Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1055 ( Tuesday 23 December 2014 )

MELANESIA

1) Indonesian students protest Papua school student shooting

23 December 2014

A protest by Indonesian students has demanded President Joko Widodo remove Indonesian military in the provinces of Papua and West Papua.

The students waved banners in Yogyakarta and called on Mr Widodo to investigate human rights violations.

The President is due to visit Papua this week to celebrate Christmas, but some church leaders have pressed him to cancel his plans, in response to the inaction over the shootings.

The protest follows the shooting deaths of five school students who were protesting peacefully earlier this month, in their school uniforms.

Five of the 17 wounded in the incident were primary school students.

The New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully says Indonesia should investigate the shooting.

The Dutch Foreign Minister, Bert Koenders, was asked by fellow Parliamentarians about the incident and says he will raise it with the Indonesian Foreign Minister.

Both the police and the military have denied any fault.RNZI

2) Bougainville President Reconciles With Former Combatants
Peace with North Bougainville fighters crucial for development: Momis

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Dec. 23, 2014) – Peace and reconciliation among Bougainvilleans from issues stemming from the Bougainville Conflict remain an integral part of the region’s development.

Autonomous Bougainville Government President Chief Dr John Momis exemplified the gesture by reconciling with former combatants from the Solos area in North Bougainville last Friday at Kahule Primary School.

During the height of the Bougainville Crises in 1997, Momis was captured by the northern element of the Bougainville Revolutionary Army at Tinputz District.

What followed was a gruelling march through some of Bougainville’s roughest terrain that saw Momis, who was then Governor of Bougainville, being led by his captors all the way up to Panguna, the stronghold of secessionist leader the late Francis Ona, the central commander of the BRA.

After a month in captivity up in Ona’s Guava village, Momis was released in good faith by Ona and that sudden move paved the way for the peace process in Bougainville.

Former BRA veteran Eddie Mohin made an emotional speech as he asked for Momis’ forgiveness for his actions but he explained that he was simply following orders from the BRA high command and that was to capture a prominent Bougainvillean leader which eventually would mean both sides suing for peace.

Mohin said although he had personally reconciled with Momis this public reconciliation was to show the people of his Tonsu Constituency and Bougainville the true meaning of peace within Bougainvilleans. “I have no quarrel or ill will towards the men who took me from Tinputz and held me in captivitiy, I have forgiven them so I stand here today to say that I have nothing to forgive these young for,” Momis said.

“I was well looked after by the gentlemen who were my captors and I understood their grievances so I must say that I had to overlook their actions and we gained a mutual respect for each other,” Momis said.

He said his time in captivity was fruitful as he had time to sit with the late Ona and discuss and explain issues that had been misunderstood over the years due to the crises.

The National

3) Vanuatu daily news digest | 22 December 2014

by bobmakin

  • Germany is said by Radio Vanuatu to be appealing the decision to permit kava into Europe once again, after the 2001 ban. No further details were available. (Radio Vanuatu)
  • The Ministry of Public Works and Infrastructure has put out notice of bids being accepted for 5 new wharves. South Paray wharf (Port Vila), Simonsen wharf at Luganville, then Loltong (Pentecost), Lolowai (Ambae), Litzlitz and Port Sandwich (Malekula) and Lenakel (Tanna) are all to be renewed. This massive wharf renovation is part of the Inter-Island Shipping Support Project of the New Zealand Government and the Asian Development Bank, Radio Vanuatu News reported.
  • Daily Post today leads with the appointment of Lt Col Job Esau as Deputy Commissioner of the uniformed services whilst the Acting Commissioner (Aru Maralau) faces charges of conspiracy. The conspiracy (mutiny) cases are long, old and complicated and also involve misplaced loyalties and jealousies. The enquiries are taking place at the same time as the investigations into the bribery case against the 16 MPs of the Opposition, Post points out.
  • If you are interested in Port Vila you should buy the Daily Post today for a little more detail of the work being undertaken under the Strategic Planning Framework for the capital which will control future development. The plan will give guidance as to where urban renewal is proposed and explains how it is proposed to ensure that the interests of the whole community are balanced against the rights of property owners and developers. The town will be zoned according to requirements established by the planners. The ‘living environment’ is to be carefully considered along with amenities like footpaths. A statement is to be made available from the Department of Local Authorities. Public submissions based on that paper may be made by 9 April.
  • A Danish man without proper travel papers was brought from Vanikoro in the Solomons to the Torres recently where he is now in police custody. The item began VBTC Radio News this lunchtime. Enquiries are continuing.
  • Air Vanuatu and Aircalin have been able to make additional flights to New Caledoniato assist passengers inconvenienced by the strike at Tontouta and Magenta, VBTC announced today. No further information was given.

4) Vanuatu daily news digest | 20 December 2014

by bobmakin

  • Daily Post tells us today that Air Vanuatu will be selling off its Y-12 fleet next year.With the second ATR in place and the existing plan to upgrade remaining outer island airfields, and with improvements to the regional networking with Fiji Airways, CEO Joseph Laloyer and Air Van are looking forward to a very busy year 2015. Air Vanuatu will also be developing the engineering department with assistance from Fiji Airways.
  • The Independent reports New Zealand assistance to Vanuatu’s international airports at Vila and Santo: VHF radio equipment and other hardware to maintain scanning machines. High Commissioner Roberts said the donations are part of an ongoing process to raise standards at the airports.
  • Meantime, however, Christmas schedules have been thrown into total chaos for Nouméa flights, all the Tontouta and Magenta tower staff being on strike affecting Air Vanuatu and Air Calin flights along with those of all other carriers. There is a demand for increased recruitment at the control towers. The position cannot be immediately resolved with the recent resignation of the government, and it will not be until 31 December that the country will have a new government elected. The strike continues until 24 December, Radio Vanuatu News reports.
  • Daily Post reports an Israeli accused in a drugs matter, and for theft and soliciting unlawful assembly, is accusing another Santo-based foreigner, Ronan Harvey (previously arrested and released on drugs charges) of illegal activities. It was Harvey who caught an intruder – who allegedly tried to kill him – on his closed circuit TV. Eilon Mass, presently accusing Harvey, was formerly in Harvey’s employment.

