witches at risk of punishment.

“We have to make law for this, because otherwise people will coordinate to hang and kill other people innocently and that we don’t want to continue to happen in these communities,” he told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat program.

“Even to the extreme that there could be some death penalty, some capital punishment against those who practice [witchcraft], I will not hesitate having agreed to that type of law passed by parliament.”

He said Melanesian people regard black magic as very real, and people who practice it should get the death penalty.

“As an indigenous Melanesian person, I do believe very strongly that witchcraft does exist among the Melanesian people, they do practice this witchcraft,” he said.

“We try to combat those who practice it but the problem is the law does not recognise that, because civil and criminal procedures require we have proof or evidence beyond all reasonable doubt before we can punish anybody, that makes it very, very difficult.

“It does take place in Melanesia, it does. If you think it does not then the people, those who practice that, they will be happy … that we don’t see the problems they are causing the community, that they will stay free all the time.”

He said he was not concerned with potential backlash from the international community, saying there were fundamental differences between Western and traditional Melanesian values.

“The international community, they do not have the same tradition as us. Our constitution says Vanuatu is founded on Melanesian traditional values, and then followed by Christian principles, so our traditional Melanesian values do exist, the good and bad sides of it,” Mr Jimmy said.

Radio Australia 

34) Prison term for ex Post Fiji bosses – The Suva High Court has in the last half hour sentenced three former Post Fiji executives to imprisonment on corruption related charges. Former Managing Director Peni Mau has been given a nine month sentence after he was found guilty of extortion. The then General Manager Dhirendra Pratap has been found guilty of giving false information to public officers and sentenced to six months imprisonment

http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/24725/prison-term-for-ex-post-fiji-bosses#sthash.CWUzCgiH.dpuf

http://fijilive.com/news/2014/11/jail-terms-for-ex-post-fiji-execs/59758.Fijilive

http://fijivillage.com/news-feature/Three-former-executives-of-Post-Fiji-Limited-handed-prison-sentences-rk2s59/

CLIMATE CHANGE,CONSERVATION & ENVIROMENT

35) Minister calls on farmers to be on high alert in cyclone season – Minister for Agriculture and Natural Disaster Management Inia Seruiratu has called on farmers to be on high alert as the country is entering its cyclone season. Seruiratu said farmers should be proactive as natural disasters can happen anytime. He said the ministry will also be giving advice to farmers during this period. Seruiratu said their main aim is to minimize the costs and risks.
http://fijivillage.com/news/Minister-calls-on-farmers-to-be-on-high-alert-in-cyclone-season-k5r2s9/

WOMAN,YOUTH & CHILD

36) Stocktake standing on gender-based violence: UN Women

By ANA MADIGIBULI
Monday, November 24, 2014

Update: 4:37PM THE 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence was officially launched in Suva today. 

The international campaign takes place every year from November 25 to December 10. It is used as an organising strategy by individuals and groups around the world to call for the elimination of violence against women and girls. The campaign originated from the first Womens Global Leadership institute coordinated by the centre for Womens Global Leadership in 1991. UN Womens Ending Violence Against Women program specialist Melissa Alvarado said it was important to notice that it started out as a civil society campaign and continues to be driven by the society. “We really support and stand in solidarity with women organisation on the campaign which basically starts tomorrow (Tuesday), and its a moment for organisation to take stock of where we stand on violence against women regionally and globally, and look at what needs to be done and what we have learned from the evidence on violence,” Ms Alvarado said. Fijitimes

37) FWCC Open Day to mark campaign on violence against women 
– The Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre is holding an open day today to mark the campaign on violence against women. Fiji Women’s Crisis Center coordinator Shamima Ali says the open day is the first of many activities the Centre has planned. “The 16 days of activism is a global event and this is its 23rd year and it is marked in about 190 countries throughout the world” The 16 days of activism against Gender-based violence begins tomorrow.

http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/24727/fwcc-open-day-to-mark-campaign-on-violence-against-women#sthash.cWVe4j57.dpuf

38) Youths happy with slice of pie

Atasa Moceituba
Monday, November 24, 2014

A YOUTH believes the Government made the right decision by increasing the Youth and Sports Ministry’s budget by more than $6million.

The ministry has been given $16.7m in the 2015 Budget. It was allocated $10.3m for this year. From the $16.7m allocated next year, $750,000 will be directed towards youths training.

Kafoa Atulu, 22, of Davuilevu in Nausori said the Government made the right decision by setting aside a large amount of money for youths.

