Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1073 ( Monday 24 February 2015 )

MELANESIA

1) Vanuatu daily news Digest | 24 February 2015

by bobmakin

  • Prime Minister Natuman was awarded the chiefly title of Tarimulei on Pentecost on Lini Day, last Saturday, and Post carries a full report of his address and tribute to the leadership of the united Vanua’aku Pati by the late Fr Walter Lini which led to the country’s Independence. Natuman called on the People of Pentecost to support the desire for political stability through the re-unification process bringing the four parties which originally formed the VP together again. He said the basic foundation is already enshrined in Vanuatu’s Constitution that embraces cultural and Christian principles and Melanesian values. The four Presidents of the four political parties seeking re-unification also spoke at the ceremony arranged on Pentecost and Chief Viragogona assured PM Natuman the people of Pentecost support his wish for unity. The custom title Tarimulei means Re-unifier.
  • NISCOL firing its Fijian CEO, Pravinesh Chand, continues to be the news of utmost importance to VBTC this morning. And Chand complains concerning the Luganville Town Clerk and NISCOL board member, Peter Sikita, over unpaid rent and other allegedly unlawful expenses.
  • The Natural Disasters and Management Office (NDMO) and Geo-hazards Division continue to warn against people getting too close to the increased volcanic activity on Ambrym. It followed a major earthquake near Paama.
  • The Lini Day event at the Anglican Church at Tagabe was widely reported, especially Minister Ralph Regenvanu’s concern that the country’s youth take up the leadership challenges as did Fr Walter Lini and the other then young leaders who achieved Vanuatu’s Independence.
  • Daily Post announces FAO funding an important livestock surveillance project which is re-examining animal health and trying to maximise export potential for Vanuatu livestock products.
  • The NDMO has no reports yet on the effects of the ash plume continuing over Marum and Benbow on Ambrym. A further survey took place yesterday it was reported. The communities have been rehearsing their emergency plans.
  • Vanuatu will be holding discussions with New Caledonia concerning the aid programme for the years since 2006. Foreign Minister Kilman is in Noumea for discussions with High Commissioner Bouvier. He will also be visiting the scientific research stations and police training academy.
  • The lead items for Daily Post started with Agriculture Minister Tosul urging the “yellow card” countries to do more about illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU fishing) in the region. Minister Tosul was addressing an ACP / EU workshop concerned with overcoming technical barriers to trade especially in the sector of fisheries. He sawVanuatu’s “yellow card” as a major wake-up call and explained that many requirements to avoid IUU were being implemented.
  • South Efate chiefs are seeking leadership of the Vaturisu Council of Chiefs of Efate on 2 March.

2) The dirt at VBTC

by bobmakin

  • It is in a political mess based on requiring the Corporation to reflect the composition and play-offs of the coalition. It is in a financial mess because of too many Board Members and/or Staff wanting more than they are entitled to receive.
  • It is in a technical mess because of not having the technical savvy to run its transmitters properly. At least one shortwave frequency is off, yet VBTC does not call on in-country expertise which could help. The head of the regional broadcasting aid agency PACMAS, Francis Herman, recently enlisted assistance from Telsat’s Rod Smith to get Radio Australia available again, and BBC as well. Because of public concern.
  • Konsern Citizen gives us the e-mail link to the Auditor-General’s report of recent years on how much dirt there was then at VBTC. You can find it here:

https://vanuatudaily.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/auditor-general_s-investigation-report-of-vbtc-2005-2011.pdf

Read it. You will be appalled.

  • This Vanuatu daily news Digest has recently spoken to a number of the “founding fathers” of VBTC in its new home in 1980, and finds them all horrified that the selection panel for the position of GM should have chosen to re-appoint he who has presided over this mess. We have and must have professionals to run the airline. And we must have professionals to run the air waves. Not politicians.
  • The “waet missus” cargo cult figure Debra Burslem, who has allegedly made money out of buying and selling businesses in Vanuatu, is said to have fled the Australian Tax Office because they were doing the devil’s bidding. She, Burslem, was “doing God’s work” according to another waet missus, one presumes, who worked for her (and God, one also imagines) in the Magnificent Meal Movement. The Independent today lists businesses which have been purchased by Burslem, whether they offer magnificent meals or not, and announces her plan to have her business partner John Tonner obtain Vanuatu citizenship and run for election.

3) Vanuatu daily news Digest | 20 February 2015

by bobmakin

  • Radio Vanuatu quite often fails to give – the weather. It seems it is now up to the announcer on duty whether he or she will give it or not. At least we were given it today. Nothing special. But VBTC Task Force, please note: the weather is important for everyone, Torres to Umaenupne, and announcers must give it. They must.
  • NISCOL has fired its accountant Fijian CEO over allegations of “fraudulent practices” Post reports. Further into the story he is accused of “gross misconduct, failure to comply with the resolutions endorsed by shareholders, insubordination, incompetency, lack or professionalism and failure to provide an audited report.” Could politics be involved? This story surely has a long way to run yet.
  • Another which will run and run is the Akham witchcraft and homicide case. Post said 13 have lodged pleas of guilty and four have been freed “nolle prosequi”.
  • The Faith Bandler state funeral in Australia will take place on Tueday 24 February, 11 am at the Great Hall, University of Sydney, Science Road, Camperdown, NSW. It is to be hoped Vanuatu will honour this distinguished campaigner for indigenous rights with the presence of a leader known to be of similar ideals.
  • Women can be pleased the cervical cancer screening programme has re-startedMondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at the women’s health clinic, VCH, and on Wednesdays and Thursdays at Santo Hospital. Today’s Daily Post gives the detail, times and other locations.

4) Fiji petition launched for West Papua

24 Feb 2015

A petition to encourage Fijian solidarity with the people of West Papua as the region applies to join the Melanesian Spearhead Group will go to the government in late April.

The Fiji Times paper reports all Fijians are urged to sign the petition launched at Suva’s Sukuna Park last Friday to show solidarity and support for their Melanesian brothers and sisters.

The director of the Ecumenical Centre for Research, Education and Advocacy, Sirino Rakabi, says the people of West Papua need Fiji’s support.

He says full West Papua membership of the MSG will be a highly significant step towards realising their dream of freedom from oppression, fear and slavery, and the ability to determine their political future.RNZI

5) No Muslim make-over for Fiji clocktower

23 February 2015

Fiji’s Chief Justice Anthony Gates has sought to dismiss concerns that Suva’s clocktower has been subjected to a contemporary Muslim make-over.

He says the landmark in the capital has just been cleaned up and its art deco features have become more noticeable.

His comments came at the end of a speech to young lawyers at a ceremony in Suva in which he emphasised the importance of arriving at facts forensically and dispassionately.

Mr Gates says the government buildings and the clocktower with its rounded summit and coloured tiles are a fine example of the international art deco style which incorporates Middle Eastern motifs and even those from Oceania.

He said he hoped to clear up a misconception about the clocktower, whose original 1930s design has not been altered.RNZI

POLYNESIA


5) Chikungunya begins to wane in Marquesas

24 Feb 2015

Tahiti Presse reports that up to one hundred patients a day had been queuing in emergency rooms and medical centres with several difficult weeks for medical staff and record crowds of patients.

It is estimated 4,500 people, or half of the population, was affected by the mosquito-borne viral illness which is characterised by fever, joint pain, and headaches.

Health officials say a total of 14 people have died from chikungunya throughout French Polynesia since the outbreak began in October last year with the total number of cases estimated at over 130,000.RNZI

6) Tongan Parliament sits in March
By Online Editor
7:35 pm GMT+12, 23/02/2015, Tonga

Tonga’s Legislative Assembly will convene on Monday, March 16 and sit for nearly two-weeks.

Parliament’s Office confirmed today the house will sit from March 16-26 before taking a break until May 28.

Following the General Election in November last year, the Members of Parliament sat for the first time on January 19-22, before adjourning.

Meanwhile, Election petitions against two Vava’u People’s Representatives for alleged bribery and corrupt practices will be mentioned on Friday, March 6 at the Nuku’alofa Supreme Court.

The Chief Justice Paulsen will preside over the two separate petitions filed against former Deputy Prime Minister Samiu Vaipulu, the Vava’u No.15 People’s Representative and the Minister of Infrastructure Hon ‘Etuate Lavulavu, Vava’u’s No.16 People representative.

The election petition filed against Vaipulu was by Tomifa Paea, who contested the same constituency but was unsuccessful.

At the same time, Vaipulu who denied the allegation in his statement of defence had also filed a counter claim against Paea claiming he committed bribery during his election campaign for the same electorial constituency.

Lavulavu’s petition was filed by former Vava’u PR Dr Viliami Latu and ‘Aisea Siliveinusi

Vaipulu is represented in court by Clive Edwards, the former Minister of Justice while Lavulavu is represented by ‘Ofa Pouono.

The election petitions were filed in December last year.

SOURCE: MATANGI TONGA/PACNEWS

7) Tonga prepares to sign CEDAW despite differences

24 Feb 2015

Tonga is preparing to finally ratify the United Nations convention on eliminating all forms of discrimination against women but with conditions.

Tonga is one of only seven nations which haven’t signed CEDAW, including Iran, Sudan, Somalia and the USA.

The Chief Executive of Internal Affairs Lopeti Senituli says a submission to sign the convention will be presented to cabinet by next week.

Mr Senituli says it has taken two years to work on reservations that the country has to CEDAW.

“We can make reservations but on the understanding that the discussions will continue and I think it will be to the country’s benefit as a whole for us to ratify now and continue the public discourse over the next few years.”

Mr Senituli says Tonga’s constitution and laws conflict in three main areas; male succession to the throne and estate as well as restrictions on women registering land, bans on abortion and same-sex marriages.RNZI

8) Peak tide affects Tuvaluan communities living in coastal and low-lying areas
By Online Editor
7:50 pm GMT+12, 23/02/2015, Tuvalu

Communities living near Tuvalu’s coastal and low-lying areas were affected by king tides over the weekend.

