Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1054 ( Monday 15 December 2014 )


1) Jakarta called on to help Papuan victims’ families

15 December 2014

A human rights group says the relatives of those who were killed or injured during the recent shooting in Paniai in Indonesia’s Papua need both justice and counselling.

At least five people died and 21 others were injured after a group of residents blockaded a road, disrupting traffic in Paniai last Monday.

The Jakarta Post says the Papuan Women’s Solidarity for Human Rights Defenders group says each time violence occurs in Papua the government fails to provide counselling for the relatives of victims.

A spokesperson, Sandra Mambrasar, says women losing their children and husbands in acts of violence should receive attention from a psychiatric team.

She says the women affected continued to mourn for the victims when the bodies were laid out at Karel Gobay Field prior to their funeral at the end of last week.

Ms Mambrasar says the women had even dug the graves themselves.RNZI

2) Jokowi urged to commit to solving Papua issue

15 December 2014December 2014

The Papua Presidium Council has urged Indonesia’s president, Joko Widodo, to release political prisoners in Papua and revive a commission for truth and reconciliation to show his political commitment to solving the Papua issue.

While campaigning for the presidency, Mr Widodo (L) called for a new dialogue on Papua, and for restrictions on foreign journalists and NGOs to be lifted.

Photo: AFP

The Jakarta Post reports the PDP’s President, Thaha Alhamid, making the call in response to Mr Widodo’s plan to attend a national Christmas celebration in the provincial capital, Jayapura, where he will meet with a number of Papuan figures.

Mr Alhamed says the half-century long independence conflict in the province, which is also Indonesia’s poorest, will not be solved as long as Jakarta views the Papuan people as an enemies, separatists, silly, criminal, lazy and alcoholic.

He says the President needs to revive a roadmap for a comprehensive solution to the Papua issue when he visits, which was suspended by his predecesor Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, following strong rejection from the Indonesian military and police.


New Indonesian defence minister a ‘blow to human rights’
Calls for Jokowi to open up Papua
Call for action, as Indonesian president visits Papua
Indonesia president urged to build Papua palace
Pledge to ease Papua access

3) Bougainville included in Bishop’s PNG visit

15 December 2014

Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop is in Papua New Guinea this week and will make the first visit by an Australian Foreign Minister to Bougainville in 14 years.

Ms Bishop will meet political and community leaders in the autonomous PNG region to discuss the implementation of the Bougainville Peace Agreement.

She will also visit Australia-funded aid projects in Buka and Arawa.

Her visit to mainland PNG includes discussions on defence and police co-operation, the regional asylum-seeker resettlement programme and help for PNG’s hosting of APEC in 2018.

The Minister will also look at family and sexual violence in the Highlands region.RNZI

4a) Solomon Airlines rejects sabotage allegations

15 December 2014U

Solomon Airlines has rejected recent allegations made by Fiji’s Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum, that it has been sabotaging negotiations to resolve an ongoing airline impasse.

Flights between the two countries remain cancelled after a breakdown in negotiations in Suva last month to solve the five month old impasse.

Solomon Airlines Commercial Services Manager, Gus Kraus, says they were not part of the meeting between the two governments and Fiji Airways but he understands Honiara rejected a Memorandum of Understanding because it wanted more time to look into its conditions.

“This impasse cannot continue and Solomon Airlines and I am sure the Solomon governments are looking for some way forward. So there must be an outcome of fairness and you know equitabilitiy that both countries and both airlines prosper with. And so that is all we are after.”

Mr Kraus says the next major meeting to try and resolve the impasse will be held on the 25th of January between the new governments of both countries.RNZI

4b) Vanuatu daily news digest | 13 December 2014

by bobmakin

  • There’s not a lot of hard news around when the ACP is hitting the headlines, and Christmas breaks proceed all around. There was not a lot yesterday either, and thus the delay in sending out a bulletin which now covers two days. And I have no idea how I claimed the last bulletin posted to be 11 February 2014.
  • However, Vanuatu has been chosen for the ACP presidency, Radio Vanuatu informs us, in the hundredth sitting of the ACP Council of Ministers this week. Vanuatu’s Ambassador Roy Mickey Joy will hold the presidential post in 2015 and Foreign Minister Kilman says it gives Vanuatu a privileged position for defending our exports of kava and copra.
  • Vanuatu was also reported as the first Melanesian country to sign the EDF National Indicative Programme with the European Union. Minister Kilman signed with European Development Minister Neven Mimica. Minister Mimica told Pacnews that given the importance of the rural economy in Vanuatu, this country’s choice of agriculture is entirely relevant to Vanuatu receiving the envelope for nearly USD 40 million, an increase of 35 percent in this programme. He also congratulated Vanuatu for its adherence to the EU’s policy on illegal, unauthorised and unreported fishing activities and our “constructive approach,” without explaining further and more clearly how we have demonstrated a constructive approach.
  • Foreign Minister Kilman, VBTC News says, needs to resolve the matter of Fiji not having returned to membership of the Pacific Islands Forum. Fiji has said it will not resume membership whilst Australia and New Zealand continue as members. Kilman said everyone must work together.
  • Daily Post yesterday reported eleven new students to study for bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Australia under its Australian Awards Programme. They include both the arts dux of Malapoa in 2013 and and the science dux of the school for the same year.
  • Post reported Vila North school ground-breaking for a new VT 9.8 million building – a six classroom block.
  • Post today reports the continuing wrangle in the Police and VMF as regards the positions of power. This goes back to the alleged mutiny of 2012 and much further. Prime Minister Natuman, responsible for the force, points out in a letter to Acting Commissioner Maralau “My Government is working endlessly to make sure the Vanuatu Police Force is united and that the different groupings within the force patiently await a time and date to be set by the government to carry out the exercise of unifying the Vanuatu Police Force again.”
  • Three ni-Vanuatu doctors have launched a private clinic. Child health, internal health and mental health will be dealt with by doctors Rosemary Kaltack, Griffith Harrison and Jimmy Obed, working from rooms in Nambatu. They bring some 35 years of experience to their clinic. (Daily Post)
  • BJ Skane brings the story behind the new ATR of Air Vanuatu being called the Betty Emma to the pages of Daily Post today. The story goes back to 1960, Paul Burton, Bob Paul, and the beginnings of New Hebrides Airways.


