Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1070 ( Sunday 8 February 2015 )

MELANESIA

1) PNG support for West Papua welcomed

 7 February 2015

A prominent Australian human rights lawyer has welcomed a statement of support for West Papuans by the Papua New Guinea prime minister, Peter O’Neill.

In his strongest statement yet on the issue, Peter O’Neill told a PNG leaders summit that more must be done to address abuses of West Papuan human rights in neighbouring Indonesia.

The ABC reports long-time advocate for the independence movement in the Indonesian province, Jennifer Robinson says Mr O’Neill’s change of heart on the human rights abuses in the province is a huge development.

She says the turnaround has been a long time coming and is a testament to the strength of the movement and the support on the ground within the PNG population.

Jennifer Robinson says as has been seen in Vanuatu, local voters have been vocal in their criticism in response to the government’s failure to raise West Papua within the Melanesian region.

Ms Robinson says this shows that Indonesia cannot keep a lid on the West Papuan movement for independence and their claim for self-determination.RNZI

2) http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-06/australian-human-rights-lawyer-welcomes-papua-new-guinea-suppor/6076818

3) http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-06/png-pm-vows-to-speak-out-against-oppression-in-west-papua/6074572

4) MSG to help West Papuan struggle – KNPB
By Online Editor
4:45 pm GMT+12, 05/02/2015, Vanuatu

 The chairman of the West Papua National Committee, or KNPB, says inclusion in the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) would open up solutions for his people’s self-determination struggle.
 
VictorYeimo and other representatives of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua have this week submitted their formal membership application to join the MSG.
 
The Movement was formed late last year at a major summit of West Papuan representative groups hosted by the Vanuatu government.
 
Yeimo says Vanuatu and other MSG member countries have welcomed the West Papuan application.
 
He says membership would help their cause.
 
“For too many years, we tried to put our struggle on the national (Indonesian) mechanism. The international, regional organisation is more helpful to us because we know our Melanesian sisters and brothers will open room for us to talk about our self-determination,” said Yemo.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

5) PNG PM to speak out for West Papua
By Online Editor
4:46 pm GMT+12, 05/02/2015, Papua New Guinea

 Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has pledged to do more to speak out on behalf of Melanesians in Indonesian West Papua.
 
O’Neill says it is time to raise West Papua oppression.
 
In the past, Port Moresby has stuck firmly to its position that West Papua is an integral part of Indonesia, and has been reluctant to talk about human rights abuses or to speak on behalf of Melanesian separatists.
 
In a speech to the National Leaders summit Thursday, O’Neill said the time had come to speak about the oppression of “our brothers and sisters in West Papua’’.
 
He told leaders, to some cheering and applause: “Sometimes, we forget our own families, our own brothers, especially those in West Papua.
 
“I think as a country, the time has come to speak for our people about the oppression there.
 
“Pictures of brutality of our people appear daily on the social media and yet, we take no notice.
 
“We have the moral obligation to speak for those who are not allowed to talk. We must be the eyes for those who are blindfolded.
 
“Again, Papua New Guinea as a regional leader, we must take the lead in having mature discussions, with our friends and more so, in an engaging manner.”
 
This week, the United Liberation Movement of West Papua formally apply to become full members of the Melanesian Spearhead Group.
    
SOURCE: LOOP PNG/PACNEWS

6 ) O’Neill backs free Papua

Source: 
The National, Friday February 6th, 2015

 By MALUM NALU
THE country must speak out strongly against the brutality and oppression faced by the people of West Papua, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill says.
He said PNG could no longer be silent on the issue.
“I think, as a country, time has come for us to speak about the oppression of our people there,” he said.

“Pictures of brutality of our people appear daily on social media, and yet, we take no notice. 
 
“We have the moral obligation to speak for those who are not allowed to talk. We must be the eyes for those who are blindfolded.” He made the remarks at the 2015 Leaders’ Summit in Port Moresby yesterday. Groups in the country have been calling on the Government’s support in the campaign against the atrocities meted out to the people of West Papua. National Capital District Governor Powes Parkop has been actively involved in the campaign. 
 
He said PNG had become a respected regional leader but had not spoken out on the West Papua issue.
 
“We are in a good position to lead mature discussions on issues affecting our people in the region,” O’Neill said.  
 
He said PNG “must take the lead in having mature discussions with our friends, and more so, in an engaging manner”.

AUTONOMOUS BOUGAINVILLE NEWS : 
 
7a ) Demands for Momis to Resign
Anthony Kaybing
300115

Demands by the ex-combatants for Autonomous Bougainville Government President Chief Dr John Momis to resign has been deemed as undemocratic.
President Momis said that though the ex-combatants, led by former Bougainville Revolutionary Army commanders, Ishmael Toroama, Sam Kauona and Thomas Tari could voice their concerns on the government’s priorities on development, demanding his resignation without due cause cannot justify their demand.
This ultimatum was issued through a letter to the President questioning his ability to act in the best interest of Bougainville while outlining certain ABG ventures that it deemed were an utter failure and that if answers provided by President as unsatisfactory would warrant his removal from the Presidency.
“The ABG has already explained the dealings questioned by the ex-combatants clearly and concisely so what is the criteria that warrants me to resign as President,” President Momis said.
“As the democratically elected leader of Bougainville what criteria justifies their demands for me to resign, without properly assessing the government’s development priorities before leveling accusations against me as head of the Autonomous Bougainville Government,” the President added.
President Momis declared that his government has done more in terms of development of infrastructure and policies in Bougainville than the last government.
He said though there were constraints within the Public Service and the ABG’s financial capacity the government had done all it can to strengthen Bougainville’s drive to reckoning its political destiny through and through.
The President’s sentiments are evident through the stability within the government and its development capacity during the last five years of the Momis Administration.
In the last 5 years of President Momis’ tenure as ABG President there has been an improvement in relations with the National Government with the President negotiating the K500 million Special Intervention Fund from the Somare Government, rescoping the ABG’s priorities on Mining and initiating important legislations.
With the ABG elections looming the President said if they really desired a change in the leadership in Bougainville then he encouraged them to partake in the elections where he said offers a level play ground for them all.
“The people will then decide on who they want as their leaders to lead Bougainville,” President Momis said.


7b)  050215BuraingivesK20,000

BY JENNIFER NKUI

Member representing the women of North Bougainville Elizabeth Burain today made a cash presentation of K20, 000 to the Tsitalato Women’s Association.
This visit was the first visit that the member has made to that particular constituency since she took office in 2010.
Over a hundred women from Tsitalato constituency gathered together at the Tsitalato Women’s Resource centre to witness the K20, 000 cash presentation which was receievd by the chairlady of the association Bertha Sali.
Present also for the occassion was the member for Tsitalato constituency Cosmas Sohia and former regional member and well known businessman Fidelis Semoso.
Member Sohia pledged K8, 000 to the women’s association while Mr. Semoso presented a cheque of K2, 000.


7c ) 050215ANISIA CALLS FOR UNITY
BY JENNIFER NKUI

The Bureau of Media and Communications director Robert Anisia has called on all media personals and media organizations in Bougainville to be united for the cause of effective information dissemination in Bougainville.
When outlining the Bureau’s plans for this year during the “Meet the Press Dinner” on Tuesday night, the director stressed that the gathering that night marks the beginning of an interesting journey for all media players.
The message that he relayed across to all media players was the need for them to be united because unity is the keyword which should be the result of the meeting.
Mr. Anisia said he is sure that after the gathering, all media players will begin to acknowledge this relationship and the dissemination of information across the region.
He added that the bureau has come up with a planner that would request quarterly meetings with all media players in Bougainville.
The director explained that the quarterly meetings will allow for media players to get together and see how they can all work together in information dissemination, talk about issues, look at issues that needs addressing and challenges that they are being faced with.
Mr. Anisia said in this way, the media players can see themselves as working together as a team and working to support our government in helping to provide that information that is needed by the people.
He then called on all media players to continue to work together to prepare a strong team as Bougainville continues its journey towards referendum.