The king tide peak of 3.4 metres was observed on Thursday 19 February.

Over the weekend, coastal areas of Fongafale were flooded by storm surges from the lagoon side.

The king tide forced debris onto the main roads making access to the northern and southern ends of the island difficult.

Senior Meteorology Observer Elifaleti Ene said the king tide receded on Sunday February 22.

He said this is a normal during this time of the year when low lying areas are the most affected.

Fenui News observed that low-lying and coastal areas including burrow pits opposite Mac Kenzie Trading store were flooded.

Residents whose pig pens were located on the eastern side of the island had to leave their vehicles on the opposite side of the airfield and crossed on foot to feed their pigs on the other side.

Areas near the burrow pits were swamped with water from overflowed burrow pits.

Fenui learned that the highest peak tide recorded by the MET office was 3.4mtrs on 24 February in 2006…

SOURCE: FENUI NEWS/PACNEWS

9) World Bank Urges ‘Strong Debt Management’ In Samoa
Vice President, delegation on two-day visit to country

By Deidre Fanene

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, Feb. 23, 2015) – The Vice President of the World Bank for East Asia and Pacific, Axel van Trotsenburg, has emphasised the importance of strong debt management for Samoa.

In Apia for a two-day visit, the Vice President told the Samoa Observer during an interview that from his experience in dealing with debt issues in similar small countries, it is vital for the government to manage Samoa’s foreign debt well.

“Clearly when I talk to governments (about debt management), I talk also as the former chief negotiator of the Bank for the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative, which was the largest debt relief programme for poor countries in the world.

“In that programme, we basically had to relieve countries of unsustainable debt. So one of the lessons I took away is strong debt management. That is the way to go.”

Asked to elaborate, Mr. Trotsenburg said: “One needs to evaluate every external obligation within the overall context of economic development but also the physical implication and the balance of payments implication.

“We are interested that countries can maintain a strong position and particularly sustainable debt. I believe this can be done and I have confidence that also here in Samoa government is working towards that goal.”

Mr. Trotsenburg’s view was sought following numerous warning from the Bank about Samoa’s external debt.

In 2013, the Bank warned that Samoa’s public external debt was “high-risk” and that the government was in danger of breaching policy limits they had previously agreed to. The Bank also warned about “debt distress” where public loans would exceed 56 per cent of economic activity each year, known as GDP, Gross Domestic Product.

After meetings with Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi and other key public and private sector officials during the weekend, the Vice President said there are a number of areas where Samoa can tap into to improve her economy.

“I think improving the connectivity to the world (would be a great help and) I believe that is happening soon,” he said.

“I’m thinking of the internet connections. We also believe that there is a lot of tourist potential and then we also need to look at what the country is producing.

“We think that every country has hidden treasures and potential. “I the case of Samoa, I think this is a wonderful country but it has also challenges of geography and therefore I think maybe also the modern means can help.

“This brings me to the study we want to do, Pacific Possible. We emphasize the possibility rather than the impossibility. We believe that it can be developed and I think Samoa has a rich culture, has a lot to offer and what we would certainly hope is that can we actually as an international community compliment the Samoan efforts to have a better future.”

So what is Pacific Possible?

According to materials provided by the Bank, Pacific Possible will examine the potential increases in income and living standards that could be achieved through regional policies supported by Pacific Island countries, along with partners around the broader Pacific Rim (Australia, Japan, Korea and others).

“Pacific Possible will aim to provide sustainable recommendations that can deliver transformational differences to smaller Pacific Island countries such as Samoa,” van Trotsenburg explained. “The World Bank has experience at using data and analysis to produce reports on development options in countries including China and Vietnam – Pacific Possible will apply this approach to the challenges facing Pacific Island countries.”

Away from Samoa’s debt and the economy, another area of concern for the Bank is climate change.

“We are clearly as concerned as you about the negative impact of climate change on all the Pacific Island countries and we are standing in solidarity with their plight,” he said.

“So what we want to do is three fold:

“One is certainly advocacy for the case of the Pacific island countries, that world attention needs to be brought and ultimately financial resources need to be ensured so that countries can confront this challenges.

“Secondly we are keen on adaptation agenda. An enormous amount of money is available (for this). There is also the mitigation agenda, then there is the disaster relief agenda, we need to help countries rebuild and rebuild better.

“We also are doing and developing on a regional basis projects that target the resilience and early warning systems that could help the countries. Clearly our message to the world is that it is important that the world realises the specific challenges of the Pacific region, we need to do something about it and we need to act now.”

Mr. Trotsenburg visited a number of World Bank projects in Samoa during the weekend. To date, the Bank has injected close to $200million in terms of projects to help Samoa over the years.

Samoa Observer

MICRONESIA

10) Problems With Independence Raised By Chuuk Reform Movement
Political Status Commission did not honesty consider pros and cons

By Maria Hernandez

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Feb. 24, 2015) – Citizens of Chuuk state, in the Federated States of Micronesia, on March 3 will vote on whether to seek independence from the Federated States of Micronesia as that nation’s treaty with the United States expires in 2023.

The Chuuk Political Status Commission, created under Chuuk law, has been holding public meetings on the political status options, while officially endorsing the concept of an independent Chuuk. The commission’s goal is for Chuuk to secede from the FSM and renegotiate a separate Compact of Free Association with the United States.

But some from Chuuk think the idea of pursuing independence is premature, with unclear consequences.

The Chuuk Reform Movement, a citizen-led non-profit organization formed in response to the creation of the status commission, is fighting the commission’s choice of independence as the state’s preferred political status.

The group’s founder, Videlino Raatior, a former Chuuk resident born and raised in the state who now resides in Hawaii, said the Political Status Commission last March made its position clear in a newsletter, which states, “to accelerate its work and to move in the most practical and realistic direction, the commission has indicated its agreement on the need to end the status quo and to effectively move toward an independent and sovereign Republic of Chuuk.”

Emotion vs. reason

Raatior said he was receptive to the idea of independence for Chuuk at first, but said he was alarmed when he found there was no concrete data to help Chuukese citizens understand the pros and cons of the Chuuk secession.

“I am a very proud Chuukese and I would want nothing more than for my beloved Chuuk to claim its rightful place in the global community,” Raatior said. “But that patriotic emotion was soon replaced by reason, facts and the absence of them in the political status commission.”

Raatior, on the organization’s website, claimed that “without any public hearings, cost analysis, economic plan, or the basic research on all the different options, the (commission) made an uninformed decision for Chuuk” without public input.

Raatior created a petition on change.org in an effort to stump the Chuukese independent movement, garnering 1,440 electronic signatures since it was created around two months ago.

However, Sabino Asor, attorney general for Chuuk, said the commission held public hearings in Chuuk and overseas before formally recommending independence to the legislature and governor’s office.

He said the commission presented it in a more indirect way, simply as a suggestion, but was receptive to hear about other options stakeholders had in mind.

“People were upset because they thought in the presentation the commission was already recommending independence when we were presenting the choices,” Asor said.

He said if individuals came forward with other proposals for status options, the commission would have been receptive to their ideas.

“There were no individuals who were really pushing forward for another option,” Asor said. “No organized alternative was really put forward.”

He said individual opinions on other alternative options were “sometimes not convincing or persuasive.”

What happens in US?

Raatior said he is concerned about what would happen to Chuukese citizens in the U.S. if secession succeeds.

“As soon as the secession occurs all Chuukese citizens in the United States would no longer be FSM citizens and therefore our FSM passports, our ability to work, live, attend schools, seek medical care will be rendered obsolete because we would no longer be FSM citizens,” Raatior wrote.

Asor said many individuals at the forums expressed the same concerns as Raatior and the Chuuk Reform Movement.

Asor said many were concerned that the move would adversely impact their right to live and work in the United States.

While he said he felt the concerns raised are valid, he wanted to stress that the intention of the commission is to “assure a separate compact with the U.S., based essentially on existing terms of what we have with the U.S. and FSM.”

He said the national government doesn’t share profits from commercial fishing with the states. He said he hoped the FSM government would offer to change the national system and share some of the revenue from fishing activities with the states, but they have declined to do so.

He said Chuuk commissioners have met with FSM government officials to discuss ways to ensure the state’s financial viability, but no solutions were drawn.

As for concerns raised about there not being any concrete economic or political plan to sustain the island after it secedes from the FSM, Asor said it’s not possible to present concrete plans just yet.

“We understand their apprehension and anxiety. They want to see the whole picture politically and economically. The problem? We have very limited authority about what we can present,” Asor said.

Asor said the commission is hoping to have a draft constitution by 2017 that will include a section that specifies continued rights under the FSM compact until Chuuk has its own compact with the U.S.

Pacific Daily News

AUSTRALIA

11) WA bushfire warning: Blaze forces partial closure of Perth’s Kwinana Freeway

Updated 24 February 2015, 20:10 AEDT

An emergency bushfire warning has been issued for Casuarina and Bertram in WA, with a blaze threatening lives and homes in Perth’s southern suburbs and partially shutting the Kwinana Freeway.

The fire started in the Spectacles north of Thomas Road and has now crossed the Kwinana Freeway and is moving towards Wandi Nature Reserve.

It is moving in a north-easterly direction after a wind change and is unpredictable.

The emergency warning covers areas bound by Anketell Road, Treeby Road, Bombay Boulevard, Orton Road and Johnson Road.

Firefighters are facing hot and windy conditions, with temperatures reaching 38 degrees Celsius.

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) said burning embers were likely to be blown around homes in the area, with spot fires starting up ahead of the blaze.

It said residents were in danger and must act immediately to survive.

The freeway is closed between Rowley Road and Mortimer Road in a northbound direction, and parts of both Thomas Road and Anketell Road are also closed.

A Main Roads spokesperson urged drivers to take care as smoke is across both sides of the freeway.

Residents have been urged to leave or stay and actively defend their homes.

Western Power said about 2,400 homes were without electricity in Casuarina, Bertram and Anketell.

Meanwhile, a DFES warning for a bushfire in Bullsbrook, on Perth’s eastern outskirts, has been downgraded to an advice alert, but the fire remains out of control.

