Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1081 ( Monday 23 March 2015 )
1a) Australia is #withVanuatu
On Friday (20.3.15) Australia’s ABC radio/TV devoted the whole day to intermittently promoting a special ABC/Red Cross ‘Australia is #withVanuatu’ appeal to raise awareness amongst the Australian public about the damages caused by Cyclone Pam and to raise funds to assist recovery. Australians gave generously, and by 7pm that day (Friday) over $1 million had been raised from the public since that morning for that appeal alone: it remains for the Red Cross to coordinate with the Vanuatu Government and its NDMO (National Disaster Management Office as to how this can be most quickly and effectively used. Many other organizations are raising funds (etc) to assist, and the ABC ‘Australia is #withVanuatu’ link below also contains the links to 21 other aid organizations within Australia that also have Cyclone Pam disaster assistance appeals. There are, of course, many other organizations – and individuals – within Australia attempting to do the same, as are other nations (e.g. other Melanesian and Pacific nations, and the UK, France, China, etc) and organizations and individuals within those nations and in many other areas of the world. Respectful coordination by these organizations with authorities within Vanuatu is therefore of utmost importance to ensure effective and timely synchronization of all this assistance to ensure maximum benefit to ni-Vanuatu that need it the most. K.
1b) Article by Andrew Simms:
( Thank yu tumas lo nius – Mr Kirk Huffman )
2) Australian Foreign Minister visits cyclone-ravaged Vanuatu
22 March 2015
The Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop is expected to meet with the Vanuatu government today to assure them of her country’s support in the cyclone relief efforts.
Ms Bishop is scheduled to travel to Vanuatu and see the devastating impact the cyclone has had as well as to meet 56 members of the Urban Search and Rescue Team.
The Minister is also to meet Prime Minister Joe Natuman and Foreign Minister Sato Kilman and update them on the Australian Defence Force’s increased response to the aid mission.
The Australian Government says it continues to expand its support to Vanuatu, including the distribution of supplies for a further 2,500 people, which will arrive on the HMAS Tobruk on Monday.
In addition, Australia is providing nearly 8 million US dollars in relief funding, including nearly $40,000 for emergency sexual and reproductive health services for women in Vanuatu.RNZI
3) Vanuatu daily news Digest | Another bulletin seemingly not sent
Prime Minister Joe Natuman has seen the Cyclone Pam damage on Tanna. “The same as Efate’s, north to west Tanna there is much damage.” Many roofs are off and in Blackmantown 80% of the housing is down.
PM Nataman sees the country’s disaster position as most people do. “We are still living. The trees and fruit will return. This is still the yam season. “ Fruits and vegetables will, of course, be rotting within a week, but of course, planting is still possible. “PM Natuman: We are alive and people are working heavily and continually to restore constructions and provide shelter.”
The PM was holding a press conference with Radio Vanuatu coverage. It was decided to continue the state of emergency for a total of two weeks (a decision taken two days ago by the Council of Ministers)” the PM said.
The Southern District Committee is activated. They will report to the National Disaster Management Office and government. Their first concern is shelter and the New Zealand gift of tents, tarpaulins and tools is much appreciated to provide for such emergency shelter. Government has lifted import duties and taxes on construction materials and garden equipment and essentials like spades and seeds. Schools are closed until 27 March. The lost time will be made up by taking away from school holiday time.
The PM was anxious to point out how the State of Emergency (SOE) is not the same as that provided for in the Constitution. The Constitutional SOE covers situations like the VNPF riots. We are not continuing with a curfew. People and commercial establishments have a right to go about their business at any time, the PM said.
The Acting Police Commissioner, Job Esau, however, was anxious to point out how the police could still stop and inspect anyone, anytime. There has been street and nakamal (though not many open) criticism of the minor involvement of the police and VMF in their not taking a major clean up role as in Cyclone Uma.
Further bulletins will be issued, and hopefully, with the early resumption of the internet. TVL technicians are working on it. They also have special deals on internet compatible mobiles, they said Wednesday.
