Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1065 ( Tuesday 27 January 2015 )

MELANESIA

1) Melanesia Spearhead Group To Establish Commercial Arm
Entity to ‘engage in income generating activities’

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Jan. 26, 2015) – The Foreign Ministers of the Melanesian Spearhead Group have agreed to the establishment of a commercial arm for the sub-regional body.

This follows a meeting in Vanuatu on Friday.

The Director of Operations at the MSG Secretariat, Jean-Pierre Nirua, says the new outfit will be called Melanesian Solutions and could become an important part of the MSG’s programmes.

“Once that entity becomes operational, there’s possibility maybe to set up branches in the member countries. Basically to engage in income generating activities to help sustain, the programs of the secretariat and of course the aspirations of the leaders and ministers decisions.”

The Port Vila meeting, which was chaired by Michael Forrest, who is the Permanent Secretary of New Caledonia’s FLNKS, was attended by the Foreign Ministers of Fiji, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands.

Radio New Zealand International 

2) Vanuatu reaffirms Melanesian decolonisation stance

27 January 2015

Vanuatu has reconfirmed its support for New Caledonia’s and West Papua’s decolonisation.

The Prime Minister, Joe Natuman, has told a heads of mission meeting in Efate that Vanuatu is committed to assist the two colonised Melanesian people to gain their independence.

Vanuatu is the only country to back the two pro-independence movements in the French territory and the Indonesian province.

Mr Natuman has asked the ambassador of Vanuatu at the United Nations, Odo Tevi, to assist with New Caledonia’s self-determination at the UN Committee of 24 in the lead-up to a referendum on possible independence due within three years.

Last year, the previous Vanuatu prime minister addressed the UN, asking why the world was turning a blind eye and closing its ears to the lone voices of the Papuan people, many of whom have shed innocent blood because they want justice and freedom.RNZI

3) Fight for freedom

Pngfm/Pacnews
Tuesday, January 27, 2015

PORT MORESBY – The Governor of Papua New Guinea’s Oro province, Garry Juffa has announced his stand in fight for a free West Papua.

The governor said the dilemma that the West Papuans were facing was a long- time issue that the government of Papua New Guinea and other Pacific Island nations needed to look into to help them achieve their quest for political independence from Indonesia.

Governor Juffa said West Papuans had been suffering brutal acts of the Indonesian government through its coercive state apparatus (police and army) who killed more than seven hundred thousand West Papuans since 1965 when the Dutch rulers handed them to be part of Indonesia upon advice from the Unite Nations based on a referendum which he said was not representative of the majority of the West Papuans.

He partly blamed the United Nations for not properly conducting that referendum and said that he has prepared a petition to the Secretary General for the UN to look into West Papuan Political Independence from Indonesia.

He says that West Papuans are part of the Melanesian family who deserve to be free and given their political freedom back and not to be suppressed.

He clarified his stance is not a gesture of aggression towards the Indonesian governments but a politically neutral move aimed at emancipating the West Papuan people from their dilemma inflicted upon them by the Indonesian army and to give the needed support to help them achieve their long sought desire to be an independent state.

Meanwhile, when asked for existing diplomatic talks between the PNG and Indonesia government on the issue, the governor said that as far as he was aware, there was no talks between the two governments on the West Papua issue.

4) Little progress in Papua shooting probe, says Amnesty

 26 January 2015

The Indonesia researcher for Amnesty International says there is little sign of progress being made in the investigation into five students who were killed by the military in West Papua.

In December, security forces opened fire on about 800 protesters gathered outside a police station in the town.

Five people were killed, and at least 17 others — including children — were injured.

Josef Benedict says three investigations were launched and the President, Joko Widodo, condemned the shootings.

Photo: Amnesty International

However, he says little progress has been made since then.

“We know that there have been investigations initiated by the authorities, but again we are concerned that those investigations will again be swept under the carpet like many other investigations, leaving the victims without any access to reparations or justice.”

Josef Benedict says international pressure needs to be put on Jakarta, and a more independent investigation is needed into the shooting, as currently the military and police are investigating the military and police.RNZI

5) Bougainville Islands New:27 January 2015/Dawn Fm.

a) 220115CHIEF SECRETARY ARRIVES
BY JENNIFER NKUI

The new chief secretary for Bougainville Monovi Amani arrived today to a warm welcome at the Buka Airport from department secretaries of the Bougainville Administration and member for Hagogohe constituency Peter Sohia.
When welcoming back home the new head of the Bougainville public service, Mr. Sohia said the people of Bougainville expect the chief secretary to move the Bougainville public service miles ahead and knowing his background the chief secretary is sure to install mechanisms that will put Bougainville through the process of referendum.
In response, Mr. Amani said it is really a privilege to be back home and he believes that the people of Bougainville have been waiting for too long to acquire the benefit of government services.
He added by saying that the public service has to wake up and deliver.
The new chief secretary went on further to say that the public service needs to allow the people of Bougainville to be serious partners in the development of Bougainville because we know better.
He pointed out that different communities have different priorities but as head of the public service, Mr. Amani wants to see a public service that will stand with the government.

Posted at 08:38 AM in ABG News

b) 260115SIRIOSI LAYS OUT WEAKNESSES IN THE SYSTEM
BY JENNIFER NKUI

The outgoing acting chief secretary Chris Siriosi today laid out the weaknesses that are present in the Bougainville administration or public service system.
When giving his remarks at the official swearing in ceremony of the new chief secretary, Mr. Siriosi pointed out that there is weakness in internal revenue collection, management of finances is a weakness and a few other processes related to the management of the public service.
But he is of the firm belief that with the law in place, the public service can now look forward to overcoming those difficulties as the control is now with the ABG and the ABG systems and not with the National government systems.
Mr. Siriosi then stressed that if we fail to achieve our objectives and aims, we have no one to blame but ourselves.
However, the outgoing acting chief secretary is confident that we will still succeed despite the mentioned shortfalls.


c) 260115PRESIDENT THANKS SIRIOSI, WELCOMES AMANI
BY JENNIFER NKUI

President of the Autonomous Bougainville Government chief Dr. John Momis has thanked the outgoing acting chief secretary Chris Siriosi for a job well done under difficult situations.
When giving his keynote address during the official swearing in of the new chief secretary to the Autonomous Region of Bougainville Monovi Amani today, the president assured Mr. Siriosi that the government has an important role for him to take up and use his experience, knowledge and commitment to serve the people of Bougainville.
He added by congratulating the outgoing acting chief secretary for assisting the government in achieving benchmarks that are important in our journey of self determination.
On that same note, chief Momis also congratulated and welcomed the new chief secretary Monovi Amani and thanked him for his acceptance of the offer to take on a difficult and challenging role to lead the public service under the direction of the ABG.
The president then assured the new chief secretary that the political leadership is committed to ensure that the public service has the necessary ware withal, financials, tactical and other resources necessary to implement to the full policy decisions and legislations made by the elected government of Bougainville.

d) 260115IORO UNITED WINS JOMIK CUP
BY JENNIFER NKUI

The 2015 Jomik Cup which ended on Saturday afternoon saw Ioro United walking away with the 2015 Jomik Cup trophy and the first place money of K10, 000.
The grand final match which was between Ioro United and Destiny Rangers was a close game but Ioro United proved to be too strong for home ground team Destiny Rangers.
With a crowd number of 12, 000 people, the Hutjena Oval was packed as Bougainvilleans came to support their teams during the grand final match.
As the whistle signaled the end of the match, the score stood as 3-2 in favour of Ioro United.
Ioro United or Panguna Metals as is known by everyone, proved to be the best soccer team out of the 32 teams that participated in the tournament.
The 2015 Jomik Cup turned out to be the biggest tournament of the year because teams that participated in the tournament came from the Southern tip of mainland Bougainville and all the way to the northern tip of Buka Island.

e) 240115 CANDIDATES WARNED

By WINTERFORD TOREAS

THE intending candidates for this year’s Autonomous Bougainville Government General Election have been warned not to be involved in conducting early campaigning.
According to the Acting Bougainville Electoral Commissioner, George Manu, those caught will be taken to court for their illegal action.
Mr. Manu is therefore calling on the intending candidates not to be involved in conducting early campaigning as it is illegal and they can be taken to court for doing this.
He said candidates are only allowed to do so after nominating following the issue of writ.
Mr Manu had issued this warning following reports received that certain intending candidates had already started their campaign drives.
The acting electoral commissioner is also appealing to the intending candidates to ensure that their names are registered on the common roll before the issue of writ.
Meanwhile, the Acting Bougainville Electoral Commissioner revealed that the updating of the Common Roll for the 2015 ABG General Election will commence this week and he will be traveling to Port Moresby to collect the enrolment forms from the PNG Electoral Commission.
These forms will then be given to the council of elders in each constituency to conduct the enrolments.
The Bougainville Electoral Commission together with the executive managers of each district in Bougainville will be assisting and supervising this exercise to get more eligible voters registered.

f) 220115PARLIAMENTARY SERVICES CANNOT AFFORD SERVICES

BY JENNIFER NKUI

The Autonomous Bougainville Government Parliamentary services is suspected to be bankrupt or out of money because it cannot make outstanding payments for services rendered by service providers.
A disappointed Hendry Onsa made this statement in an interview with New Dawn Fm yesterday.
He revealed that his outstanding payment of K122, 000 has not been paid to him as yet for services rendered in 2014 and some of his invoices date back to 2009.
He added that as a result of outstanding debts, PNG power has also cut electricity flow to the parliament house, resulting in the House being out of electricity for the last three weeks.
Mr. Onsa is therefore calling on the ABG Speaker to come clean and start paying outstanding payments to all service providers.
He added that he is disappointed with the Bougainville government and the current speaker for not making outstanding payments for services rendered to the House.
The ABG parliamentary services could not be reached for comments.

6) Vanuatu daily news digest | 27 January 2015

by bobmakin
  • Radio Vanuatu today leads with the alleged police mutiny case of some years ago being delayed until next month following confusion as to who really is the Prosecutor in the matter. VBTC went on to quote RNZI saying Acting Public Prosecutor John William Timakata arrived in court Monday to find New Zealander Christopher Griggs ready to take the case. Griggs was said to be appointed last August by the then Acting Public Prosecutor to prosecute the case against former Commissioner Joshua Bong. Two weeks ago, Griggs was declared a prohibited immigrant. The Attorney General, however, says no work permit as such would have been required of Griggs as he was hired to provide a particular service, not as a government employee. Former Commissioner Bong had filed a complaint against Griggs saying he was not registered to practise law in Vanuatu. The case will now be heard on 13 February.
  • And the official opening of the Vanuatu Supreme Court will be on Friday at the Sarabetu church of the Churches of Christ. It might be hoped the Chief Justice would have a comment on the matter of the Prosecutions process regarding Griggs along with a further plea for a new court building.
  • Both newspaper and Radio Vanuatu have carried comment on the Mautoa hill questionrelevant to the sale of quarry material. Further information will be sought The radio report of today does not exactly answer the newspaper allegation of yesterday.
  • Yesterday’s Post carried news of new marine environment protection for the Lelema people of North Efate, Devil’s Point to Havana Harbour. Unlicensed fishermen will be prosecuted.
  • Radio Vanuatu made it clear today that it was indeed broadcasting on only two frequencies, FM100 and 3945 short wave. It was suggested that thus all could hear it. This is only true if they have retained much more expensive equipment to cater for shortwave when many only now hold small AM or FM units. VBTC is trying to bring back all transmission services. It was good, however, to hear the BBC at 7 am today for some 25 minutes on Radio Vanuatu.
  • The Port Vila cemetery has new lighting and the Municipality hopes to build a chapel there in future. It is also investing in coffin production – to raise revenue.