5) China ups aid to Tonga

15 December 2014

China has given Tonga an aid grant of just over 16 million US dollars with the new government to decide how it will be spent.

This has been confirmed by the Chinese Ambassador in Tonga, Huang Huaguang.

The grant was organised in Fiji during last month’s visit of China’s leader Xi Jinping, and Mr Huang says it will be for the government to use as it sees fit.

Mr Huang says China will continue to strengthen ties with Tonga and other Pacific countries because the Chinese government places a lot of importance on helping the region as an integral part of the Asia Pacific region.

In a separate deal, China is to provide vehicles to assist with the coronation of King Tupou the 6th next year and money to help develop Tonga’s ability to respond to climate change.RNZI

6) Chikungunya affects more than 3,000 in Samoa

15 December 2014

The number of people infected with Chikungunya in Samoa has reached more than 3,000.

Ministry of Health figures up until the last week of November show 3,l35 cases of the mosquito-borne virus.

The Ministry says 333 people reported to hospitals that week, the most number of people showing symptoms of the disease in one week since the initial outbreak in July.

The latest numbers mean that l.7 percent of Samoa’s population has contracted “Chik” whose symptoms include fever, sore joints and a rash.

The Ministry says the largest clusters of Chikungunya are within the Faleata and Vaimauga districts and more women than men have been affected.

There have been no deaths from Chikungunya in Samoa.

Five people have died and more than 35,000 people have been affected by the disease in French Polynesia.RNZI

7) American Samoa Govt ends link with Manu’a Air

15 December 2014

The American Samoa Government has taken back its nine-seater aircraft from Manu’a Air, a new locally based company which had promised to have the plane federally certified.

A government agreement with the airline was signed in July last year to operate the plane, after undergoing Federal Aviation Administration Certification so that the plane can carry paying passengers to the Manu’as.

However, Samoa News says the Port Administration has terminated the agreement with Manu’a Air after it failed to keep its promise to put the plane in service within a certain time frame.

The governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga had written to the company saying he had bent over backwards to give it sufficient time to get the plane operational.

Meanwhile, the Port Administration director Dr. Claire Poumele says the plane will now go to a new local airline called Tausani Air.RNZI

8) Cooks announces anniversary celebrations

12 December 2014

The chair of the organising committee for the 50th anniversary commemorations in the Cook Islands says the year long celebrations will benefit the country long term.

Nick Henry has announced plans for monthly events which kick off on New Year’s Day with a concert from the musicians Annie and Will Crummer.

The celebrations have been criticised by the MP James Beer who says spending is excessive and the outer islands receive no benefit.

However Mr Henry says less than US$400,000 have been allocated for the year, not the US$1,000,000 that the MP suggests.

Mr Henry says cultural events and historical highlight shows will be held across all islands.

He also says he spoke to local chiefs about setting aside land for the commemorations.

“They’re going to plant that land so when their families come over, they’ve got the food. Once we do it like this then it’s going to be 2016 and we are going to do it again and again and again. It just becomes easier and that’s really the litmus test of what we are trying to achieve. It’s got to be a sustainable event.”

The chair of the organising committee for the 50th anniversary commemorations in the Cook Islands, Nick Henry.RNZI




10) NZ aid for Samoa conference under attack

15 December 2014

A New Zealand advocacy group says New Zealand funding assistance to last September’s Small Islands Developing States conference in Samoa was a shameful waste of taxpayers’ money.

The Taxpayers’ Union says New Zealand provided 7 million US dollars for the four-day event in Apia, including the cost of hiring a cruise liner for the large delegations.

The Union’s executive director, Jordan Williams, says it seems inconceivable the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade would think this a good use of taxpayers’ money.

The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon with the Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi at the SIDS conference in Samoa.

She says the money spent is about half of the annual New Zealand aid budget to Samoa.

Mr Williams says if the money had been used for genuine economic development or investment, no one would complain.

But he says taxpayers forked out for a conference which achieved a document that ‘reaffirmed’, ‘acknowledged’, ‘recognised’ and ‘recommitted’ to what he calls various bureaucratic platitudes.

Mr Williams says New Zealand should be funding measures to develop economies, not chartering liners for conferences.RNZI


11) Ol Pacific kantri ino wanbel wantem Australia Climate Change loa

Updated 12 December 2014, 14:38 AEDT
Sam Seke

Oli tok despla polisi blong Australia i no strong tumas

Ol Pacific pipal i bung na soim tingting nolaik long Climate Change 
Odio: Permanent Representative blong Solomon Islands long United Nations, Colin Beck i toktok wantem Sam Seke

Ol Pacific Island kantri ino hamamas long climate change polisi blong bikpela neba blong ol Australia, olsem em i wik tumas.

Ol i autim wari blong ol long dispela UN Climate Conference we i gohet nau ia long Lima, em long kantri blong Peru long South Amerika.

Permanent Representative blong Solomon Islands long United Nations, Colin Beck i tok ino Australia tasol, em Japan tu na olgeta bikpela ikonomi long wol.

Mr Beck itok olgeta small island developing states long wol i wok long toktok strong long ol bikpela rich ikonomi olsem ol imas katim daun mak blong poisin gas ol i putim long ea.Radio Australia

12) Buai bisnis i op gen long Port Moresby

Postim 15 December 2014, 15:42 AEDT
Caroline Tiriman

Gavana Powes Parkop i oraitim long ol pipol iken wokim bisnis long buai, tasol ol i noken toromoi pipia na spet nabaut long siti. 