About 100 firefighters remain on the scene of the blaze which has burnt through about 100 hectares.Radio Australia

12) Kava dealers blamed for Australian ban push

24 Feb 2015

Tony Fuller, from the Northern Territory’s Drug and Organised Crime Division, says some Pacific Islanders are inflating prices and exploiting vulnerable indigenous communities.

A limit of two kilogrammes of kava can legally be brought into the country from the region.

But a Northern Territory senator Nigel Scullion is pushing for a total ban which has sparked concern in local Pacific communities.

Mr Fuller says he understands the concern but agrees that kava is harming indigenous communities.

He says some kava dealers don’t care about the cultural aspects and are only in it for the money.

A lot of the kava is brought into Australia and then sold in the Northern Territory to aboriginal communities at extremely inflated prices. So a kilo will sell for about a thousand dollars here.

Detective Superintendant Tony Fuller.RNZI

TOK PISIN

13) Vanuatu Volkeno i go hed long pairap

Updated 24 February 2015, 15:52 AEDT
Caroline Tiriman

Vanuatu gavman igo hed long givim tok lukaut long ol pipal blong Ambrym long Malampa provins long lukaut gut long ol pipia blong volkeno na tu long lukautim gut ol wara blong ol.

Odio: Esline Garaebiti Manager blong Geohazards Division long Vanuatu na emi bin toktok wantem Caroline Tiriman.

Vanuatu gavman igo hed long givim tok lukaut long ol pipal blong Ambrym long Malampa provins long lukaut gut long ol pipia blong volkeno na tu long lukautim gut ol wara blong ol.

Oli mekim despla woning bihaen long Mauden paia long Ambrym ibin pairap long Fonde long wik igo pinis.

Geo-Hazzards Division long Vanuatu Meteorology na Geohazards Department itok ol Scientists igo lukim despla volkeno tupla taem pinis na emi wok long pairap iet.

Vanuatu, wankaen olsem ol narapla Pacific kanri olsem Hawaii, PNG, Solomon Islands, na Tonga em oli stap long Pacific Ring of Fire na oli gat planti mauden paia long ol.

Esline Garaebiti emi Manager blong Geohazards Division itok despla mauden paia i go het iet tu long toromoi ol pipia igo antap long kilaut.Radio Australia

14)Bougainville lidasip i bagarap

Updated 24 February 2015, 15:41 AEDT
Sam Seke

Odio: Martin Miriori, wanpela lidaman blong Bougainville long taim blong Bougainville Crisis ibin toktok wantem Sam Seke

Wanpela lidaman blong Bougainville long taim blong bikpla trabal oa crisis, Martin Miriori itok leadership nau i nabawan problem blong Autonomous Region blong Bougainville.

Mr Miriori husat i bikpela barata blong foma President Joseph Kabui, em ibin mausman blong ol BRA na Bougainville Interim Gavman long Honiara from 1990, pastaim long em i ronwe gen na i kamap refugee long Holland.

Em i wanpela husat ibin go pas long toktok long Bougainville Peace Agreement, na em ibin gobek na stap long Bougainville stat long 2007.

Em ibin sanap pinis tupela taim long kamap president blong Autonomous Region blong Bougainville em ibin lus.

Tasol nau, Martin Miriori itok em bai sanap makim pipol blong Ioro long Panguna district long Autonomous Bougainville Government eleksan.

Em i tok Bougainville i nidim ol gutpela lida blong kisim region igo insait long bikpela vout oa referendum long Independence insait long 5 pela yia ikam.Radio Australia

15) Vanuatu i kisim football player blong Italy

Postim 24 February 2015, 15:45 AEDT
Sam Seke

Champion soka club blong Vanuatu, Amicale FC i kisim wanpela golkipa blong Italy long helpim ol long winim Oceania Football Confederation Champions League cup.

Maurro Boerchio i wanpela long 10 pela ovasi player i kam long Europe, South Amerika na Pacific we Amicale i kisim long helpim ol long winim OFC Champions League we bai ol i pleim long Fiji long April.

15 pela club tim long Oceania nau bai plei long dispela kompetisan we bai kamap long Fiji stat long naba 11 long April igo inap long faenol long naba 26.

Ol tim we bai plei i inkludim Tafea FC na Amicale blong Vanuatu, Western United blong Solomon Islands na Hekari United blong Papua New Guinea.

Wina blong dispela 2015 OFC Champions League bai em i representim OFC long dispela 2015 FIFA Club World Cup long Decemba. FIFA ino toksave yet long wanem kantri bai hostim.Radio Australia

15b) Pacific Yut i lukluk long korapsan

Updated 24 February 2015, 9:40 AEDT
Caroline Tiriman

Planti yangpla pipal blong ol Pacific Island kantri istap nau long Fiji we oli toktok na lukluk long wari blong korapsan.

Odio: Gregory Dime, blong Solomon Islands Youth for Change na emi stap nau long Pacific Youth Forum Against Corruption miting long Fiji.
Odio: Tamara Kruzang Mandengat, Community Campaign ofisa wantem, Act Now PNG itoktok wantem Caroline Tiriman

Planti yangpla pipal blong ol Pacific Island kantri istap nau long Fiji we oli toktok na lukluk long wari blong korapsan.

Oli bin statim despla  Pacific Youth Forum Against Corruption aste na bai pinis tumora.

Ol laen olsem United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) na  UNODC oa United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime iwok bung wantem  Pacific Youth Council long redi-im despla miting.

Ol despla yangpla pipal itok, korapsan emi wanpla samting emi wok long kamapim ol bikpla heve long olgeta Pacific Island kantri.

Gregory Dime, blong Solomon Islands Youth for Change na emi stap long despla miting na emi tok heve blong korapsan istap long olgeta Pacific Island kantri.

Na Tamara Mandengat, community campagner blong Act Now PNG husat istap tu long despla miting  itok korapsan emi wanpla kaen wari emi kamap pinis olsem wanpla sik kensa long kantri blong en.Radio Australia

FRENCH

16) Des funérailles nationales pour la militante Faith Bandler

Mis à jour 24 February 2015, 17:00 AEDT
Élodie Largenton

Des centaines de personnes se sont rassemblées à Sydney pour les obsèques de la militante des Droits de l’homme, Faith Bandler, décédée à l’âge de 96 ans.

Fille d’un Vanuatais kidnappé sur l’île d’Ambrym pour travailler comme esclave dans les champs de canne à sucre du Queensland, Faith Bandler s’est battue toute sa vie pour les descendants des Océaniens des mers du sud, mais aussi pour les communautés aborigènes du pays. Emelda Davis, la présidente de l’Alliance des insulaires de Nouvelle-Galles-du-Sud, revient sur son parcours exceptionnel :

« Faith a inspiré la nation, si ce n’est le monde entier. Elle était une magnifique représentante, qui a lutté pour les Aborigènes et indigènes du détroit de Torrès lors du référendum de 1967. Elle a aussi mis son énergie au service de sa propre communauté, qui est toujours désavantagée aujourd’hui, les descendants des Océaniens des mers du sud, de ceux qui ont été enlevés pour devenir esclaves en Australie. Donc c’est un jour très important, qui doit inviter à la réflexion. »

Le référendum de 1967 dont parle Emelda Davis a mis fin aux lois d’exception pour les Aborigènes, les intégrant dans le recensement national de la population.
Faith Bandler avait été promue au rang de Compagnon de l’Ordre de l’Australie, en 2009.Radio Australia

17) Les jeunes du Pacifique encouragés à lutter contre la corruption

Mis à jour 24 February 2015, 16:52 AEDT
Élodie Largenton

Plus de 40 jeunes de 15 pays du Pacifique étaient réunis à Fidji, ces derniers jours, pour s’attaquer à un vaste sujet : la corruption, et ses effets dévastateurs sur la société.

Une balance en déséquilibre et un billet qui empêche de parler : c’est la corruption, vue par Daniel Fisher, des Îles Cook. (Credit: ABC)
Une rencontre organisée par les Nations unies.
Et ce qui en ressort, c’est la difficulté, voire l’impossibilité, qu’ont les jeunes à s’exprimer ouvertement sur le sujet. Un aspect mis en avant par Daniel Fisher, un jeune participant des Îles Cook, qui fait partie des trois gagnants d’un concours de photographie sur ce thème de la corruption. Voici comment il décrit sa photo :

« On peut voir une jeune femme des Îles Cook tenant une balance en déséquilibre. Cela représente la malhonnêteté, et ce sont les jeunes qui sont les plus démunis face à cela. J’ai aussi couvert sa bouche avec un billet pour montrer que la plupart d’entre nous reste silencieux face à la corruption. »

Pour le ministre vanuatais des Terres et des Ressources naturelles, Ralph Regenvanu, le problème est que dans beaucoup de pays de la région, les organismes de lutte contre la corruption n’existent pas, ou ne fonctionnent pas bien. Selon lui, il y a aussi des raisons culturelles qui expliquent le silence des jeunes face à ce fléau :

«  Dans certains cas, un jeune peut se sentir intimidé parce que chez nous, un aîné est respecté. Les jeunes sont censés écouter les anciens. Donc lorsque ces mauvaises pratiques impliquent des anciens, c’est encore plus difficile de les dénoncer. »

Des normes culturelles et traditionnelles que met aussi en avant Rae Bainteiti, travailleur social à Kiribati, pour expliquer que la corruption est un sujet tabou dans son pays. Il entend profiter de ce Forum pour ouvrir un débat à son retour chez lui :

« On ne parle jamais de corruption. On aimerait donc sensibiliser les gens sur la question à notre retour à Kiribati, parce que c’est un sujet totalement nouveau pour notre île. »

Donner à la nouvelle génération les outils pour faire avancer les choses dans le Pacifique est l’un des objectifs de ce premier Forum des jeunes contre la corruption. Ses organisateurs espèrent également créer un réseau régional de lutte contre ce fléau.Radio Australia

18) La Banque mondiale va investir des millions de dollars à Fidji

Mis à jour 24 February 2015, 16:45 AEDT
Élodie Largenton

C’est le signe que la coopération reprend entre la Banque mondiale et Fidji, après le retour de la démocratie dans l’archipel, en septembre dernier.