7d ) 050215 Rolls Update
By WINTERFORD TOREAS/edited by JENNIFER NKUI

THE Acting Bougainville Electoral Commissioner, George Manu, has announced that work on the updating of the common roll will commence shortly.
Mr Manu said all materials including computers that will be used in this exercise have already been bought, before adding that work on the electoral rolls data entry should commence on the 10th of this month.
He added that the enrolment forms will also be distributed shortly to each council of elders in Bougainville to coordinate the enrolment exercise saying enrolment is still on this week and they will be distributing the enrolment forms to the COE’s.
The acting electoral commissioner is also calling on Bougainvilleans, 18 years and above to get enrolled so that they will be able to cast their votes in the upcoming election.
Mr. Manu said after the completion of the preliminary rolls update, there will be public scrutiny where these preliminary rolls will be sent back to each COE to check if names of all eligible voters in their areas have been registered.
He added that in the past these preliminary rolls were sent to the district offices which made it hard for people to go and check their names and as the person in charge, he has decided that all preliminary rolls be sent back to each COE so it would be easy for the people to check their names and if their names are not on it they can still enrol.
After the collection of preliminary rolls, the office of the electoral commission will print the final roll and advice the speaker to issue the writs for election.
Meanwhile, the Acting Electoral Commissioner has announced that he will be briefing the ABG Speaker Andrew Miriki upon his return from the Philippines on the scheduled dates for the elections.
He said the dates have already been set but they are only waiting for the speaker to “give his blessing” before announcements can be made.
Generally, the issue of writs will take place towards the end of March while nominations will take place in April.
Two weeks polling will start from the middle of May to the end of May to be followed later with the counting of votes.
Mr. Manu has also decided that there will be three main counting centres and one will be in South, one in Central and one in North Bougainville.

7e ) 050215 ABG ELECTORAL COMMISSION WELCOME ADVISORS
By WINTERFORD TOREAS/edited by JENNIFER NKUI

PREPARATIONS for the upcoming 2015 ABG General Election has been boosted with the arrival of officers from the Australia and New Zealand Electoral Commissions over the weekend.
The Acting ABG Electoral Commissioner, George Manu when welcoming these officers into Bougainville, explained that the role of these advisors will be to assist the Bougainville Electoral Commission in conducting the election.
Mr. Manu said these officers are here to help us and there is no question as to why they are here.
He added that some of these officers will be posted to the Central and Southern Regional coordination offices and they will be working with our local officers that are based in these offices.
These field coordination offices, which will be a first of its kind to be set up in Bougainville is part of the Bougainville Electoral Commission’s plan to decentralize its operations and accessibility to each constituency in Bougainville.
Apart from helping us in the election, the acting electoral commissioner said the advisors will also be training our officers in preparation for the establishment of the Bougainville Electoral Commission.
He added that currently we do not have our officers so we need their assistance and he is therefore asking the people of Bougainville to look after the Australian and New Zealand advisors because they are here to help us deliver this 2015 ABG General Election.

8 ) Vanuatu daily news Digest | 7 February 2015

by bobmakin

  • In Daily Post today the former Prime Minister (Carcasses) is outraged that the accused senior police officers, their co-accused (and the “significant political influence which these gentlemen were known to have”) should not be able to be prosecuted by their own choice of prosecutor. They had chosen a foreigner, one Christopher Griggs, who had been working for them. Griggs “did not in fact receive one vatu from the Vanuatu Police Force for all the work he did,” says Carcasses. One wonders what work he did do. But Carcasses is pleased over one thing: “Fortunately there are people in this Republic who do believe in the Constitution and the rule of law who were prepared to continue funding the important work Mr Griggs was doing.” He does not say who are these people anxious to uphold the Constitution and the rule of law. The Digest editor will leave you to read up on all Carcasses has to say in today’s paper.
  • In Radio Vanuatu News today the Government PRO Kiery Manassah expresses theGovernment’s concern that Carcasses may well have been involved in the funding of Griggs’ work for which a contract remains to be discovered. Manassah cautions Carcasses in making further statements as he is doing.
  • Radio Vanuatu News this morning also advises the appointment of a new judge to the Supreme Court by the Head of State, and quite properly making his promise before President Lonsdale and Chief Justice Lunabek, the rule of law quite correctly obeyed. From the United Kingdom, Judge Richard Daniel Chetwin brings the total of the Supreme Court judiciary to seven including the Chief Justice.
  • In Daily Post we have the correction mentioned yesterday over the PR visa (whatever that is) being suspended. Not the CIIP after all. CIIP stays, it’s the PR Visa which is suspended. The PR visa is a product of the Hong Kong Capital Investment Entry Scheme (so here’s a new acronym – HKCIES) which was the objective of investors in the Permanent Resident Visa – PRV – programme operated by the Hong Kong company Pacific Resource Group Ltd (PRG). So that’s dropped by the wayside, but not CIIP.Since mid-last year CIIP, Vanuatu Registry Services Ltd (VRS), based in Hong Kong, the exclusive worldwide distributor of the CIIP, says it has brought VT 450 million into Vanuatu of which more than half has gone into the government’s coffers.Whether this is at the Reserve Bank, or Vantu Bank, set up to receive such money, or not, is not made clear. Nor is it revealed where, or to whom and for what, the other half went. Again the Digester leaves you to get the paper and read the lines and what lies between them.

9) PM Bainimarama encourages Fijians to support flag initiative
By Online Editor
4:37 pm GMT+12, 05/02/2015, Fiji

Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama is encouraging all Fijians to focus on the future and not dwell on the past.
 
He says people will be more proud with a new Fijian symbol as it will build a stronger and more unified nation and achieve greatness that Fiji is capable of.
 
Bainimarama says he’s delighted by the reaction both local and overseas to the plan to change the national flag and replace its British symbols with others that are indigenous and truly Fijian.
 
“There has been some criticism from those who would prefer the British symbols to our own, but I am very pleased to see that so many Fijians have their eyes on the future, and not the past.I want every Fijian here today to think very carefully about what symbols they believe best represent our nation now and that will also resonate with future generations of Fijians in the decades and centuries ahead”.
 
Bainimarama has acknowledged British High Commissioner to Fiji Roderick Drummonds response that the flag is a matter for the Fijian government and people.
 
Bainimarama says the British will remain our friends now and into the future.
 
“I want to again stress that Britain remains our friend and we will always value our historical link to Britain and the British Crown. We also value the infrastructure the British left us – such as the magnificent site of our new Parliament – and all those great British institutions that remain – most notably our Westminster system of Parliament and our independent system of justice”.
 
The prime Minister says that within 48 hours after the announcement, the plan to change the national flag has sparked international interest and made news on 5 continents from India and China to Venezuela and around the globe.

SOURCE: FBC NEWS/PACNEWS

POLYNESIA

10) Tonga Noble Fined Nearly $5,000 For Weapons Violations
Lord Tu‘ilakepa convicted of illegal firearms, ammunition possession

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Feb. 6, 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 possession 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.

Radio New Zealand International 

11) Samoa apple pickers strike in Oz resolved

By Online Editor
4:51 pm GMT+12, 05/02/2015, Australia

In Samoa, the Prime Minister, Tuila’epa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, has told local reporters a strike by apple pickers from his country working in Australia under the seasonal scheme has been resolved.
 
Horticulture New Zealand says Labour’s immigration policy would penalise growers using the Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme.
 
Tuila’epa said the CEO of the Ministry of the Prime Minister and Cabinet has left the country for talks with Australian authorities on the matter.
 
The prime minister did not go into details, but says the workers have accused a Tongan man managing the job of being discriminatory against the Samoans and favoring people from his home country.
 
He says earning money from the scheme is more important, which is the reason the government has decided to send a senior government official to discuss the differences, with the hope that it does not to happen again in the future.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

12) American Samoa long line fishery faces “potential collapse” says WCPFC
By Online Editor
8:27 pm GMT+12, 05/02/2015, American Samoa

 In an effort to help the local longline fishing fleet, which is “facing a potential economic collapse” the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council (WCPFC) will consider during its meeting next month a temporary exemption for longliners, allowing them to fish the “Large Vessel Prohibited Area” (LVPA) of American Samoa’s exclusive economic zone, according to Council officials, who made a presentation last Friday to a Senate committee.
 
Council executive director Kitty Simmonds along with environmental policy coordinator Eric Kingma, were accompanied by American Samoa’s three members on the Council board  during the hearing, where senators were given a briefing which was identical to the Council’s presentation made during a public hearing and attended by some 50 people, including those in the fishing industry.
 
Kingma explained that the LVPA was established in 2002 to minimize catch competition between large longline vessels — more than 50 feet long — and small longline vessels, including alia.
 
At the time, there were nearly 40 small longline vessels, while there were several large longliners, some of which came from Hawai’i and California. “So there was a need to separate large vessels from the smaller vessels to provide the opportunity for both fleets to be successful” which resulted in the LVPA, said Kingma.
 
However, the number of small longline vessels has been drastically reduced since 2002 to mainly alia vessels — and last year, there were no active alia at all, most of them under 40 feet, while there were 19 active large longliners, he said, and noted that the alia vessel’s highest year of participation in the fishery was around 2000- 2001, which was the same time that the larger vessels started to come into Pago Pago.
 
“What we’ve seen over the past decade or so, is that the small vessel fleet has substantially decreased”, he said and explained that information requested with the U.S. National Marine Fishery Service shows there were “zero longline alia” active last year.
 
He added that the fishing grounds that were reserved in 2002 for small longline alia “is essentially under utilized… because it’s not being fished too much by the small vessels”. He also noted that the large longliner fleet numbers have also declined over the years to only 19 active ones in 2014.
 
