Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1077 ( saturday 14 March 2015 )

MELANESIA
 
1) Melanesian role for Indonesia in Pacific group
By Online Editor
10:23 pm GMT+12, 12/03/2015, Papua New Guinea

A proposal for the five Melanesian provinces of Indonesia to become a united member of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) is well advanced.

Under the proposal, those five provinces would represent the nation of Indonesia at the MSG.

A three-day consultative meeting of the five provincial governors and the national government has just ended in the Maluku capital of Ambon in preparation for a formal commissioning of a combined MSG body by President Joko Widodo at the presidential palace in Jakarta next week.

This has been revealed to the PNG Loop by government consultants on Papuan, MSG & Pacific Affairs Franzalbert Joku and Nick Messet.

They said the proposed unified approach is  strongly supported by Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Solomon Islands .

“When appropriate formalities are completed, the five Melanesian provinces of eastern Indonesia, namely Papua, West Papua, Maluku, North Maluku and East Nusa Tenggara, will exercise their right to lodge their membership application, under a unified banner and with full endorsement of the Indonesian government, with the MSG secretariat in Port Vila for consideration by the leaders of that sub regional grouping,’’ the consultants say.

“The national government of Indonesia is currently considering PNG Prime Minister’s invitation for full membership in the Pacific Islands Forum for Indonesia, when its current observer status in the MSG is inherited by its five provinces with a new and elevated status as a full member.

“The composition of the representative body for the Melanesians of Indonesia that will affiliate to the MSG is strictly upon nomination by the respective provincial governors.

“Even political amateurs will tell you this is the only correct way to address the issue of full membership for Melanesians of Indonesia in the MSG.

“The approach is in full conformity with diplomatic norms and established international practice. It is the only elegant way to do it.”

Joku and Messet are both Papuan and longtime residents of PNG.  Messet was a pioneer pilot and Joku was the editor of The Times, an English language weekly newspaper under the Word Publishing umbrella.
SOURCE: PNG LOOP/PACNEWS

2) Tropical Cyclone Pam: Vanuatu devastated by one of the strongest tropical cyclones in Pacific; at least four dead in Port Vila

Updated 14 March 2015, 15:10 AEDT
By Pacific affairs reporter Liam Fox, staff

At least four people are dead in Vanuatu’s capital of Port Vila, a witness says, after one of the strongest tropical cyclones to have hit the South Pacific.

It comes amid unconfirmed reports that more than 40 people may have perished elsewhere in Vanuatu as a result of Cyclone Pam.

One person has also died in Papua New Guinea’s West New Britain province after a tree fell onto a house during strong winds driven by the storm.

Vanuatu coordinator of climate change not-for-profit organisation 350, Isso Nihmei, said he and others tried to rescue three people in Port Vila who later died in hospital.

“We heard some of the people who were living close. They were shouting and calling us. So once we went down there, we saw this guy who was already dead,” he said.

“There [were] other people on the other side, so we went down to rescue them but they were really weak.

“We got them to hospital but they died in half an hour.”

Mr Nihmei said they had injuries to their faces and bodies and were living close to the sea. He said they had chosen to stay because of their boats.

Power and communications are down across much of the country which has made it difficult for authorities to confirm damage and a death toll.

Humanitarian organisations have warned of “complete annihilation” in Port Vila, where the cyclone reportedly tore through at 340 kilometres per hour.

But some fear the devastation could be even worse in the outer islands.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said there were no official reports of deaths or injuries, but there was an unconfirmed report that 44 people died in the central Penama province.

Pam was about 175 kilometres south of Tanna, in Vanuatu’s southernmost province, at 1:00pm (AEDT), moving southwards at 32 kilometres per hour, according to Vanuatu’s Meteorological Services.

External Link: Vanuatu destruction gif teaser
Significant damage after Tropical Cyclone Pam in Port Vila. (Credit: YouTube/Isso Nihmei, 350 Vanuatu Coordinator)

Loss of communication preventing clear picture of destruction

Humanitarian organisations said they were on standby to help the Vanuatu government respond to the impacts of Cyclone Pam.

Temporary dwellings which most Vanuatu people live in — corrugated iron houses — … have been completely annihilated.

Nichola Krey, Save the Children

Oxfam Australia said it had harrowing reports of the impact of Cyclone Pam from staff on the ground in Vanuatu.

Spokeswoman Helen Szoke said many of Vanuatu’s islands were low-lying and were likely to have been swamped by waves, which local weather authorities had listed as “very rough to phenomenal”.

Ms Szoke said communications had been lost and no-one knew yet how severely Vanuatu had been hit.

“It’s going to be some days before we know the full extent to the damage that’s been done,” she said.

“There were reports last night of loss of life and they’re yet to be confirmed and we’re hoping that it’s only damage to material goods.”

Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Australia’s High Commissioner in Vanuatu, Jeremy Bruer, had spoken to the country’s prime minister to offer assistance.

“We are deeply concerned by reports that lives have been lost in northern Vanuatu,” Ms Bishop told reporters.

“They are still unconfirmed but we are deeply concerned by those reports.”

She said there had been no reports of Australian deaths but said there were more than 800 Australians registered in Vanuatu. She said that number, however, could exceed 3,000.

External Link: Tropical Cyclone Pam travels across Vanuatu

Vanuatu houses ‘hit by 340kph wind gusts’

Save the Children’s Head of Humanitarian Affairs, Nichola Krey, said the storm was as severe as feared.

“It hit Port Vila at an incredible 340 kilometres an hour,” she said.

“Some reports are saying it was at that speed, so you can imagine the flimsy housing in Vanuatu made of corrugated iron and very weak wood.

“You can imagine what 340 kilometres an hour wind does to that.”

