Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1069 ( Thursday 5 February 2015 )

MELANESIA

1) West Papua inclusion in MSG described as vital

By Online Editor
10:25 pm GMT+12, 04/02/2015, Vanuatu

The United Liberation Movement (ULM) for West Papua says it is vital that West Papuans have full membership in the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG).
 
The ULM was formed late last year at a major summit of West Papuan representative groups hosted by the Vanuatu government.
 
Representatives of the ULM have returned to the Vanuatu capital to formally submit the organisation’s application for membership of the MSG.
 
A member of the movement, Rex Rumakiek, says the time is right for West Papua to join the sub regional group.
 
“Economically and for security reasons, it is vital that West Papua must be part of the MSG. We have elaborated on security matters and the spread of terrorism and economic expansion an all those things. It is justified that it is important that West Papua must be part of the MSG.”
 
Rumakiek says MSG leaders do not need the endorsement of Indonesia’s government to accept the membership application.
 
MSG leaders are due to have their annual summit in June, in Honiara.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

2) Vanuatu daily news Digest | 5 February 2015

by bobmakin

  • Scientists of the National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) of PNG are in Vanuatu to visit project sites of the NARI EU root crop experimentation project.Improved varieties of kumala, yam and manioc are under scrutiny, as well as livestock research on fowls and pigs in the tropical island climate. The project is greatly assisted by NGOs. Food scientist Antoine Ravou explained that the visit will show the colleagues progress achieved by communities and leading farmers at North Efate and Middle Bush in Tanna. Food processing, as with manioc and kumala chips, and the manufacture and preservation of manioc flour, are also areas on which the visitors will focus. And the use of local materials in farm yard construction for fowls and pigs, and good local diets for such livestock, are also topics under discussion.
  • Next week sees the start of the work on the main wharf at Santo. The Shanghai Construction Group is responsible for the major project and PM Natuman and the Chinese Ambassador Xie Bohua will be present.
  • The retreat for ministers, DGs, first political appointees and departmental directors,which will give further consideration to the policy issues of the present government, is understood to be taking place today at Iririki. It is scheduled for completion tomorrow.
  • Shefa Secretary General Michel Kalworai wants Shefa area councils to work together for revenue collection for the province. Shefa has updated its area councils and now only lacks a council for the Eratap land holdings.

3) Vanuatu daily news Digest | 4 February 2015

by bobmakin

  • However, it is good to have the Victorian Bar Association assisting in honing court advocacy skills for lawyers and prosecutors in Vanuatu. Daily Post reports the blossoming of the ni-Vanuatu participating lawyers’ skills relevant to the courtroom during a week of training recently held. Today Post also reports our re-offending rate for prisoners on an international scale as a “comparatively low” 18%. Post also details the launch of the Erakor Area Council, now leaving Eratap as the only Shefa community without an area council, so important for dealing with land issues. The appointment of Kalo Pakoa as Director of Fisheries is announced today. Former Director Moses Amos is now working regionally with the SPC.
  • Radio Vanuatu News led this morning with the Council of Ministers announcement of a retreat for ministers, DGs, first political appointees and departmental directors. It will give further consideration to the policy issues which were raised by Vanuatu’s representatives in diplomatic posts around the world when they came together at Pele island off North Efate. Revenue raising will be high on the list and declared 2015 policy priorities will be further examined. The retreat will be held on Iririki.

4) Vanuatu daily news Digest | 3 February 2015

by bobmakin

  • Daily Post today headlines with a current senior government minister being a witness in the Public Prosecutor v Former Police Commissioner Bong & Others caseintended to be heard on 13 February – the Police Conspiracy Case. A senior State House aide and a former Police Commissioner along with a former Chairman of the Police Service Commission are also witnesses. Names are being withheld. However, Daily Post’s police contacts say the Prime MInister “has written to the Police to cease investigations” but the sources want the matter heard in a court of law to demonstrate that “no one is above the law.”
  • Public Service Commissioner Kanam Wilson is determined to strengthen the PSC and is this week especially requiring the cooperation of Directors and DGs in the introduction of a Performance Management System (PMS). Wilson reminded hearers at the first session of a workshop for senior civil servants a PMS was a principal victim of the Comprehensive Reform Programme 18 years ago. Individual public servants’ performance in various categories will be assessed, Post reports. There will also be awards for achievement. The Pacific Islands Centre for Public Administration and USP Laucala are assisting with advisers.
  • Shepherds MP John Amos is bringing in a new vessel to assist with Tongoa / Shepherds transportation needs, reports Post today, showing a photograph of the Urata Riki, purchased in New Caledonia.
  • Radio Vanuatu News at lunchtime carried allegations of government interference in the affairs of NISCOL, the Santo-baased stevedoring company, denied by the Government.
  • Noon news on VBTC also carried ill-informed comment following last week’s public meeting concerning Freshwater and the Vanuatu National Housing Corporation.This meeting was addressed by Lands Minister Regenvanu.

5) Fiji flag designer Tessa Mackenzie disappointed by Frank Bainimarama’s plan to replace it

Updated 5 February 2015, 19:20 AEDT

The designer of Fiji’s current flag says she is disappointed by prime minister Frank Bainimarama’s move to replace it with a new one.

Tessa Mackenzie won the competition in 1970 to design the flag after placing the British Union Jack and the shield from Fiji’s Coat of Arms on a sky blue background.

This week, Mr Bainimarama said they were British symbols that were not relevant to a modern, independent Fiji.

Ms Mackenzie, now 80 years old and still living in Suva, told the ABC’s Pacific Beat program that she disagrees.

“To say that our past is not relevant in any situation if foolish — we cannot get away from our past,” she said.

“I think it’s a non-argument to me to say that we want to get away from the colonial past.

“Your past is there.”

A spokesman for the main opposition Sodelpa Party, Peter Waqavonovono, said many people were against changing the flag, which has been used since Fiji gained independence.

“Although there are segments of our population who are bitter about our British past, we all do not share the same sentiments and therefore cannot be forced to accept their ridiculous laws,” he said.

Fiji Labour Party president Lavinia Padarath said parliament was the proper forum to debate such a change.

“Mr Bainimarama should realise that in a parliamentary democracy issues of national importance should be approved by the house (parliament),” she said.

“The people of Fiji must decide whether they want the flag changed and if so, what the changes should be.”

Flag ‘flies above ethnic differences’

Ms Mackenzie said she believed the majority of Fijians still embraced their current flag design.

“People love it — they really feel proud of it,” she said.

“If you ever watch Sevens Rugby, whether we’re winning or losing people are waving it… and people wear the flag on their T-shirts in everyday life.”

Samson Verma, an expatriate Fijian living in Paris, has started a Facebook page called Keep our Fiji Flag.

“That flag, the way it is, contains much of Fiji’s history and it contains much of what Fiji has gone through in the last 150 years or so,” he said.

“We see that flag as one that flies above all the ethnic differences in Fiji.”

Mr Bainimarama said his competition to design a new flag would start this month and run for two months, with the winning flag to be flown for the first time on Independence Day in October.

Ms Mackenzie said she was not planning on entering a new design into the competition.

“I find it very difficult to envisage what they can choose which will be appropriate and relevant for everybody… not just now but for the future,” she said.

“A flag is a national symbol that needs to be very meaningful, so I think it will be very hard to find good symbols.”

ABC/AFP

6) Fiji airport fees take off dramatically

5 february 2015 

The Fiji government has dramatically increased charges for international airlines using Fiji’s airports.

The Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, says the increases will allow Airports Fiji Ltd to improve services and develop infrastructures.

He says the revised fees are for air navigation and terminal navigation services, international landing charges, airport development, security charges, parking charges and incinerator charges.

Apart from incinerator charges that have been increased by 100 per cent all other charges are up by 70 per cent.RNZI

POLYNESIA

7) Tonga noble fined over gun charges

5 February 2015

A Tongan noble, Lord Tu’ilakepa, has been fined 4,862 US dollars on five weapons charges.

Lord Tu’ilakepa, who is the nobles’ representative for Vava’u, had been convicted on various counts of illegal firearms and ammunition posssession charges that date back to 2010.

Radio Tonga reports Justice Charles Cato says Lord Tu’ilakepa is a good Tongan man despite his failure to license the guns and bullets.

His lawyer had told the trial that the guns had belonged to Lord Tu’ilakepa’s cousin who had died.RNZI

8) Exposed Tonga hospital moves inland

5 February 2015

The hospital in the Tongan islands of Ha’apai is to be replaced by a new building further inland to make it less vulnerable to the elements.

An Asian Development Bank funded project will place an up to 40 bed hospital a couple of hundred metres inland and on slightly elevated ground.

The director of health Dr Siale ‘Akau’ola says the move is a must because the hospital is currently 10 metres from the sea and the front lawn is already suffering major erosion.

Dr ‘Akau’ola also says the site is an earthquake risk.

“The most concern for us is an earthquake because the hospital is built on sandy foundations and we are sure that it’s soaked with seawater because it is so close to the sea. Another further shake, the foundation would be very soft and we risk major damage.”

Tonga’s director of health Dr Siale ‘Akau’ola

The ADB is contributing 1 million US dollars to the project which is scheduled for completion in 2016.RNZI

9) Polynesian leaders to trial monitoring tech

By Online Editor
4:04 pm GMT+12, 03/02/2015, New Zealand

Leaders from Polynesia have agreed to trial new technology that could improve monitoring of the region’s exclusive economic zones.
 
Members of the Polynesian Leaders Group met in Auckland today to discuss the region’s progress and further improvements that could be made in the fisheries sector.
 
The meeting included a presentation from the Pew Institute of Technology from the United Kingdom.
 
The Cook Islands Prime Minister, Henry Puna, is hopeful it will be beneficial to their region.
 
“They now have the technology that they think can be of use to the Polynesian countries in helping them to monitor all the activities that take place in terms of fisheries within their EEZ. And so we’re giving it a trial run for six months to see how it works out and then the leaders will make a decision”
 
The Prime Minister of Samoa Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi has now been appointed the new head of the Polynesian Leaders Group.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

10) Niue’s first death from chikungunya

By Online Editor
10:12 pm GMT+12, 03/02/2015, Niue

An opposition MP in Niue is questioning the hospital’s capacity to cope after a young woman died last week in Niue’s first suspected case of chikungunya.
 
The 22 year old mother had recently spent two weeks in Samoa where chikungunya is rife and was not feeling well when she passed through New Zealand on her return to Niue.
 
Terry Coe says the woman was admitted to hospital when she arrived in Niue but died after several days there.
 
