Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1057 ( Tuesday 30 December 2014 )

Dear One and All,

Wishing you , your loved ones & friends a very Happy New Year 2015! / Bonne Annee 2015! / Hapi Niu Yia 2015! Nasum pahikot ingkitemang taka isi, Nahiko VOO einga 2015!

Kind regards – Phil.

MELANESIA
1) State funeral for Sir George today

Published: 30 December 2014

THE LATE SIR GEORGE LEPPING WAS GOVERNOR GENERAL FROM JULY 7TH 1988 TO 6TH JULY 1994.

THE state funeral for the Late Sir George Lepping will take place today.

Sir George died on Christmas Eve after a long illness.

The late Sir George was Governor General from July 7th 1998 to 6th July 1994.

The funeral programme will begin with the viewing of the body of the late Sir George from 8am to 11am at his family residence in Rove, Honiara.

This will be followed by a requiem mass at the Catholic Holy Cross Cathedral from 2:00pm to 4:30pm after which the body will be taken to the Police Patrol Boat base for transportation to his home village in the Shortland Islands, Western Province, for burial.

Prior to his tenure as Governor General, the late Sir George served as the Director of Rural Development Project and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock.

After completing his term as Governor General, the late Sir George became an active member of the People’s Alliance Party and this saw him appointed as Chief Policy Advisor to the Prime Minister Sir Alan Kemakeza’s from 2001 to 2006.

From August 2007 up until the time of his death, Sir George served as the Chair to the Eminent Persons Advisory Council (EPAC) which plays an advisory role to Constitutional Reform Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

The late Sir George is survived by his wife, Lady Margaret, two sons, four daughters and several grandchildren.Solomon Star

2) Solving West Papua issues challenging for Indonesia President

30 December 2014

Human Rights Watch says Indonesia’s President needs to stand up to his government and military if he is to fulfil his promise to solve political, social and economic issues in Papua and West Papua.

On a visit to Papua this week, President Joko Widodo said he is willing to open dialogue for a better Papua, which has been the scene of a low-level independence war for 50 years.

This is in addition to previous promises Mr Widodo has made to open up Papua, including potentially lifting a ban on foreign journalists and NGOs entering the western half of New Guinea island.

But Human Rights Watch’s Andreas Harsono says Mr Widodo has a challenge on his hands if he is to open up Papua, because Jakarta and the military seem to be gripped by a paranoia about the province.

“It is very important for him to rein in the military and tell them; ‘look, I am in charge here. Your paranoia is groundless. Your paranoia is hurting Indonesia for so many decades.”

Andreas Harsono.RNZI

3) Jakarta drops plans for new Papua admin regions

30 December 2014

The Indonesian government says it will halt plans to establish new administrative regions in Papua as the current ones had yet to improve people’s welfare.

The Jakarta Post reports the home minister, Tjahjo Kumolo, saying that the setting up of new regional divisions will be postponed to avoid a greater burden on the state budget.

He says a review of the performance of new administrative regions in the country had shown 60 percent of them did not have the ability to manage their natural resources and generate revenue.

The minister says the new regions risk becoming a burden on the central government.

Papua currently consists of two provinces, Papua and West Papua, with dozens of cities and regencies.

The failure to improve the welfare of residents had prompted requests to split the regions into smaller administrative areas.RNZI

4) PNG Fails To Achieve Any Millennium Development Goals
UN representative: Progress made but more cohesive work needed

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Dec. 30, 2014) – Papua New Guinea has not reached any of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), UN resident representative Roy Trivedy says.

He said despite some progress since the start of the MDG process in 2000, PNG needed to do more and the Government should work cohesively with stakeholders to improve peoples’ lives. “Since the start of the MDG process, we knew that Papua New Guinea will not reach any of the goals,” he said.

“But we knew it was always going to be an unfinished revolution which means that the process would have to continue next year,” Trivedy said.

He said the world had generally achieved some of the eight MDGs, whereas some had exceeded while some countries, including PNG, needed to go a little further to improve.

Trivedy said PNG achieved Goal No 2 which was universal primary education but the country still faced major challenges of achieving quality education.

“We’ve had several ministers talking about over 500,000 of school aged children not regularly going to school.

“This is something that we need to work on to improve the quality of education but the numbers of children in schools,” he said.

Trivedy said despite PNG not achieving any of the goals, he was pleased to help development partners support the Government in honouring its commitments.

“We have risen to the challenge and we need to do more. I hope that we will continue to achieve more of the goals in 2015,” he said.

Trivedy said he had full confidence in the O’Neill Government because it was strongly committed to the achieving the MDGs.

The National

5) MP opens hausman

Source:
The National, Tuesday December 30th, 2014

WEDILU villagers in the Labuta Local Level Government, Nawaeb, Morobe, witnessed the opening of a hausman (meeting place) last week.
The traditional cutting of the ribbon was done by local MP and Education Vice-Minister Gisuwat Siniwin on Christmas Day, and with his delegation used the hausman for the first time.
“We constructed the hausman in three weeks and the purpose for constructing the meeting house is to instil authority in the village so the villagers can work together to bring services and development at the village level and any issue that arises can be discussed in this house,” a villager said.