POLYNESIA

5) First PrimTonga drought worry

Rnz
Tuesday, December 23, 2014

NUKUALOFA – The Tonga Red Cross says it has growing concerns for food security and a lack of drinking water as a major drought is expected to continue for the next two months.

On Friday, the Meteorological Service said there was a 70 per cent chance El Nino would occur over the next few months, which may mean a drier wet season and more cyclones.

The Red Cross general secretary, Sione Taumoefolau, says it is most concerned about Ha’apai, Tongatapu and ‘Eua, where rainfall has been well below normal.

Mr Taumoefolau says the Red Cross has been doing all it can to get clean drinking water to the outer islands.

“The forecast at the moment is not very good. It seems to me the rain will be in Tonga in the next two months or more. Our concern at the moment is drinking water for the Ha’apai area. I think the Government, also Red Cross, will be doing our best to provide whatever they can to those people who are staying in the islands.”

Sione Taumoefolau is calling on people to use clean water for drinking only.

6) The Minister Nomination Submitted In Tonga
Name not to be revealed until election date

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Dec. 22, 2014) – One nomination for Tonga’s next Prime Minister was submitted in a sealed envelope to parliament today, 22 December.

The Chief Clerk of the Tongan Parliament, Ms Gloria Pole’o, said that the nomination was tabled by the People’s Representative for Ha’apai Constituent No. 12, Vili Manuopangai Hingano.

She said that the name of the nominee could not be made public until the election day when the 26 newly elected members of parliament will vote in a secret ballot to decide who will be the next Prime Minister.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for a group of seven independent PRs, ‘Etuate Lavulavu, told Matangi Tonga last week that the independent PRs and the nine Nobles’ Representatives had agreed to nominate Samiu Vaipulu, the Vava’u PR for Constituent No. 15 as their nominee for Prime Minister. Vaipulu is currently the care-taker Deputy Prime Minister.

The independent People’s Representatives are Samiu Vaipulu, Fe’ao Vakata, Saia Piukala, ‘Etuate Lavulavu, Siaosi Sovaleni, Poasi Tei and Vili Hingano.

The nine Nobles’ Representatives are: Lord Nuku, Lord Ma’afu, Lord Tu’iha’ateiho, Lord Tu’ivakano, Lord Fusitu’a, Lord Tu’iha’angana, Lord Tu’ilakepa, Lord Tu’I’afitu and Lord Vaea.

A second nomination is expected to come from the 10 elected members of the Democratic Party of the Friendly Islands (DPFI), whose affiliates are ‘Akilisi Pohiva, Semisi Sika, ‘Aisake Eke, Mateni Tapueluelu, Pohiva Tu’ionetoa, Semisi Fakahau, Penisimani Fifita, Tevita Lavemaau, Veivosa Taka and Vuna Fa’otusia.

If there are only two nominations then the Parliament’s election of their Prime Minister should require only one round of voting. If more than two nominations are submitted, then a second round of voting will be required.

Gloria said that the closing time for nominations is 4.30pm tomorrow, 23 December. After the nominations close the Interim Speaker, Lord Tupou is expected to announce the election date.

There is speculation that Tonga may have a new Prime Minister by Christmas Eve.

Matangi Tonga Magazine

7) Samoa Government Supports Export Industry Development
Loans could help boost revenues by $27 million, create 1,300 jobs

By Sophie Budvietas

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, Dec. 22, 2014) – Samoa’s exports could inject a further $64 million [US$27 million] per year into the public purse – with Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, lending his support to the association that could make this happen.

Earlier this year, the Samoa Association of Manufacturers and Exporters (S.A.M.E.) approached the government with a concept paper titled Concessionary Line of Fund/Support ‘Samoa Import Substitution and Exports Development (S.I.S.E.D.)’.

At present, Samoa’s domestic exports, excluding re-exports, currently make $11 million tala [US$4.7 million] per year, based figures produced by the Central Bank of Samoa (C.B.S.).

Read more: Samoa Observer

8) Northern Cooks threatened by tropical depression

23 December 2014

The Fiji Met Service has issued a special weather bulletin for a tropical depression threatening the northern Cook Islands.

It says a gale warning in now in force for Manahiki, Penrhyn and Rakahanga with a strong wind warning for the rest of the northern Cook Islands.

The depression is moving east northeast with average winds of 20 knots but the Fiji Met Service says this could increase to damaging gales of up to 45 knots at or near its centre.RNZI

MICRONESIA

9) Faster Internet Access Planned For Micronesia
World Bank plans submarine cable between Palau, FSM, Guam


WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Dec. 23, 2014) –Broadband internet is a step closer to Micronesia with the World Bank announcing cost reductions and wider bandwidth.

The bank’s board has approved the second phase of its Pacific Regional Connectivity Program, which consists of a $47.5 million US dollar grant.

The project will be co-financed by a planned $25 million US dollar Asian Development Bank loan to the Republic of Palau.

The World Bank says the project will involve the construction of submarine cable systems to connect Palau with the FSM states of Yap, Chuuk and Pohnpei and the US territory of Guam, as well as the provision of next generation satellite broadband for the FSM state of Kosrae.

The Pacific Country Director for the World Bank, Franz Drees-Gross, says affordable technology will improve social and economic opportunities for individuals, businesses, government and nongovernment agencies.

Radio New Zealand International 

10) Suspended Nauru MP Calls Government A ‘Dictatorship’
Parliament shut down whenever debate doesn’t go President’s way

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Dec. 22, 2014) – A Nauru opposition MP has described the island as a dictatorship, after the country’s Supreme Court upheld the suspension of five MPs for speaking to foreign media.

The MPs were suspended earlier this year, accused of bringing the country into international disrepute or “behaving in an unruly manner”.

It followed comments regarding the government’s treatment of the former chief justice, Australian Geoffrey Eames, who had his visa revoked in January and resigned in March.