7) Vanuatu daily news digest | PM Natuman outlines 2015 priorities

by bobmakin

  • The good news days for the journalist are coming, just as the Vanuatu diplomats from all posts have arrived. More likely because they have arrived, and for them to learn of Government objectives and policies and to urge their support at their remote locations for what carries forward as the values of Vanuatu at Independence and still held and relevant today. Prime Minister Natuman outlined Government policy to them Monday at their retreat at Pele, North Efate. Daily Post carries the detail, concentrating firstly on the renewed Vanuatu commitment to Independence for New Caledonia and West Papua. Diplomatic relations continue with Indonesia, said PRO Kiery Manassah, and Vanuatu will therefore continue to address the coloniser on the matter of West Papuan self-determination. Top priority for Vanuatu for 2015 will be to increase allocations for the productive sectors – fisheries, agriculture, forestry, livestock and quarantine to “generate an export base to help boost revenue.” Secondly there is an increased allocation to the industry sector: co-operatives, ni-Vanuatu business and the department of tourism to boost relations between trade and tourism development and again to increase export capacity. Third is a priority to have lands registered in compliance with the laws of the country. And in social policy priorities, as well as increasing resources to the National Health Service, Vanuatu will merit a National Population Policy, at last. The Daily Post goes on to describe the road projects, wharf projects for Luganville and Vila, rural electrification and the Port Vila Urban Development Project – along with Port Vila’s Bauerfield Airport over-laying. Eight senior diplomats from Beijing, the UN, Canberra, Fiji, New Zealand, New Caledonia and Shanghai were present for the opening. The Brussels ambassador was expected to arrive later. DGs and departmental directors are also present for the meeting which ends tomorrow.
  • A further Vanuatu daily news digest follows later.

8) Vanuatu daily news digest | Australia’s huge aid package

by bobmakin

Australian High Commissioner Jeremy Bruer’s Australia Day address was a well received and impressive statement of the contribution of Vanuatu’s major development partner.

It was good to have figures put on aspects of the assistance to education given by Australia. However, the most important statistic has possibly not reached the final audit stage – the sheer cost of sending many of the country’s children to school in 2014. School grants to primary schools to enable families to send their children to school is so important under the Vanuatu Education Support Program, and likely more expensive than the highlight of 2014 – the practical school-based further training of 700 primary teachers. However, the shared nature of of education assistance possibly makes it impossible to ascertain how many kids were educated by Australia last year.. Suffice to say, a lot.

High Commissioner Bruer’s address is attached. A normal Vanuatu daily news digest follows later today.

150123 Australia Day 2015 High Commissioner’s speech-1.pdf

9) Fiji expected to announce nuclear test compensation

27 January 2015

Fiji’s government is expected to announce this week that veterans of British nuclear weapons tests at Christmas Island will be compensated.

The Fiji Sun says Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama will make the announcement on Friday, and will bring to a close a decades-long campaign for compensation for health effects related to the nuclear testing.

In 1958, more than 70 Fijian soldiers were sent to Christmas Island, which today is part of Kiribati, to assist in the weapons tests.

The veterans claim they have suffered serious illness as a result of radiation, including cancers and deformities in their children.RNZI

POLYNESIA

10) Tonga Speaker Gives Up Right To Appoint Committee Chairman
Lord Tu‘ivakan’;s proposal for Ministers to head committees rejected

By Pesi Fonua

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Jan. 25, 2015) – The surrender by the Speaker, Lord Tu’ivakano of his right to appoint the chairmen of the eight Parliamentary Standing Committees, and the approval by the House of Semisi Sika to be the Chairman of the Whole House Committee, were two controversial decisions that parliament approved in its first formal session of the Tongan Legislative Assembly on Thursday, 22 January.

Semisi Sika, People’s Representative for Tongatapu No. 2, has not attended parliament because of ill health. He was not sworn in when members took their oath on 19 January, and he was not in the House to accept his appointment when he was nominated by Veivosa Taka to become the new Chairman of the Whole House Committee.

Semisi was the sole nomination for the position and it was approved by the House in his absence, though the Speaker commented, “…hopefully he will not get more ill when he hears that he has been made the Chairman of the Whole House Committee.”

Standing Committees

The Speaker presented his list of the Chairmen and the Members of the Standing Committees. Lord Tu’ivakano elaborated why he thought it was essential for Cabinet Ministers to chair these committees.

Lord Vaea, however, with the support of the Minister of Police, Hon. Pohiva Tu’I’onetoa disagreed, arguing that having Cabinet Ministers as a Chairmen of committees meant that, undoubtedly, committees would be in support of government decisions.

There were no further discussions as the Speaker surrendered his right to appoint the Chairmen of Standing Committees, leaving it for members of the committees to select their own chairmen.

So when the House closed on Thursday, 22 January uncertainty remained over the new Chairman of the Whole House Committee and the chairmen of the eight Standing Committees.

Parliament’s Retirement Fund Board

However, the House managed to form the Parliament’s Retirement Fund Board, chaired by Hon. ‘Aisake Eke, the Minister of Finance, with members Hon. Pohiva Tu’i’onetoa, Lord Fusitu’a, Lord Tu’iha’angana, Mateni Tapueluelu and Vili Hingano.

Speaker’s List

The Speaker’s original list of the Tonga Parliament’s eight Standing Committees was

Standing Committee on Finance. Chairman – Hon. ‘Aisake Eke, Minister of Finance. Members: Hon. Poasi Tei, Semisi Sika, Lord Nuku, Auditor General, Lord Tu’ivakano, Hon. Tevita Lavemaau and Lord Tu’ilakepa.
The Standing Committee on Law. Chairman – Hon. Sione Vuna Fa’otusia, Minister of Justice. Members: Lord Tu’i’afitu, Lord Tu’ivakano, Hon. Saia Piukala, Lord Fusitu’a, Lord Nuku and Mateni Tapueluelu.
Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade. Chairman – Hon. ‘Akilisi Pohiva, Prime Minister. Members: Lord Tu’i’afitu, Lord Tu’ivakano, Hon. Pohiva Tui’onetoa, Vili Hingano, Hon. Semisi Fakahau, Lord Tu’ilakepa and Lord Ma’afu.
Standing Committee on Social Affairs. Chairman – Hon. Fe’ao Vakata. Members: Lord Tu’ivakano, Lord Vaea, Vili Hingano, Hon. Semisi Fakahau, Penisimani Fifita, Veivosa Taka and Hon. Dr Saia Piukala.
Standing Committee on Agenda. Chairman – Lord Tu’ivakano. Members: Lord Tu’i’afitu, Hon. ‘Akilisi Pohiva, Hon. Siaosi Sovaleni, Semisi Sika and Lord Tu’iha’angana.
Standing Committee on Environment and Climate Change. Chairman – Hon. Siaosi Sovaleni. Members: Lord Tui’afitu, Lord Tu’ivakano, Hon. ‘Etuate Lavulavu, Samiu Vaipulu, Hon. Dr Saia Piukala, Lord Tu’iha’angana and Veivosa Taka.
Standing Committee on Parliamentary Privileges. Chairman – Hon. Sione Vuna Fa’otusia. Members: Lord Tu’i’afitu, Lord Tu’ivakano, Lord Tu’iha’angana, Samiu Vaipulu and Mateni Tapueluelu.
Standing Committee on Agriculture. Chairman – Hon. Semisi Fakahau. Members: Lord Tu’ivakano, Lord Tu’i’afitu, Penisimani Fifita, Lord Nuku, Lord Tu’ilakepa, Hon. Pohiva Tui’onetoa and Vili Hingano.

Matangi Tonga Magazine

11) Samoa PM Tells Associate Minister To Resign From Party
Tuilaepa demands Tu‘u‘u ‘stop asking stupid’ questions in parliament

By Lance Polu

APIA, Samoa (Talamua, Jan. 26, 2015) – After telling him to stop asking stupid questions, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi told the Associate Minister of Education, Tu’u’u Anasi’i Leota to resign from the ruling Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP).

The Prime Minister was making a point of order on comments made by the Opposition Party whip Lealailepule Rimoni Aiafi on an amendment to the Samoa National Provident Fund’s Act dealing with the payment of the death benefits to contributors.

The amendment increases the time for members to be eligible for the death benefit from 1 month of employment to 2 years.

Lealailepule called the amendment a backward step after 40 years of the funds existence.

Tu’u’u then questioned the MP if he knew how many contributors have died within their first month of employment that has prompted the Government to increase the entitlement period to 2 years.

As the Minister of Customs and Revenue in Tuilaepa’s last Cabinet, the PM was irritated that Tu’u’u still does not know that he was out of order. Then he said that the back bencher has not been a member of the ruling HRPP for a long time and that he should hand in his resignation.

Tu’u’u is one of the former cabinet ministers who have been persistent in pushing for the recommendations of the Parliamentary Committee Report on the Auditors Report to be pursued including legal action against those found of collusion and corrupt practices. The report resulted in the former Minister of Finance stepping down in a late night parliament session last May.

The Governments’ response to the Reports recommendation was tabled last Friday and generally acknowledges that the recommendations have been implemented.

Last year, the backbencher was reported in the media that he was going to set up a new political party but later denied his comments saying it was meant to be a joke and the media should have known better.

There were reports of a HRPP Caucus meeting this afternoon to discuss Tu’u’u’s fate.

Talamua

12) Japan To Fund $30 Million Apia Port Enhancement
Port safety at Matautu wharf to be improved

By Brendan Kim Quintos

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, Jan. 25, 2015) – With the finalisation of the draft outline Design Report and the signing of the Minutes of Discussion (M.O.D.) for the “Enhancement of the safety of Apia Port” project, port safety at the Matautu wharf has received a much-needed boost.

The assistance, worth US$30million (T$70m), is being provided by Japan.

The signing was held on Friday at the Prime Minister’s Office between the government of Samoa and the government of Japan, represented by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (J.I.C.A).

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi signed on behalf of Samoa. Representing Japan was the Mission Leader for the Project, Yoshimoto Koyanagi.