She hoped it would benefit a lot from the training programs that would be conducted next year.

“Everybody knows that youths are the leaders of tomorrow. Such training programs will help youths in their decision making and become good leaders,” she said.

“If a huge amount of money is set aside for youths, I think it will also be better if they also do something about youths who have graduated from universities but are still unemployed.”

Ms Atulu said more training should be conducted so that youths are educated and informed about their roles and responsibilities as leaders of tomorrow.

On the other hand, Josevate Koroi, 18, said the Government should not only concentrate on youth training programs but other activities that youths would benefit from.

“Maybe the Government can help youths by funding small businesses and other source of income to help them make a living,” he said.

“Youths should not rely on their parents all the time as they are old enough to look after themselves. Conducting regular programs will not help them make a living.

“I guess this is something the Youth and Sports Ministry needs to look deeply into and start making changes,” Mr Koroi said.Fijitimes

SPORTS

39) Debt remains unpaid

Daniel Schofield
Monday, November 24, 2014

THE debt that rugby owes to the Pacific Islands is enormous. A fifth of players at the last World Cup were either born or descended from Samoa, Fiji and Tonga, whose combined population is little over a million —— roughly the equivalent of Birmingham. It is a debt that remains shamefully unpaid.

“We have been completely and purposefully exploited by this game, which is supposed to preach fairness and fair play,” said Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu, the former Samoa centre who is also a qualified solicitor. “This game is an instrument of fraud.”

It is not just in numbers that the Pacific Islanders’ often bone-rattling impact has been felt. With nicknames like the “Chiropractor” and the “Terminator”, players such as Brian Lima and Apollo Perelini redefined tackling in the 1990s. Michael Jones did likewise for openside flankers and Jonah Lomu for wings.

By virtue of its geographical proximity, the influence of Polynesian and Melanesian players is most greatly felt in New Zealand. Pacific Islanders make up six per cent of the population, yet comprise a third of New Zealand’s Super Rugby squads and that trickles through to the national team.

The All Blacks, however, are far from alone in reaping those benefits.

Seven players in Australia’s 2011 World Cup squad were of Polynesian and Melanesian heritage. For the last Lions tour, there were more players of Pacific Island descent (Manu Tuilagi, Mako Vunipola and Taulupe Faletau) than there were Scots in the touring party. There are an estimated 184 professional players of either Samoan, Fijian or Tongan descent playing in European leagues.

Before pointing the finger elsewhere, it is important to stress that many wounds are self-inflicted. The governance on the islands is at best amateurish, at worst open to accusations of corruption as the Samoan players’ dispute with their union has demonstrated. The First World War aphorism of “Lions led by donkeys” has never been more applicable.

Neither are Samoa’s financial problems unique. Fiji sacked their respected coach, Inoke Male, in January to save money while Tonga needed a last-minute contribution from their government to undertake their current European tour. Yet even if the problems are not created elsewhere, the rest of the world often does little to assist. Institutionally, the International Rugby Board Council is weighted against the three Pacific Islands, who collectively share a single vote while the eight founder members have two votes each. Canada, Italy and Japan also have a single vote each.

Other than expenses, Samoa will receive no money for their match on Saturday against England at Twickenham that will turn over several million pounds. This is standard practice for host nations but it is predicated on England returning the favour with their own tour, which they will not. In the last 10 years only Scotland have visited Samoa, although the All Blacks finally relented to pressure by promising a match in Apia next year.

An even more emotive issue is that of the talent drain from the Islands across the world. Particularly in the northern hemisphere, it is painted in black and white with terms such as poaching frequently thrown at New Zealand’s door when in truth there are several shades of grey involved. The vast majority of the All Blacks’ Polynesian and Melanesian contingent are New Zealand born and raised.

It is also hard to begrudge Vunipola or Tuilagi representing England considering they were educated there or dispute Fijian Semesa Rokoduguni’s right to wear the red rose given he fought for the country in Afghanistan.

Feel-good stories such as his are often outweighed by crass cynicism. Peter Harding, Tonga’s high performance manager, revealed one of the country’s brightest prospects has been offered a contract by a European club with the implicit promise of being fast-tracked into the national team through the three-year residency rule. Even more brazenly, Brive, the Top 14 team, plan to open an academy in Fiji with an annual intake of 25 players.