One of the suspended MPs, Roland Kun, said the ruling by the new chief justice “will further entrench the current dictatorship”.

“That is exactly what is happening on the island,” Mr Kun said.

“When the current government first came into power the first thing they did was to ban the Nauru media from speaking to us, either on radio or on television.

“There are rarely any parliament sittings and where there [are] parliament sittings if government doesn’t like the way that parliament is progressing, in that they don’t like the questions that are being posted, they use their numbers to shut down parliament sittings.”

In May, Mathew Batsiua, Kieran Keke and Mr Kun were suspended from the 19-member legislature.

In early June, two more opposition members – Squire Jeremiah and former president Sprent Dabwido – were also suspended.

Chief Justice Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi upheld their suspensions, ruling the court did not have jurisdiction to reverse parliament’s decision, because of parliamentary privilege.

But Mr Kun said parliamentary privileges should not apply to the comments.

“What we’re being taken to task [over] is something that happened outside parliament, which is expressing our views to the media,” he said.

“Furthermore, the Supreme Court of Nauru has sole jurisdiction over constitutional questions, and to us, what we’re putting in front of the Supreme Court are constitutional questions and they do have jurisdiction.

“But obviously they think differently.”

Radio Australia 

11) CNMI Lawmakers Debate New Gun Control Bill
Current prohibition on handguns likely to be struck down


By Cherrie Anne E. Villahermosa

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Dec. 23, 2014) – The 18th Senate will hold its final session today, and included on the agenda is Senate Bill 18-69 or the Weapons Omnibus Act of 2014 introduced by Sen. Pete P. Reyes.

The bill will amend the current local gun law whose prohibition against handguns is being challenged in federal court.

Many residents believe that “things will get out of hand” if handguns are legalized.

Senator Reyes in an interview on Friday said his bill will regulate the ownership of handguns if, as expected, the federal court rules that the current local gun law violates the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

“This bill will impose restrictions on handguns,” Reyes added. “We cannot stop it [the court ruling]. We can’t amend the U.S. Constitution but it is generally applicable to the Northern Marianas because we are part of the U.S., but we don’t want anyone to get a handgun or high caliber rifles without a government policy that regulates their acquisition.”

“My bill will address some of the concerns regarding handguns. And it’s something that the commissioner of [the Department of Public Safety] supports. This bill will also give members of the community an opportunity to discuss and debate this issue so we can have a good gun control law in place.”

Marianas Variety 

TOK PISIN

12) Solomon Islands gavman i strong-PM Press sekreteri itok

Updated 23 December 2014, 12:38 AEDT

Sam Seke

Despla toktok i kamap bihaenim ol tokwin olsem gavman iwok long bruk daon

Odio: Deli Oso Press Secretary blong Praim Minister Manasseh Sogavare i toktok wantem Sam Seke

Niupela Democratic Coalition for Change Gavman long Solomon Islands i stap strong maski planti toktok i kamap olsem em i wok long brukbruk pinis.

Press Secretary blong Praim Minista Sogavare, Deli Oso itok i nogat wanpela long ol memba blong gavman ibin go joinim ol oposisan.

Ol lokol media ibin ripot olsem gavman i wok long bruk pinis long wanem 4 pela memba blong gavman ibin vout wantaim ol oposisan long taim blong eleksan blong Speaker last wik.

Tasol Ms Oso i tok ol 4 pela memba ia ol ino go joinim oposisan.

Em i tok ol i gat tingting tasol long ol i laikim wanpela meri nau long kamap Speaker na ol i givim vout blong ol long meri kandidet, Taeasi Sanga.

Ms Oso itok tu olsem Gavana General bai makim oa swerim in tupla nupla gavman minista tede long avinun.Radio Australia.

FRENCH

13) Brèves du Pacifique – lundi 22 décembre 2014

Mis à jour 22 December 2014, 18:02 AEDT

Caroline Lafargue

Tragédie de Cairns: la maison de Mersane Warria, la mère accusée d’infanticide, sera probablement détruite et remplacée par un mémorial. 

Les Australiens sont en état de choc depuis la découverte des corps de 8 enfants vendredi, dans une banlieue de Cairns, dans le nord du Queensland. Des centaines d’Australiens ont participé à une grande veillée funèbre dimanche soir à l’école d’un des enfants assassinés. Mersane Warria, la mère de 7 des 8 enfants, et la tante du huitième, est la principale suspecte. Le mobile est inconnu. Certaines sources affirment qu’elle a agi sous l’effet de la méthamphétamine. Mersane Werria s’est aussi infligé des coups de couteaux à elle-même. Elle a donc été mise en examen sur son lit d’hôpital dimanche. La famille élargie des enfants, originaire des Îles du Détroit de Torres, afflue à Cairns. La maison de Mersane Warria sera probablement détruite et remplacée par un mémorial. 

  •  Fidji va revoir sa liste des personnalités interdites de territoire. Parmi elles, figurent plusieurs journalistes, un magistrat et et l’ancien ambassadeur australien à Fidji, James Batley. Il a été expulsé du pays en 2009, après les sanctions prises par les pays du Pacifique contre le Premier ministre putschiste Franck Bainmarama. James Batley a tenté d’entrer sur le territoire fidjien il y a quelques semaines, début décembre. Mais les autorités fidjiennes l’ont renvoyé. Le ministre fidjien de l’Immigration a annoncé qu’il allait réexaminer chaque cas et lever l’interdiction de territoire si cela est justifié.
  •  Tonga: la sécheresse s’installe au moins pour les deux mois à venir. Et elle pourrait ensujite empirer, car selon le Service Météo tongien, la saison des pluies sera moins pluvieuse que d’habitude, en raison de l’influence d’El Nino. La Croix Rouge tongienne est particulièrement inquiète pour les îles Ha’apai, qui manquent déjà d’eau potable.
  • Vanuatu: le Lopevi s’est réveillé. Le volcan, situé sur une île inhabitée entre Ambrym et Epi, est entré en éruption dimanche. Il menace directement Paama, l’île voisine de seulement 5 kilomètres. En 2001, une précédente éruption du Lopevi avait créé un nuage de fumées et de gaz très épais, qui avait pollué les potagers et les sources d’eau de Paama. Les habitants de l’île avaient également souffert de maladies respiratoires.
  •  Queensland: un éleveur de bétail sauve un père et ses deux fils perdus dans l’Outback. Steven Van Lonkhuyzen et ses deux fils, Timothy, 5 ans, et Ethan, 7 ans, ralliaient Brisbane à Cairns en passant par l’intérieur des terres. Leur voiture s’est ensablée dans le parc national d’Expedition, et ils ont passé une semaine sans manger, en espérant qu’une voiture passe pour les sauver. « S’ils avaient quitté leur voiture pour chercher de l’aide, nous ne les aurions jamais retrouvés », a déclaré l’éleveur de bétail. Le parc national d’Expedition est un endroit très isolé, aride, et où il est facile de se perdre.Radio Australia