Ms Krey said communications were down across the country so it was difficult to know exactly what happened.

World’s most disaster-prone city

Vanuatu’s capital Port Vila is the world’s most exposed city to natural disasters, according to a global risk analysis study.

But she said she heard reports Cyclone Pam had caused complete and utter devastation in Vanuatu’s capital Port Vila.

“Temporary dwellings which most Vanuatu people live in — corrugated iron houses — they have been completely annihilated, nothing left in terms of local housing,” she said.

“Some of the larger structures in Port Vila, they’ve also gone as well.”

CARE Vanuatu has confirmed Cyclone Pam has left Port Vila a scene of complete devastation, but says Vanuatu’s outer islands could be worse.

Program manager Charlie Damon, speaking from Vanuatu, said she had also received unofficial reports of fatalities.

Ms Damon said most roads were blocked by fallen trees and it was still quite dangerous to go outside.

She said even evacuation centres were damaged.

“Some have been flooded and some evacuation centres have also lost parts of their roofs too, but those on the outer islands they certainly will be feeling the brunt of this as they just don’t have the facilities as we do in Port Vila,” she said.

Red alerts remain in place for some provinces

The Vanuatu Meteorological Services warned very destructive hurricane-force winds of 250 kilometres per hour continued to affect the country’s southern provinces this morning.

Red alerts remained in place for Malampa, Shefa and Tafea provinces.

Cyclone Pam on social media

Pacific Islanders take to social media to share their experiences of #CyclonePam

It said the central pressure of the system was estimated at 900 hectopascals, which is among the strongest tropical cyclones on record.

Australian Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Simon Allen said severe tropical cyclones could be difficult to forecast.

“The track, I think, was always for some time likely to be close to Port Vila but it did move a bit closer than we expected in the end, so the eye of the cyclone ended up very close to the capital,” he said.

“In a couple of days it’s likely to move to the east of New Zealand, but despite that it will still have significant impact on the northern and eastern parts of the North Island of New Zealand in particular.

“So [we are] likely to see some heavy rain, damaging winds and possibly storm surges in those areas as well as we go into next week.

“But hopefully less force there.”

Updates from Vanuatu’s weather service can be found here.

Australians concerned about friends or relatives in Vanuatu can contact DFAT’s emergency number: 1300 555 135.

External Link: Wind map

http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2015-03-14/tropical-cyclone-pam-vanuatu-devastated-by-one-of-the-strongest-tropical-cyclones-in-pacific-at-leas/1425035
3) Pam strikes
Stuff Nz/Pacnews
Saturday, March 14, 2015

HONIARA – Cyclone Pam has slammed into the Solomon Islands, destroying homes and plantations and forcing people to hide in caves.

While Vanuatu prepares for the arrival on Friday night of Pam, the cyclone has already directly hit the remote Solomon islands of Tikopia and the Reef Islands.

State owned Solomons Broadcasting says residents of Temotu Province were appealing for “urgent assessment and assistance”.

One of the worst affected areas was the remote island of Tikopia. On Thursday Pam’s eye passed over the island and the broadcaster said three people had been injured and several villages evacuated.

People are waiting out the cyclone in caves, churches and schools.

Two other islands, Duff and Anuta, are completely cut off with no word.

Pam has affected a wide area of the Solomons including the heavily populated Malaita Island.

Solomons Broadcasting quoted Ezekiel Nodua of Tuwo on Reef Island as saying the wind has been consistent and “very strong”.

People’s gardens which provide food and fruit trees have been uprooted and destroyed.

Former diplomat Robert Sisilo said buildings had been destroyed.

“But the worst impact has been the inundation of food gardens by flood waters due to continuous heavy rain.”

He said at the moment people’s only hope was for a vessel to bring them food supplies and officials from the National Disaster Management Office to assess their current situation.

4) Fiji remains on cyclone Pam watch

14 March 2015

Fiji emergency authorities are still on standby, despite the likelihood of them not feeling the full brunt of Tropical Cyclone Pam.

Earlier the military had sent personnel to 20 flood prone areas around the country and placed up to 300 troops on high alert in preparation for the effects of the huge storm.

However it is currently bearing down on Vanuatu and not moving towards Fiji.

But Acting Director for the National Disaster Office Akapusi Tuifagalele says weather can be unpredictable.

“There has not been any clearance yet given by our meteorological office. We will continue the monitoring and the manning. Here at the National Emergency Operations Centre we are on a 24 hour basis likewise all our divisional commissioners and our other important sectors like the military the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health.”

Mr Tuifagalele says the thoughts of the people of Fiji are with their Vanuatu brothers and sisters.RNZI

5) TC Pam: Families in evacuation centres

LITIA MATHEWSELL
Saturday, March 14, 2015

Update: 4:27PM MORE than 400 people are sheltering at evacuation centres in the Western Division.

Figures released in a Department of Information statement reveal that of the 458 people seeking shelter, 206 were at the Tavua Muslim Primary School.

Ba provincial administrator Laitia Raisua Yabakivou said the evacuations were mostly due to precautionary measures.

Mr Yabakivou said there were no incidents of flooding.Fijitimes

6) TC Pam: Strong wind, heavy rain warning

LITIA MATHEWSELL
Saturday, March 14, 2015

Update: 12:53PM A STRONG wind warning remains in force for land areas in the Western Division, and the Yasawa and Mamanuca group, as well as Vanua Levu, Taveuni, Kadavu, Lau, Lomaiviti and nearby smaller islands.

A bulletin issued  from the Fiji Meteorological Service at 10:45am said Tropical Cyclone Pams centre was about 900 kilometres west-northwest of Nadi at 9am today, and moving south at 20 kilometres an hour.