The design which has been given the thumbs up will enhance the safety of operations carried out at the Matautu wharf.

The project is focused on three main components:

First, to ensure ship manoeuvring safety;
Second, to ensure ship berthing and mooring safety;
Third, to ensure cargo handling operation and passenger traffic safety.

The repair of tug boats and the repair and improvement of navigation aids is part of the first component.

The second component of the project includes the extension of new wharf, rehabilitation of fenders and the improvement of mooring facilities.

While the third component includes the rehabilitation and improvement of container yard, separation of passenger and cargo flows, alteration of usage of oil tank (combustible goods to incombustible goods storage) inside the container terminal and the rehabilitation of access road. Japan and Samoa will finalise and sign the project Grant Agreement around mid-year in 2015. The construction work is expected to start in January 2016. It is expected to be completed by September 2017.

Samoa Observer

13) Original Cook Islands Proclamation Restored
Fragile document gets UNESCO recognition


RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, Jan. 26, 2015) – “Painstakingly delicate,” explains Cook Islands Library and Museum Society secretary Jean Mason, of the recent preservation treatment to The Proclamation ‘E Tuatua Akakite 1891’ document that saw her accompanying the historical document to New Zealand in order to prolong the document’s shelf life.

“Getting it registered was one thing; getting it restored was another.”

The Proclamation, the original document recording the British declaration of a Protectorate over some of the Cook Islands, was successfully registered on the UNESCO Memory of the World Register in early 2014 and in its decaying condition was identified by a Memory of the World Committee for Asia/Pacific (MOWCAP) panel expert as needing restoration treatment.

“Our tropical climate is devastating to old books and documents and The Proclamation was no exception,” says Mason, “It was brown with age, crumbling when handled and the text on it was fading away.”

Frail and nearing extreme deterioration, The Proclamation document underwent over eight hours of intense restorative treatment in the hands of New Zealand-based archives conservator David Ashman, to ensure it would last well into the next century.

“If looked after and kept out of UV light, water and fire, the document should last another 200 years,” says Mason.

The process began by first removing the document from its highly acidic backing board, to which it had been glued over 60 years ago. Then the document was soaked in a solution of calcium hydroxide.

After that it had to be very carefully removed from the solution.

“This is the most delicate part of the process,” says Mason.

The document was then repaired using hand-made glue, applied to fine tissue, and using fingers and tweezers, was attached to the document’s gaps and tears.

“This too is an awkward stage as some of the pieces of tissue are tiny. Also, further moisture is being added to the document so application is very delicate.”

The document also underwent a dry cleaning process of light brushing and delicate sponging to remove any loose particles.

This was done using a soft brush and vulcanized rubber sponges.

After the dry clean process the embossed stamp on the paper appeared more visible.

Ensuring one of the few surviving rare articles of the Cook Islands is properly preserved has been an integral step in ‘bringing the project over the MOWCAP finish line’, says Mason.

“The document is not only significant because it formalises the beginnings of our acceptance as a nation, it is also significant because it reveals to us today the difficult choices our then leaders had to make to protect their people.”

Cook Islands News

MICRONESIA

14) Saipan casino development takes further step

 26 January 2015

The construction of Saipan’s casino in the Northern Marianas is a step closer with the signing up of the team that built Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands.

The licenced company, Best Sunshine International, has hired Matthew Pryor of Tenman Project Management Holdings to build the 7.1 billion US dollar project.

Mr Pryor has also overseen the construction of casinos in Macau, and says he is knows Best Sunshine’s CEO Mark Brown.RNZI

15) Delayed Guam Museum Set To Open Later This Year
$27 million project funded by Hotel Occupancy Tax


By Malorie Paine

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Jan. 27, 2015) – The Guam Museum, which was supposed to have opened in December, is slated to open by the third quarter of this year, said Guam Economic Development Authority project coordinator Larry Toves.

The $27 million project is being funded through the Hotel Occupancy Tax bond.

GEDA is working with Inland Builders, the project contractor, to complete the construction as soon as possible.

Less than half of the overall construction has been completed to date, Toves said.

Construction on the walls and roof of the theatre and the slab for the main building is slated to begin next month, he said.

Nearly 1,500 cubic yards of cement has been poured thus far, he said.

Though the project completion date has been pushed back, Toves said, the Guam Museum will still be within the allotted budget of $27 million.

Foundation problems

The site where the museum will be located was once swampland in the Hagåtña area, according to Guam legislative records.

Issues with pile foundations, which are concrete columns driven into the ground to support a structure that would be built on weak soil layers, caused the delay, Toves said.

“It has taken time to bring the piles into compliance with the specifications and requirements,” Toves said.

Original destroyed

An earlier Guam Museum was built in 1932, but was destroyed during World War II, according to Pacific Daily News files.

Some of the artifacts from the museum were dispatched for safekeeping to other museums and private collectors around the world, news files state.

The new museum will be called the Guam and Chamorro Educational Facility.

Pacific Daily News 

16) Partial Victory For Both Sides In Palau Uighur Case 
Most claims against ex-President Toribiong dismissed

By Jose Rodriguez T. Senase

KOROR, Palau (Island Times, Jan. 26, 2015) – The Trial Division of the Supreme Court, on Friday, January 23, 2015, handed granting partial victory for both sides in the long-running Uighurs case that was originally filed during the time of former Johnson Toribiong.

The Court, through Associate Justice Kathleen Salii, handed down an Order granting in part and denying part the Plaintiffs’ and Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment.

The ruling dismissed all claims of over-expenditure except for the claim of over-expenditure in 2009 under Section 406 of 40 PNC.

The other claims for over-expenditure in 2009, 2010, and 2011 were all dismissed.

In the same ruling, Salii scheduled for February 26, 2015 a status conference on the case.

Read more : Island Times 

17) Palau Closely Monitoring Foreign Fishing Vessels In EEZ
Technology identifies numerous vessels transiting, fishing in country

By Jose Rodriguez T. Senase

KOROR, Palau (Island Times, Jan. 26, 2015) – Palau is monitoring foreign fishing vessels transiting through its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) with assistance from the “Project Eyes on the Sea”.

The “Project Eyes on the Seas”, which was recently launched by the PEW Charitable Trusts, is a novel technology designed to help authorities monitor, detect, and respond to illicit fishing activity across the world’s oceans.

The Pew Charitable Trusts is an independent non-profit, non-governmental organization (NGO), founded in 1948.

With over US $5 billion in assets, its stated mission is to serve the public interest by “improving public policy, informing the public, and stimulating civic life”.

The technology analyzes multiple sources of live satellite tracking data and then links to information about a ship’s ownership history and country of registration, providing a dossier of up-to-the-minute data that can alert officials to suspicious vessel movements.

Read more : Island Times 

TOK PISIN

18) Ol West Papua pipal i regista long joinim MSG

Updated 27 January 2015, 14:41 AEDT
Caroline Tiriman

Wanpela laen blong West Papua National Liberation Front istap nao ia long Port Vila blong mekem aplikesen blong kamap memba blong Melanesian Spearhead Group.

Mausman blong Front, Benny Wenda itok ol i hop long rejistarem aplikesen blong ol long MSG Secretariat long Port Vila long naba 15 long March dispela yar.

Mr Wenda i tok ol i strongpela tingting ol MSG lida bai wanbel long larim West Papua i kamap memba long miting blong ol long Solomon Islands bihain long dispela yia.

Em i tok West Papua National Liberation Front i laik joinim  MSG bihain long olgeta pipol blong West Papua i stap bungwantem long nabawan taim long histori blong ol.

Em i tok sampela liklik laen husat i sapotim Indonesia tasol i agensim dispela unity we ol i kapaim long bikpela miting blong ol long Vanuatu long December.Radio Australia

19) PNG Hanuabada pipal i kros iet long Polis

Updated 27 January 2015, 15:15 AEDT

Caroline Tiriman

Polis long Port Moresby  itok oli go hed iet long mekim ol wok painimaut long dai blong tupla man blong Hanuabada vilis.

Odio: Caroline Tiriman i ripot long trabal i kamap long Hanuabada vilis bihaen long oli sutim tok long polis i kilim tupla pipal long vilis

Polis long Port Moresby long Papua New Guinea itok oli go hed iet long mekim ol wok painimaut long dai blong tupla man blong Hanuabada village long Fraide long wik  igo pinis.

Oli sutim tok long polis ibin iusim ol gan na kilim despla tupla man bihaenim ol kros namel long ol pipal huat ibin salim buai na ol council ofisas.

Dai blong despla tupla man long han blong polis i kamap bihaen long dai blong wanpla yangpla mama long Lae long New Years Eve we oli sutim tok tu long polis long kilim em.

Ol pipal blong Hanuabada vilis i wok long kros na oli wok long pasim iet ol bikrot namel long LNG plant long Napanapa na siti blong Port Moresby long wonem oli no wanbel long despla kaen pasin em oli sutim tok long polis i mekim long kilim despla tupla man.

Oli sutim tok long polis long iusim ol guns blong ol na sutim ol man, meri na pikinini bihaenim kros long buai.

Despla emi no nupla taem we oli sutim tok long polis i kilim nating ol pipal blong PNG, long stat blong despla mun wanpla polisman long Lae, ibin sutim dai wanpla yangpla mama bihaen long emi bin stap long wanpla pati long makim new year 2015.

Esther Igo blong Women arise PNG i askim wonem taem tru na PNG Polis i stopim despla kaen pasin blong ol.Radio Australia

20) Transparency Vanuatu i laikim ICAC long paitim korapsen

Updated 23 January 2015, 16:22 AEDT

Sam Seke

Transparency International Vanuatu i lukim wanpela indipendent agensi we i gat paua long putim ol korap lida long kalabus. 

Odio: Chairman blong T.I.V, Dr Willie Tokon i toktok
Transparency International Vanuatu itok bai gutpela tru sapos Vanuatu igat wanpela Independent Commission Against Corruption ol i save kolim tu long ICAC.
 
Chairman blong T.I.V, Dr Willie Tokon i tok wanpela bodi olsem ICAC bai help long daunim ol korap pasin insait long gavman sistim long Vanuatu.
 
Em i tok kain independent bodi olsem we igat paua long prosekiutim ol korap pipol long gavman, i pruvim pinis em i save wok gut long sampela kantri.
 
Dr Tokon i tok Transparency International Vanuatu ibin tokaut pinis long dispela tingting long wanpela wokshop we ol politisan ibin stap insait long pinis blong 2014.Radio Australia

 FRENCH

21) Australia Day: jour de deuil ou jour de fête?

Mis à jour 26 January 2015, 17:54 AEDT
Caroline Lafargue

Aujourd’hui c’est le 26 janvier, jour de la fête nationale. L’Australie commémore l’arrivée de la première flotte de colons britanniques dans la baie de Sydney, le 26 janvier 1788. 