14) Faire renaître les forêts des Îles Salomon

Mis à jour 19 December 2014, 16:41 AEDT

Elodie Largenton

Si l’industrie forestière salomonaise est aujourd’hui en déclin, elle a fait les beaux jours de l’archipel pendant 30 ans. Une exploitation, ou surexploitation, qui a laissé des traces.

Dans la province de Choiseul, par exemple, le bassin versant s’est dégradé, ce qui affecte l’approvisionnement en eau des habitants. Avec l’aide financière des États-Unis, le Programme régional océanien de l’environnement vient de lancer un projet de rehabilitation des forêts. Fred Pattison est le responsible de ce programme.
 
“On essaie d’y aller étape par étape pour réhabiliter les forêts qui ont été détruites par l’exploitation forestière et autres activités humaines. On essaie aussi de travailler avec les communautés locales pour les encourager à favoriser la régénération des forêts, en utilisant des accélérateurs de croissance.”

 Les opérations de defrichage intensif ont eu un impact dévastateur sur l’environnement, en éliminant notamment des défenses naturelles contre les événements climatiques extrêmes. Or, les îles Salomon s’attendent à subir plus de tempêtes et d’inondations. Un paramètre pris en compte par Fred Pattison.

 “Notre projet est basé sur l’adaptation à l’écosystème. On cherche des solutions pour limiter l’impact du changement climatique, mais aussi pour réduire l’impact des activités humaines et de l’exploitation forestière.”
 
Réhabiliter les forêts prendra du temps. Or, l’aide américaine prendra fin en septembre 2015, mais le Programme régional océanien de l’environnement a bon espoir de recevoir ensuite l’appui d’un organisme allemand.

Les propos ont été recueillis par Richard Ewart de ABC.

WORLD

15) Ebola toll at 7373

Afp
Tuesday, December 23, 2014

GENEVA – More than 7,370 people have now died from the Ebola virus, almost all of them in west Africa.

The World Health Organisation reports that as of December 16, there had been 19,031 cases of infection from the deadly virus in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, of which 7,373 people had died.

The death toll in other countries remained the same: six in Mali, one in the US, and eight in Nigeria, which was declared Ebola-free in October.

Spain and Senegal, which have both been declared free from Ebola, meanwhile counted one case each, but no deaths.

Sierra Leone, which overtook Liberia as the nation with the most infections, counted 8,759 cases and 2,477 deaths on December 16.

Liberia, long the hardest-hit country, has meanwhile seen a clear decrease in transmission over the past month.

The latest WHO tally saw the country with 7,819 cases and 3,346 deaths, up from the 7,797 infections and 3,290 deaths recorded in the previous update.

HEALTH

16) ‘Very low’ rating for Madang hospital

Source: 
The National, Tuesday December 23rd, 2014

 MODILON General Hospital in Madang has been rated as one of the low performing hospitals in PNG, according to the public health services management.
Executive manager for public health services Dr Sibauk Bieb said the level five hospital’s performance was “very low” but he did not specify the reasons.
He revealed that during a four-day health journalists workshop in Port Moresby last week.
Modilon has been without an Intensive Care Unit since it was closed more than five years ago.
The hospital was built in the colonial era and needs upgrading and reconstruction. A new theatre is under construction while other units, like the labour ward and kitchen, need upgrading to prevent flooding during heavy rainfall.
Team leader for the provincial health authority reforms Fidelis Waipma said the provincial administration was expected to sign an agreement with the Health Department to implement an effective and efficient health services programme for the hospital.
Waipma said Parliament passed the Provincial Health Authority Act 2007 and had been rolling it out.
He said new reforms would ensure that all funds, including hospitals, health centres and aid posts management and facilities were properly managed.
“This new reform has a proper monitoring system that could make sure funds were spend wisely,” Waipma said. He said so much money disappeared during the long process of getting funding from government.
 
17) Diabetes lessons for Pacific church leaders

23 December 2014

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is teaching church leaders in the Pacific islands how to help their parishioners control diabetes.

In Samoa and American Samoa the church is inviting doctors to make presentations on diabetes to church leaders who would then talk to their members about the disease.

The World Health Organisation says American Samoa is the world’s fattest country with 94 percent of its population deemed overweight and childhood obesity rates almost double the US national average.

In addition, Type 2 diabetes rates in the territory are at epidemic proportions.

The Latter Day Saints diabetes awareness programme in the Pacific is spearheaded by Elder Meliula Fata in Samoa.

“We hope that after this introduction they can go to their wards and continue to teach the people and make them aware of the seriousness of the diabetes that we have.”RNZI

POLITIC

18) Solomon Islands ministers sworn in

23 December 2014

The Solomon Islands finance and police ministers have been sworn in to their respective roles in Honiara today.

Snyder Rini is the Finance and Treasury minister, a post he has held twice before, while Peter Shanel Angovaka becomes the Police, National Security and Correctional Services Minister.

The pair’s appointments came a week after the other ministers were chosen in the newly formed coalition government under Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare.

Our reporter in Honiara says Mr Rini was reluctant to talk about fiscal policy or his ambitions for the role while heading in to the swearing-in ceremony at Government House this afternoon.