A heavy rain warning also remains in force for Fiji. Fijitimes

7) TC Pam: Red Cross mobilises team in Vanuatu

AVINESH GOPAL
Saturday, March 14, 2015

Update: 4:57PM THE humanitarian needs in Vanuatu are enormous after Tropical Cyclone Pam slammed the island nation last night.

And the Red Cross says it is currently carrying out preliminary assessments in Port Vila and other affected areas while mobilising its teams to respond.

“We know there has been widespread destruction and many people have lost their homes,” said Vanuatu Red Cross’ head of disaster management Augustine Garae.Fijitimes

8) Fiji appoints new High Commissioner in Australia
The Fiji Government has appointed businessman Yogesh Punja to be its High Commissioner to Australia.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola said Mr Punja’s vast commercial background and skills will add much value to the work of the Ministry.

A statement from Fiji’s Department of Information says his appointment demonstrates Government’s commitment towards renewing and strengthening the bilateral relation between Fiji and Australia.RNZI 14/3/15

POLYNESIA
 
9) State of emergency in Tuvalu

A state of emergency has been declared in Tuvalu after tidal surges caused by Cyclone Pam to the southwest washed away houses and crops.

A spokesperson for the Red Cross in Tuvalu, Claire Shave, said the situation on the outer islands was very bad with a large number of people affected.

“Some of the outer islands have had a very bad couple of nights indeed. They’ve had water washing away houses, buildings, community halls, that sort of thing.

“In addition, because the land is very flat they’ve had disturbance to some grave sites which is causing a great deal of distress.”

Ms Shave said the Red Cross had begun its emergency response and was distributing emergency supplies to those affected.

She said it was possible international assistance would be requested by the Tuvalu Government.RNZI 14/3/15

10) Tongan Court dismisses application by PSA
By Online Editor
4:31 pm GMT+12, 12/03/2015, Tonga

A Supreme Court judge has dismissed an application by the Public Service Association Inc. and Mele ‘Amanaki to transfer civil actions claiming damages against them for defamation, from the Magistrate’s Court to the Supreme Court.

The judge dismissed the application after not accepting provisions relied on by the counsel for the applicants.

Justice Scott in his decision on Friday, March 6 said the application by PSA and its Secretary ‘Amanaki followed two actions brought against them in May 2014, at the Magistrate’s Court.

He said the actions were filed by Lord Tu’ivakano and William Clive Edwards claiming damages (limited to $10,000 (US$4,806)) for defamation arising out of the publication of various statements.

They said the defendants had untruthfully claimed that the payment of grant aid funds was unlawful, and that they were dishonestly responsible.

This grant aid related to the Chinese Government’s provision of US$25,450,000 received by the Government of Tonga in 2011, in which ‘Akilisi Pohiva, now the Prime Minister, had taken unsuccessful private criminal prosecutions against Lord Tu’ivakano, William Clive Edwards, Friendly Islands Satellite Communications (Tongasat) and Princess Pilolevu Tuita.

The judge said the applicants had submitted that the actions for defamation in the Magistrate’s Court would inevitably involve consideration of whether the payments made out were indeed unlawful and if so whether Lord Tu’ivakano and Edwards were to be held to account. The as yet unresolved issue would involve a difficult question of law and fact, which could not suitably be disposed of in the Magistrate’s Court.

The applicants through their counsel Dr Harrison QC then sought orders for transferring the actions to the Supreme Court, or alternatively have them stayed until a final judgement was reached in a civil action brought by PSA and Pohiva against the Kingdom of Tonga, the Attorney General and Tongasat, which began on 8 July 2014.

Dr Harrison had submitted written submissions for this application, which was opposed by Stanton SC and William Clive Edwards, who acted for the defendants.

Justice Scott said, having read the respondents claims in the Magistrate’s Court as fairly as he could, he had no doubt that the unlawfulness or otherwise the payments to Tongasat, if not already determined elsewhere, would inevitably fall for consideration.

“I agree with Dr Harrison that the Magistrate is not at all suitable for an enquiry into the alleged unlawfulness. The problem, however, facing these alternative applications either for transfer or stay is that they are procedurally defective.”

He said RSC O.6 required an action to be commenced by writ but these proceedings were, however, commenced by ‘application notice’ as there was no writ on the file.

“An application is commenced under RSC O.13, which makes it quite clear that save in cases of exceptional urgency and upon undertaking being given by counsel, an application cannot be made until proceedings have already started. To apply for a stay or transfer, this application should be made to the Magistrate’s Court,” he said.

“It is true that the Magistrate’s Court is subject to prerogative orders issued by the Supreme Court but no such orders have been applied for in this case. These are not judicial proceedings.”

The judge dismissed the application after not accepting provisions relied on by the counsel for the applicants.

SOURCE: MATANGI TONGA/PACNEWS

11) Tanoa Hotel Group to transform Dateline Hotel

By Online Editor
4:51 pm GMT+12, 12/03/2015, Tonga

The Tanoa Hotel Group from Fiji will take over Tonga’s International Dateline Hotel for redevelopment this year,  aiming to transform the seafront hotel and reopen as Tanoa Dateline in mid-2017 with a Tongan four star standard.

Agreements were signed in Nuku’alofa Thursday by Tongan Minister for Finance ‘Aisake Eke with the directors of the Tanoa Group, including the Reddy Group chairman Y.P. Reddy of Fiji, and his children Rohit and Kamini Reddy.

Y.P. Reddy said they had successfully concluded discussions with the Tongan Government, resulting in an agreement to renovate, refurbish and manage the hotel.

He said the hotel would undergo a major transformation and will be refurbished to a standard that will appeal to the corporate, international leisure, conferences and visiting friends and families.

The Minister said the government in return for the hotel group’s investment would provide some tax concessions and facilitate the requirement for lease and other administrative measures to make the project successful.