6) Talks on naming new chief deferred

Repeka Nasiko
Tuesday, December 30, 2014

DISCUSSIONS on the naming of a new paramount chief of Nadroga are continuing.

This was confirmed by the chiefly family representative, Ratu Aisea Wakanimolikula Volavola, of Cuvu Village.

He said the vanua o Nakuruvarua had put talks on hold for the festive season and the chiefly family was also preparing for two deaths of prominent chiefs.

“We’ve yet to finalise anything and it looks like we could arrange for more talks in 2015. But right now, nothing is confirmed,” Ratu Aisea said.Fijitimes

7) Three vie for mayor’s job

Published: 30 December 2014

FORMER MAYOR ANDREW MUA, IS ONE OF THE CANDIDATES FOR THE MAYOR’S POST.

THREE candidates will contest the Honiara City Council (HCC) mayor’s post today (Tuesday).

They are former mayor Andrew Mua and two newly elected councillors Alpheus Fatai (Vura ward) and Charles Cheka Aiwasuga (Naha ward).

City clerk Charles Kelly declined to disclose the names of the candidates when nominations closed at 6pm yesterday, but the Solomon Star managed to get them from sources.

According to sources, the other candidate Eddie Ngava of Mbuburu ward agreed to withdraw to allow Mr Fatai and Mr Aiwasuga to represent their camp, which got 9 members as of last night.

Mr Mua is leading another group with only two members.

The city council’s legal officer Vincent Kohata said today’s meeting will start with swearing-in of all 12 councillors and ex-officios namely Guadalcanal Premier Bartholomew Vavanga and the three Members of Parliament for Honiara.

They are Douglas Ete of East Honiara, John Moffat Fugui of Central Honiara, and Namson Tran of West Honiara.

Mr Kohata said after their swearing-in, the mayor’s election can take place.

He said four other members appointed by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs Mr Ete will also participate in the election.

Mr Kohata said there will be a total of 20 people participating in the election.

“In the process, if any of the three candidates get 11 votes or half plus 1 in the first round of election, he will be declared the winner,” Mr Kohata said.

“However, if no candidate receives more than 10 votes in the first round, the lowest will be eliminated in the race to allow them to go into second round to find the winner,” he added.

City’s clerk Charles Kelly will officiate the election.

Mr Kohata said after the mayor is elected, he will take charge of the meeting and set the date for the next full council meeting.

The new mayor will also use the opportunity in the next meeting to appoint his seven standing committee chairmen.

The election will take place inside the city council conference room.

By EDDIE OSIFELO – Solomon Star

8) Vanuatu daily news digest | 30 December 2014

by bobmakin

  • The World Bank has been asked for the 3.7 billion vatu needed for emergency funding for the repair of Bauerfield runway, purchasing of equipment needed and for the recruitment of an expert to assist in the preparation of a Vanuatu Airports Master Plan. An agreement has been signed and the tourism industry has congratulated the Government. (VBTC News)
  • Suspended Police Commissioner Caulton confirmed to Daily Post he is taking legal action against the Police Service Commission for unfair dismissal by the Head of State when his suspension had not even been dealt with.
  • Vanuatu will take the presidency of the Asia-Pacific-Caribbean Council of Ministers meeting from February to August. Foreign Minister Kilman learned this at the recent Brussels meeting of the ministers and welcomed the news, saying it will assist Vanuatu to push for kava and coconut exports. (VBTC)
  • The Dane who arrived illegally in the Torres from a ship from Vanikoro remains in the Torres near where he came ashore. (VBTC)
  • A technical team from PNG is coming to Vanuatu to arrange for two projects PNG wishes to establish – the Kumul Highway upgrading and a business centre in Port Vila for PNG businesses, Radio Vanuatu News reports today.
  • Daily Post today reports rising concern over the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) clearing of land on Tanna, for its island base from which to conduct road construction, as “worrying”. Many crops were ruined. News sources were concerned at the way in which the project is being managed.
  • The last Vanuatu Daily News Digest reported the Vanuatu Tourism Infrastructure Project for reconstruction of the Port Vila waterfront and seawall as expected to receive 315 million vatu from the EIF of the WTO. Another report puts this at VT 1.4 billion vatu. The correct amount will be notified Digest readers.
  • Civil servants will be paid tomorrow (31 December) rather than Friday 2 January, Radio Vanuatu reports, but stresses that Friday is not a public holiday, only New Year’s Day, Thursday.
  • Happy New Year to Vanuatu Daily News Digest subscribers and readers.

POLYNESIA

9) Major hurdles for new Tonga PM – academic

30 December 2014

A political scientist says Tonga’s new prime minister, Akilisi Pohiva, will face obstacles in his efforts to bring greater transparency and accountability to the government.

