Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1059 ( Wednesday 7 January 2015 )

MELANESIA

1) Vanuatu daily news digest | 7 January 2015

by bobmakin

  • ‘Silly Season’ news, or the absence of events of national importance, continues – and thus no Vanuatu Daily News Digest yesterday. However, a significant issue is hotting up and sees the Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry highly critical of the manner in which a new Industrial Development Act is being put into force immediately. VCCI is seeking many and varied clarifications from the State Law Office and says there is no local business manufacturing value added products and trading internationally, even though the Department is requiring all local industries to register. Daily Post today carries the story.
  • Post also carries a story suggesting a likely kava bar exemption to the Industries Billrequirements. It refers to kava chips production and attempts to export kava to Europe.
  • The VCCI will likely have amplification of these issues in its next column in Post.
  • Post also has the Prime Minister urging the fishermen of the VFA to put their house in order, unite and accept the Government’s offer of a good will payment in their long-running battle to have a debt recognized. The legal basis of their claim remains highly questionable and is certainly unlikely to be as acceptable to the courts, the PMO has stated, as the fishermen have been led to believe.

POLYNESIA

2) Four French Polynesia Political Parties Deregistered
Parties fail to submit audited accounts as required

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Jan. 6, 2015) – Official records in French Polynesia show that four political parties have ceased to be recognised because of a lack of accountability.

The parties in question have lost their status because they failed to submit audited accounts.

Among them are the Aia Api party of Emile Vernaudon, who played key roles in local politics and also served as a parliamentarian in France.

He made history in 2008 when he became the first mayor in the French system to be re-elected while being in jail.

Another party to vanish is Porinetia Ora, which has been led by the ombudsman, Teiva Manutahi.

In the lead-up to the 2013 election, Mr Manutahi campaigned against the dominant Tahoeraa Huiraatira of Gaston Flosse, but after being eliminated in the first round, he accused it of cheating and sought to have the elections annulled.

Within days, however, Mr Manutahi changed his mind and concluded the election campaign at the side of Mr Flosse, who last year made him the territory’s first ombudsman.

Radio New Zealand International 

3) American Samoa Police Commissioner Resigns
Governor appoints acting commissioner to replace Haleck

By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (The Samoa News, Jan. 6, 2015) – Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga has appointed an acting commissioner for the Department of Public Safety after current police commissioner William Haleck tendered his resignation today.

Appointed as acting commissioner is former judge Save Liuato Tuitele, who has been the director of the ASG Office of Fraud Prevention and Investigation since the summer of 2013.

Haleck, who took over the post in January 2013 at the start of the Lolo Administration, told Samoa News that he resigned for personal reasons to spend more time with his family.

The Samoa News

4) Samoa Power Employees Sacked For Stealing From Company
Terminations, ongoing investigation part of ‘clean-up’ effort

By Jasmine Netzler

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, Jan. 5, 2015) – Seven employees of the Electric Power Corporation have been sacked for stealing and selling property belonging to the Corporation.

The confirmation came from the General Manager of E.P.C, Tologata Tile Tuimaleali’ifano, yesterday. “Seven employees had their services terminated just before Christmas,” Tologata told the Samoa Observer yesterday.

“The investigation is continuing but what I can tell you now is that they were terminated because they sold E.P.C material.”

The employees were staff members of the Distribution and Utilization Division of E.P.C at Vaitele.

According to Tologata, the decision was made after he initiated an investigation based on a tip off that some E.P.C employees were stealing and selling equipment and materials that belong to the Corporation.

The General Manager was unable to confirm the value of the materials stolen but said this information would be revealed after the investigation. He added that they have referred the matter to the Police. Further, he said there is a possibility that more people will lose their jobs as a result of the investigation.

The General Manager went on to say that this was part of “cleaning up E.P.C”.

While he did not elaborate, Tologata said “there are many cowboys” out there and he wants to make sure they are caught and held accountable. “We will have more information available after the investigation,” he said.

Samoa Observer

5) Cooks Democratic Party Leader Calls PM ‘Desperate’
Rasmussen alleges Puna flew to Mangaia trying to shore up support

RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, Jan. 5, 2015) – Desperation drove Prime Minister Henry Puna to fly to Mangaia last Friday to try and persuade all three of the Mangaia MPs to join his government, alleges Democratic Party leader Wilkie Rasmussen.

Rasmussen says the Prime Minister tried to ‘sneak’ off to Mangaia but stuck out like a sore thumb, making it obvious to all that he was on a mission to hold office and save his own skin.

The Democratic Party team in Mangaia had told him Puna had offered ministerial posts to new Oneroa MP Wesley Kareroa and Tamarua MP Tetangi Matapo, said Rasmussen.

“But both turned him down, telling the Prime Minister they were happy with the progress of the Demo/OCI coalition arrangement.

“The third MP, former PM Jim Marurai, also informed me that he was not interested in such advances from the Prime Minister or the Cook Islands Party.”

The Democratic Party Leader said he had discussed this latest turn of events with Democratic Party president Sean Willis and One Cook Islands Leader Teina Bishop.

“So now we all have for the record the extraordinary lengths Henry Puna is prepared to go to stay in the nation’s top job. The message has also been passed on to the Demo Party rank and file.

“It is an act of arrogance, one that shows the Prime Minister, of all people, flouting the law that stops anti-party hopping. Once upon a time, MPs crossed sides at whim and often with promises of Cabinet positions. This tendency created instability in past governments and affected the nation’s economy. It was part of the political reform measures to pass legislation to prevent party hopping.”

“It’s incredible behaviour for someone who is supposed to be setting an example.”

Rasmussen said he believed Puna’s trip to Mangaia had ‘probably’ been paid for by the taxpayer.

“For him to do something personal while on that trip amounts to conduct that is unbecoming for a prime minister.

“I have heard from those close to him that even if his own Cook Islands Party MPs turned against him and ask him to step down, Henry would stop at nothing to stay as PM.”

Puna’s decision to fly to Mangaia may also have been prompted by the recent Demo call for him to quit, said Rasmussen.

He believed the Prime Minister might also have been ‘spooked’ by the fact that One Cook Islands leader Teina Bishop had been having ‘open, transparent and informal’ meetings with Queen’s Representative Tom Marsters, during which they had discussed the current political impasse,

“The Demo/OCI approach here is that the QR should act neutral at all times and accept that the numbers are Demo/OCI 12 and CIP 1, and for the QR to put to the Prime Minister the notion of resigning.”

Cook Islands News

6) Call for halt to kava club campaigning in Tonga

7 January 2015

A failed candidate in Tonga’s election, Mele Amanaki, is calling for scrutiny of election campaigning in kava clubs.

Ms Amanaki says certain candidates’ activities in the bars where the traditional brew is drunk are in breach of the Election Act.

The Tongatapu candidate has laid complaints with the Electoral Commission against Siaosi Sovaleni, who is now deputy Prime Minister, and two unsuccessful candidates Tevita Palu and William Clive Edwards.

She says the way kava clubs are used by men in the run-up to elections is among her complaints which centre on campaign spending and bribery.