4) PNG Officials To Be Seconded To APEC Secretariat In Singapore
Pair to serve as interns, prepare for PNG hosting of APEC summit in 2018
PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, March 20, 2015) – Two Papua New Guineans will be the first in history to be assigned to the APEC secretariat in Singapore to prepare for 2018 APEC meeting in Port Moresby.
Chief Secretary to Government Sir Manasupe Zurenuoc yesterday farewell Mr Fredrick Tamarua and Ms Ingrid Kuman, who will be the first Papua New Guineans since PNG became a member of APEC in 1993 to be assigned to the APEC secretariat in Singapore.
Mr Tamarua, who is a lawyer with the Department of Justice and Attorney General, and Ms Kuman, who is with Tourism Promotion Authority, will spend six months as junior directors in various APEC programs at the secretariat.
[PIR editor’s note: PNG Post-Courier reported that ‘Papua New Guinea will host the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) policy in partnership on women and the economy in May.’]
“This is history in the making. I am also advised that both interns were nominated by the respective government agencies along with others, and upon a vigorous screening process, and I wrote to their respective agencies on their successful nominations,” Sir Manasupe said.
Both officers will depart tomorrow.
Sir Manasupe said PNG is currently liaising with the APEC secretariat in Singapore to continue this program into 2018.
5) Catholic Church in Tonga opposes CEDAW
21 March 2015
The Catholic church of the Diocese of Tonga and Niue says it does not support the Convention on the Elimination of any form of Discrimination Against Women, CEDAW.
This comes after the Tongan cabinet announced it would ratify the convention with certain conditions so as not to clash with local laws.
Radio Tonga reports that Cardinal Mafi wrote a letter stating the reasons for the church not supporting the move.
He says CEDAW was discussed in 2009 and was not passed by the Parliament.
The Cardinal says that CEDAW states to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women, which is already clear enough in Tonga’s laws and is forbidden in Christian churches.
He says the nation’s motto “God and Tonga are my inheritance” highlight fact that God is first.
The Cardinal says therefore everything has to go accordingly with God’s plans and not what the United Nations wants.
He says the church does not approve of the convention because some of the clauses in it are in conflict with the church’s beliefs, like abortion and same sex marriage.RNZI
6) American Samoa government faces cut in working hours
21 March 2015
The American Samoa governor is considering a cut in the working hours of government employees because of a lack of money.
American Samoa considers cuts to the government’s working week
Governor Lolo Moliga says the government is experiencing a financial downturn due to a number of factors.
Among them, he says, are the politics in Washington which has led to a delay in the release of federal funds.
Lolo says such cuts would be the last and worst scenario and would apply from May.
He has pointed out that a reduction in hours is not a new thing, it has happened with every other administration.RNZI
7) Chikungunya Outbreak In French Polynesia Declared Over
16 lives lost, 70,000 sought medical care
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 20, 2015) – The French Polynesian government says the chikungunya outbreak that affected about two thirds of the population is now over.
The outbreak of the mosquito-borne disease, which began in October, has claimed 16 lives and prompted about 70,000 people to seek medical care.
Health authorities say many more people didn’t consult a doctor as the only cure is to take paracetamol and rest.
The outbreak spread to all archipelagos and while some people are still getting infected, their numbers is fewer than five per 10,000.
Although a second infection is not possible, many people have recurring symptoms of severe joint pains and fever that can be repeated for years.
The public is still being advised to eliminate mosquito breeding places as to stop other diseases, such a dengue.
Radio New Zealand International
8) Quarantined Elephant Arrives In Niue
Anjalee on her way to Auckland zoo
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 19, 2015) – Auckland Zoo says Niueans and tourists to Niue will soon be able to visit an elephant currently quarantined on the island.
Auckland Zoo Head of Life Sciences Kevin Buley said eight-year-old Anjalee travelled from an elephant orphanage in Sri Lanka on a chartered commercial airline to Auckland, where she was loaded onto an Air Force Hercules to Niue.
He said he was with her for the whole journey and she coped very well, and was now sleeping and eating while she adjusted to her new environment.
He said the Niuean public welcomed Anjalee over the weekend and would be able to see her from next week until she leaves Niue for Auckland in June.