La semaine prochaine, le conseil d’administration de l’institution va examiner un plan d’investissement de 50 millions de dollars pour le pays. Une somme qui devra être consacrée aux infrastructures, surtout dans le domaine des transports routiers, comme le précise Axel van Trotsenburg, vice-président de la Banque mondiale dans la région Asie-Pacifique :

« Cet argent servira à rénover les routes, à les entretenir. Il y a beaucoup de travail à faire dans ce domaine, après des années de sous-investissement. »

Fidji n’a pas bénéficié d’enveloppes de la Banque Mondiale depuis les années 1990, en raison des coups d’État qui ont secoué l’archipel. De nombreux pays avaient aussi mis un terme à leur aide financière au pays, mais pas la Chine. Un soutien salué, aujourd’hui, par le Premier ministre fidjien. L’aide chinoise a permis de construire des logements publics, et de mettre en place des projets hydroélectriques et solaires dans les hôpitaux, affirme Franck Bainimarama. Toujours selon le Premier ministre fidjien, les relations commerciales sont en hausse constante entre les deux pays, atteignant un volume annuel de 340 millions de dollars américains.Radio Australia

19) Brèves du Pacifique – mardi 24 février 2015

Posté à 24 February 2015, 16:27 AEDT
Élodie Largenton

De nouvelles tensions au sein de la majorité en Australie.

Dans une lettre, l’un des cadres du parti Libéral, Phil Higginson, dénonce le fait que la chef de cabinet de Tony Abbott, Peta Credlin, soit mariée au directeur fédéral du parti, Brian Loughnane. Il pourrait y avoir conflit d’intérêt, s’inquiète-t-il, menaçant de démissionner. « C’est une tempête dans un verre d’eau », a répondu le Premier ministre.

  •   Tonga est présent aux championnats du monde de ski nordique à Falun, en Suède ! Makeleta Piukala Stephan a participé au sprint, et si elle n’est arrivée que 93e sur 95 participantes, elle est la première skieuse tongienne à avoir participé à une épreuve de ce niveau. Âgée de 36 ans, vivant en Allemagne, Makeleta Piukala Stephan compte poursuivre la compétition. Tonga espère envoyer un athlète aux prochains Jeux olympiques d’hiver en Corée du sud, en 2018. À Sotchi, le royaume était représenté par le lugeur Bruno Banani – le premier insulaire du Pacifique à  avoir été sélectionné à des JO d’hiver. Radio Australia

PASIFIK

20) New Pacific approach for World Bank

24 Feb 2015

The World Bank says it wants to be more relevant to Pacific Island countries in a new initiative to produce reports that result in action and do not just sit on shelves gathering dust.

The Bank’s Vice President for East Asia and the Pacific, Axel van Trotsenburg, is currently touring the region introducing the concept.

Mr van Trotsenburg says he wants ideas and not organisations to be the drivers of development in the region.

“If you want to improve lives, jobs, opportunities in the island countries, how can ideas be turned around to greater opportunities, what is preventing this. How can we work the area together so that economic and social opportunities are improved.”

Mr van Trotsenburg has so far visited Australia, New Zealand and Samoa and is now in Fiji after which he will travel to Tonga.RNZI

21) Pacific presence at Berlin travel show

24 Feb 2015

Samoa, Vanuatu and the Cook Islands will be represented at next week’s International Tourism Bureau in Berlin, one of the world’s biggest travel trade shows.

The Pacific representation is part of the South Pacific Tourism Organisation’s strategy to target long haul visitor markets, and raise awareness of the Pacific’s significant tourism potential.

There has been an increase in numbers from Europe with more than 50,000 tourists visiting in the third quarter last year.

The SPTO chief executive, Ilisoni Vuidreketi, says participation at trade events boosts our marketing efforts and allows member countries to build relationships among buyers and key industry experts.RNZI

22) Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Kiribati want a new formula for revenue distribution of upper airspace

By Online Editor
10:09 pm GMT+12, 23/02/2015, Tuvalu

Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Kiribati want the current distribution formula of their upper airspace to change to reflect a fair share of revenue.

Tuvalu’s Minister of Communication and Transport, Monise Laafai met his counterpart ministers from Vanuatu and Kiribati in Suva last month to discuss a fair distribution of funds from the three country’s upper airspace, currently administered by Fiji.

Minister Laafai said revenue earned from the upper air space is more than $10 million a year but Tuvalu receives very little from that amount.

“This is why Tuvalu keeps on raising the issue, Minister Laafai told Fenui News.

The meeting agreed that the three countries write to the Government of Fiji asking for bilateral talks as Fiji had dodged bilateral talks about on the issue in the past years.

Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Kiribati want to have a meeting next month with Fiji Government officials and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) which formulates the revenue distribution system of upper air space.

“The three countries may resort to pulling out their upper space if Fiji doesn’t given into their concerns, said Minister Laafai.

SOURCE: FENUI NEWS/ PACNEWS

WORLD

23) Japanese robot bear nurses soon to care for rapidly ageing population

Updated 24 February 2015, 19:05 AEDT

Robotic nurses with cute bear faces developed by Japanese engineers could soon be the future carers of the nation’s growing elderly population.

Japanese research institute Riken developed the Robear to support healthcare workers, with enough power to lift frail patients from bed and support unstable patients on their feet.

The Robear is based on an earlier model called RIBA, which was introduced in 2011. The upgraded Robear is about 90 kilograms lighter than its predecessor, capable of more subtle movements and sports an even cuter look.

“The polar cub-like look is aimed at radiating an atmosphere of strength, geniality and cleanliness at the same time,” research leader Toshiharu Mukai said.

“We voted for this design among options presented by our designer. We hope to commercialise the robot in the not too distant future.”

High-tech funerals in Japan

High-tech “skyscraper graveyards” are one of the ways Japan’s booming funeral industry is responding to the nation’s rapidly ageing population.

A historically low birth rate and ever-increasing life expectancy means Japan’s population of elderly people is growing, while the pool of youngsters to look after them is shrinking.

Japan’s declining population puts it on course to lose half its workforce by 2060, and possibly its status as an economic superpower.

Despite calls for large-scale immigration into the racially homogenous country, residents remain reluctant, meaning an increasing reliance on robots, especially to perform physically difficult work.

This frequently combines with the country’s love of all things cute, to produce machines with disarming faces and child-like voices.

Riken said it aimed to combat the burden Japan’s ageing population would place on the healthcare system.

“As Japan is ageing with fewer children, the problem of a shortage in caregivers for the elderly is getting serious,” Riken said in a statement.

“Expectations are high that robotics will help resolve this problem.”

ABC/AFP

24) Senior British ex-ministers Jack Straw, Malcolm Rifkind face investigation over ‘cash for access’ claims

Updated 24 February 2015, 19:10 AEDT
By Europe correspondent Barbara Miller, wires

Two British former foreign ministers have been suspended from their parties after they were caught on video appearing to offer to use their influence in return for thousands of dollars.

Jack Straw, Labour foreign secretary when Britain helped invade Iraq in 2003, and Malcolm Rifkind, a senior figure in prime minister David Cameron’s Conservative party, were secretly filmed in a sting operation carried out by journalists posing as representatives of a Chinese firm.

The two men insisted they had done nothing wrong but were the latest in a wave of politicians to be accused of seeking to profit from offering private companies privileged access to advance their interests.

In the probe by the Daily Telegraph newspaper and Channel 4 television, the two politicians were said to have offered to act on behalf of a fictitious Hong Kong-based company at a price of at least $9,890 a day.

Mr Rifkind reportedly said he could arrange “useful access” to every British ambassador globally.

Mr Straw was said to have used his parliamentary office for meetings about consultancy work and claimed he had operated “under the radar” to help change EU rules in work for a commodities firm.

While members of parliament are not banned from topping up their earnings by working for private companies, there are strict rules around how they should do so, including declaring all interests on a public register and not making use of parliamentary resources.

Five years ago, Mr Cameron warned corporate lobbying was the “next big scandal” waiting to hit parliament.

Mr Straw suspended himself from the Labour party in parliament, while Mr Rifkind had the Conservative whip suspended, meaning both will sit in the House of Commons as independent politicians for now.

They now face investigations by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, which investigates allegations of rule breaking by MPs.

This can lead to penalties such as a temporary suspension from the House of Commons or compelling an apology.

The allegations come 10 weeks before a knife-edge general election in Britain and threaten to make political ethics a campaign issue.

MPs deny any wrongdoing

Mr Straw and Mr Rifkind took to the airwaves on Monday to defend themselves.

Mr Straw insisted he had been discussing work he might do after stepping down as an MP after the May 7 general election, following 36 years in office.

“There are very, very strict rules here about what members of parliament can and can’t do,” he told BBC radio.

“I absolutely kept not only to their letter but also to their spirit.”

Mr Rifkind, who chairs the parliamentary committee that oversees Britain’s intelligence services, vowed to fight the allegations “with all my strength”.

“I didn’t accept any offer. This was a preliminary discussion. I was not negotiating at all. I’m sorry, Channel 4 are very good at producing selective quotations out of context,” he said on BBC radio.

Mr Cameron’s official spokesman declined to comment on whether Mr Rifkind should remain chairman of the intelligence committee following questions by some MPs, saying that was for parliament to decide.

Labour leader Ed Miliband wrote to Mr Cameron proposing a cap on the amount politicians could earn from outside interests following the news.

But Mr Cameron does not back the view that a House of Commons “full of professional politicians with no outside experience is a good thing,” the spokesman said.

The Telegraph said journalists had contacted 12 politicians in the investigation, six of whom did not respond and one who said his contacts were not “for sale”.

The newspaper previously exposed a major scandal over MPs’ lavish expenses in 2009, which revealed that politicians had claimed public money for everything from a floating duck house to moat cleaning.