Also part of the presentation, not only to senators but also at the public meeting, was the explanation on “longline gear” because “there is a little bit of misunderstanding, or a lack of understanding of what longline gear is,” he said, noting that “what’s important to realize here is that longline vessels target albacore tuna [which] is a deep water tuna. It’s very difficult for these tuna to be caught on the surface.”
 
Kingma explained that federal regulations require the large longline vessels to use fishing gear at 100 meters and below—so the hook is fishing deep into the water.
 
Kingma also explained federal regulations when it comes to the local longline fishery which is “strictly managed” by having the longliner carry a vessel monitoring system —a satellite based product—that provides information to the U.S. Coast Guard and the NOAA Office of Law Enforcement of the vessel’s location on an hourly basis.
 
Additionally, longline vessels are also required to take a human observer onboard their vessel to document and record all catch information — including catch that is retained as well as discarded. “So these fisheries are highly monitored and well regulated,” he said.
 
Kingma went on to explain the important role that longline fishing plays for the local canneries, and the stiff competition they face with the high cost of operations, while the price of tuna has dropped drastically over the years.  
 
He said the local longline fishery “is facing potentially an economic collapse” which is due to low catch rates, low ex-vessel prices, or low prices… at the canneries and high operation costs. Additionally, since 2011 the longline fishery has operated at a loss — not making a profit.
 
“This fishery is facing dire, dire circumstances in terms of its economic sustainability. This fishery needs to be modified, diversified, or something needs to happen,” he said.
 
With no more active alias, and to help the local longline fishing fleet, the Council is considering a one-year temporary exemption which would allow these vessels to fish in the LVPA — seaward 25 nautical miles to the north of Tutuila and the Manu’a island group and seaward from 12 nautical miles around Swains islands.
 
Kingma stressed the exemption does not apply to waters surrounding the Rose Atoll Marine National Monument, where longline fishing is prohibited.
 
The exemption issue came up in the Council’s meeting last June but a decision had been deferred until next month’s162nd meeting, Kingma said, and noted that the Council wanted to get more feedback and comments from the local community— including those in the fishing industry as well as providing the public more information.
 
The Council is also considering two more options — which include exemption of the LVPA seaward of 12 nautical miles of all islands of American Samoa except for Rose Atoll, said Kingma.
 
And “due to economic circumstances facing the [longline] fleet, we are considering ‘emergency action’ or any other option that allows for prompt decision making and rule making,” he said.
 
Emergency action reduces the normal timeline for rule-making and includes circumstances in fisheries where there is a significant economic loss, or to preserve a significant economic opportunity that might be foregone, according to the Council’s information sheet.
 
SOURCE: SAMOA NEWS/PACNEWS

13) Donation criticism is ‘naive’: Cook Islands government

By Online Editor
6:07 pm GMT+12, 05/02/2015, Cook Islands

Criticism by Opposition MPs of China’s donation of heavy machinery for the outer islands shows naivety and lack of understanding, says Minister of Finance Mark Brown.
 
At a post-Cabinet press conference this week Brown said comments from Democratic Party MPs criticising the $6 million (US$4 million) donation showed a lack of understanding on how aid funding works.
 
Brown said any economist would say there was no logic in providing this equipment to the outer islands as it was not financially viable to provide such costly equipment to small populations.
 
“But we were lucky to get the financial leverage from China to be able to provide the equipment which we asked for.”
 
Brown said criticism of the donation and questions over the maintenance of the machines were simply “political posturing” by the Opposition.
 
The government was focused on ensuring all aid was nationally owned, managed and directed, he said.
 
“We are also working on establishing an asset management register with Cook Islands Investment Corporation to itemise our assets and ensure they are looked after and maintained.”  
 
The system would also be used in the outer islands, he said.
 
Ministry of Finance and Economic Management financial secretary Richard Neves said while transport of the equipment to the outer islands has gone out to tender, the contract between the government and China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) stated the machines would be maintained by the Chinese company for the first 12 months.
 
“In terms of maintenance and service, the contract between the government and CCECC states there will be an after sales service of 12 months to help with commissioning, user training, maintenance, trouble shooting, warranty and parts,” said Neves.
 
“Additionally (heavy machinery manufacturing company) XCMG will offer after-sales service with the New Zealand and Australian distributor.”
 
After that, it would be up to the outer islands to appropriate money from their infrastructure budgets to maintain the machines, he said. “But there will be assistance from the Office of the Prime Minister and Infrastructure Cook Islands as all the spare parts will be here in Rarotonga.”
 
The machinery was handed over to the Cook Islands by the Government of China at a special ceremony last week.

SOURCE: COOK ISLANDS NEWS

14) Successful ‘Buy Samoa Made’ Export Promotion Hits Australia
Initiative estimated to have doubled exports to New Zealand

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, Feb. 5, 2015) – The success of the ‘Buy Samoa Made’ export initiative in New Zealand has spurred on its organisers to launch the initiative in Australia.

The idea for the initiative came from a Pacific Trade & Invest (PT&I)-assisted trade expo in 2013, which introduced the exporter members of the Samoa Association of Manufacturers & Exporters (S.A.M.E) to the potential that Samoan products and services could tap into in the New Zealand market.

With commitment from the Samoa government, Deputy Prime Minister, Fonotoe Pierre Lauofo and Samoa Trade Commissioner, Tofaeono Fonoti Dr Fuatai’s office in Auckland, the S.A.M.E Trade Exhibition Centre was launched at Samoa House in downtown Auckland in August 2014.

Some 50 products from more than 20 Samoa based businesses were displayed at the long-term expo.

S.A.M.E President, Tagaloa Eddie Wilson, says the expo has helped boost demand for products like Vailima Pure, Palusami, Koko Samoa, body care products and Samoa Taro in the New Zealand market.

“The preliminary export results show that the Buy Samoa Made-New Zealand initiative has contributed to a two-fold increase in exports to New Zealand,” Tagaloa said.

“The target was to increase exports to New Zealand up to 25 per cent per annum over the next 3 years (2014 to 2016). However, the increase in Samoa Exports to New Zealand from 2013 to 2014 is estimated to have increased by 280 per cent — which is considered a great outcome for Samoa.”

PT&I assisted with media and publicity in the New Zealand market and helped arrange a media conference during the launch week of the campaign.

“S.A.M.E is most grateful for the invaluable support by the PT&I Office in New Zealand both during the Buy Samoa Trade Show in November 2013, as well as in the preparations leading up to the launch of the ‘Buy Samoa Made’ expo.

‘Buy Samoa Made’ is now being targeted to launch in Australia toward the end of March 2015.

“A trade show and the establishment of an exhibition centre for Samoa’s goods and services is being launched at the Samoa Consular Office in Liverpool, Sydney,” Mr. Wilson told Pacific Periscope.

More than 30 exporters have committed to the event with more likely to join the trade mission, Mr Wilson says.

The S.A.M.E President also visited PT&I’s Sydney offices last month.

Export Services Manager, Jeremy Grennell said, “It is exciting to have so many exporters from Samoa committed to this event which will maximise the impact they will have in the Australian market.”

Samoa Observer

15) Am. Samoa Couple Avoid Jail Time For Fraud Conviction
Kruses plead guilty to misusing $400,000 in low income housing funds

By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (The Samoa News, Feb. 5, 2015) – The local couple accused of using nearly $400,000 in federal money to pay their credit cards, buy supplies for their business and pay off loans, were today sentenced to probation by the federal court in Washington D.C, according to a U.S. Justice Department spokesman.

John Emil Kruse – who is also American Samoa government’s director of the Procurement Office – and his wife Elaine Gurr Kruse were charged last October for converting federal money awarded to them under Section 1602 low income housing program for their personal and business use.

The charge against John Kruse was made prior to when he took the post of chief procurement officer overseeing the Procurement Office in early 2013.

U.S. Justice Department spokesman Peter Carr told Samoa News this morning that the Kruses “pleaded guilty and each defendant was sentenced to 48 months of probation with eight months home confinement. They were ordered to pay $399,936.48 in restitution.”

There was no immediately reaction from attorneys for the defendants.

The Samoa News

MICRONESIA

16) Marshalls loses nuke disarmament legal bid

 6 February 2015

A Marshall Islands nuclear disarmament lawsuit against the United States has been dismissed by a US federal court.

San Francisco-based Judge Jeffrey White said the court had no standing to judge the effectiveness of negotiations to bring about cessation of the nuclear arms race.

The Marshall Islands said the lack of disarmament action by the US has left the small Pacific Island nation exposed to the dangers of existing nuclear arsenals and the real probability that additional states will develop nuclear arms.