He says more help is needed from the Pacific Islands Forum to coordinate an effective strategy to deal with this regional health concern.
 
“The biggest problem that I see is our actual health care of people who contract the disease from the mosquitoes. And are we capable of preventing more deaths by giving the proper treatment. We can’t afford to lose more people if we’re not treating those people successfully,” said Coe.
 
SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

11) Dengue outbreak declared in Tonga

By Online Editor
6:30 pm GMT+12, 02/02/2015, Tonga

A dengue fever outbreak was declared by the Tongan Ministry of Health, who now confirm 33 cases across the island nation.
 
Dr ‘Ofa Tukia the Head of the NCD/Health Promotion Unit at the Ministry of Health called on Tongans to be vigilant as dengue fever is a viral disease spread by mosquitoes. She said of the 33 confirmed cases, 17 were in Tongatapu, 12 in Vava’u and four in Ha’apai.  
 
“We expect the number of suspected cases to rise. Since there is no specific treatment or vaccine for dengue fever the best protection against it is to control the breeding places around your house an prevent mosquito bites during an outbreak,” she said.
 
Symptoms of dengue for adults should be suspected when a high fever is above 38 degrees Celsius with symptoms including severe headache, muscle and joint pains, pain behind eyes, nausea, vomiting, swollen glands or bleeding from any part of the body.
 
For children symptoms includes fever above 38 degrees Celsius, poor drinking, rash, cold/blue extremities and bleeding from any part of the body.
 
Severe symptoms include abdominal plain, rapid breathing, severe fatigue, persistent vomiting and blood in vomit. Severe dengue can kill so proper medical care is needed to avoid complications and risk of death.
 
People are advised if they suspect they might have dengue fever to drink plenty of water, take panadol and rest at home. One should also avoid taking aspirin and ibuprofen.

SOURCE: MATANGI TONGA/PACNEWS

12) New Tonga PM cleaning up previous government’s work

By Online Editor
9:51 pm GMT+12, 03/02/2015, New Zealand

Tonga’s newly elected Prime Minister says his government has been fully occupied with cleaning up the incomplete work of the last government since he was appointed four weeks ago.
 
Akilisi Pohiva says there is a lot of work to be done and they are trying to figure out the exact financial situation the government is in.
 
Pohiva told Tongan residents at a meeting in Auckland on Monday, he will be unable to implement any of his campaign policies until the 1st of July when the new budget comes in.
 
“We have a lot of things to be done. In fact, the outgoing government left incomplete and unfinished works to be done and we are still trying to tap in to the current situation,” said Pohiva
 
Pohiva says a major issue he aims to tackle is the huge debt left behind by the previous government.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

13) Tuvalu’s Cuban trained doctors need more study


By Online Editor
6:24 pm GMT+12, 02/02/2015, Tuvalu

Tuvalu’s education department says it is working to have its medical students complete their internship in Kiribati once they’ve completed training in Cuba.
 
The department’s pre-service training officer, Atabi Ewekia, says eight students – who finish their programme in Cuba in September – will start their attachment with the Princess Margaret Hospital, before travelling to Kiribati.
 
Ewekia told the Tuvalu government newsletter that after assessments, the government found the standard of medical training in Cuba was a bit behind the competency level expected of doctors in the region.
 
He says the Kiribati programme, which is co-facilitated by Australia and Taiwan, is designed to fill any gaps the medical students have after their training to enable them to become competent and safe doctors.
 
SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

14) Tongan PM to appeal a Magistrate’s order on costs

By Online Editor
6:22 pm GMT+12, 02/02/2015, Tonga

Tongan Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pohiva has been given time to file an appeal against the grounds on which a Magistrate’s order was made in awarding costs against him, after he took unsuccessful private prosecutions against Princess Pilolevu Tuita and others last year.
 
The Prime Minister as plaintiff appeared before Chief Justice Paulsen during chambers on Friday, at the Nuku’alofa Supreme Court.
 
The Chief Justice granted him time to file his appeal with the court.
 
The situation arose out of a judgement in the case Pohiva v Tu’ivakano, when Pohiva took unsuccessful private prosecutions against four respondents, Lord Tu’ivakano, HRH Princess Salote Pilolevu Tuita, William Clive Edwards and the Friendly Islands Satellite Communications Ltd. The prosecutions were unsuccessful in the Magistrate’s Courts and again on appeal to the Supreme Court.
 
Principal Police Magistrate Salesi Mafi had ordered in September last year that Pohiva pay $22,000 (US$10,000)comprising awards of costs for both senior and junior counsel.
 
The former Chief Justice Michael Scott in October last year ordered Pohiva to pay $22,000 in legal costs to the Registrar of the Supreme Court by close of business on 21 October 2014, in order for him to stand as a candidate in the General Election last November.

SOURCE: MATANGI TONGA/PACNEWS

15) Samoan MP guilty of forgery

By Online Editor
6:27 pm GMT+12, 02/02/2015, Samoa

The Supreme Court in Samoa has found the Associate Minister for Trade and Commerce, Muagututagata Peter Ah Him, guilty of two charges of forgery.
 
The ruling party MP was acquitted of a third charge of forgery and theft.
 
Muagututagata had stood trial in November after a Chinese company in which he holds a 10 percent share filed a complaint to the police.
 
The company, Grand Ocean Limited, had accused the Associate Minister of forging an invoice to clear two shipping containers and inventing US$30,000 of costs.
 
A date for sentencing has not been set.
 
Meanwhile on a separate case, the charge of attempted rape against the suspended editor of the government newspaper Savali, has been withdrawn before the chief justice, Patu Falefatu Sapolu.
 
It comes after the prosecution has asked for the original charge to be substituted with two counts of indecent assault against the accused, Tupuola Terry Tavita.
 
The new charges will be heard for mention in the district court today.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

MICRONESIA

16) CNMI hospital could be sued by utility

5 February 2015 

The lone hospital in the CNMI could face contempt charges over its failure to pay 1 point 3 million US dollars owed to the utility provider, the Commonwealth Utilities Corporation.

In a show-cause order filing, it wants the Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation to be held in contempt for ignoring a three-month utility bill, causing the utility’s total debt to balloon to 14 point 7 million US dollars.

The utility sued the health agency for a similar debt 14 months ago but the Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation succeeded in its push to have the courts issue a temporary restraining order.RNZI

17) Marianas Variety Guam has new owner

By Online Editor
4:19 pm GMT+12, 03/02/2015, Guam

Marianas Variety Guam has been purchased from Younis Art Studio Inc. of Saipan by Guam Times LLC. The companies announced the purchase Tuesday.
 
Guam Times LLC said it is excited about the newspaper’s growth potential under the continuing leadership of its publisher, Amier Younis, and his team.
 
“Guam has seen the growth of the Variety over the past 10 years,” Younis said. “We’re excited Guam Times LLC wants to help Variety do what it takes to grow even more. Our readership and advertiser base has been growing because our readers know we are committed to journalism, the truth and community development. Variety’s growth will mean the growth of journalism and accountability on Guam.”
 
Guam Times is owned by Ho S. Eun, the founder and owner of Core Tech International Corp.
 
“The publisher, the newsroom, and the staff all are committed to a higher standard of journalism,” Eun said. “What makes Variety so successful is the independence of their newsroom. It’s a great operation. We see the potential and the value of investing in this market. We are a local company that wants to engage residents with great journalism backed up by local ownership. We’re excited to give it the local support it needs to flourish.”
 
Younis Art Studio is a Saipan-based corporation that publishes Marianas Variety News & Views. It entered the Guam market about 15 years ago as Guam Variety before re-launching Marianas Variety Guam in 2004.
 
“Our Guam operation grew into a newspaper of general circulation and a member of the mainstream media that gave balance to the field of print journalism on Guam,” said YAS president Laila Younis Boyer. “The CNMI is entering a new economic era, and our company wants to focus where we started, on our core. We are happy with the direction Guam Times LLC wants to take the Guam operation, and we look forward to the newspaper’s success.”
 
Guam Times officials assured subscribers and vendors there will be a seamless transition in ownership. They need not worry about making any changes to their relationship with Marianas Variety Guam. Operations will continue as normal without interruption. Guam Times LLC and the Variety staff are handling all transition matters.
 
Core Tech was founded by Eun in 1991 as Sun Woo Corp., a Guam construction company focused on commercial, office, retail and residential projects. In 1999, Sun Woo was reorganized into Core Tech International to specialize in civil and infrastructural works.

SOURCE: MARIANAS VARIETY/PACNEWS

18) Palau Marine Sanctuary Gets National Geographic Endorsement
‘Pristine Seas’ project expresses strong support for conservation effort

By Jose Rodriguez T. Senase

KOROR, Palau (Island Times, Feb. 2, 2015) – The plan of the Palau Government to establish a National Marine Sanctuary got another boost after a group of prominent scientists and researchers endorsed it.

In a letter to Senator Hokkons Baules, the National Geographic -Pristine Seas expressed its strong support to the move to create the Palau National Marine Sanctuary.

Pristine Seas is a project of National Geographic whose mission is to help protect the last wild places in the ocean over the next five years (2014 to 2018). This includes not only preserving areas that are pristine or near pristine, but also helping to restore areas that may have suffered some human impacts but still harbor unique features such as large animals, healthy bottom communities, and outstanding biodiversity.

Many prominent scientists and researchers around the world are involved with the project.

Read more : Island Times 

19) Fiji congratulates Nauru on 47th anniversary of independence- SUVA, Feb. 2 (Xinhua) — Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has sent a congratulatory message to Nauruan President Baron Waqa on Nauru’s 47th anniversary of independence, the Fijian government announced Monday.  Extending the well wishes on behalf of the government and people of Fiji, Bainimarama said that as neighboring Pacific small islands developing states, Fiji and Nauru have enjoyed cordial and meaningful bilateral relations in various aspects of cooperation, according to Fiji’s Department of Information.  “I am confident that the affectionate relations that our two countries share have strengthened in recent years in mutual recognition of the potential of joint solutions for the emerging challenges ahead, as we unite in ensuring a more resilient Pacific community,” the Fijian prime minister said.  “We can both look forward to the prevailing goodwill at all levels of our two societies to further flourish as we consolidate our existing partnership in the sustainable development of our peoples,” added Bainimarama. http://www.shanghaidaily.com/article/article_xinhua.aspx?id=266351

AUSTRALIA


20) Human Rights Watch questions Australia’s commitment

5 February 2015 

Human Rights Watch says Australia’s failure to respect international standards for asylum seekers and refugees is undermining its ability to call for stronger human rights protections abroad.