Des Australiens indigènes ont défilé dans les rues de Sydney aujourd’hui, pour « la journée de l’Invasion ». Un chef aborigène a réclamé un traité pour reconnaître le droit à la terre des Aborigènes. (Credit: ABC) 
Cette journée est marquée par de multiples traditions en Australie: par exemple les paris sur la course de cafards à Brisbane, ou la course des ferries dans la baie de Sydney.
 
Chaque année, le gouvernement anoblit des personnalités qui ont rendu service à la collectivité. Ils prennent alors le titre de chevalier ou de dame. Cette année, Tony Abbott a choisi, entre autres, le Prince Philip, le mari de la Reine Elisabeth II. Une décision tournée en ridicule par les réseaux sociaux, où beaucoup se demandent pourquoi le gouvernement n’a pas anobli une personnalité australienne. Tony Abbott: 
 
« La monarchie fait partie intégrante de la vie des Australiens depuis 1788. Et le Prince Philippe a fait beaucoup pour l’Australie et pour les autres pays du Commonwealth et je suis ravi que notre pays puisse ainsi le remercier pour ce qu’il a fait pour nous. » 
 
Le Prince Philip a créé la version australienne sa fondation pour la jeunesse, la fondation du Duc d’Edimbourg. 
 
À l’opposé de cette Australie qui manie les codes de la monarchie britannique, il y a celle qui considère le 26 janvier, non pas comme la journée de l’Australie, mais comme celle de l’Invasion. Comme chaque année, il y a eu des défilés dans les grandes villes australiennes, pour protester contre la colonisation. Pour eux, c’est un jour de deuil, qui marque le début de la fin pour les peuples aborigènes. 
 
Aujourd’hui la cheffe du Parti Vert, Christine Milne, a demandé au gouvernement d’accélérer le processus de reconnaissance des peuples aborigènes: 
 
«  J’appelle le Premier ministre, Tony Abbott, à sortir de son monde de chevaliers et de dames, et au lieu de consacrer son énergie à décorer le Prince Philippe, à mettre toute son énergie dans la campagne pour la reconnaissance des aborigènes et des indigènes du Détroit de Torrès dans notre Constitution. » 
 
Le gouvernement Abbott a décidé d’organiser le référendum le 27 mai 2017, jour du 50ème anniversaire anniversaire d’un autre référendum historique: celui de 1967, qui a mis fin aux lois d’exception pour les Aborigènes, et les a intégrés dans le recensement national de la population. Avant 1967, les Aborigènes avaient un statut équivalent à la faune et à la flore australiennes.Radio Australia

22) Brèves du Pacifique – lundi 26 janvier 2015

Posté à 26 January 2015, 17:41 AEDT
Caroline Lafargue

Le Groupe Mélanésien Fer de Lance veut se doter d’un bras commercial, pour financer ses programmes. 

Le Groupe Mélanésien Fer de Lance est une institution politique. Elle va aussi devenir une entreprise. L’organisation veut se doter d’un bras financier et commercial, sans préciser quelles seront ses activités commerciales. Objectif: générer des revenus pour financer une partie des programmes du Groupe mélanésien. L’annonce a été faite vendredi lors de la réunion du Groupe Mélanésien Fer de Lance à Port-Vila. . 

  •  Le Samoa américain inaugure sa nouvelle conserverie de thon. Elle a été construite par de TriMarine, le groupe américain spécialisé dans la fourniture de thon à l’industrie agroalimentaire. Le gouverneur samoan américian et le PDG de TriMarine, Renato Curto, ont nettoyé des thons devant les cameras. Pour l’instant, la nouvelle conserverie emploie 300 Samoans, mais à terme, elle en embauchera 2000. Radio Australia

WORLD

23) Slow pace for growth in China

Reuters
Tuesday, January 27, 2015

JACK Ma, executive chairman of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding, isn’t worried about slowing Chinese economic growth, he told a meeting of business and political leaders in Davos, Switzerland.

“If China still keeps 9 per cent growth of the economy there must be something wrong. You will never see the blue sky. You will never see quality. China should pay attention to the quality of the economy,” he said in a question-and-answer session at the World Economic Forum.

China’s economy grew 7.4 per cent in 2014 — the slowest pace in 24 years, Government data released on Tuesday showed.

The slowdown follows 30 years of red-hot double-digit percentage growth that has lifted millions of Chinese out of poverty and transformed the country into the world’s second-largest economy.

But the rapid expansion has also polluted the country’s air and water, opened up huge income inequalities and saddled the nation with ominous debt levels, leading policymakers to change tack and abandon the pursuit of growth at all costs.

Alibaba, the world’s biggest e-commerce company, made its market debut in late September after a $US25billion ($F50.57b) initial public offering that ranked as the largest ever.

The firm is planning a major move to win US business this year.

24) India banks on stores

Reuters
Tuesday, January 27, 2015

INDIA is betting that mobile phone vendors, fuel stations and corner stores can help it put basic banking within the grasp of hundreds of millions of its poor people living beyond the reach of traditional bank branches.

The clock is ticking down to a February 2 deadline for applications to set up so-called payments banks under new rules that would allow successful bidders to offer services such as remittances and deposits, but not loans.

The regulations announced by the central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), reflect a realization that traditional banks alone can’t achieve the objective of financial inclusion championed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In a four-month campaign to end “financial untouchability”, Modi has opened 115 million new bank accounts.

Yet of those, 80 million have no money in them, underscoring the huge challenge he faces in delivering on his promise.

25) End to impasse

Afp
Tuesday, January 27, 2015

NEW DELHI – US President Barack Obama and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi have hailed a new era of friendship between the world’s two largest democracies, as they broke the deadlock on a long-stalled nuclear pact.

After greeting Mr Obama with a bear hug as he stepped off Air Force One on Sunday, Mr Modi then trumpeted the “chemistry” with his fellow leader on the first day of a three-day visit to the Indian capital.

Mr Obama, whose administration treated Mr Modi as a pariah until barely a year ago, said their new “friendship” reflected a natural affinity between the two countries.

Both are looking for a counter-balance to a rising China.

While there were no major policy announcements apart from the unblocking of the nuclear agreement, Mr Modi said Mr Obama’s decision to become the first US president to visit India twice while in office had huge symbolic importance.

“Relations between countries depend less on full stops and commas and more on the relationships between leaders … the chemistry between them,” Mr Modi told a joint press conference.

“Barack and I have struck up a strong friendship … this chemistry has not just brought me and Barack closer but also brought Washington and Delhi — and the people of our countries — closer together.”

After opening his remarks with a few words in Hindi, Mr Obama also hailed the “personal friendship” with his counterpart.

26) Church to consecrate first female bishop

Bbc
Tuesday, January 27, 2015

THE Church of England will consecrate its first female bishop during a ceremony at York Minster later.

The Reverend Libby Lane, 48, will be ordained as the new Bishop of Stockport, in what she says will be a “profound and remarkable moment”.

It comes after the general synod — the Church’s law-making body — voted to support the plans in July and formally adopted legislation in November.

The issue has continued to prompt divisions between some Anglicans.

Mrs Lane — who has been vicar of St Peter’s Hale and St Elizabeth’s Ashley, in Greater Manchester, since April 2007 — is expected to be consecrated in front of more than 1000 people.

27) Winter Storm Juno: New York, New Jersey brave ‘historic’ blizzard as thousands of flights cancelled

Updated 27 January 2015, 14:00 AEDT
By North America correspondent Lisa Millar, wires

Tens of millions of people in the north-east of the United States have been warned to stay indoors as a life-threatening winter storm approaches.

Winter Storm Juno is expected to dump around a metre of snow in parts of the north-east, with the worst affected areas likely to be New England, particularly Connecticut and Massachusetts.

More than 6,560 flights have been cancelled and road travel bans have been ordered for 13 counties of New York state.

External Link: New York blizzard as seen in Manhattan

Residents across the region rushed to supermarkets to stockpile food and essential items, as commuters rushed home to hunker down.

“It could be a matter of life and death, and that’s not being overly dramatic, so caution is required,” New York governor Andrew Cuomo said.

Heavy snow began falling across the region, expected to escalate into a major storm, with poor visibility and dangerous winds that will paralyse parts of New York and New England.

States of emergency were declared in New York and New Jersey and a travel ban imposed in Connecticut, while New York’s famed Broadway and top music venues — including Carnegie Hall and the Metropolitan Opera — shelved performances.

The National Weather Service issued blizzard warnings across the north-east. Flood warnings were also in effect, with officials warning of likely power outages and falling trees.

Mr Cuomo called out several hundred National Guard personnel to be on standby in New York City and Long Island.

Commuters poured out of Manhattan offices early, packing stations as trains laid on extra services to get people home as visibility deteriorated dramatically.

Largest storm ‘in history of New York’

There was to be limited service in the New York subway system until the entire transit system was to cease operating at 11:00pm (local time).

Officials said virtually all flights at New York’s LaGuardia airport would be cancelled and that John F Kennedy International Airport would also see significant cancellations.

Boston’s Logan international airport would see no flights until Wednesday afternoon, reports said.

New York and New Jersey authorities compared preparations for Juno with those for Hurricane Sandy in 2012, which killed more than 200 people and caused months-long power cuts.

New York mayor Bill de Blasio said it would be “most likely to be one of the largest blizzards in the history of New York City”.

“Recognise this as an emergency,” he said. “You can’t underestimate this storm. It’s not a typical storm, it’s going to pack a real punch.”

Millions in the blizzard zone

Meteorologists said the storm would bring crippling conditions and warned that 28 million people were in the possible blizzard zone.

Mr Christie said state offices would be closed for non-essential staff and warned transit systems were unlikely to work on Tuesday.

“We’ve had Hurricane Irene, Hurricane Sandy. For better or for worse, we know how to deal with these situations,” he said.

The heaviest snow was likely to be in New England. Thunder and lightning could also accompany the heavy snow, meteorologists said.

Gusts of wind were forecast to reach about 90 kilometres per hour and more than 110 kilometres per hour in eastern Massachusetts, including Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard.

President Barack Obama, on a visit to India, has been briefed about emergency preparations for the storm.Radio Australia

HEALTH

28) Measles outbreak claims 6

Source: 
The National, Monday January 26th, 2015

 By JAMES APA GUMUNO 
A MEASLES outbreak in the Nete region on the border of Enga and East Sepik has claimed six lives in two villages. 
The deaths occurred in Malaumanda and Anamanda villages on January 18.
It is believed that the number could be higher after villagers reported to the New Tribe Mission located at Malaumanda. Moses Mondowa, the chairman of Malaumanda Landowner Association, said the measles outbreak began at Hewa bordering Hela, Enga and West Sepik and spread to Nete. 
Mondowa from Malaumanda village said that on January 18, four children from Anamanda and two from his village died of measles. 
“There are other villages like Lodon, Onge, Kasakali, Takop, Hulipa, Yaipo, Bake, Nai, Onon, Limbia, and Menagus and we do not know how many children are dying,” he said. 
He said the only aid post located in his village had no health worker.
He said the association renovated the aid post recently but no health worker had been posted there by the Enga or East Sepik provincial governments.
About 7000 people live in the area.
He said on Tuesday,  he sent newly-graduated community health worker Roslyn Pakin with some medical supplies to Malaumanda.
“I talked to Enga provincial health adviser Aaron Luai and he assured me that they will send five health workers to carry out a mass immunisation programme,” he said.