With the dismissal of the US lawsuit three similar Marshall Islands cases are left pending against England, Pakistan and India at the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

The Marshall Islands was the ground zero for 67 U.S. nuclear weapons tests from 1946 to 1958.RNZI

17) Chuuk State To Hold Secession Vote In March
Proposal to form independent Republic of Chuuk on ballot


By Bill Jaynes

POHNPEI, FSM (Marianas Variety, Feb.6, 2015) –The Chuuk State Political Status Commission has presented its final report to the Chuuk Legislature.

As a result, on March 3, 2015, voters will not only be asked to vote for Senators to represent them at the Federated States of Micronesia Congress but they will also be asked to vote on whether Chuuk State should secede from the Federated State of Micronesia and become a new nation, the Republic of Chuuk.

The report says that it “represents the culmination of long hours of meetings, debate, analysis, research, writing, travel, discussions and public hearings, all aimed at fulfilling the responsibilities of the Commission under duties mandated by the Legislature in 2012.”

Since the report was adopted by the Chuuk Legislature, FSM’s President Manny Mori has been on a campaign pleading with voters to keep the FSM united by voting no to the plebiscite question of independence for Chuuk.

[PIR editor’s note: The Fourth Branch website is compiling documents and videos related to the secession movement in Chuuk, under the title ‘Making Sense of an Independent Chuuk.’]

Read more : Marianas Variety 

TOK PISIN

18) PNG NEC imas sapotim O’Neill long West Papua: Fred Mambrassa

Postim 6 February 2015, 14:33 AEDT
Caroline Tiriman

Ol fri West Papua lain i hamamas long tok sapot blong Papua New Guinea Praim Minista Peter O’Neill long rait blong ol.

National Executive Council blong Papua New Guinea imas sapotim toktok blong Praim Minista Peter O’Neill blong mekim ol wok blong sapotim ol pipal blong West Papua long ol heve em Indonesia isave mekim egensim.
 
Fred Mambrassa, men emi go pas long Free West Papua Muvment long PNG i mekim despla toktok bihaen long Praim Minista Peter O’Neill ibin tokim wanpla miting blong ol lida long Port Moresby aste olsem time i kamap pinis long tokaut long l bikpla wari em ol Melansia pipal long West Papua iwok long bungim nau.
 
Despla emi nambawan taem tru wanpla Praim Minista i mekim despla kaen toktok long sapotim ol pipal blong West Papua.
 
Ikam inap nau olgeta gavman long PNG stat long sir Michael Somare husat ibin kamap lida long taem blong indipendans na ol narapla PM bihaen long en isave tok olsem West Papua emi hap tru tru blong Indonesia.
 
Tasol toktok blong Praim Minista O’Neill i mekim emi nambawan lida blong autim despla kaen toktok.
 
Na Fred Mambrassa itok emi gutpla toktok tasol, laen blong Nationa Executive kaunsil husat isave givim tok oraet long kamapim ol loa, imas sapotim tu despla toktok blong Mr O’Neill.
 
Toktok blong Praim Minista O’Neill i kamap long wankaen taem we ol indipendans grup ibin givim nupla askim oa application blong ol long joinim Melanesian Spearhead Group long Vanuatu long trinde. 
 
Gavana blong Oro Provins, Gary Juffa itok taem i kamap pinis blong United Nation na ol narapla kantri long wold luksave na givim fridom long ol West Papua pipol.Radio Australia

19) Solomon Islands i wari long EU woning long tuna indastri

Updated 6 February 2015, 10:10 AEDT
Sam Seke

Ol otoriti long Solomon Islands i wari long “yellow card” woning we European Union i givim Solomon Islands long sait long tuna indastri blong kantri.

Nabawan tuna canning kampani blong Solomon Islands, Soltuna bai bagarap sapos European Union i stopim impot blong ol tuna product blong kantri.
 
Adrian Wickham, Managing Director blong Soltuna Cannery i mekim dispela toktok bihain long EU i givim pinis yallow card warning long Solomon Islands.
 
Dispela woning em i hap blong program blong EU agensim wanem ol i kolim illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing or IUU.
 
Mr Wickham i tok dispela Democratic Coalitioin for Change gavman bai bringim wanpela niu loa long palamen blong dil wantaim ol wari blong European Union ia.
 
Mr Wickham itok Tuna indastri i impotan tumas long ikonomi blong Solomon Islands na bai bikpela wari tru sapos kantri i kisim Red Card long EU.Radio Australia
 
FRENCH

20) La PNG apporte son soutien à ses « frères » de Papouasie occidentale

Mis à jour 6 February 2015, 16:31 AEDT
Élodie Largenton

Pour la première fois, le Premier ministre papou, Peter O’Neill, apporte son soutien aux indépendantistes de Papouasie occidentale, province indonésienne.

Après le Vanuatu, la PNG s’indigne contre les violations des droits de l’homme commises en Papouasie occidentale. (Credit: Getty Images) (Credit: ABC) 
« Parfois, on oublie nos familles, nos frères, particulièrement ceux qui vivent en Papouasie occidentale. Je pense qu’il est temps que notre pays, la Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée, s’élève contre l’oppression qu’ils subissent là-bas. »
 
Jusqu’à présent, seul le Vanuatu soutenait officiellement les mouvements indépendantistes mélanésiens. Les pays de la région sont d’autant plus frileux à s’exprimer sur la question que, sous la pression des Îles Fidji, l’Indonésie a obtenu le statut d’observateur au sein du Groupe mélanésien Fer de Lance, en 2011.
Mais avec les réseaux sociaux, difficile, aujourd’hui, d’ignorer les violations des droits de l’homme en Papouasie occidentale, reconnaît Peter O’Neill :
 
« Des photos de sévices apparaissent chaque jour sur Internet et pourtant, nous n’en prenons pas acte. Nous avons l’obligation morale de parler pour ceux qui ne peuvent pas le faire. Nous devons être les yeux de ceux qui ont les yeux bandés. La Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée est un pays leadeur dans la région. Nous devons prendre l’initiative et engager des discussions adultes, plus consistantes et engageantes avec nos amis. »
 
Le Premier ministre papou a fait ces déclarations devant des dirigeants du pays, réunis dans la capitale, Port Moresby. C’est un changement radical de position pour la Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée, qui affirmait jusqu’à présent que la Papouasie occidentale faisait partie intégrante de l’Indonésie. 
 
Ce changement de ton intervient alors que les indépendantistes papous viennent de déposer leur nouvelle candidature au Groupe mélanésien Fer de Lance. La première candidature d’un groupe indépendantiste a été rejetée en juillet dernier. L’institution mélanésienne avait en effet estimé que ce groupe n’était pas représentatif du peuple papou. Depuis, les indépendantistes se sont fédérés au sein du Mouvement uni pour la libération de la Papouasie occidentale. Leur voix sera donc plus forte, désormais, veut croire le porte-parole du mouvement, Benny Wenda :
 
« Pendant 50 ans, la Papouasie occidentale n’a jamais parlé d’une seule voix pour atteindre notre objectif : l’indépendance. Cela a changé, nous sommes maintenant unis au sein du Mouvement. »
 
Le Groupe mélanésien Fer de Lance devrait se prononcer sur cette candidature en milieu d’année.Radio Australia

21) Brèves du Pacifique – vendredi 6 février 2015

Mis à jour 6 February 2015, 16:23 AEDT
Élodie Largenton

En Australie, Tony Abbott va sûrement devoir faire face à un vote de confiance, mardi prochain, lors d’une réunion du parti libéral. 

Luke Simpkins, élu libéral de l’Australie de l’Ouest, va déposer une motion de défiance contre le Premier ministre. (AAP: Andrea Hayward) (Credit: ABC) 
Il pourrait donc perdre son poste de Premier ministre. Très impopulaire, Tony Abbott est poussé vers la sortie par certains élus de son propre camp depuis plusieurs jours, depuis qu’il a décidé d’anoblir le prince Philip, l’époux de la reine Elisabeth II. Aujourd’hui, Luke Simpkis, parlementaire de l’Australie de l’Ouest, annonce qu’il déposera une motion de défiance contre le Premier ministre, mardi. Il a déjà reçu le soutien de plusieurs de ses collègues.

  •  L’Union européenne accorde une subvention de 23 millions d’euros à Kiribati. Une somme destinée au développement de Christmas island. Cet atoll représente plus de 70% de la surface totale de l’archipel, mais il est pratiquement inhabité. La population vit principalement à Tarawa, île menacée par le changement climatique.
  •  Le gouvernement australien pourrait faire mieux en matière de protection des droits de l’homme, estime Human Rights Watch. Dans son rapport 2015, l’ONG pointe du doigt la manière dont sont traités les demandeurs d’asile et les réfugiés, mais aussi les peuples aborigènes.
  •  Des tensions entre les travailleurs saisonniers du Pacifique en Australie. Plusieurs cueilleurs de pommes samoans ont fait grève pour protester contre leur chef tongien, accusé de favoriser ses compatriotes. C’est ce que rapporte le Premier ministre samoan, qui vient de dépêcher un haut fonctionnaire en Australie pour s’assurer que ses concitoyens ne soient pas victimes de discrimination.