Mr Pohiva, the first elected commoner to be become prime minister, won a vote in parliament on Monday and has been sworn this morning by King Tupou the 6th.

He campaigned on policies to bring more accountability to the way government conducts its business but he will need to achieve this with a bureaucracy established by generations of rule by the Tonga nobility.

The director of Massey University’s Pasifika Centre, Malakai Koloamatangi, says he will certainly have some hurdles to clear.

“There will be obstacles in front of him, so he will certainly have some enemies. It is difficult to try and take over an administration that is not used to more open government. I think in terms of a bureaucracy that is used to a certain way of doing things, they will have to learn very quickly, if indeed that is what Pohiva wants, to become a bureaucracy that is based on democracy and more open government.”RNZI

10) Samoa Citizenship Investment Bill, Sign Of Desperation: Opposition
Palusalue says broke government ready to sell Samoan identity

By Lanuola Tupufia

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, Dec. 29, 2014) – Concerns about the ramifications of Samoa’s controversial Citizenship Investment Bill 2014 should not be viewed as a sign of being “weak.”

Instead, the government should take them onboard as constructive feedback from people who genuinely care about the future of Samoa.

That’s the opinion of the leader of the Tautua Samoa Party, Palusalue Fa’apo II, who is the latest Member of Parliament to speak out against Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi’s newest invention.

Palusalue said the Bill is an indication that the government is broke and that Prime Minister Tuilaepa is desperate.

Read more: Samoa Observer

11) Curfew expansion call after American Samoa shooting

30 December 2014

A chief from the village where a policeman was shot in American Samoa says district curfews should now be expanded.

The police officer was in a vehicle with two others when the shooting occurred early Monday morning in the Lepuapuea-Leone area.

The Governor has asked traditional leaders to call a district meeting to reinforce their duties such as village policing.

Village Chief Faiivae Alex Godinet says when shots were fired at the Leone police station earlier this year the council implemented a curfew around the station.

Faaivae says the latest shooting happened in an area not covered by the curfew and he will ask that it be included.

He says the latest shooting has angered locals.

“It’s just like someone coming right in my backyard and do this kind of thing and it makes the village council feel that we’re so small. It doesn’t sit easily with us because these people think that oh we can just come around and do this. The Village Council has stepped up and we are gonna make sure that we can tackle these kind of problems.”

Faiivae Alex Godinet.RNZI

12) Prime Minister refuses opposition calls to quit

Ra
Tuesday, December 30, 2014

PAPE’ETE – The Cook Islands prime minister is standing his ground, refusing to bow to Opposition calls for him to stand down.

The opposition Democratic Party wants to form government after confirming it had agreed to a coalition with two MPs from the One Cook Islands Party.

That deal would give the Democratic Party a majority with 12 seats of the current 23 seats in parliament.

The ruling Cook Islands Party of prime minister Henry Puna has 11 seats, with the Aitutaki seat of Vaipae-Tautu still to be determined in a by-election in February.

As part of its coalition agreement, the Democratic Party has offered the One Cook Islands Party leader Teina Bishop the post of prime minister.

But the current PM Henry Puna has blasted the move, calling it a desperate grab for power. “Where in the democracy world would you have a minor party demanding the top post of the country.”

and in fact being given that top post,” Mr Puna told Pacific Beat.

“An organisation or a grouping that has two seats … that is just ridiculous.”

The Democratic Party’s leader Wilkie Rasmussen has rejected the accusation.

“It’s not a sign of desperation. I think the desperation should be from his side now,” Mr Rasmussen said.

“The facts are – he’s got 11 MPs and we have 12 MPs.”

Mr Puna said the opposition needed to wait for the electoral process to be finalised which would happen when the by-election was held on February 17.

“I am just doing what I know is legally correct and constitutionally correct,” Mr Puna said.

“The reality is that any talk or call for resignation is absolutely premature because our electoral process is far from complete.

“Our law is very clear, our constitution is very clear – that only parliament can take that away, can make any changes and that’s where I rest my case.”

MICRONESIA

13) Guam’s prison almost double its capacity

30 December 2014

A report by Guam’s public accountability office says the island’s prison is almost double its capacity, and has no plan to deal with anticipated population growth.

The report says there are over 700 inmates, with four prisoners being held in cells designed for a single inmate.

It also found prisoners housed in “temporary canvas-like structures”, as well as in the library, classrooms and offices.

The Pacific Daily News says the report also found the Department of Corrections lacks any clear plan or strategy to address anticipated population growth, reduce recidivism and encourage the reintroduction of prisoners into society.

The report says the department is putting itself at risk of lawsuits and federal receivership, while jeopardising the welfare of employees, prisoners and the general community.