“A female candidate can just go there for a short period of time to give a speech and that’s it but the male candidate can go and sit there the whole night and drink kava with the men. It’s the contributions that they make to the club, that’s where the complaints are, the amount of money they contribute to the club.”

Mele Amanaki was among 16 women who stood unsuccessfully in last month’s election.RNZI

MICRONESIA

7) CNMI Rebranding Itself For Japanese Tourism Market
MVA works to push ‘Flower Islands,’ ‘Sports Islands’ image


By Alexie Villegas Zotomayor

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Jan. 6, 2015) – The Northern Marianas is working on rebranding itself as a destination in Japan.

MVA Managing Director Perry Tenorio said, “[We have] a large number of marketing programs in the Japan market in conjunction with the CNMI’s key travel agent partners as well as airline partners, online channels, media partners, and brand partners.”

He said the key ongoing programs include re-branding the CNMI in Japan as the “Flower Islands” and “Sports Islands.”

MVA is also targeting new low-cost carriers to launch service to the islands.

Tenorio said they are also launching promotions including TV commercials to promote this new branding in Japan.

He said they are working “to develop more local events like another night market or the Flower Island developments which will appeal to the Japan market, as well as other markets.”

He added that they are also looking at launching new training/educational programs for Japanese travel agents to emphasize the new hotel developments coming into the pipeline.

The islands for several years now have been hosting a number of sports activities, including XTERRA Saipan and Tagaman which usually attract a big contingent of Japanese participants.

There is a rising interest as well in bike races and golf tournaments.

Moreover, Tenorio said that they will continue to promote the islands as a world class destination.

“The role of MVA is to promote the CNMI as a world class destination in all our overseas markets,” said Tenorio.

The CNMI has been facing declining tourist arrivals from Japan.

In 2014, based on available tourism data, from January to November 2014, there were 99,784 Japanese visitors to the islands as compared to 122,596 Koreans and 157,235 Chinese tourists.

Marianas Variety 

8) Tinian Gaming Commission Hopes Dynasty Casino Remains Open
Threats by other regulatory agency a ‘significant challenge’

By Alexie Villegas Zotomayor

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Jan. 6, 2015) – Recognizing the crucial role Tinian Dynasty plays in the island’s economy, the casino commission will try to keep the casino-hotel operational, according to Tinian Casino Gaming Control Commission executive director Lucia Blanco-Maratita.

“We do not anticipate the closure of the Tinian Dynasty Hotel & Casino,” she added.

“The commission has for many months now been working diligently with its new ownership toward regularizing its licensing status without resort to suspension or revocation of the casino gaming license,” she said.

It has been reported that the Dynasty has been transitioning to the control of Mega Stars Overseas Limited.

Its management has been working closely with the commission to fulfill all the necessary requirements.

Dynasty is currently going through the suitability investigation.

Read more : Marianas Variety 

9) Deportation Cases In Marshalls Highlight Difficulties
Removal orders against Chinese challenged in High Court

By Giff Johnson

MAJURO, Marshall Islands (Marianas Variety, Jan. 6, 2015) – Two deportation cases now wending their way through the Marshall Islands High Court demonstrate the difficulties the government faces in its attempts to deport overstayers.

In one case, a Chinese national has been in the Marshall Islands for at least 12 years and is now seeking citizenship approval from the Attorney General’s Office despite a deportation action against him from the same office.

The Immigration Division and the AG’s office issued removal orders against two Chinese nationals, Yong Jiang and Sun Shicheng. Both Yong and Sun filed appeals of the deportation notices with the High Court, arguing that they were properly issued visas by Immigration. Both cases are scheduled for court hearings or rulings later this month.

Defendant Yong is said to have first arrived in the Marshall Islands over 12 years ago, although Immigration does not have records to verify the type of entry visa issued in 2002. But Immigration was able to locate an entry permit issued on December 16, 2011 that expired on March 11, 2012. He was served with a removal order in July 2014, and the Attorney General’s Office brief to the High Court by Assistant Attorney General Laurence Edwards, II, stated that a visa issued as a result of administrative error may be revoked at any time.

Yong’s attorney John Masek filed an appeal of the deportation notice, saying that Yong had taken all steps to comply with Immigration requirements and has a valid visa. Moreover, he has applied to become a Marshall Islands citizen, an application that is pending with the AG’s office, Masek said.

The dispute was supposed to be heard on December 11, but a power outage forced postponement of the hearing to January 16.

Sun, meantime, has been working at remote Ujae Atoll since 2010 as part of a sea cucumber harvesting and export operation. A notice to leave the Marshall Islands was prepared by Immigration in April 2013 but not actually served on Sun until 2014. His attorney, Chief Public Defender Russell Kun, said Sun had a valid alien registration good through December 31, 2014 that had been issued by Ebeye’s Immigration Department — although earlier in 2014, Immigration Director Damien Jacklick had rescinded the permit and directed his Ebeye office to gain approval from Majuro before issuing any alien permits in the future.

Kun contends the court should not accept the attorney general’s contention that the visa was an “administrative error” and has asked the court to dismiss the government’s attempt to deport his client.

Chief Justice Carl Ingram asked both attorneys to file legal arguments on whether or not the Marshall Islands’ Administrative Procedures Act applies to immigration cases. Assistant Attorney General Yolanda Lodge in her brief says that immigration cases are different from other contested administrative issues. She pointed out that the law restricts deportation matters to 14 days, while the Administrative Procedures Act allows for 30 days to petition the government, then 60 days for it to be sent to court.

No further hearing dates are scheduled, and the Chief Justice may decide the case this month based on the written submissions.

Marianas Variety 

10) Following Criticism, Guam Police Release Internal Affairs Reports
Newspaper questioned why no 2014 reports were available


By Cameron Miculka

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Jan. 7, 2015) – The Guam Police Department yesterday posted information about 37 Internal Affairs cases to its website, following the publication of an article that indicated no reports had been released throughout 2014.

In an interview, Chief of Police Fred Bordallo said he is committed to improving coordination among his staff to ensure his department is following the law.

The Pacific Daily News yesterday published an article noting that the Guam Police Department hadn’t posted any of its Internal Affairs cases on its website.

Guam law states, “within 30 working days of getting the complaint, the chief of police must prepare a public statement indicating the preliminary disposition of the allegation.”

“The chief must prepare a summary of all allegations filed and their final disposition in the department’s annual report,” the law states.

However, no reports for cases in 2014 were made available until yesterday.

The report made available yesterday includes 37 closed cases, 22 of which have “sustained” findings.