However, he did mention plans to review taxation in the country to make it easier for the private sector.

In 2008, Peter Shanel lost his seat after being jailed for nine months on an assault conviction and for the illegal possession of a weapon.RNZI

19) Vanuatu politicians spar over mutiny case

23 December 2014

Vanuatu’s opposition leader, Moana Carcasses, has filed a criminal complaint against the prime minister, Joe Natuman, claiming he is interfering in the police mutiny case.

The mutiny case centres on charges and counter charges against factions within the force involving two former police commissioners who both have groups of supporters among the serving officers.

The Daily Post newspaper says Mr Carcasses’ complaint accuses the Prime Minister of interfering with the police mutiny case after Mr Natuman approached the police to try to end it.

Other calls of interference by Mr Natuman have been made some of those involved in the mutiny case.

But the prime minister’s office says it had written to the police, asking it to drop investigations into the case, in good faith, in an attempt to re-unify the force.

It says this letter was sent before the case went to court.RNZI

Caledonia Together Party’s Gomes Hopes To Seize Control.

Gomes returns from Paris: ‘No point in maintaining illusion of unity’

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Dec. 23, 2014) – The leader of the Caledonia Together Party has pitched for his party to take more control of the new territorial government after last week’s government collapse.

The government fell after the party of Philippe Gomes resigned from the collegial administration only six months into a five-year term, thereby ending a power-sharing agreement within the anti-independence camp.

Mr Gomes, who has returned from Paris where he represents the territory in the French National Assembly, says the agreement was only possible in the first place because his party, as the biggest one, was prepared to accommodate the rival pro-French groups.

Speaking on local radio in Noumea, Mr Gomes says there is no point in maintaining an illusion of unity, blaming the Front for Unity and the Union for Caledonia within France for the government’s collapse.

The outgoing president, Cynthia Ligeard, has blamed Mr Gomes for the collapse, accusing him of having dreams of an absolute monarch.

The parties have until Thursday evening to draw up a list of candidates for a new 11-member government which the Congress is due to elect next week.

The pro-independence parties have decided to present a single list.

Mr Gomes says if the anti-independence camp cannot agree, there should be a fresh election.

Radio New Zealand International 

LAND

20) MP helps villagers register land


Source: 
The National, Tuesday December 23rd, 2014

 By REBECCA KUKU
THE Gorogaha people of Tubusereia recently registered their incorporated land group with the assistance of Central Governor Kila Haoda.
Deputy chairperson of Gorogaha, Nou Tamarua thanked Haoda for helping them to protect their land.
“We thank the governor for assisting us financially to do surveys and register our land,” he said.
“Now our land is secure from illegal land grabbing.”
Tamarua said a lot of their land was taken away from them throughout the last 10 years. He added that his people were pleased the governor had taken a bold step to help customary landowners register their land.
Haoda said a lot of the land belonging to the Central people had been taken away from them.
“I want to say, hey look, this is my people’s land,” he said.
Haoda said registering incorporated land groups would help to protect the people’s land from illegal land grabbing.

21) Return land, Duban urges

Source: 
The National, Tuesday December 23rd, 2014

 PETROLEUM Minister and Madang MP Nixon Duban has called on the Madang provincial government to look at returning customary land in his electorate to its owners which have been taken over by the churches. 
Duban said that in light of the Government’s assistance towards the provincial government for the Madang biodiesel project on Karkar Island. 
He said he fully supported the project but unfortunately his people did not have enough coconut plantations as most have been taken up by the churches.
“Our people don’t understand the compulsory acquisition schemes. Those who are engaged in the bio-fuel opportunities are mostly plantation owners who have hectares of plantations that they can convert for fuel purposes,” Duban said.
“Our coconut planning in the district and province, the collaborations are not switching on in the right magnitude, provincial government and districts are not in line to accommodate those kind of important interventions.”
He expressed support for the project but questioned how agencies would help locals get in the business.
He asked if there were other opportunities for the locals from the project apart from diesel production.
“I have people on the islands, our islands are shrinking and they are not able to try and grow coconuts and cocoa for agricultural purposes. 
“Our land on the mainland is all occupied by the churches.”

BUSINESS

22) PNG set to meet gas demands

Source: 
The National, Friday December 19th, 2014

 By GYNNIE KERO
CANADIAN firm High Artic says Papua New Guinea is well positioned to meet Asia’s demand for clean energy.
Chief executive officer Tim Braun said that was because of the country’s natural gas reserves and operating LNG export facility.
For next year, High Artic will have a capital budget of US$36 million (K92m) to complete previously announced capital spending projects and to address maintenance and incremental growth opportunities.
The budget includes US$31.8m (K81.95m) of capital expenditures which consists primarily of the previously announced upgrading and commissioning of Rigs 115 and 116. 
Braun said: “We continue to evaluate other growth opportunities in both PNG and Canada, and recognise that this capital budget provides flexibility to increase our capital spending throughout the year if expansion opportunities materialise.”
 “The long term demand for clean energy in Asia will in part be fulfilled by LNG imports. Papua New Guinea with its large natural gas reserves, and operating LNG export facility, is well positioned to help fulfil this demand.  High Arctic will benefit from this opportunity as a substantial portion of our revenue is earned operating under fixed term contracts in PNG.”
According to High Artic, its growth spending next year would further include rental equipment and ancillary snubbing equipment for the Canadian operations to address specific customer needs.  
Budgeted maintenance capital expenditures in 2015 of US$4.2m (K10.8m) will ensure that the equipment in both PNG and Canada continue to operate at the highest industry standards.
High Arctic’s largest operation is in PNG where it provides drilling and specialised well completion services and supplies rig matting, camps and drilling support equipment on a rental basis.  
Earlier this month, the company signed a two year deal with InterOil for a second heli-portable drilling rig.
The deal is expected to deliver revenue of approximately US$30m (K77m)annually once the drilling operations commence.  
InterOil is involved in the development of an LNG project in Gulf.