Its 2015 World Report has also raised concerns that excessive counter terrorism measures will infringe on the freedoms of expression and movement of Australian citizens.

Human Rights Watch’s Australia director, Elaine Pearson, says that for a country with such a solid record of protecting civil and political rights in the past, Australia should know better.

“There clearly, you know, remains significant problems in terms of how asylum seekers and refugees are treated. Also in terms of how Asylum seekers and refugees are treated. Also in terms of the indigenous population, discrimination and over representation of indigenous communities in prisons in Australia. So there is certainly some serious problems there that the Australian government could be doing a better job of tackling.”

HRW Australia Director Elaine Pearson: RNZI

NEW ZEALAND

21) New Zealand woman appointed judge in Samoa

5 February 2015

A second New Zealand woman judge has been appointed to the Supreme Court of Samoa for a twelve month period.

Justice Elizabeth Margret Aitken, was sworn in by the Head of State, Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi, on Wednesday, before taking up her duties next week.

The first New Zealand woman judge appointed to Samoa’s Supreme Court was Justice Ida Malosi.RNZI

TOK PISIN

22) West Papua i putim aplikesen blong ol tede long MSG

Updated 4 February 2015, 15:29 AEDT

Caroline Tiriman

Odio: Benny Wenda, mausman blong West Papua National Liberation Front i toktok

Tede emi bikpla day blong ol pipal blong West Papua long wonem oli bringim askim oa apllikesen blong joinim Melanesian Spearhead Group oa MSG.
 
Wanpela laen blong West Papua National Liberation Front istap nao ia long Port Vila blong mekem dispela aplikesen.
 
Mausman blong Front, Benny Wenda itok ol i hop long rejistarem aplikesen blong ol long MSG Secretariat long Port Vila long naba 15 long March dispela yar.

Mr Wenda ibin tok ol i strongpela tingting ol MSG lida bai wanbel long larim West Papua i kamap memba long miting blong ol long Solomon Islands bihain long dispela yia.
 
Despla grup iwok long traem long joinim MSG long sampla yia nau, tasol oli save bungim sampla heve, nau oli ting rot i oraet long joinim MSG.
 
Ol memba kantri blong Melanesian Spearhead Group em Fiji, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands na Vanuatu, tasol Vanuatu isave givim strongpla sapot long ol pipal blong West Papua winim ol narapla memba kantri blong MSG.
 
Indonesia em i lukautim West Papua i gat Observor status long MSG, na ol pipal blong West papua itok oli no wari long wonem oli tok oli Melanesian pipal na oli mas full memba blong MSG.Radio Australia

23) Solomon National Council of Women i toktok long niupela plan

Updated 4 February 2015, 13:11 AEDT
Sam Seke

National Council blong ol meri long Solomon Islands i hamamas long ol wok ol ibin wokim na i lukluk long mekim gutpela moa aninit long niupela plan blong ol.

Odio: Rose Isukana, Executive member blong Solomon Islands National Council of Women toktok
Solomon Islands National Council of  Women itok ol ibin kamapim sampela gutpela developmen long sait long ol meri, youth na ol arapela wantaim spesel nid i kam inap long 2014.
 
Ol i bin toktok long ol dispela wok long miting blong NCW na ol lida blong ol Provincial Council of Women long Mande na aste long Honiara.
 
Memba blong NCW Executive, Rose Isukana itok ol i lukluk gohet tu long niupela 5-yia strategic plan blong 2015 – 2019.
 
Em i tok ol i laik long dispela plan imas karamapim nid blong olgeta meri long kantri, espesili long rurul eria wea planti long ol meri na ol yuth i stap longen.
 
Ms Isukana itok niupela stretegic plan imas karamapim tu ol polisi blong gavman na i wok wantaim ol NGO na gavman agensi.Radio Australia

24) Fiji gavman bai senisim flag blong kantri

Updated 4 February 2015, 13:50 AEDT
Sam Seke

Gavman blong Fiji i laik long kantri imas rausim dispela Union Jack flag blong England na i kamapim niupela flag we i makim Fiji yet.

Bai ol i rausim Union Jack long flag blong Fiji 
Odio: Dr Gordon Nanau, Lecturer long Politics na International Affairs long University blong South Pacific long Suva i toktok
Praim Minista Frank Bainimarama itok em i laik long ol i flaim niupela nasinal flag taim Fiji i makim naba 45 Independence Anniversary long 11 long October dispela yar.
 
Em i tok olgeta samting we i stap nau ia long flag blong Fiji i nomoa minim wanpela samting long kantri.
 
Dr Gordon Nanau, Lecturer  long Politics na International Affairs long University blong South Pacific long Suva i tok, dispela tingting igat bikpela sapot long Fiji.
 
Em i tok bikos em i tingting blong gavman, em i gat bikpela sans long em i kamap trutru olsem Mr Bainimarama itok.Radio Australia
 
FRENCH

25) PNG : L’agence anti-corruption a moins d’argent que la fanfare de la police

Mis à jour 5 February 2015, 15:51 AEDT

Élodie Largenton

Créée par le Premier ministre papou, Peter O’Neill, en 2011, l’agence anti-corruption du pays fait aujourd’hui face à de grandes difficultés financières. 

Son travail a pourtant été salué, notamment par Transparency International. Son président, Lawrence Stephens :
 
“Nous avions l’impression que l’agence anti-corruption faisait un travail particulièrement remarquable, et commençait à résoudre certains problèmes très concrets.”
 
Une efficacité qui s’est retournée contre le Premier ministre lui-même. En juin dernier, l’agence a déclenché des poursuites contre Peter O’Neill, l’accusant d’avoir détourné de l’argent public pour payer son cabinet d’avocats, Paraka. Le Premier ministre avait alors fait dissoudre l’agence de lutte contre la corruption, mais les juges de la Cour nationale l’ont rétablie une semaine plus tard.
 
L’agence a cependant de plus en plus de mal à poursuivre son travail, faute de budget, comme l’explique son président, Sam Koim :
 
“Nous sommes à court de fonds, du coup je travaille avec un personnel réduit. Nous continuons nos opérations avec l’argent qu’on nous a donné en 2013. Nous n’avons toujours reçu aucun centime du gouvernement pour 2014, malgré nos nombreuses réclamations.”
 
L’agence ne peut donc compter que sur 2,6 millions de dollars reçus en 2013, alors qu’elle devait en percevoir 11 millions et demi de plus pour 2014 et 2015. On n’a aujourd’hui aucune trace de ces millions de dollars non versés. Le gouvernement papou n’a pas souhaité répondre aux questions de ABC sur le sujet. Une situation qui inquiète Lawrence Stephens, de Transparency International :
 
“Lorsque vous voyez que la fanfare de la police reçoit plus d’argent que certaines autres organisations très importantes, vous devez commencer à vous interroger sur les réelles motivations du pays à lutter contre la corruption et contre la fraude fiscale.”
 
Classé parmi les pays les plus corrompus au monde, la Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée est désormais menacée de figurer sur la liste noire des pays qui encouragent le blanchiment d’argent, ce qui découragerait l’investissement étranger, prévient le chef du département anti-corruption de la police.
L’Australie a débloqué cette année 517 millions de dollars pour aider la Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée. Une somme qui doit servir en priorité à améliorer la gouvernance et aider à lutter contre la corruption.Radio Australia

26) Les Fidjiens invités à dessiner leur nouveau drapeau national


Mis à jour 4 February 2015, 16:51 AEDT
Élodie Largenton

Tirer un trait sur le passé colonial des îles Fidji. C’est le souhait du Premier ministre Franck Bainimarama. 

Après avoir retiré le portrait de la reine Elizabeth II du dollar fidjien, il souhaite aujourd’hui effacer l’Union Jack du drapeau national :
 
“Il est temps de rompre des liens qui ne sont plus pertinents aujourd’hui. Il est temps d’avoir un symbole national qui soit le reflet de notre notre pays en tant que nation, qui porte la marque des vrais symboles de l’identité fidjienne.”
 
Franck Bainimarama avait déjà fait part de son intention de changer de drapeau en janvier 2013. Maintenant qu’une nouvelle démocratie est en place, son souhait peut être réalisé, estime-t-il. 
 
Tous les Fijdiens sont invités à participer à un concours national pour trouver le nouveau drapeau. Une mesure appréciée par la population, rapporte la journaliste de la Fiji Broadcasting Corporation, Akosita Talei.
 
“Certaines personnes aimeraient conserver le drapeau actuel, mais la plupart des Fidjiens sont très heureux de cette décision. Ils sont contents que le gouvernement invite toute la population à participer à ce concours, y compris les enfants.”
 
Le nouveau drapeau fidjien sera révélé le 10 octobre prochain, jour qui marquera les 45 ans d’indépendance de l’archipel.
L’Union Jack apparaît encore sur plusieurs autres drapeaux dans le Pacifique : à Tuvalu, aux Îles Cook, en Nouvelle-Zélande et en Australie. La décision fidjienne va-t-elle inciter ces pays à se défaire, eux aussi, de ce symbole colonial ?
 
Le débat est déjà lancé en Nouvelle-Zélande – la population sera amenée à se prononcer sur la question dans les prochains mois. Il serait temps que la question se pose aussi en Australie, estime Russell Kennedy, maître de conférences en communication visuelle et design à l’Université Deakin :
 
“Il y a des discussions intéressantes sur le sujet, en ce moment. On l’a vu récemment, lorsque Tony Abbott a décidé d’anoblir le prince Philip, l’époux de la reine Elisabeth II. Cela illustre à quel point notre identité est confuse et précaire. Donc c’est sûrement le bon moment pour ouvrir le débat.”
 
La décision du Premier ministre australien est effectivement largement critiquée, et contribue à fragiliser encore son pouvoir.Radio Australia

27) Brèves du Pacifique – jeudi 5 février 2015

Mis à jour 5 February 2015, 15:39 AEDT

Élodie Largenton

À Fidji, pour l’opposition, Frank Bainimarama reprend ses habitudes de dictateur en voulant changer de drapeau sans consulter la population.