29) Mobile technology for better health services

Avinesh Gopal
Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Update: 2:45PM THE Ministry of Health and Medical Services and the United Nations Children’s Fund Pacific office is holding a training on mobile phone based data collection on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Activities.

Undertaken in collaboration with Akvo Foundation, the training started in Suva yesterday and will continue until Friday.

A UNICEF statement said the training will demonstration to more than 20 WASH partners the use of mobile phone technology to collect and analyse the situation of WASH in schools and communities.

“This breakthrough technology will allow multiple stakeholder groups access to real time monitoring of both hardware for WASH (sanitation and drinking water systems) and identify key hygiene behaviours of children and communities across the country,” said UNICEF Pacific representative Dr Karen Allen.Fijitimes

EDUCATION 

30) Less workload for teachers

Avinesh Gopal
Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Update: 3:36PM THE workload of teachers will be reduced to 60 per cent from this year to allow them to focus on their core business of teaching.

Education Minister Dr Mahendra Reddy said this while opening three new classrooms at the Christian Mission Fellowship Secondary School in Newtown, Nasinu yesterday.

Dr Reddy said all the administration work that previously occupied teachers would now be given to an appointed administration officer who would be working full-time in the school.

He said reforms would be implemented in the education system this year to aid teachers with the relevant resources.Fijitimes

POLITIC

31) New Solomons PM announces his government’s policies

27 January 2015

The Solomon Islands Prime Minister has announced plans to boost the country’s economic growth and tackle corruption in a major speech to announce his newly-elected government’s policies this morning.

Manasseh Sogavare says with falling revenue from logging and uncertainty surrounding the future of the closed Gold Ridge mine, the government needs to grow other industries such as tourism, fisheries and agriculture.

Mr Sogavare says the economy needs a bigger push to achieve and sustain economic growth at no less than five percent, and plans to do that through a series of reforms in the productive and financial sectors.

He says the government will open up customary lands to allow owners to exploit their tribal lands and create job opportunities in the provinces.

The government will also implement a number of measures to combat corruption, including developing what Mr Sogavare calls comprehensive anti-corruption legislation and strategies, and establishing an independent commission against corruption.

Mr Sogavare also announced plans to carry on reforms initiated by the previous government, including a review of the Political Parties Integrity Act and the country’s electoral system.RNZI

32) Two Arrested For Shooting Of New Caledonia Police
One adult, one minor held in Canala shooting

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Jan. 27, 2015) – Police in New Caledonia have arrested two people, including a minor, over last week’s shooting in Canala where two policemen were injured by gunfire.

The local newspaper says the adult has been transferred to the prison in Noumea.

They were taken into custody on Saturday during a search for the gunman who fired at a police vehicle near Canala last Thursday.

One of the officers was hit in the head and the other in the neck, prompting their transfer to Noumea’s hospital.

They were reportedly fired at while waiting for reinforcements.

In recent months, there have been several incidents in rural parts of the main island where police officers have been shot at.

Radio New Zealand International 

33) Chuave people give MP thumbs up to join NA

Source: 
The National, Monday January 26th, 2015

 By ZACHERY PER
THE people of Chuave district in Chimbu presented MP Wera Mori to the leader of the National Alliance Party Patrick Pruaitch at the foot of Mt Elimbari last Friday.
The people wanted Mori to either team up with the National Alliance or the United Resource Party after he left the Triumph Heritage Empowerment Party led by Opposition leader Don Polye. Pruaitch was in Chuave with Kairuku-Hiri MP Peter Isoaimo, a NA MP, and party officials to receive Mori into their camp. “The decision to team up with NA was made in the best interest of the people of Chuave because it is one of the well-established parties,” Mori said.
Pruaitch said the people of Chuave were fortunate to have a very strong political leader. “Your MP now comes to NA which will give us more strength in Parliament,” he said.
“NA is working very closely with Prime Minister Peter O’Neill’s Peoples National Congress party to deliver services to the people.”
Pruaitch said Mori was the second Simbu MP to join. The first was Sinasina-Yongumugl MP Kerenga Kua.
Isoaimo thanked the people of Chuave for allowing Mori to join the NA.
He said the party remained committed to the current government coalition and would continue to ensure services were delivered to the people.

34) Fiji Public Accounts Committee Takes Up Auditor General Reports
Week-long meeting scrutinizes spending from 2007-2009


By Vuniwaqa Bola-Bari

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Jan. 26, 2015) – The Public Accounts Committee began its week-long meeting this morning in Suva with the Auditor General’s report from 2007 to 2009 topping the agenda.

The previous Committee did some work on the reports and the newly set up Committee headed by Opposition member and National Federation Party leader Professor Biman Prasad will closely study and analyse the report of the previous committee before moving on to the Auditor General’s report from 2010-2013.

This is what the members of the PAC agreed to in their last meeting on December 16, last year.

The PAC consists of Prof. Prasad, Aseri Radrodro, Sanjit Patel, Government Whip Semi Koroilavesau, and Balmindra Singh.

[PIR editor’s note: Fijilive reported that ‘The Public Accounts Committee has advised the Ministry of Finance to instruct all Government ministries and departments to adhere to recommendations from the Auditor General to minimise recurring problems.’ Fijilive also reported that ‘The Public Accounts Committee has asked the Ministry of Finance to inform them of the problems they could be facing within the minitry which has allowed re-occurrence of issues in the Auditor General’s report.’]

Fijilive 

35) More hints at end of New Caledonia deadlock

 26 January 2015

A small New Caledonian party says to the end the political stalemate, the pro-independence side should go ahead and decide who is best suited to be the president.

The territory has been without a president since mid-December amid entrenched diasagreements within the anti-indepedence coalition, which can no longer agree on who should be president.

The pro-independence parties have abstained in the two attempts to elect a new president, which means the government is in caretaker mode only.

Victor Tutugoro of the Progressive Melanesian Union has told the local newspaper that the various pro-independence parties should break the deadlock by supporting the rival camp candidate most likely to advance the reforms.

He says this should be done by the end of next week, echoing suggestions by another pro-independence party which said a plan to end the deadlock would be made public soon.

Mr Tutugoro has dismissed calls for fresh general elections, saying the communues, the provinces and the territory’s Congress work normally.RNZI

LAND

36) Land in demand

Geraldine Panapasa
Monday, January 26, 2015

THE iTaukei Land Trust Board is experiencing an increasing demand and surge for land for major investments from overseas and local investors, says iTLTB general manager Alipate Qetaki.

He said the investments on iTaukei lands were a vote of confidence on the iTaukei lands leasing administration system, which was established in 1940 and developed over the years to where it was today.

He made the comment during the recent signing of two major leases for Natural Waters Viti Ltd, owner of FIJI Water.

“The general election in September last year contributed to the rise in investor confidence in our economy,” he said.

“iTLTB is ready, empowered and able to facilitate the realisation of major and quality investments to jump start the socioeconomic development in 2015 and beyond.

“We will do this to promote and enable sustainable economic and socioeconomic growth especially in rural areas and at the same time ensuring the iTaukei landowners interests are safeguarded and promoted.”

He said sustainable development and wealth creation was their core business and this was translated into reality through leasing of iTaukei lands, utilisation of leased lands for various purposes and providing fair, reasonable and equitable return for the landowners concerned.

“iTLTB contributes significantly to the national gross domestic product.

“We facilitate development through the provision of land and access to land for leasing for all conceivable purposes, particularly to the Government and private sector in major economic and development sectors,” said Mr Qetaki.

He added that land was a rare commodity and one that was needed for development, industry and enterprise.Fijitimes

BUSINESS

37) Chinese Association assures PM of cooperation

Published: 23 January 2015

The Solomon Islands Chinese Association has assured the Sogavare-led Democratic Coalition for Change Government (DCC) of its cooperation with the state in ensuring the Chinese living in Solomon Islands and those coming into the country do what is right.

President of the Solomon Islands Chinese Association Matthew Quan made the assurance when he and two other members of his association met with the Prime Minister Thursday.

Mr Quan congratulated Mr Sogavare for his election as Prime Minister and told him that should there be issues concerning the Chinese in the country or concerns about those that are coming into the country, then DCC should inform his association.

“I wish to convey my association’s sincere congratulations to you for your election as Prime Minister.

“We will work together with your office and your government to ensure Chinese living here and those wanting to come to the country abide by the laws of this country and respect its people.

“If there are issues that you need to raise concerning the Chinese, then let us know.”

Mr Quan said his association also works closely with the Chinese Embassy in Papua New Guinea and has requested the diplomatic mission to thoroughly scrutinise Chinese investors wanting to come to Solomon Islands before granting them visas.

“We also want to see genuine Chinese investors come into Solomon Islands.

“The kind of investors who will also work for the benefit of Solomon Islanders other than their own.”

On this note, he informed the Prime Minister of a 17 member delegation from the Guangdong Province of the People’s Republic of China visiting Solomon Islands next month on a friendship visit.

“As you know, Guadalcanal Province and the Guangdong Province have in place a sister relationship and the delegation wants to visit Solomon Islands just to look at the people here and the investment opportunities here.

“Some members of the delegation have been here before and think Solomon Islands is a country with a lot of potential for investment.”

In response, Prime Minister Sogavare thanked the Solomon Islands Chinese Association for their well wishes and welcomed the announcement of the PRC delegation visit to Solomon Islands.

“We welcome the delegation with open arms. We are open to anyone who wants to visit us.”

The Prime Minister also acknowledged the Chinese Association’s contributions to Solomon Islands development through taxation and charity.Solomons Star

38) Airliner makes entry

Source: 
The National, Monday January 26th, 2015

 PHILIPPINES Airlines will start operating direct flights to Papua New Guinea, an official says. 
Trade Commerce and Industry Minister, Richard Maru expressed his gratitude on behalf of the Government when he met a technical team from the airline company last Friday.
The team briefed Maru on their trip to PNG last week and met with Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and other stakeholders to ensure all arrangements and approvals were secured to have Philippines Airlines operate direct flights into the country.
According to initial arrangements, the airline would operate two weekly flights to PNG from Manila.
Maru had been vocal about the reputation that PNG was one of the world’s most expensive places to fly to.
“This has been the largest obstacle to growing the tourism industry and business travel to PNG generally. Both our domestic and international airfares need to be reduced substantially to global levels to increase tourism and business travel to PNG,” Maru said.
He said with the high number of students seeking education opportunities in Philippines as well as large numbers for medical assistance and holiday makers, that arrangement would be a blessing to our people.
He said the introduction of Philippines Airlines into the PNG market would provide competition thus help reduce the airfares.
“I look forward to welcoming the Philippines Airlines inaugural flight into PNG from Manila on April 3 and  I call on all relevant Government authorities, including Civil Aviation Authority, for their cooperation and support towards ensuring that Philippines Airlines starts operating here in PNG as of  April 3, 2015,” he said.
Philippines Airlines is planning to operate flights in and out of PNG on Thursdays and Saturdays.
“This is the best news for our business and tourism sectors as well as for our people. A grand welcome is being planned for the inaugural flight.”