Odio: Gavana Powes Parkop i toktok long Port Moresby i op gen long buai bisnis
Ol pipal blong National Capital Distrik long Papua New Guinea nau iken salim na baem buai ken aninit long nupla tingting blong Gavana Powes Parkop.
Long mun October 2013 Gavana ibin stopim wok blong salim na baem buai long siti blong Port Moresby long wonem ol pipal isave  toromoi pipia na spet nabaut long siti, na tu blong stopim sik TB long kalap igo ikam long ol pipal.
Despla loa ibin kamapim ol bikpla  bel heve long ol pipal long wonem, planti pipal isave salim na baem buai long lukautim sidaon blong ol iet na ol femili blong ol long siti.
Nau Mr Parkop i tok emi larim pipal long salim na baem buai long sampla hap, tasol oli no ken spet nabaut na toromoi pipia blong buai long ol publik ples.Radio Australia


13) Brèves du Pacifique – lundi 15 décembre 2014

Mis à jour 15 December 2014, 17:49 AEDT
Elodie Largenton

Le déficit budgétaire australien est pire que prévu : il devrait atteindre plus de 40 milliards de dollars australiens à la fin de l’année. 

C’est 10 milliards de dollars de plus que l’estimation donnée en mai dernier. Des résultats que le ministre du Trésor met sur le compte de la chute des prix du minerai de fer, mais aussi de la décision des travaillistes de bloquer certaines coupes budgétaires.

  • Les Îles du Pacifique sont satisfaites de l’accord sur le climat trouvé à Lima, après plus de deux semaines de tractations. Pour le Secrétariat général de la Communauté du Pacifique, il répond à la plupart des préoccupations de la région. La question des contributions nationales pour réduire les émissions de CO2 a notamment été abordée, avec la mise en avant d’« une responsabilité commune, mais différenciée », gage d’un traitement distinct pour les pays en développement. Autre satisfaction pour les Îles du Pacifique : la capitalisation du Fonds vert pour le climat, à hauteur de 10 milliards de dollars.
  •  La ministre australienne des Affaires étrangères, Julie Bishop, est en visite en Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée, cette semaine. Une visite axée essentiellement sur l’économie, mais la responsable australienne se rendra aussi dans la province autonome de Bougainville, où elle discutera de la mise en œuvre de l’accord de paix avec des responsables politiques locaux. Ce sera la première visite d’un ministre australien des Affaires étrangères à Bougainville en 14 ans. Pendant la guerre civile, l’Australie avait apporté son soutien à l’armée de la Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée contre les factions bougainvillaises.
  • À l’université de Hawaï, le drapeau américain flotte de nouveau au-dessus du drapeau hawaïen, mais les étudiants et militants indépendantistes ont bon espoir que cela ne dure plus très longtemps. Il y a quelques jours, ils avaient décroché le drapeau américain du campus pour interpeller, notamment, sur la manière dont l’histoire hawaïenne était enseignée. Ils ont, depuis, été reçus par les administrateurs de l’université. La discussion a été constructive et les drapeaux devraient bientôt flotter au même niveau, rapportent-ils.
  •  L’épidémie de chikungunya continue sa progession aux Samoa. Le nombre de personnes hospitalisées en une semaine à cause du virus a même atteint un pic, il y a deux semaines, avec 300 personnes traitées, selon les autorités. En tout, depuis le début de l’épidémie, en juillet dernier, plus de 3 000 personnes ont été touchées, mais aucun décès n’est à déplorer.

 Une sculpture des Îles Cook s’est vendue aux enchères à plus d’1,2 million d’euros, à Paris. Il s’agit d’une tête d’un “dieu-bâton”, atua rakau, de Rarotonga, vraisemblablement collecté par un missionnaire anglais dans les années 1820, selon Sothebys, qui a organise la vente aux enchères, il y a quelques semaines. En tout, 49 objets de la collection Murray Frum d’art océanien ont été vendus pour un total de plus de 7 millions et demi d’euros – un nouveau record pour l’art océanien.Radio Australia
14) Prise d’otages à Sydney

Mis à jour 15 December 2014, 18:39 AEDT
Elodie Largenton

La situation est toujours confuse à Sydney, où des personnes ont été prises en otage il y a plusieurs heures dans un café situé en plein centre de la ville.

Selon les dernières informations dont nous disposons, cinq des otages ont réussi à sortir du bâtiment, mais on ne sait pas combien restent enfermés. Alors que l’entreprise propriétaire du café parlait d’une quarantaine de personnes retenues, la police estime qu’il y en a trente, au maximum. On ne sait pas non plus s’il y a un ou plusieurs preneur(s) d’otages. 
Les télévisions australiennes ont largement diffusé les images de trois otages, forcés de se tenir face aux vitres du café, les mains en l’air. Leurs visages ont assez rapidement été floutés par la plupart des médias. On voit aussi, sur ces images, un drapeau noir, sur lequel il serait ecrit, en arabe, “il n’y a pas d’autre Dieu qu’Allah”.
La police est entré en contact avec un ravisseur, mais pour le moment, ses revendications ne sont pas connues. Voici ce qu’en dit le Premier ministre, Tony Abbott :
“Nous ne connaissons pas encore la motivation de l’auteur de la prise d’otages. Nous ne savons pas si c’est politique. Bien évidemment, des indications laissent penser qu’il s’agirait d’un acte politique.”
Il faut préciser que l’armée australienne combat l’organisation État islamique aux côtés des États-Unis. En septembre dernier, 15 terroristes présumes avaient été arrêtés à Sydney. Selon les autorités, ils planifiaient d’assassiner des Australiens pour le compte de l’État islamique.
N.B. : Les dernières informations sont à suivre sur le site d’ABC,

15) Fidji restreint l’accès à la propriété des étrangers

Mis à jour 12 December 2014, 16:59 AEDT
Elodie Largenton

Au depart, le gouvernement fidjien voulait interdire aux étrangers d’acheter des terrains sur tout le territoire. Mais une avalanche de plaintes a contraint les autorités à revoir légèrement leur copie : la nouvelle loi foncière empêche les citoyens étrangers d’acheter en ville.

