Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1068 ( Monday 2 february 2015 )

MELANESIA

1) Vanuatu daily news Digest | 2 February 2015

by bobmakin

  • Next year’s general election will be accompanied by a referendum PM Joe Natuman advised in the VP and allied parties’ reformation meeting Friday. The referendum is intended to target political instability (floor crossing by independent candidates, changes of affiliation, etc.) and provide grace periods in which motions of no confidence will be limited. PM Natuman is also hoping other parties might join his initiativetowards stability, Daily Post today points out.
  • Post also tells us today that Nagriamel spokesman Jeff Joel Patunvanu has saidNagriamel wants to promote closer relations with the VP. Nagriamel has invited the Prime Minister to open the Nagriamel People’s Congress next month at Vanafo. Patunvanu points out the proximity of the Nagriamel and Vanua’aku Party agendasbefore Indepoendence for the country’s political freedom.
  • Schools have resumed today.
  • Pastor Alan Nafuki, PCV Assembly Clerk, tells Post readers today that the Presbyterian Church is hoping to have tertiary studies available in 2016 through a university which the 2014 PCV Assembly decided was desirable, location still under discussion
  • Vanuatu Meteorology and Geohazards Department is improving the disaster risk management equipment around the country following agreement with a donor partner in 2012. The Japanese Government has agreed to assist as regards daily observations and monitoring of geological and meteorological hazards. New equipment is expected to arrive this month says Radio Vanuatu News today.
  • The Port Vila Municipal Council is strengthening the sister city relationship it enjoys with other places. Shanghai is to improve traffic signage in the capital. Dumbea in New Caledonia will assist the fire service said Mayor Ulrich Sumtoh. The municipality is expecting to take over the fire service in order to have more support from the business community the Mayor told the listeners to VBTC this morning.
  • Two weekly features in Post are particularly helpful today. “Vanuatu beef value chain at a glance” helpfully and handily shows how governments’ downsizing of services relative to Livestock have affected small-holder development of the market. Peter Wederell’s Total Marine Solutions questions how the MV Renaissance could have ended up on the well charted reef near Lamap (in last night’s over-kava conversations “mysterious lights” occupied a certain place) and its being dragged off in a seriously unprofessional manner.

2) New Caledonia cyclone expected to weaken

2 February 2015 

Tropical cyclone Ola earlier this afternoon was about 375 kilometres southwest of Koumac in New Caledonia.

The category 3 cyclone is moving south at about 8 kilometres an hour.

It has sustained winds of up to 140 kilometres an hour at its centre but this is is expected to have dissipated substantially by midday tomorrow.RNZI

$9000 plus payout each for Fiji nuclear veterans – Tears flowed as 26 of the 80 surviving soldiers exposed to radiation during British nuclear tests on Christmas Island in 1958 received payment of more than $F9000 (US$4,373) each from the Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama in Suva Friday. Each soldier received $9855 (US$4,803), amounting to $256,230 (US$124,501). For the 54 survivors who have not been paid, a committee has been set up within the Ministry of Defence to receive documentation and process their payment. Ministry of Defence Permanent Secretary Osea Cawaru said those veterans who have passed on would also be paid via their dependents.

http://news.pngfacts.com/2015/02/9000-plus-payout-each-for-fiji-nuclear.html

3) Fiji Assures Tongan PM of Support
Hopes to strengthen relations, shares concerns

By Avinesh Gopal

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, February 1, 2015) – Foreign Affairs Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola has assured Tongan Prime Minister Samiuela Pohiva of the Fijian Government’s full support and commitment towards strengthening relations between the two countries.

A Department of Information statement said Ratu Inoke met Mr Pohiva in Nukualofa, Tonga and conveyed the government’s congratulations to him and his government on their successful elections.

The statement said Ratu Inoke also shared concerns regarding the Pacific regional architecture and expressed the Fijian Government’s position on its reconfiguration.

Mr Pohiva said with his recent election, he was committed to transforming national and regional issues.

Fiji Times Online.

4) Tradition preservations

Repeka Nasiko
Monday, February 02, 2015

THE Ba Provincial Council begins meeting 107 villages in the province this week and high on the agenda will be talks on the need to maintain and preserve iTaukei culture and traditions.

Roko tui Ba Josefa Toganivalu said the council wanted to strengthen cultural traditions for which each village was identified by and known for.

“We have a set of traditions that we follow which sets us apart from other provinces,” he said.

“We want to visit the villages in the province and request that these traditions are kept alive through awareness and education of our younger generations.”

Mr Toganivalu said the scheduled meetings with village elders would also provide an opportunity for the council to discuss issues concerning each community.

“We have our development plans that we would like to discuss with each village and they also have their plans which they would like to discuss with us.

“So our visits to each village will enable us to discuss these issues and give us the opportunity to advise them on the plans of the council.”Fijitimes

POLYNESIA

5) Advocate says laws not aiding violence victims in Tonga

2 february 2015 

A women’s group in Tonga says 80 percent of domestic violence victims are going back into a violent environment.

The Women and Children Crisis Centre has assisted more than 1800 women and children since 2009.

The centre director, ‘Ofa Likiliki, says most of the people they helped have ended up going back to where they first experienced violence.

She says the situation is not helped by the land laws which restrict women from owning land.

“We are sending victims back to the violent environment. We just have no other option. When you’re married in Tonga, you go and live in your husband’s house and you live on your husband’s land so if there’s a domestic violence situation and you leave the house, you can’t really go back to your husband and say ‘can you leave’.”

‘Ofa Likiliki says the Government needs to act on a Royal Commission recommendation to allow women to own town allotments.RNZI

6) Samoans warned to prepare for possible cyclones

2 February 2015 

The Director of the Samoa Meteorology Service says locals should prepare for the possibility of a Tropical Cyclone.

Mulipola Tainau Ausetalia Titimaea says a heavy rain notice is still in force for the country but conditions are expected to subside by the middle of the week.

However, there is flooding in low lying areas as well as landslides and an expected bout of heavy rain to come next week.

Mulipola says it’s not the worst conditions for Samoa but people should still be prepared.

“It’s picking up again for the month of February for the El Nino signature. That’s why we’re experiencing again a second-half enhancement of rain and possibility of Tropical Cyclones for this month.”RNZI

7) In Samoa, 70% of students fail national maths exam

2 February 2015

Parents of maths students in Samoa are threatening legal action over poor maths exam results.

Results for Year 13 show 70 percent of students failed in the Samoa Secondary Leaving Certificate national mathematics exam.

The CEO of the Ministry of Education, Matafeo Tanielu Aiafi, has rejected a call by parents for the marks to be changed.

He says the marking system did away with scaling last year and reintroduced the old marking system to allow teachers to find and fix students’ weaknesses including in the area of maths.

But a lawyer and parent, Pa’u Tafaogalupe Mulitalo, says the only solution to the controversial exam results is to take the issue further legally.

He says other parents are supporting the move.RNZI

8) Court hears arguments in American Samoans’ citizenship case

By Online Editor
9:26 pm GMT+12, 01/02/2015, American Samoa

 A U.S federal appeals court in the nation’s capital is scheduled to hear oral arguments on 09 February in a case related to the citizenship rights of residents of American Samoa.
 
Unlike the territory of Guam, those born in American Samoa are not considered U.S. citizens.
 
At issue is the fact residents of the territories do not have the same rights as residents in the rest of the United States. Congress over the decades has passed laws giving only specific rights to the individual territories, such as the Organic Act of Guam.
  
Read more : SOURCE: AP/PACNEWS

 9) Samon PM rejects call for anti-corruption body

By Online Editor
9:29 pm GMT+12, 01/02/2015, Samoa

Samoan Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, has rejected a call by the Opposition Party for the government to set up an Anti Corruption Tribunal.
 
The call was revived by the Tautua Samoa Party’s Shadow Minister of Finance, Afualo Dr. Wood Salele, after the government dismissed the Officers of Parliament Committee (OPC) report which confirmed allegations of “corrupt practices” within some government bodies.
 
Afualo reminded that since the government’s response to OPC was not debated by Parliament, the instances of corrupt practices and abuse highlighted by the Controller and Chief Auditor as well as the OPC remain unsolved.
 