Rohit Reddy told local media after the signing that Tanoa was going to make a very significant investment for the refurbishment within the next two-years.

He said the agreement, including figures, was confidential between them and the Tongan government.

“We are excited about this project. Our style of refurbishment is that we are going to employ a lot of of the locals like in Samoa we had the majority of staff there local people and we envisaged to do the same here in Tonga,” he said.

Once the hotel is operational there would be added benefits to Tonga’s local economy. “In general, we will purchase materials in Tonga, apart from some stuff from overseas and our supply will be from the local market, in addition to the employment,” he said.

“We are very pleased to be here as this is a significant project for the government, ourselves and for the people of Tonga. We will give it our best to make sure it is successful for everyone here.”

The Minister said the added positive value to this deal going through was the turnover effect for the local economy and tourism sector.

“From our perspective this is something that will serve both sides financially and we are satisfied with it, that is why government backed this project.”

He said when government did its analysis and they knew it was a good project. “Although it’s a risk that both sides are taking, in the end we trust it will be beneficial for both sides,” he said.

The Minister also confirmed the lease is for 99-years.

The government now has to go through Cabinet for the processing of the lease and also the approval of the tax concessions, which is expected to take two-weeks.

“The agreement will come into effect before May 1 provided the two issues from our side are completed,” he said.

“Government is excited about the anticipated economic effect that the redevelopment of the hotel will have on Tonga’s tourism industry and the economy in general.”

The Dateline, which has been closed since February 2014 will be re-opened as part of the Tanoa Hotel Group which currently has 10 South Pacific hotel properties in Fiji, Samoa and New Zealand.

SOURCE: MATANGI TONGA/PACNEWS

MICRONESIA
12) Weather hampers repair efforts on vital Kiribati causeway
The Kiribati government says work is continuing around the clock to repair a vital causeway, but bad weather and high tides are hampering efforts.

The Dai Nippon Causeway, links two of the most populated parts of Tarawa atoll, Betio and Bairiki, and was badly damaged by high seas on Wednesday.

Much of the country’s cargo and fuel supplies are transported from Betio, via the causeway, but vehicle weight limits have been imposed since the damage.

The government communications manager, Rimon Rimon, says public works officials have been working non-stop to repair the damage, but the weather is making it difficult.

“The repair that’s going on is not being helped by the high tides, the ones that we’re facing now and with the storms that’s going on, it’s not helping as well. But then according to our tidal calendar, next week there will be another predicted spring tide. I’m not looking forward to that, I think we will have to brace ourselves even more stronger than what we’re facing now.”

Rimon Rimon says work will continue throughout the weekend to try and ensure traffic over the causeway can get back to normal as soon as possible.RNZI 14/3/14

NEW ZEALAND:

13) Auckland Airport voted best in Australia/Pacific

By Online Editor
8:29 pm GMT+12, 12/03/2015, New Zealand

At the 2015 SKYTRAX World Airport Awards held overnight at the Passenger Terminal EXPO in Paris, France, Auckland Airport was named Best Airport in Australia / Pacific for the 7th year in a row.

The SKYTRAX World Airport Awards are the industry’s most extensive and credible air-traveller based awards, involving 550 airports and a nine-month survey of 13 million airport customers and 112 different nationalities.

Adrian Littlewood, Auckland Airport’s chief executive, says, Auckland Airport is honoured to, once again, be selected as one the world’s best airports.

“We are delighted to be recognised for the seventh year in a row as the best airport in the Australia / Pacific region. Our success is very much due to the efforts of many thousands of workers, as well as companies and border agencies, at the airport and their commitment to making passengers’ journeys better.”

“Our challenge is to continue to work together to provide a quality travel experience at the same time as we experience significant increases in the number of passengers and aircraft using the airport. The 30-year vision for the ‘airport of the future’ that we announced last year ensures we have the long-term vision to manage such growth. We are also focused on what needs to be done in the short-term, including increasing our international departures and arrivals capacity.”

“Auckland Airport is also very proud to be named the 3rd Best Airport in the world serving 10-20 million passengers and 15th Best Airport in the world overall in this year’s SKYTRAX awards,” says Littlewood.

Edward Plaisted, SKYTRAX’s chief executive, says “Auckland Airport continues to dominate the Best Airport in Australia / Pacific category and to secure the award for a seventh consecutive year is an unprecedented achievement. This was supported by a strong performance on the global stage with Auckland achieving third place in the Best Airport 10-20 million passengers category.”.

SOURCEl SCOOP ANZ/PACNEWS
 
POLITIC
14) iTaukei role query

Siteri Sauvakacolo
Saturday, March 14, 2015

CONCERNS over iTaukei people failing to engage themselves in village and provincial activities was one of the main issues highlighted at the fourth iTaukei public consultations at Tamavua Village on Thursday night.

Concerned Tamavua villager Ponipate Vula queried if the iTaukei Affairs Ministry had a role to play in ensuring that those people played their roles and that they adhered to calls made by the village headmen and heads of their respective clans.

He said even though some villagers were registered under the vola ni kawa bula, they never bothered engaging themselves in village activities.

iTaukei Affairs Ministry permanent secretary Savenaca Kaunisela thanked the villagers for bringing up such issues and concerns.

He said this issue of iTaukei people failing to engage in village activities was evident in all provinces across the country. He said some of those iTaukei people even failed to give annual provincial levies or be engaged in village activities.

Mr Kaunisela said it was time iTaukei people worked together for their own benefit, the benefit of the iTaukei people and the future generation.