(Flickr: Jasabout) (Credit: ABC) 
Cela signifie aussi que ceux qui seraient déjà propriétaires ne pourront vendre leurs biens  qu’à des Fidjiens.
Autres changements : les étrangers qui possèdent déjà une terre, mais qui n’ont pas construit de maison devront y remédier d’ici deux ans, sans quoi ils devront payer, tous les six mois, une amende equivalent à 10% de la valeur de la propriété. Fidji exige aussi des étrangers qu’ils dépensent au moins 150 000 dollars australiens pour construire leur maison.
De nouvelles dispositions qui indignent Aren Nunnink, agent immobilier dans la ville de Savusavu.
“Beaucoup de propriétaires étrangers n’ont pas été prévenus, donc ils n’ont pas prévu de fonds pour cela. En plus, dans les regions rurales, il n’y a pas beaucoup d’entreprises de construction, les matériaux de construction sont souvent difficiles à trouver et obtenir des autorisations prend souvent des mois.”
Le gouvernement fidjien explique qu’il souhaite ainsi freiner l’afflux d’investisseurs étrangers, tout en rendant l’accès à la propriété plus abordable pour les Fidjiens.
Mais pour Aren Nunnink, cette mesure risque d’être contre-productive. Cela va avoir un effet dévastateur sur des villes comme Savusavu, estime-t-il.
“L’économie de notre ville est fondée sur l’investissement étranger. Ce sont les étrangers qui sont venus ici ces vingt dernières années qui ont tire le marché local vers le haut, en achetant des terrains, en construisant des maisons, en embauchant des locaux, en consommant… Une loi si restrictive va avoir un impact très négatif. Cela va refroidir les investisseurs étrangers, avec des repercussions sur les enterprises locales.”
Aren Nunnink  était interrogé par Liam Fox, de ABC.
Le gouvernement fidjien souligne que les zones dédiées au tourisme ne sont pas concernées par cette nouvelle législation.Radio Australia


16) UN General Assemby grants observer status to the Secretariat of the Pacific Community
By Online Editor
11:12 pm GMT+12, 14/12/2014, Fiji

The United Nations General Assembly has adopted a resolution granting observer status to the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC).

The resolution was submitted by the delegation of Fiji in support of the decision taken by the 8th Ministerial Conference of the Pacific Community of which Fiji was the Chair.

In his statement after the adoption of the resolution, Fiji’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Peter Thomson said this was a step in the right direction for sustainable development in the Pacific region, in particular for Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS), as it will help synchronize their development programmes with those of the United Nations agencies and programmes.

The Secretariat of the Pacific Community represents 22 Pacific Islands Countries and territories (includes US and French territories in the Pacific). Through the assistance from its metropolitan members, SPC provides the necessary policy assistance and technical expertise to assist member countries in broad areas of development including in the fields of energy, transport, public health, agriculture development, disaster reduction, human development, development statistics, oceans and fisheries.

Ambassador Thomson said: “We welcome the granting of observer status to the Pacific Community, coming as it does at the very important juncture, as we jointly design the Post- 2015 Development Agenda”.


17) SPC’s new UN role welcomed

15 December 2014

The Secretariat of the Pacific Community says having observer status at the United Nations will help put more focus on critical issues like climate change and the impact of non communicable diseases.

The SPC was formally granted observer status last week at the UN General Assembly in New York.

The director-general of the SPC, Dr Colin Tukuitonga, says it is a significant breakthrough for the Pacific Community.

He says the small islands in the Pacific are the recipients of poor decisions made elsewhere and the SPC sees this UN involvement as a way it can have more impact through its technical and scientific work.

“Just working within the region is insufficient. We want to be able to project, communicate, the concerns of the Pacific effectively at the international level.”

The director-general of the SPC, Dr Colin Tukuitonga.RNZI


18) Indonesia landslide: Death toll from landslide in central Java rises to at least 39, Widodo visits site

Posted 15 December 2014, 16:50 AEDT

The death toll from a landslide in Indonesia has risen to at least 39, officials say, as rescuers continue to search for bodies.

Sixty-nine people are still unaccounted for after heavy rain triggered the landslide that swallowed up houses in Jemblung village on Java island late on Friday.

Officials say the chances of finding anyone alive are now slim.

More than 1,000 rescuers, including police and soldiers, have been digging through huge mounds of red mud that cascaded onto the village, which lies in a valley surrounded by hills.

Witnesses said the landslide sounded like thunder.

“We hope and pray that we can rescue some of the missing but the chances are slim,” local search and rescue chief Agus Haryono told AFP.

National disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said bulldozers and excavators were still trying to clear a huge pile of fallen trees and earth blocking the main road to the site, in the hope of speeding up the rescue effort.

“Rescuers retrieved more bodies from the mud, which took the death toll to 39 people,” he told AFP.

Initial rescue efforts were hampered by persistent heavy downpours but the weather has cleared since Sunday.

Landslides triggered by heavy rains and floods are common in tropical Indonesia during the rainy season.

The national disaster agency estimates around half the country’s population of 250 million lives in areas prone to slippages.

The vast Indonesian archipelago is prone to natural disasters and is frequently hit by earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.Radio Australia


19) Pacific on track to meet malaria goal

15 December 2014

The WHO’s head of vector borne diseases Dr Eva Christophel says funding for long term mosquito nets, and improved drug treatment has made a huge difference.

She says the 75 per cent reduction is one of the Millenium Development Goals and the drop in mortality and morbidity from malaria is incredible.

She says new rapid testing in Papua New Guinea is showing more cases but the prevalence in the population is declining.

“Nine out of ten countries have already reached this goal now given the data of 2013, except Papua New Guinea. However also Papua New Guinea in fact has made huge progress. So in our assessment we say that actually Papua New Guinea is well on track to reach this goal then by 2015.”