39) Wind power for storing fresh catch

Source: 
The National, Monday January 26th, 2015

 SMALL-scale fish farmers in Morobe are impressed with the alternative power source available to freeze their harvest.
Wind power generated by turbines is now available. Generators are too costly to run as they need fuel.
Solar power helps only when the heat from the sun peaked between 11am and 3pm during sunny days.
Port Moresby-based Pacific International (PNG) Ltd introduced the green energy wind turbine power, generating in Lae and attracting clients from as far as Goroka. PI (PNG) Ltd technician Gomara Tarube said there was no perfect power in the world that suited the daily needs of people. 
“Therefore, it is optional to have other power sources for household accessories and small-scale businesses, depending on environment and needs,” he said. “Though you may have hydro electricity and fuel generators, it’s crucial to have alternative solar or wind power to supplement energy for your household accessories,” Tarube said.
Marketing coordinator Lucas Kawage said the product was an ultimate source for rural and isolated areas. The product comprises a 1500-watt wind turbine, charge controller, power inverter, tower kit, installation units and 12 or 24 volts batteries – depending on needs- selling at almost K16,000.

40) Plans to expand mobile network coverage throughout province

Source: 
The National, Monday January 26th, 2015

 THE Milne Bay provincial government plans to establish access to mobile telecommunication in the province.
Governor Titus Philemon and the provincial administration have been working with Digicel PNG to have towers installed in areas which would allow remote areas in the province to access Digicel’s network.
The expansion of the mobile network in the province has seen the development of other projects from the partnership.
These include the piloting of an e-learning programme in two of the province’s high schools and the launching of the province’s first maritime emergency call centre.
Milne Bay administration executive officer Randal Ganisi said there were four towers in the outlying islands with plans for two more to be installed this year.
Ganisi said the installations would cost around K1 million.
Digicel chief executive officer John Mangos said mobile telecommunications would transform life in rural areas by connecting communities through information services. “The investment we are making in upgrading our infrastructure and positioning the requisite towers is substantial,” he said. 
“But it is an investment in PNG’s future in supporting the livelihoods of individuals and further strengthening connections between our families and communities.”

41) Santos posts record sales of A$1.09 billion

Source: 
The National, Monday January 26th, 2015

 Santos posted record sales revenue of A$1.09 billion (K2.84b) in the fourth quarter of last year, up 2 per cent from last year’s A$1.065b (K2.2b), with the gains attributed to the successful production start-up at the PNG LNG project and higher production from Cooper Basin fields in Australia.
During the quarter, Santos’ production reached 15.1 million barrels of oil equivalent (MMboe), 15 per cent higher compared to 13.1 MMboe last year. The firm’s production in 4Q 2014 brought the year’s total to 54.1 MMboe, up 6 per cent from 51.0 MMboe in 2013 and within the company’s guidance range of 53 to 55 MMboe.
For this year, Santos expects production to be in the range of 57-64 MMboe. – Rigzone

42) FNPF sells shares for $17m

Geraldine Panapasa
Saturday, January 24, 2015

THE Fiji National Provident Fund Investment Ltd has sold its 51 per cent stake in Penina Ltd to Tappoo Holdings Ltd for $17million.

FNPF chairman Ajith Kodagoda said FNPF Investment Ltd’s initial investment of $5.6m was made in 2006 and comprised land and cash contributions.

He said the sale of its shares in Penina Ltd, the owner of the TappooCity complex in Suva, resulted in gains of more than $11m or 204 per cent.

Before settlement, Penina Ltd declared and paid dividends of $1.9m to the two shareholders.

“Tappoo Holdings Ltd will take over the responsibility for the $37m loan liability that Penina Ltd has with a commercial bank,” Mr Kodagoda said.

“The sale achieved an amicable solution for both parties and the divestment is the best possible outcome for the fund both commercially and in terms of long-term investment strategy.”

He said the investment in Penina Ltd was made prior to the appointment of the present board, adding the fund had done well to ensure the sale provided good returns on the investment.

Proceeds from the sale are expected to be invested in other FNPF projects, which were in the pipeline.

Tappoo Group chairman Kanti Tappoo said any acquisition and investment of that magnitude posed a significant challenge for an investor and consequently had to be looked at on a long-term basis.

He said they had invested significantly in its multi-storey department store and food-court at the TappooCity complex.Fijitimes

43) Tokoriki is Fiji’s most romantic, luxurious resort

Geraldine Panapasa
Tuesday, January 27, 2015

TOKORIKI Island Resort has reaped positive accolades from reviews posted on online travel site, TripAdvisor.com.

The resort in the Mamanucas was voted the number one hotel, romantic hotel and luxury hotel in Fiji, number two hotel in the South Pacific and number three hotel in the South Pacific for romance. Tokoriki Island Resort general manager Robert Ring said the elite honour was awarded to the top 1 per cent of all hotels on TripAdvisor based on reviews and opinions from millions of travellers.

“We’re delighted to have received nine awards this year from this global online site. We strive to ensure the guest experience is truly memorable and it is such a pleasure to receive these awards especially from our wonderful guests who enjoy our resort,” he said in a statement yesterday.Fijitimes

INFRASTRUCTURE

44) Bridges to ease access for 45,000

Source: 
The National, Monday January 26th, 2015

 MORE than 45,000 people in Wapenamanda, Enga, will have easy access to basic services when two bridges funded by the Japanese Government are completed.
The two bridges are at Timin in Takaeopos village, in Wapenamanda Local Level Government, and the Wakiam Bridge at Riakama village, Tsak Local Level Government.
The Japanese Government, through its grants assistance for grassroots human security projects, has allocated K1,622,142 to a local non-government organisation, Warenge Komba Foundation, to carry out the project.
The grant contract was signed on Friday by Japanese Ambassador Morio Matsumoto and the foundation chairman Mathew Taso. It was witnessed by Wapenamanda MP Rimbink Pato.
The Japanese are funding the construction of two bridges on the New Britain Highway. Matsumoto said the two bridges would allow the Wapenamanda people with much better access to goods and services.
“The bridges will improve the transportation networks and enhance economic development of the entire area,” he said.
“The PNG Government is committed towards improving the lives of the people by developing the infrastructure sector, like construction of highways and bridges.  
“The Japanese Government has been cooperating with PNG for its development and continues to make further contributions.”
Taso said the areas were heavily populated and the bridges would help the Government deliver services to the people.
 
45) K2 million road upgrade

Source: 
The National, Monday January 26th, 2015

 TRANSPORTING coffee and accessing government services have been made easier for more than 7000 people in the four council wards in Chuave, Chimbu, following the upgrading of their feeder road.
The 4.3km Onuma-Eigun Road, which serves people in wards 8, 10, 12 and 13 in the Chuave LLG, was upgraded by Kaia Works at a cost of K2.3 million.
The road upgrading started in March and ended in September last year.

46) Fiji PM Apologies To Those Impacted By Water Problems
Bainimarama: Fixing long neglected infrastructure a ‘massive undertaking’


By Tevita Vuibau

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Jan. 24, 2015) – Prime Minister Rear Admiral (Ret)Voreqe Bainimarama has offered a heartfelt apology to all Fijians last night for water issues affecting the country.

During the Water Authority of Fiji’s awards night he said situations faced at the beginning of the year were the result of a collective failure over more than 50 years not to invest in new water infrastructure.

“To the many Fijians affected by the dramatic recent disruptions to both the Suva water supply and the collapse of the pipe taking waste to the Kinoya Waste Treatment Plant, I want to make a humble apology,” Mr Bainimarama said.

“You have suffered in a way that pains me as your Prime Minister.”

He said it was particularly heartbreaking for him to see the effect of the sewerage rupture on the environment and those living around the affected foreshore.

He gave his assurances the problem would be fixed saying while it would be a massive undertaking, the work would be done.

Mr Bainimarama also thanked WAF staff members for their efforts in times of crisis saying they had all worked and made sacrifices to continue supplying water to the people of Fiji.

Fiji Times Online.

 LAW&ORDER

47) After shooting, some PNG police stripped of guns and cars

27 January 2015

120 police reservists in Papua New Guinea’s capital, Port Moresby, have been ordered to hand in their guns and vehicles by the end of today.

The National Capital District Metropolitan Commander, Andy Bawa, says the reservist unit has been stood down until an investigation into an alleged police shooting in Hanuabada last week is completed.

Two betel nut vendors were killed when police reservists allegedly opened fire on a crowd.

However, PNG Loop reports the NCD government has expressed disappointment over the move, with Deputy City Manager Social Services Honk Kiap saying it’s unfair the unit has been penalised because not all his men were involved.RNZI

48) Vanuatu mutiny case adjourned after lawyer confusion

27 January 2015

An inquiry into an alleged police mutiny in Vanuatu has been adjourned until next month after confusion over who the prosecutor was.

The case was to begin on Monday but hit a snag when a New Zealand lawyer appeared in court to take the case.

Koro Vaka’uta reports.

When the acting public prosecutor John William Timakata arrived in court, he found Christopher Griggs there ready to argue the case.

Confusion reigned over who the prosecutor was, so the judge adjourned the case until February 13 so it could be resolved.

Mr Griggs was appointed last August by the then acting police commissioner to prosecute an alleged mutiny case against former commissioner Joshua Bong.

But two weeks ago, the internal affairs minister said Mr Griggs was a prohibited immigrant.

The attorney general, however, says the New Zealander doesnn’t require a work permit to prosecute the case because Mr Griggs was appointed to provide a service, and not as a government employee.

Meanwhile, Joshua Bong has filed an official complaint against Mr Griggs, saying he is not a registered to practice law in Vanuatu.RNZI

49) Border challenge

Geraldine Panapasa
Tuesday, January 27, 2015

CUSTOMS administrators continue to be challenged by a lack of resources amid the increasing volume of goods and travellers that pass through the borders.

Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority CEO Jitoko Tikolevu said traders and travellers expected speedy processes and clearance times at the border.

However, society also expected the authorities to rigorously apply the law in order to protect their interest, safeguard the health and safety of citizens and ensure national security.