Read more : Pacific Daily News 

AUSTRALIA

11) Cairns-based airliner Skytrans calls its quits

Source: 

The National, Tuesday January 6th, 2015

 Skytrans Pty Ltd has made the decision to cease trading, effective immediately, flying its final passenger last Friday.
Managing director Simon Wild has stated the company will be seeking legal and financial advice over the next few days regarding options for the business moving forward, but has made it clear it does not include the recommencement of flights in the short to medium term.
The Cairns-based, family owned and commercially operated airline celebrated its 25th year of serving the people and communities of North Queensland.
Rex Airlines is taking over Skytrans’ routes in the western and Gulf parts of the state.
“This is not only a sad day for the business, but more importantly for our staff and indeed the passengers and communities of North Queensland,” Wild said.
“All staff has been made redundant. Everyone has already been paid their entitlements.
“We are all well aware that the aviation market has been tough and we knew that it would get tougher with Skytrans in 2015.
“Within the last few weeks we have seen the Australian dollar fall as low as US$0.81 (K1.7). Unfortunately a drop below US$0.88 (K2.28) means our revised Skytrans model would not be a viable long term proposition.
“We have been talking with possible investors and have pursued these interests diligently, but unfortunately every road pointed to unsustainability and as such we could and would not entice investors to a business we did not believe ourselves had a strong future.
“In addition to the A$2m (K4.19) gross paid in staff payouts for the first 121 staff that were made redundant in November and early December, today a final A$2m (K4.19) gross was paid to staff and again I confirm that all superannuation payments are up-to-date.
“An additional A$2m (K4.19) has been set aside and secured with our bank in the respect of credit card customers.”
Transport Minister Scott Emerson said the State Government (Queensland) was trying to find other operators for routes in the Cape.
“There were some contracts separate of the Government that Skytrans was running to regional and remote Aboriginal communities in Cape York,” he said.
“We’re now talking to other operators about seeing if we can get services in place to make up for those services Skytrans will no longer be providing.”
For passengers who have booked flights with Skytrans, the company has advised these will not be taking place, and alternate travel arrangements will need to be made.
Suppliers or other service providers should not incur any costs or perform any work without a formal purchase order or consent from Simon Wild, managing director.
– Travel Weekly 
Customers may be entitled to a refund, however this will be dependent on how you paid for your flight and from where the ticket was purchased.

NEW ZEALAND

12) Magnitude 6.0 earthquake hits New Zealand’s South Island, epicentre near Methven


Updated 6 January 2015, 10:35 AEDT

New Zealand’s South Island has been jolted by a series of earthquakes of up to magnitude 6.0, with the epicentre about 180 kilometres northwest of Christchurch.

New Zealand’s GeoNet advisory service reports the largest quake was a magnitude 6.0 and hit north of the town of Methven at 6.48am (local time).

“The intensity of this quake is considered severe at the location,” GeoNet said.

“As of 8:00am (local time) there have already been more than 2,700 ‘felt reports’ from as far south as Mandeville to the central North Island.

“There have been more than 20 aftershocks so far since the initial earthquake.

“We are still learning more about this quake but we expect aftershocks to follow.

“In typical aftershock sequences, we can expect the largest aftershock to be in the magnitude 5 range.”

GeoNet earlier reported the quake at magnitude 6.4 but revised it down to 6.0.

The United States Geological Survey reported a 5.6 magnitude quake in the area at a similar time.

There have not yet been any reports of damage.

The quake struck at a depth of 5 kilometres, with the epicentre near the centre of the South Island, about 180 kilometres northwest of Christchurch.

GeoNet, New Zealand’s official source of geological hazard information, said 13 earthquakes struck within an hour of each other.

Four of them measured higher than magnitude 4.

Earthquake-prone New Zealand sits on the edge of the so-called Pacific “Ring of Fire” where continental plates collide, causing frequent seismic and volcanic activity.

The country experiences about 20,000 tremors a year, with an average of less than 3 at a magnitude 6.0 or higher.

In 2011, 185 people were killed when a devastating magnitude 6.3 quake hit Christchurch in one of the nation’s deadliest disasters of the modern era.

ABC/AFP

TOK PISIN

13 )  Woning long taim nogut long Vanuatu

Updated 7 January 2015, 14:39 AEDT

Caroline Tiriman

Taim nogut we i kamap long sampela kantri long Pacific long dispela taim blong saiklon i mekim ol otoriti long Vanuatu i givim aut pinis sampela woning long ol pipol na ol ship.

Vanuatu weather ofis i givim woning long taim nogut

Ofis blong Meteorology long Vanuatu istat pinis long givim ol woning igo long ol pipal long lukaut gut long bikpla taim nogut emi wok long ron igo long kantri nau.

Despla taim nogut i wok long kamapim bikpla heve na ol flad long Solomon Islands, tasol ol bikpla ren, na ol strongpla win nau iwok long hamarim ol Northern Provins olsem Torba na Penama long Vanuatu.

Ofis blong Meteorology i askim ol pipal long noken wokabaut klostu long ol bikpla wara na tu long noken go aut long ol solwara.Radio Australia

14 ) Vailans agensim ol meri na pikinini long PNG long taim blong selebresen

Postim 6 January 2015, 14:08 AEDT

Caroline Tiriman

Vailans oa pasin blong paitim ol meri na pikinini long Papua New Guinea long taim blong selebresen long krismas na Niu Yia i stap yet olsem wanpela bikpela wari.

Odio: Philma Kelagai, husat ibin statim Leniata Legacy, wanpla chariti grup long Australia

Wanpla meri lida blong Papua New Guinea hia long Australia itok olsem emi no kirap nogut long mak blong vailans egensim ol meri na pikinini long taem blong krismas na Niu Yia.

Philma Kelagai, husat ibin statim Leniata Legacy, wanpla grup long Australia emi save mekim awenes long stopim vailans egensim ol meri long PNG.

Emi mekim despla toktok bihaenim ol midia ripot long PNG em oli sutim tok long ol polis i sutim dai wanpla yangpla mama long Lae, long New Years Eve.

Toktok blong en i bihaenim tu ol ripot olsem planti mama na ol pikinini ibin kisim taem long krismas na Niu Yia long Port Moresby.Radio Australia

FRENCH

15) Brèves du Pacifique – mercredi 7 janvier 2015

Mis à jour 7 January 2015, 19:51 AEDT

Caroline Lafargue

Les Japonais repartent en Antarctique cette semaine, avec une flotte très réduite: 3 navires, dont un de soutien logistique.

Un baleinier japonais à l’oeuvre en Antarctique. (Photo: Sea Shepherd/ Glenn Lockitch)

Ils se borneront à prélever des échantillons de cuir sur les baleines. Mais aucun harpon ne sera embarqué. Car en mars dernier, la Cour Internationale de Justice de La Haye a interdit au Japon de continuer la chasse à la baleine en Antarctique. Mais si cet été le Japon promet de ne pas chasser la baleine, il ne lâche pas la partie pour autant. Il demande l’autorisation de chasser 333 baleines de Minke par an pendant 12 ans, soit un peu plus d’un tiers de son quota annuel précédent. Ce nouveau plan sera examiné par la Commission Baleinière Internationale lors des prochaines réunions en mai et en juin.  L’Australie a protesté contre ce projet.

