Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1067 ( Sunday 1 February 2015 )

MELANESIA

1) PNG Plans To Block Access To Online Pornography
Office of Censorship to spent $1.5 million on filter system


PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Jan. 30, 2015) – The Office of Censorship is planning to spend K4 million [US$1.5 million] to install a filter system to block all pornography sites and materials which are currently accessible to PNG.

The filter system will fall under a new Bill that was developed last year, called the Classification of Films, Publication & Online Services Bill, 2014.

“This system will be installed purposely to protect all Papua New Guinea children to access pornography and other adult materials online,” said Steven Mala, the PNG Chief Censor. Mr Mala said there is no specific filter system preferred as yet, but his office will decide after going through certain feasibility studies of internet contents in other countries to choose the suitable system for PNG.

“The whole work will involve other leading agencies in the country to successfully complete the installation of the system in the PNG.

“We are not trying to control the medium of communication but we are just trying to filter the rubbish that are supplied free online which spoils the mindset of the young children of Papua New Guinea,” he said.

Mr Mala said people, in particular school children now a days are realising the effects of technology and are exploiting everything online, whether legal or illegal, so there should be a control.

He said while officials begin to work on the feasibility studies, there will also be a ground policy where agents will travel throughout the country to raise awareness about the filter system.

“I will pass some of my powers stated on the new Bill to all government levels to be very strict on anything related to pornography.

“I am very serious with the filter system, therefore, a number of my powers will be passed on right down to the Ward councilors to confiscate illegal materials, refer the law-breakers to police and then to prosecution,” Mr Mala said.

He said the penalty forbreaking the law was K1000 but now it will be of half a million kina.

PNG Post-Courier

2) Vanuatu daily news digest | 31 January 2015

by bobmakin

  • Daily Post today carries the first news of the VP, NUP, PPP, MPP Reunification Group moving forward. The meeting being late on Friday meant it was difficult to have a full report today. This will likely emerge over the weekend. Daily Post will surely carry more for Monday’s paper.
  • Another occasional paper is out this weekend. In addition to The Independent, Vanuatu Times and Vila Times we now have Yumi Toktok Stret second edition. The majority of the main news delivery still remains with Daily Post and, to a lesser extent, as they grapple with their internal, political and managerial problems, Radio Vanuatu. However, we wish YTS well and hope it can continue to pack a typographical punch as it periodically does online from its internet home.
  • One field in which YTS has been leading the way is the allocation of grants for tertiary studies. It has to be admitted that the rules of the game have quite likely changed. Until now the vast majority of the scholarships have been issued following on the results of the senior secondary examinations for which adequate standards have been established. So many other, and possibly more mature students, however, have settled into USP foundation classes and distance learning courses, and it behoves the education establishment to create new criteria for awards. This news source, however, feels incompetent to deal with the issue whilst remaining brief in its bulletins.
  • YTS is properly and interestingly concerned with issues rather than breaking news although it has involved itself in the matter of the “Multi Millionaire Investor looking to suing Vanuatu Police Force for Millions of Dollars”. This rich investor is also he who seemed to be expecting controversy in starting business here such that he had installed CCTV which was able to ensure the attempt on his or any family member’s life would be filmed, as indeed it was. A conviction was established. There’s quite enough crime in the other papers without YTS going that way. For example …
  • The Independent begins today with seventeen committed in the “double hanging case” on Akham. Witchcraft, nakaimas, arson and gruesome murder are all involved in the horrific events. And then the Indy goes on to double its page one shock / horror value by adding “Priest on multiple sex charges, page 2 “Duo to appear over rape of student,” and “Men to trial for sex attack on expat” on page 3. Sex and violence sometimes seem to be the only newsworthy events. The reality is quite different. The Independent does have the Tenders Board saving VT 500 million in four years.
  • Important manufacturing news not yet mentioned (Daily Post had it Friday) – Fibreglass Vanuatu is now producing at Luganville. Together with Polytanks, they will introduce a range of products from tanks to boats and septic tank items.
  • Transparency yesterday in Daily Post pointed out that there is no requirement for the Council of Ministers’ decisions to be publicised. And it goes on to observe that”Because the Leadership Code is not enforced, internal discipline of ministers by the Prime Minister is also weak”, as seen recently in the cases of Harry Iauko and Don Ken. This is something YTS could well take up and campaign about in its next issues.

3) Vanuatu daily news digest | 30 January 2015

by bobmakin

  • The biggest news today is of the Bank of South Pacific Limited takeover of Westpac, not only here, but in the Cooks, Solomons, Tonga and Samoa. The Port Moresby banking giant has entered into an agreement with the Westpac operations in the five countries to take over their operations and enter into a new partnership with existing clients in those place for AUD 125 million. Staff are to be retained. There is adequate news of the take-over in the major media.
  • Some of the major partners in the new coalition are meeting today at the Malvatumauri to discuss re-unification.
  • Ifira General Services have been ordered to improve safety at Maltauirki quarrybehind the main wharf.
  • The YTP newspaper second edition is out today.

4) Vanuatu daily news digest | 29 January 2015

by bobmakin

  • Most importantly, first today is a clarification of the Prime Minister’s Office position on the appointment of one Christopher Griggs to undertake the prosecution of the alleged police mutiny of some years ago. An appointment by the former Acting Public Prosecutor to prosecute the case “is not sufficient” a government press release in Daily Post states. The government also understands “there is no record of such an appointment.” The release from the PMO says “Following latest media reports, the government is beginning to connect the dots on whose real interests the individual could be serving.” Furthermore, Griggs came into the country on a tourist visa to “visit friends”. The report suggests there are elements within government which could be working against the interests of the government. “Meanwhile, police officers pursuing the ‘conspiracy’ case against former Police Commissioner Joshua Bong and others can’t decide on their own who should represent them in court; and even more importantly, if it is a case of national interest and warrants such public spending. For this reason, any decision on the part of the persons concerned to achieve a certain objective, is tantamount to a clear conflict of interest.” Indeed. Thank you, PMO.
  • The Board of Vanuatu Broadcasting and Television Corporation (VBTC) has signed off on the Corporation’s accounts, for auditing, for the year 2012, Radio Vanuatu itself states.Board Chair Jennifer Kausei said she wanted to get the VBTC accounts into line with government requirements. One wonders how this has been avoided for nearly a decade now. It would surely have something to do with the political coalition nature of the Corporation Board. Kausei hoped the accounts for 2013 and 2014 could then be brought up to date. Indeed. How did they go uninspected for so long? Political reasons? This writer knows the Corporation accounts were fine and well in 2002. It seems this is the last time they were.
  • The Vanuatu Government is reported as prioritising the geo-thermal project at Takara and anxious to prevent the prospecting company moving out, the acting head of the Environment Department, Trinison Tari, said last Thursday at the EIA meeting at Takara. He said the onus is on the landowners, the people and all relevant stakeholders to see eye to eye and speak with one voice to enable the project to proceed. Climate Change DG Jotham Napat explained that New Zealand had provided two geo-thermal experts to work with the government’s responsible task force to scrutinise the EIA submitted. This was not publicly evaluated last week as the task force was still working on it. However, a number of concerns of the people have been answered.
  • Since last week and the Environment Impact Assessment discussions for hydro-electricity at North Efate there has been reporting in the two principal news media concerning the value of renovating and upgrading the Quoin Hill airstrip at Takara. It has been used for emergency landings and it is given as, variously, certain custom owners on the one hand, and the whole community on the other, see it as a possible important factor for developing the area along with providing geo-thermal power if approved.
  • Over 170 passengers of the MV Renaissance had to spend a night ashore at south-east Malekula, the vessel having struck a reef the previous night. The office of the shipping company confirmed the incident, VBTC reported, and advised passengers were all safe and well at Lamap, awaiting transportation. Ports and Harbours is investigating.
  • Foreign ministers of the MSG countries have agreed to set up a commercial arm of the sub-regional body. This was decided at their Port Vila meeting a week ago. Melanesian Solutions will become an important part of the MSG with branches in each country.
  • Some members of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua are here for next Monday’s meeting to prepare their application to join the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG). Others will arrive before Monday.