 “This means balancing trade facilitation on one hand and trade security on the other, and allowing legitimate goods and travellers to pass through borders without unnecessary hindrances while protecting the international trade supply chain from the likes of organised crime, smugglers, commercial fraudsters, terrorists and even goods that could endanger our own community,” he said while launching the International Customs Day celebrations in Suva yesterday.

“Border control authorities are faced with the same dilemma – increasing volume of people and goods without any corresponding increase in resources. Customs administrators are no different.”

He said the theme of the celebration “Co-ordinated border management – an inclusive approach for connecting all stakeholders” was timely as it provided the Customs community with a potential solution for the challenges in the 21st Century.

Oceania Customs Organisation head of secretariat Allwyn Netto said a collaborative approach to working with local and international stakeholders could curb illegal activities.

“I think role of Customs is critical. There is the saying that borders divide but Customs unites and that’s critical in our current environment, which we are facing in terms of terrorists and trade and illegal goods coming across the border,” he said.Fijitimes

50) Drug suspects still in custody

Salaseini Moceiwai
Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Update: 3:20PM THE four men arrested by police yesterday following raids on their farms in Bua are still in custody.

Police spokesman Inspector Atunaisa Sokomuri said the Operation Sasamaki team was presently in Nabouwalu carrying out more drug raids.

Two suspects were allegedly found with dried leaves believed to be marijuana and seeds while the other two were allegedly found with 37 and 24 plants respectively.

Insp Sokomuri said the plants were being analysed and the suspects remain in custody as police await the analysis result.Fijitimes

51) Gov’t urged to address pay terms, condition of judiciary

Published: 21 January 2015

THE Solomon Islands Bar Association (SIBA) is calling on the government and development partners to swiftly address the working terms and condition of the judicial workers.

President Katalaini Ziru made the call on Monday at the opening of the 2015 legal year.

“The past year saw changes made to the Magistrates’ remuneration framework according the positions of magistrates the status of constitutional post,” she said.

“The changes captured by the Constitution (Status of Magistrates) (Amendment) Act 2014 has improved the attractiveness of the terms and conditions of Magistrates, essentially resulting in the increase of expressions of interest by lawyers for careers in the Magistracy.

“Unfortunately, this has not been the same for the judiciary,” she said.

“SIBa calls on the government and by extension, development partners’ assistance in swiftly addressing this issue as well as vacancies within the judiciary.

“Left unaddressed, this significantly impinges on access to justice and judicial services by an average Solomon Islander.

“Simply put, the need for a whole of government approach to improving the scheme of service for the judiciary must be viewed by all stakeholders as a critical element of the delivery of justice; for the development and improvement of the courts, the well-being of its learned judges, and even the number of serving judges, is the development and improvement to the justice system itself, and therefore the community, the peoples and nation as a whole.”

Mrs Ziru said in October last year, the High Court saw the departure of Justice Stephen Pallaras and the resignation of Justice James Apaniai.

“Against these apparent losses, my Lord the Chief Justice in a speech at the Court of Appeal dinner boldly and quite frankly emphasised the need for government to seriously consider improving the terms and conditions of Judges as well as prioritise the autonomy of the Judiciary.

“Today, SIBA wholeheartedly supports this emphatic call in equal measure,” the president said.

The newly elected president said access to to justice is an important tenet of democracy where all stakeholders have a crucial part to play within an established framework.

She added that the framework is compromised with the slightest challenges, including relating to the capacity of stakeholders.

“To this end, the significant of revisiting and improving the judgesschemes of service cannot be over-emphasised.”

By ASSUMPTA BUCHANAN – The Solomon Star.

 CLIMATE CHANGE,CONSERVATION,ENVIROMENT

52) Remote Vanuatu Village To Get Protective Sea Wall
British scientist visits Emau Island to scope project

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Jan. 26, 2015) – A British scientist is in a tiny village on Emau Island in Vanuatu to scope a new project to build a sea wall.

Dr David Lees, a consultant with the Department of Public Works, will work with engineers to ensure the village is defended from raging sea waters that threaten the village and its agricultural land.

The island, close to the north coast of Efate, will receive a 400-metre sea wall and a jetty for visitors coming and going from Wiana village.

Dr Lees says the wall is an answer to the villagers’ prayers, and will be a model for other villages around Vanuatu to follow.

Radio New Zealand International 

53) Strong winds, heavy rain destroy homes, gardens

Source: 
The National, Monday January 26th, 2015

 HUNDREDS of people had their homes and gardens destroyed after strong winds and heavy rain hit Kimil in Jiwaka last week.
Plantation worker Mara Brum, 26, from Kopiago district in Hela, was injured when a tree fell on him. He is admitted at Kudjip Hospital. 
Two coffee plantations and 10 homes were damaged. 
Michael Bob, the owner of Kalanga coffee plantation, told The National on Friday that villagers from three tribes – Kulaka, Four-Kays and Opai – were badly affected. 
Bob said the strong winds and rain and began at around 4pm and did not die down until around 11pm.
He said 10 bush-material houses belonging to his workers from Eastern Highlands, Chimbu, Enga, Southern Highlands and Hela lost their roofs. 
To make matters worse, the Kimil River burst its banks and damaged homes and properties.
Bob said about 80 of his workers were now living in the factory. 
He said 50 trees felled by the wind destroyed more than 1000 coffee trees. 
He said the nearby OK coffee plantation faced the same problem as well. 
An employee of OK, Brum was running home in the rain when one of the trees fell on him. He called on the provincial disaster office to visit the site, assess the damage and assist the people.
 
 MINING,AGRICULTURE,FISHERIES

54) NZ company awaiting Solomons oil licence

27 January 2015

A New Zealand Company, Duncan Hardie Group, has applied for a licence to conduct offshore oil prospecting in Solomon Islands.

Helipad on Ensco-56 offshore drilling rig. Pohokura exploration site, North Taranaki

The Prime Minister was informed by the Wellington-based company that it had submitted an application to the last government and is still awaiting approval from the Petroleum Board.

The company’s locally-based representative says the group has good standing, with its founder having more than 40 years of experience in the energy industry.

He says the group has been involved in many energy projects in the Middle East as well as the Hunter-Queensland Gas Pipeline project in Australia.

The Prime Minister says based on the information rendered to him he thinks the group is of good standing.

He says the government would like to see a competent group conduct an offshore oil search operation.RNZI

55) Solomons nickel mine on track for production

27 January 2015

The Australian miner Axiom says its nickel mine subsidiary development in Solomon Islands, Axiom KB, is on track for production to begin at the end of the year.

Axiom KB’s Chief Executive, Ryan Mount, says prospecting operations in Isabel province are well underway and the company and its landowning partners are working hard to achieve the ambitious end-of-year start.

Mr Mount also says Axiom’s initial drill tests have come back with some unexpected but exciting results.

” We commenced our exploration drilling program in December and we have got some initial results and the initial results are very pleasing. So it’s what is identified is a essentially higher grade deposit than what we anticipated but again it’s very early stages this is just the initial, the drill programme.”

Ryan Mount says the only blip on the horizon is a court of appeal case involving the Japanese mining giant Sumitomo.

The Solomon Islands high court has ordered Sumitomo to pay about 3.8 million US dollars in court costs over a legal battle over who owned the Isabel nickel deposit.RNZI

56) PNG records high oil demand

Source: 
The National, Monday January 26th, 2015

 PAPUA New Guinea has recorded a high demand for its coconut oil (CNO) and palm kernel oil (PKO) during the first three-quarters of last year, according to the Kokonas Indastri Koporesen (KIK). 
KIK said the increased demand was due to continued expansion and increased demand by oleo-chemical, cosmetics and other manufacturing industries. 
Industry affairs manager Alan Aku said CNO slightly had the upper hand in terms of price mainly because Malaysia and Indonesia had undertaken massive palm oil production in the final-quarter of the previous year.
He said that continued into the quarter which consequently created a situation of excess supply of PKO that influenced its price to dwell below.
The price trends set reaffirmed that CNO price in January of US$1270 (K3312) per metric tonnes (MT) is US$112 (K292) per MT more than the price PKO registered. 
In February, CNO’s price was US$94 (K245) per MT more than PKO’s price. However, in March the gap diminished where CNO’s price dwelled above PKO’s price by a slight margin.
“Major global producers of CNO namely Philippines and Indonesia have plans underway to increase the bio-diesel blending from 2.5 per cent to 5 per cent and 7.5 per cent to 10 per cent for respectively. 
 
57) Border folk urge probe into mine

Source: 
The National, Monday January 26th, 2015

 THE people of Indonesia living along the border have been asking the PNG Government since 2010 to have a joint investigation into alleged environmental damage caused by the OK Tedi mine. 
The communities of Papua province live along the border with the people of Western in PNG.
They are affected by the pollution in the Fly River system from mine sediment. 
Their concern has been raised during the annual PNG-Indonesian joint border conference to establish a joint sub-committee on environment along the border.
But there has not been any response since 2010 from the PNG Government through the Department of Environment and Conservation.
Border officials submitted a draft on the Terms of Reference to establish a sub-committee in Bogor, Indonesia, in September 2013.
They again followed up on their request during the committee meeting in Port Moresby but are yet to get an answer.
The Department of Environment and Conservation said former Indonesian president Dr Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Prime Minister Peter O’Neill had agreed in their meeting in Jakarta on June 17, 2013, to establish a comprehensive partnership.

58) Treasurer stands by limestone project

Source: 
The National, Monday January 26th, 2015

 THE proposed Chuave limestone project in Chimbu is nationally rated, Treasurer Patrick Pruaitch says.
Pruaitch, chairman of the World Bank and the Parliamentary party leader of the National Alliance Party, told the people of Chuave that the government had made a commitment of K28 million to develop the project and that commitment stood.
“The Chimbu limestone project is a national programme so the National Government will take on the responsibility,” he said.
“It is not only in the interest of the Chimbu but the country as a whole to rate this project as a national programme.
“I assure the governor, people and leadership of Chuave and Chimbu that we will work together to develop this project to add value to the landowners, provincial government and our country.” 
Pruaitch was in Chuave last Friday to officiate at the opening of the 4.3km Onuma-Eigun Road at the invitation of local MP Wera Mori.
Mori, who won the election under Don Polye’s Triump Heritage Empowerment party, has  jumped ships to join National Alliance.
Pruaitch said the Government would work closely with the people of Chimbu to see the limestone project get off the ground.
 
59) Resource owners participation pleases Ministry

Avinesh Gopal
Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Update: 3:26PM THE Ministry of Fisheries and Forests is pleased with the participation of resource owners at a training and awareness workshop in the Northern Division.

The training, which started yesterday, is aimed at gathering resource owners in the north and also looks at how development can be carried out using a sustainable approach.