 Fort de son succès en Nouvelle-Zélande, la campagne « achetez du made in Samoa » s’exporte en Australie. Selon les autorités, cette nouvelle approche a permis de doubler les exportations de bières, de café, ou encore de produits pour le corps en Nouvelle-Zélande. Les commerçants samoans partiront à l’assaut du marché australien dans deux mois, à l’occasion d’un salon à Sydney.Radio Australia

22) ABC signe un partenariat avec Outremer 1ère pour renforcer l’échange d’informations dans le Pacifique

Mis à jour 6 February 2015, 17:13 AEDT
Élodie Largenton

Le Pacifique parlera d’une seule voix : ABC International et Outremer 1ère viennent de signer la Convention Pierre Riant destinée à développer l’échange d’informations et renforcer l’intégration des territoires francophones dans la région Pacifique.

Michel Kops, directeur du réseau France télévisions outremer et Dominique Friguglieti, représentant d’ABC Australie signent la Convention Pierre Riant (Polynésie 1ère) (Credit: ABC) 

Cette signature a eu lieu aujourd’hui, à l’issue du 9ème colloque des télévisions du Pacifique organisé en parallèle du 12ème FIFO, le Festival international du film océanien qui se tient actuellement en Polynésie française.

Cette convention va permettre aux auditeurs des 1ère de Nouvelle-Calédonie, Wallis et Futuna et Tahiti de continuer à suivre quotidiennement les informations de la région au travers du bulletin  « 24 heures dans le Pacifique »,  auquel s’ajoutera désormais un reportage hebdomadaire de 3 à 4 minutes en français, intéressant directement les publics des territoires francophones du Pacifique, voire, plus largement, ceux des outremer français. En télévision, cette convention prévoit également deux reportages vidéo par mois, d’une durée moyenne de 5 minutes et destinés à l’ensemble du Réseau Outremer 1 ère. 

Pour plus de précisions et pour entendre les réactions du directeur des rédactions du Mékong et du Pacifique d’ABC International, Domenic Friguglietti, et du directeur général d’Outremer 1ère, Michel Kops, rendez-vous sur les sites deNouvelle-Calédonie 1ère et de Polynésie 1ère .Radio Australia

PASIFIK

23) Uncertain outlook for Pacific Leaders Meeting

 7 February 2015

The Lowy Institute for International Policy says there is a sense of anticipation and uncertainty surrounding next month’s Pacific Leaders Meeting in Australia.

The special meeting, which is separate to the Pacific Forum Leaders meeting, is being hosted by Australia as a direct result of calls by Fiji for a review of the regional architecture before it reengages with the forum.

The Director of Lowy’s Melanesia program, Jenny Hayward Jones, says while Fiji is the instigator of the meeting it is still a valid discussion that needs to happen.

” I think Fiji in particular needs to air with the other leaders what it wants from the forum what it wants from regional architecture. And I think it will be interesting to hear from Australia and others to hear from the region on what they want. I don’t think Fiji can claim to have the whole region behind it on its desire to kick Australia and New Zealand out. But it will be interesting to see how much compromise goes on.”

The Director of Lowy’s Melanesia program, Jenny Hayward Jones.RNZI

HEALTH

24) Doctor’s advice

Siteri Sauvakacolo
Sunday, February 08, 2015

PEOPLE are being advised to visit medical professionals at the early stages of their sickness.

The advice comes from Professor Manu Munibhargav who heads a team from the Sahyadri Hospitals in India. The team is in Fiji to conduct open heart surgeries at the CWM Hospital in Suva.

Prof Munibhargav said people were very fond of going to their doctors at later stages of their illness.

“Its not only heart diseases but other sicknesses as well,” he said.

“It is important that people visit medical professionals at a very early stage because this will be the right way to detect the sickness they have and it can also be cured at an early stage.

“But it is important to note that preventative measures are the best way to prevent people from getting any sickness.”

He said some contributing factors to lifestyle diseases were smoking, changes in people’s lifestyle and alcohol consumption.

His team has been performing heart surgeries at the CWMH for the past three days and hope to complete 50 open heart surgeries in the coming days.Fijitimes

The open heart surgeries continue today.

EDUCATION

25) SINU urged to reconsider decision

STUDENTS intending to study at the Solomon Islands National University (SINU) are required to pay their first semester fees in full.

And SINU insisted it will not admit students who turn up with part or half semester fees.

Pro Vice-Chancellor (academic) Dr Patricia Rodie confirmed the new measure to the Solomon Star on Thursday in response to complaints from students and parents about this new policy.

Classes at SINU will start next week.

Dr Rodie said this new measure was put in place based on previous experiences they had with students regarding the payment of their fees.

“In past years, we allow students to make part-payment of their first semester fees on the understanding that they will pay off their fees by the end of the semester,” Dr Rodie said.

“But most students and parents failed to live up to their promises.

“We’ve noted that most students with fee arrears were those sponsored by their MPs.

 “To put a stop to the practice, our finance department came up with this policy to ensure SINU is paid the fees it requires to meet its operational costs.”

Students and parents who called the Solomon Star this week described the new policy as unfair and inhuman.

“SINU management must understand that $5000 is no small amount for some of us parents,” a parent Timothy Rafera said.

“SINU should sympathise and understand our financial situation. By coming up with this new fee-paying policy, they are deny our children their right to attain tertiary education,” he added.

A SINU academic also told the Solomon Star the management should assess its case on its own merit.

“By imposing a blanket policy, SINU would be denying our students the opportunity to study their courses of interest,” the academic said.

“Students come from different backgrounds and financial standings so SINU management should understand this.

“I will not be surprise if we don’t have students to teach this year because of this new policy,” he said.

Dr Rodie said the SINU management acknowledged sentiments and complaints expressed by students and parents but “there is no such thing free education on earth”.

“This new fee-paying policy was made in the interest of SINU. We must understand it needs money to function and operate.”Solomon Star

By STEPHEN DI’ISANGO

26) Fiji Eliminates All Local School Boards, Ministry Assumes Control
Government schools to be transformed to ‘reflect the vision of the ministry’

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Feb. 6, 2015) – The boards of all Government schools will be dissolved and all operations will be overseen by Fiji’s Ministry of Education as it seeks to transform it to model schools.

Minister for Education Dr Mahendra Reddy said all Government schools whether primary or secondary level need to reflect the vision of the ministry.

To this end, Dr Reddy says all boards and committees whose terms have expired will not be renewed while those boards whose terms have not ended have been invited to discuss with the school heads on the new vision.

“Government will now take extra responsibility of its schools to transform it to become model schools,” he said while addressing school head teachers and principals at a Reforms Awareness Workshop in Ba this week.

“We will ensure that the schools are painted renovated, ablution blocks improved, hostels, kitchens and infrastructure is upgraded to help the schools achieve ‘model’ status.

“Once remodelling of the schools is done, maybe after two years, the ministry will either return the schools to its board or scrap it altogether.” Some government schools in the country are Ratu Kadavulevu School, Suva Grammer School, Natabua High School, Labasa College, Delainavesi Primary and Queen Victoria School.

Fijilive 

POLITIC

27) MMF to Opposition: Stop barking on what you know very little about

Published: 06 February 2015

DAUSABEA:

MALAITA Ma’asina Forum (MMF) has lashed out at the opposition leader Jeremiah Manele to stop barking on an issue he knows very little about.

MMF president Charles Dausabea said, the response of the Opposition leader on Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare’s directive to grant export permit to Ontong Java Development Company is nonsense.

Dausabea said, Mr Manele’s call to the Fisheries Minister to revoke license of Dr Reginald Aipia and describing PM Sogavare’s decision as corrupt was described too shallow.

He said, Manele is a very young politician who should not listen to past corrupt leaders who will not give him any good advice because they are the ones who ripped poor resources owners from the resources.

He said, the decision taken by the PM to ensure the granting of an export license to Dr Aipia is in the best interest of this country.

 “It is sad to see a young leader trying to talk against the PM for what he did not know much about. MMF know a lot about this beche-de-mer issue and the decision Sogavare took is a right because it hurts those corrupt leaders, their co-hosts and Asian associates who tries to deny the right of indigenous Solomon islanders to maximise the benefit from their sea cucumber resources,” Dausabea said.

Adding; “this is the kind of leader we want who prioritises the interest of Solomon islanders than foreigners who fly in just to rip our resources and fly out leaving only the corrupt leaders and their co-hosts to benefit whilst the country is suffering.”

He urged the Opposition Leader to think careful about his comments and don’t jump the trigger to early otherwise he will kill himself with poor advices from corrupt leaders.

By DANIEL NAMOSUAIA/Solomon Star.