The village bylaws to be implemented later, he said would include all those concerns, especially ensuring that villagers adhered to calls made by chiefs and village headmenFijitimes

LAND

15) Minister clarifies law on freehold

Salaseini Moceiwai
Saturday, March 14, 2015

LANDS Minister Mereseini Vuniwaqa says the Land Sales Act (Cap 137) does not affect freehold land outside town and city boundaries but only those within.

Mrs Vuniwaqa’s comments followed numerous concerns from freehold property owners, some of whom are non-Fijian citizens, who claimed the amended Act had taken away all their recognised freehold land statuses.

In December last year, the old version of the Land Sales Act (Cap. 137), Bill No. 13 of 2014 was heavily debated in Parliament spurring a lot of mixed reaction from the public, especially the property owners.

She said the Act prohibited freehold property owners within the municipalities from selling the land.

“Only freehold lands that have State leases are being restricted from sale but for the iTaukei land, there is no restriction there,” Mrs Vuniwaqa said.

“Say for instance, if the owners are buying the land within the municipality for residential purposes, they will have to build the residence there within the two years. I mean, if you are buying a piece of land for residential, there’s an intention to build a residence so the law mandates that this is done timely within the two years.

“You will see that the Government has always advocated for the use of land. It doesn’t like the land to be lying idle so this, of course, goes to that.”

The Act does not prevent a foreigner from bequeathing his property whether it is within or outside the town boundaries to their children or grandchildren or any family member as they propose.

The Act also does not affect specific tourism developments which are specifically designed and developed for sale to foreigners.

Mrs Vuniwaqa said the land that the Act exempted a prohibition on was those land for commercial or tourism developments. “All these are exempted activities. It’s only really residential but I guess there is an obligation there on the regulatory authorities to facilitate what the law now mandates.

“It calls on the Ministry of Lands in relation to survey plans, the director Town and Country Planning’s office and municipalities to do all they can to ensure limitations do not become a burden for these property owners.”

Mrs Vuniwaqa said the Act was there to protect the land from sale which was within the town and cities’ boundaries.

“Of course, the foreigners can purchase the land which is outside town boundaries subject to other provisions of the Act.”Fijitimes

BUSINESS

16) Cordless phones affect network spectrum

Geraldine Panapasa
Saturday, March 14, 2015

MOBILE telecommunications company Vodafone Fiji Ltd has clarified that some non-approved cordless landline phones brought into the country are in conflict with its licensed spectrum on the 3G network and not mobile phones as reported by this newspaper yesterday.

Vodafone Fiji Ltd head of mCommerce and corporate affairs Shailendra Prasad said the issue was with those non-approved cordless landline phones, technically known as DECT 6.0.

He said the numbers of those cordless phones were few but because of the interference, it affected thousands of mobile users from using their phones.

“Vodafone is not at all seeking to stop anyone either local or tourist from bringing in compatible mobile phones into the country,” he said yesterday.

“We respect the consumer’s freedom and right to choose. Of all mobile gadgets that are brought into the country either by locals buying phones overseas or tourists, 99.99 per cent of these phones do not interfere with the network and fully compliant to be used locally.” He said Vodafone had paid millions of dollars to buy spectrum or frequency licence from Government to be able to offer mobile services to the wider community within that spectrum range.

“All we’re doing is to protect the quality and standard of service to 99.99 per cent of mobile users against a very few who are causing problems for the rest through the use of these unauthorised cordless phones,” he said.

In any business, Mr Prasad said, there were certain rules and regulations that needed to be followed to maintain some standards and order or there would be chaos.Fijitimes

INFRASTRUCTURE:

 
17) Board approves project

Ropate Valemei
Saturday, March 14, 2015

THE World Bank’s board of executive directors has approved $US50million ($F102m) for the transport infrastructure investment project in Fiji, the first major World Bank investment in the country since 1992.

According to the bank, the decision on Thursday was also the first investment initiated under the new World Bank Group country engagement note for Fiji.

It said the project would improve the resilience and safety of land and maritime transport infrastructure, including roads, bridges and rural jetties and wharves — all essential to the daily lives of Fijians. The bank said the project would also reduce a backlog of urgent repairs caused by the deferral of maintenance since 2012.

“For many Fijians, access to reliable and safe roads, wharves, and jetties is essential to inclusive economic growth and social development because it facilitates access to employment, education, health care, and other services,” said World Bank country director in Timor Leste, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific, Franz Drees-Gross.

Fiji Roads Authority CEO Neil Cook said ensuring the safety of transport infrastructure was crucial and looked forward to future collaborations.

MEDIA:

18) Digi TV gives access

Ropate Valemei
Saturday, March 14, 2015

DIGI TV is the most aggressive competitor coming into the Papua New Guinea economy with huge capital and an interest to acquire triple play network covering data content and communication.

And according to Digicel’s regional Pacific group CEO, Michael Murphy, this resulted in their phenomenal success in the PNG market.

Digicel (PNG) Ltd, owners of Digi TV, had acquired Daltron Internet Business and DataNets PNG Ltd, giving them the much-needed equipment and data access.

“We do have plans and we had just launched a pay television service in PNG and 29 channels, which are free-to-air.” For expansion, he said they were planning to look at opportunities across the Pacific.

“The service will be available across the other Pacific Islands so as we expand we will look at a strong service across the Pacific,” he said.

With competition in the PNG market, he reassured their presence in the country would mean greater quality and better prices for consumers.Fijitimes

LAW&ORDER
 
19) Indonesian police arrest suspected members of trafficking ring in Fiji

By Online Editor
8:20 pm GMT+12, 12/03/2015, Indonesia

Indonesian Police investigators arrested two suspects for allegedly running a human trafficking ring in Fiji.

Head of the police’s human trafficking unit at the police force’s detective division, Adj. Sr. Comr. Arie Dharmanto, said on Wednesday that the suspects were arrested in Ngawi, East Java.