“Nothing has been done (about the OPC report),” said Afualo. “We have been urging the government to set up an anti corruption Tribunal but they don’t take notice of it.
 
“Our belief is that Samoa has been independent for more than 50 years and it is about time we have a Tribunal to answer to the public and how their funds are being used.” He added: “No one is above the law.”
 
Asked for a comment, Prime Minister Tuilaepa booted the idea to touch. He said there was no need for such a Tribunal.
 
“That is why we have the Court and the Ombudsman’s Office,” he said. He reminded about the “Commissioner of Police who was investigated by the Ombudsman over a letter from another officer that suspected corruption at Tafaigata prison.”
 
“So anyone can find refuge with the Ombudsman if they have a complaint.” On Thursday, the leader of the Tautua Samoa Party, Palusalue Fa’apo II, blasted Prime Minister Tuilaepa’s continuous reference to Samoans being racist.
 Speaking during a press conference held at their office, Palusalue said Tuilaepa’s tactic is to play at people’s emotions so that they are distracted from the real issues.
 
And what are the real issues?
 
“Corrupt practices in the Chief Auditor’s report,” Palusalue said.
 
“That’s what they don’t want people to talk about,” he said

SOURCE: SAMOAN OBSERVER/PACNEWS

MICRONESIA

10) Palau joins international tuna monitoring system

2 February 2015

Palau says joining the British/American-developed Project Eyes on the Seas monitoring system is an important step towards conserving the Western Pacific’s tuna fishery.

Palau’s move comes after President Tommy Remengesau sought assistance with an enforcement plan for its proposed Palau National Marine Sanctuary.

The proposal bans commercial fishing by foreign vessels in eighty percent of Palau’s exclusive economic zone.

The President’s deputy press secretary, Olkeriil Kazuo, says Project Eyes on the Sea is able to locate any vessel, monitor it and make contact with the national patrol boat to intercept it and bring it in.

“The Pacific Ocean accounts for sixty to seventy percent of the world’s tuna resource. We should all come together and try and regenerate these depleting resources, and conservation is the key to that effort.”RNZI

11) Guam Budget Submitted To Legislature
Increases for public safety, 8% increase revenue projection

By Cameron Miculka

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, February 2, 2015) – The Bureau of Budget Management and Research Saturday submitted the fiscal 2016 budget to the Guam Legislature.

The budget, which wasn’t made available yesterday, increases appropriations for public health and public safety, according to a press release from the governor’s office.

The budget anticipates gross revenues of $851.7 million, an increase of about 8.6 percent from the current fiscal year.

According to the release, the bureau’s submission carves out $125 million for tax refunds.

Public health appropriations increase by 10.4 percent and funding for public safety increases by 13.3 percent.

In his letter to Speaker Judith Won Pat, D-Inarajan, Gov. Eddie Calvo noted the improvement of the island’s credit rating and overall improvement of its financial outlook.

Calvo also noted better tourism numbers, increased infrastructure investments and forward movement by the federal government with the military realignment.

“The budget submitted to you today represents the fruits of labor derived from this upward trend,” Calvo wrote.

Because of the projected revenue increase, Calvo wrote, the upcoming fiscal year will give the government a chance to tackle “some longstanding personnel and operational needs.”

“We have told the Guam story to the world, and investors, financial analysts and rating agencies have listened,” the governor wrote.

Calvo added that he looks forward to collaborating with members of the Legislature to develop and pass a plan for the island’s fiscal future.

Pacific Daily News 

TOK PISIN

12) West Papua pipal i wari long planti Indonisia soljia

Updated 2 February 2015, 16:11 AEDT

Caroline Tiriman

Wari blong ol i bihaenim pasin em gavman i mekim long salim planti soljia igo long tupla provins long West Papua

Ol West Papua pipal i protes egensim Indonesia 
Odio: Chairman blong Free West Papua Campaign long Papua New Guinea, Fred Mambrasar i toktok wantem Caroline Tiriman

Wanpla communiti lida blong ol Papua na West Papua pipal long Papua New Guinea itok oli wari tru long pasin em     Indonesia i mekim nau long salim planti moa soljia igo long despla tupla provins.

Fred Mambrassa  man igo pas long Free West Papua kempein long PNG itok despla i min olsem planti moa pipal long West Papua bai dai long han blong ol despla soljia.

Emi tok Indonesia i kilim pinis planti tausan pipal stat long taem emi bin kisim nating West Papua long ol yia 1960’s.

Long yia igo pinis, Joko Widodo ibin kamap olsem President blong Indonesia na emi bin tokaut olsem gavman blong en bai traem long stretim ol wari long Papua na West Papua.

Tasol Fred Mambrassa  itok emi toktok nating.Radio Australia

13) PNG Meri lida itok gavman imas stretim gut agrikalsa

Updated 2 February 2015, 16:32 AEDT

Caroline Tiriman

Papua New Guinea gavman imas stretim ol bik rot, ol liklik han rot na tu emi mas givim moni igo long ol farmers long rural eria sopos emi laik stretim na strongim ken agriklasa long kantri.

Odio: Maria Linibi President blong PNG women in Agriculture itoktok wantem Caroline Tiriman

Papua New Guinea gavman imas stretim ol bik rot, ol liklik han rot na tu emi mas givim moni igo long ol farmers long rural eria sopos emi laik stretim na strongim ken agriklasa long kantri.

Despla em toktok blong President blong PNG Wiman in agrikalsa, Maria Lini bihaenim toktok blong Praim Minista Peter O’Neill olsem wok didiman oa agrikalsa emi bun blong PNG.

Praim Minista O’Neill ibin mekim despla toktok taem emi bin lonchim wanpla cocoa projek long Mutzing station long Markham District blong  Morobe Province long Fraide long wik go pinis.

Mr O’Neill ibin tok tu olsem agrikalsa emi wanpla gutpla wok emi save helpim klostu olgeta pipal long PNG winim ol kaen wok olsem Gas, Oil, Copper na Gold.

Tasol Maria Lini itok emi hamamas long harim despla kaen toktok blong Praim Minista, tasol emi mas givim tu sampla moni igo long ol rural pipal na stretim ol rot long helpim ol gut.Radio Australia

14) Solomon Islands Chinese lida itoktok wantem PM Sogavare

Updated 2 February 2015, 16:17 AEDT

Caroline Tiriman

Laen blong Solomon Islands Chinese Association i givim pinis strongpla tok klia igo long gavman blong Praim Minista Manasseh  Sogavare olsem oli sapotim gavman na tu oli laikim ol nupla bisnis pipal blong China husat ikam long kantri imas bihaenim loa blong kantri.

Solomon Islands haus Palaman 
Odio: President of the Solomon Islands Chinese Association Matthew Quan itoktok wantem Caroline Tiriman

Laen blong Solomon Islands Chinese Association i givim pinis strongpla tok klia igo long gavman blong Praim Minista Manasseh  Sogavare olsem oli sapotim gavman na tu oli laikim ol nupla bisnis pipal blong China husat ikam long kantri imas bihaenim loa blong kantri.

President of the Solomon Islands Chinese Association Matthew Quan ibin autim despla tingting taem emi bin holim miting wantem Praim Minista Sogavare long wik igo pinis.

Femili blong Mr Quan istap pinis long Solomon Islands klostu long wan handrat yia na oli citizen blong Solomon Islands.

Emi bin tokim Praim Minista olsem oli laikim ol nupla bisnis laen blong China imas bihaenim gut loa na emi askim pinis tu embasi blong China long PNG long glasim gut ol askim blong ol pipal blong China husat i laik go long Solomon Islands pastem oli givim ol visa.Radio Australia

FRENCH

15) 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

16) Fidji : Bainimarama indemnise les vétérans des essais nucléaires

Mis à jour 2 February 2015, 18:14 AEDT

Caroline Lafargue

Le Premier ministre a organisé une grande cérémonie en leur honneur vendredi dernier. 