In response, Republican Senator Brant McCreadie says he plans to introduce a bill to build another prison for Guam.RNZI

14) Youth Congress Votes To Halt GovGuam Pay Raises
Increases for elected officials rejected by community

By Maria Hernandez

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Dec. 29, 2014) – Guam’s youth have joined the debate on whether the island’s elected officials and other government workers should receive pay raises.

The Guam Youth Congress passed legislation Saturday to stop salary increases for elected officials and Cabinet members by repealing a recently passed law that approves the pay raises.

In a release from the Youth Congress, Vice Speaker Leonardo Lujan Orsini said he introduced the bill “so that our island’s youth can have a say on the matter and to right a wrong committed by our island leaders.”

The congress represents Guam youth and functions as a legislative body with the power to establish committees and pass resolutions and bills. Bills passed by the congress are forwarded to the Rules Committee of the Guam Legislature. The congress consists of 33 representatives, ages 14 to 24. The body convenes for session every three weeks.

Read more: Pacific Daily News

15) 500 CNMI Foreign Casino Workers Sue Feds Over Petition Denials
Dynasty Casino denied right to employ foreign workers

By Ferdie De La Torre

SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, Dec. 30, 2014) – Over 500 foreign workers at Tinian Dynasty Hotel and Casino have filed a lawsuit in federal court against Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and other federal officials over the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services denial of the company’s 197 CNMI-only Transitional Worker petitions involving 693 beneficiaries.

Belal Hossain, Wenli Zhong, Pukar Patel, and 500 unknown co-plaintiffs are suing Johnson, USCIS director Leon Rodriguez, and USCIS California Service Center director Kathy A. Baran.

The workers, through counsel Bruce Berline, asked the U.S. District Court for the NMI to declare that USCIS is precluded from relying on a pending criminal case against Hong Kong Entertainment (Overseas) Investments Ltd., which owns and operates the 412-room hotel with casino, as a basis for determining that HKE is not a legitimate employer.

The workers requested the court to declare that the denial of HKE’s CW-1 petitions on grounds that HKE is not a legitimate employer is contrary to and in violation of due process as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

Read more: Saipan Tribune

TOK PISIN

16) Port Moresby i stap gutpela long Krismas: Metsup Andy Bawa

Postim 30 December 2014, 12:47 AEDT

Sam Seke

Port Moresby City ibin selebretim taim blong Krismas long gutpela pasin tru ikan inap nau ia na ol polis i askim bihainim dispela igo olgeta long niupela yar.

Polis long NCD i hamamas long gutpela pasin blong pipol long taim blong Krismas
Odio: PNG NCD Metropolitan Police Superintendent Andy Bawa i toktok

Police itok National Capital District blong Papua New Guinea we i karamapim bikpela city blong Port Moresby ibin stap gut long taim blong Christmas.

Metropolitan Police Superintendent Andy Bawa itok ikam inap nau ia, i nogat wanpela bikpela trabel i kamap long city.

Em i tok spesel operesen blong ol polis long dispela holide taim i gohet yet.

Superintendent Bawa i askim olgeta pipol na komiuniti insait long NCD long gohet long bihainim loa, taim ol i wokim selebresen blong ol.

Em i tok Port Moresby ibin quiet tru long ikam inap nau ia na ol polis i laik lukim dispela pasin i gohet insait long niupela yar.Radio Australioa

FRENCH

17) Brèves du Pacifique – mardi 30 décembre 2014

Mis à jour 30 December 2014, 19:23 AEDT

Caroline Lafargue

Territoire du Nord: un python olive engloutit un jeune wallaby.

Après ce solide repas, le python olive n’aurait théoriquement pas besoin de manger pendant trois mois. « Mais certains serpents recommencent à chasser peu après un gros repas, même s’ils sont rassasiés », précise le ranger Greg Smith.

Greg Smith, un ranger du parc national de Nitmiluk, près de Katherine, a photographié cette scène spectaculaire lundi. C’est une grosse prise pour ce python assez fin, qui n’aura plus besoin de manger pendant trois mois. En mai dernier, un python d’eau avait été filmé dans le Queensland, pendant son duel avec un crocodile d’eau douce, qu’il avait réussi à avaler après 5 longues heures de combat.

Australie occidentale: un requin tue un adolescent. Ce garçon de 17 ans a été attaqué lundi alors qu’il pêchait au harpon avec un ami, à 500 km au sud de Perth. Jay Muscat a été tiré de l’eau par un pêcheur, mais c’était trop tard. Vu sa blessure à la jambe, il est très probable qu’il ait été mordu par un grand requin blanc de 4 à 5 mètres de long. Son compagnon de pêche, Bryce Aggiss, a réussi à faire fuir le requin en lui plantant son harpon dans la gueule.