“There were 12 victims in total,” he said, adding that this was the first recorded trafficking of Indonesian nationals to Fiji.

Arie explained that the 12 victims were recruited in Ngawi and were promised legitimate jobs with large salaries.

However, the victims were not given legitimate work permits and were only paid FJD$4 (US$ 1.92) per hour and were forced to work as construction workers of an army camp.

“They were eventually discovered by the local immigration and were deported,” Arie said.

If the two suspects are found guilty, he explained, they could be sentenced to a maximum 15 years’ imprisonment.

SOURCE: THE JAKARTA POST/PACNEWS

TOK PISIN 
 
20) Saiklon Pam i bagarapim Vanuatu North

Updated 13 March 2015, 14:07 AEDT
Caroline Tiriman

Cyclone Pam ibin kamap long Northern Vanuatu aste nait na emi bringim  ol bikpla ren na ol strongpla win na hamarim ol Island blong Penama provins , stat long biknait.

Odio: Caroline Tiriman i ripot long ol bagarap em saiklon Pam i kamapim long Vanuatu
Odio: Dr Gordon Nanau, man blong Solomon Islands husat i lecturer long USP long Suva i toktok wantem Sam Seke

Cyclone Pam ibin kamap long Northern Vanuatu aste nait na emi bringim  ol bikpla ren na ol strongpla win  na hamarim ol Island blong Penama provins , stat long biknait.

Laen blong Vanuatu  meteorological service i wok long mekim ol tok lukaut olsem cyclone Pam bai bringim ol strongpla win na ol bikpla ren, tasol aste nait emi bin bagarapim ol gaden kaikai, na rausim planti diwai long Ambae long Penama provins.

Ofis blong  meteorologi itok olsem strong blong despla cyclone Pam bai kamap long  category 5 pastem emi ron igo long Fiji long despla dei ikam.

Oli tokim ol pipal long Penama na Malampa provins long stap isi long ol haus blong ol na noken wokabaut nabaut long despla taem nogut.

Densley Tari emi wok olsem ofisa blong red Cross long ailand blong Ambae long Penama provins na mi askim em long stori long wonem samting i kamap long ples blong ol.

Long Port Vila, biktaon blong kantri, ol laen blong National disasta management ofis istat pinis long helpim ol pipal em oli stap klostu long ol ples em ol floods bai nap kamap long ol. Peter Korisa man igo pas long operations long National Disaster Management Office itok ol skul na ol oli iusim sampla skul olsem ol care senta.

Taem  saiklon Pam istap long Vanuatu em bai ron igo tu long  Fiji we  ol otority  nau  iwok long redi tu saiklon  istat long hamarim sampela hap blong kantri.

National Disaster Management Office ibin tokim ol pipol long ailan long redi gut na ol i pasim pinis ol skul long kantri aste.

Dr Gordon Nanau, husat i lecturer long University blong South Pacific itok ol ibin tokim tu USP olsem ol imas pasim University tede long avinun.Radio Australia

21) Solomon Islands pipal i bungim heve long Saiklon Pam

Updated 13 March 2015, 13:53 AEDT
Sam Seke

National Disaster Operations Centre blong Solomon Islands i kisim pinis sampela ripot long ol heve emTropical Cyclone Pam ibin kamapim long kantri.

Odio: Baragamu Chief Operations Ofisa blong Solomon Islands National Disaster Management Office i toktok wantem Sam Seke

National Disaster Operations Centre blong Solomon Islands i kisim pinis sampela ripot long ol heve emTropical Cyclone Pam ibin kamapim long kantri.

Chief Operations Ofisa blong National Disaster Management Office long Honiara, George Baragamu itok saiklon i bagarapim planti haus na gadem kaikai blong ol pipol long Temotu Province.

Em i tok Cyclone Pam i wok long ron igo daun nau long Vanuatu, tasol saiklon woning i stap yet long Temotu na ol eastern hap blong Solomon Islands.

Mr Baragamu itok NDMO na olgeta partna agency  nau i stap insait long disasta emergency operesen plan blong ol long dil wantaim dispela disasta.

Em i tok wanpela bikpela wari em long ol ino toktok  yet wantaimol pipal long  Anuta Island, we i wanpela long ol ailan em saiklon i bagarapim.

Despla saiklon Pam i kamapim planti ren, ol strongpla win na kamapim tu ol bikpla solwara long ol narapla kantri olsem Vanuatu na Fiji.Radio Australia

FRENCH 
 
22) Vanuatu: « Pam affectera au moins 200 000 personnes »

Mis à jour 13 March 2015, 18:23 AEDT
Caroline Lafargue

Ce pourrait être le pire cyclone qu’ait connu le Vanuatu depuis 30 ans. Pam est passé en catégorie 5 vendredi matin. Les provinces du nord du pays, Torba, Penama, Sanma et Malampa, sont en première ligne.

Ce sera ensuite au tour d’Efate, l’île-capitale. Selon le bureau de la coordination des affaires humanitaires de l’ONU, l’oeil du cyclone Pam ne touchera pas terre, il passera à 145 km au large de Port-Vila vers 20h vendredi heure locale, et soufflera à 200-230 km/h – les prévisions varient.

Selon la représentante locale de l’UNICEF, Alice Clements, « Port-Vila ressemble à une ville fantôme ». Les 44 000 habitants de la capitale vanuataise ont eu deux jours pour se préparer. Ils ont barricadé les maisons et les commerces, et fait le plein de provisions.