ABC/AFP

25) Greece sends economic reform plans to European institutions after deadline change, source says

Updated 24 February 2015, 19:20 AEDT
By Europe correspondent Mary Gearin, wires

Greece has sent its list of economic reform plans to European institutions and the International Monetary Fund, a source close to the European Commission said.

The reform plans were sent at around midnight, after the Eurogroup changed its set deadline of close of business on Monday, to Tuesday morning local time.

The European Commission source told Reuters the list marks a promising start for Greece’s economic reform.

“In the Commission’s view, this list is sufficiently comprehensive to be a valid starting point for a successful conclusion of the review,” the source said.

“We are notably encouraged by the strong commitment to combat tax evasion and corruption.”

Greece said it had worked closely with its eurozone partners in drawing up the list.

Germany, the biggest contributor to Greece’s two bailouts totalling 240 billion euros, insisted earlier that any extra spending on Athens’s list of reforms had to be offset by savings or higher taxes.

The new plan contains a number of concessions to the eurozone, and some in the ruling Syriza party are reported to be unhappy with the compromises.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had promised to scrap the program when he won election last month.

Athens has stressed the reforms would at least be decided by Greeks, in contrast to the austerity policies dictated by foreign creditors since they bailed out the country in 2010.

The government of radical leftist prime minister Mr Tsipras staged a climb-down on Friday to win the four-month extension of Greece’s bailout, which had been due to expire on February 28.

New reforms include clampdown on tax evasion: official

The measures would include tackling what Mr Tsipras calls Greece’s “humanitarian crisis” – hardship created during years of economic depression – while dealing with tax arrears and bad loans, and ending the foreclosure of primary homes, the official said.

They would also crack down on tax evasion, smuggling and corruption, restructure the public sector and cut red tape.

The list will also include parts of the government’s “Thessaloniki programme” which in total envisages spending of 1.8 billion euros over a full year on relief measures such as free electricity and meals for the poor, while raising 3 billion euros from steps such as collecting tax arrears.

Mr Tsipras has declared victory in Friday’s deal. But veteran leftist Manolis Glezos, a Syriza member of the European Parliament, accused him of failing to fulfil Syriza’s campaign promises and said simply avoiding inflammatory wording would not soothe the public.

Europe’s finance ministers are due to hold a teleconference within the next day to decide if the Greek proposals do pass muster.

ABC/Reuters

HEALTH

26) Uni, hospital ink deal

Source:
The National, Tuesday February 24th, 2015

AN agreement between the Port Moresby General Hospital and PNG University School of Medicine and Health Sciences will see the standard of medical training, education and patient care improve, hospital chief executive   Grant Muddle said.
He said it was something the hospital had desired for many years with the idea seen as the right direction but never actioned.
Under Muddle and with support from the medical school executive Dean Prof Dr Nakapi Tefuarani, the opportunity for change and drive saw the agreement signed.
“The MoA (agreement) will  strengthen and formalise the relationship between PMGH and UPNG,” Muddle said.
“Health in PNG is a focus of the government, and we have to deliver on the challenges they have set up.
“PMGH has undergone substantial changes since the appointment of the new hospital board and my appointment as CEO.
“This new partnership with UPNG is another leap in the right direction.”
Tefuarani said the agreement was needed to ensure clear outcomes in training, teaching and caring for patients by both institutions.
“PMGH and UPNG have their individual objectives for PNG. The primary role of the university is to educate medical students, nurses, dentists and allied health specialists, and develop them into leading practitioners across this wide range of medical specialists, while PMGH has the primary role of patient treatment and care.

27)  212 dengue cases confirmed in Fiji , Northern division tops list
By Online Editor
10:00 pm GMT+12, 23/02/2015, Fiji

Fiji’s Ministry of Health has confirmed a total of 212 laboratory confirmed cases of dengue fever so far this year.

And the Northern Division tops the list with 157 confirmed cases while the Central Division has 28 confirmed cases. The Western Division to date has recorded 27 confirmed cases.

The high number of cases in the province of Macuata has become a cause of concern to medical authorities as persons of all ages are affected.

Fijians of Indian descent lead the stats with 55% while 45% of those infected belong to the Itaukei community with 57% of cases being males and 43% females. Cleanup campaigns to destroy mosquito breeding grounds which are on going from 2014 have been intensified this year in Macuata and other affected areas.

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services advises the general public to take all precautionary measures to prevent being bitten by mosquitoes, including using mosquito repellant, cleaning compounds, and destroying all possible mosquito breeding grounds.

The current Macuata dengue outbreak is caused by dengue virus serotype 2.

SOURCE: FIJI LIVE/PACNEWS

EDUCATION

28) Back to school loan promo

Source:
The National, Tuesday February 24th, 2015

NASFUND Contributors Savings and Loan Society’s (NCSL) is giving away K10,000 in prizes to 29 lucky members in a promotion.
The Back to School Loan promotion began last month and will run for eight weeks.
Members can enter the draw by obtaining a loan for school fees or other school-related expenses.
Winners will receive prizes ranging from K100 stationery vouchers for Theodist Ltd, phone tablets from Bmobile Vodafone and Lenovo laptops from Datec. The society offers all purpose loans for immediate and unexpected financial needs at a 1 per cent interest rate per month on the reducing balance of the loan amount.
Loans can be granted from a low K200 and maximum is determined by the amount of a member’s savings, with repayment terms extended to 60 months.
NCSL was established in 2003, it now has a membership base of more than 72,000.

29) Uni, partners researching prawns

Source:
The National, Tuesday February 24th, 2015

THE University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG), the National Fisheries Authority (NFA) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) are carrying out research on giant freshwater prawns, Macrobrachium snippis, using a new aquaculture technique.
“The aim of the research is to understand their biology in order to commercialise them,” marine biologist and deep-sea researcher Dr Ralp Mana said
“This was an initiative by NFA’s inland fisheries division which started last year and funded by NFA for K200,000 and it will be carried out for two years,” Mana said.
The aquaculture technique involves breeding prawns in tanks using pressure pumps to aerate the water and provide air for the prawns.
“It was designed by experts from Fiji who, through the SPC, have taught us the technique,” Mana said.
“The prawns used to live in all our local freshwaters in PNG but the samples from this project were collected here in Central.
“We collected these prawns from Agevaru along the Hiritano Highway and some from last year’s brood stock (offspring).
“We are trying to understand its biology in terms of its feeding requirements and food-type, water quality for survival and so forth.
“Once we understand this, we can train locals to venture into its farming and strengthen their income-generating capacities.
“It is a competitor in the fisheries market so we are trying to understand how to breed it in-doors and transfer it out-doors for farming.”

POLITIC

30) Fiji PM praises China for post-coup support

24 February 2015

Fiji’s prime minister Frank Bainimarama has prasied China for its support of his country after 2006.

He says China stayed by Fiji’s side because it recognised what was being done was for the long-term benefit of the Fijian people.

The coup, led by Mr Bainimarama in 2006, resulted in several countries imposing sanctions on Fiji and its suspension from the Commonwealth and the Pacific Islands Forum.

Mr Bainimarama, who was speaking at Chinese New Year celebrations in Suva, says Fiji’s relationship with China reached new heights with last year’s visit by the Chinese president Xi Jinping.

He says the annual volume of trade between China and Fiji has reached 340 million US dollars, and is growing on current figures by 12 per cent a year.

Mr Bainimarama says Fiji is determined to increase tourist numbers from China which have grown seven-fold over the past six years.

He said China has done a huge amount to improve Fiji’s infrastructure, including roads, public housing, hydroelectric and solar projects and hospitals.

The prime minister also thanked the descendants of early Chinese settlers in Fiji for their contribution to Fiji’s development.RNZI

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MEDIA

31) Sodelpa member threatens Fiji Sun with court

23 February 2015

Peter Waqavonovono complained to MIDA after reading an article by Jyoti Pratibha that said he needed to shave and buy deodorant.

He also complained about another article that blamed opposition parties for being racist and divisive.

MIDA has ruled the article about the opposition parties was antagonistic, thoroughly yoked in the logic of race and bereft of facts, while the article about Mr Waqavonovono was defamatory and incriminating in nature.

Mr Waqavonovono says while he’s pleased MIDA ruled in his favour, the response is nothing more than a strongly-worded letter, and he plans to take the newspaper to court.

“I’m hoping to take a lot of people along with me. So I’m just encouraging as many people who feel they have been defamed, who feel they have been misrepresented by the Fiji Sun and we’re all going to pitch in and take this mega newspaper to court.”

Peter Waqavonovono.

The Fiji Sun newspaper has rejected a ruling by the country’s Media Industry Development Authority against one of its journalists, Jyoti Pratibha.

MIDA has ruled that two articles about opposition parties were antagonistic, thoroughly yoked in the logic of race and bereft of facts, while an article about Sodelpa’s youth leader, Peter Waqavonovono, was defamatory and incriminating in nature.

In an article in today’s Fiji Sun, publisher Peter Lomas says the ruling appears to have been made by MIDA’s chair, Ashwin Raj, alone.

He says Ms Pratibha’s robust reporting is being targeted through a smear campaign by people linked to the opposition.

Mr Lomas says all news media should be concerned by the ruling, which could mean Fijian journalism can be stifled by the opinion of one man.

He says the Fiji Sun’s lawyers will be looking at all options in response.RNZI

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BUSINESS

32) New transfer system in full swing

Source:
The National, Friday February 20th, 2015

THE Bank of Papua New Guinea yesterday has reached a milestone when it finally declared the Kina Automated Transfer System (KATS) fully operational, Governor Loi Bakani says.
He said KATS would be the foundation to increase the participation of rural population in the formal financial services.
“KATS is the solid foundation for increasing the participation of our rural population in the formal services,” Bakani said.
“KATS is an inter-bank system only, one of whose primary strengths is its real time gross settlement.
“The system would all allow businesses houses, companies, organisations and individuals in Papua New Guinea to make direct payments using their funds held in a bank account to an account held in another bank.”
He said cheque payments made by these organisations through banks would be much faster and convenient.
“Cheque processing will be faster and more accurate with electronic processing using imaging technology rather than paper (1-2 day clearing time),” he said.
“Initially it will be 4 days with the likelihood of a decrease after the settling in period. One major benefits of KATS is that government payments can be faster and less open to fraud.”
Bakani said KATS had come about with BPNG’s completion of the National Payments System Act (NPS) which would provide a modern legal foundation to all developments undertaken by BPNG in terms of payment systems.