  •  Australie: un petit avion s’est écrasé lundi soir au large de la péninsule de Tasman, à 80 km au sud-est de Hobart, la capitale de la Tasmanie. Le Cessna suivait les voiliers qui terminent la course Sydney-Hobart. Outre le pilote, il y avait un seul passager à bord, un photographe. 9 équipages se sont déroutés pour aller sur les lieux du crash. Quand les voiliers sont arrivés ils n’ont vu qu’une tâche d’essence à la surface de l’océan. Le Cessna a coulé en 30 secondes. Mais les hélicoptères de la police ont finalement repéré des débris de l’avion ce mardi matin. L’équipage australien de Wild Oats XI a gagné la course dimanche après-midi – pour la huitième fois, ce qui est un record. Le challenger américain, Comanche, n’a pas réussi son pari et a terminé deuxième. Les derniers concurrents devraient franchir la ligne d’arrivée d’ici le Nouvel An.
  •  Indonésie: le gouvernement fait monter les enchères. Il exige que Freeport- Mc Moran construise une  fonderie de cuivre en Papouasie d’ici 2020. La multinationale y exploite la gigantesque mine de cuivre et d’or de Grasberg. Il y a 5 mois, Freeport et le gouvernement indonésien ont signé un accord, qu’on pourrait qualifier « d’accord de paix » tant les tensions ont été vives entre la compagnie minière et l’État indonésien. En effet, en janvier, le gouvernement indonésien a augmenté de 25% les impôts sur les activités minières de Freeport. La compagnie a du suspendre ses exportations de concentré de cuivre, et a fini par céder. Elle a accepté les conditions initiales posées par le gouvernement indonésien et s’est engagée à construire une première fonderie de cuivre dans l’est de Java, ainsi qu’à verser une cotisation d’assurance de 115 millions de dollars à l’Indonésie. Le gouvernement réclame aujourd’hui un effort supplémentaire avec la construction d’une deuxième fonderie en Papouasie. Radio Australia

18) PNG: l’église catholique menace d’excommunier les chasseurs de sorciers

Mis à jour 30 December 2014, 19:18 AEDT
Caroline Lafargue

En Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée, 4 femmes, et leurs 13 enfants et petits-enfants risquent une mort atroce. Ils sont accusés par d’autres villageois d’avoir pratiqué la magie noire.

C’est un missionnaire luthérien, le révérend Lutz, qui a attiré l’attention des médias. Depuis, des associations et le gouvernement local tentent d’apaiser les chasseurs de sorciers. Mais l’accès au village est très difficile. Il est situé dans la région Hewa, l’une des plus isolées du pays, dans la province sud des Hauts-Plateaux. Il n’y a pas de route. La seule solution est d’affréter un avion capable d’atterrir sur une petite piste.

Selon le révérend Lutz, au moins 25 femmes soupçonnées de sorcellerie ont été torturées et assassinées dans la région Hewa ces 10 dernières années.
La religion dominante dans cette zone reste le protestantisme luthérien, mais l’église catholique a quand même lancé une campagne de sensibilisation dans tout le pays. Elle excommuniera tout tortionnaire catholique qui tente d’éliminer des pseudos sorciers.

« Je suis en colère d’apprendre que des innocents sont torturés et assassinés, surtout des femmes. Je dis à ces tortionnaires: pourquoi ne vous en prenez-vous pas aux gens riches à la place? Mais évidemment, les gens riches pourraient se venger, ils sont puissants. Et comme par hasard, ce sont toujours des gens vulnérables, pauvres, qui sont accusés de pratiquer la magie noire. J’ai demandé aux prêtres catholiques de la région voisine, Payela, de prêcher la non-violence. Mais dans la région Hewa, il n’y a que des luthériens, nous n’avons pas d’influence, pas de missionnaires, donc nous aimerions que l’église luthérienne fasse quelque chose. »

La conférence des évêques de Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée a également publié une lettre ouverte dans les deux grands quotidiens papous, pour condamner la persécution des pseudos sorciers. Radio Australia

HEALTH

19) No intensive care unit

Source:
The National, Tuesday December 30th, 2014

By DOROTHY MARK
THE Modilon Hospital in Madang ended yet another year without an intensive care unit.
The public is now calling on Health Minister Michael Malabag and sectional heads in the Health Department to consider the ICU urgently.
A Madang local spokesman Imakul Bann said many people died because there was no ICU.
He said he was told the ICU was closed more than five years ago because most of the equipment was beyond use.
Town residents are now questioning whether the hospital administration was seriously looking at purchasing new equipment.
“ICU is where a person in a critical condition is given a chance to live, my daughter was an ICU patient and I lost her two years ago because she was put in one of the normal wards in the hospital,” Robert Keno said.
Keno said many people thought the emergency unit was at the back of the hospital.
A report issued by the director of planning and policy Paul Mabong at the Mugil Health Centre outside Madang in 2012 said five out of every 10 patients admitted there died.
Bann said the mortality statistics for the hospital, tagged level five, was “very poor” and the Health Department officers should leave their chairs in Port Moresby and go to Madang to investigate the hospital.
“Seven or eight years is enough without an ICU, I represent the bulk of the population in Madang and call on Minister Malabag to take action in January 2015,” he said.
“If there is a problem with the CEO or any member of the administration causing a setback of the ICU, sack them and get things moving. We are talking about lives being lost in big numbers,” Bann said.
Modilon’s Hospital’s director cooperate services Albert Sika said the ICU was scheduled to open in June 2013.