BUSINESS

28) O’Neill: Time to invest

Source: 
The National, Thursday February 5th, 2015

 PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill says now is the right time to increase investment in PNG with anticipation that energy prices will rebound.
O’Neill made the point to a delegation from French company TOTAL exploration and production. 
The delegation accompanied outgoing Asia Pacific senior vice president Jean-Marie Guillermou, who made a courtesy call on O’Neill on Tuesday.   
“The low oil price has been a challenge for the global economy, but it is broadly expected that 
energy prices will increase over time.
“It is currently a prudent time to invest in Papua New Guinea’s resources infrastructure in anticipation of a return to better pricing.”
O’Neill expressed gratitude for Guillermou’s commitment to investment in PNG.
Guillermou was accompanied by incoming senior vice president for Asia Pacific, Olivier Cleret de Langavant. 
“On behalf of the Government I express my thanks for TOTAL’s investment in Papua New Guinea and ongoing commitment to the Elk-
Antelope liquefied natural gas project,” O’Neill said following the meeting.
“I wish Guillermou best regards for his pending retirement, and welcome Cleret de Langavant to his new role.”
O’Neill said he anticipated it would not be long before Guillermou returned to Papua New Guinea for personal leisure. “Guillermou said he was looking forward to coming back to Papua New Guinea as a tourist.
“Having travelled here on business there has not been the opportunity to fully take in the culture, fauna and wildlife of our nation and he now expects to return with his wife and enjoy a holiday.”

29) ExxonMobil announces arrival of new LNG carrier


Source: 
The National, Thursday February 5th, 2015

 THE new PNG LNG carrier is expected to arrive in PNG later this month, developer of PNG’s multi-billion kina LNG project, ExxonMobil PNG Ltd says. 
Named Papua, the custom built carrier, operated by its owner Mitsui OSK Lines Ltd (MOL) on behalf of the PNG LNG project, would join four other carriers in PNG, including the Spirit of Hela and Gigira Laitebo ,to transport LNG to Asia.
The vessel was officially named in a ceremony in China early last month.
The slow-speed diesel engine carrier has a cargo tank capacity of 171,800 cubic meters and a speed limit of 19.5 knots. 
Papua’s project scope would be for the transportation of LNG for China’s major energy company, China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation (SINOPEC).
The carrier is co-owned by SINOPEC and China Shipping (Group) company, showing a substantial Chinese involvement in the project.
MOL said its relationship with its Chinese partners in this project had led to an initiative to build a further six new LNG carriers for SINOPEC, in which MOL had participated in since April 2013.
MOL said: “The new ships are part of its “Steer for 2020” mid-term management plan.”
The company said its vision was to increase its current LNG carrier fleet of 66 vessels to 120 by 2020.

30) Philippines to start exporting hybrid rice to PNG


Source: 
The National, Thursday February 5th, 2015

 The Philippines may begin exporting hybrid rice to Papua New Guinea (PNG), after claims that rice can’t be grown in the country have been disproven.
“We are really happy that the Philippines is becoming a part of the history of agriculture and rice sector in a country like PNG that really needs to have a rice supply of its own,” Henry Lim Bon Liong, Chairman of SL Agritech Corp. (SLAC) said.
SLAC’s primary purpose is the promotion, development, commercialisation, and growth of hybrid rice technology.
Coffee exporter PNG Coffee Ltd is eyeing possible investment opportunities in order to pioneer growing hybrid rice in PNG.
“PNG Coffee Ltd is a coffee exporter and has vast tracts of land. It is also eyeing planting of hybrid rice,” Frisco Malabanan, SLAC consultant, said
The Philippine government may soon enter into a memorandum of agreement with the Papua New Guinea consulate to begin exporting rice to the country. 
As part of the venture, Philippine ambassador to PNG, Bien Tejano, has presented hybrid rice samples to PNG Coffee Ltd chairman Noreo Beangke. – Agencies

31) Political stability vital for growth: PNG PM
By Online Editor
4:49 pm GMT+12, 05/02/2015, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill told the Leaders Summit in Port Moresby Thursday that political stability remains a real risk for the economy and continued development of the country.
 
His fears have been backed by two key resource stakeholders in ExxonMobil and Oil Search Limited that investors will think twice about investing in any country with political uncertainty in light of the current low oil prices.
 
Managing director of OSL Peter Botten said with the current low prices of oil, it will be a challenge to raise capital for the P’nyang and Elk/Antelope and political stability is critical.
 
“Political stability is a crucial point. When there is pain in the world, pain in the oil and gas sector, it’s very important to operate when political stability is maintained in PNG so that we can move this major projects forward,” the OSL managing director said.
 
O’Neill said instability is not in the national interest.
 
“When potential investors look at Papua New Guinea, one of the first questions they ask relates to political stability and certainty, and policy stability and certainty.
 
“We must point these investors in the right direction, and assure them that we have a strong politically stable environment.
 
“I am certain and confident that one thing our people will remember about this term of Parliament and these leaders is that we are well on the way to restoring that stability – and in the process of ensuring that good government is delivering vital services to our people.”
 
He said another challenge is to confront the global financial situation, which PNG as a country cannot isolate from the impact of the international economic uncertainties.
 
“We can and we have taken measures to insulate our economy from global market pressures. This is evident in our LNG sector,” O’Neill said.
 
“Energy prices have declined in recent months and this is hurting a lot of countries and we are feeling some pain in Papua New Guinea,” said O’Neill.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

LAW&ORDER

32) Soldiers on border duty to monitor illegal activities

Source: 
The National, Friday February 6th, 2015

 By CLIFFORD FAIPARIK
SOLDIERS are now based in Weam station in Western along the border with Indonesia to monitor illegal activities there, Defence Force commander Gilbert Toropo says.
He told 2015 Leaders’ Summit in Port Moresby that this deployment was part of the new Defence Force White Paper to secure our international borders. 
The soldiers were deployed there as part of a Government directive in 2012 to re-establish government services at the abandoned Weam government station.
Because of the absence of Government services at Weam, illegal activities such as poaching of natural wild life and plants, drugs and gun smuggling were rife along the border.  
The Defence Force is the only Government organisation deployed there and has continued to maintain its presence there. Toropo said they would like to do more and urged other Government departments such as education and health to provide services to the people in that part of the country.
Toropo said Indonesian Government agencies had been established on their side of the border at Sota, about 30 kilometres away from Weam.
Toropo said he would like to see PNG Government agencies establish in Weam to provide services to our people.

33) Death penalty goes ahead PNG, 13 people to be executed this year

By Online Editor
6:20 pm GMT+12, 05/02/2015, Papua New Guinea

13 people on death row are expected to be executed this year after Papua New Guinea Cabinet endorsed the proposed guidelines for the implementation of death penalty, it has been revealed.
 
Secretary for the Department of Justice and Attorney-General Dr Lawrence Kalinoe told The National  Cabinet had approved the establishment of an inter-agency committee to see its implementation.
 
Kalinoe said the 13 people on death row had less than a year to live because the Government was adamant on implementing death penalty this year. “The committee will facilitate the implementation of death penalty by this year,” Kalinoe said.
 
He said the 13 people had exhausted all appeal and constitutional review processes, plus the plea for clemency. He said the death penalty would now be administered. The committee comprises the Departments of Justice and Attorney-General, Correctional Service, Police, Health, Community Development, National Planning and Monitoring, and the National Judiciary Staff Service.
 
Cabinet approved the guidelines for the three modes of punishment – death by hanging, administration of anaesthetics followed by injection, and death by firing squad.
 
The Government had earlier announced that facilities for the implementation of the death penalty were likely to be built at Bomana in the National Capital District.  
 
Kalinoe said critics of the death penalty had been claiming that the punishment was barbaric and not Christian in nature.
 
But he said the Government was convinced that when the death penalty was implemented fully, “it would send out a strong deterrence warning to citizens of this country not to commit crimes that would likely attract the mandatory death sentences”. “The issue of death penalty has been evading us for some time now. It is one of the important issues of government,” Kalinoe said.  
 
He pointed out that the death penalty was  being implemented in the most sophisticated countries such as the United States of America.  
 
He said some people hid behind “human rights” to criticise the Government about the death penalty.  
 
He said they should realise that the offender never considered his or victim’s “human rights” before killing him or her.   
 
“An accused person’s human rights are considered from the point of arrest to his sentencing in court.
“That person can even appeal for clemency or pardon. So when you look at it, the accused was accorded his human rights compared to the person he killed,” Kalinoe said.  
 
He said there is no issue of illegality as death is a penalty prescribed by the Criminal Code Act Chapter 262 and is therefore sanctioned by Section 35 (1) of the Constitution and allowed under section 289 of the Criminal Code Act.