33) Partnership for ‘Easipawa’

Source:
The National, Tuesday February 24th, 2015

A GLOBAL software provider is supporting Digicel to offer prepaid electricity to consumers in PNG.
Canadian-based company Redknee Solution is supporting Digicel’s “Easipawa” service through its converged billing system, allowing Digicel customers to buy electricity using their mobile phones.
Working in partnership with PNG Power Ltd, Redknee and Digicel have provided an alternative solution to the existing prepaid electricity voucher top-up payment method.
Chief executive officer Lucas Skoczkowski said they were pleased to support Digicel’s growth strategy to deliver converged billing into the energy sector.
“Utilising Redknee’s converged billing solution, Digicel has the capability efficiently manage their subscribers and service revenue through a centralised platform,” he said. “The utilities sector and other verticals such as health and transportation are increasingly providing avenues for communication service providers to increase customer loyalty, increase revenue and improve profitability.
“We (Redknee) will continue to invest in our real-time software to support service providers worldwide, and advance our position as the provider of choice for monetisation and subscriber management solutions.”
Digicel PNG CEO John Mangos said the Easipawa service was responsible for a majority of pre-paid electricity purchases in the country.
“Redknee’s converged billing solution is supporting Digicel to launch new data services and provide advanced customer care capabilities to enhance the experience of our customers,” he said.

 34) PX suspends all flights to Kundiawa
Source:
The National, Tuesday February 24th, 2015

AIR Niugini will suspend all flights into Kundiawa Airport in Chimbu from Sunday temporarily.
The airline said the National Airports Corporation would be carrying out essential maintenance and upgrade of the runway, which necessitated closure.
“The suspension is indefinite and we will advise once the works are complete and flights can resume,” the company said in a statement.
All passengers who have been booked and issued tickets are advised to re-route either via Mt Hagen or Goroka.
Changes to travel will be made without penalty.

35) Kina weakens against foreign currencies
By Online Editor
8:15 pm GMT+12, 22/02/2015, Papua New Guinea

As had been predicted by economists and certain financial institutions in the country years earlier, Papua New Guinea’s kina value continues to depreciate against foreign currencies.

In these recent months, the kina rate has seen a steady drop against the US dollar ($US) from 0.3910 in early December last year, to 0.3815 ending the month January 2015 and further down to 0.3795 last week.

According to reports and statistics, this sharp fall in the kina value started after 2012 and as predicted, will continue the downward trend as long as the demand for kina continues to decrease.

While speaking to media last Thursday, Governor for Bank of Papua New Guinea Loi Bakani, confirmed a mismatch in the market where the demand for foreign currency remained high while the supply coming into the country had decreased; which meant a decrease in the demand for kina, resulting in its depreciation.

Bakani said prior to 2012, a lot of foreign currency was coming into the country through foreign companies attached with PNG LNG project for the construction phase.

He said during this time, foreign companies paying for operations in the country increased the demand for kina, causing an appreciation in the kina value.

However, after the construction phase, when operations of foreign companies attached with LNG project stopped, supply for foreign currencies started to fall even though the demand still remains high.

“The kina has a floating exchange rate regime so its rate is determined by supply and demand for kina in the market, or vise-versa the foreign currency.

“PNGK is determined against the US and set by the market on a daily basis, so if there is more demand for foreign currency, then you will see the kina going down; as it has over the last few months,” Bakani explained.

“On the other hand, the US economy is recovering and getting stronger, making the US dollar strong also.”

Bakani further pointed out that the depreciation in kina value due to lower foreign currencies coming into the country is partly because of low international prices on PNG’s exports.

However, the central bank governor also stated that this was in the benefit of the exporters and encouraged exporters to increase production and export.

Meanwhile, the  bank of Papua New Guinea (BPNG) has appealed to businesses in the country that are illegally using designs of bank notes for private commercial purposes to stop doing so.

BPNG Governor Loi Bakani said it has come to their attention that small businesses and traders, many of whom have no approval from the central bank, have been using designs found on bank notes on their merchandises for commercial and advertising purposes.

He said those who are doing this without approval of the central bank were in breach of the act that protects these designs as property of the Bank.

“At this stage, we encourage people that before they can use this design on any commercial item or for advertising purposes, they have to get approval from us,” said Bakani. “It is under our Act that when you use designs on anything that is not legal tender, it is illegal.”

Bakani said these designs are being printed on laplaps, stationary and even pictures of bank notes such as K100  (US$37) put in wallets.

He said the central bank will be issuing advertisements and public notices regarding this matter soon.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

36) Vanuatu chicken farmers benefit from PNG
By Online Editor
10:11 pm GMT+12, 23/02/2015, Papua New Guinea

Vanuatu farmers have benefited from PNG in raising their own chickens at village level for food security and income generation.

Through a regional project implemented by PNG’s National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI), with funding support from the  European Union, more farmers have observed improvements in village chicken farming with increases in egg production, chicken numbers and income.

NARI livestock scientist Martin Lobao said farmers had expressed satisfaction at the outcomes of their labour after using improved skills and techniques imparted by NARI experts.

Unlike PNG, Vanuatu doesn’t have a domestic poultry industry for commercial eggs and frozen chickens. All poultry-based products are imported, mostly from New Zealand.

The initiative has enabled local farmers to produce their own chickens to meet their protein and income needs.

Lobao said that farmers were also doing well with food crop farming, food processing, livestock feed development and soil and water management.

Some of the agricultural products developed under this arrangement are seen in  convenience shops and common places like the airport and markets, he said after returning from a recent visit to several project sites.

Similar support is also provided to Solomon Island farmers.

SOURCE: PNG LOOP/PACNEWS

INFRASTRUCTURE

37) K2m road project launched

Source:
The National, Tuesday February 24th, 2015

Wewak district has made a significant move to return the inland Arapesh people of Dagua, East Sepik, to their villages by launching a K2 million road project from Urip to Sapuain and Wihun villages last week.
Wewak MP Jim Simatab did the groundbreaking for the road works at Woginara 2 village, in the presence of the village people who have been so passionate about returning to their villages.
These people from remote inland villages with no connection to the outside world were resettled by the late Peter Simogun at Woginara and Urip villages in 1945 to help him construct the now West Coast Highway using knives, shovels and axes.
They helped greatly in other infrastructure and economic activities that set the foundation for the development seen today in Wewak district.

“Simogun brought us here and for the last 70 years and we have been working hard to live in this foreign land,” an elite from the area, Edward Buasin, said.

38) Locals to benefit from proper road
Source:
The National, Tuesday February 24th, 2015

ABOUT 40,000 to 50,000 people living between Kagua station and Sumia near the junction of Mendi and Hela, will soon benefit from a proper road.
The provincial road built during the colonial period had been neglected for many years until last month when Kagua-Erave MP James Lagea and his District Development Authority allocated more than K3 million to give it a major face-lift.
The District Development Authority engaged local firm Sakal Construction for K2.2 million to work on improving the road.
Lagea said maintenance of the back road to Mendi would reduce the burden faced by people from the 24 council wards in the Aiya local level government.
He said the company had already covered six kilometres of maintenance from Kagua station to Papiri village and by next month would reach the Wambi Lutheran mission station.
He said as soon as the government accounts opened and a commitment by provincial government came in, that would help complete maintaining the 20km section from Kagua to Sumia road junction.
He said in 2008, he allocated K1 million to re-gravel the road from Yariya village, near Sumia, to Usa, about 6km away.

Works Minister Francis Awesa helped by upgrading the section from Haga Bridge to Yariya. Lagea said work was progressing well despite the poor weather affecting heavy machinery. He said as part of cost cutting measures, his administration spent about K1 million to develop a quarry near Kagua station.

39) PNG capital to get roading boost

23 February 2015

The Papua New Guinea government will allocate nearly 188 millon US dollars to build more roads in Port Moresby to cater for the increasing number of motor vehicles.

The Post Courier reports that the National Capital District Governor Powes Parkop says the NCD Commission and the government would build six flyovers in the capital to ease traffic.

The flyover over the Poreporena Highway and Waigani Drive, is estimated to cost between 22 and 38 million dollars.

Mr Parkop says the new roads have been tendered and are awaiting contractors.

He says the Moresby city road network takes on an average of 500 new vehicles every month.RNZI

LAW&ORDER

40) PNG’s security paramount
By Online Editor
10:04 pm GMT+12, 23/02/2015, Papua New Guinea

Defence and security of a country is the primary responsibility of the Government, said  Papua New Guinea Defence Minister Fabian Pok when presenting the Defence Report 2011 in Parliament last week.

Pok said in Papua New Guinea, the Constitution specifies that PNG Defence Force has four core tasks – to defend PNG, participate in international obligations, contribute to nation-building, and to provide aid to civil powers in times of disasters, call-outs or emergencies.

Pok said in 2011, PNGDF conducted major operational activities including land border patrols, maritime surveillance, regional and international support and military exercises.

The maritime surveillance in alliance with National Fisheries and Forum Fisheries Authorities resulted in the squadron intercepting several illegal vessels with more than K2 million (US$749,000) court fines paid to the State.

PNGDF’s involvement included the deployment of two platoon size contingents to Solomon Islands under the regional assistance mission (RAMSI), and later provided four officers to Sudan for the United Nations mission observers, an initiation to international peacekeeping operation, following passing of the international obligation law in 2010.

Pok told Parliament that the people, as principal stakeholders of PNGDF, needed to be informed of the operational control and superintendence of the force.

The strength of the force in 2011 was just over 2000 with 300 new intakes of officers and other ranks.