Tous les Fidjiens ne soutiennent pas l’initiative du Premier ministre de changer de drapeau pour effacer toute trace de la colonisation britannique. (Credit: ABC) 

Le Premier ministre fidjien a annoncé cette semaine le lancement d’un concours national pour trouver un nouveau drapeau, délesté des symboles de la colonisation britannique. Une décision dénoncée avec ironie par le chef de file de l’opposition : « Le drapeau reflète notre histoire. Or, qu’a-t-on fait ces trente dernières années ? Ça n’a été que coups d’État après coups d’État. Un fusil et un masque pourraient alors être nos nouveaux symboles… »

  •  Les Îles Marshall perdent une bataille contre les puissances nucléaires. La République micronésienne avait déposé une plainte aux États-Unis pour violation du traité de non-prolifération nucléaire. La justice américaine vient de rendre son jugement : elle considère que ce sujet dépasse sa compétence. Un jugement similaire avait été rendu en août dernier. Les Îles Marshall ont aussi porté l’affaire devant la Cour internationale de justice de La Haye, accusant l’ensemble des pays possédant la bombe atomique. Les États-Unis ont effectué 67 essais dans l’archipel, dans les années 1940 et 1950.
  •  Peter Greste a été accueilli en héros à l’aéroport de Brisbane, aujourd’hui. Le journaliste australien d’Al Jazeera est de retour d’Égypte, où il a passé 400 jours en prison, après avoir été condamné pour avoir soutenu la confrérie des Frères musulmans. Peter Greste a remercié tous ceux qui l’ont aidé à obtenir la grâce du gouvernement égyptien, et a assuré qu’il ferait tout pour faire libérer ses deux collègues encore emprisonnés. Le journaliste australien a aussi fait savoir qu’il continuerait à exercer son métier de reporter.
  •  Les citoyens de Tuvalu doivent pouvoir vivre et travailler en Nouvelle-Zélande sans visa. C’est ce que réclame le Premier ministre de cet archipel polynésien. Il affirme que les Tuvaluans contribueraient alors à l’économie du pays. Et pour appuyer sa demande, il dispose désormais d’un ambassadeur basé à Wellington. Cette nouvelle présence diplomatique va permettre à Tuvalu de mieux faire entendre sa voix, notamment dans la lutte contre le changement climatique, espèrent les autorités.Radio Australia

28) Brèves du Pacifique – mercredi 4 février 2015

Mis à jour 4 February 2015, 16:43 AEDT
Élodie Largenton

Tony Abbott de plus en plus contesté au poste de Premier ministre, en Australie.

Tony Abbott, le Premier ministre australien de plus en plus sur la sellette. Ses jours sont comptés, estiment ouvertement des élus de son parti. (AAP: Mick Tsikas) (Credit: ABC) 
Jusqu’à present, les critiques restaient anonymes. Aujourd’hui, quatre parlementaires libéraux demandent ouvertement que la question soit ajoutée à l’ordre du jour d’une réunion du parti, la semaine prochaine. En réponse, le Premier ministre australien exhorte ses collègues à “ne pas reproduire les erreurs des travaillistes”.
 
Toujours en Australie, les résultats de l’enquête sur la prise d’otages de Sydney seront rendus publics d’ici la fin du mois. C’est l’engagement pris par le Premier ministre, qui vient de recevoir le rapport des enquêteurs, un mois et demi après les faits. Pour Tony Abbott, le preneur d’otages, Man Haron Monis, “a profité du système australien. Nous allons prendre des mesures rigoureuses pour que cela ne se reproduise plus”, assure-t-il. 

  •  30 migrants détenus à Manus Island viennent d’acquérir le statut de réfugiés. En tout, 80 demandeurs d’asile ont obtenu gain de cause, ces dernières semaines. Ils vont pouvoir vivre en Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée, et non en Australie, en vertu de l’accord passé en 2013 entre les deux pays. C’est contre cet accord, notamment, que des centaines de migrants ont protesté, le mois dernier, à Manus. Ils ne se sentent pas en sécurité sur place. Pour dissuader les migrants de manifester de nouveau, le gouvernement papou vient de faire savoir que la loi du pays a été modifiée : des demandeurs d’asile peuvent désormais être emprisonnés pour “mauvaise conduite”.
  •  Palau fait un pas de plus vers la création d’un immense sanctuaire marin. L’archipel micronésien vient de recevoir l’appui de scientifiques de renom, membres de la National Geographic Society. Ils sont plusieurs à s’être rendus sur place, en septembre dernier, et leur rapport est élogieux : les poissons sont plus larges et plus nombreux qu’ailleurs dans la région, et la création de la réserve marine ne fera que renforcer la biodioversité de l’archipel. Il y a deux ans, le gouvernement de Palau a annoncé son intention de bannir toute pêche commerciale dans ses eaux. Un projet de loi est examiné, en ce moment, au Parlement. Et le pays vient d’obtenir la mise à disposition d’une nouvelle technologie permettant de détecter et de lutter contre la pêche illégale.Radio Australia

WORLD

29) Greek debt crisis: European Central Bank rejects Greek bonds as collateral for loans

Updated 5 February 2015, 16:00 AEDT

The European Central Bank cuts off Greek banks’ access to a key source of much-needed cash, piling fresh pressure on the country’s new government to reach a deal with international creditors.

In a decision that rattled financial markets, the ECB said it would no longer allow Greek banks to use government debt, which has a junk rating, as collateral for loans.

The Greek finance ministry was quick to insist that the country’s banking system remained “adequately capitalised and fully protected”, with other liquidity channels still available.

The ECB announcement came just hours after new Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis held his first talks with ECB chief Mario Draghi as part of his push to renegotiate his country’s 240-billion-euro ($350 billion) European Union-International Monetary Fund bailout.

The unexpected ECB move follows an appeal from Greece’s new leftist government to the ECB to keep its banks afloat, as it seeks to negotiate debt relief with its eurozone partners.

The ECB has now effectively refused that request, adding to Greece’s problems. Germany rejected any roll-back of agreed austerity policies.

The ECB move was a setback for Mr Varoufakis, who had earlier pledged speedy talks with international lenders on setting up a new program of reform, after abandoning its earlier aid plan.

It puts Greek banks in a difficult position.

Two Greek banks had reportedly already begun to tap emergency liquidity assistance from the Bank of Greece after an outflow of deposits accelerated after the victory of the hard left Syriza party in a general election on January 25.

The health of Greece’s big banks is central to keeping the country afloat.

Debt moves to feature in Greece-Germany talks

The ECB move will likely feature heavily in Mr Varoufakis’s first talks with German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, whose country is seen as the strongest opponent of any easing, in the terms of the massive debts Greece has built up.

Both prime minister Alexis Tsipras and Mr Varoufakis – whose left-wing Syriza party stormed to victory in elections on January 25 – have been touring Europe in recent days to build support for a new debt agreement with creditors.

Elected on a pledge to end austerity policies imposed on Greece as part of its bailout, Mr Tsipras faces the delicate task of persuading his European partners to reverse course, while ensuring Athens still gets the aid required to avoid a default.

The new government has blamed its fiscal problems mainly on the austerity shackles fixed by Germany. Mr Varoufakis could face a testing time when he meets Mr Schaeuble.

Greece said these restrictions had choked growth in an economy that has shrunk by a quarter, failed to cut unemployment that stands at over 25 per cent, and made it impossible to service a mountain of debt worth 1.75 times its annual economic output.

But German chancellor Angela Merkel tried to squash talk that Syriza could play on divisions within Europe, insisting that there were no substantial differences between major eurozone nations.

“I don’t think that the positions of the member states of the eurozone with regard to Greece differ, at least in terms of substance,” she said.

In a bid to quell Western worries over the new Greek government’s closeness to Russia at a time of Cold War-style tensions, Mr Varoufakis said that Athens would “never” seek loans from Moscow.

After talks in Brussels with European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker and EU president Donald Tusk, Mr Tsipras said he was optimistic of a “viable and mutually acceptable solution”.

A Greek government source said Mr Tsipras and Mr Juncker discussed plans to “jointly” create a four-year reform plan for Greece, as well as a bridging deal to give Athens time to draw up plans for reforms including on corruption and tax evasion.

But Mr Tusk said resolving the showdown over Greece’s debt was likely to be “difficult” and needed “cooperation and dialogue as well as determined efforts by Greece”.Radio Australia

30) Silk Road creator Ross Ulbricht convicted and faces lengthy jail sentence

Updated 5 February 2015, 10:10 AEDT

The creator of shadowy online marketplace Silk Road is facing a lengthy prison sentence after a New York jury convicted him of masterminding the criminal website dubbed the “eBay of drugs”.

Ross Ulbricht, 30, was shown to have amassed a fortune of $18 million from the underground internet bazaar which provided a platform for more than one million drug deals in nearly three years.

The unanimous verdict was returned after just a few hours of deliberations at the end of a trial considered a landmark case in the murky world of online crime and government surveillance.

Ulbricht, who was arrested in October 2013, pleaded not guilty to seven charges of narcotics trafficking, criminal enterprise, computer hacking and money laundering.

“The supposed anonymity of the dark web is not a protective shield from arrest and prosecution,” Manhattan attorney Preet Bharara said.

“Ulbricht’s arrest and conviction, and our seizure of millions of dollars of Silk Road bitcoins should send a clear message to anyone else attempting to operate an online criminal enterprise.”

Defence lawyer Joshua Dratel admitted Ulbricht dreamt up the website, but insisted it was only an “experiment” and the real criminal mastermind was someone else.

But the jury decided Ulbricht was indeed “Dread Pirate Roberts”, the online alias of the Silk Road operator.

The government brought overwhelming evidence against him after his arrest, red-handed, with a laptop of incriminating evidence in a San Francisco library.

The government said 95 per cent of the products on Silk Road were drugs, with the rest fake IDs, hacking tools and hacking services.

It said Ulbricht made buying heroin, cocaine and crystal meth as easy as online shopping from eBay and Amazon until the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) shut it down.

The government said Ulbricht was willing to resort to violence and solicited six murders-for-hire to keep the scheme intact, though there was no evidence any killings actually took place.

Family and friends were convinced of Ulbricht’s innocence, setting up a “Free Ross” website that raised $339,000 for his defence.

A second version of Silk Road sprung up just weeks after Ulbricht’s arrest. It was shut down and alleged operator Blake Benthall charged last November.

AFP

EDUCATION

31) PNG Schools Warned To Stop Charging School Fees
Education Department: Free education policy in effect

By Malum Nalu, Rebecca Kuku And Eheyuc Seseru

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Feb. 3, 2015) – The Education Department has again warned schools still charging project fees to stop immediately, or face the consequences.

Education Secretary Dr Michael Tapo yesterday reiterated the warning made last month by Education Minister Nick Kuman that schools must not charge students any project fees.

Kuman had said the Government was paying for everything and there was no need to charge students project fees.