Dr Eva Christophel.RNZI


20) E-learning lifts results

The National, Monday December 15th, 2014

 External examination results this year have shown that schools exposed to EQUITV scored higher marks than those who had no access to electronic teaching and learning, deputy Secretary for Education Dr Eliakim Apelis said.
Apelis said PNG schools that had better access to electronic teaching and learning resources had shown that students were more willing to learn and improve.
“The availability of a variety and pool of resources enables students to improve or enhance their learning experiences beyond the traditional classroom setting,” Apelis said.
Speaking during the handover of EQUITV media education equipment from the Japanese Government to PNG last week, Apelis said with students showing positive results, learning and teaching through electronic devices, it should be encouraged across the country.
He said teachers and students would be able to communicate globally to exchange ideas, information, knowledge and experiences and accessibility to email and internet would allow ease of communication to exchange ideas and experiences.
“Today’s children are more digital-oriented as evident through the use of mobile phones. 
“Access to appropriate and approved electronic educational content is more effective for our children than the traditional classroom method of teaching,” he said.
Apelis stressed the difficulties of transporting school material to remote schools and limited access to resources that impeded the delivery of quality education.
He said the logistics of procuring and delivering books and material was a costly exercise, with long delays resulting in books and teaching resources going out-of-date.
“Through electronic delivery mechanism, current learning material and information can be made available to schools without delay and for less cost,” he said.
Apelis said the change in telecommunication in PNG since 2007 had brought new opportunities to many people in the country and the way business was conducted.


21) Solomons ministers to be sworn in today

15 December 2015

A swearing-in ceremony is underway in Solomon Islands for the new cabinet ministers.

The names in the line up will be made public after the ceremony which is being conducted by the Governor General.

The Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare was elected last Tuesday and has since been in negotiations to form his government.

The new parliament will sit for the first time on Wednesday to elect a Speaker and Deputy Speaker and officially swear in all MPs.

The only other pressing matter expected before the house is the passing of a resolution to continue government spending, which expires at the end of the month, into the new year to allow the government to work on its first budget.RNZI

22) Two key Solomons portfolios not yet assigned

15 December 2014U

Two key portfolios are yet to be filled after the swearing in of the cabinet of new Solomon Islands leader, Manasseh Sogavare.

Among the major appointments that were made was Central Honiara MP, Douglas Ete, who became deputy prime minister and minister of Home Affairs.

Koroi Hawkins has more.

“The Foreign Affairs portfolio went to North Vella La Vella MP Milner Tozaka. Freda Soria Comua, the only woman to win a seat in parliament was made the Minister for Rural Development, got a more powerful portfolio than Woman, Youth and Children’s Affairs as the National Council of Women had hoped for. But the big news is that the Finance and Police portfolios are not yet filled. The Solomon Star newspaper had reported Aoke Langa Langa MP Mathew Wale as saying he would get the job but that remains to be seen. He has missed out on the deputy prime minister’s post which the coalition had initially promised him. Two former prime ministers, Danny Phillip and Dr Derek Sikua, got the planning and education portfolios respectively and Bodo Dettke, who has strong links in the forestry sector, is the Minister of Forests.”RNZI


23) Huawei unleashes new smartphone

The National, Monday December 15th, 2014

 The Huawei Ascend Mate 7 is said to be the next generation of smart phone with unique design and application that will storm the country soon.
It has already been launched in other regions and is coming to PNG.
It was a milestone for Huawei when its flagship, Huawei Ascend Mate 7, their newly product of the 4G LTE premium smart phone was added to the list of diplomatic gifts from China to the Pacific Island Leaders in the recent China Pacific Island Leaders Forum held in Nadi, Fiji.
The flagship Huawei Ascend Mate 7 was presented as part of a gift to the Pacific Island Country Leaders by Chinese President  Xi Jinping’s extended state tour from Nov 21-23, right after the G20 Leaders’ Summit in Brisbane, Australia. 
The diplomatic gift was presented to Fiji’s Prime Minister Frank Bainimara, Prime Minister of Tonga, Siale’ataongo Tuivakano, Premier of Niue, Toke Talagi, President of the Federated States of Micronesia Manny Mori and Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill.
Huawei is continuing to serve more than one third of the world’s population and is contributing to the communication development in the Pacific. The flagship Ascend Mate7 is an industry-leading Cat-6 4G LTE smartphone with fingerprint identification and combines top performance with an elegant design and outstanding craftsmanship.
Soon to be launched in Papua New Guinea, it has already been a demand throughout the globe with its unique features including the application.

24) Solwara 1 set to roll

The National, Monday December 15th, 2014

 EDA Kopa (Solwara) Ltd stands ready with joint venture partner, Nautilus to venture into the development stage of the Solwara 1 project, Petromin PNG Holdings Ltd board chairman Sir Brown Bai said.  
Petromin is the state nominee for the  Solwara deep sea mining project, through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Eda Kopa.
Nautilus chairman Geoff Loudon had said development of the project will commence in 2017. Sir Brown said the partnership was formed after formal procedures were fulfilled by the two parties and US$113 million (K286.9m) held in escrow was released to Nautilus. 
“After a long, winding and challenging journey, Eda Kopa is now a full joint venture partner and 15% equity owner in the Solwara 1 deep sea mining project,” Sir Brown said.
“We have this morning (last Thursday), released the escrowed funds to Nautilus and acquired title to our 15% equity, including corresponding ownership in the intellectual property.”
Sir Brown said given the challenging circumstances surrounding the Solwara 1 project, Petromin has demonstrated that it has the capacity and competencies to hold and manage the most challenging of state’s resource assets is prudent and sound commercial manner. “The solutions and agreements reached with Nautilus were all discussed by Petromin, with not only its interests but the interest of the state in mind, as the state is our beneficial shareholder.”
Sir Brown acknowledged Nautilus, BSP, Treasury Department, PNG government and State Solicitor’s office for assisting in the successful acquisition of state’s 15% stake in the project. 
25) Aust in for gas talks

The National, Monday December 15th, 2014

 Australia will encourage Papua New Guinea to set up a sovereign wealth fund to take advantage of revenues from a new LNG project.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop flew to PNG yesterday to chair the annual Australia-Papua New Guinea Ministerial Forum, and said the country’s booming economy will be a major focus of the talks.
Bishop will be accompanied by Immigration Minister Scott Morrison, Defence Minister David Johnston and Justice Minister Michael Keenan.
Bishop said PNG was undergoing a “incredible energy renaissance” thanks to the windfalls from the US$19 billion (K48b) ExxonMobil-led PNG LNG project, which went online earlier in 2014.
The nation’s economy is the fastest growing in Asia, with forecasts increases of about 15 to 20%, she said. “Huge revenues will be coming into PNG,” she told Sky News.
“We want to work with them as economic partners to make sure that PNG has in place sovereign wealth funds.”