“As a nation, we face many security challenges as we strive to evolve into a progressive and prosperous nation. As a government, we will develop and implement response capabilities within defence and the entire spectrum of our national security machinery,” Pok said..

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

41) Member of Fiji’s Sodelpa tells of personal torture

24 Feb 2015

A youth member of Fiji’s opposition Sodelpa party Pita Waqavonovono has given his personal experience of torture at the hands of the military at a parliamentary hearing in Suva.

The Sodelpa Youth Wing was among groups making submissions to the Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee which is looking into whether Fiji should ratify the UN Convention Against Torture.

Mr Waqavonovono told the committee in December 2006 he was beaten, abused and humiliated for exercising his right to free speech and he alleged the Prime Minister Frank Bainiamarama was one of those involved.

He told the committee Fiji owed it to young people to sign the convention as they were among the many detained and then hospitalised after the 2006 coup.

The Youth Wing called for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission and said Fiji must not only ratify the treaty but its optional protocols.

It said the government must be ready to have many of its current procedures and laws strengthened under the lense of the treaty.RNZI

42) UN demand for more female troops in peacekeeping mission: Fiji Military
By Online Editor
10:07 pm GMT+12, 23/02/2015, Fiji

The United Nations has demanded for more females to be recruited by the Fiji Military Forces in peacekeeping missions.

Republic of Fiji Military Forces, Land Force Commander Sitiveni Qiliho says this is in relation to gender balance in which a certain quota is required by UN for females troops.

Qiliho says the RFMF have yet to fulfill the requirement by the UN and are now working towards this.

“The first lot of women recruited into the RFMF was on 5th of February 1988 and there were few recruits later and then it stopped. Now the military has looked into the number for females and we are now required to recruit another hundred”.

In all fields of peacekeeping, women peacekeepers have proven that they can perform the same roles under the same difficult conditions, as their male counterparts.

Qiliho says Fiji is not the only country that has struggled to meet the gender criteria.

“Not all troops contributing countries have been able to fulfil that requirement and that is why the Fiji Military Forces is working towards a reasonable number of women that we have to sustain those operations.”

In 1993, women made up 1% of deployed uniformed personnel. In 2012 , out of approximately 125,000 peacekeepers, women constituted 3 percent of military personnel and 10 percent of police personnel in UN Peacekeeping missions.

Meanwhile, the Fiji Military Forces will take up an offer to go to Jerusalem if given the chance.

Qiliho says military personnel are currently serving at the United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO) Headquarters in Jerusalem and is part of the observer group in Lebanon.

“The RFMF hopes that when the offer comes, we will look into it and take up the offer of sending more officers as observers in that mission. It is an observer mission that requires commissioned officers to take part.”

UNTSO has an observer group monitoring and observing the situation in Golan and Egypt.

SOURCE: FBC NEWS/PACNEWS

CLIMATE CHANGE,CONSERVATION,ENVIROMENT


43) Tsunami hits Paama
By Online Editor
10:03 pm GMT+12, 23/02/2015, Vanuatu

— An earthquake measuring 6.6 on the Richter Scale that struck between Paama and Ambrym triggered a tsunami that hit Paama on Thursday night, February 19, 2015.

Speaking to the local media via phone from Paama, Malampa Fisheries Officer Kevin Morris who was at Tavie village said, “It was almost dawn when we were awakened by the tremors.”

“The children were crying. Few minutes after the ground shook, we heard the sound of the approaching tsunami and fled to higher ground where we stayed until morning when the chiefs indicated it was safe to return.

“Upon returning, we discovered that our underground well, located nearly 15 meters from the shoreline was completely buried. A cow tied to a nearby tree had also disappeared”.

SOURCE: VANUATU DAILY POST/PACNEWS

44) Locals learn to minimise risks in disaster resilience

Source:
The National, Tuesday February 24th, 2015

HUON Gulf villagers in Morobe’s south coast had a chance to enhance their skills on how to strategise goals and identify methods to minimise risks using local knowledge in disaster resilience.
The USAID funded project led by International Organisation for Migration (IOM) saw a two-week disaster risk reduction community-based planning in three wards – Zare, Aingse and Kobo-Wainsoduna. Villagers, through the establishment of community-based disaster risk management plans (CBDMP), identified posts during and after disaster activities as a prepared mechanism when disaster occurred. The wards, through respective CBDRMP and the community learning system (CLS), identified warning signs and ensured people evacuated from prone areas to prevent loss of lives.

   MINING,AGRICULTURE,FISHERIES

45) British mining company optimistic about takeover

Source:
The National, Tuesday February 24th, 2015

A BRITISH mining company is set to take over the Kainantu mine, in Eastern Highlands, from Barrick Gold Corporation.
K92 Holdings International Ltd will acquire the gold-copper mine from Barrick Kainantu Ltd (BKL) through its subsidiary K92 Holdings (PNG) Ltd after BKL had its mining leases renewed by the Mineral Resources Authority.
K92 Holdings chief executive officer Ian Stalker said that the renewal of the mining lease was a new beginning for the company.
“Today’s mining lease renewal news is in many ways a starting point for K92,” Stalker said.
“K92’s focus is to fast-track the restart of mining and milling operations on site and start exploration with the goal of identifying and defining further high grade resources.
“Our business model, developed by an outstanding team of mining professionals, is based on a foundation of low and well defined capital expenditure requirements, high grade resources and a strong existing infrastructure.”
The company stated that it plans to refurbish the existing mill and Irumafimpa mine underground infrastructure which would see commencement of production in the third quarter of 2015.

Kainantu mine was previously closed down by Barrick in early 2009 after it was deemed unprofitable, two years after it purchased it from Highlands Pacific Ltd in 2007.

46) Call for better cooperation

Source:
The National, Tuesday February 24th, 2015

OIL palm, though new to the country compared to traditional crops like coffee and cocoa, was able to become a successful export crop due to cooperation between investors and local growers, Institute of National Affairs executive director Paul Barker says.
Speaking during a workshop held in Goroka, Eastern Highlands, recently Barker said different export crops in the country needed proper coordination between smallholders, investors and governing agencies to be able to become successful exports.
“Oil palm has become popular in provinces like West New Britain, Northern, Milne Bay and New Ireland and is certainly expanding into other provinces,” he said.
“But its success has been partly on the basis of the cooperation between large investors and our growers.
“Coffee has been quite organised by the traditional coffee exporters but as we heard in this workshop, the state sector has disappeared from coffee and cocoa – not entirely but mostly has and has mostly been replaced by our smallholders.
“It was said for a long time, that there was need to build up the agriculture department. Not to have a large staff but to have a team of well-informed people who facilitate, help with funding, support the provinces, support the sector’s organisations, help coordinate their programmes and build up their (provinces’) capacity.”
However, he said despite these good intentions, this hasn’t been the case.
“It’s been more like waging a battle with those sector organisations (by responsible government agencies) and try to take over control from them (sector organisations) and not providing the level of support that’s needed – it’s part of the problem.”
Barker said leaders have to listen  and develop and implement policies based on the needs of the industry.
“The first thing will be to have events like this (workshop) where the minister actually comes and participates and listens and tries
to develop and apply policies based on what the industry needs,” he said.
“We need these national agricultural plans and that needs to be a coordinated effort within the whole industry.
“Funds need to be made available and these funds must then be accountably managed.”

 47) Proposed Logging Operation Threatens Solomons World Heritage Site

Rennell villagers reportedly explore logging near Lake Tagano

By Teddy Kafo

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Feb. 24, 2015) – A new proposed logging on Rennell Island, Renbel Province, has further threaten the status of the World Heritage listed Lake Tegano.

Reports from the area said a group of villagers are proposing to engage a logging company to operate in east Rennell, where the lake is located.

The proposed logging site is located further east of the lake. This site is said to be a habitat of rare bird species, flora and fauna.

“They prop-loggers owned pockets of land along the lake’s water line extending down towards the sea shore,” one villager said.

He said the landowners are in the process of consulting logging cohorts providing bits and digits of their proposals.

However, a Rennell man, who asked not to be named, said the proposed logging is likely to be hindered by the rough landscape.

“There are no proper sites for a log point seeing the eastern shoreline was dominated by sheering steep cliffs and outlying coral reefs,” he said.

“Those areas being proposed for logging in East Rennel are located far from the current head road and linking a road through means entering into many other land owned by different people.”

The villager added that no logging company wishing to make a profit would log in the area, considering the cost and geography.

East Rennell was enlisted World Heritage Natural Site in 1998.

Recent logging activities at the Western parts of the island saw UNESCO listing it under “endanger” list in 2013.

The lake, 29 km long and 10 km wide is the largest body of enclosed water in the insular Pacific (15,500 ha).

The freshwater is brackish and contains many rugged limestone islands and endemic species.

The agile surrounding ecosystem is mostly covered with dense forest, with a canopy averaging 20 metres in height.

The site is under customary land ownership and management.

Meanwhile, I Lukim Sustainability Solomon Islands (ISSI) director Watson Puiahi, who contributed generously to the heritage site advocacy in past years, said people will be tempted to invite loggers because past governments have not provided any form of sustainable development to villagers near the lake.

“Resource owners are becoming weary of proposed sustainability projects thus they turn their money-driven minds to logging,” Mr Puiahi said.

He said one thing he fears is the possible delisting of the heritage site in the near future.

“The ongoing logging and mining on the island will horizontally affect the biodiversity of the environment.

“As an NGO we have tried our best to educate the people about the fragility of the environment and its wealth of treasures stored for future generation to utilise.”

He urged to government to step in and protect the World Heritage site.

“Scenic Lake Tegano has a great potential to become a tourist mecca. It is home to some birds found nowhere else in Solomon Islands,” he said.

“I believe that the site would lure tourists into Solomon Islands should conservation are practised.”

Late last year Secretary of Tegano’s World Heritage Association George Tauika made a call to stop mining taking place on the Island as it will directly affect the site.