POLYNESIA

5) Judge shortage in Samoa

 30 January 2015

A Parliamentary Select Committe in Samoa says there are not enough judges to address the number of matters brought before the courts.

The Samoa Observer reports that the Justice, Police and Prisons, Land and Titles Committee raised the concerns in their report to the Legislative Assembly.

The report says there have been a number of complaints filed against the Ministry from the public due to a shortage of Judges.

It says included under the Supreme Court is a new division that conducts Tribunal Hearings and figures show an increase in criminal matters and civil matters.

The committee says it’s concerned as to whether there is a sufficient number of Judges to adjudicate over matters.

It says if this continues there will be problems.

The committee also commended the practice of bringing Judges in from overseas on a temporary basis.

It says this is an important practice, given that there are matters that cannot be considered by a Samoan due to conflict of interest, as well as the availability of higher capacity and qualifications overseas.RNZI

6) Samoa’s domestic violence hotline reflects on 10 years

Updated 30 January 2015, 12:06 AEDT

A proposed domestic violence hotline for Papua New Guinea could learn a lot from a similar program in Samoa.

Samoa’s domestic violence hotline reflects on 10 years (Credit: ABC) 

Non-government organisations are setting up a 24/7 telephone counselling service with the incidence of violence against women and children in the home reaching epidemic proportions.

In Samoa, a victim support group has been running for nearly ten years, and it’s established a place in Samoan society as a reliable and trusted source of guidance.

So what can PNG learn from Samoa? The Samoan Victim Support Group President Lina Chang says when she started the service a decade ago she had no idea how it would develop.

Presenter: Richard Ewart

Speaker: Lina Chang, President, Samoa Victim Support Group- Radio Australia

MICRONESIA


7) Chuukese Women Face Health Care Barriers In Guam: Researcher
54% of women in Guam who don’t get prenatal care are from Chuuk

By Jasmine Stole

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Marianas Variety, Jan. 29, 2015) – Sarah Smith, an adjunct professor at the University of Guam, met with about 30 health professionals at the Non-Communicable Disease Consortium meeting on Wednesday and presented her doctoral dissertation on the social, historical and clinical contributions to disparities in health care among Chuukese women.

Smith said she interviewed and followed more than 200 Chuukese women for her dissertation and tracked their experiences at clinics on Guam.

Smith’s research revealed three main barriers that contributed to disparities in health care for women from Chuuk, including gaining access to health care, quality of care and confidentiality issues.

Smith said Chuukese women represent nine percent of women of childbearing age, yet they account for 54 percent of women with no prenatal care at birth. “I wanted to explore why (Chuukese) women in Guam and in Chuuk were not getting necessarily the care that they needed,” she said. “I was looking at the clinic as a cultural entity as much as I was looking at Chuukese women as a cultural entity.”

Transportation is among the top hindrances to accessing health care for women from Chuuk, Smith said. The quality of care at local clinics also limits the women’s access to care, Smith said.

Read More: Marianas Variety 

8) Palau’s powers to act on illegal fishing restricted by bureaucratic delays

Updated 30 January 2015, 12:00 AEDT

Satellite technology brought in to protect Palau’s National Marine Sanctuary is already having an effect, with the first fishing boat operating illegally in the area, intercepted within 24 hours of Project Eyes on the Seas being launched.

But while the technology being used is state of the art, Palau’s legal framework hasn’t caught up yet.

The laws linked to the establishment of the Marine Sanctuary are yet to be passed, so while Palau can certainly take action on illegal fishing operations, its powers for the moment at least, are some what restricted.

And Bernadette Carreon in Koror says that means for now the threat of six figure fines is no more than a threat.

Presenter: Richard Ewart

Speaker: Bernadette Carreon, journalist, Palau- Radio Australia

NEW ZEALAND


9) NZ Defence Minister: Stop Punishing Fiji For Past Events
Brownlee notes successful elections, resumption of diplomatic, military ties

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Jan. 30, 2015) – New Zealand’s Defence Minister, Gerry Brownlee, says it’s time to stop punishing Fiji for events in the past.

New Zealand has resumed defence ties with Fiji that were suspended after the coup led by then-Commodore Frank Bainimarama in 2006.

Other sanctions were lifted after Fiji’s election in September.

Mr Brownlee says two Fijian officers are now training at New Zealand officer training schools, and fisheries surveillance from Fiji has also started up again.

“We are resuming military and diplomatic relations with a country that has a democratically-elected government, and we respect the democratic right of the Fijian people to, at the ballot box, choose their leader. They’ve chosen Frank Bainimarama and we recognise that,” says Brownlee.

Radio New Zealand International 

TOK PISIN

10) PNG Midia i ken helpim lobng kamapim gutpla senis

Updated 30 January 2015, 15:44 AEDT

Caroline Tiriman

Wok blong midia emi wanpla bikpla samting emi ken halvim long kamapim ol gutpla senis long Papua New Guinea.

Odio: Benedict Oli blong TopShot media long PNG itoktok wantem Caroline Tiriman

Wok blong midia emi wanpla bikpla samting emi ken halvim long kamapim ol gutpla senis long Papua New Guinea.

Despla em toktok blong wanpla yangpla niusman blong PNG husat i pinisim wanpla treining long mekim ol documentary stori long University blong Melbourne long despla wik.

Benedict Oli, husat i wok wantem TOPSHOT media limited long PNG ibin kam skul long lainim ol nupla rot blong mekim ol stori long sidaon blong ol pipal long ples, na tu ol senis emi wok long kamap long ples.

Mr Oli itok tu olsem wanpla gutpla samting em ol niusman-meri blong PNG iet iken mekim, em long tokaut long ol stori we ol iet isave gut long en, na ino bihaenim tingting blong ol niusman-meri blong ol narapla kantri.

Emi tok, planti taem ol niusman-meri blong ol narapla kantri isave raitim ol nius emi save bagarapim nem blong PNG olgeta taem.Radio Australia

11) Solomon Island Yuth bai gat nupla Magazine

Updated 30 January 2015, 15:55 AEDT

Caroline Tiriman

Long Solomon Islands laen blong Youth@Work i redi nau long statim nupla buk oa magazine blong ol yangpla iet.

Odio: Sandra Bartlett husat i go pas long Youth@Work long Solomon Islands na emi bin toktok wantem Caroline Tiriman

Long Solomon Islands laen blong Youth@Work i redi nau long statim nupla buk oa magazine blong ol yangpla iet.

Despla emi nupla projek blong ol na as tingting blong statim em blong tokaut long ol stori na wari em ol yangpla pipal blong Solomon Islands isave bungim long laif blong ol.

Sampla long ol narapla progrem blong ol em long Yuth maket, narapla ken em Photo vois we ol yangpla isave kisim ol foto na mekim ol stori long ol.

Sandra Bartlett emi go pas long Youth@Work na emi tok sampla long ol samting em bai oli save putim long despla magazine em ol stori olsem ol yangpla ino save gat wok, wari long helt blong ol, skul na planti ol narapla samting.