26) PNG PM gives third of Ok Tedi to Western Province

15 December 2014

The Papua New Guinea prime minister, Peter O’Neill, says the people of Western Province are to be given one third ownership in Ok Tedi Mine Ltd.

In a statement, the National Executive Council says it approved the free transfer of equity in Ok Tedi after consultation between landowners, the governor, Western Province officials and the national government.

It says the balance will be held by the people of PNG through the state.

Mr O’Neill says the decision is fair and just, and it will be of great benefit to the people of Western Province following decades of neglect.

The announcement comes amid ongoing controversy with PNG’s Sustainable Development Programme which is disputing the right of the government to assume complete control of the 63 percent share of the mine SDP had held until a little over a year ago.

The SDP, which is chaired by former prime minister, Sir Mekere Morauta, is suing the government in the courts in Singapore, where the SDP is registered.RNZI

27) Lam seeks to promote PNG coffee in Aust

The National, Friday 12th of December, 2014

 In a drive to promote Papua New Guinea’s coffee on the global market, the Coffee Industry Corporation (CIC) has taken on board rugby league star Adrian Lam to be PNG’s coffee ambassador.
Lam was in Goroka this week and met with the CIC management and had a tour to coffee organisations in Eastern Highlands. He was accompanied by businessman and coffee roaster Paul Wilmot, who is based in Sydney. 
The two were in the province to have a look at the type of factories and facilities the coffee industry had.
They met with the top five groups identified from this year’s first cupping competition in September.  CIC acting chief executive Anton Benjamin said the corporation’s focus was on marketing and promotion.
He said the authority is eyeing Sydney as a test market for PNG coffee. 
“And with the help of Adrian Lam and Paul Wilmot, the CIC will work closely with its coffee groups to see that farmers benefit with premium prices from their labour.”
The CIC will soon open its new office in Sydney, Australia, to begin its campaign drive to promote PNG coffee. 
The office will supply and distribute roasted whole beans, ground and green bean to coffee shops, hotels and other institutions and serve PNG coffee.

28) Vanuatu farmers worry over kava quality

15 December 2014

Kava farmers from Vanuatu’s Pentecost Island have expressed concern over a government decision impacting on efforts to improve the quality of kava.

The government decided not to table in parliament an amendment giving power to the government to take over the control of kava from the Vanuatu Commodities Marketing Board.

A kava farmer from Central Pentecost, Jean Baptist Buleben, says kava is one of the main sources of income for the people on the island and the government needs to help improve its quality.

He says Vanuatu must play its role to improve the kava available for overseas trade following the lifting of a twelve year old ban stopping exports of kava to Europe earlier this year.

The amendment was among bills due for debate which has been affected by the failed no confidence motion against the Prime Minister, Joe Natuman.RNZI

29) ADB’s Fiji loan “worrying”

15 December 2015

Fiji’s opposition says a new US$100 million loan agreement between the government and the Asian Development Bank is worrying.

It says the recently passed budget for 2015 failed to make any mention of the loan and the Budget estimates only featured a US$1.8 million proposed loan sum from the ADB.

The ADB and the government signed the deal on Friday for a project to improve the the country’s land and sea transport infrastructure.

The ADB says the agreement marks the start of the ADB’s new 5 year Country Partnership Strategy with Fiji.

The project is aimed at improving access to markets, schools, and clinics and boost services for rural communities.

It will finance the repair and upgrade of existing roads, bridges, and rural jetties, as well as making safety improvements to selected roads and bridges.

Climate-resiliency a focus

The ADB says a focus will be on building climate resilient infrastructure.

The government will contribute $11 million to the project, which will be implemented over 5 years.

Fiji’s Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says the partnership with the ADB will develop inclusive and sustainable infrastructure.

The opposition’s infrastructure spokesman, Aseri Radrodro, says the loan will have a huge impact on the government’s debt levels and its repayment terms show a lack of transparency and accountability.

In a statement he said the additional loan when added to the current loan funding programme in the 2015 budget, equates to an additional 2.26% to the debt to GDP ratio.

Mr Radrodro says to commit to a loan which will not have to be repaid during its term in government shows a lack of responsibility on the government’s part.

The ADB says it will provide Fiji with up to $350 million in low-cost financing and grants to support the country’s development agenda.RNZI

30) Religious bodies under financial scrutiny

Geraldine Panapasa
Saturday, December 13, 2014

RELIGIOUS organisations collecting and receiving funds on behalf of their organisations are required to comply with the relevant laws and regulations, says Fiji Financial Intelligence Unit director Razim Buksh.

He said there were a number of cases that had been brought to their attention involving the diversion and abuse of funds by officials of religious organisations in Fiji.

“Most of the cases involved the collection of funds outside of Fiji, the manner in which the funds are brought into Fiji, and subsequently how the funds were deposited and used,” he said in a statement yesterday.

“Some cases that were reported to the FIU involved funds collected locally for the religious organisations were deposited into the personal bank accounts of its members and officials instead of the bank account of the organisation.”

In another case, he said, an expatriate religious worker received international remittances for the organisation from other overseas donors into his personal bank account without the knowledge of the organisation.

He said members and officials of religious organisations were advised to exercise prudent and transparent financial transaction practices. This, Mr Buksh said, was part of FIU’s awareness and outreach program to combat financial crimes.Fijitimes

31) Central banks sign agreement

Ropate Valemei
Monday, December 15, 2014

BSP staff members at work. Three banks governors in the region, including Fiji, signed a multilateral MOU on their supervisory roles of BSP. Picture: SUPPLIED

THREE central bank governors in the Pacific region signed a multilateral memorandum of understanding for the effective and efficient performance of their respective prudential supervision functions regarding the Bank of South Pacific.