“Why did the government continue to encourage developments but fail to put in place strict guidelines and policies to protect resources owners and their resources?

“Such practices show the government’s lack of concern for the integrity and welfare of its people,” Mr Tauika said.

Besides logging, a mining company was recently granted a licence to do bauxite mining on Rennell.

Solomon Star

48) Solomons gold mine still up for sale

24 Feb 2015

The Australian owner of the close Gold Ridge gold mine on Guadalcanal says there is third party interest in buying the mine even as it negotiates a possible sale to the Solomon Islands government.

Negotiations between the previous govermnent and Australian-based St Barbara were well advanced last year but the company has had to start from scratch with the new govenrment coming into power in November.

The government wants extensive research and feasibility studies done into the viability of it acquiring the mine.

St Barbara’s chief executive, Bob Vassie, says he is keeping an open mind in considering the future of the mine.

“There actually is still some interest out there given that the gold price has increased in recent times or at least in the Australian dollar terms. So we would still consider third party interests. And it is quite possible that the government would want it to go that way as well, if it meant there was a prospect of the operations coming back on line.”RNZI

49) Axiom discovers more nickel in Solomons’ Isabel

24 Feb 2015

The Solomon Islands government says Axiom Mining Limited has discovered there is a lot more nickel at the Isabel Province site than previously thought.

The company’s initial exploratory drilling has also found the nickel is of a high grade.

The prime minister, Manasseh Sogavare, says it’s a significant finding and brings Solomon Islands closer to much-needed economic recovery, following the closure of the Gold Ridge Mine.

Axiom is facing a legal bid by the Japanese mining giant Sumitomo over its ownership of the Isabel nickel deposit.RNZI

50) Private sector says EU fisheries report inaccurate

24 Feb 2015

The Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation says a European Union report on fisheries in the region does not reflect the real situation.

The EU report is designed to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, and has yellow carded several Pacific countries including Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu.

Ms Volvola says the report raises several questions because there was no consultation with regional organisations.

“I believe they’re biased. Biased in the sense that they are not fully reporting the progress that has been done here in the Pacific. The countries that have worked hard, the management system of fisheries that have been put in place. So maybe they’re not fully acknowledging it.”RNZI

SPORTS

51) K70m for safety

Source:
The National, Tuesday February 24th, 2015

By PETER PUSAL
THE Papua New Guinea Government will spend up to K70 million on security at the Pacific Games in July.
Sports Minister and Games Justin Tkatchenko said the event would be as safe as any other Games in response to a Fiji Broadcasting Corporation story yesterday quoting Pacific Games Council president Vidhya Lakhan cautioning Team Fiji to take heed of security warnings when in Port Moresby. “From our perspective, it will not be an issue if you follow the instructions of the organising committee,” Lakhan said.
“You will be told where you can go and where you can’t go. If we follow the instructions, then we will be safe.
“But if you want to sneak out in the middle of the night and go to nightclubs and all that, then you will obviously be inviting trouble.”
Tkatchenko said Lakhan’s comments had only served to paint a negative picture of the city and country.
“Vidhya’s comments are very unfortunate,” Tkatchenko said.
“Yes, of course there are safety issues in a big city but I can assure all our visitors and teams that these Games will be secured using the police, defence force and the Australian Federal Police.
“Every venue at the Games will have its own police commander and a group of police, defence and AFP personnel to protect the facilities and the people and to make them feel safe.
“If anything, we’re overdoing the security but if that’s what it takes then that’s what we’ll do.”
He said crime and safety were issues in any city around the world and Port Moresby was no different.
He said the State had already allocated K30 million to the police force for the Games operation, which was not part of the K1.2 billion Games funding.
“The police have been given K30 million already to prepare for the Pacific Games and the Government will spend a further K40m to make sure the Games are as safe as can be. The police will properly  be equipped and ready for the Games. The money for the security is not from the Games budget. This shows that we are serious about protecting the athletes, fans and property.”
Tkatchenko said he was “comfortable” with the security arrangements.
Games organising committee chief executive officer Peter Stewart said security briefings for teams were a normal practice for Games and major events around the world.
“We will brief them (teams) on transport, airport operations, village operations, accreditation, catering, ceremonies, arrivals and departures, and probably 100 other matters that teams need to be aware of,” Stewart said.
Tkatchenko said the city and the country would welcome the visitors and be the best hosts they could be during the Games from July 4-18.

52) Hunters to hit Cairns

Source:
The National, Tuesday February 24th, 2015

IN a huge boost for Papua New Guinea fans in the region, the Hunters will make their only appearance in Cairns this year in a pre-season trial match against the Northern Pride on Friday.
The trial came about due to the cancellation of the SP Hunters trial game against the Ipswich Jets last Saturday due to cyclonic conditions in south-east Queensland and the closure of outdoor sporting venues.
Hunters chief executive officer Brad Tassell thanked the Northern Pride for their support of the match and said it was a real coup for the Queensland Cup and national champions.
“I know the Pride were disappointed they weren’t allocated a home game against us this season and this certainly will make up for that,” Tassell said.
“Cairns is one of our biggest support bases in the state and we are really happy that we can now play in Cairns this year.
“When I picked up the phone to Rod, he worked hard to get it done and it’s great that clubs can work together to bring this game to the people of Cairns.
“We will unveil a new look side and have our new season merchandise available to fans at the game.
“It is a once-only opportunity for fans to see the Hunters in action live this year and we hope that the Prides’ foresight is rewarded with a huge crowd on Friday night.”
The trial match will not be telecast. TVWAN did everything possible but logistics with transport of broadcast equipment from Brisbane, uplink and the late change meant they could not guarantee the match could be fully televised.

“TVWAN will however be able to put together a two-camera highlights package to air after the match.” Pride chief executive Rod Jensen said the club was excited about hosting the Hunters.

53) Tonga hopes to learn from PNG’s situation, improve for 2019

Source:
The National, Tuesday February 24th, 2015

TONGA’S 2019 Pacific Games chairman Lord Fred Sevele says Tonga should learn from Papua New Guinea’s mistakes and get its house in order to host the next Games in its capital, Nuku’alofa.
Sevele made the comment after the Pacific Games Council endorsed the 2019 Pacific Games master plan last week.
During the visit to Tonga last week, the PGC board endorsed the master plan, including the review on 2015 Pacific Games to be hosted by PNG.
Chairman Vidya Lakahn told the 2019 Tonga Games Organising Committee that his board was satisfied that the plan was consistent with the ‘Walking Games’ concept, where the majority of the Games venues would be located in the main population centre of Nuku’alofa and within walking distance of athletes’ accommodation.  “We are pleased to see that Tonga’s master plan avoids mistakes that some previous Games hosts have made in building venues in locations where few people live and where public transport to these venues is limited,” Sevele said.
“The Pacific Games Council executive board has urged the Tongan government to endorse the plan and move swiftly towards its implementation so that venues can be built or refurbished well in advance before the Games in 2019.”
Lord Sevele cited PNG’s preparation as an example.
He said PNG was awarded in 2009 the rights to host the 2015 Pacific Games and their budget for the 2015 Games in 2009 was just over US$100 million (K264m).
But with four months left before the official opening on July 4, its budget has skyrocketed to US$700m (K1.8 billion) as investors have found it difficult to make a positive turnover in just over a year’s investment.
Sevele said he hoped Tonga learned from PNG’s mistakes and acted now.

“It’s not too much work if we all put our minds and energy together in making it happen. We cannot afford to wait until the dates draw nearer to start working.”

54) PNG Garamuts wary of complacency

24 Feb 2015

They might be overwhelming favourites but Papua New Guinea insist there is no risk of complacency in their camp during this week’s East Asia Pacific Under 19 Cricket Champs in Blenheim.

PNG have represented the region at the last four Under 19 World Cups and the winner of this week’s tournament will earn direct entry into next year’s event in Bangladesh.

In a change from last year, the runner-up will get a second chance to qualify at a global event featuring teams from Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas.

The PNG Garamuts play Fiji in their first match and national head coach Dipak Patel, who is assisting the team, says they’re taking all of their opposition seriously.

“People keep talking about the Cricket PNG Under 19 boys being favourites but we’ve just got to take every game as it comes. We’ve tried to prepare our boys the best we can with limited resources and we feel we can go into the tournament comfortable [with the challenge of] sort of defending our title from the previous years so [ we will] see how we go”.

Vanuatu meet Samoa in the other first-round match.RNZI

55) Pacific teams begin qualifying bid for U19 Cricket World Cup

24 Feb 2015

The best young cricketers in the Pacific begin their quest to qualify for the Under 19 World Cup in Blenheim on Tuesday.

Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Fiji and Samoa will go head to head with the overall champion earning direct qualification for next year’s tournament in Bangladesh, while the runners-up will advance to a final qualifier.

PNG are defending champions, having represented the region at the past four Under 19 World Cups, while Vanuatu has been runner-up in the previous two regional tournaments.

Samoa manager Dean Seuoti says having two chances to advance to the World Cup provides even more motivation to do well.

“When we prepared for this tournament I think that’s the main goal is to step up from the last few years. We feel that PNG is dominating the South Pacific region but there are no Supermans in this world – as long as you’ve done the homework, you’ve done the hard work at training and if you turn up on the day with the right attitude and the right mindset you should be all good. That’s the kind of mentality that we’ve put in to the preparation for this tournament”.

Samoa take on Vanuatu and PNG face Fiji in today’s opening round of matches, with some rain forecast to begin in the afternoon. RNZI

56) PNG Hunters to play Northern Pride

24 Feb 2015

The Papua New Guinea Hunters will play a pre-season trial match against the Northern Pride in Cairns on Friday, after last weekend’s match in Ipswich was cancelled because of Cyclone Marcia.

The game against the Jets was to be the Hunters only pre-season hit-out but after mother nature intervened the defending Queensland Cup champions came to the party.

The Northern Pride also hosted the Hunters last February in their first ever game, which the PNG side won, but the Cairns club proved too strong in their two regular season clashes during 2014.RNZI

w: www.voiceofmelanesia.com

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