Yet it is important to remember that an offer of a professional contract or a scholarship is a way out of poverty for many Islanders who will then be relied on to provide for an extended family. It is also a route too a far higher standard of coaching and facilities. Potential earnings would multiply many times over were they to represent a tier-one international rather than the country of their birth. Closing or extending the residency rule would also shut the door on the careers of many Island players, particularly in Super Rugby where there are severe restrictions on foreign players.

Nathan Hughes, Wasps’ Fijian back row, is a case in point. He was picked up on a New Zealand scholarship when he was 17 and is now halfway towards qualifying for England through the residency rule. “It is really hard in Fiji,” Hughes said. “The facilities are not as good as in other countries. If you get the opportunity to go overseas, people will take it because that’s how it all starts. People are just taking that opportunity.

“I would classify myself as Fijian from the bottom of my heart, but all you have to think of is your future. All you have to think of is what’s going to happen after rugby. You can’t play rugby all your life. You have to plan for what you are going to do after that if a family starts happening.”

What upsets the Pacific Islands more than anything is that there is no route back for these players once they have served their purpose elsewhere.

“The way the Islands are, people have to leave to look for opportunities and I don’t think anybody wants to stand in their way of doing that,” Harding said. “The issue we do have is that if you look through the records there are a lot of players who have got one or two caps for the All Blacks and they would like to play for Tonga. They have been sold a dream but then they have not been picked again.”

For too long the world has profited from Samoa, Tonga and Fiji. It is time to offer something back.

40) Papua New Guinea Reach WT20 Qualifier

By Online Editor
9:09 pm GMT+12, 23/11/2014, Australia

Papua New Guinea have earned themselves a place at next year’s ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier after winning the 2014 ICC EAP Trophy against Vanuatu.

Fresh from beating Hong Kong in their first two One-Day Internationals earlier this month, they beat off their regional competition, winning the final against Vanuatu by seven wickets.

They chased down a target of 97 in just 12 overs and will now join the best Associate and Affiliate sides from around the world as they chase a place at the ICC World Twenty20 2016, which will be held in India.

Six teams will qualify from the 2015 Qualifier, which will be hosted by Ireland and Scotland. Ireland, Afghanistan, Nepal, United Arab Emirates, the Netherlands, Hong Kong and PNG will be joined by seven other regional qualifiers.

PNG won all seven of their group matches to qualify for the final with Vanuatu, who only lost to PNG.

Fiji, Samoa, Phillipines, Japan, Indonesia and Cook Islands rounded out the remaining places.

Fiji will play Japan and Samoa the Phillipines in a 50-over mini-tournament to decide which team represents the East-Asia Pacific region in World Cricket League Division Six.

SOURC E: CRICKET WORLD/PACNEWS

41) Dragons win 7s title

Maciu Malo
Monday, November 24, 2014

FORMER national 7s rep Waisea Nacuqu helped his Tokatoka Westfield Dragons side win the first leg of the PWD Bure 7s series held at Lautoka’s Churchill Park yesterday.

Nacuqu was instrumental in his side’s 28-17 win over Mosese Mawalu’s Yamacia team to clinch another 7s title.

The nippy halfback teamed up with some unknown boys and produced the goods for their fans and for their head coach Epeli Lagiloa.

His speed off the mark and his trademark side step helped his teammates to down the spirited Yamacia team.

Yamacia with players such as speedster Mawalu, lanky Sevuloni Mocenawai and Sunia Vosikata gave their best in the final but the class, fitness and combination of Nacuqu and his company denied Yamacia the win.

Westfield walked away with the $3000 top prizemoney and also led the points table after the first round.

While happy with his team’s performance, Westfield coach Lagiloa commended the tournament organisers for their vision to develop and expose untapped talents.

The former national 7s manager said the 10 tournaments series introduced by the PWD Bure side would open new door of opportunities to local players.

He said the organisers needed the support of FRU and the national 7s management in order to unearth new talents.

“I must thank the organisers for their vision and initiative to host this series,” said Lagiloa.

“This is one of a kind and will give opportunities to grassroots players to be exposed to top level competition.

“The organisers have introduced a great idea for the FRU and 7s coach Ben Ryan to identify new talents.”

Meanwhile, Tolouse rugby rep Timoci Matanavou also played a vital role for the First Landing team to beat Sunia Talebula’s Natabua team 38-14 in the plate final.

Wadigi thumped Naicurucuru 26-12 to win the bowl.Fijitimes

42) England too good

Afp
Monday, November 24, 2014

LONDON – England warmed up for next weekend’s clash against the Wallabies with a 28-9 victory over Samoa at Twickenham yesterday.