Des habitants de Kirimati construisent une petite digue. C’est ici que l’armér britannique a mené des essais nucléaires, en 1957 et 1958. 
« Aujourd’hui, nous réparons une injustice. Nous refermons un chapitre malheureux de notre histoire. Nous rendons justice à ces fiers et courageux Fidjiens qui on subi une grande injustice. » 
 
Le Premier ministre fijdien a ouvertement critiqué la Grande-Bretagne pour son indifférence. Car c’est bien l’armée britannique qui a fait venir 70 Fidjiens sur l’île de Kirimati en 1957 et 1958, pour participer aux essais nucléaires. À l’époque, comme Fidji, Kirimati était une colonie britannique – aujourd’hui elle fait partie de Kiribati. 
 
Le sujet tient à coeur à Franck Bainimarama, car c’est son père, Inoke, qui dirigeait la mission fidjienne à Kirimati. 
 
« Les militaires, les ingénieurs, et les scientifiques présents ont reçu pour consigne de fermer les yeux, de ne pas regarder l’éclair de l’explosion nucléaire, mais des témoins racontent qu’ils ont ouvert les yeux, et qu’ils voyaient leurs os à travers leur peau, quand l’explosion a eu lieu. Ces essais ont eu des conséquences gravissimes sur la santé de nos vétérans. Ils portaient juste un t-shirt et un short. » 
 
Mais Londres a toujours refusé d’indemniser les vétérans fidjiens, de même que les milliers de vétérans britanniques, australiens et néo-zélandais de ces essais à Kirimati. 
 
Seuls 24 des 70 Fidjiens victimes des essais nucléaires sont encore en vie. Pour Franck Bainimarama, il y a urgence. Il a décidé de débloquer des fonds pour payer les soins médicaux des survivants, qui souffrent particulièrement de leucémies, et d’autres maladies du sang. Ils recevront près de 5000 dollars américains chacun. Radio Australia

WORLD

17) 72 stripped of nationality


Bbc
Monday, February 02, 2015

The Government of Bahrain has revoked the nationality of 72 citizens on grounds of damaging national security, the state BNA news agency has reported.

It says the measures have been implemented in part to “preserve security and stability and fight the danger of terrorist threats”.

Correspondents say it is the largest number of Bahrainis to be stripped of their nationality since 2013. At that time a law was introduced to punish people convicted of terrorism.

Bahrain has been wracked by unrest since an uprising in 2011 in which the Shia majority demanded democratic reforms from the Sunni-led Government.

Tensions have been high since elections in November were boycotted by the opposition, who said parliament lacked sufficient powers and that constituency boundaries had been redrawn to favour their supporters.

The revocation policy has been strongly condemned by human rights groups.

HEALTH

18) Govt neglect blamed on Daru’s rising TB cases

Source: 
The National, Monday February 2nd, 2015

 AN increase in the number of tuberculosis cases in Daru is a result of the Government neglecting infrastructure there, Mayor Sam Wingu said yesterday. 
Wingu said that the much-talked about State of Emergency to be declared in Daru was only a short-term measure.
“TB is increasing due to the long negligence by the Government to address water and sanitation services here,” he said.
“In addition, an influx of people migrating to Daru has overstrained the delivery of services, the infrastructures are deteriorated and neglected, especially water and sanitation. 
“Daru is overpopulated with more than 15,000 people there. There is poverty everywhere. Living standard has drastically dropped.”
Wingu said Daru was established by the colonial government and water and sanitation services were built to cater for the colonial administrators and their staff. 
“Since then, there have been no improvements on these services. Instead, there is an influx of migrants. These migrants are from villagers affected by the Fly River flooding caused by sediment build-up from waste from the Ok Tedi mine.”
 Wingu said that Wabada-speaking villages such as Sepe, Oromosabuo and Akobaro no longer existed as flooding had covered the villages. 
“These villagers have migrated to Daru. I’m now calling on the Fly River provincial government (FRPG), Ok Tedi Development Foundation (OTDF), Office of Climate Change and Development (OCCD) and other relevant Government agencies to address the plight of these  villagers.”
 
 19) Lepers need support

Siteri Sauvakacolo
Monday, February 02, 2015

DESPITE the significant decrease in leprosy cases in the country, a stigma of the disease is evident and people still tend to discriminate people suffering from leprosy.

This was the message highlighted by the PJ Twomey Hospital medical superintendent Dr Sakiusa Mainawailala in light of the recent World Leprosy Day celebrations.

In the past five years, the hospital has recorded 32 cases and the latest reported cases last year totalled to five.

“Sufferers require social, financial support and the dignity they deserve from a human rights point of view to continue their lives,” Dr Mainawailala said.

“We need to collectively hold hands to support these people and move on together as they are specially poverty stricken in the sense that they are always poor. It affects our poorer population because they cannot financially support themselves.

“There is a need to continue to support patients that have suffered from leprosy.”

Dr Mainaliwalala said lepers in Fiji were lucky that there were certain organisations that supported the system of their care.

“Some can’t even walk around, the toes get shortened and the whole shape of the foot gets distorted, they will always need support and imagine if they are at home, they will be a burden to the family and eventually, they will be neglected.

“The leprosy trust has a board which looks after the care and finance the whole system and sometime they are given financial assistance for housing and a package for Christmas, for those who can do something useful, those who can sew or brush cutting they are bought the materials to help them at least earn.”Fijitimes

EDUCATION

20) PNG: NGOs Assisting Disadvantaged Children Attend School
Financial barriers despite free education policy


By Maureen Gerawa

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, February 2, 2015) – Today is the first day of the school year but not every school-age child will be in the classroom despite the Government’s free education policy.

Among those who cannot make it to school are Port Moresby’s orphans and street children.

There are at least two non-governmental organisations which go out of their way to send some of these children to school by paying for the children’s project fees, buying them school uniforms, giving them money for lunch and bus fares to and from school.

But today they are in financial strife.

Life PNG Care, privately run by Collin Pake and his wife Freda, took 17 of these children under its care and had sent them to school last year.

This year, the number has increased to 40 children and they have found they could not afford their education, relying instead on kind-hearted business houses and individuals to come to the rescue, like they had in the past.

But as of the weekend, the Pakes had reported that they were not getting positive responses they had expected from business houses.

As a result, Life PNG Care had not been able to buy all uniforms, stationeries and project fees for the 40 children, some of them are enrolled at high schools.

“We are still expecting to raise K66,000 [US$24,000] for all 40 children to go to school. If we raise K30,000 [US$11,000] this will get them to the classroom but will not buy them lunch and bus fares.

“It will be difficult also because we don’t have a motor vehicle to drop off and pick up children after school,’’ Mr Pake said.

Friends Foundation Inc is another NGO which had helped vulnerable children affected by HIV and AIDS for many years.

FFI founder Tessie Soi has called it a day after struggling for years without government support. Son Rory Sitapai however, has indicated that he would continue the program for the orphans.

PNG Post-Courier

POLITIC

21) PNG still to pay remainder of US$20m grant to Fiji

2 February 2015

The Papua New Guinea government says it is committed to paying the balance of a 20 million US dollar grant to Fiji to help pay for last year’s Fiji elections.

The Post Courier reports that PNG paid the first installment before the election in September last year, saying it would pay the remainder after the poll.

The foreign affairs minister Rimbink Pato says the remaining funds are ready to be disbursed and he has reaffirmed that PNG would continue to support Fiji in implementing its parliamentary reforms.

Mr Pato, who was speaking during the commissioning of Fiji’s new chancery in Port Moresby, says he appreciates the new level of diplomatic relations between the two nations shown by Fiji’s concrete, visible and bold presence.RNZI

22) After elections, Fiji in line for $100m from World Bank

2 February 2015 

Fiji could be the recipient of 100 million US dollars from the World Bank as part of its re-engagment with the country since its return to democracy last year.

The Bank’s Pacific country director, Franz Drees-Gross, says it is keen to assist in development in Fiji and he has already held meetings with the Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama and Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum.

He says the Bank’s board will now consider the Fiji case.

“We expect to go to them with a re-engagement strategy in March, so in two months time and then basically have an envelope for Fiji of somewhere on the order of a hundred million dollars (USD) over the next two years. And we expect 50 million of that to go into the transport sector. And then another 50 still to be programmed in other sectors.”RNZI

23) Solomons’ policy unit ‘ineffective’

Rnzi
Monday, February 02, 2015

TRANSPARENCY Solomon Islands says the Government’s move to establish a policy monitoring unit will be cumbersome and ineffective.

The Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare says the unit will be made up of 39 political appointees and will monitor the implementation of government policy.

However, a board member for Transparency Solomon Islands, Tony Hughes, says the unit is expensive and could hold things up.

“They may make a difference or they may not, they’re certainly going to cost a lot of money and they’re going to in a sense get in the way of getting decisions made. It’s another layer, another small army of people who are going to be involved in processing policy decisions and implementation and so on. So that’s got to be pretty well run, it’s got to be a pretty slick organisation and Solomon Islands doesn’t have a great reputation for that sort of thing.”

BUSINESS

24) After sale, BSP promises job security for Westpac staff


2 February 2015 

The Bank South Pacific says it will not be sacking any Westpac employees as part of its aquisition of Westpac operations in five Pacific countries.

BSP is set to pay 97 million US dollars for Westpac banking operations in Samoa, the Cook Islands, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Tonga.

Bank South Pacific’s Deputy Chief Executive, Johnson Kalo, says expansion into the Pacific has always been a vision for BSP and it will be doing all it can to ensure a smooth transition across all operations.

” So customers shouldn’t experience very much change in their interactions with their bank. In terms of staff BSP is intent that staff will continue to be employed in those branches and subsidiaries as they have been employed at Westpac with all their conditions and terms intact.”

Bank South Pacific’s Deputy Chief Executive, Johnson Kalo.

The sale will take place in June providing both banks obtain necessary statutory, regulatory and third party approvals.RNZI

25) Fijian government talks divestment with ADB

By Online Editor
4:06 pm GMT+12, 01/02/2015, Fiji

A meeting between a special delegation from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Minister for Public Enterprise, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, and his permanent secretary Shaheen Ali gave indication of renewed engagement between Fiji and the ADB.
 
Sayed-Khaiyum said the meeting was to discuss technical assistance ADB could provide with respect to the divestment of Government shares.
 
He said the Government shares were included in various State owned enterprises as announced in this year’s budget.
 
“Contrary to the claims of our opponents, we have a credible and detailed plan already well advanced to extract the maximum benefit from these assets for the Fijian people,” Sayed-Khaiyum said.
 
“They are the ultimate stakeholders and with this partnership with the ADB, and with other institutions such as World Bank and International Finance Corporation, every Fijian can be assured that the divestment process will be carried out to international best practice and provide maximum economic benefits for Fiji and all Fijians.”
 
Sayed-Khaiyum said discussions also revolved around areas of updating laws relating to public enterprises.
 
“We have had this reform on our radar and we have carried some preliminary work in this respect and now with the full engagement, we hope to have legal reforms implemented at the soonest,” he said.

SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

26) Country faces growing skilled tradesmen crisis

Geraldine Panapasa
Monday, February 02, 2015

THERE is a drastic shortage of good tradespeople in the country despite the vibrant construction sector in recent years, says Lotus Construction Fiji Ltd director Sunil Chand.

Mr Chand, who has invested $4million in the development of 32 villas in the Westfield subdivision in Nadi and had 20 years of experience in the construction industry, was critical of the skills level of tradesmen in the country.

“I have observed that building skills have gone backwards compared with what people had 20 years ago. The work produced by most tradespeople in Fiji is substandard,” he said.

“There are too many cowboy tradespeople in the industry with little knowledge of the building industry.

“They also lack productivity, basic skills, ethics and the proper attitude and application to work.”

He said Fiji’s construction sector was set to take off but a vibrant industry was needed to grow the economy further.

Mr Chand said the Ministry of Education played an important part in starting more technical colleges this year.

“Industry-based training is the best way forward where trainees receive theory and modern practical training while serving their apprenticeships,” he said.Fijitimes

27) Thirty Fijians chosen for Recognised Seasonal Workers Scheme

By Online Editor
9:34 pm GMT+12, 01/02/2015, Fiji

Thirty Fijians have been selected to work in New Zealand under the Recognised Seasonal Workers Scheme (RSE).
 
The 30 were selected via a public barrel, from a pool of 101 workers, held at Sukuna Park in Suva today.  
 
Speaking at the event New Zealand High Commissioner Mark Ramsden congratulated the thirty for getting through.
 
“Those who have this opportunity I urge you to make the most out of it. In very many ways you are ambassadors of Fiji and the future of this scheme is riding on your shoulders so no pressure but you got to make it work.”
 
Meanwhile, seven females are among 30 Fijians selected to be part of the first tranche to take up job opportunities offered under the RSE scheme which rolls out this month.
 
Two New Zealand company have agreed to take in 12 workers each – Pick Hawkes Bay Incorporated (Fruit picking) which is based in Hawkes Bay and EastPack (Fruit Processing Factory for Exports) which is based in Bay of Plenty.  
 
Reps from Pick Hawkes Bay will be in the country next week to interview his 12 workers who are scheduled to leave Nadi on Saturday February 21
 
Eastpack will send a company representative later this month to select their 12 who are scheduled to depart Nadi on Monday March 16.
 
Work contract is for seven months after which the employers will decide whether they will retain workers, or allow them to return to Fiji or employ additional workers.  
 
The remaining six from the 30 identified workers will await the third employer – the identity of which remains under wraps as discussions are still continuing.
 
In overseeing the barrel selection process, Minister for Employment Jioji Konrote reminded the workers that the future of the scheme depends on them hence it was important they honour the agreement between the two countries by giving their best.
 
He also reminded workers that the scheme is demand driven and that employers would have the final say when making their pick.  
 
“The work is very intensive and requires long hours of continuous or repetitious work. The work duration under the RSE work scheme is seven months. Workers must return home at the end of their seven months,” said Konrote.”
 
NZ High Commissioner Mark Ramsden urged those selected to value the people to people relationship formed through the scheme and prove their value.
 
“At the end of the day, it’s not the governments you have to convince, but the employers as you would if you are working in Fiji,” Ramsden said.  
 
“The future of the scheme is riding on your shoulders,” he said.  
 
30 workers selected: Maraia Rokotina Turagakacivi, Necani Wele, Lai Waqaiquma, Sereana Malai, Ilaisa Doraisavu, Rt Kubou Wiriwiri, Jese Naigulevu, Vilivo Cakau, Eliki Tabaka, Timoci Qabale, Waqasalabogi Naulivou, Rupeni Digitaki Savu, Azeena Begum, Lorima Takawai, Eparama Narawa, Saimoni Narawa, Ema Nasole, Apakuki Mete, Josua Nukurawa, Paulo Vulalo, Sekove Madraiwiwi, Waisale Tuirara, Rt Luke Batilekaleka, Lui Sikeli, Waisale Tora, Asinate Vonowale, Titilia Ravono, Napolioni Baleibaravi, Verenika Ratu, Timoci Nasasara.

SOURCE: FBC NEWS/ FIJI LIVE/PACNEWS

28) Fiji keen to tie-up with India in coconut sector – Fiji is keen on signing a MoU with India for technology transfer between the two countries, especially in market development activities in the coconut sector. “It is a good opportunity for us to share the areas of common interest’, Inia Seruiratu, Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management, Republic of Fiji said. The Prime Minister Narendra Modi had assured Fiji of assistance in agriculture and small-holder diary development during his visit, following which Fiji expressed its interest in entering into a MoU with Indian agencies in areas such as seed development, training and technical expertise exchange, Seruiratu said. The Fijian Minister was in Kochi with a delegation to attend the 51{+s}{+t} ministerial meeting of the Asia and Pacific Coconut Community to be held from February 2. He also held a meeting with T.K. Jose, chairman of the Coconut Development Board.
http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/agri-biz/fiji-keen-to-tieup-with-india-in-coconut-sector/article6845286.ece

INFRASTRUCTURE

29) Japan to give K70 million for bridges


Source: 
The National, Monday February 2nd, 2015

 A total of K70 million has been approved for the reconstruction of the Aum and Kapiura bridges along the New Britain Highway in West New Britain.
It is being sponsored by the Japanese Government through its funding agency, the Japanese International Cooperation Agency.
JICA chief representative Shigeru Sugiyama signed the grant agreement with  Planning and Monitoring Department Acting Secretary Hakaua Harry last week. 
Sugiyama said the two new Japanese standard bridges would accelerate economic activities in oil palm, forestry and other industries in the province.
He said the two-lane bridges, which would include pedestrian pathways, would be free from landslides, earthquakes and floods and would ensure traffic and pedestrian safety.
JICA decided to fund the project on the request of the PNG Government.
“Last year the government of Japan received a request from the government of Papua New Guinea for the reconstruction of the two bridges in West New Britain,” Sugiyama said.
“In response, JICA has done a preparatory survey to examine the feasibility of this project and conducted the designing of the bridges.
“A competitive Japanese contractor will be selected to implement the project together with the Department of Works. The bridges will be completed in June 2017.”
 