Emi tok tu olsem sampla long ol stori bai lukluk tu long ol gutpla stori.Radio Australia

FRENCH

12) Brèves du Pacifique – vendredi 30 janvier 2015

Posté à 30 January 2015, 16:57 AEDT

Caroline Lafargue

L’Australie se mobilise pour les condamnés à mort de Bali. Environ 1000 personnes se sont réunies hier soir sur la place Martin à Sydney. 

Les deux trafiquants d’héroïne australiens, Andrew Chan et Myuran Sukumaran, ont épuisé tous leurs recours en justice, et risquent de passer devant le peloton d’exécution d’ici quelques semaines. La famille de Myuran Sukumaran a organisé un rassemblement jeudi soir à Sydney. Sa grand-mère a pris la parole et demandé au Président indonésien de donner une deuxième chance à son petit-fils. Mais Joko Widodo a annoncé en début de semaine qu’il n’accorderait pas sa grâce à des trafiquants de drogue. 

  •  Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée: l’armée n’a toujours pas confirmé l’incursion de deux hélicoptères de l’armée indonésiennes dans le pays. Il s’agit pour l’instant d’une rumeur propagée sur les réseaux sociaux papous la semaine dernière. Ce qu’il y a de sûr, c’est que par le passé, des militaires indonésiens ont déjà franchi la frontière alors qu’ils pourchassaient des indépendantistes mélanésiens venus se réfugier en Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée. John Tekwie, l’ancien gouverneur de la province du Sepik occidental, estime que ces incursions sont courantes. Radio Australia


13) PNG: « il n’y a pas de discipline »

Mis à jour 29 January 2015, 17:10 AEDT
Caroline Lafargue

Après la bavure d’Hanuabada, le ministre papou de l’Intérieur reconnaît qu’il ne maîtrise pas ses troupes. 

Un groupe de policiers papous à Lae, la deuxième ville du pays.  
Vendredi dernier, une intervention policière pour déloger des vendeurs illégaux de noix de bétel a mal tourné. Le drame s’est passé à Hanuabada, un village aux portes de Port-Moresby.
 
Des policiers ont ouvert le feu sur des civils. Bilan: deux morts. L’enquête n’a pas encore déterminé si les policiers sont coupables, mais ce qui est certain, c’est que leurs supérieurs ne les protègent pas. Robert Atiyafa, le ministre papou de l’Intérieur, au micro de Liam Fox: 
 
« Les officiers ne maîtrisent et ne contrôlent pas bien leurs hommes. Le directeur de la police nationale va y mettre le holà. Il n’y a pas de discipline. Par exemple, il y a certains policiers portent des armes, mais ils n’en n’ont pas le droit. Seuls les officiers peuvent porter des armes. »
 
Robert Atiyafa met en cause la formation bâclée des policiers: ils passent seulement 6 mois à l’école de police de Bomana, dans la capitale. Le ministre veut faire passer cette durée à un an. 
 
Le Premier ministre papou, aujourd’hui en visite à Canberra, est allé un peu plus loin : Peter O’Neill souhaite que les policiers papous soient formés par des Australiens. Quelques officiers australiens donnent déjà des cours à Bomana, mais le Premier ministre voudrait augmenter leurs effectifs. 
 
Pour éviter les bavures policières, il faut aussi améliorer les conditions de vie des policiers, estime le ministre Robert Atiyafa: 
 
« Nous avons 6000 policiers dans le pays, et seulement 4000 maisons à leur offrir, dont 2000 sont inhabitables. Leurs véhicules de fonction sont aussi souvent en panne. Tout cela s’accumule et crée de la frustration. Donc nous allons faire construire 6000 maisons à partir de juin. »  
 
Ce n’est qu’un début modeste, car 10 000 nouveaux policiers vont être formés d’ici 2017 et 2018 et eux aussi auront besoin d’être logés. Radio Australia

14) Pêche : carton jaune pour la PNG, les Îles Salomon et Tuvalu


Mis à jour 29 January 2015, 17:08 AEDT
Caroline Lafargue

Selon l’Union européenne, les trois pays ne font pas assez pour lutter contre le braconnage. 

Des pêcheurs déchargent leur cargaison de thon au port de Koror, à Palau. (ABC: Greg Wilesmith) (Credit: ABC) 
L’UE menace donc de cesser ses importations de thon si les choses n’ont pas changé dans six mois. Un délai très court, car la Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée, les Îles Salomon, et Tuvalu doivent modifier leurs lois pour se conformer aux exigences de l’UE.
 
D’autre part, les trois pays du Pacifique ont très peu de moyens financiers et logistiques pour traquer plus efficacement les braconniers. 
 
James Movick, le directeur-général de l’Agence des Pêches du Forum des Îles du Pacifique, au micro de Richard Ewart : 
 
« L’interdiction par l’UE des importation de thon salomonais, papou et tuvaluan serait une catastrophe particulièrement pour les Îles Salomon, qui exportent leur thon quasiment uniquement vers l’Union européenne. »
 
Le Premier ministre salomonais, Manasseh Sogavare, a promis de nouvelles lois en début de semaine. Il a également rencontré le PDG de TriMarine, Renato Curto, pour le rassurer.
 
L’entreprise américaine possède en effet la conserverie de thon Soltuna aux Îles Salomon. TriMarine a aussi une filiale, NFD, qui gère une flotte de bateaux de pêche salomonais pour approvisionner l’usine.
 
Si le marché européen se ferme, TriMarine pourrait mettre la clé sous la porte. L’Américain emploie en tout 2500 Salomonais. 
 
Pendant ce temps-là, les Indonésiens, eux, agissent contre la pêche illégale, de manière toujours spectaculaire. Ils vont couler un bateau de braconniers vietnamiens, pris en flagrant délit dans les eaux de la Papouasie occidentale. La police indonésienne a trouvé 2000 kgs d’ailerons de requins, 45 tortues, 586 ailes de raies mantas dans les cales du navire. Les 12 pêcheurs seront prochainement jugés.Radio Australia.

PASIFIK

15) Common ground reached in Pacific human rights forum

Updated 29 January 2015, 10:13 AEDT

MPs from 11 Pacific island countries have gathered in Fiji for a series of discussions and presentations focussing on the region’s existing and emerging human rights issues.

They include areas like sexual and gender based violence, disability inclusiveness, non-communicable diseases and the impact of climate change.

And later today, as part of the international gathering, a publication will be launched called The Big Nine, which is described as an important reference point when it comes to bringing the human rights laws of any one country into line with international legislation.

Salote Tagivakatini, senior trainer with the Regional Rights Resource Team at the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, says she’s hoping to see genuine progress out of the talks.

Presenter: Richard Ewart

Speaker: Salote Tagivakatini, senior trainer, Regional Rights Resource Team, SPC- Radio Australia

WORLD

16) Veteran politician Sergio Mattarella elected Italian president, first Sicilian in the role

Updated 1 February 2015, 6:35 AEDT

Italian lawmakers have elected Sergio Mattarella, a constitutional court judge and veteran centre-left politician, as president, handing a welcome political victory to prime minister Matteo Renzi.

“My first thoughts are of the difficulties and hopes of our citizens,” Mr Mattarella said after the vote.

The election shows Mr Renzi, 40, in firm control of both his famously fractious party and his allies in the ruling majority as he seeks to pass reforms aimed at underpinning an economic recovery in Italy, where unemployment is soaring after six years of on-off recession.

After three inconclusive rounds of voting this week in which a two-thirds majority was needed, his candidate Mr Mattarella was elected in the fourth round, when the required quorum fell to a simple majority.