Five-eighth George Ford impressedin his first Test start with the Bath No.10 kicking five out of seven goals for a haul of 13 points.

More significantly, Ford was also instrumental in creating two of England’s three tries, with wing Jonny May scoring twice.

Successive defeats by the All Blacks (24-21) and the Springboks (31-28) had turned this match into a ‘must-win’ fixture for 2015 World Cup hosts England, who kicked off on a run of five straight losses, albeit four had been against world champions New Zealand.

“It feels good to get a win and it has been a long time,” England coach Stuart Lancaster told Sky Sports.

Ford added: “There was some OK stuff from me out there today, but there’s a lot I need to improve on still.”

Samoa had called off a threatened strike in protest at the conduct of the Samoa Rugby Union, which would have seen them boycott this match, only after being told they risked losing their place at next year’s World Cup.

The Pacific Islanders, still yet to beat England, scored all their points courtesy of three penalties from fly-half Tusi Pisi.

Lancaster made five changes and a positional switch to the team beaten 31-28 by South Africa last weekend, calling up Ford, whose previous four caps had come from off the bench, and moving the No.10s old school friend and former youth rugby colleague Owen Farrell from five-eighth to inside centre.

Pisi kicked Samoa into an early lead but missed a routine penalty before Ford equalised for England, playing in unfamiliar red shirts, in the 16th minute.

England face Australia at Twickenham next Saturday.

43) Wallabies lose second European tour match in Ireland

Aap
Monday, November 24, 2014

DUBLIN – The Wallabies are on the brink of their worst European tour in almost a decade after falling 26-23 to in-form Ireland in Dublin.

But coach Michael Cheika will head into next week’s tour finale against England buoyed but what he considered a much-improved Australian performance at Lansdowne Road yesterday.

The Wallabies fought back from trailing 17-0 after just 15 minutes to be level at halftime but couldn’t go on with it in, despite scoring three tries to Ireland’s two.

Controversial utility Kurtley Beale made his return off the bench, halfback Nick Phipps scored a double and recalled centre Matt Toomua impressed, while big winger Henry Speight had a solid Test debut.

But Australia’s failure to bounce back from last week’s 29-26 loss to France in Paris means they’ll head to Twickenham facing the prospect of losing three European tour matches for the first time since 2005.

Cheika was gutted to lose but encouraged by signs the team was starting to embrace his new game plan, and felt his backs dealt well with repeated aerial assaults from Ireland’s kickers.

“Last week we got close and probably would have been lucky if we won but this week we got close and were probably unlucky not to win to be honest,” Cheika said.

“Our work rate was very good and our physicality was right up there.

“All in all, I thought it was a really improved performance from the week before.

“We showed a lot of resilience, a lot of toughness to get back in that game.

“Away from home it would have been easy to pack up but we came back well and I’m really sad about losing.”

Third-ranked Ireland notched their seventh straight Test victory, claiming a second major southern hemisphere scalp after beating South Africa a fortnight ago.

But coach Joe Schmidt wasn’t able to celebrate the win, with the New Zealander taken to hospital after the match due to a bout of appendicitis.

Cheika would have found the start of the game hard to stomach, with Ireland racing to a 17-point lead thanks to some clever early kicking tactics from superstar five-eighth Jonathan Sexton.

44) Pumas shock France 

Afp
Monday, November 24, 2014

PARIS – Argentina produced a tactical rugby masterclass to beat France 18-13 at the Stade de France in Paris yesterday.

The Pumas kicked four drop goals and dominated the majority of a turgid contest to end their November tour on a high.

France came within inches of snatching a potentially match-winning try deep into added time, but South African-born fullback Scott Spedding was held up over the line.

Had they scored, and converted it to snatch an unlikely victory, it would have been hard on an enterprising Argentina that dominated in almost every aspect of the game and aligned an almost impenetrable light-blue and white wall in front of France’s runners.

It was their first win in France since the 2007 World Cup, and richly deserved.

The hosts may have come into the clash brimming with confidence following wins over Fiji (40-15) and Australia (29-26) but they were given a tactical lesson in the first half.

Argentina five-eighth Nicolas Sanchez and inside centre Juan Martin Hernandez dominated with precise kicking, while the tourists rumbled well with their forwards and broke quickly in the backs.

www.voiceofmelanesia.com

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