20) Combating TB is part of poverty reduction

Source:
The National, Tuesday December 30th, 2014

By LEAH OMAE
COMBATING tuberculosis is an integral part of poverty reduction that is important to economic development and recognised in the Millennium Development Goals, National TB Programme official Dr Margret Karl says.
Karl presented some achievements and challenges faced this year in the fight against TB in a workshop two weeks ago in Port Moresby.
“TB is now a major public health threat because it is an airborne disease. Anyone breathing in the air containing the TB germ can become infected,” she said.
Karl said TB was a major public health problem globally and that remained a major challenge to health authorities.
Reports in 2013 said that nine million people were diagnosed with the disease and of that total, 1.5 million died.
Karl said PNG was ranked second among 37 countries of the western Pacific region in TB prevalence and death rates.
“About 14,000 people were affected annually in the country. More than 3000 die every year though it was curable.”
However, a timeframe has been set – 2015-2020 – to get rid of the disease completely, Karl said.
She said the national service providers had prioritised areas in 14 provinces to tackle the disease. Global Fund, Australia’s Department Foreign Affairs and the PNG Government will combine in the effort.

 21) Call to rebuild Auki clinic

Published: 30 December 2014

THE incoming Malaita Provincial government has been urged to build a new clinic in Auki.

The call was made by members of the Auki public during a public forum held at the provincial capital with the newly elected members last week.

One of the speakers said the existing clinic needs to be relocated because it is located in a residential area.

“When I was a child, the area the clinic was located is a labour line area since colonial days,” he said.

“I urge the new provincial government to relocate the clinic to a new site because the existing clinic is also too old,” he added.

“The building was an old prison cell block which is not appropriate and lacked space for patients and staff to perform their duties.

“I urge the new government to treat it as one of your priorities.”

He added the clinic should be upgraded to an area health centre to cater for people living around Auki as well as those visiting from other parts of the island.

“When people arrive in Auki and get sick, they need to go to a clinic that is close by.

“And because we are experiencing an increase in population in this town we need a Mini-health centre that will cater for them,” he said.

“This is the centre for whoever comes from outside can access health services whenever they sick.

“Auki is the centre of everything for this province so it needs proper health facility.”

Safety is also another issue raised by the existing clinic is located right beside the main road.

By STEPHEN DI’ISANGO
in Auki – Solomon Star

 EDUCATION

22) Probe committee

Tevita Vuibau
Tuesday, December 30, 2014

THE Ministry of Education will next week form a committee to investigate how some students were given zero marks in Biology in their 2012 Fiji Seventh Form Examination.

This follows a High Court ruling that the minister and permanent secretary for education convene a proper inquiry into the allegations of malpractice by the students.

Minister for Education Dr Mahendra Reddy yesterday confirmed the planned formation of the committee. “We are looking at doing that next week,” Dr Reddy said.

“We received the full judgement last week, we have yet to establish the committee and inform the stakeholders, particularly the students and their parents.

“And then we will outline the process and we’ll make it known again to the stakeholders so they can participate.”

Earlier this month, the High Court in Suva ordered the Education Minister to direct the permanent secretary to convene a proper inquiry into the nine students alleged malpractice.

It ordered the inquiry must include detailed allegations in writing to the students and should include the evidence relied upon by the ministry.

The court ordered the students or their representatives be given adequate notice of the allegations and allow the students to be properly heard on the allegations.

The court also ordered that the conclusions of the inquiry and reasons of the conclusion be given to the students in writing.Fijitimes

LAND

23) Evicted settlers hail Parkop’s land promise

Source:
The National, Tuesday December 30th, 2014

By ERIC BALARIA
A GROUP of evicted settlers in Gerehu has hailed NCD Governor Powes Parkop’s decision to allocate them resettlement land.
Last week’s announcement by Parkop to give 1000 allotments of land at Duraw Farm to evicted settlers came as a relief to the Hegoch Pawase Rainbow Block owners.
The group was part of the settlers who were evicted from the Gerehu Banana Block last July.
Spokesman Rev Joel Agiwa said many families, including public servants and students, were left to look for land to settle in.
“With the lack of an eviction notice, most of us were caught off guard,” he said.
“We were not very happy when the eviction took place as we were treated like animals and kicked out to find a place where we could live.”
Agiwa said some of these settlers who had gone through the process of obtaining titles to blocks through the Lands Department were evicted.
But he said they were happy with Parkop’s decision.
“Governor Parkop’s announcement to give allotments of the Duraw Farm to settlers has given us relief because most of us don’t know where else we could go.
“There are other displaced settlers like Paga Hill, but we at Banana Block are thankful for the governor’s decision.
“People have treated us like animals but the governor has seen us as human beings and has given us this chance.”
Agiwa said they hoped Parkop would honour his commitment, especially to evicted settlers, who have titles and certificates to the land.