“So it’s very important to us that we don’t just use Niue as a quarantine station but that we’re taking every opportunity for the Niueans and for tourists to Niue to be able to view Anjalee, and learn about elephants and the conservation of elephants in the wild,” he said.
“So as part of the quarantine facility design we’ve included a viewing deck.”
Mr Buley said the zoo was hoping Anjalee would be ready to contribute to New Zealand’s elephant breeding programme in about three years.
Radio New Zealand International
9) News Release
U.S. Department of Agriculture
March 19, 2015
Female Farmers In Pohnpei Are Sustaining Resources
As the world celebrates Women’s History Month in March, we cannot forget the ladies in Pohnpei who are also providing farming contributions in the Federated States of Micronesia.
This year, all the women’s groups on Pohnpei came out to hear U.S. Ambassador Doria Rosen with encouraging and motivating remarks.
A great example of farming contributions from women include how the Pohnpei Field Office of the Natural Resources Conservation Services is a partner with the Island Food Community of Pohnpei supporting sustainable agriculture and healthy local food.
NRCS is supporting their current project with the United Nation’s Global Environmental Fund-Small Grants Program addressing the conservation of food crop cultivars through traditional agroforestry systems.
NRCS assisted with farm field trips and most recently, a workshop on Food Safety and Security. Maintaining soil health and biodiversity are important messages to the Pohnpei Women’s Council members who are the target audience for this project. Each of the women received a comprehensive guide to growing vegetables assembled by NRCS and translated to Pohnpein by the local staff.
“In Hawaii alone, the Ag Census reports that 1,574 farms have women as the principal operators,” said Bruce Petersen, NRCS director of the Pacific Islands Area. “We are proud to partner with female farmers and ranchers across the islands to protect our natural resources.”
NRCS is the federal agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture that partners with Conservation Districts and others to provide technical and some cost-share assistance to private landowners. Our main goal is to protect, enhance, and preserve our soil, water, air, plants, and animals using sound science and expertise. Participation in our programs is voluntary. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
10) Church land sale to Kiribati questioned
By Online Editor
8:03 pm GMT+12, 19/03/2015, Fiji
Fiji’s Lands Minister Mereseini Vuniwaqa says the land bought by the Kiribati Government in Cakaudrove on Vanua Levu is presently agricultural land.
She said in Parliament on Wednesday that the freehold land belonged to the trustees of the Church of England.
Vuniwaqa was responding to questions raised by the Opposition on the sale of the 5700-acre piece of land to the country’s Pacific island neighbour.
In her question, Opposition member Salote Radrodro asked Vuniwaqa to inform the House on the conditions surrounding the sale of land to the Kiribati Government for the relocation of its people as precautionary measures to rising sea levels.
Vuniwaqa responded: “Madam Speaker, I thank the honourable member for that question, the land we are talking about here is freehold and it belongs to the trustees of the Church of England.
“They, in their wisdom, decided to sell it to the Kiribati Government and as May 16, 2014, that parcel of land is now registered to them.”
In posing his supplementary question to Vuniwaqa, Opposition member Niko Nawaikula said the customary owners of the land were the villagers of Naiqaqi and Valeni.
Nawaikula said pursuant to that condition and the fact that the Government gave its consent, the landowners have been asking the Government if they should be given the first right of refusal.
“The questions I would have expected from a non-lawyer. A lawyer had to ask this question and lawyers would know about indivisibility of title. In this matter, it’s freehold land that we are talking about and as I earlier stated, this freehold land was held by the Church of England and they are the registered proprietors.”
Opposition member Josefa Dulakiverata also said that this sale of land would mean a lot of things.
“Madam Speaker, this sale of land would mean a mass migration of people to come and occupy this land and what policies does the Government have in place in terms of infrastructure, employment and health care to name a few,” Dulakiverata asked.
Vuniwaqa said the land was agricultural land and should the Kiribati Government wished at some future date to relocate their people, that would become a policy matter for Government to talk about when it happened.
SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS
11) NSW Election 2015: ‘If Baird goes next Saturday, Abbott goes Monday’, says Foley at ALP rally in Sydney
Updated 22 March 2015, 16:05 AEDT
By State political reporter Liz Foschia
The New South Wales Labor party holds an anti-privatisation rally in Sydney’s west to coincide with the state Liberal campaign launch in Sydney’s CBD.
Voters in New South Wales are being promised a two-for-one deal if they vote for Labor at next Saturday’s state poll.
Labor held an anti-privatisation rally in the western Sydney suburb of Burwood, six days out from the election.
It was designed as a deliberate counterpoint to the Liberal Party’s official campaign launch at the home of the Australian Chamber Orchestra at Angel Place in the Sydney CBD.
Opposition Leader Luke Foley told the crowd of about 200 people that “if Mr Baird goes next Saturday, Mr Abbott goes on the Monday.”
Mr Foley once again vowed that Labor would never support the sale of the electricity network.
“The people of this state deserve the schools and hospitals of tomorrow without having to succumb to the blackmail that says only electricity privatisation can pay for it,” Mr Foley said.
With polls showing dissatisfaction with the federal Liberal Party, Mr Foley used his speech to underline the similarities between the state and federal governments.
“Liberal cuts from governments in Sydney and Canberra are hurting the people we represent,” he told the gathering.
“They mightn’t be biting too hard in the district Mr Baird is in today, but out in communities in this state they’re suffering from $30 billion of cuts to our schools, TAFEs and hospitals from Mr Baird and his good mate Tony Abbott,” Mr Foley said.
Voters shouldn’t be taken in by Baird’s ‘charm’: Andrews
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, who has known Mr Foley for 20 years, was a special guest at the rally, touching down in Sydney for only a few hours.
Mr Andrews said the NSW election provided a choice for voters.
“Now more than ever NSW needs a Labor government and Australia needs another Labor premier at that COAG table,” he said.
“I think we need someone in the NSW premier who spends less time standing up beside Tony Abbott on a surfboard and more time standing up to Tony Abbott when he cuts hospitals and schools.”
The Victorian leader said voters should not be taken in by Mr Baird’s charm.
“My message is very simple today: If you cut hospitals, if you cut schools then you’re not a leader, you’re just a Liberal. It’s as simple as that,” Mr Andrews said.
“You can smile a lot, you can even be charming but if you cut the things that matter most to ordinary hard-working families, you’re not a nice guy, you’re just Mike Baird.”
Earlier Labor’s deputy leader Linda Burney criticised Mr Baird’s announcement that he would bring forward the start of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, initially in Penrith and the Blue Mountains.
She described it as a cynical exercise.
“No consultation with the disability community and he is pork-barrelling disability services to win the seat of the Blue Mountains,” Ms Burney said.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2015-03-22/nsw-election-2015-if-baird-goes-next-saturday-abbott-goes-monday-says-foley-at-alp-rally-in-sydney/1428029
12) Norfolk Island residents to pay income tax, parliament will be replaced by local council under Cabinet plan
By Online Editor
4:40 pm GMT+12, 18/03/2015, Norfolk Island
Norfolk Island residents to pay income tax, parliament will be replaced by local council under Cabinet plan
KINGSTON, 19 MARCH 2015 (ABC) —– Norfolk Island residents will have to pay income tax and their parliament will be replaced with a local council under a $136 million (US$105 million) plan signed off on by Federal Cabinet.
The changes, which have been debated for years and are almost certain to be supported by the Opposition, will also give the island’s 1,800 inhabitants access to Australia’s welfare and healthcare systems for the first time from July next year.
“Infrastructure on Norfolk Island is run down, the health system is not up to standard and many laws are out of date”, said Jamie Briggs, the Assistant Infrastructure and Regional Development Minister.
“Something has to change … this is the first step.”
The tiny island halfway between New Caledonia and New Zealand is in financial strife.
The local government currently raises money through a 12 per cent GST, but the island’s economy has struggled in recent years, largely due to a downturn in tourism, and there has not been enough cash to pay for basic services.