As the ballots were counted out loud in the Chamber of Deputies, the 1,009 parliamentarians and regional officials eligible to vote burst into applause when Mr Mattarella’s name surpassed the 505-vote threshold, making him Italy’s 12th president since World War II.

Mr Mattarella, 73, who is little known to most Italians, drew broad parliamentary support, garnering 665 votes.

He is expected to be sworn in next week for a seven-year term, taking over officially for 89-year-old Giorgio Napolitano, who resigned earlier this month.

“Keep up the good work, President Mattarella. Long live Italy!” Mr Renzi tweeted after the vote. Pope Francis also sent a congratulatory telegram.

The Italian president is a largely ceremonial figure, but he wields important powers at times of political instability, a frequent scourge in Italy, when he can dissolve parliament, call elections and choose prime ministers.

Centre-right rival Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party appeared in disarray after the vote.

Mr Berlusconi ordered his party to cast blank ballots after accusing Mr Renzi of betraying what he said was a promise to give him a role in choosing the candidate. Instead, more than 30 refused, opening a wound in the party.

Renato Brunetta, Forza Italia’s chief whip in the lower house, said the pact that Mr Renzi and Mr Berlusconi sealed last year to make institutional reforms was dead, but not all his party colleagues were so resolute. Mr Berlusconi himself has yet to comment.

“Renzi made a unilateral decision to break the pact,” Mr Brunetta said. “Nothing will be the same now.”

Italy’s first Sicilian president

Mr Mattarella is the first native of Sicily to become president. He has a reputation for being a reserved but straight-talking former minister, whose career in politics began after his brother, Piersanti, was shot dead by the Sicilian Mafia in 1980.

Mr Mattarella’s political roots are in Italy’s defunct Christian Democrat party that his father Bernardo, an anti-fascist, helped to found after the war.

Though Mr Mattarella is not seen as having vast international experience, he served as defence minister in two different centre-left governments, from 1999 to 2001.

In 1990, Mr Mattarella resigned as education minister to protest a decree that favoured Mr Berlusconi’s media empire, and three years later he drafted a voting law, which has since been changed, that was used when Mr Berlusconi won his first of three national elections in 1994.

Reuters

17) German chancellor Angela Merkel rules out debt reduction for Greece


Updated 1 February 2015, 0:00 AEDT

German chancellor Angela Merkel has rejected the prospect of debt relief for Athens, adding to tensions between the radical new Greek government and its international creditors.

“There has already been voluntary debt forgiveness by private creditors, banks have already slashed billions from Greece’s debt,” Ms Merkel said in an interview with local newspaper Hamburger Abendblatt.

“I do not envisage fresh debt cancellation,” she said.

The new Greek government has already begun to roll back years of austerity measures demanded by the EU and the International Monetary Fund in return for a 240 billion euro ($269 billion) bailout granted to avoid a financial meltdown in 2010, and says it will negotiate to halve the debt.

At the start of 2012, Greece restructured its debt in a deal involving private creditors who took “haircuts” or wrote down parts of their holdings. This cut Greece’s total debt burden by around 100 billion euros.

But the country is today still lumbered with a debt pile of more than 315 billion euros, upwards of 175 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), a record for the European Union.

“Europe will continue to show its solidarity with Greece, as with other countries hard hit by the crisis if these countries carry out reforms and cost-saving measures,” Merkel said.

Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras will visit Italy and France on Tuesday and Wednesday, but has no immediate plans to visit Germany, Europe’s biggest economy and effective paymaster.

AFP

HEALTH

18) Australian boats help stop the spread of tuberculosis in Papua New Guinea


Updated 30 January 2015, 20:45 AEDT

Four specially crafted boats are heading from Australia’s north-east coast to Papua New Guinea as part of a program to help stop the spread of tuberculosis in the country.

Once they arrive, the boats will be used to carry stretchers, medical supplies, staff and patients from outer islands in PNG’s Western Province to the mainland.

The boats are part of a range of programs set up by the Australian Government, local organisations and the Cairns Reef and Rainforest Research Centre to tackle the growing problem of multi-drug resistant TB.

Cairns Reef and Rainforest Research Centre managing director Sheriden Morris said a lack of adequate services in PNG made it hard for locals to respond to the disease.

“We utilise the skills that are in the region.

Cairns Reef and Rainforest Research Centre managing director, Sheriden Morris

“When you see all the infrastructure declining, when you see the community services declining, you know something has to be done,” she told Radio Australia’sPacific Beat.

As part of the program, 40 community rangers were selected by village elders in the country’s Western Province for training.

Ms Morris said the program aimed to build the ability of locals to deal with the disease.

“It’s to build resilience in those communities,” she said.

“We utilise the skills that are in the region, utilise the expertise in the region, to actually look at how we can improve things.

“Part of the problem we’ve had is that, a lot of the time, the aid and support that comes to these regions really lacks the local experience and local knowledge.”

Local health services struggling to cope

Ms Morris said even local health services were finding it difficult to control the disease.

She said on a recent visit this month, nurses at the Daru hospital went on strike because they said they could no longer cope with the TB levels.

“When the hospital can’t cope anymore, when the communities can’t cope, we need to be looking at ways to be building those communities back up so they can manage.”

She said it was difficult to see an area so close to Australia struggling to cope with TB.

“There is not one family I work with now across all the villages that isn’t impacted by TB and multi-drug resistant TB,” she said.

“There are also a lot of other diseases. There’s a lot of leprosy, there’s been a big outbreak of cholera previously.

“This is an area that is really suffering and it’s so close – it is our border. And we do interact daily –there’s 50,000-odd border crossings a year between people.

“So it is a really distressing scene.”

Ms Morris said the boats that will help service the islands in the region have been designed for the conditions there.

“The boats themselves are actual fishing boats that are designed specifically for the conditions and the awful choppy seas we have in the Torres Strait. So they’re very fit for purpose,” she said.

“They’re also designed to be self-rescuing, so you can sail them if you run out of fuel. They’re very fuel efficient and they have low draughts so they can get into all the villages very easily and they can’t sink.

“They’re very well suited to the rough and remote conditions we have up in those areas.”Radio Australia

19) 68 confirmed dengue cases in North- The health ministry has confirmed 68 dengue cases, in the northern division. However national advisor communicable disease Dr Mike Kama told FBC NEWS, these cases may not be new, as data collected were also from late last year, and some patients have recovered. In contradiction to this statement, Kama said the Health Ministry has declared an outbreak in the northern division. Dr Kama did not reveal how many new cases have been recorded.
http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/26435/68-confirmed-dengue-cases-in-north#sthash.k8opbJa9.dpuf

20) SPH mentorship program recognised – The Suva Private Hospital has been given the green light by the Health Ministry to implement its mentorship program for young practitioners. With this, the Toorak Suva-based hospital will now resume its 24 hour service starting Monday. SPH General Manager David Qumivutia says practitioners in the public sector can now work for a private hospital, but will still have fulfill their public sector obligation.

http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/26405/sph-mentorship-program-recognised-#sthash.zuWA3C59.dpuf

EDUCATION

21) Fiji students learn new technological skills

Updated 29 January 2015, 10:13 AEDT

Students in Fiji now have the opportunity to connect with their peers around the world in a high tech learning centre.

Offically opened yesterday by Prime Minister Bainimarama, the Lami Tech Studio will teach students new media skills in movie production, 3D engineering and robotics.

Video conferencing technology will allow the young people to connect with similar programs globally.

Jiuta Korovulavala is the studio manager for High Tech Youth in Fiji and says since they’ve opened their doors they’ve seen a positive reaction from the Lami region.