24) Landowners consulted for township project

By JOSAIA RALAGO
Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Update: 1:09PM MINISTER for Local Government Parveen Kumar Bala says they are liaising with landowners to declare Seaqaqa and Nabouwalu as towns.

The much-awaited projects are highly anticipated by the people in the area as they are expected to bring in more developments and employment opportunities.

Mr Bala said the project would only proceed with proper consultation with the landowners.

He said funds had been allocated for those projects in next years budget.Fijitimes

MEDIA

25) Fiji opposition accuses journalist of breach

30 December 2014

The Fiji opposition says Fiji Sun journalist, Jyoti Pratibha, has blatantly breached the media decree with her criticism of a pension payout to former prime minister, Laisenia Qarase.

Mr Qarase earlier this month was given a lump sum payment for his pension which had been withheld by the former regime for eight years.

The opposition whip, Ratu Isoa Tikoca, says this is a positive outcome and they have congratulated the government for keeping to an agreement reached in November.

He says it was recognised that this was only a part payment but Ms Pratibha slanted her report to imply Mr Qarase was seeking more than what he was entitled to.

Ratu Isoa says it lacks accuracy, balance and fairness.

“The Government has honoured their decision which I have given a lot of credit to but the report given by the lady [ Jyoti Pratibha] is actually twisting the report and stating that Qarase is not satisfied with what he received”

Ratu Isoa Tikoca.RNZI

LAW&ORDER

26) Court denies bail

Litia Vulaidausiga
Tuesday, December 30, 2014

THE Lautoka Magistrates Court yesterday refused a bail application by Australian Ethan Kai, the second suspect in last week’s $30million heroin raid.

Magistrate Samuela Qica ordered that Mr Kai remain in custody until January 14 when his case would be called in the High Court.

Mr Kai has been charged with one count of unlawful importation of illicit drugs after about 80 packets of heroin were discovered inside a consignment of quad bike tyres at the Queen Elizabeth Wharf in Lautoka.

Lawyer Janend Sharma said his client had been in custody at the Sabeto Police Station since last Monday.

He said this was unconstitutional and unlawful because he was produced in court more than 48 hours after his arrest.

However, State lawyer Shirleen Kiran said an application to extend the suspect’s time in custody had been granted. But Mr Sharma said that no such application had been received by Mr Kai.

The Australian national is also facing a separate charge of failing to disclose foreign currency when he arrived at the Nadi International Airport on January 23.

He will appear in the Nadi Magistrates Court on one count of failing to declare foreign currency, reportedly in the amount of $28,870.95.

The first suspect, Nadi businessman Mohammed Shaheen Khan, was refused bail last week.Fijitimes

MINING,AGRICULTURE,FISHERIES,GAS,PETROLEUM+

27) Firm eyes gas development

Source:
The National, Tuesday December 30th, 2014

THE National Petroleum Company PNG intends to venture into development and commercialisation of gas with interest areas the company recently acquired from Cue Energy Resources Ltd, managing director Wapu Sonk said.
He said the company was looking at developing the gas for power generation and other areas of gas development like the petrochemical industry.
“There are several options available to monetise the gas for power generation, export and petrochemical activities,” Sonk said.
“There are different development options that we are looking at together with Oil Search Ltd and Santos who are actually our partners in the PNG LNG project.
“NPCP going in together with Santos and Oil Search basically makes it interesting in the sense that we can use the synergies that exist and work with our already existing partners to develop the gas fields that we’ve now acquired,” Sonk said. Meanwhile, NPCP and PNG Power Ltd in August this year, signed a Memorandum of Understanding to develop interim and long term energy supply solutions for the growing demand of electricity in Port Moresby, and rest of Papua New Guinea.
The Port Moresby gas supply project, once completed, will see the company purchase gas from the PNG LNG project, condition it near the LNG plant site and supply to PNG Power for its power generation needs.
NPCP had stated that its multi-billion investment in the PNG LNG project has made it possible for the company to commence negotiations with the project to secure an adequate supply of gas over several years.
Sonk said NPCP would make available gas to PNG Power to generate up to 100 MW of power in the near future with expansion options.

28) Company to make K100m investment

Source:
The National, Tuesday December 30th, 2014

CANADIAN company Lion Metal One Ltd says it will invest up to US$60 million (K157m) once its application for a Fiji 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.
“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.
“These come in the form of lease payments, of jobs and in time people will be earning money and improving their livelihoods,” he said.

SPORT

29) Bougainville tournament erupts after sorcery accusations

30 December 2014

A youth sports tournament in Papua New Guinea’s Bougainville turned sour after an argument erupted over accusations of sorcery.