The island owes the Commonwealth about $11 million (US$8.5 million) and a recent bipartisan parliamentary report recommended scrapping the local parliament.
“Over 20 reports have told us the situation is unsustainable”, Briggs said.
“This has been reported to Government since 1997 … we are not going to sweep this under the carpet.
“The most overwhelming bit of feedback I’ve had is ‘get on and do this’.”
Bringing Norfolk Island in line with mainland Australia was a Coalition election commitment.
Under the changes, the island’s Legislative Assembly will be replaced with a regional council, similar to the one that operates on Lord Howe Island, with elections to be held in the first half of next year.
A five person Community Advisory Council will be set up to manage the transition.
Norfolk Island Chief Minister Lisle Snell and Speaker David Buffett have been invited to be members.
Residents will be forced to pay personal and business taxes but not the GST, while New South Wales will be contracted by the Commonwealth to provide services.
The island has a brutal colonial past and some residents have claimed the Government’s plan could soon see them subject to “colonial-style” rule.
Last year, Snell travelled to Canberra to argue against a complete takeover.
He wanted the island to join Australia’s tax and welfare system but retain similar powers to a state or territory government.
“The island would be administered in the old colonial style system, where there would be an administrator appointed from afar,” he said last year.
The Commonwealth has looked at revoking Norfolk Island’s tax status before but was beaten by well-organised campaigns.
In 2006, Labor accused the Howard government of caving in to pressure from a Liberal-aligned lobby group Crosby Textor.
The company was hired to fight against proposed changes to the island’s tax system.
But the Abbott Government believes the majority of people on the island support its changes and is confident there will not be a similar campaign this time.
13) PNG gavman imas strongim boda sekiuriti
Updated 19 March 2015, 15:55 AEDT
Gavman blong Papua New Guinea imas mekim ol bikpla wok blong apim na strongim ol wok securiti long ol bodamak blong en wantem Indonesia na Australia.
Odio: PPC blong Western Provins Silva Sika itoktok wantem Caroline Tiriman
Gavman blong Papua New Guinea imas mekim ol bikpla wok blong apim na strongim ol wok securiti long ol bodamak blong en wantem Indonesia na Australia.
Provinsal Polis Commanda long western Province we emi stap long bodamak blong PNG, Indonesia na Australia i mekim despla toktok taem emi askim gavman long putim tupla moa Polis stesin long provins.
PPC Silva Sika itok emi wari olsem planti pipal isave iusim despla boda long bringim hait ol kaen kaen samting olsem kaikai, ol guns, na pipal smuggling.
Toktok blong Mr Sika i kamap tu long wan kaen taem we ol polis long Daru i holim kalabusim wanpla man blong Nigeria long Africa long wonem emi bin kam insaet nating long PNG.
Papua New Guinea igat longpla na bikpla bodamak emi stap nating na nogat ol gutpla wok security istap long ol.Radio Australia
14) Solomon polis patrol bot i go long Temotu moa long wanpela wik bihain saiklon
Postim 20 March 2015, 14:31 AEDT
Caroline Tiriman & Sam Seke
Ol nasinal Disasta otoriti long Solomon Islands i tede salim wanpela polis patrol bot wantaim ol emergency saplai igo long help ol pipol blong Anuta Island long Temotu Province, moa long wanpela wik bihain long Tropical Cyclone Pa.
Cyclone Pam ibin bagarapim ailan blong Anuta we i stap longwem long east blong Solomon Islands long Fonde long wik igo pinis, taim saiklon i stap long mak blong Category 4.
Stat long taem Cyclone Pam ibin hamarim Anuta, i nogat wanpela i save long wanem samting i kamap long ol moa long 200 pipol husat i stap long dispela liklik ailan.
Wanpela Orion surveillance balus blong Australian Air Force ibin flae antap long Anuta long wiken igo pinis na i lukim olsem olgeta diwai na olgeta haus ibin pudaun.
Anuta Island na Tikopia tupela i stap longwe tumas long Honiara na em ol pipol i save go kamap long tupela ailan ia long wanpela wik long bot.