23) PNG still facing challenges

Source: 
The National, Monday December 22nd, 2014

 WELLINGTON: Papua New Guinea is facing a key challenge in transferring its massive mining industry profits into improving the lives of the half of the population living in poverty, the New Zealand author of a United Nations report on the Pacific island nation said Friday.
Mining and oil production had reaped US$60 billion since independence 40 years ago, but 40 per cent of PNG’s 7 million mostly rural population lived on less than a dollar a day and a quarter of children had no schooling, Glenn Banks, an associate professor in Development Studies at Massey University, said in a statement.
The lead author of the Papua New Guinea National Human Development Report 2014 for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) said PNG was experiencing a “paradox of plenty,” with 14 years of economic growth and the economy set to grow by 20 per cent next year, but little change in poverty levels and rising inequality.
The report noted improvements in human development, such as increases in life expectancy, per capita income and educational achievement, while highlighting the significant opportunities from an economic boom based on the mining of gold, silver, copper, cobalt, nickel, crude petroleum and natural gas.
While large scale mine and oil production has underpinned some health and education developments, it has “sparked civil strife, caused massive environmental damage, arguably distorted the economy, and brought about a range of negative impacts on communities,” according to the report.
– Xinhua News Agency

24) Airlines PNG to buy six new aircraft

Source: 
The National, Monday December 22nd, 2014

 By GYNNIE KERO
AIRLINES PNG (APNG) will purchase six aircraft from a French- Italian manufacturer in coming years to expand and improve services and its competitiveness.
This followed an agreement APNG conditionally entered with Avions de Transport Regional GIE (ATR) earlier this month to acquire the ATR 72-600 aircraft.
Chief commercial officer Paul Abbot had told The National then that APNG was working through a plan to bring in the first new ATR aircraft next year.
The company shareholders gave approval for the ATR contract at a special resolution last Thursday with the first new aircraft expected to be delivered next September.
The special meeting and board have further approved entry by the company into agreements under which the first 3 ATR 72-600 aircraft to be purchased under the ATR contract will be acquired by a highly reputable international aviation leasing company and leased by Airlines PNG from that company on operating lease terms, over lease periods of 12 years from delivery of each aircraft.
APNG said this investment in new aircraft was part of an ambitious fleet modernisation strategy.
“With the new robust ATR turboprops in its fleet, Airlines PNG will benefit from the aircraft’s excellent short and soft field performance operating from a range of runways. 
“The aircraft is optimised for hot and high operations typical in PNG while providing excellent passenger comfort, more seat capacity and flexible freight solutions,” according to the company.
 
25) Bird joins flight

Shayal Devi In Toulouse, France
Monday, December 22, 2014

THE latest addition to the Fiji Link fleet joins an ATR 72-600, ATR 42-600 and three DH6 Twin Otter aircraft.

The acquisition of the new ATR 72-600 is the national carrier’s latest move towards modernising its fleet.

Speaking to members of the visiting Fiji media team, ATR chief executive officer Patrick de Castelbajac said they were honoured by the renewed interest of the Fijians towards ATR aircraft.

“Fiji is a trendsetter in the region and it is an airline that many others are looking up to,” he said.

“Our first delivery to Fiji was in 1988 and since then, it has grown bigger. They operate it very well and now are moving to new aircraft.

“It’s a sign that the airline does not only know how to operate the aircraft safely but to also get the economics from the aircraft and this is good news for us because it is important that airlines grow well.”

Some significant features of the ATR 72-600 is that it is significantly larger, has bigger cabin space and overhead luggage compartments and is equipped with the latest technology.

The new ATR-72-600 has the ability to carry about 70 people and had been leased from Irish lessors Nordic Aviation Company.Fijitimes

26) Cinema opening boosts movie experience

Repeka Nasiko 
Tuesday, December 23, 2014

NADI residents have a reason to celebrate this holiday season with the opening of a new movie theatre that is sure to please the appetite of movie goers.

Managed by Life Cinema, the new facility boasts four fully digital 3D enabled screens and a Dolby Atmos powered DMax screen. Explaining the improved visual performance of each theatre, Life Cinema general manager Hamish McGuire says the three dimensional sound experiences goes further than ever before to create reality within the cinema auditorium.

“It’s about placing you in the middle of the action in a way that hasn’t been possible before,” he said.

“If the screen sucks you in, then Dolby Atmos helps keep you there.

“It adds a sense of realism to the movie-going experience that we’ve been longing for and that theatre owners have needed, and now it is here in Fiji.”

Mr McGuire said the 600-seat auditorium would also be complimented with a VIP seating, a bar, a restaurant and a beverage menu.Fijitimes

INFRASTRUCTURE

27) B’ville locals celebrate opening of new foot bridge

Source: 
The National, Tuesday December 23rd, 2014

 PEOPLE in the Sipatako area of Panguna district in Central Bougainville celebrated the opening of a new foot bridge in their area last Friday.
Funding for the K300,000 project came from the Bougainville regional MP Joe Lera’s provincial improvement allocation.
The project was identified and approved by leaders from Central Bougainville in a forum last year.
The new bridge was built to replace the aging one.
The old bridge was built by the Bougainville Copper Ltd during the operational days of the Panguna mine.
ABG Minister for Community Development and MP for the Eivo-Torau constituent Melchior Dare commended Lera and the leaders of Central Bougainville for making funds available.

LAW&ORDER 

28) Two more PNG provinces opt to ban alcohol

23 December 2014

Two Highlands provinces in Papua New Guinea are banning alcohol from next month.

There will be total liquor ban in Western Highlands and Jiwaka from January 19 in an effort to address escalating crime.

The Western Highlands administrator Joseph Neng says a ban on the importation of liqour has already been put in place and penalties for being caught with alcohol are still being discussed.

Mr Neng says community leaders called for the ban after a string of killings, tribal fights and other incidents.

“There has been an accumulation of activities as well as a particular incident between two and three weeks ago where a policeman was stabbed to death and also two other local men have also been murdered related to liquor issues.”

Mr Neng says the ban will be reviewed after three months.