Le bureau de la coordination des affaires humanitaires de l’ONU prépare activement l’après-cyclone. Sune Gudnitz, son représentant dans le Pacifique:

« On prévoit qu’au moins 200 000 Vanuatais seront affectés par le cyclone, d’une manière ou d’une autre, soit plus des deux tiers de la population, sur une zone géographique très grande. Donc ce sera une grosse opération de secours, si tant est que le cyclone ne dévie pas de sa route au dernier moment. »

Le bureau de la météorologie vanutais prévoit des inondations éclairs, des glissements de terrain et une mer exceptionnellement démontée.

Le cyclone Pam a laissé dans son sillage de fortes intempéries à Fidji, Tuvalu, Kiribati et aux Salomon: de très fortes pluies à Fidji ; des inondations et une très forte houle à Tuvalu et Kiribati ; et cette nuit le cyclone a fait des dégâts dans le sud-est des Salomon, dans la province de Temotu, particulièrement sur l’île de Tikopia. Pam a détruit des jardins vivriers et endommagé beaucoup de maisons. Les autorités craignent maintenant l’effet des grandes marées sur les îles basses de la province.

Et à Guadalcanal, 500 lycéens ont du être évacués de leur établissement, situé dans l’ouest de l’île, en raison du fort risque d’inondations. Radio Australia

23) Brèves du Pacifique – vendredi 13 mars 2015

Mis à jour 13 March 2015, 18:26 AEDT
Caroline Lafargue

  • PNG: d’après le Wall Street Journal, Peter O’Neill hésiterait finalement à réactiver la peine de mort. En cause: l’opposition de l’Australie, principale bailleuse de fonds du pays.

Or Canberra est engagé depuis des mois dans une bras de fer intense avec l’Indonésie, pour sauver deux anciens trafiquants de drogue australiens du peloton d’exécution. Huit autres étrangers sont dans le couloir de la mort. Le Parlement papou a voté le rétablissement de la peine de mort pour les meurtriers, violeurs, voleurs à main armée et « chasseurs de sorcie(è)r(e)s » en mai 2013. Mais la loi n’a jamais été appliquée.

  • Fidji: l’opposition réclame un référendum sur le drapeau national. Elle est soutenue par 1900 Fidjiens, qui ont signé la pétition lancée par le Sodelpa, principal parti d’opposition. La pétition devrait être présentée prochainement à la commission des lois du Parlement. Mais le Sodelpa se fait peu d’illusions. Selon son porte-parole, M. Waqavonovono, Franck Bainimarama n’aurait pas l’intention d’organiser un référendum. Le Premier ministre fidjien souhaite supprimer l’Union Jack britannique du drapeau national – un heritage de l’époque coloniale.
  • Fidji: un ancien chef d’état-major se réjouit de la coopération renforcée avec l’armée indonésienne. Jone Baledrokadroka estime que les deux pays ont beaucoup à s’apporter mutuellement, étant donné leur grande experience des operations de maintien de la paix. Les deux pays ont conclu un accord lors de la visite de la ministre indonésienne des Affaires étrangères il y a dix jours. Les militaires fidjiens s’entraîneront prochainement avec l’armée indonésienne, en Indonésie.
  • Tonga: ils échappent de peu à une dangereuse dérive dans le Pacifique. Les quatre membres d’équipage d’un bateau de pêche devraient être secourus d’ici ce soir. Leur moteur est tombé en panne. Ils ont activé leur balise de détresse. Un avion de l’armée néo-zélandaise les a localisés à une centaine de kilomètres de la capitale, Nuku’alofa. Un bâtiment de la marine tongienne fait actuellement route vers eux.Radio Australia
SPORTS
 
24) Biggest medal cache at Pacific Games
By Online Editor
6:24 pm GMT+12, 12/03/2015, Papua New Guinea

There will 2269 medals at stake in the Pacific Games, organising committee chief executive officer Peter Stewart says.

“There will be 733 gold medals and another 733 silver medals and 803 bronze medals,” he said.

“Some sports will be awarding more than one bronze medal.”

This is almost triple the number of medals given at the last Games in 2011.

There were 908 (305 gold, 291 silver and 312 bronze) given out during the last Games in Noumea, New Caledonia, in 2011.

Stewart said the medals would not be pure gold or silver but be plated with the precious metals.
Local painter and designer Daniel Waswas has designed the medals.

The organising committee will officially launch the medals at a later date.

The Pacific Games from July 4-18 will host 28 sports but Stewart could not release the complete breakdown of medals for each code.

Papua New Guinea finished fourth at the Noumea Games with 48 gold, 28 silver and 48 bronze medals.

The cumulative medal table dating back to the first South Pacific Games held in Suva, Fiji, in 1963 has New Caledonia leading with 1926 medals (778 gold, 623 silver, 529 bronze), French Polynesia (Tahiti) with 1222 medals (446 gold, 379 silver, 397 bronze), Fiji 1240 medals (386 gold, 461 silver, 393 bronze) and PNG 1018 (344 gold, 330 silver and 344 bronze).

Of the 14 Games played over the past five decades, New Caledonia has won 12, PNG one (1991) and Fiji the other (1963).

Meanwhile, PNG’s first Commonwealth gold medallist, Geua Tau, has joined the team of technical officials to umpire the sport of lawn bowls at the Pacific Games.

Tau, who won gold in lawn bowls at the 1990 Commonwealth Games, will team up with former lawn bowls player Elizabeth Bure.

The two were among 17 officials who took part in a workshop about umpiring. They were all awarded a level 1 certificate last Friday in recognition for their effort which now allows them to umpire lawn bowls competitions at an international standard.

The participants expressed their satisfaction about the workshop and said they had learnt a lot especially about rules which they never knew existed.

A refresher course will be held for the new PNG umpires before the Pacific Games in July.