  •  La situation s’améliore dans les collines au nord-est d’Adelaïde. Le méga incendie continue de brûler, c’est le sixième jour. Il est désormais maîtrisé à 85%. Aujourd’hui les 550 pompiers devront faire face à des conditions météos mitigées, mais moins catastrophiques que ce que l’on pensait il y a quelques jours. Des vents de 30km/h mercredi après-midi, des températures de 35 degrés, MAIS un taux d’humidité plus important que prévu et 50% de chances d’avoir de la pluie. Le feu a pour l’instant détruit 38 maisons.
  • Tonga: les hommes politiques font une concurrence déloyale aux femmes politiques… dans les bars à kava. Mele Amanaki, une candidate malheureuse aux élections législatives de fin novembre, a porté plainte contre le vice-Premier ministre et deux autres candidats malchanceux auprès de la Commission électorale. Ils sont allés dans les bars à kava pour faire campagne. Mele Amanaki affirme qu’une part importante de l’élection se joue dans les bars à kava. Or les hommes ont le droit d’y rester, de boire avec les autres hommes péesents pendant toute la nuit. Mais les femmes, elles, n’ont le droit que de faire un petit discours et doivent ensuite partir. Et bien sûr, elles n’ont pas le droit de boire le kava.
  •  Vanuatu: pénurie de kava à Port-Vila. La moitié des bars à kava ont du fermer leurs portes temporairement. Pendant les vacances de fin/début d’année, les compagnies de transport maritime ont suspendu les liaisons avec l’île de Pentecôte, principale productrice de kava. Les producteurs de kava d’Efate se frottent donc les mains. Ils profitent de cette pénurie et ont augmenté leurs tarifs de 300 %. Les livraisons de kava de Pentecôte devraient reprendre la semaine prochaine.  Radio Australia

16) Jeux du Pacifique: « les nouveaux équipements sportifs sont finis à 80 ou 90% »

Mis à jour 7 January 2015, 19:42 AEDT
Caroline Lafargue

17) Les Jeux du Pacifique s’ouvriront dans 177 jours. Et tout sera prêt à temps, martèle le ministre des Sports papous, Justin Tkatchenko.

Un panneau annonce l’organisation des Jeux du Pacifique à Port-Moresby en juillet 2015.
Pourtant la semaine dernière, le quotidien papou Post Courier a publié un article révélant le grand retard des différents chantiers. Il se base pour cela sur le dernier rapport du Comité des infrastructures et de l’équipement des Jeux du Pacifique.

La construction du village des Jeux, sur le campus de l’Université de la Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée, aurait ainsi pris 8 semaines de retard. La piscine olympique Taurama est presque finie, mais l’installation des sièges du public ne sera vraisemblablement pas achevée début juillet.

Quant au stade John Guise, il sera prêt à recevoir les sportifs, mais pas les employés du comité des jeux, dont les bureaux ne seront pas terminés.

Enfin, la rénovation du complexe sportif Rita Flynn sera elle aussi inachevé pour l’ouverture des Jeux. C’est ce qu’affirme le Post Courier. Mais le ministre des Sports a une toute autre version. Justin Tkatchenko:

« Nous avons eu des problèmes d’approvisionnement en matériaux de construction, parce que nous manquions de devises étrangères. Cela nous a retardés de 6 semaines, mais nous avons solutionné ce problème. La construction des équipements sportifs est finie à 80 ou 90%. Ce qui reste, ce sont les travaux de finition, à l’intérieur. Il faut savoir que quand notre gouvernement est arrivé au pouvoir, le précédent gouvernement avait pris un énorme retard de deux ans. Donc ce sera un miracle que nous puissions terminer tout d’ici juillet. Et toutes les infrastructures seront prêtes pour le 4 juillet. Ce seront les Jeux du Pacifique les plus importants jamais organisés dans notre pays et dans la région. »

4000 athlètes de 24 pays participeront aux Jeux du Pacifique du 4 au 18 juillet prochain, y compris l’Australie et la Nouvelle-Zélande, en rugby à 7, en voile et en taekwondo. Les Kiwis participeront aussi au tournoi de foot. Radio Australia

EDUCATION

18) B’ville private school marks milestone

Source:

The National, Tuesday January 6th, 2015

PAHAKAS Independent Primary School in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville has marked another milestone in education during its 8th closing ceremony in Arawa recently.
Parents and supporters turned up in numbers to witness and celebrate with the young hopefuls at the Haus Marimari in Arawa town.
Private education has proven to be the most effective option chosen by parents and proven by the demand during enrolment by many private institutions.
Students who passed out from those institutions have excelled in higher education.
Former judge and principal magistrate with the Arawa District Court David Maliku celebrated the occasion with the PIPS management.
During his speech, Maliku stressed the importance of building the foundation of a child.
“It starts here and at the young age. Prepare your child now and he/she will be what you want them to be.
“Nowadays I see youngsters wandering the streets very late, most of them under the influence of alcohol.”
School board chairman Leonard Lare said a child’s foundation was an important beginning.
“A teacher is only a guide but the parents are responsible for the child’s learning. The Word of God must be observed during education as it provides life-long direction on overall human development.”

19) Student: Learning is for everyone

Source:

The National, Tuesday January 6th, 2015

LEARNING should not be restricted to any age group or educational institution, Boe Ako says.
The PhD student at James Cook University said everyone, regardless of age and gender, must be motivated to learn and encouraged to contribute to learning.
“Learning should not be restricted to formal educational institutions, but should be encouraged at home, at work or in the wider community,” he said.
“Such an understanding will indicate a shift in accountability to the individual person from the formal structure to the world of work and civil divisions of society.”
Ako said the process of an individual’s learning should start from childhood to retirement to allow the individual to acquire all skills and knowledge he will require in life.
He said PNG society needed to become more adaptable and responsive to globalisation by implementing life-long learning practices.
“The individual is at the centre of a lifelong learning system, and the understanding of lifelong learning depends on the ability and enthusiasm of that person to take care of his or her own learning,” he said.
Ako said universities had a vital role in making this change.
“Higher institutions need to change their current policies to develop lifelong learners through changes incorporated in the approaches to learning and teaching,” he said.

20) Education at fault: MP

Source:

The National, Tuesday January 6th, 2015

FINANCE Minister James Marape says the Education Department is to blame for the end-of-year woes faced by teachers throughout the country.
He told reporters yesterday the issue of teachers’ leave entitlements was not a “cash flow issue” of his department.
Marape said it was unfair on teachers and the onus was on Education Minister Nick Kuman to take remedial action to avoid this in future.
“The Government will not tolerate these sort of excuses anymore,” Marape, a former acting Education Minister, said.
“It really is an accounting issue where all monies were parked in Finance as a result of the close of government accounts.
“Money is always here.
“For someone to pick up the phone and ring to the media to say we (Finance) have a cash flow problem is totally misconceived, totally wrong.
“What happened is that when we close our accounts, mid-December, all funds held by government departments and agencies are pulled back into Department of Finance.
“We issued instructions to all agencies and all departments   that if there is some emergency payments that you need to make, they you come to us in Finance, as we are the only one (department) in operation during close of business.”
Marape said issues such as teachers’ leave entitlements should have been finalised as early as September or October.
“Leave pay seems to be an issue that comes up every December and January, for goodness sake.
“Teachers need to be comfortable, knowing that their pay is already calculated, and at the end of the academic year they are going home.
“How come we can’t get it smart and get it right?
“We had the whole year to work on it.”
Marape said by Christmas teachers should be in their villages instead of being in town complaining about their leave entitlements.
He said the Department of Education was still printing cheques in December when they were not recognised by banks.
“It’s an issue that has been going on for a long, long time,” Marape said.
“Education Department has to get its act together.
“At the end of the academic year, teachers should already be awarded their leave entitlements.
“You can’t wait till close of accounts to pay teachers’ leave fares.
“There was lack of respect by Education for close of accounts.
“They kept on issuing cheques that bounced because there was no money in education.
“If they had come to us in Finance, there would have been no problems, as far as leave fares are concerned.”