Enga, Southern Highlands and Hela provinces have also recently banned alcohol.RNZI

29) Indonesia sinks PNG-flagged vessels as deterrent

23 December 2014

Indonesia is defending its practice of blowing up foreign ships caught fishing illegally in its waters after the destruction of two Papua New Guinea-flagged fishing vessels.

The ships, the Century IV and Century VII, were caught earlier this month off the south coast of Merauke in Indonesia’s Papua province near the sea border with PNG.

While the ships were flying the PNG flag, the crew were all Thai.

The Jakarta Post reports that the Indonesian Navy arrested 62 crewmen in the raids and turned several over to Immigration.

The vessels, reportedly caught illegally fishing, will be the fourth and fifth ships sunk by Indonesia in recent weeks.

Indonesia sank 33 vessels, mostly from Vietnam, caught illegally fishing in its waters between 2007 and 2012.

Despite complaints about the destructions from neighbouring governments, including Taiwan, Indonesia is set to continue the policy.

A navy spokesman says they must continue to sink ships so that other foreign vessels will think twice before fishing illegally in Indonesian territory.RNZI

30) PNG Police Force Hopes To Double Ranks In 2015
Government wants Constabulary to go from 5, 000 to 10,000

By Benjamin Kuman

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Dec. 23, 2014) – With a population of over eight million people, the Government has tasked the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary to increase its strength from 5000 to 10,000 personnel in 2015.

This was revealed by acting Deputy Commissioner of Police Jim Andrews when addressing the pass out parade at the Bomana Police College outside Port Moresby yesterday.

“We all applaud you for braving the hectic training drills and successfully making it this far but I must warn you also that life out there is extremely tough and you all must be prepared to take on challenges,” he said.

He said the job, even though risky, is filled with many rewards and adventures.

Mr Andrews, who was the reviewing officer at the parade, challenged members of the RPNGC to put God first and be committed to their job if they wanted to set standards and compete with police in other parts of the world to gain prominence.

The pass out parade for the second batch of intakes this year saw 263 males and 42 females passing out as probatory constables.

PNG Post-Courier

31) Court denies bail for illicit drug importation accused

By REPEKA NASIKO
Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Update: 3:22PM A MAN charged with one count of importation of illicit drugs has been refused bail by the Lautoka Magistrates Court.

Mohammed Shaheed Khan appeared before Magistrate Peni Dalituicama this morning in relation to the alleged $30million drug raid at the Lautoka Port on Sunday.

Mr Dalituicama also refused an application for a name suppression for Mr Khan.

The case has been adjourned to January 14.Fijitimes

CLIMATE CHANGE,CONSERVATION & ENVIROMENT 

32) PNG’s Milne Bay coping with several natural disaster issues

23 December 2014

Disaster officials in Milne Bay province in Papua New Guinea are working around the clock to cope with a number of serious weather events.

They are in the process of shipping 80 tonnes of foodstuffs to 50 thousand people in the outlying islands affected by Tropical Cyclone Ita more than eight months ago.

The provincial disaster coordinator, Steven Tobessa, says their food gardens remain unusable in the wake of the cyclone.

He says his staff expect the areas to be hit by cyclones again this summer and they are coping with a number of other matters.

“We are planning for other natural disasters by way of the drought that is now on the northern parts of the islands and we have rain on the southern parts of the islands, especially on the mainland of Milne Bay province where the rains have been non stop. It has caused landslides and is affecting the food gardens for our people also.”RNZI

33) Global Warming To Blame For Major Coral Bleaching: Researcher
RMI has unprecedented bleaching, North Pacific sees widespread damage

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Dec. 22, 2014) – Global warming is to blame for coral bleaching that is threatening reefs in the northern Pacific, researchers say.

The Marshall Islands is experiencing its worst-ever coral bleaching as global warming threatens reefs across the entire northern Pacific, scientists say.

Marine researchers said an El Nino weather pattern had been developing in recent months, raising ocean temperatures and stressing delicate coral reefs.

“The worst coral bleaching event ever recorded for the Marshall Islands has been occurring since mid-September,” Karl Fellenius, a Majuro-based marine scientist with the University of Hawaii said.

C. Mark Eakin, manager of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Coral Reef Watch program, said recent observations showed the problem was widespread across the vast waters of the northern Pacific.

“Major bleaching was seen in Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, the north-western Hawaiian Islands (NWHI), the Marshall Islands, and Kiribati,” he said.

“Thermal stress levels set new record highs in CNMI and the NWHI and we saw the first widespread bleaching event in the main Hawaiian Islands.”

Mr Fellenius said coral bleaching was a naturally occurring phenomenon but not on the scale currently being seen.

“While bleaching can occur on very hot days in pools of water with little circulation [such as] very low tides on reef flats, it has become a global problem due to greenhouse gas emissions causing elevated temperatures under climate change,” he said.

He said sea surface temperatures had been on average half to a full degree Celsius higher than normal for months, adding: “This does not seem like a lot but it makes a big difference to corals.”

Mr Fellenius said the last major bleaching event was in 1997, when an exceptionally strong El Nino system affected about a quarter of the world’s coral reefs.

He said indications were that the latest episode had affected up to 75 per cent of smaller corals and 25 per cent of the larger varieties at some sites in the Marshalls.

He said the bleached coral was becoming covered with algae, hindering its chances of recovery.

The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) raised the alarm about rising sea temperatures this month on the sidelines of UN climate talks in Lima, saying 2014 was set to be the hottest year on record, consistent with man-made climate change.

“What is particularly unusual and alarming this year are the high temperatures of vast areas of the ocean surface,” WMO chief Michel Jarraud said.

The Asian Development Bank warned last month that widespread coral bleaching would have a major impact on Pacific island nations, many of which are heavily reliant on tourism.

Radio Australia 

MINNING,AGRICULTURE,FISHERIES+

34) Canadian Mining Company Plans Gold Mine In Fiji
Once license approved Lion Metal One to invest $30 million

By Repeka Nasiko

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Dec. 23, 2014) – Canadian company Lion Metal One Ltd says it will invest up to $60million [US$30 million] once its application for a mining licence is approved.