Presenter: Richard Ewart

Speaker: Juita Korovulavala, studio manager, Lami Tech Studio- Radio Australia

POLITIC 

22a) Former Solomon Islands PM to challenge his ousting – The former Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Gordon Darcy Lilo, who lost his seat in last year’s election, has filed an election petition against his successor, Jimson Fiau Tanangada. The Island Sun Newspaper says Mr Lilo’s petition is one of 15 scheduled for a pre-trial conference at the High Court next Thursday. Of the 15, four have been filed by MPs who lost their seats and 11 by other losing candidates. The paper says most petitions allege bribery, treating and undue influence.
http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/264765/former-solomon-islands-pm-to-challenge-his-ousting

22b) Number of monitoring systems are in place – PM’s Office- The Prime Minister’s Office said they have a number of monitoring systems in place after the 2007 Auditor General’s reports to ensure that funds disbursed under the Small Grants Scheme are well spent. While speaking before the Public Accounts Committee today, Acting Permanent Secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office Naipote Katonitabua said while 2007 was an interesting and challenging year, many systems have been put in place. While explaining about the Chinese government grants administered by the Prime Minister’s Office, Katonitabua clarified that the scheme is handled by a unit in the Prime Minister’s Office called the Development Corporation Facilitation Division.
http://fijivillage.com/news/Number-of-monitoring-systems-are-in-place–PMs-Office-52skr9/

22c ) Unions won’t be forced to use mobile voting system-
 The Fijian Elections Office says they will not force Trade Unions to use the new mobile phone voting system. Deputy Supervisor of Elections Michael Clancy says the introduction of the new voting method could prove to be a more efficient way for people to cast their votes. But he says the unions will decide on whether they want to apply mobile voting during their elections.
http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/26441/unions-won%E2%80%99t-be-forced-to-use-mobile-voting-system#sthash.GViWXGdl.dpuf

22d ) Government ministries explain discrepancies in AG’s report – The Ministry of I-taukei Affairs has explained to the Public Accounts Committee the discrepancies found in the Auditor General’s report on the repayment of a loan taken out in 1998. The Ministry took a 200 million dollar loan under the then SVT government. It was converted to a grant by the Labour government and converted back to a loan by the SDL government when it came into power. PS I-Taukei Affairs Savenaca Kaunisela says all queries from the Committee for answered.
http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/26442/government-ministries-explain-discrepancies-in-ag%E2%80%99s-report#sthash.atuKD6fy.dpuf

22e ) Speaker briefed on duty in UK- Fijian Parliament Speaker Dr Jiko Luveni met with the UK House of Commons speaker Rt Hon John Bercow during which she was briefed on the importance of her role in ensuring order is kept in the chamber. Dr Luveni who is part of a four-member delegation currently on parliamentary tour in the United Kingdom was also briefed on the wider role of the speaker in terms of being the face of parliament and in opportunities that are available to them to play a key role in the outreach work and taking parliament to the people. The delegation which includes Secretary General to Parliament Vini Namosimalua, Opposition Leader Ro Teimumu Kepa and Leader of Government in Parliament Pio Tikoduadua were also briefed by House of Commons staff about how the Prime Minister’s Question (PMQs) Time works in the UK Parliament.
http://fijilive.com/news/2015/01/speaker-briefed-on-duty-in-uk/60469.Fijilive

22f) Fiji finance ministry official questions military spending – A finance ministry official in Fiji has questioned the 23 million US dollars spent by the military in 2007. Fiji Village reports that in a session of parliament’s Public Accounts Committee, Emosi Dovibua, said an Auditor General’s report didn’t clearly detail how the money was used. However, the deputy auditor general, Atunaisa Nadakuitavuki, said that was because the issue only focused on over expenditure and not on how the money was spent. Fiji Village also says that former prime minister and Finance Minister Mahendra Chaudhry that the 2007 overspend was a direct result of the 2006 coup that installed Frank Bainimarama as Prime Minister.
http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/264804/fiji-finance-ministry-official-questions-military-spending

22g) PAC to have face to face consultations with Government Officials – The Public Accounts Committee will today meet with the Heads of Finance for seven Ministry’s as well as the CEO for the Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority. PAC has been sitting throughout this week scrutinizing the 2007 to 2009 Auditor General’s reports and highlighted a number of recurrent issues with specific explanations expected in today’s face to face consultations. PAC Chairman Professor Biman Prasad says all government officials should make themselves available where and when needed to answer questions posed by the committee.
http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/26407/pac-to-have-face-to-face-consultations-with-government-officials#sthash.rvV4Sf0j.dpuf

22h ) Luveni meets first UK woman Speaker – The Pacific’s first woman speaker had a historical moment yesterday when she met with the first woman speaker of the UK House of commons Rt Hon Betty Boothroyd during the Fiji Parliament delegation visit to the UK. Rt Hon Boothroyd served as a Member of Parliament from 1973 to 2000 and became the first and only female Speaker from 1992 to 2000. The Fiji delegation then met the Speaker of the UK House of Lords, the Lord Speaker Baroness D’Souza.
http://fijilive.com/news/2015/01/dr-luveni-meets-first-uk-woman-speaker/60459.Fijilive

22i ) Fiji – NZ relation to further strengthen this year – A lot has been planned this year to further strengthen the partnership between Fiji and New Zealand. High level visits of officials are first on the agenda and New Zealand’s High Commissioner Mark Ramsden says such visits signal the growing relationship between both the countries. “We had a number of high level visits, the NZ Minister for Defence Honorable Gerry Brownlee just before Christmas. I expect the year is going to see a number of high level visits both ways. We certainly have a visit booked for the honorable speaker of parliament to head down to NZ in the early part of the year.”
http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/26404/fiji-%E2%80%93-nz-relation-to-further-strengthen-this-year#sthash.rzJS2qle.dpuf

MEDIA

23) Radio Australia to cease Asia shortwave: what of its future?

Updated 30 January 2015, 18:04 AEDT

Asia is to lose another major shortwave broadcaster this Sunday as Radio Australia ceases 75 years in the region, but the service to the Pacific will continue.

So is there still a place for shortwave broadcasting in a world now dominated by television, FM and digital radio, the internet and satellite transmission?

Liam Fox asked Peter Marks whether he thinks this 20th century technology belongs in the modern media world.

Presenter: Liam Fox

Speaker: Peter Marks, ABC technology editor, app developer and ham radio enthusiastRadio Australia

LAND

24) Solomons Government To Focus On Good Governance, Land Reform
Opening of customary land for economic development on agenda


By Daniel Namosuaia

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Jan. 30, 2015) – Good governance and customary land are the two central themes emphasized in the Sogavare’s led Democratic Coalition for Change Government’s (DCCG) policy priority programmes for the next four years.

Speaking at the policy launch Tuesday, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare said, the two central themes emphasized in his government’s programmes are the pursuit for good governance and opening of customary lands for economic development.

Sogavare said, his government has a long agenda for the achievement of good governance.

He said, in their pursuit to achieving this, his government is committed to strengthen the country’s integrity institutions.

Including the Leadership Code Commission (LCC), Office of the Ombudsman and the Parliamentary Entitlement Committee (PEC).

Sogavare said, his government is determined to fight corruption head on and would invite relevant civil organizations to join the government on this endeavor.

He said, a comprehensive National Anti-Corruption Strategy will be developed with the enactment of an Anti-corruption legislation and establishment of an Independent Commission against Corruption.

The PM said, these are essential elements of his government to fight against corruption in the country.