21) 152 Vanuatu Teachers To Be Retired
Positions to be taken by recent graduates

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Jan. 6, 2015) – The Vanuatu Teachers Service Commission says it is going to retire 152 government teachers this month.

The chairman of the commission, Dereck Alexander, says the last parliament session approved the retirement payments for those teachers.

He says their retirement will enable vacant positions for teachers that have recently graduated from the Vanuatu Teachers Training Center.

Last month, 94 newly trained teachers received their certificates after three years training at the center, but are still awaiting their appointments by the commission, and have expressed concerns over the delay.

However, Mr Alexander says that the commission will not make any appointments until the retirement of the 152 teachers has been completed.

He says the new teachers will receive their appointments before government schools begin their 2015 programme, from February the 3rd.

Radio New Zealand International

POLITIC

22) Economy remains strong, Government says

Source:

The National, Tuesday January 6th, 2015

FINANCE Minister James Marape says the national economy is strong, contrary to claims by Opposition leader and former Treasurer Don Polye.
He described Polye’s statement as “nonsensical”.
“The economy of the country is strong, there is sufficient liquidity in the financial sector, the government has funds for commitments, we have paid all our development funds and bills as detailed in the 2014 Budget and the Supplementary Budget,” Marape said.
“Let me assure the nation, as the minister responsible for budget expenditure that in 2014 we have honoured all our major government policy-based programmes and the figures are there to prove this.
“The Leader of the Opposition is mandated to tell the truth and he should honour his obligation.”
He said the country had foreign exchange reserves to cover 7.8 months of non-mineral import cover.

23) Solomons Opposition To Audit Constituency Development Funds
Manele to look at expenditures over past 8 years

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation, Jan. 6, 2015) – The Leader of Opposition and Member of Parliament for Kia Hograno Havulei Constituency, Jeremiah Manele has decided to audit all constituency funds for the last eight years.

A government statement today says Mr Manele made the decision recently, after his predecessor Hon. Selwyn Riumana lodged a petition against him for bribery allegations committed during the election last year.

Mr. Manele says a funds audit is important to indicate whether or not the constituency funds were rightfully used by Mr. Riumana.

The Opposition Leader adds starting on a clean slate is paramount for him, to bring about benefits and making a difference in the lives of his constituents.

Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation

24 ) Solomons Minister Reaches Out To Resolve Fiji Air Impasse
Foreign ministers reported have been in ‘direct contact’

By Eddie Osifelo

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Jan. 6, 2015) – Minister of Foreign Affairs, Milner Tozaka has reportedly made direct contacts with his counterpart in Fiji, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, to resolve the long-drawn air services impasse between the two countries.

This came after he took up his ministerial appointment before New Year.

Mr Tozaka told Solomon Star last night he is treating the standing issue a priority after his appointment

“I am happy with the progress.

“I am expected to come up with further information to keep the public inform in two to three days time of the positive development with my approach to resolve the outstanding issue,” he said.

Mr Tozaka added the service agreement was signed between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of both countries; therefore a solution can be reached between them.

The Solomon Islands government had sent a delegation to Fiji last year to resolve the impasse in two dialogues, but the talks failed to come up with a legally binding agreement.

Tozaka believes through his approach, a positive solution can be reached between the two Melanesian countries.

The impasse, which began in July last year, occurred when Solomon Islands authorities refused a request from Fiji Airways for a direct Saturday flight Nadi-Honiara-Nadi.

Fiji claimed Solomon Islands was breaching an agreement covering this and retaliated by cancelling all existing Solomon Airlines flights to Nadi.

Fiji Airways was operating a Tuesday schedule Nadi-Port Vila-Honiara-Port Vila-Nadi when the impasse started.

In the meantime, Air Nuigini has operated a direct return service between Honiara and Nadi, which started on Christmas last year.

The intervention had relieved the travelling public, who have been forced to travel via Brisbane or Port Vila before connecting to Nadi.

The extra routes have born more costs on them because they have to pay extra money to connect through Vanuatu or an Australian visa to get a connection flight at Brisbane.

Solomon Star

25) New Caledonia government meets amid impasse

7 January 2015

New Caledonia’s government has met for what observers say was its shortest sitting ever as it lasted just ten minutes.

It could only sit in a caretaker capacity after last week’s failure to choose a president and it approved the 2013 accounts of three public entities.

The meeting was chaired by the former president, Cynthia Ligeard, whose government fell last month only half a year into its five-year term.

On New Year’s Eve the Congress re-elected the same 11-member government that had collapsed but then the reconstituted government failed to agree on who should be president.

Neither Cynthia Ligeard of the Front For Unity nor Philippe Germain of the Caledonia Together Party could secure at least six of the 11 votes.

A planned fresh presidential election on Tuesday was called off because the impasse among the rival anti-independence parties remained unresolved.

The Caledonia Together Party says it now wants the presidency because the Front For Unity had violated their powersharing deal reached after the last general election.

No further election date has been set.RNZI

LAND

26) Landowners want accord

Source:

The National, Tuesday January 6th, 2015

THE landowners of Nakanai Ranges in Pomio, East New Britain, want a proper memorandum of agreement to include their interests, a representative says.
Elias Kapavore said the conservation of the Nakanai Ranges was approved by East New Britain provincial executive council as a pilot project under the community-based Forest and Coastal conversation and Resources Management in PNG.
He said the project was to be managed by the Department of Environment and Conservation, and United Nations Development Programme with assistance from the ENB provincial administration.
“While we appreciate DEC for facilitating this important project and with funding support from the UNDP, our concern is for a memorandum of agreement that must be done in collaboration and in consultation to capture the landowners’ interests,” Kapavore said.
“The Nakanai Ranges cover West Pomio-Mamusi, Central Pomio, East Pomio and Inland Pomio LLGs and will affect the livelihood of more than 30,000 people. It will certainly have ramifications on our future generations.
“It is with such concerns that this project should not be rushed.”

27) Fiji Looks To Develop Residential Tenancy Law
Effort to protect both tenants and interest of landlords

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Jan. 6, 2015) – Fiji’s Ministry of Trade is looking to develop a Residential Tenancy Law aimed to protect the tenants and the interest of landlords.

Minister for trade Faiyaz Koya said the ministry will be working with the Fiji Commerce Commission and the Solicitor General’s Office in the drawing up of the law.

Koya said the new law would also ensure fair treatment and fair play in the market.

Meanwhile, all landlords are encouraged to register with the Commerce Commission and to maintain proper records, as per requirements of the commission.

These records and documents include Letting Agreements and receipts.

Fijilive

MEDIA

28) Sacked Fiji TV execs want probe into board

7 January 2015
The former Fiji TV executives dismissed after a battle over international rugby broadcast rights are now calling for an investigation into the conduct of Fiji TV board members and the Minister of Communications Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

The broadcaster’s former CEO Tevita Gonelevu and Head of Content Tanya Waqanika say they want a Commission of Inquiry set up to look into their dismissal by the chairman of Fiji TV Nouzab Fareed and another board member Ioane Naiveli.

Ms Waqanika says she and the CEO were sacrificed for the extension of Fiji TV’s licence but she says she is waiting to see how things pan out before deciding on legal action over her dismissal.

“You know Fiji TV has already suffered enough. It’s not Fiji TV’s fault. It’s two board members that acted outside the board resolution. If anything, it’s my preference that they pay us not the company.”

Tanya Waqanika says she has huge support among Fiji’s legal community over the affair.

Ms Waqanika says the dismissed pair were told two conditions had been set by the Minister of Communications Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum for the renewal of Fiji TV’s licence.

“The first condition (was for) Fiji TV to support a letter to World Rugby, whereby we give up our exclusiveness, to the World Rugby products, number two the Head of Content Tanya Waqanika’s employment contract to be terminated forthwith for no reason whatsoever.”

Ms Waqanika alleges Mr Sayed-Khaiyum lied in parliament when he denied he had forced Fiji TV executives to sign a letter supporting the sharing of the rights for World Rugby events.

RNZI

BUSINESS

29) Shortage Closes Kava Bars In Vanuatu Capital
Regular shipments from Pentecost suspended, prices soar

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Jan. 7, 2015) – A shortage of kava in Vanuatu’s capital Port Vila has forced more than half of its kava bars to close.

Commercial vessels suspended their regular services to the island of Pentecost, Port Vila’s main supplier, over the Christmas and New Year break.

More than 1,000 families in Port Vila who use kava as their main source of income, have been prompted to open their own kava bars.

Some kava farmers living on Efate have used the shortage to hike up their kava prices by 300 percent, selling it just under six US dollars a kilogramme.

Since its commercialisation in early 1980, kava has become a main source of income for people in rural areas.

Pentecost is the country’s main supplier for both local and international markets.

The next shipment of kava from Pentecost is expected to arrive next week.

Radio New Zealand International

30) Decline in commodity prices will hit earnings

Source:

The National, Tuesday January 6th, 2015

THE Bank of PNG says if prices for some of the country’s main export commodities continue to decline, the country’s export earnings can be affected.
The bank’s November economic review states that if this happens and import demand continues to be strong, it will exert a downward pressure on the kina exchange rate.
In last month’s Commodity Market Monthly, the International Monetary Fund also reported a fall in world commodity prices by 5.9 per cent as a result of a sharp drop in oil prices.
Crude oil prices plunged by 10.7 per cent, reflecting increased market supply and expectation of continued surplus supply by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, following its decision to maintain the 30 million barrels per day production target.
Metal prices fell by 0.3 per cent due to a reduced global demand as a result of slowdown in demand from China and other emerging market economies.
On the other hand, agriculture prices rose by 0.4 per cent  for first time in seven months, mainly influenced by price increases in vegetable oils/meals and cereals, which offset price declines in meat and beverages.
In the domestic economy, the Bank of PNG noted a continued growth in economic activity with the continuation of construction of infrastructure projects, including sporting facilities in Port Moresby for the Pacific Games, and construction and maintenance of roads, health and education facilities.

INFRASTRUCTURE

31) Districts top road facilities in province

Source:

The National, Tuesday January 6th, 2015

THE Imbonggu and Nipa-Kutubu districts have better road infrastructure in the province, according to Southern Highlands works committee chairman Robert Dobo.
Dobo told members of the Southern Highlands provincial assembly during a recent meeting in Mendi that Imbonggu district was the leading district in the province with 56 of its feeder roads being funded, followed closely by Nipa-Kutubu with 40.
He said Kagua-Erave district had 28 of its roads funded and maintained, followed by Ialibu-Pangia and Mendi districts.
He said of the 157 feeder district roads in the province, about 1500 kilometres were funded by the respective joint district planning and budget priorities committees.
Dobo said the provincial government had so far rebuilt 40 of the 46 roads in the province, covering about 900 kilometres. He said there were 55 Government bridges and 65 provincial government bridges in the province. He said of the 16 airstrips, six had been closed.

32) Housing scheme to continue

Source:

The National, Tuesday January 6th, 2015

THE O’Neill Government’s K200 million a year housing scheme will continue this year, Finance Minister James Marape says.
Marape said yesterday he did not know how many people had applied in 2014 when the scheme was launched but K200 million of seed capital had been placed with Bank South Pacific.
He said there was no additional K200 million allocation for this year as the amount announced last year by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill would be carried on into 2015.
“We had intended to put a
similar allocation in this year’s budget, but we did not, and will pick up again in 2016,” Marape said.
“The intention was for us to allocate money, in partnership with BSP, and we’ve now received indication from other banks that they want to partner us.
“This is for first-time home buyers in Papua New Guinea.”

33) MP gives K1m to clan to build roads, connect power

Source:

The National, Tuesday January 6th, 2015

HAGEN MP William Duma yesterday presented K1 million to a local clan to build roads and connect electricity to their area.
He gave the money to the Panael Community Development Association, which was formed by the Moge Nambuka clan of Mt Hagen, Western Highlands. Duma, who is Transport and Infrastructure Minister, presented the cheque at Wipmul in front of a huge crowd.
The money will be used to build roads and connect electricity into each community from the Palimp one and Palimp two council wards.
“My vision and dream is the delivery of basic services to the people,” Duma said.
He added that health, education, roads, water supply and other basic services were important for development.
“My electorate is facing all these services and I’m willing to support any development that is taking place in the electorate,” the MP said.
“I’m willing to fund all the association groups in my electorate because they will play a very important role to deliver services.”

34) O’Neill: Fix highway

Source:

The National, Tuesday January 6th, 2015

PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill has called for immediate repairs to sections of the Highlands Highway to allow people to move freely on good roads.
He said the National Executive Council would discuss the declaration of an emergency and a call-out for the Defence Force Engineering Battalion to make urgent road repairs and upgrading.
O’Neill inspected the highway from Mendi to Lae last weekend.
He warned contractors to carry out their jobs properly or face legal consequences.
“The time for talk is over, we have had enough consultation and negotiation and people who use the highway expect action,” he said.
“I have seen with my own eyes the problems that continue to undermine the movement of people and goods along the Highlands Highway.
“I am extremely disappointed that critical sections of the road are not maintained and this needs to be addressed immediately.  We have now identified a series of problems and contractors are being ordered to get repairs done immediately.
“Where contractors cannot or will not take action, the Government will deal with them through legal channels. In some areas we will look to our engineers and soldiers in the Defence Force to come and get this highway moving effectively.”
As part of repairs, the 40-metre corridor mandated for the highway will be enforced. And he advised people who have settled illegally in the corridor to move away before work starts.
“The Government will always address genuine landowners with genuine claims, but we will not tolerate claims that are unnecessary and are putting the public at distress when they travel up and down the Highlands Highway,” he said.
“It is the people’s right to travel freely and on good roads and this Government will make sure that happens.”

35) Marijuana Arrests In Fiji Part Of New Strategy Of Deterrence
8 arrested, more than 2,000 plants destroyed

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Jan. 7, 2015) – Eight people have been arrested in Fiji and more than 2,000 plants believed to be marijuana have been seized after drug raids in the country’s north.

The police say those arrested have been kept in custody for questioning.

The Chief of Operations Assistant Commissioner Rusiate Tudravu says plant analysis is now being done immediately after a raid so charges can be laid and suspects brought to court without delay.

He says the new strategy is to deter people from taking part in the illegal trade.

The police say raids will be conducted throughout the five police divisions this month.

Radio New Zealand International

WESTERN LAW&ORDER 

36) PNG PM Wins First Round Of Leadership Tribunal Challenge
O’Neill can amend original summons, add parties to the case

By Adrian Mathias

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Jan. 7, 2015) – Prime Minister Peter O’Neill yesterday won the first round of the court challenge on his referral to the leadership tribunal on allegations of misconduct in office.

The National Court granted Mr O’Neill leave to add members of the leadership tribunal as party to the case and to amend an originating summons he had instituted on November 20 last year against the Public Prosecutor.

In that proceeding, Mr O’Neill sought a declaration that the Public Prosecutor was not entitled to refer the alleged misconduct in office against him to a leadership tribunal.

He also sought a permanent injunction to restrain the Public Prosecutor from referring the matter to such a tribunal.

Also on November 20, 2014, Mr O’Neill filed a notice of motion seeking an interim injunction to restrain the Public Prosecutor from referring the matter to the tribunal and, an order referring a question of constitutional interpretation and application arising from the proposed referral, to the Supreme Court under section 18(2) of the Constitution.

Mr O’Neill stated in his application for leave on Monday that the amendment of the originating summons in the terms he had proposed would facilitate a more expeditious determination of the real questions raised by the proceedings on the constitutionality of the Public Prosecutor’s decisions relating to referral of alleged misconduct in office to the tribunal and the jurisdiction of the tribunal to inquire into that matter and avoid the prospect of multiplicity of proceedings.

Justice David Cannings upheld these submissions by Mr O’Neill and ordered that:

The members of the leadership tribunal set up and headed by a retired New Zealand judge Sir Peter Blanchard and members retired Australian Federal Court judge John von Boussa and Justice Salatiel Lenalia are added to the proceeding as second defendants with first defendant, Public Prosecutor Pondros Kaluwin; and

Leave is granted to Mr O’Neill to amend the originating summons filed on November 20, 2014.

The parties will return to court today at 1.30pm to make submissions on the substantive case.

PNG Post-Courier

37) Former New Caledonia President Faces Criminal Trial
Martin accused of favoritism in awarding telecom contracts

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Jan. 6, 2015) – A former New Caledonian president, Harold Martin, is to face trial in the criminal court for alleged favouritism in granting telecommunications contracts.

The charges relate to irregularities in the awarding of contracts worth millions of dollars when Mr Martin was the board chairman of the publicly owned OPT telecommunications company.

The case goes back to 2010 when Mr Martin and other board members queried the tax relief on offer to a bidder for the new 3G network.

This led to investigations which established previously undisclosed links between Mr Martin and another bidder.

As a result, a police investigation was launched in late 2011 which has now led to the matter going to court.

Radio New Zealand International

 TRIBAL LAW+ 

38) PNG Official: Witchcraft Allegations Creating Internal Refugee Crisis
Many women, children have been forced to flee villages

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Jan. 6, 2015) – Witchcraft allegations are forcing so many women to flee their villages in Papua New Guinea that one local government worker says it is creating a refugee problem.

Recently there were reports about four women and 13 children in danger after being identified as witches in the Hewa language area of Enga province.

At the time, a Lutheran missionary in PNG’s Highlands, Anton Lutz, said he knew of at least 25 women killed over the past 10 years after being accused of sorcery in the region, with no arrests being made.

The women were in a region so remote it would take a flight and a three-day hike to reach.

Ruth Kissam, a youth coordinator for the Western Highlands provincial government, said some groups were trying to send help.

“I believe the churches are coming together on this, trying to send teams in, but the [police] response to me was they do not have funding to be able to go in,” she said.

Ms Kissam told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat the police and government had to step in to deal with what she insisted was a national crisis.

“This place is very isolated and there is no police presence in the area – they have a council, but the council are also local people from the area who believe in witches and all that, so basically you wouldn’t have any people on the ground that would be impartial.”

She said local authorities needed support from the national government.

“They aren’t able to do anything right now. Unless they are able to get something, try to get the commissioner and the people higher up to respond to this as a matter of national urgency.”

Ms Kissam said the belief in sorcery and witchcraft was spreading and destroying communities and that many people were fleeing their villages, something “totally unheard of” in their culture.

“There are lots of people right now within the Hewa-speaking region, [fleeing their villages] … simply because of accusations and they know they will be killed.

“So in a way, you have sanguma [sorcery] refugees.”

Ms Kissam said the belief in witches and sorcery was spreading across the country.

“The worst thing is new beliefs are popping up – in places like Enga province, which is now quite a hotspot.

“The [belief in witches] had never been there before, but now they’re becoming some of the worst perpetrators right across the country,” she said, adding that they were responsible for killing Kepari Leniata in February 2013.

“Most of the targeted women are people with no male relatives to stand up for them or people living on fringes of society.”

Radio Australia

CLIMATE CHANGE,CONSERVATION & ENVIROMENT

39) Weather office monitors low pressure systems

Source:

The National, Tuesday January 6th, 2015

THE National Weather Service is monitoring two systems which may develop into tropical depressions and affect the country.
One is in the Coral Sea at the tip of Queensland and the other is over the Solomon Islands, which are developing into low pressure systems. The system over the Solomon Islands is likely to move into the southeastern Solomon Sea and may form into a tropical cyclone just outside the border with PNG tomorrow, (Wednesday), around 10am.
The system at the tip of Queensland will move into the Coral Sea and may form into a tropical cyclone on Thursday morning. Both systems are currently being monitored. Associated with these systems are expected heavy rainfall over the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, Milne Bay Islands, Northern, Gulf and Central.
Accompanying northwest monsoon surges over these areas should be expected throughout the rest of this week as the systems continue to evolve. As the northwest monsoon (wet) season peaks around February, statistics in the past show that most tropical cyclones form during January and February.
The weather office has advised sea travellers to heed warnings and monitor weather updates.

40) Climate Change Could Inundate Parts Of Torres Islands
Within a few decades areas could be uninhabitable

By Nance Haxton

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Jan. 5, 2015) – Rising seas around the Torres Strait Islands could leave part of the region uninhabitable within a few decades, a report warns.

The Torres Strait Regional Authority created a climate change strategy to prepare for the possibility that some of the region’s islands would be inundated by projected sea level rises of between 50 and 100 centimetres over the next century.

Chairman Joseph Elu said fresh water supply and housing were also under threat.

“Some of our islands are fairly low lying and communities are built on the foreshores,” he said.

“With the predictions that are being made now, they will all be under water in 100 years.

“But obviously the high tides that are happening this time of year, some of them are being inundated now.”

Mr Elu said a joint federal and state government project rebuilding sea walls around six of the region’s inhabited islands was helping, but a more comprehensive plan for the region’s future was needed.

“On a couple of our islands the tides rise over the sea walls onto the beachfront and it flows under the houses and out the other end,” he said.