SOURCE:POST COURIER/PNG LOOP/PACNEWS

25) Nadolo wins awards
By Online Editor
6:20 pm GMT+12, 12/03/2015, Fiji

Flying Fijian Nemani Nadolo scooped the Pacific Island Players Association (PIPA) sanctioned 2014 Digicel Pacific Island Players Player of the Year award.

The robust winger was also awarded the 2014 Fijian Players Player of the Year award.

The award caps off a standout year for the 27-year-old who produced some scintillating performances for the Vodafone Flying Fijians last season.

He played in all seven Test matches during the year, scoring 85 points which included seven tries.

The Crusaders and NEC winger showcased his consistency throughout the year to be judged the overall Pacific Island Players Player of the Year.

“It’s a huge honour to receive such an amazing award as this. To be voted not only by my teammates but players from the other Pacific Island nations as players’ player is such a humbling feeling,” Nadolo said in a statement from PIPA.

“I want to thank the Lord for this award for without him I wouldn’t be here. Also I want to thank my teammates who helped me achieved such a prestigious award. Last but not least the players from the other nations that voted for me.”

The Pacific Island Players voted for Players of the Year for Tonga, Samoa, and Fiji as well as voting for the overall “Pacific Players Player of the Year.”

The players selected Nadolo as the stand-out Fijian player, Samoan halfback Kahn Fotuali’i was awarded the Samoan Player of the Year award, and Tongan fullback Tevita Halaifonua as the Players Tongan Player of the Year.

In paying tribute to the winners, PIPA chairman Deacon Manu said, “there are few greater honours than to receive recognition from your peers for the hard work that goes into consistently performing on the international stage, on behalf of all the Pacific Island Players we congratulate Nemani, Kahn and Tevita for their outstanding contribution to Pacific island rugby during 2014”.

2014 Pacific Island Players’ Player of the Year Award Winners

Digicel Fijian Players Player of the Year – Nemani Nadolo

Digicel Tongan Players Player of the Year – Tevita Halaifonua

Digicel Samoan Players Player of the Year – Khan Fotualii

Digicel Pacific Island Players Player of the Year – Nemani Nadolo.

SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

26) Fijiana sevens team want improvement

  • The Fiji women’s sevens coach wants to see improvement this weekend in Atlanta, but says his players are still adjusting to being full-time on the world circuit.
The Fijana are eighth in the series standings after two rounds and play Australia, France and Spain in pool play in the USA.

Their build-up hasn’t been ideal, with another two players left at home for disciplinary reasons.

Iliesa Tanivula says it’s still a new thing for Fiji to be playing international teams each month, but says the players are embracing the challenge, even if they still have a long way to go.

“There’s no easy team in the series now. Spain, we played them in the bowl final in Brazil and of course Australia has been our biggest hurdle at the moment. It’s good – we’ve played a few times – and the girls are loving the challenge. If we can keep improving as we go on it will be good and of course France are a well drilled team so it’s a challenge for us to get up and try to knock them over.”RNZI 14/3/15

27) Fijian golfer misses cut at NZ Open

Fijian golfer Sam Lee has missed the cut at the New Zealand Open, despite an improved showing in the second round in Arrowtown.

The 24 year old carded an even par 72 at The Hills course to finish five over for the tournament, eight shots below the cut mark and a distant 16 strokes behind the tournament leader.

Playing in only his second event as a professional, Lee finished strongly with four birdies in the final six holes, having dropped shots on the four previous holes.RNZI 14/3/15

28) Pacific Challenge: Fiji thrashes Japan

SHALVEEN CHAND
Saturday, March 14, 2015

Update: 5:06PM THE Telecom Fiji Warriors thrashed Junior Japan 83-0 in round two of the World Rugby Pacific Challenge at the ANZ Stadium today.

The national side led 46-0 at the break.

Warriors will take on the undefeated Samoa A next Wednesday.Fijitimes

29) Pacific Challenge: Argentina defeats Tonga

SHALVEEN CHAND
Saturday, March 14, 2015

Update: 1:03PM DEFENDING champion Argentina Pampas XV defeated Tonga A 31-7 in the second round of the World Rugby Pacific Challenge to remain undefeated in the tournament.

The Pampas XV led 19-0 at the break.

In the other matches today, Canada A will play Samoa A while Telecom Fiji Warriors will take on Junior Japan at 3pm.Fijitimes

30) Broncos get past disappointing Sharks

AAP
Saturday, March 14, 2015

Update: 12:54AM Ben Barba failed to fire against his old side as the Brisbane Broncos opened their account for the NRL season with an unconvincing 10-2 win over Cronulla at Shark Park.

The Broncos got their first win of the year thanks to two lucky second-half tries but failed to answer some of the big questions being asked of Wayne Bennett’s men.

After the Sharks went into the break up 2-0 following an underwhelming first half, the Broncos got over the line thanks to the rub of the green, much to the chagrin of the 8,369-strong crowd.

The Broncos’ first try was typical of the game: ugly.

Winger Corey Oates dived over the line after swooping on a Jack Reed offload which appeared to go forward.

Brisbane went further ahead when Lachlan Maranta dived on a loose ball that popped out when Sam Thaiday jammed Sosaia Feki on the goal line.

During the week it was questioned whether five-eighth Anthony Milford would have been better served moving back to full-back and he had a mixed night, dropping the ball twice inside his side’s 20-metre zone.

Barba, who had a poor showing the week before in his first game in Cronulla colours, did not make a real impact on the contest.

Brisbane full-back Jordan Kahu relieved some of the pressure on his position with a solid showing under the high ball as well as making a try-saving tackle on Jayson Bukuya in the 71st minute.

Poor handling was a theme in slippery conditions with both sides making 12 errors each, with Cronulla in particular guilty of dropping the ball when trying to build pressure.

www.voiceofmelanesia.com

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