Kuman had warned schools that failed to comply with the directive that they would not be paid the tuition fee-free subsidies. Tapo subsequently issued a circular last week (dated January 27) to all school “not to charge or collect any form of projects fees from students in 2015”.

Scores of parents complained to Tapo during a radio talkback show yesterday that they were still being charged projects fees when classes began.

One of the parents told Tapo that Port Moresby National High School was one such school.

He said he was told by the school administration to pay project fees for his son who would be doing Grade 11.

A source from the school yesterday confirmed that the school was charging K300 as project fee for 2015. The source said the school received the circular from Tapo “late”.

Parents at the St Johns Primary School in Tokarara yesterday refused to pay the K160 charged as projects fees.

Tapo said a team of inspectors from the department would be going around to all schools “operating under the national education system” to check if they were complying with the department’s directive.

“Tuition fee funding of schools that are charging project fees will be held until investigations are completed,” he said.

“Head masters and principals of schools charging project fees will be held responsible.”

Meanwhile parents of students attending Bumayong Secondary School in Lae claim that they were told yesterday to pay project fees within 48 hours.

Bumayong community leader and parent Peter Kiyapas said they were told at the school yesterday morning to pay K250 if their children were to attend classes.

Kiyapas has three children in Grade Nine and one in Grade 10.

He said principal Daniel Saya told them that they would pay K50 for late registration on Wednesday if they failed to pay the project fee and register their children today.

He has called on the Morobe provincial education board and education division to enforce the project fees directive from the education department.

The National

POLITIC

32) Vanuatu parties aiming to reunify for 2016

By Online Editor
4:09 pm GMT+12, 02/02/2015, Vanuatu

Four of Vanuatu’s political parties say they will run as a coalition in next year’s election and will reform as a single party by 2020.

After years of destabilisation, some of the countries’ veteran politicians say they are burying the hatchet for the sake of unity.

The Vanua’aku Pati, established as the first political party in the country, split in the 1990s and the resulting minor parties have contributed to Vanuatu’s political instability and minority governments since.

At a meeting late last week, the leaders of the Vanua’aku Party, the National United Party, the People’s Progressive Party and the Melanesian Progressive Party set up working committees to start looking at a new structure and constitution.

They will also have to agree which of their candidates they will stand in the 2016 elections, under a united banner.

The leaders, all former Prime Ministers – Edward Natapei, Ham Lini, Sato Kilman and Barak Sope say they welcome the Political Parties Integrity Bill and a proposed referendum to ask citizens to approve a moratorium on motions of no confidence following elections.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

BUSINESS

33) ANZ launches mobile banking financial literacy training in Solomon Islands

By Online Editor
11:08 pm GMT+12, 02/02/2015, Fiji

ANZ today announced an expansion of MoneyMinded, the bank’s flagship adult financial education program, to include a dedicated mobile banking module, reflecting the growth of mobile phone banking in the Solomon Islands.

This follows an agreement signed between ANZ and the Australian Government last August to support the increased roll out of mobile banking to remote and rural areas in the Solomon Islands.

Commenting on the latest developments to the MoneyMinded program, Geoffrey Buchanan, ANZ CEO Solomon Islands, said: “Mobile banking is quickly becoming the channel of choice for many customers here in the Solomon Islands, especially in rural provinces where people have limited access to branches.

“Investing in the growth of mobile banking and supporting this with dedicated financial literacy training, with a particular focus on making banking more accessible to women, is an important part of creating positive change in communities.

“Working with our community partners, we hope to bring about a shift in participants’ mindset and behaviour towards managing money and the use of mobile banking,” Buchanan said.

MoneyMinded is informed by community consultation and delivered through partnerships with local community organisations and government. Twenty five new facilitators were accredited to deliver the program following a five-day workshop in Honiara. ANZ and its community partners – Rokotanikeni, Premiere Group of Companies Ltd and Christian Care Centre – are committed to delivering MoneyMinded to the community at large this year.

MoneyMinded is ANZ’s flagship financial literacy program, designed to boost financial inclusion in communities where ANZ operates. It has been successfully delivered to some 6000 people across the Pacific since it was introduced in 2010.

ANZ goMoney was the first mobile phone banking channel in the Solomon Islands. Since its launch in September 2013, it has attracted 24,500 new customers, including 15500 customers who had previously never held a bank account.

ANZ began operations in Solomon Islands in 1966 and now has four branches, 13 ATMs and employs more than 110 staff across the nation.

ANZ has the largest network of any bank in the Pacific with a presence in 12 Pacific countries including Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Tonga, Samoa, American Samoa, Cook Islands, Guam, Kiribati, Timor Leste, and a Representative Office in New Caledonia.

source: ANZ/PACNEWS

 34) Fiji keen to sign pact with Coconut Board– Fiji is keen on signing a memorandum of understanding (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.  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 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 TK Jose, Chairman of the Coconut Development Board. Fiji, he said, is interested in coconut product diversification, value-addition and by-product utilisation, technology transfer, quality seed production and husbandry practice.
http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/agri-biz/fiji-keen-to-sign-pact-with-coconut-board/article6849354.ece

35) Fiji and Australia to sign MOU on seasonal workers scheme

By Online Editor
10:15 pm GMT+12, 03/02/2015, Fiji

Fiji and Australia are expected to sign a Memorandum of Understanding on the seasonal workers scheme before the end of the month.

Ministry of Employment, deputy secretary Vilimone Baledrokadroka says they have had two rounds of consultation with the Australian High Commission in Suva about the issue and they are looking forward to the signing of the MOU.

Baledrokadroka says there is a wide range of opportunities provided by Australia for Fijians

“That includes workers in the hotel and tourism industry, accommodation arc culture industry likewise cotton and sugarcane farming .This is an addition to horticulture or fruits so there is really range of opportunities available there to our people at this point in time”

9000 people from the Pacific region are expected to benefit from the programme.

SOURCE: FBC NEWS/PACNEWS

INFRASTRUCTURE

36) Port Terminal Ltd Rebranded As Fiji Ports Terminal Ltd
Fiji name to increase value of port as transportation hub: Sayed-Khaiyum

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Feb. 2, 2015) – Ports Terminal Limited has been rebranded to Fiji Ports Terminal Limited, in a move, Minister for Public Enterprise Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says places the organisation among the already well-established Fijian brands including Fiji Airways and Fiji Rugby.

Speaking at the unveiling of the new brand in Suva last night, Sayed-Khaiyum said the new name would further underline and complement achievements made by the organisation.

“It also means that apart from increasing the usual dollar value to it, it also increases the value of Fiji as a port. It also increases the value of Fiji as a transportation hub,” he said.

“It increases the value of Fiji as a marketable destination and that is precisely what we have been trying to do in the past three to four years.”

Sayed-Khaiyum acknowledged the efforts put in by Sri Lankan company and shareholder Aitken Spence PLC in honouring the partnership with the Fijian Government by improving services and operations at the two major ports in Suva and Lautoka.

“Enormous achievements have been made by this management company,” he said.

“It has been a wonderful partnership, it has been a wonderful collaboration which has the levy that had been charged on containers coming into Fiji being lifted now which not only has financial benefits for exporters but also for importers.”

He says partnerships of similar nature with credible companies that have a proven track record rooted in international best practices are the way to go.

The Fijian Government and Aitken Spence PLC partnership was established in August 2013.

Fijilive

MEDIA

37) Fiji TV sell PNG subsidiary Media Niugini Limited for K27 million

By Online Editor
10:31 pm GMT+12, 04/02/2015, Fiji

By Pita Ligaiula

Fiji Television Limited today sold its Papua New Guinea subsidiary company Media Niugini Limited, the owner of EMTV to a new owner, Telikom PNG.

This was sealed in a sale agreement signed in Suva today by Fiji Television Limited and Telikom PNG.

Nouzab Fareed, Fijian Holdings Ltd  (FHL) Chief executive officer says Media Niugini Limited was sold to Telikom PNG for K27 million (US$9.8 million).

Fiji Television is a subsidiary of FHL.

“The selling price is K27 million. We received advice from lot of audit firms so the final decision was made by Fiji TV Board. It’s a wining buyer and winner seller. I wish we could have got much more than that but they had tough negotiators as well.  The right information is provided to the board of Fiji TV to make that decision.

“It is a historic occasion, the first time in the history of FHL Group that we are divesting a foreign subsidiary and with a good cause. We signed an agreement between Fiji Television Limited, Telikom PNG Limited and also Media Niugini Limited confirming the 100 percent divestment of 100 percent share holding in Media Niugini, which is owned by Fiji TV Limited,” Fareed said in a press conference in Suva.

He said effective from today Media Niugini Limited will now be owned by Telikom PNG.

Fareed said the idea of selling Media Niugini started in 2013 and took 13 months to select the right buyer.

“This sale and purchase agreement will take 60 days to complete because a lot of regulatory approval is required. It’s a media business and Fiji Television need to have an extra ordinary general meeting to have the shareholder approval.

“The two major shareholders have approved the sale as of this morning. We had a board meeting of Fiji TV Limited, all the directors representing the major shareholders have approved the sale of Media Niugini,” Fareed said.

He said proceeds from the sale will be distributed amongst Fiji TV shareholders.

“Our message to PNG is that we have made enough money, its time for us to share. This is a first company to be owned by a PNG government entity,” said Fareed.

Meanwhile, Telikom PNG Chief Executive Officer, Michael Donnelly said the purchase is good for Papua New Guinea.

“From Telikom PNG Limited point of view and Papua New Guinea’s point of view, this is an important acquisition. We have to acknowledge that the business is well run, well invested and has grown significantly over the last five years. But the media landscape in PNG is changing and changing dramatically with the introduction of digital competition.

“The acquisition from this business help us develop our own convergence strategy, so we are very happy to acquire this business. We think it’s good for our business and for PNG. Media Niugini Limited is the main content provider for news and current affairs in PNG. We think it will continue in a strong way, Donnelly said.

SOURCE: PACNEWS

38) Fiji TV pleads to government for proper licence

By Online Editor
10:15 pm GMT+12, 04/02/2015, Fiji

The Fiji Television board says it is regularly asking the Fiji Government for a 12-month licence, but has been unsuccessful.

The Chairman of the board, Ioane Naiveli, says he has written long letters pleading for a proper renewal of the licence for the sake of the company’s stability.

Since mid-2012, the Fiji Government has only granted a six-month licence to Fiji TV, after the military-led regime at the time reacted to Fiji TV’s coverage of former Prime Ministers.

Ioane Naiveli says as the regulator, the government can do what it likes, and the company must work with it.

“We’ve been asking them, please, give us, we run a company. We need to look after our shareholders and our profitability, the company should be profitable and we cannot do that with a six month licence. We can, I take it as a challenge, but we can keep on talking with them. Because I sent a long letter asking for a 12-month licence,” said Naiveli.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

39) Rupert Murdoch faces threat to News Corp control

Updated 5 February 2015, 14:55 AEDT

By business reporter Pat McGrath

Rupert Murdoch is facing a new threat to his family’s grip on its newspaper empire, after one of the media mogul’s most loyal supporters sold down most of his stake in News Corporation.

The billionaire Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal offloaded most of his 6.6 per cent shareholding, and has been left with just 1 per cent.

“The reduction of KHC’s holding in News Corp has been decided in the context of a general portfolio review,” the prince said in a statement posted on the website of his investment fund, Kingdom Holding Company.

“We remain firm believers in News Corp’s competent management, led by CEO Robert Thomson, and are fully supportive of Rupert Murdoch and his family.”

Yet the decision has raised the prospect of another shareholder revolt over the company’s governance structure.

In November last year, Mr Murdoch and his supporters narrowly defeated a motion to recast News Corporation’s structure at its annual general meeting in Los Angeles.

Activist investor Stephen Mayne was one of a handful of News Corp shareholders at the meeting, and voted in favour of the motion.

“It was put up by an individual shareholder, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, to try and have a more democratic structure at News Corp to get rid of the gerrymander where Rupert Murdoch controls 40 per cent of the votes but only owns about 13 per cent of stock,” Mr Mayne told The World Today.

Audio: Rupert Murdoch facing new threat to grip on News Corp control (The World Today)

Under the company’s structure, its shares are split into two classes: class A and B.

Only class B shareholders are allowed to vote on resolutions, and that has frustrated other shareholders.

Mr Murdoch and his family are estimated to own around 40 per cent of the class B shares, and so they have the strongest voting power among News Corporation shareholders.

However, that was put at risk in LA in November.

“This resolution was supported by almost a majority of shareholders and statistically it would appear that even the Saudi prince had not voted in line with the board and Rupert Murdoch’s suggestion to oppose the resolution, because the combined prince and Murdoch family holdings was actually more than the total number of votes that could have been voted on that resolution,” Mr Mayne said.

“So there was quite a snafu or controversy around how the Prince voted with public denials versus the statistics.”

It was regarded as controversial because Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal has long been a Murdoch family ally.

In the weeks after last year’s vote, a spokesperson for the Prince’s investment fund, Kingdom Holding, denied he had voted in favour of the resolution.

Stephen Mayne sees the sell-down as a potential game changer.

“Rupert now does not have any friends it seems, or any known supporters, amongst those 60 per cent shareholders, whereas traditionally he’s always had his very appreciative and supportive Saudi prince voting in favour of all resolutions that he puts up historically,” he said.

“There is a prospect that the rest of the shareholders could band together and try and install a more democratic approach after all these years.”

News Corporation said it does not comment on the activities of its individual shareholders.

Kingdom Holding said the Prince still supports the Murdoch family and is maintaining his $US1.7 billion stake in 21st Century Fox, the company set up set up as part of demerger of News Corporation in 2013.

21st Century Fox holds gained all the more profitable film and television assets while News Corp was left with the global newspaper business.Radio Australia

LAW&ORDER 

40) PNG anti-corruption taskforce broke after making allegations against prime minister Peter O’Neill

Updated 5 February 2015, 11:10 AEDT

Papua New Guinea correspondent Liam Cochrane

The most successful anti-corruption agency in Papua New Guinea’s history is starved of funding and broke, as a result of allegations made against prime minister Peter O’Neill.

Taskforce Sweep has 350 cases currently under investigation and 91 cases before the courts, after securing high-profile convictions and international praise.

However, PNG has cut funding to the multi-agency investigator and to other key parts of the nation’s anti-corruption efforts.

“At the moment we’ve run out of funding and I’m running a skeleton staff,” Taskforce Sweep chairman Sam Koim.

Most of the agency’s investigators have returned to their jobs within the police force and Mr Koim has not been paid for months, despite a court order allowing Taskforce Sweep to continue its work.

The moves come despite repeated promises to tackle corruption in PNG, which ranked 145 out of 175 countries in a global transparency index last year.

“Overall we had the impression Taskforce Sweep was doing a particularly good job and starting to crack through some of the hard issues,” Transparency International PNG chairman Lawrence Stephens said.

The taskforce’s investigations led to the jailing of MPs Paul Tiensten and Francis Potape for corruption.

Prominent lawyer Paul Paraka was also charged and currently faces court for disputed legal bills allegedly approved by Mr O’Neill.

Promised money never paid to taskforce

On paper, the National Anti-Corruption Strategy Taskforce had its budget cut from $9.2 million to $2.3 million for 2015. But the reality is far bleaker.

Money allocated to Taskforce Sweep last year never arrived and the agency has been surviving on the $2.6 million it received in 2013.

“We based our operations on the funding that was released to us in 2013 and in 2014 we didn’t receive any toea [cent] from the government, despite numerous requests for those funds,” Mr Koim said.

It is not clear what happened to the $9.3 million (20 million kina) allocated to the prime minister’s office in 2014 to run Taskforce Sweep.

The prime minister’s office directed the ABC’s inquiries to treasury but repeated attempts to get information from PNG’s treasury have been unsuccessful.

The Australian taxpayer funds several well-paid experts to advise the PNG treasury, as part of the Strongim Gavman (Strengthening Government) aid program, but none were allowed to comment.

“Out of that [20 million kina budget for the National Anti-Corruption Strategy Taskforce], seven million kina was earmarked for Taskforce Sweep operations,” Mr Koim said.

“None of that was released to us despite many follow-ups and requests for the drawdown of those funds.”

Former attorney-general Kerenga Kua wrote to the prime minister on January 16, 2013, trying to find out where anti-corruption money went, but received no reply.

“I understand that Task Force [Sweep] was established to oversee the implementation of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy, spearheaded by your department,” said Mr Kua, who was sacked in the fallout from the corruption allegations against Mr O’Neill.

“I therefore seek your clarification on whether Taskforce Sweep is included under that K20 million funding and if so, how much of this money is appropriated for Task Force Sweep operations,” he wrote.

“There is no reference to Task Force Sweep anywhere in the budget books.”

Taskforce Sweep was set up in 2011 by Mr O’Neill, but after being served an arrest warrant for official corruption in June 2014, the prime minister disbanded it.

A court overturned the decision, ordering that Taskforce Sweep be allowed to continue its work.

PNG on ‘grey list’ for money laundering, terrorist financing

Taskforce Sweep is not the only important PNG agency to be hit by a funding crisis.

The police Financial Intelligence Unit, which deals with money laundering, was allocated $312,000 for 2015, less than the police band’s budget of $419,000.

This is despite the imminent threat of an international blacklisting for potential money laundering.

“If you see that the police band is getting more money than other very important things, you have to start questioning … the priorities for fighting corruption, for fighting fraud,” Mr Stephens said.

In early 2014, the international Financial Action Task Force placed PNG on a ‘grey list’ of countries open to money laundering and terrorist financing.

The Financial Intelligence Unit is supposed to be working on an action plan to improve PNG’s performance and keep it off the blacklist, but the head of the police National Fraud & Anti-Corruption directorate told the ABC that is not happening.

Chief Superintendent Mathew Damaru said funding promises by the government’s chief secretary in February 2014 were not followed through after the PM’s arrest warrant was served by Mr Damaru’s officers in June.

Failure to address weaknesses in PNG’s money laundering systems will lead to the nation being considered a “high risk and non-cooperative” country in terms of money laundering and terrorist financing.

Chief Superintendent Damaru said PNG is “heading for the blacklist”.

This will place PNG in the company of North Korea and Iran, and would discourage international investment.

Corrupt officials ‘wash’ money in Queensland real estate

Despite the 75 per cent cut in funding for PNG’s main anti-corruption effort, other related areas did receive a boost in PNG’s 2015 budget.

The police National Fraud & Anti-Corruption unit received a 39 per cent increase to $718,000, despite being branded “rogue” officers by the PM’s legal team after serving the arrest warrant on Mr O’Neill.

The auditor-general, ombudsman, Internal Revenue Commission and the judiciary were all promised more money for 2015.

Improving governance and helping fight corruption is a key goal of Australia’s $517 million aid program in PNG this year.

The Combating Corruption Project, delivered by AUSTRAC and the Attorney-General’s Department, is spending $2.5 million “to enhance … the PNG financial system against money laundering, corrupt activity and terrorist financing”.

Other programs support the work of the ombudsman, police and the courts.

Investigators say Australian bank accounts and Queensland real estate are the top ways corrupt PNG officials “wash” their stolen money.

After almost 40 years of independence from Australia, Papua New Guinea has gone backwards in many key social and health areas, and is one of only a handful of countries set to meet none of the UN Millennium Development Goals.Radio Australia

41) PNG Police question, arrest Western Province Governor for corruption

By Online Editor
4:10 pm GMT+12, 02/02/2015, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea’s Western Province Governor Ati Wobiro has been arrested by the fraud and anti-corruption officers.

Wobiro, 55, was arrested and charged Monday on four counts of misappropriation of funds totalling up to K7 million (US$2.6 million) along with eight other counts of abuse of office.

Other charges include four counts of abuse of office and four counts of conspiracy to defraud.

Director for fraud and anti-corruption directorate Matthew Damaru said  Wobiro was arrested last year by the mobile squad for a different matter, a case that was withdrawn but may resurface when police are ready.

The national fraud and anti-corruption directorate conducted the investigation upon complaints by the people of Western Province.

After the interview at the national fraud and anti-corruption office in Konedobu, Wobiro was taken to the Boroko police station cells where he was locked up.

It is alleged that a Joint Provincial Budget Priorities Committee (JPBPC) meeting comprising three Open MPs of South Fly, Middle Fly and North Fly convened on November 21, 2013 to approve projects. The three Open MPs denied attending that meeting.

Also in 2013, Wobiro allegedly signed a memorandum of agreement with Norman May on behalf of Fly Care Foundation to use percentages of his PSIP, DSIP and LLGSIP funds to be paid into Fly Care Foundation in which Norman May is sole signatory to the account.

The list of projects underallegedly approved by the JPBPC on 21 November 2013 was referred to acting Provincial Administrator Modowa Gumoi and instructed by the Governor to facilitate the funding of the projects by implementing the MOA between Wobiro and Fly Care Foundation Inc.

Investigations conducted by the fraud squad officers revealed that many of the projects of which funding was channelled through Fly Care Foundation have not been implemented.

Investigations also revealed that these funds (PSIP, DSIP and LLGSIP) were public funds but were parked in a private account under the control of a private individual outside of the public accounting systems and not subject to public audit.

Channelling of public funds through a private business management and application of the funds were outside of the guidelines governing the disbursement of these funds and lack transparency and accountability.

Police said Norman May of Fly Care Foundation and May Field Distributors was arrested and charged on 22 January 2015 on similar charges.

More arrests are expected to be made in this matter, police said.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

42) PNG opposition worried by piracy

5 February 2015

Papua New Guinea’s opposition leader Don Polye is calling on law enforcers and the courts to apply tougher penalties on piracy.

Mr Polye says he has learnt that a few individuals have been in the business of piracy to make money at the expense of hardworking painters, writers, singers, designers among others.

He is urging law enforcers to crack down on the crime syndicate.

Mr Polye says market places and bus-stops are a safe haven for the sale of pirated items.

The member for Kandep in PNG, Don Polye.

Photo: RNZI / Johnny Blades

He says under the opposition’s policy, a state agency would be immediately established to regulate and implement policies and regulations on protecting intellectual property rights, copyright and the register of patents.RNZI

43) Change in Fiji’s military hierarchy, former Minister is now Chief of Staff

By Online Editor
4:15 pm GMT+12, 03/02/2015, Fiji

— Fiji’s former Navy Commander and Minister for Sports Viliame Naupoto has been promoted to Navy Captain and assume the role of Chief of Staff in the military.

Captain Naupoto has taken up his appointment Tuesday.

In an interview with FBC News, Land Force Commander Colonel Sitiveni Qiliho confirmed the changes.

“Captain Naupoto was promoted to the rank of Navy Captain today which is equivalent to a full Colonel in the Army and has assumed the appointment of Chief of Staff RFMF, so he is in office now and has come back to RFMF. Brigadier Aziz Mohammed who used to be the Chief of Staff RFMF now assumes the appointment of Deputy Commander,” said Colonel Qiliho.

Brigadier Aziz is currently on leave for six months.

Meanwhile, the Fiji Navy says it welcomes any assistance provided by the Royal New Zealand Air Force.

Over the weekend, a RNZAF Orion aircraft conducted its first maritime surveillance of Fiji’s Exclusive Economic Zone along with the Fiji Navy and the Fisheries Department over the weekend.

Royal New Zealand Air Force Chief Mike Yardley says they intend to come back to Fiji soon.

“With us coming here today, this is just the start. We will certainly be back probably operating out of Nadi rather than Suva. But we certainly will be back patrolling your Exclusive Economic Zone.”

This has been welcomed by the head of the Fiji Naval Division Commander John Fox, who says the Pacific also stands to benefit from the RNAF’s presence in Fiji.

“Not permanently basing out of Nadi. It’s usually in support of our neighboring countries. Like, say, Tuvalu – because Tuvalu does not have a major airfield, they will base their air-surveillance operational work out of Nadi. The good thing about basing out of Nadi is that when it does aerial surveillance for our neighbors because they are coming in and out of Nadi – they overfly Fiji waters at the same time they are doing surveillance for us.”

Despite strained relations between Fiji and New Zealand after the 2006 coup, RNAF continued to help Fiji over the years, transporting disaster relief supplies two years ago and conducting search and rescue operations.

SOURCE: FBC NEWS/PACNEWS

44) PNG Police union calls for sacking of top cops

By Online Editor
4:06 pm GMT+12, 03/02/2015, Papua New Guinea

Sack the entire police hierarchy, says Papua New Guinea Police Association general secretary Clemence Kanau.

Kanau made the call Tuesday following the general breakdown of command and control in the police force in the first month of this year.

“Despite our continuous effort to improve our members’ working conditions in welfare, salary and accommodation, we seem to have deep rooted problems in the code of conduct of our members which, the police union believes, is a sign of bad leadership in the police force,” Kanau said.

He said it is those in command and control of the force, which may be regarded as the catalysts for the trend of rising misdemeanour. He urged the Government to make a full change to the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary (RPNGC).

Kanau said there should be a complete change in the top police hierarchy, which had failed to command and preserve discipline in the RPNGC.

“We need to replace senior officers who are content with the uniform they wear and who have grown stagnant in the organisation.

“We need new leadership in the police force. People with vision who can see beyond and who can change with the time and lead a disciplined force,” he said.

Kanau added that the police union believes there were brilliant and disciplined young police officers who had come up the rank, matured and who were ready for senior appointment.

For that cause, he also called on the Government to look at rebuilding the pride and status of the RPNGC through these officers.

He said the Police Commissioner, Deputy Police Commissioner and all the Assistant Police Commissioners must explain why they have allowed discipline to erode.

Meanwhile, the National Capital District Commission police reserve unit will be decommissioned and its vehicles, uniforms and firearms returned to the constabulary.

Police Commissioner Geoffrey Vaki issued the orders Tuesday which also applied to the Bank South Pacific reserve unit.

The order to the NCDC police reserve came as a result of the Hanuabada shootings two weeks ago while the BSP reserve unit disbanding and decommissioning was because guards were using police uniforms and firearms to perform security work for the commercial bank.

Acting deputy commissioner operations Jim Andrews said the NCDC would have to explore alternative options on how to enforce by-laws governing all municipalities within the city without the direct involvement of police.

He said the city rangers concept should be reintroduced and selected applicants should be trained and fairly remunerated to undertake this very challenging role of maintaining order and cleanliness.

“The police should only be called upon as and when the city rangers are faced with resistance from illegal betelnut traders and vendors, loiterers and other municipal law breakers, within the city,” he said.

Andrews said the decision to disband and decommission the NCDC reserve unit was made by Vaki to ensure proper care and management of the constabulary’s resources, more particularly the use of firearms. He said the reserve and auxiliary concepts were scrapped during Commissioner Gari Baki’s tenure but reservations were made through signed MOAs with the mining companies, BSP Bank, Air Niugini and several provincial governments which were funding the upkeep of these reservists.

The RPNGC was going to review the concept with the aim of selecting applicants with good reputation and character to be re-enlisted into the constabulary, but the review was indefinitely shelved.

AUCKLAND, 04 FEBRUARY 2015 (RNZI)

REFUGEE

45) PNG grants 30 more refugee status while increasing powers to jail asylum seekers

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

Papua New Guinea has granted refugee status to a further 30 men on Manus Island but has also amended laws to allow asylum seekers to be jailed for “misbehaving”.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton flew to Port Moresby yesterday for talks with his PNG counterpart.

“The relationship between our two countries strengthens through our cooperation and our desire to do good things in our region,” Dutton said.

PNG immigration minister Rimbink Pato said a further 30 asylum seekers had been granted refugee status.

“Altogether there’ll be 80 asylum seekers who are on the way to being resettled in PNG once a policy on the resettlement has been finalised,” he said.

PNG has yet to form a resettlement policy, despite nine refugees leaving detention and moving to a transit facility elsewhere on Manus Island to wait for a job opportunity.

It is a country with no welfare system, poor health care and a crime problem.

Pato said Australia would have to shoulder the financial burden of resettling refugees into this challenging environment.

While Australia has committed support, Dutton said it was a domestic matter for Papua New Guinea.

“We have a very competent partner in PNG in relation to this issue,” he said.

Pato said another 80 men have had their asylum claims rejected but will appeal.

“Two of them have not [appealed], they have agreed to leave PNG, but 80 of them have sought a review of the decision,” Pato said.

Asylum seekers detained during last month’s raid of a blockaded compound within the detention centre remain locked up at the Manus Island provincial jail and at the police cells.

“The police powers are wide and they can detain people in certain circumstances,” Pato said, without explaining what those circumstances were or how long asylum seekers could be detained.

He confirmed the asylum seekers in jail and police cells had not been charged.

“There’s no proper evidence that there’s a breach of any law in this case,” he said.

The ABC understands Pato amended the law late last year to allow asylum seekers to be sent to three more secure locations in special circumstances.

As well as the Manus Island jail and police cells, Bomana prison near Port Moresby can also be used.

Pato warned protest leaders that they risked ruining their asylum applications.

“Should an asylum seeker misbehave, then he will disenfranchise himself. In other words he will not be resettled.”

It was not clear if “misbehave” referred to criminal actions or perceptions of being a troublemaker within the Australian-run detention centre.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

MINING,FISHERIES,AGRICULTURE+

46) Vanuatu geothermal plan gets drilling go-ahead

5 February 2015

In Vanuatu the developer of the Takara geothermal power project in North Efate has got approval from the Department of Environment to start drilling.

The Australian company, Geodynamics Limited, has been exploring two sites in the area.

The acting director for environment, Trinison Tari, says this first phase drilling will determine if there is sufficient heat extracted to be able to turn a generator turbine.

He says if the result is negative then the project will not go ahead.RNZI

47) Mercury levels rise in yellowfin tuna: study

By Online Editor
11:03 pm GMT+12, 02/02/2015, United States

Mercury levels in yellowfin tuna caught in the Pacific Ocean have been rising at a 3.8 percent annual rate since 1998, according to a new study.

The findings, published online in the journal Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, add to evidence that air pollution, particularly from burning coal, is pumping mercury into the ocean food chain, potentially posing a hazard to human health.

“Evidence is piling up that the methyl mercury has an anthropogenic source,” said University of Michigan eco-toxicologist Paul Drevnick, lead author of the study. “It’s coming from mercury emissions that are falling into the ocean.”

The levels found in yellowfin, a species that is not at the top of the food chain and could be considered a bellwether, are “concerning,” said co-author Carl Lamborg, who conducted the research while at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, and now is at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

“What this number is saying is that the amount of mercury in fish is getting higher and higher all the time, and if it keeps going like that, at some point, most every kind of fish is going to be potentially hazardous,” Lamborg said. “Where that point is, I don’t know.”

None of the measured levels of methyl mercury, the kind that is absorbed by the body, are likely to be a current hazard to health, and they probably don’t outweigh the health benefits of a fish-enriched diet, according to the researchers.

But the data appear to undermine an element of the legal argument that kept tuna canning companies from having to post warnings on products sold in California, under Proposition 65. At the time, canners offered scientific studies suggesting that methyl mercury in tuna was coming from natural sources, such as deep ocean vents.

The state Superior Court agreed in 2006 and also ruled that the Proposition 65 warning was pre-empted by federal rules, and that methyl mercury levels were too low to merit warnings. The ruling was upheld on appeal in 2009.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency are updating their recommendations about fish consumption and, for the first time, are recommending that pregnant women’s weekly diet include a minimum of eight to 12 ounces of fish known to be low in mercury, to promote fetal development and growth.

The agencies’ draft recommendations still caution pregnant or breastfeeding women to avoid tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico, shark, swordfish and king mackerel. They also recommend that such women limit consumption of white (albacore) tuna to six ounces a week.

Yellowfin is more often sold to consumers in steak form, but is used in small amounts in canned “light” tuna, which is mostly skipjack, according to SeafoodHealthFacts.org, an academic coalition based at Oregon State University. The FDA has found slightly higher levels in “white” or albacore tuna, but still below one part per million.

The researchers re-analyzed data on yellowfin caught near Hawaii in 1971, 1998 and 2008. After adjusting for the age and weight of the fish, which affect mercury accumulation, they confirmed there was no detectable rise from 1971 to 1998. But mercury contamination, nearly all of it in the more hazardous methylated form, started to accumulate rapidly after that date, according to the study. The researchers calculated the rate at 3.8 percent per year in that time frame.

Mercury in the atmosphere has risen by a factor of three during industrial times, according to several studies. At the same time, levels have crept up in several ocean basins. But tying the two together is not easy, because of complicated chemical and biological processes that change the form of mercury.

A study in 2013, however, used a kind of isotope “fingerprinting” to determine that a substantial portion of the methyl mercury in nine species of fish from the deep northern Pacific Ocean came from elemental mercury in the atmosphere, downwind from a rapidly industrialising eastern Asia.

SOURCEl STUFF NZ/PACNEWS

SPORTS

48) Viriviri return a boost for Fiji sevens team

5 February 2015

Fiji sevens coach Ben Ryan says the raw pace of Samisoni Viriviri could be the missing ingredient his team needs in Wellington this weekend.

Viriviri was the top try-scorer during last year’s World Series and became the first Fijian to win the World Player of the Year award.

He signed for French club Montpellier in the off-season but has been made released to play at the Wellington and Las Vegas tournaments.

After being overtaken by South Africa at the top of the World Series standings, Ben Ryan says they’re lucky to have Viriviri available.

“I’ve been talking regularly to Sami and some of the other boys that left to France last year and also lucky that Jake White’s taken over at Montpellier, who is an excellent coach and has perspective on life, and was happy to release Samisoni and if it works out well then we will see him again this season. We’ve got some great players that have been playing on the wing this year and have been scoring tries fairly freely, but haven’t quite had that out and out pace, that Sami had, to stretch teams and allow holes inside”.

Fiji play Portugal, Wales and Australia when the tournament kicks off on Friday.RNZI

49) Coffal helps PNG lifters for Pacific Games

By Online Editor
10:18 pm GMT+12, 03/02/2015, Papua New Guinea

— Oceania weightlifting guru, Paul Coffa is in Port Moresby conducting a workshop for Papua New Guinea Weightlifting’s technical staff in preparation for the Pacific Games in July.

PNG Weightlifting officials Lakani Oala and Frank Robby confirmed that Coffa is in the country on the invitation of the Games Organising Committee and the PNG Weightlifting Federation to conduct workshops for technical officials, coaches and managers as well as athletes.

Coffa, who has played a major role in the development of the country’s best lifters in Commonwealth games gold medallists Steven Kari and Dika Toua, took time off his schedule to offer his advice to the federation’s trainers and coaches in the build-up to the Games.

The notable omission from the training session was Kari who declined to join the compulsory training camp at High Performance Training Centre.

Kari grabbed headlines for the wrong reasons last September when he refused to return to train with Coffa at the Oceania Weightlifting Institute after returning from the Glasgow Games.

Kari was subsequently dropped from the list of PNG lifters offered places at the institute with Coffa saying he had given the 21-year-old the chance to continue preparing under him for the Pacific Games but he declined citing family reasons.

Kari trains in his home gym under mentor and Uncle Douglas Mea in Hanubada Village.

Coffa, who is the director of Oceania Weightlifting Institute in Noumea, New Caledonia, conducted a theory session with trainers and coaches and then did the practical with weightlifters at the National High Performance Centre at 4-Mile.

Former PNG weightlifting champion Paul Enuki said the workshop was had given the technical staff valuable information on training and coaching methods.

“The course basically helps us former athletes to take charges on the bench as officials and judges for weightlifting. I am happy to give back to sport that help me travel the region,” Enuki said.

Coffa along the technical officials spent the afternoon at the High Performance Centre doing practical session with national squad members including coach competitior Toua.

“We have a lot of weightlifters for the Pacific Games and the Oceania Weightlifting Championships which will be run as a single event during the Games,” Robby said.

From the PNG Games in Lae, only three weightlifters were picked to join the team of 40 that train in Port Moresby.

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

50) Pacific Games Council remains confident that the Games will proceed as scheduled
By Online Editor
10:36 pm GMT+12, 04/02/2015, Papua New Guinea

The President of the Pacific Games Council (PCG)l, Vidhya Lakhan, accompanied by PGC Executive Director, Andrew Minogue, are visiting Port Moresby this week to assess the state of preparations for the 2015 Pacific Games.

On Monday, the PGC President and Executive Director attended the Pacific Games Authority meeting, chaired by Kostas Constantinou, which was preceded by a comprehensive tour of all of the main Games venues.  Since then, follow up meetings were held with representatives of the Port Moresby 2015 Pacific Games Organising Committee (GOC), the Venues, Infrastructure and Equipment Committee (VIEC), and the Papua New Guinea Olympic Committee.

During President Lakhan’s last visit in November, he urged stakeholders to redouble efforts to get the venues finished in sufficient time before the Games to allow the GOC to take possession of the venues, test them, and install the necessary overlay, technology and other services needed to deliver successful competitions.

Specifically, the PGC requested that a process be implemented where the VIEC’s venue delivery timelines be fully integrated with the GOC’s needs to take possession of the venues with sufficient time to deliver the Games successfully.

Pleasingly, substantial progress has been made in this integration process.  VIEC and the GOC are working together more closely than ever before.  Whilst some of the fine details of the delivery of the venues to the GOC is still to be finalised, it is operating in a more certain environment than was the case in November.

Whilst the PGC has been concerned for several years at the chronic delays and lost time involved in the construction program for the Games venues, very significant progress has been made in the construction program over the past three months.  In particular, Sir John Guise Stadium and the Taurama Aquatic Centre have moved much closer to completion.

As a result, the PGC remains confident that the Games will proceed as scheduled and that each of the 28 sports will have a suitable field of play.  Adequate contingency plans for the location of Netball and Table Tennis have been made by the GOC and the PGC supports the activation of this plan.

The PGC expects further significant progress in the construction program will be evident when the International Federation Delegates for the 28 sports, and the Chefs de Mission from each of the participating countries, conduct their respective visits in March.

Lakhan noted the positive changes that have occurred since November and in particular commended the tireless work of Chairman Kostas Constantinou, the VIEC and the GOC.

Lakhan said, “The progress evident over the past three months has gone another step towards satisfying the PGC that Papua New Guinea will be ready to host the Pacific Games in July. The PGC’s confidence levels continue to grow, but critically important work remains to be done to finish the venues no later than 31 May and thus guarantee a successful Pacific Games.  The GOC, supported by the PNG Olympic Committee, will deliver a successful Games if the venues are provided to them in a timely manner”.

“The PGC also calls upon the National Capital District Commission to lend all of its support to the GOC to ensure that the surroundings of all Games venues and the city of Port Moresby itself is presented in such a way as to present a positive image of both the Pacific Games and the nation in its 40th year of independence”.

“I urge the Government of Papua New Guinea and the Minister responsible for the Games, to ensure that all stakeholders, including NCDC, continue to work together with urgency to bring the final preparations for the 2015 Pacific Games to a positive conclusion,” said Lakhan..

SOURCE: PCG/PACNEWS

51) American Samoa sending 100 to Pacific Games

5 February 2015

American Samoa will send a delegation of more than 100 to the Pacific Games in Port Moresby later this year.

Athletes will compete in 12 sporting events, including basketball, boxing, rugby, softball, tennis and weightlifting.

The American Samoa National Olympic Committee says the cost for each person is approximately US$2,000, including airfares, meals, accommodations, per diem, uniform and entry permits.

Fundraising efforts are ongoing for each sport federation, including car washes, walk-a-thons and food sales.

ASNOC plans to raise additional funds during two benefit events in April and May.

The territorial government has yet to announce if it will make any financial contribution to Team American Samoa.RNZI

52) Fijiana ready for Brazil

By Online Editor
10:20 pm GMT+12, 03/02/2015, Fiji

Telecom Fijiana rugby head coach Iliesa Tanivula and his 7s angels departed the country  Tuesday for Brazil with a mission.

And despite the lack of financial support compared with other teams such as New Zealand, Australia, Canada and England, the former All Blacks 7s rep has faith in his players that they will do wonders at the meet.

Tanivula said the passion his players had for rugby would separate them from other teams in the competition.

“With limited resources, we are punching above our weights and we are getting there,” he said.

“Unlike other teams who have big 7s budgets, it’s the passion that our girls have for the sport that has enabled them to join the elite teams in the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series.

“They do something they love and it takes them around the world. So I told them to enjoy the moment and give their best.”

Tanivula said the players had been urged to maintain consistency and to be ruthless in all the games.

He said the girls had prepared well for the games and had worked on the mistakes committed during the last tournament.

“Our aim is to be consistent and hopefully we will be there among the last standing.”

“I guess we need to control the game and be ruthless and the standings will take care of itself.

“We are really looking forward to the competition as the girls have gone through some intense training and it’s time to deliver.

“We are really looking forward to Brazil and its an exciting time for the Fijiana team being the first Fijian rugby team to play there and we will take the opportunity and enjoy the moment. “

Tanivula said the pool games would be tough especially against the tournament defending champion Australia.

“It is a very tough pool. Australia is a very professional team, high skilled team while Brazil and China they have improved a lot.”

The two-day tournament kicks off this weekend.

Telecom Fijiana team: Elina Ratauluva, Timaima Tamoi, Talica Vodo, Josephine Gusuivalu, Lavenia Tinai, Rusila Tamoi, Ana Maria, Reijieli Uluinayau, Brittany Coates, Priscilla Siata (c), Roela Radiniyavuni, Ella Mara.

SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

www.voiceofmelanesia.com

Leave a Reply

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