[PIR editor’s note: Solomon Star reported that ‘The Democratic Coalition for Change (DCC) Government’s four year budget will cost $20 billion (US$2.6 billion), according to its published policy strategy handbook released during their launch on Tuesday. … According to the government’s four year policy strategy, Infrastructure Development will get the biggest potion of the budget with a total budget of $7.2 billion (US$0.9billion).’]

Adding his government will continue with the political reform agenda of the last government to review the Political Parties Integrity Act and the strengthening of the electoral process and search for a desirous electoral system the people wants to deepen democratic values in the country.

“We are also fully committed to continue the process of national healing and nation building and to finally adopt our federal system of government during this term of the DCC Government,” Sogavare added.

He said, on the theme of customary land reform, his government is determined to pursue the recording and registration of tribal lands beginning this year 2015.

He said, despite its significance, it will be a long drawn out project.

“But it is critically important that we now make a beginning in the implementation of this project given its potential to unleash the economic development potential of our country with accompanying benefits to our people at the rural areas and urban centres,”Sogavare said.

However Sogavare clarified that the approach to this land reform project was not to force landowners to formally register their lands.

Adding whilst the government is desirous to speed up recording and registration of economically viable tribal lands for national economic development interests, other tribal landowners could also do so if they wish to.

He said the right of tribal land owners over their tribal lands will always be respected and guaranteed.

However PM Sogavare said his government is confident that sooner or later, landowners will find it beneficial to avail their lands for economic development.

Meanwhile Sogavare said, his only hope now is for people to own and embrace these policies and work together with the DCC government where necessary in shaping these development programmes to be as effective as they can be.

Calling on development partners to jump on board and support DCC’s mission of change for Solomon Islands.

Solomon Star

BUSINESS

25) Bank Of South Pacific To Buy Westpac Branches
Operations in Samoa, Cooks, Solomons, Vanuatu, Tonga to be acquired


NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Jan. 29, 2015) – Westpac today, 29 January announced that it has entered into an agreement to sell its banking operations in Samoa, Cook Islands, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Tonga to the Bank of South Pacific Ltd BSP for A$125 million [US$98 million].

BSP is the largest Pacific-originated bank, with operations in PNG, Fiji and Solomon Islands, and headquarters in PNG.

Westpac however will retain its operations in its largest Pacific markets of Fiji and Papua New Guinea PNG as both the longest serving bank in Fiji, for 113 years and the first bank in PNG.

The General Manager of Westpac Pacific, Greg Pawson said that Westpac’s decision to sell its operations in these smaller Pacific nations “reflects our desire to increase focus on our growth plans in the larger markets of PNG and Fiji, where we have a strong history.

“These markets support our international aspirations by being closely tied to Asia, Australia and New Zealand and the strong flows of capital, trade, and migration.”

Mr Pawson said that it is vital for Pacific Islanders to be supported by a bank that is an expert in operating in smaller markets, and BSP was best placed to maintain a high standard of banking services across these markets.

“We believe BSP is well positioned with deep local knowledge to take the great businesses Westpac has built in these countries into the future,” Greg Pawson said.

The completion of the sale is expected to occur in mid-2015 and is subject to the parties obtaining necessary statutory, regulatory and third party approvals.

Prior to completion, Westpac will continue to own and manage banking operations in these countries and will continue to meet its customers’ banking needs. Following completion, Westpac will work to ensure continuity of services to customers and a smooth transition of operations in these countries to BSP.

Matangi Tonga Magazine

26) Solomon Islands development aims to help reconciliation: PM

Updated 30 January 2015, 17:39 AEDT

The new government in Solomon Islands plans to use accelerated development in the country’s provinces, particularly in Malaita, to help address problems with reconciliation and youth unemployment.

In the second part of Jemima Garrett’s interview with Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare… he says finding jobs for the huge numbers of unemployed young Solomon Islanders will be a challenge.

But he’s pledged to have things moving by the end of the year.

Presenter: Jemima Garrett

Speaker: Manasseh Sogavare, Solomon Islands prime minister- Radio Australia

Pre-departure program for selected RSE applicants- Final applicants who will be selected to work in farms in New Zealand under the Recognized Seasonal Employment scheme will undergo a thorough pre-departure program. This is to prepare candidates for possible cross cultural issues and provide them with tools to achieve maximum productivity work output. Minister for Employment -Jioji Konrote is hoping those selected will not spoil their contracts to the detriment of those also seeking to work under the scheme.
http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/26436/pre-departure-program-for-selected-rse-applicants#sthash.kXdxqh1Q.dpuf

INFRASTRUCTURE

27) Groundbreaking Held For $25 Million Solomons Port Project
Two year project to be funded by Japan

By Charles Kadamana

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Jan. 30, 2015) – A ground breaking ceremony to formalise the commencement of the SBD$190 million [US$25 million] international sea port at the Solomon Islands Ports Authority will be held today.

Funded by the government of Japan through Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) it will officially launch by Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare and Japan Ambassador His Excellency Kenichi Kimiya.

The two years project will be constructed by Kitano Construction Joint Venture and Toa Cooperation facilitated by the Ministry of Infrastructure and implemented by the Ports Authority.

Director Engineering of Ports Authority Ronald Ivupitu said, the ground breaking was to formalise and mark the commencement of the project between the government of Solomon Islands and Japan.

He said, the actual work on the project had already started since October 2014 and is expected to complete by September 2016.

Mr Ivupitu said, the international seaport covers 150 meter long and 180 meter depth that can cater for large cargo and cruise ship.

He said, the project once it is completed will ease the congestion of calling ships, improve the strength of trade in the country, expand container yard, increase the stacking capacity of containers and enable them to handle volume efficiently.

He said, the new wharf will be enough to facilitate the congestion of calling ships and significantly reduce a berth waiting time of ships to almost zero.

There is no doubt that the completion of the project will boost Honiara as one of the busy hubs in the region and will contribute to activate the economy of Solomon Islands.

Solomon Star

28) Lami Town to undergo major development– Lami Town is expected to undergo major development in the coming months. Special Administrator Jasper Singh says this is part of their five year plan. Tikaram Park will be revamped into a centre for recreation for the entire family. “We need about $400,000 dollars to upgarde Tikaram Park and we going to have a park that’s got wifi free for our kids they can do their studies there while the little ones are hanging out in the play area, we got a podium there for all purpose and besides that we got a senior park for our senior citizens in Lami.”
http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/26438/lami-town-to-undergo-major-development#sthash.DcJSJRhu.dpuf

LAW&ORDER

29) PNG Opposition: Law And Order Problems ‘Deep-Rooted’
Basil, Poyle urge government to address root causes

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Jan. 30, 2015) – Deputy Opposition leader Sam Basil said the Government and police are wasting their time and breath with talk of refresher courses, training and rules of engagement for police.

He said law and order problems were deep-rooted and they should be addressed to overcome surges in killings and other crime.

Opposition leader Don Polye and Basil passed their condolences to the families, relatives and the community in mourning following the death of two men by police guns in Hanuabada last Friday. Polye has called on the Government to speed up investigations.

He said he would be launching an alternative government policy under a Triumph Heritage Empowerment (THE) Party to push for four regional police training colleges and training duration to increase from six to 12 months.

[PIR editor’s note: PNG Post-Courier reported that ‘Persistent police brutality is due to lack of proper training, discipline, and professionalism in the constabulary, says Opposition Leader Don Polye.’ They also reported that ‘POLICE performance and achievements will be on the spotlight when a government leader’s summit gets underway in Port Moresby next week. … This will also include the performance of the PNG Defence Force and Correction Services, and the Education, Health and Transport sectors.’]

Basil said Government seemed focused on Hanuabada, which is next to the police headquarters, but must seriously stop ad hoc decisions and statements about refresher courses, training and rules of engagement.