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

34) Churches oppose decision to implement death penalty

Source: 
The National, Friday February 6th, 2015

 THE Church Leaders Council has reiterated its opposition to the death penalty, saying no one but God has the right to end a person’s life.
Cabinet recently endorsed the proposed guidelines for the implementation of the death penalty. 
The church leaders, in a statement through the PNG church partnership programme, said they believed that every human life was God-given and that no one, including the State, should have the right to end a life.
The council said there was evidence that mistakes could happen in the best processes of justice.
“It is therefore unthinkable that we, the people, should condemn a potentially innocent person to death. As a Christian nation, we can never allow our justice system to sink to acts of revenge or payback,” it said.  
“We must not take the attitude of an eye for an eye but rather maintain penalties that are appropriate for all crimes – but not including the death penalty.”
It said serious crimes had not decreased in countries which had adopted the death penalty.
Secretary for the Department  of Justice and Attorney-General Dr Lawrence Kalinoe said 13 people were on death row and were expected to be executed this year.

35) Officers jailed for 7 yrs

Source: 
The National, Friday February 6th, 2015

 TWO former staff members of Parliament have been jailed for a total of seven years on fraud-related charges involving K150,000 of public funds.
Deputy Chief Justice Sir Gibbs Salika sentenced former chief financial officer Charlie Aopi, 49, to four years and travel clerk Lepsen Newe to three years.
Sir Gibbs said two years would be deducted from each man’s terms if the full amount was paid within one year from yesterday. Sir Gibbs said Newe got a lesser sentence because there was no evidence that he had received any of the K150,000.
He said Aopi had received K5000 while the remaining K145,000 was taken by former clerk Don Pandan.
In mitigation, Aopi and Newe said they were first offenders. 
They expressed remorse and promised to pay restitution.
But Sir Gibbs said the aggravating factors were that both persons were in positions of trust. He said they signed the cheque which they were not supposed to at that time and deliberately placed their loyalty on the wrong man who had conspired with them to commit the crime.
Aopi and Newe were convicted last November on one count of conspiracy to fraudulently obtain K150,000 from the State, two counts of forgery, one count of uttering and one count of dishonestly applying to their own use, and to the use of Pandan in 2012. Both men worked in Parliament and were signatories to several accounts, including the National Parliament Imprest Account which the K150,000 cheque was cashed from.
Sir Gibbs said they knew that Pandan’s term of contract had expired but negotiated the payment of the cheque.

36) PNG Defence Force appoints new colonels

By Online Editor
4:40 pm GMT+12, 05/02/2015, Papua New Guinea

 Papua New Guinea Defence Force will now have four new branch heads that will support the commander in implementing his 2015 intent and priorities of the force.
 
The five new colonels are Siale Diro, Wenzel Esekia, John Rakatani, Dominic Bolongor and Ben Siria. The five new Colonels were promoted last Friday by the Defence Council at Murray Barracks command officers mess in Port Moresby.
 
Colonel Siale Diro now take his position as the new PNGDF chief of operations, Colonel Ezekia now resumes as the new joint force commander, Colonel John Rakatani takes his post as the new PNGDF chief of personnel and Colonel Siria now takes the post as the chief of logistics replacing Colonel Carl Wrakonei.
 
All these newly appointed branch heads have a wider range of military knowledge, skills and experience. They are all qualified masters graduate of overseas military staff colleges.
 
The Defence Council, which is made up of Defence Minister Fabian Pok, Defence Secretary John Porti and PNGDF Commander Brigadier General Gilbert Toropo, has appointed these new branch heads based on their confidence and trust on their wealth of military experiences and knowledge .
 
Pok on behalf of the government and the Defence Council congratulated the new branch heads and said that the government and the force have trust and confidence in them to provide strategic guidance in rebuilding and transforming the force forward.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

37) Russia likely to sell weapons to Fiji

By Online Editor
6:13 pm GMT+12, 05/02/2015, Fiji

—– An analyst in international relations says Russia is likely to sell military weapons to Fiji after an agreement being signed between the two nations.
 
Fiji is hosting Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister in Suva this week and the final text of a Memorandum of Understanding is expected to be signed during the visit.
 
Senior lecturer in international relations at Victoria University, Dr Alexander Bukh, says Russia is facing a lot of criticism from the Western powers so any country interested in signing an agreement with Russia is greeted with quite a lot of enthusiasm.
 
“Fiji, it’s a small country but it’s an independent country, it’s a member of the UN, they have certain needs. One of the major Russian exports is military related exports, so weapons. This is going to be one of the aspects of Russia – Fiji co-operation. Russia needs to find new clients for its weapons for its military related equipment and so probably Fiji’s going to be one of them”.
 
Dr Bukh says Russian naval bases in Fiji are unlikely.
 
He says the size of Fiji’s economy means the deal is not going to be major for Russia.
 
Meanwhile, Dr Buksh says the development of closer relations between Fiji and Russia is a case of two countries needing a friend.
 
He said the recent collapse of the Russian rouble tourism has dropped sharply, but in the future Fiji could benefit from Russian tourism, as there are no visa restrictions between the two countries.
 
“The biggest issues are problems for developing closer relations is obviously the distance between Russia and Fiji. The fact that Russia’s interests in the South Pacific are quite limited. And the size of the Fijian economy is, at least from a Russian perspective, it’s not that significant. But yeah, I think definitely it’s a friend in need,” said Dr Buksh.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

 38) Drugs role

Siteri Sauvakacolo
Sunday, February 08, 2015

THE roles of iTaukei chiefs, village elders and individual iTaukei people have been questioned in the fight to totally eradicate the cultivation of marijuana in iTaukei communities.

And this will be one of the main issues to be highlighted in the much-awaited joint iTaukei institutions roadshow which begins in Suva this week.

Ministry of iTaukei Affairs permanent secretary Savenaca Kaunisela, in a press briefing on Friday, highlighted it was about time the iTaukei people fully understand their roles in drug cultivation which was on the rise in their various communities.

“The ministry and the Fiji Police Force had signed a memorandum of understanding in the last two years on the eradication of drugs and this has led to the police being able to go to most villages with the assistance of our people on the ground — the roko tui to assist them in trying to get into iTaukei villages where drugs are cultivated,” Mr Kaunisela said.

“This MOU is still very much intact which allows police to carry out their work.

“The issue we would like to raise to iTaukei people is the issue of drugs becoming very prevalent in our iTaukei societies. What are the iTaukei people doing about it? From the ministry’s point of view, what is the ministry doing about it? Are the managers and joint iTaukei institutions taking this seriously?”

Mr Kaunisela said it was time the issue was taken seriously and they hoped discussions would be taken at every level to ensure it was fully addressed and the problem eradicated.

According to police, phase one of Operation Sasamaki was conducted in Cakaudrove where 3978 plants were uprooted. Phase two was in Kadavu with 2294 plants uprooted. Phase three was in Wainibuka where 494 plants were uprooted and phase four in Bua with 61 plants uprooted.Fijitimes

SPORTS

39) Digicel Cup starts in April

Source: 
The National, Friday February 6th, 2015

 THE Digicel Cup will kick off on April 15, Papua New Guinea National Rugby League chairman Sudhir Guru said yesterday.
“I am hopeful for a successful season this year,” he said.
“A lot of positives can be taken from the grand final between the Gurias and Wigmen, which united warring tribes who put aside their differences to come together and support their team. 
“There were close to 5000 people who gathered at the match in Lae, with 4000 of them travelling in by truckloads from Hela to watch the match. 
“The match ended with no incidents reported and that is a huge achievement. 
“It is a very, very big positive and I’d like to see that continued this year.”
Guru said there would be no Digicel Cup games played in Port Moresby this year because of the lack of venues but there might be a review after the Pacific Games. 
The PNGNRL board meets later this month to confirm the number of teams for this season and their home grounds.
 Guru is positive of having a 10-team competition again this year. 
The national body had recieved formal bids from three new teams and decision on their entry would be decided later this month.
“There are clear guidelines set for the inclusion of teams. I see no problem of them being included in the competition. We are not stopping them from entering.”

40) Papua New Guinea happy with performance

From Emoni Narawa In Wellington
Sunday, February 08, 2015

THE Papua New Guinea sevens team is satisfied with its performance despite a winless campaign at the 16th Wellington 7s tournament.

Making a return at Westpac Stadium after a lapse of three years, PNG did show they had improved, scoring tries against the likes of heavyweights Samoa and New Zealand.

PNG was hammered 0-29 by England in their opening pool game before New Zealand thumped them 38-7 in the second pool game.

Canada then rubbed salt in their wounds with a 41-0 triumph, sending PNG to the bowl quarter-finals without a win.

The side brought a 16-man training squad to train in Fiji where they competed in few local tournaments before the Wellington event.

Scoring tries against New Zealand and Samoa is something coach Billy Rapila said was a good exposure for the players.

Skipper Leo Tikot said they were looking forward to the tournament. He said it was good to return to Wellington since their 2011 outing.