Site manager and project geologist Sevanaia Bulu said so far discussions looked positive.

The company hopes to extract about a million ounces of gold from the Tuvatu Gold Mine in the hills of Sabeto, having conducted exploration works over the past six years, and in the process investing about $20m [US$10 million].

“We hope to start next year but we are still waiting on our mining licence to be approved from the Mineral Resources Department.

Acting Commissioner Western Luke Moroivalu said the project would generate employment for neighbouring villages.

“I think these types of projects will bring about a lot of income for neighbouring communities,” Mr Moroivalu said.

“These come in the form of lease payments, of jobs and in time people will be earning money and improving their livelihoods.”

Tuvatu Gold Mine field geologist Waisale Kuruisaravai said the company was looking at extracting minerals in other parts of the country.

“We also have projects in other areas as well, one in Nasau and the other in Vanua Levu.”

Fiji Times Online

SPORTS

35) Big plans ahead of Games

Source: 
The National, Tuesday December 23rd, 2014

 PORT Moresby will host more than 8000 athletes and officials during next year’s Pacific Games, Sports and National Events Minister Justin Tkatchenko says. 
Speaking at the commissioning of part of the Sir Hubert Murray Highway from 9-Mile to Erima last Friday, Tkatchenko said the road was part of the infrastructure development in preparation for the Games.
He said the city needed extension for people to benefit and for the more than 8000 visitors who would visit next year.
“This is the beginning of installing proper infrastructure like never before in preparation for the Games and 
other important events and we will continue to deliver to benefit all of us in the city for the long term,” Tkatchenko said.
He said there were challenges in development and leadership but work was needed to meet the challenges for more developments.

36) Nanai-Williams eager to test himself on the global stage

23 December 2014

Tim Nanai-Williams says the chance to test himself on rugby’s highest stage was a big factor in his decision to commit his international future to Samoa.

The 25 year old made his debut for the Samoa sevens team earlier this month, having previously represented New Zealand in 2008/09.

He’s now eligible to play for Samoa at the 2016 Rio Olympics and if he plays in two more sevens tournaments this season will be available for Manu Samoa’s World Cup campaign.

Nanai-Williams says watching the last tournament in New Zealand three years ago fuelled his desire to test himself against the best.

“I guess the opportunity to play on the biggest stage in the world and, regardless who you play for, it’s a stage you want to play, it’s a stage you want to see how you’re up against the best players across the world in general and just a bonus for the Olympics as well. So, I get a bit of both worlds, of fifteens and hopefully Rio, so god willing things will turn out the way I planned but I’ve got to take these baby steps and why not be in one and play against some good players and see where you’re at”.

Nanai-Williams says he has been kept in the loop by Manu Samoa head coach Steven Betham about his plans for the 2015 season, although his immediate focus is on the Chiefs upcoming Super Rugby campaign.RNZI

37) Liverpool draws with Arsenal

Afp
Tuesday, December 23, 2014

LIVERPOOL, England – A bloodied and bandaged Martin Skrtel headed home a last-gasp 97th-minute equaliser to earn Liverpool a 2-2 draw against Arsenal in the Premier League at Anfield yesterday.

Having bossed the first half, Liverpool went ahead through Philippe Coutinho, only for goals from Mathieu Debuchy and Olivier Giroud to leave Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal on the brink of a smash-and-grab victory.

But Giroud’s accidental kick to Skrtel’s head led to nine minutes of stoppage time and the tattooed Slovakian centre-back claimed his revenge with a memorable header in front of the Kop.

But though the goal —— Skrtel’s first of the season —— gave Liverpool’s fans some much-needed Christmas cheer, it did little to improve their team’s standing in the table following a run of only two wins in nine games.

Brendan Rodgers’s sideare now 17 points below leaders Chelsea, while Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal trail the Champions League places by four points.

38) Marseille on top


Afp
Tuesday, December 23, 2014

PARIS – Belgian striker Michy Batshuayi scored the winner as Marseille beat Lille 2-1 yesterday to ensure that they will top France’s Ligue 1 table at Christmas ahead of Lyon, who hammered Bordeaux 5-0.

Batshuayi secured OM’s ninth consecutive home victory, their most impressive run of results at the Stade Velodrome since 1990/91, after Idrissa Gueye had cancelled out the Nolan Roux own-goal which gave the home side the lead.

Marseille, who were last crowned champions in 2010, take the symbolic title of ‘Autumn Champion’ by a margin of two points from Lyon, who continued their impressive form by destroying Bordeaux on Sunday evening.

OL leapfrog reigning champions Paris Saint-Germain, who are three points off the pace in third after a 0-0 draw with Montpellier on Saturday, with Saint-Etienne in fourth after beating Evian 3-0 on Sunday afternoon.

Batshuayi, who had only been used as a substitute in the league since signing from Standard Liege in the summer, was given the nod by coach Marcelo Bielsa after Dimitri Payet was dropped for an alleged lack of effort in training.

“I was especially eager for us to win this game because for five months these players have put in so much effort, so to finish with a deserved victory at home is their reward,” said Bielsa, who dismissed talk of a bust-up with Payet.

The France winger had been Marseille’s in-form player in recent weeks before surprisingly being sent away on his Christmas holidays early.

“Nothing in particular happened. I simply decided to choose another player today and I didn’t think it was necessary for him to be in the squad of 18.”

Meanwhile, Lyon made it four league wins in a row to move above Paris as they outclassed 10-man Bordeaux at the Stade Chaban-Delmas, led by the in-form Lacazette.

Ligue 1’s leading scorer smashed home six minutes before half-time to set Lyon on their way and rounded off a stunning victory in the last minute to take his tally for the campaign to 17 goals.

In between, Corentin Tolisso scored early in the second half before Bordeaux were reduced to 10 men when Nicolas Pallois was sent off for chopping down Clinton Njie, and Nabil Fekir and Jordan Ferri added further goals as the hosts capitulated.

 www.voiceofmelanesia.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *