Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1060 ( Thursday 8 January 2015 )


1) Search for 11 people missing at sea in PNG

8 January 2015

Papua New Guinea authorities are searching for 11 people, including three children, missing at sea near Madang since Tuesday last week.

The newspaper, The National, reports the group left Baluan Island in a 23-foot dinghy and were expected to arrive on Pana Island outside Madang town on Wednesday.

The acting director for the Disaster and Emergency Office, Rudolf Mongalee, says relatives reported the matter after the group did not arrive.

Mr Mongalee says Madang police officers are being sent out to sea to search for the boat.

He says the latest phone call and signal zone made by those on the boat is being traced, and funds are being made availiable for an aerial search.

Mr Mongalee says the group may be drifting towards Wuvulu Island, but the flow of tides are being checked with assistance of the National Marine Safety Authority.RNZI

2) Progress Made To Resolve Solomons, Fiji Air Services Dispute
Foreign Ministers hold first meeting since Solomons election

By Eddie Osifelo

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Jan. 8, 2015) – Minister of Foreign Affairs, Milner Tozaka on Wednesday discussed the long standing air impasse with his Fijian counterpart Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, in Honiara.

The long-drawn air services impasse between the two countries has irked the travelling public since last year.

Mr Tozaka earlier told the Solomon Star 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.

Yesterday, the visiting Fiji Foreign Minister met with Mr Tozaka during which the two reportedly discussed the problem.

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.

Mr 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 breached 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 is operating a direct return service between Honiara and Nadi, which started on Christmas last year.

The intervention had relieved the travelling public, most of whom were being 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

3) Police, Soldiers To Assist PNG Power Collect Overdue Accounts
State of emergency declared to facilitate actions

By Isaac Nicholas

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Jan. 8, 2015) – Police and soldiers have been called out under state of emergency powers to help electricity services provider PNG Power collect hundreds of millions of kina it is owed.

The two-month joint operation, effective from today, will cost K4 million.

The National Executive Council yesterday decided on this course of action to recoup more than K200 million owed by both the public and private sectors and individuals.

It invoked the state of emergency provisions on all electricity services nationwide to address the electricity issues and bring in reforms which would include a major overhaul of PNG Power.

Public Enterprises and State Investment Minister Ben Micah said Cabinet had invoked the Essential Services Act, giving him control of all powers in relation to electricity services and power regulation and related services from the PNG Power board and management and IPBC under the SOE regulations.

He has appointed former Defence Force chief of staff Colonel Tom Ur as controller and Teika Tefetau as deputy and an advisory committee led by IPBC acting Secretary Clement Waine.

Using the emergency powers, Mr Micah, among other things, had:

Halted all travel and expenditure by PNG Power until approved by him;

Directed that services of all consultants and advisers be terminated forthwith;

Given illegal power and producers and users 48 hours to report to PNG Power or have their power disconnected. Those generating, supplying and using illegal power will be arrested and charged;

Instructed advisory committee to review the electricity tariff structure;

Instructed that all IPP arrangements be halted except those that have been effected and that all new IPP projects be tendered; and

Instructed the advisory committee to look into appropriate measures for the payment of electricity bills and collection of outstanding bills from governments departments, SOEs and agencies, private companies and individual consumers.

Mr Micah said he has consulted widely, including the Police Commissioner and PNG Defence Force commander and will work with the advisory group appointed by Cabinet.

“The Government has taken into serious consideration the concerns and outcry of our people and the business and corporate community and the image of our country and has made this decision,” Mr Micah said.

He warned that any person, groups or bodies that is a barrier or intends to disrupt the exercise of this emergency or disobeys lawful directives will face the full force of the emergency laws.

Hospitals and schools and institutions that are deemed to be of strategic and security interest of the State would be given due consideration under the emergency law.

He said the police and military will be used where and when necessary to exercise their duties under the emergency law and urged all to cooperate with relevant authorities and work together.

PNG Post-Courier

4a) Vanuatu daily news digest | Big changes at VBTC

by bobmakin

The most interesting news of today, certainly for the media, came from VBTC and had the Acting GM, Fred Vurobaravu, saying that the broadcasting corporation is trying to have installed 5 transmitters of 1 kilowatt in each of the country’s main centres – the Banks, Santo, Malekula, Tanna and Efate. This is intended to increase coverage throughout the country. The government PRO Kiery Manassah would head the task force to review the VBTC Act of Parliament, the GM said. The team would advise the government on the provision of digital TV to the islands. The process of re-structuring VBTC had already taken place, the GM said, and the review team is finalizing its report to the Prime Minister for the acquisition of a soft loan or supplementary budget to pay out staff before they enter a new contract to work for the Corporation. Over 20 staff will take early retirement along with those who have volunteered to finish their employment.

4b) Welfare assistance for 20,400

Ana Madigibuli
Thursday, January 08, 2015

ABOUT 20,400 families in Fiji are taking advantage of the Government’s social welfare assistance provided through the Poverty Benefit Scheme and Care and Protection Program.

A Government statement highlights that the social welfare office in Valelevu has served 1725 social welfare clients in Nasinu in just two days.

The statement said the Nasinu office also served 677 senior citizens who were 70 years-old and abover through the Social Pension Scheme.

A total of 1344 senior citizens and persons living with disabilities in Nasinu area alone were also assisted through the Bus Fare Subsidy.

One of the recipients of the Poverty Benefit Scheme, Ms Rajwanti Kaur was assisted with a $60 monthly allowance and will now receive a $50 food voucher.

“I sincerely thank the government of the day for assisting senior citizens and underprivileged families in Fiji through the social welfare programs,” Mr Kaur said.

Seventy two year-old Debi Chand of Nasinu has been relying on social welfare assistance for the past three years.

“Three of my children have been married and got their own families to look after, so it’s just me and my wife, we live together in Nasinu. If it wasn’t for the assistance, we would have struggled to make ends meet, but I am glad that the food voucher is now $50,” Mr Chand said.Fijitimes


5) Calls for new Tonga government to save tourism

8 January 2015

The Tonga Tourism Association is calling on the new government to help grow the industry, which it says has stagnated because of the previous government’s lack of action.

Its president, Saia Moehau, says the former government had weak tourism policies and did not effectively work with the sector.

Mr Moehau says the government must form a stronger partnership with the private sector for the tourism industry to grow and the economy to strengthen.

“The previous government, it has just been talking, talking, no action. Most of the tourism businesses are going almost underwater right now, because there are so many problems, interest payments in the banks are too high and most of them cannot afford. The last government, they didn’t really care about the tourism industry.”

Saia Moehau is also asking the government to appoint a new tourism minister.

He says while he respects the newly appointed Dr Pohiva Tu’i’onetoa, he does not have any experience in the tourism sector.RNZI

6) Defamation Case Brought By Former Tahiti President Deferred
Flosse allegedly defamed in book about journalist’s disappearance

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Jan. 8, 2015) – A defamation case brought against two French journalists in French Polynesia has been deferred and may now be heard on March the 17th.

Fabrice Lhomme and Gerard Davet, who have been working for Le Monde, were due in the criminal court in Papeete for allegedly defaming the territory’s former president, Gaston Flosse.

However, their French-based lawyer was reportedly unable to make it to Tahiti.

The case centers on a book the two wrote in 2013 about Flosse and the 1997 disappearance of a Tahiti journalist, Jean Pascal Couraud.

Flosse’s lawyer says the judiciary has never involved Flosse in the probe of the Couraud affair.

The president at the time of the disappearance, Flosse swore in the territorial assembly in 2004 that he had never ordered anybody’s death.

The head of Flosse’s disbanded GIP militia, Leonard Puputauki, still faces a murder charge over the journalist’s disappearance.

A Tahiti appeals court dropped related murder charges against two GIP employees, Tino Mara and Tutu Manate, although kidnapping charges stand.

Radio New Zealand International

7) New American Samoa Delegate Sworn In To U.S. Congress
Aumua Amata Radewagen is first woman to represent territory

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Jan. 8, 2015) – Aumua Amata Radewagen has been sworn in as American Samoa’s delegate to the US Congress.

She took two oaths of office, one with colleagues on the House floor and earlier a ceremonial swearing-in by House Speaker John Boehner in his Office.

Aumua who is the first woman to hold American Samoa’s seat in Congress said she was elated.

“It’s a very humbling experience, I am just in awe by everything and just to be here at the tip of the leadership in the United States. I thank God and I thank the people of American Samoa for giving me this opportunity to serve them.”

Aumua replaces long time delegate for American Samoa Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin who served 13 terms.

She is expected in the territory this weekend to meet with the Governor and Fono leaders to discuss issues affecting American Samoa they want her to focus on.

She will also give a report on her first week in office.

Radio New Zealand International

8) Real Tonga Airlines Plane Detained, Grounded After ‘Incident’
Jetstream made emergency landing on one engine with 19 on board

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Jan. 7, 2015) – A Jetstream (J32) aircraft operated by the Real Tonga Airlines has been detained and grounded this afternoon after making a full emergency landing at Fua’amotu airport at mid-day today, in what was the second serious aircraft incident for the airline in less than a week.

The Jetstream carrying 19 people from Vava’u to Tongatapu landed with one engine.

Tonga’s new Minister of Infrastructure, Hon. ‘Etuate Lavulavu this afternoon ordered that the aircraft “be detained and grounded” indefinitely until a complete report of the incident is submitted to the Ministry by Real Tonga Ltd.

Hon. ‘Etuate Lavulavu said he was at the airport when the aircraft landed, and he was informed by an engineer of the Real Tonga Airlines about a problem with the aircraft.

He said that after the aircraft left the Lupepau’u Airport, Vava’u after 10:00 am this morning, one of the two engines was not functioning properly, and as a result the two engines were heating up and the plane was loosing power.

For a safety measure, the two pilots, New Zealanders, Simon Peter J. Butler and Athol Aaron M. Isaac, decided to switch the troubled engine off and fly the aircraft with only one engine.

‘Etuate said that though it would have been closer for the aircraft to either return to Vava’u or to try and land at Pangai, Ha’apai, but for a full emergency landing they concluded that it would be safer to try and get to Fua’amotu Airport.

‘Etuate said that the 19 people on board were scared but were very happy that they landed safely.

The cause of the engine failure has yet to be identified.

The 20 year old aircraft has been leased by the Real Tonga Airline during the past six months from an Australian company.

With regards to a demand by ICAO for the Tongan Civil Authority to upgrade its aircraft certification process and its Civil Engineering Competency, ‘Etuate said that ICAO officials were due to arrive in Tonga on 15 January.

Matangi Tonga Magazine

9) Theology students under scrutiny

Thursday, January 08, 2015

APIA – The Congregational Christian Church of Samoa is for the first time checking criminal records when screening new students for the church’s Theological College.

The chairman of the Elders Committee or Komiti a le ‘au Toea’ina, the Reverend Elder To’ese Peleti To’ailoa, revealed the decision after screening 17 new students.

He says during the four-year period of studies, church leaders had found some of the students they had accepted had criminal records.

The health of students was also being taken into account.

The chairman said physical work could be quite heavy for students, and those with possible heart problems must be cleared by a medical report.

The church also decided to adopt a zero-tolerance policy for students found drinking alcohol.

Previously, students found drinking were suspended for two to three years, but Mr Elder To’ailoa said the termination of studies was now the only option.


10) US EPA Wants ‘Full Accounting’ Of CNMI Utility’s Funds
CUC projects, planning need to be publically disclosed

By Ferdie De La Torre

SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, Jan. 8, 2015) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency believes it is time to conduct a full accounting of funds or potential funds of some Commonwealth Utilities Corp. projects.

EPA, through U.S. Department of Justice Environmental Enforcement Section senior attorney Bradley R. O’Brien, stated that the accounting request is not an academic exercise but a reckoning that is necessary to reveal the extent of the funding that will be available to the Engineering and Environmental Management Company, which is necessary for EEMC’s future planning, and CUC’s attempt to shift funding responsibilities to the detriment of the EEMC and to the benefit of CUC.

Read more: Saipan Tribune


11) Australia assists disaster management office

Mere Naleba
Thursday, January 08, 2015

Update: 4:01PM THE Australian Government has given the National Disaster Management Office communication equipment.

While handing over the equipment today, the acting Counsellor Regional Development for the Australian High Commission in Fiji, John Morley said the equipment should assist NDMO staff in carrying out their duties during a cyclone or natural disaster.

The communication equipment is worth A$17,000 or around $27,830 in Fijian currency.Fijitimes


12) Woning long taim nogut long PNG bihain 10 pela pipol i lus long solwara

Updated 8 January 2015, 14:20 AEDT

Caroline Tiriman

Ofis blong National Weather long Papua New Guinea i askim ken ol pipal long noken go raon long solwara na stap isi long despla taem blong ol bikpla ren, win na tam nogut.

Odio: Director blong PNG Nasenal Weather Sevis Sam Maiha i toktok
Director blong PNG Nasenal Weather Sevis Sam Maiha i mekim despla toktok bihaenim ol ripot olsem moa long tenpla pipal iwok long lus iet long ol solwara long Madang provins.

Ol otoriti iwok long traem painim iet ol despla pipal, eitpla bikman-meri na tripla pikinini, tasol ikam inap nau oli no painim ol iet.

Toktok blong Mr Maiha  i kamap tu long wan kaen taem we ol bikpla ren iwok long kamapim ol heve long New Guinea islands rijan wantem tu Bougainville.

Despla ol bikpla ren iwok long kamapim planti heve tu long Solomon Islands na Vanuatu.Radio Australia


13) Tony Abbott: « c’est une atrocité absolue »

Mis à jour 8 January 2015, 16:34 AEDT

Caroline Lafargue

En Australie comme dans le reste du monde, la tuerie de Charlie Hebdo provoque une vive émotion. La communauté française organise des rassemblements à Melbourne et à Sydney ce soir.

« Il a tiré le premier. » dit le terroriste. En anglais, c’est le même mot – to draw: tirer ou dessiner. L’auteur du dessin est le caricaturiste australien David Pope.
« C’est une atrocité absolue. Malheureusement, nous pouvons nous attendre à une multiplication de ces actes car le movement de l’État islamique a déclaré la guerre au monde. Ce sont des gens qui nous haïssent, pas pour ce que nous avons fait, mais pour ce que nous sommes, et notre mode de vie. »

Le Premier ministre Tony Abbott a aussi indiqué que rien ne laissait penser qu’il y avait une menace terroriste imminente en Australie, après la tuerie de Charlie Hebdo. Mais, précise le gouvernement, le niveau d’alerte terroriste reste élevé.

En fin d’après-midi la communauté française d’Australie rendra hommage aux 12 victimes, aux 11 blessés, et manifestera son engagement pour la liberté d’expression… un rassemblement est organisé sur la place de la Fédération de Melbourne – tout le monde sera en noir- et un autre à Hyde Park à Sydney ce soir – tous les participants seront vêtus de blanc. Radio Australia


14) Fiji Looks Forward To Pacific Islands Forum Talks In Sydney
Ratu Inoke reiterates position: Fiji won’t rejoin unless changes made

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Jan. 8, 2015) – Fiji’s Foreign Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola says Fiji is looking forward to discussions in Sydney next month on Pacific regional groups.

A top-level meeting of Pacific leaders to review the structure of the region’s agencies was agreed by Australia and Fiji following Suva’s refusal to rejoin the Pacific Islands Forum.

Ratu Inoke has reiterated Fiji’s stance that unless there are some changes to the Forum’s make-up, Fiji will not retake its place at the table after its suspension was lifted in October.

“For example Japan had indicated their interest last year to become a full member, whilst also as a development partner and I’m sure Korea, the United States of America, France, China. So that is our position and we look forward to the meeting that’s going to be held in Sydney next month.”

Ratu Inoke Kubuabola has also reiterated Suva’s opposition to just Australia and New Zealand being development partners and members of the Forum.

Radio New Zealand International


15) Obama threatens

Thursday, January 08, 2015

President Barack Obama will veto a bill approving the controversial Keystone XL pipeline if it passes Congress, the White House has said.

It is the first major legislation to be introduced in the Republican-controlled Congress and a vote is expected in the House later this week. Spokesman Josh Earnest said the legislation would undermine a “well-established” review process.

The $5.4bn project was first introduced in 2008.

Mr Obama has been critical of the pipeline, saying at the end of last year it would primarily benefit Canadian oil firms and not contribute much to already dropping petrol prices.

Environmentalists are also critical of the project, a proposed 1179-mile (1897km) pipe that would run from the oil sands in Alberta, Canada, to Steele City, Nebraska, where it could join an existing pipe.


16) Team to probe Basundra Kumar’s suspension

Mere Naleba
Thursday, January 08, 2015

Update: 3:53PM A TEAM has been set-up by the Ministry of Education to investigate the circumstances surrounding the suspension without pay of the former Acting Permanent Secretary for Education, Basundra Kumar.

The announcement was made by the Acting PS for Education, Kelera Taloga who also agreed to accept Mrs Kumar’s decision to withdraw her resignation.

The investigating team consists of State solicitor Ropate Green, who is the chairperson of the committee, and deputy secretaries for education Kelera Vakaloloma and Krishna Prasad.Fijitimes


17) Former Fiji TV exec slams AG

8 January 2015

The sacked Fiji TV executive Tanya Waqanika says the Attorney General and Minister of Communications Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum should step down.

She says he should also be censured by the Law Society.

Ms Waqanika made the calls at a press conference in Suva yesterday with the former CEO Tevita Gonelevu who was also sacked last month.

They presented a time line of events leading to their dismissal in the wake of a battle over the sharing of World Rugby TV rights with rival FBC TV.

Mr Gonelevu and Ms Waqanika have also called for a Commission of Inquiry into the conduct of two board members and Mr Sayed-Khaiyum.

“You cannot be the Minister of Communications and make decisions which are favourable to FBC, knowing full well that what you’ve done is unethical, unlawful, to favour FBC which is headed by your brother. That’s just not right.”

Ms Waqanika says the Attorney General has been preaching about transparency and good governance but can’t follow his own words.

Ms Waqanika, who is a former Fiji Law Society board member, says the Law Society should take action and remove the Attorney-General’s law practising certificate.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum has not responded to a request for comment.RNZI.

18) Former Fiji TV execs’ claim dismissed

8 January 2015

A board director of Fiji TV Ioane Naiveli has dismissed claims by two former executives of the station that their sackings were illegal.

According to FBC news, Mr Naiveli says the contracts were terminated via a collective decision of the Fiji TV board.

Tevita Gonelevu and Tanya Waqanika were sacked last month during a controversy over TV rights to the World Rugby Sevens.

Mr Gonelevu, who is the former CEO of Fiji TV, says no proof was provided that the proper procedure was followed, when a board meeting should have been held and resolution made.

He also says contrary to claims by the Board’s chair, no settlement has been made over the dismissals.RNZI


19) Bribery Case Against Vanuatu Opposition Leader In Court
Carcasses accused of paying MPs to support no-confidence motion

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Jan. 8, 2015) – An alleged bribery case against Vanuatu’s opposition leader, Moana Carcasses, is expected to head the Supreme Court today, before a police investigation has been completed.

Today’s hearing follows an official complaint by the Prime Minister, Joe Natuman, asking the police to investigate allegations surrounding payments totalling over 300,000 US dollars by Mr Carcasses to 14 opposition MPs.

In November, Mr Carcasses and the 14 accused MPs were suspended from parliament after Mr Natuman complained that they had breached the leadership code.

The Supreme Court later overturned this decision.

Radio New Zealand International

20) New Caledonia’s Martin surprised at charges

8 January 2015

A former New Caledonian president, Harold Martin, has told a local newspaper that the charges brought against him follow inadmissible police methods.

Mr Martin made the allegation in an interview with the daily les Nouvelles Caledoniennes after being told that he is to face 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.

Mr Martin dismisses suggestions of any wrongdoing, saying if there has been any favouritism he would like to know where.

He also alleges that many magistrates have turned against France’s former president, Nicolas Sarkozy, and therefore some may have been annoyed that he is one of Mr Sarkozy’s friends.RNZI


21) Public sector dominates economies

Geraldine Panapasa
Wednesday, January 07, 2015

THE public sector has dominated the economy in many developing countries in the Pacific, owning a substantial portion of assets and crowding out private investment, says a progress report recently released by the Pacific Private Sector Development Initiative (PSDI).

PSDI, which was co-financed by the Asian Development Bank and Australian and New Zealand Governments, said the private sector was seen to have little or no role in the development of Pacific island countries until early 2000s.

“According to this view, encouraging growth and development rested squarely with the government and the public sector.

“Because of high prices, poor service, and low productivity, these sectors restricted economic development in the region,” it said.

PSDI said some regional constraints to private sector development included inadequate infrastructure, outdated business laws, burdensome regulation, limited finance for growth, and roadblocks to women’s economic advancement.Fijitimes


22) Vanuatu bribery case deferred until March

8 January 2015

Vanuatu’s Supreme Court has adjourned an alleged bribery case involving the opposition leader, Moana Carcasses, until March the 16th.

The case was put off as police investigations are yet to be completed.

The case follows an official complaint by the Prime Minister, Joe Natuman, who asked police to investigate allegations surrounding payments of more than 300,000 US dollars by Mr Carcasses to 14 opposition MPs.

Our correspondent says the adjournment is to give the public prosecutor, William Timakata, who was appointed to the role today, time to prepare a case.

The case has been adjourned until March the 16th.RNZI


23) Women participate in Barrick training

The National, Thursday January 8th, 2015

Four women were among 50 school leavers who passed out of a eight-month training at the Pogera gold mine last November.
Barrick Niugini Ltd, through funds from Ipatas Foundation, trained 30 of those students as heavy equipment fitters and the other 20 as metal fabricators and welders.
Regina Steven, from Wapenamanda, was one of the women.
She said she did not feel less than her male colleagues but admitted the thought of working as a tradesperson had never crossed her mind.
“I didn’t think I’d end up doing my practical here let alone learn how to control an overhead crane. I feel confident that with the skills I have gained, I can go anywhere to perform the task of a welder,” Steven said.
The students were taught in a variety of locations from heavy vehicle rebuild workshops to mill and processing sites as well as underground so that they can have a feel what it’s like to work as a team in a busy mine site.
They are required to meet the Barrick’s health, safety and environment requirements.
The Ipatas Foundation partnered with global recruiting company Orion Group to provide the training.
Orion supervisor Mono Maka who said the eight months of training was a short time but the students had learnt life lessons that they would need in the long run.
“The trainees go away with a better understanding of their responsibilities as individual persons within a work environment as well as their communities,” Maka said.


24) Weather forecast for Games good

The National, Thursday January 8th, 2015

FINE weather is forecast for the Pacific Games in July, according to the National Weather Service.
An officer said organisers and sports fans would be relieved that the Port Moreby weather should be fine during the Games.
Port Moresby will also be experiencing cool south-easterly breezy conditions in July.
The National Weather Service however recommends that water sprinklers in the city used to sustain its beauty by easing the dust pollution levels and ensuring the place continued to be green.
Water level at the Sirinimu Dam is expected to be normal based on current climate outlook for the next 12 months.
The NWS will continue to monitor the situation closely and the media will be updated on a monthly basis.

25) PNG retains post

The National, Thursday January 8th, 2015

OCEANIA Football Confederation president-elect David Chung called for a united effort to take soccer forward in the region.
PNG’s Chung, who has been OFC president since November 2011, was elected unopposed at the OFC Elective Congress held in Port Moresby yesterday.
“We will continue to grow the game through development programmes and to popularise football in the region through television, radio and new competitions, while creating pathways for our elite players and teams.
“We will strive to create revenue and become financially sustainable so that we can re-invest in developing the game and providing opportunities for our elite,” Chung said.
The 53-year-old outlined the proposals to aid Oceania on the international stage, stating his continued work with the FIFA president on gaining direct entry for OFC to the FIFA World Cup and FIFA Club World Cup; a second seat on the FIFA executive committee; and the provision of further financial assistance and programmes for OFC member associations in support of elite academies, centres of excellence, mentoring of coaches and the cost of participating in Oceania qualifiers for FIFA U17 and U20 events.
Chung called for a united front from the 11 OFC delegates in their endeavours.
“I will need your support to lead our confederation and enable us to grow the game, create pathways for our elite and generate income.
“This will enable us to be financially sustainable and create wealth to distribute to our member associations.
“These funds will be reinvested into football in each country.”
With his re-election as Chung becomes a FIFA Vice-President with immediate effect.
He will be officially presented to the Congress of FIFA on June 1.
Other matters addressed during the OFC Congress saw the unanimous endorsement of the 11 point plan to combat match fixing, which was adopted by the executive committee in November 2014.
The OFC executive committee sees just one new member join the newly elected group.
American Samoa’s Iuli Alex Godinet makes up the committee alongside Lee Harmon (Cook Islands), Rajesh Patel (Fiji), Laupama Solomona (Samoa), Barnabas Anga (Soloman Islands) and Lambert Maltock (Vanuatu).

26) Hohola offseason joins PNGRFL

The National, Wednesday January 7th, 2015

THE biggest offseason rugby league competition in the National Capital District, Hohola, is one of the new affiliates of the PNG Rugby Football League as of the deadline set by Southern Confederation on December 31.
Hohola’s offseason league has been hailed by the clubs and executives as it had produced some good players like former Kumuls Poka Kila, Mafu Kerekere, Gesau Gebob, Walter Taule and Aruai Patu.
Southern Confederation director Gwaibo Mairi and development officer Kila Vere, recognised the competition as an affiliate of the Southern Confederation, after discussions with Hohola Off-season League president Layton Mafu.
Mafu said his executives decided to affiliate to the national body as it was now one of the city’s major competitions.
He said being affiliated to the PNGRFL through the Southern Confederation would only benefit the players and the competition.
The other Southern affiliates are Port Moresby, Port Moresby Suburban, Central Premier League, Popondetta, Moresby-South, Kiunga, Wawii, Dibili, Daru, Keleone, Tauruba, Hall Sound Bay and Koiari.

27) EAP XI on the back foot against Queensland

The National, Wednesday January 7th, 2015

QUEENSLAND Country claimed first-day honours against East Asia-Pacific (EAP) on the opening day of the Australia Country Cricket Championships at Eaglehawk’s Canterbury Park, Bendigo, Victoria.
EAP reached 50/1 mid-way through the first session, before QLD Country hit back to dismiss their opponents for 146 inside the 59th over.
Opener Kipling Doriga of Papua New Guinea, 32, and compatriot and middle-order batsman Joel Tom, 34, were the pick of the EAP batsmen.
Medium pacer Brenton Edwards picked up 3-35 off 14 overs, while Shaun McCarthy, Trent Sorohan and Michael Salerno each chimed in with two wickets.
EAP will need to strike early tomorrow, after Queensland closed the day at 4-85 off 38 overs.
First drop Ben O’Connell remains unbeaten on 25 for QLD Country.
PNG’s Kabua Vagi Morea was EAP’s leading bowler, taking 2-21 off 11 overs.
In other opening day results, Victoria Country overcame a horror start to post a competitive total at Huntly’s Poyser Motors Oval. After collapsing to 15/5 in their round one, two-day match against New South Wales Country, the home state recovered before being bowled out for 234 after 93.3 overs.  But it was two local players who settled in to rebuild Victoria’s innings.

 28) Lautoka ready for snooker league showdown

Zanzeer Singh
Thursday, January 08, 2015

THE Lautoka Club will be a hive of activity on Saturday with the start of the Coastal Rentals/Foodhall Supermarket-sponsored North West Billiards and Snooker Association League competition.

All the eight affiliated clubs of the North West body will be at the venue for the opening round matches.

Hosts Lautoka Club with the likes of former veteran champion Philip Gock, former B Grade number one Vinesh Prasad, Ajesh Chand and Mohammed Imran will play Tavua Club.

Simla Snooker with Fiji number two Nitesh Chand and Navneil Maharaj will face Satya Narayan Raju’s Nadi Club.

Nadi Sports Club with Mahendra Deo and Rimal Narayan will face Ba Central which will include Ismail Wali and Ali Boy.

South Seas Club with Husmukh Chauhan, Isireli Kaci, Nitendra Michael and Raj Mani Pillay will play Sigatoka Club.

Association’s president Suresh Chauhan said the registration fee for each player would be $15.

“All registration fees will have to be paid before 10am on Saturday,” he said.

“A league committee has been set up and will deal with any appeal, protest and logistical issue.

“There will be a lot of rivalry but the code of conduct, snooker etiquette and good behaviour will have to be followed by the players at all times.

“The fixtures of the remaining rounds have been released and matches will be played on home and away basis.”

The league competition is being revived after many years.

The first round will start at 10.30am.Fijitimes

29) Coach: Socceroos must rise

Thursday, January 08, 2015

MELBOURNE – Coach Ange Postecoglou is demanding his Socceroos rise to the occasion of hosting the Asian Cup.

Postecoglou’s Socceroos open the tournament on Friday night against Kuwait in Melbourne, and he has left players in no doubt about his expectations.

Captain Mile Jedinak says after a dozen games in charge for just two wins, Postecoglou is increasing the pressure to perform on his players.

“Obviously when you first come in as a new coach you want to see what your squad can do and you want to implement a style,” Jedinak told AAP.

“And we have to get used to that style, absolutely.

“But as any good manager does, he expects players to perform. And has the bar been lifted? 100 per cent.

“You need to be challenged … it’s part and parcel of playing for your national team.

“If no one knew that before, they definitely know it now.”

After a day off training, the Australians return to practice yesterday with Jedinak echoing Postecoglou’s message of purely focusing on Kuwait.

“Being in situations similar to this before, you can never look too far ahead,” he said.

“Kuwait are the first opponents in front of us and then on to the next one.

“From what I have learnt throughout my career, that is a very good way of approaching things.”

30) Hayman set to retire

Thursday, January 08, 2015

TOULON, France – Former All Black prop Carl Hayman will retire before the end of the year after deciding against renewing his contract with French club Toulon.

The 35-year Hayman, who quit New Zealand after the 2007 Rugby World Cup and 45 caps, helped Toulon to two European Cup triumphs in 2013 and 2014.

He said yesterday he was prepared to keep playing until after the World Cup this year, if Toulon needed him as cover during the tournament.

Hayman has told local newspaper Var Matin that he has been hampered by back problems in recent months. “There is a life after rugby and I want to be able to keep playing with my kids in the garden.

“I would not like to be stuck on the sofa because I can’t do anything else.”

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