30) Mining firm wants bridge built

Source: 
The National, Monday February 2nd, 2015

 THE Morobe Mining Joint Venture may scale down its operations if nothing is done to allow access across the Kumalu River.
MMJV community affairs manager Stanley Komunt said operations at the Hidden Valley mine had been affected because of the failure to build proper bridges.
“If operations are scaled down, they will affect almost 900 employees, taxes to government, spin-off activities and royalties to landowners and community development initiatives to mining impact villages,” Komunt said.
The river again burst its banks last weekend, disrupting the flow of traffic.
It built up sediment at the Snake River tributary which affected Patep-Munanu villages. 
The Morobe disaster unit assessed the affected areas last week. Governor Kelly Naru visited the area on Thursday.
Naru said Works Minister Francis Awesa must advise the contractor engaged to build the Kumalu by-pass bridge “to act as a matter of urgency to construct the bridge immediately to allow business to flow”.
The State had allocated K14 million to two contractors to construct by-pass road access from either side. 
Naru asked Prime Minister Peter O’Neill at Markham on Friday to advise Awesa to have the Kumalu Bridge built fast.

LAW&ORDER

31) Most laws outdated

Source: 
The National, Monday February 2nd, 2015

 By LAZARUS BIRA
MOST of the laws in the country are outdated as they were introduced decades ago, University of PNG School of Law dean Dr Mange Matui says.
Matui, a new member of the Constitutional and Law Reform Commission, made the statement after signing his contract last Friday.
“Laws express the sentiments of the people at a given point in time,” he said. “For example, laws made in the 1960s were made to suit that time. We have come a long way so we must now look at some of the laws we have.
“If the laws are not relevant, we must review them.”
Matui, commission chairman and Kandrian-Gloucester MP Joseph Lelang, new member Rabaul MP Dr Allan Marat and other members of the commission would work together. “I will assist in strategic policy,” Matui said.
“UPNG, as research institute, will be ready to work with the commission in terms of research.”
Lelang said the commission had a lot to do.
“There are 21 draft bills from the Government – some of them are important as they concern social, economic and good governance,” he said. 
“There are 11 terms of reference which need to be undertaken.
“We need to make sure the laws are updated so we need to travel to all districts to get the views of the people on that.
“We need good laws to ensure the services are delivered to the people and a suitable environment for the investors.”
Marat was happy to be back in the commission.

32) Call for national response to “witch” killings in PNG

2 february 2015 

A missionary in Papua New Guinea says the country needs a nationwide awareness campaign to stop the killing of people accused of sorcery or witchcraft.

Anton Lutz’s comments follow an intervention in Enga province to save the lives of 17 women and children accused of being witches by villagers.

Mr Lutz, of the Lutheran Church, says during the intervention the person responsible, known as a witch finder, agreed to retract the accusations and admitted she had been bribed.

He says while that is a success, there is still a long way to go in PNG.

“There needs to be a co-ordinated response, similar in some ways to the one we had for the AIDs crisis in this country, where there are billboards, education and the health sector is involved and law and order sector, sort of a comprehensive nationwide fight or campaign I should say to address this.”

Anton Lutz says an outbreak of measles triggered the accusations against the 17 women and children.RNZI

33) PNG opposition calls for police ombudsman

Rnzi
Monday, February 02, 2015

Papua New Guinea’s opposition leader has called for a police ombudsman to be established to deal with what he calls a chronic lack of training and expertise in the police force.

Don Polye’s call comes in the wake of controversy surrounding the alleged police killing of two betel nut vendors in a Port Moresby suburb that sparked a week of protests, as well as other recent incidents of alleged misconduct.

Mr Polye says training in the force needs to be improved, and an ombudsman established to deal with reports of police brutality throughly and independently.

“To check up on the police, keep up with their training, making sure they’re delivering their law enforcement services, and professional diligence is always there. And I think that would be a good body, an independent body to be a watchdog for the police force.”

Mr Polye says the ombudsman must have powers to prosecute and order compensation.

34) More immigration officers needed in PNG, says governor

2 february 2015

The Governor of Papua New Guinea’s Oro Province, Gary Juffa, has voiced concern about the lack of immigration officers in the country.

A former top customs official, Mr Juffa says PNG’s total of 40 immigration officers is a far cry compared to other Pacific Island nations.

EM TV reports him saying far more immigration officers are needed to effectively deal with the influx of illegal immigrants taking refuge in PNG without proper documentation.RNZI

CLIMATE CHANGE,CONSERVATION & ENVIROMENT

35) Heavy rain to continue, Weather office says

Source: 
The National, Monday February 2nd, 2015

 By ERIC BALARIA
THE National Weather Service has predicted heavy rain in Port Moresby for the next few days.
Assistant director forecasts and warning, Jimmy Gomoga said there were forecasts of strong winds expected to move in from the Milne Bay waters through most of the main coast and outlying New Guinea islands.
Gomoga said the winds would be accompanied with heavy rain and would be ongoing for the next three to four days.
On Saturday, parts of the national’s capital were flooded as heavy rain started in the early hours of the morning and carried on through the night.
Most of the roads in the city were blocked off by flooding water caused by the downpour.
That forced motorists to look for alternate routes. Several business houses had to close their services to clients as rain continued throughout the day.
Gomoga said the bad weather experienced during this wet season would cover most parts of the city including Central.

36) Massive landslide destroys food gardens, homes in Chimbu

Source: 
The National, Monday February 2nd, 2015

 By ZACHERY PER
A MASSIVE landslide damaged food gardens and homes in Sinasina, Chimbu last Thursday night.
Food gardens and homes belonging to three subsistence farmers in Kuguruma and Erimil villages were damaged by the landslide.
Three kunai-thatched houses and pigs were buried in the avalanche.
One of the affected people, Dominic Kirua said they could not save anything because of the magnitude of the disaster. Kirua said the families spent the night in a neighbouring village when part of Mount Sibikul gave way in the heavy rain.
Nimaidugul councillor Kaupa Dasti has called on the Sinasina district administration to help those affected with relief supplies as their food gardens and houses had been destroyed. Dasti said the victims were taking refuge in villager homes. 
Provincial disaster officer Michael Ire said he was awaiting a report from the district administration in Kamtai on the damage sustained by the farmers.
From the report, the administration can work out how much relief assistance is needed to help the families affected.

37) Solomon Islands to join in Pacific mock exercise

By Online Editor
9:22 pm GMT+12, 01/02/2015, Solomon Islands

 Solomon Islands will join over 30 countries around the Pacific Rim as a participant in a mock tsunami scenario during 2 – 6 February 2015.
 
The National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) said the Pacific-wide exercise is to practice country tsunami decision-making procedures using the new enhanced forecast products of the U.S. Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre (PTWC).
 
Director of the Solomon Islands Meteorological Services, David Hiriasia said the recent events of the 2007 in Solomon Islands, 2009 in Samoa, 2010 in Chile, the 2013 Solomon Islands and the 2014 Chile tsunamis have increased our need to be more prepared for such events.
 
Hiriasia said his important exercise will validate PTWC’s enhanced products for future official use by countries of the Pacific Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System.
 
Hiriasia explains, the exercise, titled Exercise Pacific Wave 2015 (PacWave15), will simulate Pacific countries being put into a Tsunami Warning situation requiring Government decision-making.
 