“The strategy at the moment is to try and save the infrastructure that is there now, which means trying to raise sea wall levels.

“But in the long run there has to be a long-term plan that we’ll hopefully develop in the next few months.”

Mr Elu said some of the islands were already being impacted – such as Sabai and Boigu.

But others that are low lying, such as Masig, will almost certainly go under water unless comprehensive plans are made for their long-term future.

He said the greatest danger was that residents’ drinking water would be contaminated by incoming seawater.

“Water supplies, that’s the main thing we’re trying to look after. The last option I suppose is relocation but most of the island people don’t want to do that,” he said.

“We’re looking at different styles of housing that will cater for that, that can be moved or lifted up if necessary.

“There are islands that won’t be affected in the sense that there’s hills there, but the communities themselves are on the foreshore, so we’ve got to move some of those people up onto the hills, as the foreshore might go under too.

“But some of the islands’ [residents] have nowhere to go,” he said.

Radio Australia

MINING,AGRICULTURE,FISHERIES+

41) Solomons Government Defends Mining Lease Revocation
Opposition questions dismissed as ‘naïve’

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Jan. 6, 2015) – The Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet has described the statement by the Office of the Leader of Opposition questioning the Democratic Coalition for Change Government’s revocation of Bingtang Borneo’s mining lease for Rennell-Bellona Province as naïve.

A statement from the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet said it is important for the Office of the Leader of Opposition to understand that the decision for the issuance of a mining lease to Bingtang Borneo for Rennell-Bellona Province was made by Minister for Mines and Energy of the National Coalition for Rural Advancement Government when it was in the caretaker mode.

“The statement by the Office of the Leader of Opposition shows the little the Opposition Leader and his officers understand about decision-making at the political government level.

“Whenever a new government takes office, it has right to review the decisions of the previous government to see if they are appropriate and in line with its policy direction.

“If it sees it inappropriate and contrary to its policy objectives, then it has the discretion to revoke them.”

The statement from the Prime Minister’s Office stated that in this case, the decision by the then-Caretaker Minister to award a Mining Lease to Bintang Borneo on September 9, 2014 without the Mineral Board’s deliberation and approval effectively means that the Mining Lease was null and void.

“This position by the Mines and Minerals Board on the invalidity of the Mining Lease was readily conveyed to Bintang Borneo by the Director of Mines with clear instructions to the company to remove all its machines and equipment from the site.”

The statement said the decision by the Minister for Mines and Energy, Samson Maneka to revoke Bingtang Borneo’s mining lease was made after he was briefed by his ministry officials on the position of the Mines and Minerals Board.

It said upon the rescinding of Bingtang Borneo’s mining lease, the Minister directed his Permanent Secretary to work on a Cabinet Paper to enlighten the DCC Government on the issue of prospecting boundary overlap saga to decide on the best way forward.

Solomon Star

SPORTS

42) Aussies pick our Siaka

Source:

The National, Tuesday January 6th, 2015

BARRAMUNDI batsman Lega Siaka has created history by being the first Papua New Guinean to be named in the Australian Prime Minister’s XI to take on England in a limited overs fixture in Canberra next Wednesday.
The selection of the dynamic opener sees him playing alongside some of the biggest names in Australian cricket with Twenty-20 specialist Glenn Maxwell, New South Wales fast bowler Pat Cummins and former Australian Test batsman Michael Hussey the stars in the side. Hussey will captain the side in the annual fixture at Manuka Oval.
Siaka, who scored a century in his country’s debut ODI series against Hong Kong in November, is part of the Melbourne Renegades rookie list for the Big Bash T20 competition.
He has yet to play a game this season but that could change with a strong showing against England next week. Siaka’s father Siaka Lega said yesterday he was overjoyed with his son’s recognition.
“This is another achievement for Lega and I was so happy for him.
“I spoke to him this morning and he’s really excited.
“I told him to make the most of his chance,” Lega said.
Cricket PNG high performance manager Rarua Dikana, pictured, said they knew Siaka was on the Cricket Australia radar, having been invited to a CA Junior Talent camp at the Centre of Excellence in Brisbane last July.
“Obviously, we’re very happy for Lega.
“He’s been on a East Asia-Pacific scholarship for some time now.
“He’s played a lot of club cricket in Australia, toured with the Barramundis and been invited to several Cricket Australia junior training camps last year, and that was the process that set him up for selection,” Dikana said.
Siaka became the first Papua New Guinean to hit a one-day century, scoring 109 against Hong Kong in Townsville last November.
Before that he hit 112 against Namibia at the ODI World qualifiers in New Zealand last February.
Siaka averages 70 with the bat but he has only played two ICC-sanctioned matches.
“This match is a special fixture on the Australian cricketing calendar and a magnificent tradition,” Australia’s chairman of selectors Rod Marsh said.
“Mike Hussey will lead the team well and is a great drawcard, as is local boy Jason Behrendorff, who has been in fantastic form this summer across all three formats.
“Fans will be looking forward to seeing Pat Cummins and Glenn Maxwell in action.
“Pat has been in excellent form, bowling fast for the Sydney Thunder this summer, while Glenn can electrify the crowd with his daring and aggressive stroke play.
“We are excited about 22-year-old batsman Lega Siaka, contracted to the Melbourne Renegades in the Big Bash League.
“Lega scored a century for PNG in their first ever ODI series in November, when they defeated Hong Kong, and he is a confident young batsman who will excite the fans. His selection highlights PNG’s growth as a cricketing nation.”
Siaka has been playing for Essendon in Melbourne’s grade cricket this season, and was signed last month as a community rookie by the Renegades.  ACT opening batsman Matt Condon is in the Prime Minister’s XI, while local player Mac Wright will be 12th man.
Prime Minister’s XI: Michael Hussey (capt), Cameron Bancroft, Jason Behrendorff, Matt Condon, Pat Cummins, Jake Doran (wk), Peter Handscomb, Simon Mackin, Glenn Maxwell, David Moody, Lega Siaka, Mac Wright (12th man).

43)  Local women’s rugby league needs funding

Source:

The National, Tuesday January 6th, 2015

PAPUA New Guinea Women’s Rugby League is in need of funding to run training camps to prepare for upcoming domestic and international events, an official says.
For the first time women’s rugby league programmes, both national and international, will be included in the 2015 official PNGRFL calendar.
Women’s league is given two International events, a home and an away and a rollout programme will soon be introduced for the first time this year.
PNG Women’s Rugby League executive director Wendy Kohun said they had selected a 20-woman national squad but are waiting for funding from corporate sponsors before they can announce the team.
Kohun said they’re aiming to tour New Zealand this year once funding is available to undergo a training camp and pay for travel expenses.
She has proposed funding from business houses and corporate sponsors and is still awaiting their response.
“We have a long way to go in terms of developing women rugby league in the country.
“A lot needs to be done on training camps and materials. Women’s league needs support from sponsors because rugby league is the national sport,” she said.
Kohun thanked PNGRFL chairman Sandis Tsaka and his hardworking board for including women’s league programmes in the 2015 official PNGRFL calendar. – pngloop

www.voiceofmelanesia.com

Leave a Reply

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