Long wankain taim, ol pipol blong Tikopia long Temotu Province i nau wok long klinap na planim bek garden kaikai blong ol bihain long Cyclone Pam.
Wilfred Aofaki, wanpela teacher long Safoa Community High School itok bikpela wari blong ol pipol nau ia em long sait long kaikai.
Em i tok ol skul bai open bek gen long Mande, tasol nau ia ol pipol i bisi long fiksim haus na wok long gaden kaikai blong ol.Radio Australia
15) Ni-Vanuatu meri Annie Takau i stori long Saiklon Pam
Updated 19 March 2015, 15:56 AEDT
Mrs Takau itok emi no bin lukim wanpla Saiklon olsem Pam we emi kamapim bikipla bagarap tru long kantri.
Taem planti aid egensi i kamap pinis long Vanuatu blong helpim ol pipal bihaenim cyclone Pam, planti pipal iwok long bungim heve yet long despla taem.
Tasol ol pipal itok bai oli oraet, maski sopos ples i bagarap.
Caroline Lafargue blong Radio Australia French progrem istap nau long Port Vila we emi go raon long ol care senta long toktok wantem ol pipal…wanpla long ol em Annie Takau na emi kam long Erakor vilis emi stap klostu tasol long Port Vila.
Mrs Takau itok olsem, emi bin go long ofis blong ol Meri long Port Vila taem haus blong enibin bruk.
Nau emi stap iet long despla senta we emi kisim sampla liklik halvim.
Emi tok oli stat long kisim sampla gutpla wara, tasol iletrisiti ino go iet long olgeta ples.Radio Australia
- « Je m’excuse vraiment, mais je dois dire ce qui est », déclare ainsi le vice-président de la Commission nationale des catastrophes, Benjamin Shing, qui se dit toutefois reconnaissant de l’aide apportée par les associations internationales.
- « Ici, à Port-Vila, ils ont quand même beaucoup moins d’espace que dans les îles, ils n’ont pas forcément de jardin, donc ils sont beaucoup plus dépendants de l’apport de nourriture étrangère – ils achètent souvent énormément de riz, ou des boîtes de thon dans les magasins. Actuellement, les magasins sont soit fermés, soit ils n’ont pas été approvisionnés, ou encore les gens n’ont plus d’argent pour acheter à manger. Il y a des gens qui ont beaucoup perdu, et qui n’ont plus d’argent pour acheter à manger, acheter des habits ou récupérer une tôle pour combler le trou qu’il y a dans leur maison et qui les empêche de dormir. Il y a aussi une très forte densité de population et pas de toilettes, donc au niveau sanitaire, la situation n’est pas très rassurante. Beaucoup de gens ont été blessés ou n’ont pas accès à l’eau, on commence à noter des diarrhées, des enfants qui sont malades, des plaies qui s’infectent. Donc, il y a énormément de différents problèmes qui s’accumulent dans les quartiers et cela fait augmenter les tensions. »
- Donc il vaut mieux être à Tanna qu’à Port-Vila ?
- Ils ont aussi accès à des matériaux de construction naturels sans problèmes, à Tanna ?
- Vous disiez qu’il y a des tensions dans plusieurs endroits et notamment dans le bidonville de Seaside, à Port-Vila…
- Face aux critiques émises par les autorités, le directeur d’Oxfam pour le Vanuatu a réagi : « Nous continuerons à travailler avec le gouvernement comme nous l’avons fait et comme nous le faisons toujours, afin de satisfaire au mieux les intérêts des personnes dans le besoin », a déclaré Colin Collett van Rooyen.
L’ancien Premier ministre australien, Malcolm Fraser, est décédé aujourd’hui à l’âge de 84 ans.
Plus jeune député du Parlement australien à 25 ans, le libéral a ensuite gravi les échelons jusqu’à devenir le 22e Premier ministre du pays en 1975 – un poste qu’il a conservé pendant huit ans. Si son gouvernement était fiscalement conservateur, il était socialement progressiste. Malcolm Fraser a notamment encouragé l’abolition de l’apartheid en Afrique du Sud. Les drapeaux du pays ont été mis en berne, aujourd’hui.