PNG managed to book a spot at the Wellington tournament of the HSBC Sevens World Series after qualifying from the Oceania FORU tournament.c/- Fijitimes

41) New Caledonia joins first grand prix in Suva

Shalveen Chand
Sunday, February 08, 2015

THE first of the three swimming grand prix was held at the Aquatic Centre in Suva and apart from local clubs, a New Caledonian club provided also took part.

Cercle Des Nageurs also known as CNC showed Fiji swimmers a little glimpse of what to expect from the New Caledonians in the Pacific Games as they blazed through the pool.

Fiji Swimming Association vice president Willie Elaisa said the competition provided by the overseas club was much needed.

“The grand prix will be used to pick athletes for the Pacific Games. This was the first one and I am happy with the times clocked by our local athletes,” Elaisa said.

“The New Caledonian swimmers were good and they provided good competition for the local swimmers. This was much needed as sometimes champion swimmers get complacent.

“A little competition keeps one sharper. This grand prix also allowed us to see which swimmers had been training in the off-season.”

Elaisa said Fiji also had six swimmers with scholarships in the USA who if made the time would make the national team.

CNC manager Jacqueline Oswald said the club had been in Fiji for the last 10 days and the trip was a camp for the swimmers who were part of the national outfit.

The team was made up nine male and two female athletes who won all their events.Fijitimes

42) Fiji make unbeaten start to Wellington 7s, Samoa and PNG winless

 7 February 2015

Fiji enacted revenge on Australia to finish top of their group at the Wellington Sevens last night.

New Zealand were the only other unbeaten team on day one, while Samoa’s horror run of form continued.

Fiji started slowly against Portugal and Wales but dominated their final group match against Australia, who had knocked them out of the past two tournaments.

Head coach Ben Ryan says the 14-7 margin should have been bigger but was satisfied with their overall performance, which sets up a Cup quarter final against England.

Samoa missed out on the Cup playoffs for the third tournament running.

The Manu lost to Scotland first-up and scraped a draw against Argentina at the death before ill-discipline cost them in their final pool match against Kenya.

Playing in Wellington for the first time in four years, Papua New Guinea managed a solitary try all day, in heavy defeats by England, New Zealand and Canada.

Samoa are first up this afternoon against France in the bowl quarter finals, followed by PNG against Wales.

Meanwhile the Fijiana open the Brazilian round of Women’s World Series in the early hours of tomorrow morning.

Fiji play China in the first match of the day in Sao Paulo, before taking on the host nation and Australia in their remaining pool matches.

Fiji finished sixth in the opening round of the series in Dubai.RNZI

43) Fiji cruise into Cup playoffs at Wellington Sevens

 7 February 2015

Fiji sevens coach Ben Ryan believes his team is well-placed to make a run at the Wellington title but says they will need to cut their error rate in today’s knockout rounds.

After starting slowly against Portugal and Wales, the Fijians outmuscled Australia 14-7 to finish unbeaten in Pool C and enact revenge on the team who had knocked them out of the past two tournaments.

Ben Ryan says the winning margin should have been bigger but was satisfied with their overall performance and looking forward to facing England in the quarter finals.

“They certainly will have learnt from the two defeats against us this year so [we need to] start again. [It’s a] quarter final, we’ve got to hit the ground very hard, very quickly because there’s a real opportunity for a great day for Fiji Sevens and if we start well in the quarter final then it’s all up to us”.

It wasn’t such a happy day for the other Pacific teams, with Samoa and Papua New Guinea both finishing winless and bottom of their groups.RNZI

44) Sevens team narrowly beats US in Plate semis

From Emoni Narawa In Wellington
Sunday, February 08, 2015

THE VODAFONE Fiji sevens team escaped the jaws of defeat again the United States of America 12-10 during the plate semi-finals.

After a disappointing quarter-final loss to England 26-21 at extra time earlier on the day, Ben Ryan and his boys managed to bounce back to avenge their plate final loss at Port Elizabeth.

“We don’t want to lose against to USA especially after the plate final loss in the last tournament,” Ryan said.

Fiji made a good start against the USA Eagles with a try to speedster Samisoni Viriviri, less than one minute after the opening whistle.

Scrum half Emosi Mulevoro added the extras to put Fiji into the lead 7-0.

However, the Eagles soared and Fijian powerhouse Andrew Durutalo crossed the tryline against his fellow countrymen.

Fiji led 7-5 at the interval.

USA, being one of the form teams from day one, were determined to impress the crowd despite a heart-break loss to Scotland in the cup quarter-finals.

Folau Niua scored their second try to put them into the lead 10-7. And it was Vatemo Ravouvou who scored Fiji’s second try, from minutes from the final whistle as Fiji led 12-10.

USA continued to threaten Fiji’s defence, however, a forward pass in the last minute cost them the game as Fiji progressed through to the plate final, a relief for Ryan.Fijitimes

45) FIFA punishes Morocco football

Afp
Sunday, February 08, 2015

MALABO, Equatorial Guinea – Morocco were kicked out of the 2017 and 2019 Africa Cup of Nations and fined $US1 million ($F2.04m) for refusing to host this year’s event because of fears over Ebola, the continental game’s ruling body said.

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) also ordered the Royal Moroccan Football Federation to pay 8 million euros ($F18.81m) in compensation.

With just three weeks’ notice, Equatorial Guinea took over hosting the tournament which ends tomorrow with the final between Ghana and Ivory Coast.

“The CAF executive committee considered that, contrary to what the Royal Moroccan Football Federation cited, force majeure cannot be accepted for the benefit of the federation,” said a CAF statement released after a meeting in the Equatorial Guinea capital Malabo.

“CAF decided to suspend the national team of Morocco from the next two editions of the Africa Cup of Nations, 2017 and 2019, and to impose on the federation the regulatory fine of $1 million.

“…they decided by a separate measure to be borne by the Royal Moroccan Football Federation the sum of eight million and fifty thousand euros in compensation for all material damage sustained by CAF, stakeholders and partners as a result of the decision not to host AFCON 2015.”Fijitimes

46) England beats Wales in opener


Afp
Sunday, February 08, 2015

CARDIFF, Wales – England has bagged early World Cup bragging rights by clawing back a 10-point deficit to claim a thrilling 21-16 victory over Wales in the opening match of the Six Nations yesterday.

Wales stormed out to a 10-0 lead in the opening nine minutes at an electric Millennium Stadium after a Rhys Webb try converted by Leigh Halfpenny, who also added a penalty.

But the visitors, missing a raft of first choices through injury, responded with tries from Bath backs Anthony Watson and Jonathan Joseph, George Ford kicking a conversion and three penalties, as Halfpenny added another and Dan Biggar a drop-goal for the home side.

“I just wanted to knock it over for the lads,” said man of the match Ford.

“The performance — especially by the pack — was outstanding. We felt comfortable in the first half but had a bit of poor start.”

Joseph said that England believe they have the strength and talent to take on any side in World Cup year.

“It’s incredible. No greater feeling to come here to Wales and win, probably one of our greatest rivals,” he told the BBC.

“But the boys dug deep and got the win we deserved. There’s a lot of confidence in the side and we’ve got the belief we can attack and penetrate.

“The first game in this championship is massive and to get off to a winning start is huge for us.”

Wales captain Sam Warburton admitted his side fell off the pace after the interval.

“We’re very disappointed, it’s not the start we wanted

“The second half we struggled to get momentum and it seemed like England were on top for large parts,” he said.

The victory, coming after the 30-3 humiliation England suffered in the corresponding fixture two years ago, sets up the World Cup it hosts nicely, with the English drawn in the same tough pool as Wales, Australia and Fiji, with only two teams qualifying for the knock-out phase.

Halfpenny opened the scoring early for Wales, booting a touchline penalty in the second minute after Jonny May infringed.

English woes were compounded after a messy first scrum, re-set by French referee Jerome Garces.

Later, Mike Brown was left with no room but dinked in a grubber behind Halfpenny to which Watson latched on to cross the whitewash for his maiden international try.

Ford’s conversion came back off the posts, but Halfpenny made no mistake with his second penalty from the left touchline close to halfway.

George North went off for a concussion check after clocking a full-blooded kick to the head by English lock Dave Attwood that went unpunished by Garces, who had already awarded the visitors a penalty duly kicked by Ford.

Halfpenny missed a chance to restore Wales’ lead, but Biggar fell back into the slot to nail a majestic 40-metre drop-goal on the stroke of half-time to leave Wales 16-8 up.

England started the second period just as the home side did the first and went on to score 13 unanswered points.

After going through 20 phases in the Welsh 22m area, Joseph replicated his outstanding form with Bath by jinking his way through weak tackles by Webb and Biggar for a fine try converted by Ford.

Wales winger Alex Cuthbert produced a great try-saving tackle on flanker James Haskell, but was then shown a yellow card for failing to roll away.

Ford later kicked two penalties for a deserved England win.

www.voiceofmelanesia.com

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