The memorandum was signed by the governors of Reserve Bank of Fiji, Bank of PNG and the Central Bank of the Solomon Islands. The MOU sets out a framework for co-operation between the banks as members of the BSP Group’s supervisory college.

In a statement, RBF governor Barry Whiteside said they acknowledged the importance of sharing information in a timely and responsible manner to ensure the effective and efficient supervision of BSP and its entities.

He said the governors also acknowledged the continued expansion of BSP in their jurisdictions and intentions to expand to other Pacific Islands, which made BSP a systematically important financial institution in the region.

BSP Ltd is an authorised deposit-taking institution under the Banks and Financial Institutions Act 2000 of PNG and carried out banking business in PNG.Fijitimes


32) Water restored in Suva, Fiji

15 December 2015

Water supply has been restored in parts of Fiji’s capital, Suva, a week after a major landslide washed away two main trunk lines in the Savura Hills.

112,000 people were affected by the outage, including Fiji’s Colonial War Memorial Hospital, which faced major disruptions due to the water outage.

The chief executive of the Fiji Water Authority, Opetaia Ravail, told Fiji Live that repair works have now been completed and normal service has been restored.RNZI

33) Fiji’s Sigatoka valley to benefit from ADB loans

15 December 2014

The Asian Development Bank says its 100 million US dollar loan agreement with Fiji will focus first on roads in the Sigatoka valley.

The project is aimed at improving access to markets, schools, and clinics and boost services for rural communities.

The regional director of ADB’s Pacific sub-regional office, Robert Jauncey, says next year another 100 million has been offered for water infrastructure in the Suva-Nausori corridor.

Robert Jauncey says eight million has been offered in grants and the loan dollars are roughly at 0.6 percent, with a five-year grace period before repayment.

“ADB is very pleased to be able to re-engage with Fiji and to move quickly following elections in September. We’re very pleased to be doing that in close coordination with all donor partners in Fiji.”

Robert Jauncey.

Fiji’s opposition says the loans are worrying, as they were not mentioned in the recent budget.RNZI


34) PNG police operation in Hela extended using gas funds

15 December 2014

Papua New Guinea police are extending their operation to stop tribal fighting in Hela province after the government reallocated nearly one million US dollars from local Liquefied Natural Gas funds.

The Assistant Police Commissioner Teddy Tei says the joint operation with the PNG Defence Force was due to end last week but provincial politicians suggested police use the extra funding to continue their work.

Mr Tei says there have been about 200 arrests over the past few weeks and more can be expected as dawn raids and other work will continue until the end of January.

“We need to really, really flush out these suspects and firearms. When people see that we step up operations, especially with the PNGDF, they tend to stop and when we stop our operations they continue on with their illegal activities. We really need to get to the bottom of it by flushing out all the suspects. Even though the situation is under control we will have to get all the supects behind bars.”

Local media have reported at least 30 people have died since tribal fighting began in the province last month.RNZI

35) US in talks with Fiji military

15 December 2014

FBC News reports that the Deputy Commanding General US Army in the Pacific, Major General James Pasquarette is in Fiji on an official visit.

Major General Pasquarette has paid a courtesy call on the army commander Brigadier General, Mosese Tikoitoga.

He is in Fiji for three days to meet with the Prime Minister, Frank Bainimarama, and senior military officials.

FBC News says discussions will focus on exchange of information, strengthening communication between Fiji and the US and future training opportunities.

Since the Fiji election in September, Fiji has received visits of military delegations from among others France and Australia.RNZI

36) Fiji peacekeepers head to Lebanon

15 December 2014December 2014

More than 100 Fijian peacekeepers serving with the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force on the Golan Heights will be deployed to Lebanon in the near future.

Speaking at the RFMF Commander’s Parade, Brigadier General Mosese Tikoitoga said the troops will join the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon.

He said preparations are underway for the soldiers to commence duties either at the end of the year or early next year.

Commander Tikoitoga also added that the RFMF will next year be engaged in peacekeeping duties not only in Lebanon but also in Iraq, Egypt and Syria.

Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama, who visited the troops on the Golan Heights earlier this month during his overseas tour, commended the RFMF for expanding its commitment to international peacekeeping by re-joining the mission in Lebanon.

In August, 45 United Nations Fijian soldiers, who were part of a UN peacekeeping force, were seized in the Golan Heights by rebels from the al-Nusra Front, which has links to al-Qaeda.

The group was released two weeks later.RNZI

37) Eyes on illegal operators

Luke Rawalai
Monday, December 15, 2014

THE Land Transport Authority has received numerous reports regarding individuals and auto part dealers who hire out their private vehicles to clients.

LTA spokesman Iliesa Sokia issued a stern warning to people, some motoring companies, and motor-part dealers to refrain from lending their private vehicle for rental and hiring.

Mr Sokia said such illegal business dealings should stop.

He said they had received complaints from Fiji Rental Car Association that some of these people were giving their private vehicles for hire, in breach of the Public Service Vehicle Regulation.

“Most of those who have been identified operate some sort of auto spare parts business, some operate motoring business, while some run stores and supermarkets and they hire out their private cars as part of their business.

“”LTA is warning people that we have a list of individual people, spare parts companies and other business operators that we know are involved in doing this hiring job illegally.”

Mr Sokia said there were legal avenues available through LTA.

He said the LTA was concerned about the risks of involving private vehicles as rentals or hired vehicles.

“The issue here is the compensation claim, when someone is involved in an accident, third party claim will be an issue if the claimant was in a vehicle not authorised or certified to operate as a PSV vehicle.

“People should be warned and they should not involve and help bad business dealings.”