“This has been an ongoing problem that emanates when people do not respect the rule of law and do not want to maintain order,” he said.

“We seem to blame the policemen but there are endless lists of law and order issues affecting the whole community.

“People have been shot in Lae, Wau, Tatana, Jiwaka and Hanuabada but these are those that have been reported. Police personnel have been attacked in Mendi, Mt Hagen, National Capital District and elsewhere. “It requires a total relook at law and order issues.

“Even prisoners are escaping at will and there must be reasons that are deep-rooted within the country and must be addressed.”

“It appears that we are developing a norm to attack each other without respect.” Basil said that Motu-Koita people were hurt and had shown their frustration by blocking roads.

The National

30) Practicalities of Australian Federal Police in-line with PNG force


Updated 29 January 2015, 17:09 AEDT

There are currently 73 Australian Federal Police officers working in Port Moresby and Lae as unarmed advisors as part of the Wok Wantaim, or Working Together, program.

Putting them into in-line positions, having them work as police officers, not as advisors, would be a dramatic escalation of the program.

PNG’s prime minister Peter O’Neill says he’d like to see the officers in-line with the his force.

But is it realistic, given a similar project was scrapped in 2005 after PNG’s Supreme Court found that the immunity that had been granted to AFP officers was unconstitutional?

And would the Australian government be open to the idea?

David Connery from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute authored a report on the Wok Wantaim program last year.

He says Prime Minister O’Neill would need to indicate he’s prepared to change the law to show he’s serious.

Presenter: Liam Fox

Speaker: David Connery, Australian Strategic Policy Institute- Radio Australia

31) Promise to combat Solomons corruption looked upon with scepticism

 30 January 2015

Transparency Solomon Islands says the country’s Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare, has a lot of work to do if he is to live up to his promise to tackle corruption.

In his policy announcement on Tuesday, Mr Sogavare promised to implement a range of legislation and strategies to combat corruption, including establishing an Independent Commission against Corruption.

But a board member for Transparency Solomon Islands, Tony Hughes, says many people have made similar promises before, and it will take far more than establishing a commission to combat corruption in Solomon Islands.

“Corruption is so pervasive, it runs through so many parts of the public sector and has become so well established that it’s not just a matter of setting up an ICAC, it’s a matter of changing the way a lot of people have got used to behaving.”

Tony Hughes says despite having a new government, the parliament and public sector still has many of the same corrupt people.RNZI

32) Fiji military plans expansion

 30 January 2015

Fiji’s military commander has announced plans to establish a squadron and recruit more personnel for the military’s Navy division.

Colonel Mosese Tikoitoga made the announcement at a parade in Suva, where he revealled the restructure plans, which include a squadron for the engineer’s division and a plan to recruit 150 new personnel for the Navy.

FBC News reports Mr Tikoitoga saying the changes are necessary to meet the military’s operational requirements and government demands in areas such as infrastructure development.RNZI

CLIMATE CHANGE,CONSERVATION,ENVIROMENT

33) Cyclone Ola not expected to reach land


31 January 2015

A category 1 tropical cyclone is moving slowly northwest of New Caledonia but is not expected to reach land.

The New Zealand Metservice says Cyclone Ola is in open waters, and is not expected to make landfall, or pose any risk to New Caledonia.

As of 8pm Saturday, New Zealand time, the cyclone was 300 kilometres northwest of New Caledonia.

Meanwhile, the Fiji Metservice says a weather system near Samoa has weakened, and is not expected to develop into a cyclone.

Samoa is continuing to experience heavy rain, with some low lying areas around Apia flooded.

Some families in Matautu-uta village as well as Taufusi, Fugalei, and Saleufi in the town area have also been affected.

Rivers are also flooded, and families living nearby have been warned to move to higher ground.

And in American Samoa over four inches of rain fell overnight with the national weather service continuing a flash flood watch for Tutuila and Aunuu until tonight and a warning for Manu’a.

Our correspondent there says the heavy rainfall experienced last night may be mild compared to the pounding Manu’a has been getting since early this morning.

Meteorologist Elinor Lutu McMoore says people should prepare for continued heavy rainfall and gusty winds today.

“What’s affecting us in terms of the showers and the winds is really this active monsoon trough that’s sitting stationary over the Samoan islands.”

Elinor Lutu McMoore says the monsoonal trough lying over the Samoa group is expected to gradually move away by tomorrow.

All catholic schools and Manumalo baptist School have cancelled classes for today.RNZI

34) Two potential cyclones brew– Fiji’s Met Service says it is keeping a close watch on two weather systems that have the potential to develop into cyclones this coming weekend. Acting Director, Aminaisi Tuiraki, says one tropical disturbance is currently to the west of Samoa and models are predicting a moderate to high chance of it becoming a tropical cyclone at it moves closer to the two Samoas and Niue over the next 48 hours. He says a warning for strong winds and rain has already been issued for Samoa and American Samoa. He says there is also another low pressure system to the northwest of New Caledonia and if it keeps intensifying as it moves south it too may become a tropical cyclone by Saturday night. “Yeah one’s still right near the coral sea but as it moves to the New Caledonian area and its going to move south. And the one over Samoa is still to the far west of Samoa, it’s going to move in closer to the Samoan area and has started to track southeast. We are thinking about some effect over the Samoas and down to the Niue area.”
http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/264872/two-potential-cyclones-brew

35) 5,000 people face food shortages after PNG storm

 29 January 2015

More than 5,000 people in Papua New Guinea’s Eastern Highlands province are facing a food shortage after a hailstorm destroyed food gardens.

A landslide caused by the storm has also cut off the Highlands highway, putting six other provinces at risk of food and fuel shortages.

EMTV reports that hailstones fell through thatched roofs while heavy rains brought more than 30 centimetres of mud and debris into villages.

The MP for Henganofi, Robert Atiyafa, has made a request to the Prime Minister for urgent funding for relief supplies.RNZI

MINING,AGRICULTURE,FISHERIES

36) Karawari caves safe from mining … for now


Updated 29 January 2015, 10:14 AEDT

Community-based organisations working towards preserving Papua New Guinea’s Karawari caves are quietly confident they’ve stopped the threat of mining at the historic site.

For years, the Karawari Cave Arts group has been concerned about plans to grant a mining exploration license to an Australian subsidiary of the Asian logging giant Rimbunan Hijau.

But the Mineral Resouces Authority of PNG has been quiet since plans were withdrawn more than a year ago.

Nancy Sullivan has been working as an anthropologist in the East Sepik region for nearly two decades, and says the fight is never completely over.

Presenter: Richard Ewart

Speaker: Nancy Sullivan, anthropologist- Radio Australia

37) ‘Catastrophic’ result for Pacific nations if no action taken on illegal fishing

Updated 30 January 2015, 9:17 AEDT

Three Pacific nations are facing an import ban by the European Union if they don’t take action on illegal fishing.

The EU has given yellow cards to Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and Tuvalu for failing to comply with regulations designed to eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

The director-general of the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency James Movick says the warnings should not be taken lightly.

Presenter: Richard Ewart

Speaker: James Movick, Director-General, Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency- Radio Australia

WOMAN,YOUTH,CHILD

38) Work with Us, Tuitubou tells Naceva-  Fiji’s Minister for Youth and Sports Laisenia Tuitubou has urged the people of Naceva in Kadavu to work with Government. Tuitubou is currently on the island to complete ongoing outreach and awareness programme which had started in the western and northern divisions last year. During an informal discussion, Tuitubou informed villagers of Soso in Naceva, Kadavu about the purpose of the ministry’s visit and urged them to work with government.
http://fijilive.com/news/2015/01/work-with-us-tuitubou-tells-naceva/60470.Fijilive

SPORTS

39) New Caledonia to host football greats

 30 January 2015

New Caledonia will this year again host some of the greats of the 1990s Real Madrid football team.