The Exercise is set for Wednesday and participating organizations will include the Government Agencies with direct roles and responsibilities in tsunami threat assessments.
 
The NDMO encourages Government Agencies, Provinces, villages, communities, businesses and private sectors to practice their tsunami response plans and encourages the public to participate by contacting the NEOC on Emergency Telephone Number 955 and inform the NEOC of the name of your location, time and mode of communications when you receive the warnings.
 
The NEOC wish to emphasise the Pacific-wide tsunami exercise on Wednesday is only an exercise and, therefore, the general public is advised not to be panic.

SOURCE: SOLOMON STAR/PACNEWS

38) WHO: Climate Change Threatens Pacific Hospitals
Hospitals in Solomons, Tonga, and Marshalls particularly vulnerable


WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, February 2, 2015) – The World Health Organisation says hospitals in the Pacific region are struggling to cope with the effects of climate change and coastal erosion.

The WHO’s environmental health specialist in Fiji, Rok-ho Kim, says flash flooding, droughts, and king tides mean some hospitals near the coast are not able to supply patients with safe drinking water.

Dr Kim says hospitals in Solomon Islands, Tonga and the Marshall Islands are particularly vulnerable.

“A prominent one is in the Solomon Islands, the National Referral Hospital, it’s very close to the shoreline. And this shoreline is approaching towards the building in the past decade. We have a very good air view of how the sea line was approaching since World War Two.”

Rok-ho Kim told delegates at a recent workshop hosted by Korean scientists in Fiji that developed countries have an obligation to help Pacific nations cover the cost of relocating their hospitals to higher ground.

Radio New Zealand International 

MINING, AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES

39) Agriculture is our backbone, PM O’Neill

By Online Editor
4:06 pm GMT+12, 01/02/2015, Papua New Guinea

PORT MORESBY, 02 FEBRUARY 2015 (POST COURIER) —- Agriculture will still remain the backbone for Papua New Guinea after the oil and gas dries up, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has reiterated.
 
O’Neill said this when launching a PNG cocoa program last Friday at Mutzing station in the Markham District of Morobe Province.
 
The project is the first of its kind launched by any successive government and would benefit thousands of people throughout the country as the program advances.
 
“The oil and gas will run dry one day but agriculture is our backbone and is an important industry in our country that will sustain our livelihood for many years to come,” the Prime Minister said.
 
He made this statement in the presence of thousands of farmers and villagers and urged them to work their land and start growing cocoa because the Government has invested millions of kina in the agriculture sector to help rural farmers.
 
PM O’Neill told the people the Government is achieving its goals in the areas of education, health, infrastructure and law and order as it needed support from them to reach its capacity and agriculture is one sector in which the Government has been investing heavily since taking office.
 
He made it clear that changes cannot take place overnight or in a year but over a period of time and people must understand that and the present Government is doing its best to bring services to the people. PM O’Neill urged the citizens of the country to partner with the Government and develop their land through agriculture, which will contribute to the economic development of PNG.
 
“The people and the government must build a strong partnership because they have control over their land and labour.
 
The Government will provide the capital and it is upon each and every individual to seed from it,” PM O’Neill said.
 
He said the Government has a clear policy where the money is going and the benefits are evident in many districts around the country. The launch of the cocoa program is an example of this.
 
The Government has invested millions of Kina in all the districts throughout the country but there have not been any tangible developments because of leadership issues, thus, the Prime Minister has urged all leaders to spend wisely to develop their areas.
 
PM O’Neill said the launching of the cocoa project is a key important initiative created by government agencies; therefore, it will give its full support to ensure the project reaches many people.
 
He reminded the people that every successful person in this world went through some struggle in life, as such he urged everyone to work the land that is available.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

40) Naru gives K200,000 for cocoa seedlings

Source: 
The National, Monday February 2nd, 2015

 MOROBE Governor Kelly Naru has allocated K200,000 for the planting of 36,000 cocoa seedlings in the Markham district.
Naru allocated the money from the provincial services improvement programme fund for the farmers to transfer the 36,000 cocoa seedlings from the nursery to the farms.
Markham MP Paul Isikiel invested K1 million into the cocoa development project in partnership with the Cocoa Industry Corporation.
Naru provided the K200,000 for labour costs in planting cocoa seedlings while declaring new Umi town as the “agricultural growth centre”.
Naru appealed to Prime Minister Peter O’Neill to consider the cattle industry in Wampar LLG in Huon Gulf. He urged the State to build its own abattoir.
O’Neill was last Friday at Mutzing station in Markham, Morobe, to launch the district’s cocoa farming programme. He was accompanied by Agriculture Minister and Middle Ramu MP Tommy Tomscoll, Education Minister and Gumine MP Nick Kuman, and Fisheries and Marine Resources Minister and Tewai-Siassi MP Mao Zeming.

41) Province not producing enough: Cocoa board

Source: 
The National, Monday February 2nd, 2015

 MOROBE, the biggest province in the country, with the greatest potential in agriculture, is not producing enough to reflect that capacity, Cocoa Board chief executive officer Boto Gaupu says.
Gaupu, was providing food for thought for Morobe Governor Kelly Naru, Minister for Housing and Urbanisation and Markham MP Paul Isikiel, Minister for Fisheries and Marine Resources Mao Zeming, leaders in the administration and people of Markham last week during the launching of the Markham Cocoa Project by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.
Gaupu said Morobe got the biggest slice of the  Government budget of all provinces, had the largest land and sea areas and the biggest population but did not have any major agricultural commodity export or anything to show for those advantages.
Gaupu said Markham district had been referred to as the “food bowl of the country” but did not seem to be of food bowl standard.
“Morobe has land, labour and enough capital, all three factors of production and so what’s wrong,” he asked.
“People are our biggest resource and we must make good use of them in our production.”

42) ‘We could earn US$40m by 2020’: Solomon Islands Fisheries Minister

By Online Editor
9:28 pm GMT+12, 01/02/2015, Solomon Islands

Solomon Islands purse seine tuna fisheries could earn the country US$40 million (SBD$280 million) annually if stringent management measures are put into place says the Minister of fisheries John Manenearu.
 
Minister Manenearu said, investment in strengthening the country’s fisheries management is significant and has huge impact to the economy and people’s livelihood.
 
“Annual public revenues from purse seine tuna fisheries are projected to increase to at least US$40 million annually by 2020 as management is further strengthened,” Manenearu said.
 
He said, the longline fisheries also have great potential to provide increased national benefit through better management.
 
He said, the recently signed Pacific Islands Regional Oceanscape Program (PROP) in partnership with the World Bank will play a significant role in the country’s fisheries management efforts.
 
Manenearu stressed this program’s goal to invest in better management of this country’s fisheries will increase its comparative advantage in the global market.
 
“A well-managed tuna resource is more likely to attract new local investment as global tuna processors looks to secure reliable supply,” Manenearu said.
 
He said, such investment will also safeguard the country’s European tuna market since tuna caught are certified to be caught legally and sustainably.
 
The fisheries minister added that this PROP project which will run until 2020 will enable the ministry of fisheries and marine resources to;
 
-obtain real-time information on fishing activities and catch through expanded observer and information management systems;
 
-strengthen the ministry’s ability to document catches, control product quality and ensure ongoing access of foreign markets;
 
-conduct the levels of surveillance needed to enforce compliance with fisheries access regulations, and;
 
-help communities’ better use and sustain coastal resources.
 
Meanwhile he said, it is the responsibility of the government to manage the use of the country’s tuna resources both to safeguard and to ensure to gain the best possible national benefit from it for this generation and generations to come.
 
He stressed, that these management measures and its implementation can only be effective through partnership of which he acknowledges development partners such as the World Bank, global environment facility, the forum fisheries agency, other neighbouring countries who are part of PROP  and the government.
 
SOURCE: SOLOMON STAR/PACNEWS

43) Fiji Seed Production Assistance From Indian Company
Follows training with India National Seed Corporation

By Avinesh Gopal

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, February 1, 2015) – The India National Seed Corporation will provide training and consultancy work for Fijian farmers and staff at the Agriculture Ministry.

A Department of Information statement said the latest development follows a visit by a Fijian delegation to the NSC where issues concerning Fiji’s agriculture sector were raised.

Led by the Agriculture Minister Inia Seruiratu, the delegation met with senior officials of the Indian company, which produces foundation and certified seed.

Mr Seruiratu highlighted to the company officials the challenges faced by Fiji’s agriculture sector and pointed out the need to explore new seed varieties, seed genetics and seed breeders.

The company agreed to assist the Agriculture Ministry by providing seed experts and consultants and to provide training to Fijian farmers and the ministry’s staff.

Fiji Times Online.

44) Emergency for mine

Source: 
The National, Monday February 2nd, 2015

 THE Department of Environment and Conservation has issued an emergency authorisation expected to enable a state of emergency declaration at the Sinivit Gold Mine in East New Britain.
This follows concerns from provincial authorities on the threat of a potential cyanide spillage into the river systems due to unattended vatting system since Canadian developer New Guinea Gold left the mine site in July last year.
The emergency authorisation was issued on Jan 21 by the director of the Environment Department Gunther Joku.
The notice contains several requirements that a technical team of officers from DEC and the provincial administration begin conducting an emergency discharge from the containment ponds to the required water quality standards.
This include inspection and testing on the local waters, especially the two main intakes that flow through the Warangoi River

WOMAN,YOUTH,CHILD

45) Youth group to improve young lives

Source: 
The National, Monday February 2nd, 2015

 THE National Youth Development Authority will  visit  major regions to start dialogue and foster long-term partnership arrangements with  provinces, districts,  local level governments and administrations to develop human resources to enhance young peoples’ lives.
Previously known as the National Youth Commission, the authority, with a team of senior officers from the Department of Provincial Affairs will be led by authority acting director-general Norit Luio.  
They will conduct meetings to establish long-term dialogue partnership and arrangements with the provincial and district administrations, so youth programmes will be effectively rolled-out at all levels in the country.
The nationwide consultation exercise is part of authority’s major restructure and reorganisation of its core function and responsibilities consistent with the proposed law under its Act 2014.
The first visit has been planned for the Highlands to be followed by Mamose, New Guinea Islands  and Southern from this week.
Luio said the Government had prioritised its focus on youth development in the country.

SPORTS

46) Top 7s teams

World Rugby
Monday, February 02, 2015

South Africa:

Chris Dry, Philip Snyman, Frankie Horne, Kwagga Smith, Werner Kok, Kyle Brown (capt.), Branco du Preez, Rayno Benjamin, Warrick Gelant, Cecil Afrika, Seabelo Senatla, Justin Geduld

England:

Tom Bowen, John Brake, Richard De Carpentier, Alex Gray, Charlie Hayter, Warwick Lahmert, Christian Lewis-Pratt, Tom Mitchell (capt.), James Rodwell, James Stephenson, Marcus Watson, Jeff Williams.

New Zealand:

Tomasi Cama, Dylan Collier*, Scott Curry, Ambrose Curtis, Sam Dickson, DJ Forbes, Jack Goodhue, Josh Gordon*, Rieko Ioane*, Gillies Kaka, Tim Mikkelson, Lote Raikabula, Sherwin Stowers, Murphy Taramai, Beaudein Waaka*, Joe Webber

* Tietjens will name his final 12 on Monday 2 February.

Australia:

Cameron Clark, Tom Cusack, Allan Fa’alava’au, Con Foley, Pama Fou, Alex Gibbon, Lewis Holland, Greg Jeloudev, Ed Jenkins, Nick Malouf, Sam Myers, Jesse Parahi, James Stannard, Shannon Walker.

* (two to be omitted)

Kenya:

Andrew Amonde (Capt.), Collins Injera, Lavin Asego,Daniel Sikuta, Billy Odhiambo, Tonny Owuor, Michael Wanjala,Tony Onyango, Oscar Ayodi, Bush Mwale, Patrice Agunda, Felix Ayange.

Wellington POOLS

Pool A

South Africa, USA, France, Japan.

Pool B

New Zealand, England, Canada, Papua New Guinea

Pool C

Australia, Fiji, Wales, Portugal.

Pool D

Argentina, Scotland, Kenya, Samoa.

47) Beaten Maria Sharapova pays tribute to Serena

AAP
Monday, February 02, 2015

Update: 10:02AM Maria Sharapova’s dreams of a sixth grand slam title were ended by Serena Williams and her wrecking ball serve in the Australian Open final on Saturday, but the Russian was adamant she would some day have the American’s measure.

Though gallant in defeat, her 6-3 7-6(5) loss under the lights of Rod Laver Arena was her 16th in succession to the American great, a decade-long record of pain and frustration.

The Russian bravely saw off two match points with a pair of sizzling winners, but had little say in the third and Williams’s 18th ace sealed the match and her sixth title at Melbourne Park with a boom.

Though clinching her 19th grand slam title at the age of 33, evergreen Williams has shown no sign of slowing down and could conceivably haunt Sharapova for years to come.

“If I keep setting up myself chances, absolutely,” Sharapova told reporters, when asked if she was getting closer to a breakthrough.

“Look, I actually believe that we attract what we’re ready for. Yes, I haven’t won against her many times, but if I’m getting to the stage of competing against someone like Serena, I’m doing something well.

“I’m setting up a chance to try to beat her and it hasn’t happened. I’m not just going to go home without giving it another chance.

“That’s just not who I am and not who I was raised to be. I’m a competitor.

“If I’m getting to the finals of grand slams and setting myself up to play a match against Serena, I mean, I know it sounds – maybe you’re telling me I’m wrong – but I’m happy to be in that position.

“I love the competition. I love playing against the best, and at the moment she is.”

48) Novak Djokovic wins fifth Australian Open

AAP
Monday, February 02, 2015

Update: 11:52AM Novak Djokovic reasserted his rule over the hard-courts of Melbourne Park on Sunday, grinding down Andy Murray 7-6(5) 6-7(4) 6-3 6-0 to win his fifth Australian Open title.

The pair waged a fierce baseline duel for the opening two sets, but Djokovic won 12 of the last 13 games to close out an emphatic win and become the first man in the professional era to secure five titles at Melbourne Park.

Top seed Djokovic sealed the victory on the second match-point, rushing to the net with a searing approach shot that Murray could only dump into the net.

The steely-eyed Serb roared in triumph and approached his player’s box to share the win with his team before tearing off his shirt and throwing it into the crowd.

The loss was Murray’s fourth in a final at Melbourne Park and third to Djokovic after the 2011 and 2013 finals.

In a slow-burning contest, the pair set the tone from the first point with a fierce rally featuring scrambling, net-rushes and a Murray lob before the Scot forced an error from the Serb.

Murray failed to capitalise on three early break points and Djokovic made him pay, leaping to a 4-1 lead.

But in the first of many momentum shifts, the Scot clawed back to 4-3 when Djokovic netted an ambitious backhand down the line.

49) roisi powers in winner for Socceroos

Aap
Monday, February 02, 2015

SYDNEY – Socceroos hero James Troisi has admitted he feared he may squander the chance that won Asian Cup for Australia after the ball was squared into his path by Tomi Juric on the bumpy ANZ Stadium pitch.

The 26-year-old, who is on loan from Juventus to Belgian side SV Zulte, rifled his effort into the roof of the South Korea net in extra time to seal a 2-1 win and a first ever major piece of soccer silverware for his country.

“I didn’t know what to do when I scored, I just ran like a maniac,” Troisi said.

“It’s the most important goal I’ve ever scored, it will go down in Australian football history.”

Troisi hailed the persistence of Rogic, who, like he, came off the bench in the second half, to set up his goal.

The Western Sydney striker somehow managed to take the ball off the toes of Korean left-back Kim Jin Su on the byline and squeezed through the tightest of spaces and find Troisi.

“I didn’t really know what was going on when Tomi had the ball,” he said.

“I thought at first the ref was going to give a free-kick but I just stayed on my toes and luckily it went in. It was great work from Tomi.”

The goal was scored at the same end as John Aloisi’s famous penalty in the 2005 World Cup qualifier against Uruguay and Troisi said the realisation of what he’d done had yet to sink in.

“I don’t know what to think, it’s an amazing feeling but I think in a few days I’ll look back and realise what me and my teammates have achieved,” he said.

“You can definitely miss those chances, it didn’t stay on the floor, it was a bit babble out there.

“But if I had missed that I would have been in a whole lot of trouble.

“I just had one thought and that was to score.”

50a) Super Bowl: Patriots clip Seahawks’ wings


Stuff.co.nz
Monday, February 02, 2015

Update: 5:40PM THE New England Patriots were crowned Super Bowl champions on Sunday (Monday Fiji time) after defeating the Seattle Seahawks 28-24 to capture their first National Football League title in 10 years.

The victory put New England alongside five other teams with at least four Super Bowl wins while Tom Brady joined Hall of Famers Terry Bradshaw and childhood idol Joe Montana as the only quarterbacks with four championship rings.

Brady fired four touchdowns, including two in a frantic fourth quarter, to give him a record 13 Super Bowl touchdown passes.

Seattle had a chance to steal a dramatic win after a circus catch by Jermaine Kearse put the Seahawks deep in Patriots territory. But a Russell Wilson pass was intercepted at the goal line by Malcolm Butler with 20 seconds to play to seal the victory.

“I just had a vision that I was going to make a big play and it came true and I’m just blessed,” said Butler, who was also covering Kearse when he made the spectacular circus catch. “I can’t explain it right now.

“I just knew they were stacked. It all comes down to preparation. I just made a guess and made a play.”

Down by 10 points midway through the fourth quarter, Brady cemented his legacy as one of the NFL’s all-time greats, engineering two long scoring drives capped by touchdown passes to Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman to retake the lead.

The buildup to the Super Bowl had been dominated by a controversy over deflated footballs used by the Patriots in a blowout win over the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC title game that earned them a trip to Arizona and a whiff of scandal hung over University of Phoenix Stadium as the NFL investigation into the matter continued.

The game represented a last chance for the NFL to put a scandal scarred season behind it and the Patriots and Seahawks did their part, providing an afternoon of edge-of-your-seat drama.

“Every year if you’re privileged to get to this game, hard things happen,” said Patriots owner Robert Kraft. “I’m so proud of Brady and (coach Bill) Belichick for handling things the way they did.

“I love them. And all our Patriots fans should feel very good.”

50b) Super Rugby online from Sky TV

Stuff.co.nz
Monday, February 02, 2015

Update: 5:36PM Sky Television will let people watch Super Rugby games online from next week without requiring they sign up to its broadcast pay-television service but the charges are the catch.

A “season pass” to Super Rugby games will cost $299, or viewers can get a monthly online pass for $69 or a weekly one for $29.

NRL and Formula 1 will also be offered online and some other sports will follow, spokeswoman Kirsty Way said.

Season passes for NRL games and F1 races are also priced at $299, with monthly passes costing $59 and $49 respectively and weekly ones $19.90 and $24.90.

The passes are being sold through a website separate to Sky’s main site, fanpass.co.nz.

The move follows through on a tentative proposal made by chief executive John Fellet in September, when he said “standalone” sports services could appeal to people on a limited budget or who didn’t have much time to watch many sports.

He said then that he expected most customers would find its bundled offerings more attractive in the long term.

Subscribers will be able to watch matches and races live in HD, and later at a time of their choosing “on demand”.

Word that Sky might split off sports, regarded as the crown jewels in its television offering, from its television entertainment packages and offer them for online viewing was met with surprise in some quarters last year. 

But Forsyth Barr analyst Blair Galpin had forecast Sky would price the services “carefully” so as not to undermine its broadcast business.

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Way defended Fan Pass’ prices saying they were for “premium sports rights”.

“We are running a business. Sky Sports is the main place to get sports but the public have said they are keen for other options.

“The whole business model falls over if you start undercutting your prime service. This is a sustainable way we can offer these very premium sports rights so customers can get those alone. It won’t suit everybody.”

Sky has faced competition from the likes of online television company Coliseum which bought the rights to English Premier League games and PGA golf. Fellet said it was better for Sky to “cannibalise” its own business than to let someone else do it.

50c) Ryan has named an experienced 12-member Fiji 7s team for Wellington and Las Vegas

By Online Editor
9:43 pm GMT+12, 01/02/2015, Fiji

Vodafone Fiji 7s Coach Ben Ryan has named an experienced 12-member team to compete in the Wellington and Las Vegas legs of the World Rugby Series.
 
As expected, France based speedster Samisoni Viriviri has made the final cut after impressing Ryan in his first training run with the team yesterday.
 
Ryan has made five changes to his team from the last two tournaments.
 
Returning to the side are Sitiveni Waqa, Emosi Mulevoro, Viliame Mata, Manueli and Manueli Laqai .
 
Players not considered in this leg are Apisai Domolailai, Apisalome Waqatabu, Nasoni Roko, Jone Qorovarua and Amenoni Nasilasila.
 
“There’s no debutant which is great for experience but it feels like the players, some of them have not been in the team for a while especially Manu, Siti and Vili so I’m excited if I can be frank and honest with you, there’s no good hiding my emotions about this one,” says Ryan.
 
Meanwhile, a dissapointed Sitiveni Waqa returned from Sri Lanka last month after failing to secure a contract.
 
Ben Ryan welcomed him back into the training squad and has been named and will don the white jumper again after four years.
 
Waqa last featured for Fiji in the Gold Coast 7s win in 2011.
 
“For the past four years I never loose hope I keep on working hard and playing hard as my father always say if I don’t make the cut this year then maybe next year, it’s only God’s will,” Waqa said.
 
For the current world rugby 7s player it’s all about the Olympic games next year.
 
“I think I came back just to play again for Fiji just to get ready for the Olympic in Rio and just have some game time with the boys,” Viriviri said.
 
Also making a return is Viliame Mata who made his debut in Wellington last year.
 
Mata said the competition at training has been tough.
 “Training has been tough for us people especially we got big forwards contesting for just two positions a game but well we have worked hard for training every week,”, Mata said.
 
Ryan said it’s been one of the most difficult selection he had to make especially dropping Apisai Domolailai.
 
“I think a player of the quality of Apisai Domolailai understands that, he took the disappointment under the chin,he’s gonna go away come back I’m sure he will fight his way back into the squad but that’s what it’s all about,” Ryan said.

SOURCE: FIJI TV/PACNEWS

50d) Cabramatta Nines organisers hoping to team up with NRL


2 february 2015 

Organisers of the Cabramatta Nines rugby league tournament are hoping to join forces with their NRL counterparts.

30 teams spanning five continents and the Pacific competed in the 13th edition of the Cabramatta event in Sydney at the weekend.

Cabramatta 1 took out the Cup title, beating Blacktown Workers Black in the final.

American Samoa’s hopes of a top four finish were dashed by Papua New Guinea but the territory didn’t go home empty handed, beating the North Queensland Islanders in the Plate final.

Coach Paul Roebeck says the standard of competition gets higher every year, with teams already eying their next challenge.

“Hopefully Phuket in October – another tournament of Nines. The boys want to give it a crack so hopefully after a few phonecalls we can have a shot at Phuket on October 17th. We only got notified yesterday (Saturday) about it so hopefully we can get our team in and if we can we’re definitelty in. At the prize-giving last night it was mentioned they were looking at trying to get the winner of the Cabramatta Nines into the Auckland NRL Nines in upcoming years so hopefully they can make progress there”.RNZI

50e) Funding boost for American Samoa Olympic Committee

2 february 2015 

The American Samoa National Olympic Committee has received a welcome funding boost.

A charitable foundation named after the former ASNOC president, Lealaifuaneva Peter Reid, has donated US$25,000, which will go towards the development of a sports training facility and gymnasium, which should be finished by the end of the year.

It’s the first major development program by ASNOC for many years which current president Victor Langkilde says will help to train and develop the territory’s athletes.

“Successful things can come as long as we remain faithful and committed to the cause for athletes in the programme. I think success is on the horizon but we can only accomplish that if we work together”.RNZI

www.voiceofmelanesia.com

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