The commander of the Buin police station told New Dawn FM that police were alerted to the incident over the weekend after a losing team accused the other team of using sorcery to win the game.

Senior sergeant John Popui says some of the youths who took part in the fight were armed with knives but nobody was seriously injured.

Mr Popui says after attending the fight, police were then confronted with a road block and held at gunpoint by locals.

However, he says none of his officers were injured.

Bougainville’s acting police commissioner, Paul Kamuai, says youth need to accept there will always be a winner and loser in any competitive game.RNZI

30) Warriors victorious in rural soccer challenge

Source:
The National, Tuesday December 30th, 2014

UNDER-RATED Hekari United midfielder Naime Kepi led his Warriors United to a convincing 3-0 victory over Shawna FC in the 2014 Koupa Amateur Soccer Association President’s Cup recently.
The four-day football tournament from Dec 17-20, was officially kicked-off by Port Moresby Soccer Association president John Wesley Gonjuan at Kaparoko village, Central.
The tournament attracted eight teams; Pool A – Shawna United, Akwavu, Rossel Koupa,  Kwarakwara; Pool B – Warrior United, Morobe Utd, Blue Haus Brothers, Jenlek Vearinama.
Kepi was assisted by Leslie Kalai and Lawrence Moses to give the Warriors the best chance of winning the tournament.
The President’s Cup was sponsored by association president Morea Vavine.
The first prize winner collected K1000, second place K500, third place K400 and fourth place K300, while other place-getters received K200 each.
Kepi got onto the score sheet three minutes into the opening half to set Warriors on the road to victory.
Seasoned campaigner Moses added another goal through a header in the 29th minute for a 2-0 halftime lead.
In the second half, Kepi grabbed his second goal of the afternoon for a 3-0 lead, which his side defended  to win the game.
Both teams played their hearts out for their respective supporters, however, Kalai was at his best, keeping a clean slate.
PNGFA Southern region director Simon Koima was impressed with the rural talent on display.
He called for a united effort to build a soccer field so they could host the 2016 Southern Region Besta competition.
Koupa is now preparing a team to travel to Tabubil for the Besta Cup in 2015.

31) New TARD champs

Published: 30 December 2014

THE JUBILANT PANAMA-SULAGWALU PLAYERS WITH THEIR WINNING TROPHY.

Panama-Sulagwalu claimed titled for first time

THE annual To’abaita Authority Rural Development (TARD) soccer tournament in north Malaita has a new champion.

They are Panama-Sulagwalu Football Club who claimed the title for the first time this year after beating Green Snails in a nail-baiting grand-final at Bita’ama on Christmas eve.

Panama-Sulagwalu entered the TARD championship as minors, but their first match got everyone talking after witnessing the classy footwork the young lads have displayed.

They beat their first opponents Seven Hearts from Kafoasila village with a hat-trick coming from John Abana, who went on to claim the golden boot award.

The momentum from their first encounter propelled the boys to narrowly won their second round match by a lone goal from sneaking Malaita Kings striker Samuel Wanesiofa against Fautha’aro Afoa.

Malu’u White was the next to fall victim to the highly confident Panama-Sulagwalu, with a goal each from strikers Wanesiofa and Abana to secure a quarterfinal spot on match day 3.

The lads from Panama Sulagwalu faced a mountain to climb as they came face to face with three-time TARD champions Green Snail Yellow in the quarter-final.

Both sides showed their class and the game ended in a scoreless draw at full-time.

Panama-Sulagwalu proceeded to win the game 4-3 in a penalty shoot-out to claim their semi-final birth.

Arch-rivals Carios from neighbouring Taba’a village was their semi-final opponents, and it was Abana, a former Marist youth player, who won the day with a well-crafted goal.

History was looming as Panama-Sulagwalu advanced to the grand-final against Green Snails Blue, who by then were carrying the hopes of their brothers whom Panama-Sulagwalu eliminated in the quarter-finals.

Green Snails Yellow were confident of keeping the Cup at their home at Bita’ama but the boys from Panama Sulagwalu were also looking at writing their own history.

As the crowd and supporters held their breathe for the 20-minute grand-final show, Abana cleverly grabbed his sixth goal of the tournament and the only goal in the final to give Panama-Sulagwalu the much coveted trophy for the first time.

It was a remarkable finishing to a brilliant start.

“We’ve trained hard for this championship and I think we’ve deserved the victory today,” play maker Max Osifalea said.

“I wish to dedicate this victory and success to all the players for their commitments and discipline during the tournament,” Osifalea added.

The annual TARD soccer tournament was organised by To’abaita university students studying abroad.

At least 60 teams from the To’abaita region took part in the 4-day seven-a-side soccer knock-out.

TARD soccer statistics:

Panama-Sulagwalu – First prize
Green Snails Blue – Second prize
Cairos FC – Third prize
Top scorer: John Abana

By SIMON ABANA
USP journalism student- Solomon Stars

www.voiceofmelanesia.com

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