The former stars will line up for a gala courtesy of Christian Karembeu to mark the 50th anniversary of the Gaitcha Football Club on his home island Lifou.

Karembeu, who played for Real Madrid, is the only Pacific islander to win the World Cup when he was part of the victorious 1998 French team.

It will be the second time after 2008 that Karembeu has helped host former mates in New Caledonia. Back then they included the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Youri Djorkaeff and Robert Pires.

Confirmed this time are among others Raul, Luis Figo, Roberto Carlos, Clarence Seedorf and Hugo Sanchez – players who won three Champions League titles.

For Alain Huliwa, the president of Lifou’s football club, their visit offers a huge opportunity for young New Caledonians to meet some of their favourite players

“We will be organising sports groups and meetings between the young people and the legends. In the long term, it might give them the idea of becoming, why not, international football players,” Mr Huliwa says.

Christian Karembeu and the other players will spend their first day on Lifou meeting their fans.

The highlight though will be on December the 10th when the former Real players take on a selection of Gaitcha.

That match won’t be played on Lifou but in Noumea’s Numa-Daly stadium.

Romain Painbeni of the New Caledonian football federation says it will be an important event not only for the territory but for football in the Pacific in general.

“It will definitely put a spotlight on New Caledonian football. Here, football sometimes seems apart from what is going on in Europe but still football is very popular here. New Caledonians are football fans so it will be a nice Christmas present for them and showcase Pacific football.”

With more than 14,000 players in the territory’s clubs, football is the number one sport in New Caledonia. Alain Huliwa says he hopes that a big match like the one confirmed will help develop the game.

“Meeting football stars can only make our level go up. We are very lucky to have all these high level players coming to meet our technicians and local players. They can also have exchange with our coaches on the island.”

In 2008, the former world champion French team drew a crowd of 10,000.

New Caledonian football enthusiasts are expected to turn in large numbers again this year and maybe, again, they will see Zinedine Zidane.RNZI

40) Six Pacific teams lining up at rugby league nines festival in NSW

Updated 30 January 2015, 12:03 AEDT

More than thirty teams from across the rugby league world including half a dozen from the Pacific are in Sydney to take part in the latest edition of the Cabramatta Nines.

The faster, shorter version of traditional rugby league features nine players on each side with six more on the bench.

Long term the game is seen as a rival to the increasingly popular rugby union sevens.

Lining up from the Pacific this weekend will be teams representing PNG, Fiji, Niue, Cook Islands and American Samoa.

Yvette Downey, Head of Competitions at NSW-RL says the tournament is growing year on year.

Presenter: Richard Ewart

Speaker: Yvette Downey, Head of Competitions, New South Wales Rugby League- Radio Australia

41) Socceroos ready to seize victory in Asian Cup final


Updated 30 January 2015, 12:02 AEDT

The Socceroos are hoping to make history tomorrow night by winning the first significant trophy in Australian soccer history.

They take on South Korea in the Asian Cup Final hoping to go one better than four years ago when they were narrowly defeated by Japan.

A win for Australia would be highly significant for the national side, and propel them up the world rankings, but victory would also be highly significant for the development of the game at club level as well.

It’s a different team to when Ange Postecoglou took over the top job of coach in 2013, and the Socceroos are beginning to find their stride.

Former Socceroo Micky Peterson says the team’s winning run comes from more than just playing on home soil.

Presenter: Richard Ewart

Speaker: Micky Peterson, Former Socceroo- Radio Australia

42) Foreign players want in

Maciu Malo
Sunday, February 01, 2015

OVERSEAS-based players have expressed their interest to be part of the Fiji Basketball team to Pacific Games in Papua New Guinea later this year.

Team official Laisiasa Puamau said the final team would be named in April where some US and New Zealand-based players are expected to force their way in.

He said the target was to improve Fiji’s ranking in the region.

“The final team will be named in the month of April and we have received expressions of interest from players playing or residing in the US and New Zealand,” said Puamau.

“For the women’s team, overseas based players have sent in their fitness results and have passed the minimum requirement.

“Pacific Games is the focus of the year as we hope to improve on our current ranking in the region.”

“In the games in 2011 the men’s team finished fourth while the women won the third spot.”

Puamau said funding was the main drawback towards the team’s preparation.

“Funding is always a challenge for all sports.”

“Basketball will be travelling to the Pacific Games under the Team Fiji banner through FASANOC who we will be relying on to subsidise the team’s budget.

“A solid fundraising event and marketing sponsorship plan is in the pipeline to assist with raising sufficient funds to the meet the team needs through the budget.”

Fiji’s best ever finish at the Pacific Games was in 2007 and the team is working hard to emulate those sweet moments.

“In 2007 the men’s and women’s team won gold in the 2007 Pacific Games held in Samoa.”

“The approach to this year’s Pacific Games will be different, for the women’s team selected players have been invited to a fitness test which has been rescheduled to February 5,” he added.Fijitimes

43) Eels set for finals


Nrl.Com
Sunday, February 01, 2015

The Eels planted one foot in the finals zone and became the first team in the 2015 Auckland Nines with two wins, snatching a heart-stopping 21-15 victory over the Knights in the dying seconds of their second-round game.

The Eels shot out of the blocks with a blistering try to one of the stars of last year’s tournament Semi Radradra.

Receiving a floating ball out wide with just a hint of space, the winger skipped out of one tackle and shrugged off two more defenders on a long-range gallop to the line for an early 7-0 lead.

The Knights hit straight back through Nathan Ross who raced through on a good kick to the corner from new recruit Carlos Tuimavave, but Parramatta stretched their lead through captain Chris Sandow to make it 11-4.

The Eels started the second half after less than a minute through Corey Norman to score right next to the bonus zone, but Radradra missed the straightforward conversion.

A try to Chris Houston in the bonus zone kept the Knights in the hunt, with Tyrone Roberts’ easy conversion making it 15-11 with five minutes to play.

Newcastle levelled up through Joe Tapine.

Radradra then produced a stunning take from an attacking cross-field kick from Roberts that seemed destined to lead to a Sione Mata’utia try.

It proved vital, as Tepai Moeroa plant the ball with defenders all over him just seconds before full-time, handed the Eels a 21-15 win.

44) Toulon lead Top 14 with victory over Bayonne

Ap
Sunday, February 01, 2015

PARIS – Toulon put concerns over an upcoming Steffon Armitage court case for assault to one side yesterday to notch up a 24-17 victory over Bayonne that moved them to the provisional head of the Top 14.

Fresh from qualifying for the European Champions Cup, but missing a host of players who have received international call-ups for the Six Nations, Toulon’s run-up to the Bayonne match had been marred by news surrounding star flanker Armitage.

Armitage will have to appear in court on February 10 over a fight last month in a Toulon restaurant where the team had spent an evening drinking after their side’s 23-8 victory over Leicester in the European Champions Cup.

Armitage was in the initial squad to play Bayonne but was left out of the starting team and replacements at Stade Mayol.

In his absence, Toulon stuttered to victory, their off-loading game not quite gelling against a defensively strong Bayonne team.

The victory, however, left the home side on 51 points, with Clermont and Stade Francais, both on 50, playing today against La Rochelle and Oyonnax respectively.

Bayonne deserved a defensive bonus point for their efforts.

www.voiceofmelanesia.com

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