Fisheries and Forest Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Inoke Wainiqolo said it was one of the plans of the Government to create a knowledge-based society and create awareness for the people in regards to the resources around them.Fijitimes

WOMAN,YOUTH,CHILD

60) Fiji police urge public to protect children

27 January 2015

Fiji’s Police Commissioner is pleading for the community to report child abuse, saying it is common and often goes unreported.

Ben Groenewald says he was rung directly by people who witnessed a father acting violently towards his eight-year-old daughter on Sunday.

He says the accused man has appeared in court and has been remanded in custody, while the child is in the care of the Welfare Department.

Mr Groenewald says people have a duty to speak up when they witness child abuse.

“Those people who know about these acts there is an obligation towards them in terms of the Juvenille Act to report this. And I’m pleading to the community that if they hear or see any child abuse they must report it to the police so that we can take action against those perpertrators.”

Fiji’s Police Commissioner Ben Groenewald.RNZI

61) Akbar says consultations essential

Avinesh Gopal
Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Update: 3:13PM THE Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Rosy Sofia Akbar says all consultations carried out with the public are essential.

Ms Akbar said in an Information Department statement that the consultations would allow the ministry to improve the way it delivers its services and programs to welfare recipients.

She recently held consultations in the Western Division to raise awareness on the welfare programs that Fijians can access.

“Not only have we disseminated information on social welfare reforms, we have also gathered feedback on the ministry’s programs,” she said in the statement.

“All the relevant information will be analysed and incorporated into policies and programs to effectively deliver our services.”Fijitimes

SPORTS 

62) PNG Hunters play hardball with Gary Lo

27 January 2015 

The Papua New Guinea Hunters have made it clear there will be no fast return for Kumuls winger Gary Lo, as he seeks to rejoin the team for the 2015 Queensland Cup.

Lo was the top tryscorer in the Hunters debut campaign last year, with 24.

But he left the team in controversial circumstances in October to sign for English side Gateshead Thunder, alongside fellow PNG players Mark Mexico, Charlie Wabo and Jason Tali.

The 21 year old returned to PNG last week after struggling to adapt to his new environment.

He apologised for the way he departed, saying he felt uneasy about leaving and made the wrong decision.

Gary Lo says he wants to be a part of the Hunters team again but in a statement the club says any return will come through the Digicel Cup domestic competition, where the coaching staff will assess his performance and attitude.RNZI

63) Fiji Steelers ready to make their mark on Cabra Nines

27 January 2015 

The Fiji Steelers believe a top-two finish is within their reach at this weekend’s Cabramatta Nines rugby league tournament in Sydney.

32 teams from Australia, Asia, Europe, North and South America and the Pacific will take part in the latest edition of the international nines.

The Steelers team includes five players based in Fiji with the rest made up from Fijians playing in Australia.

Head coach Bill Tukana believes his team is good enough to make it to the grand final.

“So I want to gel up these forwards, experienced boys from here [in Australia] – former Fiji Bati players – and these upcoming young talents [from Fiji] will play the roles in the backline and mix them together so I’m pretty confident we will give the Cabra Nines other teams a good show. The team I have put together this year I have no doubt, I have full confidence in this team – we will be the underdogs and I won’t be surprised if we reach the grand final”.

Teams representing Niue, Samoa, American Samoa, Papua New Guinea and the Cook islands will also be competing this weekend.RNZI

64) Frank Halai signs for Wasps

27 January 2015

The English rugby club Wasps has signed the Blues and All Black winger Frank Halai for next season.

The 26 year old, nicknamed ‘Frank the Tank’, made his name on the sevens circuit and scored a try in his only test for the All Blacks, against Japan in 2013.

Tongan-born Halai will join Samoan duo Alapati Leiua and Sailosi Tagicakibau at the Coventry-based club.RNZI

65) Fiji to hosts rugby’s revamped ‘Pacific Challenge’

27 January 2015

Six countries will compete in the rebranded Pacific Challenge in Suva, as local players look to stake a claim for selection at Rugby World Cup 2015.

Formerly known as the Pacific Rugby Cup, Fiji A will play host to Pacific neighbours Tonga A and Samoa A, as well as Japan Juniors, Canada A and the Argentina Pampas XV.

The round-robin competition previously featured Pacific A teams playing against Super Rugby development sides from Australia and New Zealand.

It will run for two weeks in March.

World Rugby Head of Competitions and Performance Mark Egan says the tournament is a key developmental event and has added significance for teams in this Rugby World Cup year.RNZI

66) Roos worry about UAE team, not individuals

Aap
Tuesday, January 27, 2015

NEWCASTLE – Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou has a chuckle at the wraps on some of the stars of Asian Cup.

Seemingly every game the Australians play, they’re up against an opponent described as their nation’s Maradona or Ronaldo.

Next up for the Socceroos is United Arab Emirates and their whiz Omar Abdulrahman in tonight’s semi-final in Newcastle.

“The Chinese had the Chinese Ronaldo, Maradona … everyone has a Messi or Maradona,” Postecoglou said wryly.

“(Abdulrahman) is a good player, so is (Ali) Mabkhout up front.”

But Postecoglou said he concentrated on the collective threat, rather than individuals.

“They are a good side,” he said of the Emirates.

“They are probably one of the few national teams in this region, and particularly the Middle East, who have been pretty stable in terms of their coach and their team.

“And they have benefited.

“They look more cohesive than some of the other sides that tend to chop and change a bit.

“That is where the danger lies, rather than with the individuals.

“I think, as you have seen this tournament, every team in Asia has technically gifted players.

“The ones who use them better are the ones who have a really cohesive team and I think UAE have one of those squads.”

67) Murray sets up Kyrgios match-up

Aap
Tuesday, January 27, 2015

MELBOURNE – Andy Murray will play local sensation Nick Kyrgios in a mouth-watering Australian Open quarter-final after overcoming Grigor Dimitrov in the fourth round.

Murray outlasted Dimitrov 6-4 6-7 (5-7) 6-5 7-5 over 3 hours and 32 minutes.

The meeting of the sixth and 10th seeds was the 2015 Australian Open’s latest night yet and one looked destined to go even later.

With Dimitrov holding a break and looking assured at 5-2 in the fourth set, the match seemed destined to go well into the evening.

But Murray responded to break twice, setting up his victory with a fine backhand return winner.

Dimitrov responded to his capitulation by smashing his racquet in two places, ripping the handle from the head.

His victory was achieved in the cruelest of manners, with a Murray forehand falling off the net into the court outside Dimitrov’s reach.

The three-time runner-up at Melbourne Park now has the chance to set up a semi-final against the unseeded Kyrgios today.

Unlike his teenage opponent, Murray has form in the Australian Open, extending his quarter-final streak in Melbourne to six and at all slams to a remarkable 16.

67) Russell helps West Indies to one-wicket win over SA

Aap
Tuesday, January 27, 2015

South Africa – A thrilling burst of hitting by Andre Russell has carried the West Indies to a one-wicket win over South Africa in the fourth one-day international at St George’s Park.

Half-centuries by Marlon Samuels, Darren Sammy and Russell trumped a maiden international century by South Africa’s David Miller yesterday as the tourists chased down a victory target of 263 with nine balls to spare.

The West Indies gained their first win in the five-match series after they several times looked doomed to defeat.

They lost their first five wickets for 73 runs against what effectively was a second-string South African attack before Samuels (68) and Sammy (51) put on 93 for the sixth wicket.

But South Africa were favourites again when both partners were out with 74 needed off 64 balls with only three wickets standing.

Russell was striking the ball well but skipper Jason Holder was caught off a full toss and Carlos Brathwaite was run out off the first ball of the 48th over to leave the tourists needing 24 off 17 balls with the last man at the wicket.

Sheldon Cottrell was able to steal a single and Russell hit sixes off the next two balls from left-arm spinner Aaron Phangiso, then was able to get the strike to hit a four and a six off Kyle Abbott to finish the match.

He finished 64 not out off 40 balls with five fours and five sixes.

“It means a lot,” said Holder. “We have had a tough tour, so to get across the line in this match is very special.”

It was a cruel result for the left-handed Miller, who made 130 not out and was responsible for a run-out and a leaping catch.

68) New rules to follow

Rashneel Kumar
Tuesday, January 27, 2015

THE Fiji Volleyball Federation will be following a new rule in the Vulaca Championship this weekend in Suva.

To keep in line with the amendments done by the international body, the federation will penalise players if they get in contact with the net.

The previous rule allowed contact with the net by a player as far as it didn’t interfere with play.

Championship co-ordinator Jone Baleilomaloma said they would not follow that rule this year.

According to the new rule, contact with the net by a player between the antennae, during the action of playing the ball, is a fault.

Baleilomaloma said the team managers were notified of the new rule.

He said the pool matches would be played in three sets while the final would be played under the five set format.

“We had a meeting with all the team managers last week where we notified the changes,” Baleilomaloma said.

Thirty-three men’s and 16 women’s teams have been confirmed for the three-day championship.

Baleilomaloma said they were hoping to finish the games on time this year.

“We had problems in the past where games were dragged on until late.

“We don’t want that to happen this year. We will start the tournament on Thursday with the women’s competition and we have alternative venues as well to ensure the games finish on time.”

Since the organisers are still without a sponsor, Baleilomaloma said they would decide on the prizemoney later.

“We will have prizemoney but the amount is yet to be decided.”Fijitimes

69) 68 nominations finalised

Shalveen Chand
Tuesday, January 27, 2015

THE Fiji Sports Awards committee confirmed it has received 68 nominations.

Committee chairman Paul Yee said they were pleased with the number of sporting federations that had submitted their nominations for the 11 categories.

He said Athletics, Basketball, Chess, Cricket, Fiji Football, Fiji Hockey, Powerlifting Fiji, Fiji Rugby Union, Taekwondo Fiji, Table Tennis and Weightlifting had submitted nomination. Yee said there was also a category for the best sports picture where sports photographers and their dedication and hard work in capturing those special shots would be awarded.

When asked which sports personality would be the chief guest at the awards, Yee said he would not let the cat out of the bag just yet.

“We will reveal the name of our chief guest later in the month. The person is quite well known and we assure you that talks so far has been a success. We are 90 per cent sure the person will be the chief guest but we do not want to pre-empt things just yet,” he added.

The Fiji Sports Awards will be held next month.Fijitimes

70) Karate picks 40 athletes

Source: 
The National, Tuesday January 27th, 2015

 THE PNG Karate Do Federation will endorse its final 40-member elite squad for the 2015 Pacific Games.
The final squad members, coaches and selected instructors will undergo a training camp in March in Sydney, Australia, in preparation for the Games.
Federation president Carl Mari said the male and female squad was selected by mentor and head coach Trevor Roberts and local coaches on Saturday  and would be announced next week.
Mari said it was a pity some fighters would miss on the training camp in Port Moresby due to financial difficulties and may not make the final squad.
He said majority of the fighters were selected by Trevor from the two-week camp. He  said the federation would endorse the final squad and release the names.

www.voiceofmelanesia.com

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