“The LTA is also expected to submit the names of these suspicious dealers to FICAC for further investigations.”Fijitimes


38) Women’s organisation stays on the move

The National, Monday December 15th, 2014

 THE police and Defence Force showed a united front during the “Women on the Move” march in Port Moresby on Saturday.
The two forces alon, with their counterparts from the Correctional Service joined the march from Konedobu to Ela Beach and back to encourage Papua New Guineans to start living healthy lives through walking. 
The women’s organisation was established in June by prominent businesswoman Lady Ni Cragnolini and has more than 100 members.
She said their aim was to help people become physically fit and healthy by walking at the end of every month and awarded K5000 to members who lost 10 kilograms.
One of the four winners this year, Teine Paul, 37, from Madang said she was 90kgs when she first joined the group and after walking for the last six months, she had lost 10kgs.
She thanked the group for helping her to lead a healthy life through walking.
39) Youth council hopes for more members

Litia Vulaidausiga
Monday, December 15, 2014

THE Lautoka District Youth Council held its first major rally on Saturday and hopes to have more members from the city’s surrounding villages and settlements.

Currently, members include faith-based and community-based organisations and the council hopes to extend its outreach and input from other youths in the new year.

“It’s now the end of this year and we’ve started our working committee to run events for next year,” said publicist Michael Faga, a radio announcer with Mix FM.

He said their key aim was to have monthly events based on youth strength, including awareness on diseases and clean-up activities.

“A main aim of ours is to visit youth populations outside the city, in villages and settlements because we want to involve them. The major challenge is getting our young people to come forward and participate.”Fijitimes

40) Child beggars

Torika Chandra
Monday, December 15, 2014

THE Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation will do everything in its power to ensure that children are put in schools and not begging on the streets.

Line Minister Rosy Akbar said Government had provided the free education and free textbook program as well as the free bus fare scheme yet some parents were still using their children to supplement the family income.

It is for this reason that the ministry, together with the Education and Labour ministries, has formed the National Co-ordinating Committee on Children (NCCC) to look at measures and strategies in addressing child labour in Fiji.

“The committee is identifying families whose children are seen in the streets begging, to find the root of the issues,” Ms Akbar said.

“And the ministry will do everything within its means to ensure that the child is put in school, and if families fail to defy the advices we provide, then the ministry has powers to remove the children and place them within our institutional care homes, keeping in mind the best interests of the child is paramount.”

She said NCCC was carrying out a profiling exercise throughout the major cities and towns to determine the total number of children on the streets begging.

“The ministry does understand that there are families who face financial difficulties, but then again using children to earn a living is not responsible parenting.”Fijitimes


41) PNG Barramundi’s go back to back

15 December 2014

Papua New Guinea cricket coach Dipak Patel was full of praise for his team after they defended their South Australian Premier League T20 title in dramatic fashion.

The Barramundi’s beat the Southern Force by one wicket in Saturday’s final, reaching their target of 121 with three balls to spare, with only fast bowlers Norman Vanua and Willie Gavera left at the crease.

It was their second match of the day, having beaten Northern Territory in the semi finals that morning.

Dipak Patel says coming at the end of a gruelling schedule his players showed great fortitude when it mattered.

“We did it against all odds. It’s been a very hectic and pretty long period of cricket for the guys, being away from home, and the fact that we had to play two games back to back as well yesterday in probably 30-plus [degrees] heat – and we only had half an hour between the games. We did it the hard way but yet the boys performed outstandingly, to be honest with you”.

Dipak Patel says the players have made huge strides in the last few months and have earned some time off with their families over the Christmas and New Year period, with no international fixtures confirmed until July next year.RNZI

42) Vanuatu impress at Australia Beach Soccer Cup

15 December 2014

Vanuatu have already been invited back next year after impressing at the Australia Beach Soccer Cup in Wollongong over the weekend.

The Pacific side finished third behind Thailand and hosts Australia, despite beating the eventual champions in pool play.

Vanuatu came from behind to beat Thailand 3-2 in extra time on Saturday, before losing 7-6 to Australia, also in extra time.

Thailand chose to play Australia in the tournament final, despite Vanuatu having a better goal difference, and prevailed 5-4.

Vanuatu coach Louis Dominique was proud of his players efforts, despite only having seven players to choose from, and says they’ve already been invited to come back next year.RNZI

 43) Fiji, Samoa disappoint as SA wins Port Elizabeth 7s

15 December 2014

It’s been a horror finish for the Pacific teams at the Port Elizabeth round of the World Rugby Sevens Series, won by the hosts South Africa.

Fiji surrendered the overall series lead to the Blitzboks after finishing runners-up in the Plate.

For the second week running, Ben Ryan’s team were knocked out of title contention by Australia, this time in the quarter finals.

They recovered to thrash England 31-0 in the Plate semis before a shock 21-14 defeat to the USA in the final.

South Africa beat New Zealand 26-17 in the Cup final to open up a nine-point lead over Fiji at the top of the standings.

Samoa had another tournament to forget, losing their first four matches, against New Zealand, England, Japan and Wales, coming back from a halftime deficit to beat Zimbabwe in the Shield semi finals before losing the final 19-14 to Portugal.

South Africa lead the standings after three rounds with 59 points, eight clear of second-placed Fiji, with New Zealand and Australia making up the automatic Olympic qualification spots.

Samoa have slipped two places to seventh overall, behind Argentina and England.RNZI

44) South Africa wins second world sevens title
By Online Editor
11:40 pm GMT+12, 14/12/2014, South Africa

Home team South Africa has won their second World Seven Series title after defeating New Zealand 26-17 in the Cup final of the South Africa 7s at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, today.

The side beat Australia 19-10 in the semi final while, the Kiwis defeated Argentina 29-0.

In other matches, Australia defeated Argentina 34-19 to win third place, Canada defeated Kenya 24-5 in the bowl final and Portugal defeated Samoa 19-14 in the Shield Final.

Meanwhile, The Vodafone Fiji 7s team bowed out of the South Africa 7s going down to a determined USA side 21-14 in the plate final.

The Ben Ryan coached side thrashed England in the 31-0 in the plate semifinal after they got defeated to the Australian side 31-19 in the Cup Quarterfinal.

South Africa now leads the World Series standings with 59 points, Fiji in second with 51 points and New Zealand in third with 47 points.



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