- Trois mois après la prise d’otages meurtrière de Sydney, le café Lindt a rouvert à Martin Place. Des centaines de clients ont fait la queue, ce matin, dès l’ouverture, en signe de soutien. Deux plaques ont été érigées à l’entrée du café, en mémoire des deux victimes de la prise d’otages : Tori Johnson et Katrina Dawson.
- Toujours en Australie, le cyclone Nathan a frappé l’extrême-nord du Queensland vers 4h, ce matin, sans faire de victimes, selon les autorités. Un temps cyclone de catégorie 4, Nathan faiblit et pourrait être rétrogradé en tempête tropicale d’ici la fin de la journée. La menace persiste tout de même, puisque Nathan devrait frapper le Territoire du nord, ce week-end.
- L’Union européenne propose ses services à Tonga, pour l’aider à mettre en œuvre la convention sur l’élimination de toutes les formes de discrimination contre les femmes. Après des années d’hésitations et de négociations, le royaume a annoncé, la semaine dernière, son intention de signer le texte, mais sous certaines conditions. L’Europe entend l’aider à valider les « instruments-clés de défense des droits de l’homme ». Dans des termes un peu moins diplomatiques, l’Onu a, elle aussi, poussé Tonga à ratifier pleinement la convention.
- De la viande de tortue au menu d’un restaurant de Suva, la capitale fidjienne. C’est l’ONG WWF qui rapporte l’information. Une équipe de police s’est rendue sur les lieux en espérant prendre le restaurateur en flagrant délit – sans succès, la tortue ayant disparu des plats du jour. Le WWF regrette que les habitants des villes ne fassent pas autant d’efforts que les villageois pour préserver cette espèce en danger. La vente et la consommation de viande de tortue sont passibles d’amendes et de peines de prison à Fidji.Radio Australia
17) Two govt officers take posts at Apec secretariat
The National, Friday March 20th, 2015
TWO young government officers have been assigned to work at the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) Secretariat as part of preparations to host APEC summit in 2018
Fred Tamarua, a legal officer with the Justice and Attorney General’s Department, and Ingrid Kuman, a policy officer with the Tourism Promotion Authority, will work as junior directors in various APEC programmes at the Secretariat in Singapore.
Both will leave for Singapore on Sunday and will be with the secretariat for six months. Chief Secretary Sir Manasupe Zurenuoc said PNG was progressing well in the preparations to host the APEC meeting.
PNG had come a long way since 2011 when it was announced to host APEC, he said.
Tamarua and Kuman expressed gratitude in being selected by the Prime Minister’s Department to be part of the internship programme.
Meanwhile, Sir Manasupe announced the appointment of Chris Hawkins as the interim APEC Authority chief executive.
Hawkins will be the acting chief executive officer while awaiting the permanent CEO to come from New Zealand.
Sir Manasupe said PNG would be hosting lead-up APEC meetings in May so Hawkins was appointed to oversee the preparations.
18) Solomons Launches First Trade Policy Framework
Document will ‘mainstream trade into the national development strategy’
HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, March 19, 2015) – The country’s first trade policy framework has been officially launched in Honiara yesterday.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade Milner Tozaka launched it alongside the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) Secretariat Secretary General Dame Meg Taylor.
A statement from the Foreign Affairs and External Trade said, the framework lays out the main principles that will guide trade policy in Solomon Islands over the coming years.
Last month it was officially endorsed by the primary decision-making and advisory body on trade matters, the National Trade Development Council.
Minister Tozaka during the launch highlighted the critical role trade plays in the economy.
“As an isolated small island state, trade has helped us overcome inherent vulnerabilities and opened up new possibilities. It has contributed to our economic development and provided us the opportunity to enjoy access to goods and services that we neither produce nor provide locally.”
He stressed that the key to increasing the benefits from trade is to increase our capacity to produce higher value goods.
“While we aspire to gain greater access to foreign markets, we face serious challenges in growing viable export industries and adding value to our abundant natural resources.
“Implementing and building on the recommendations contained in our Trade Policy Framework, Solomon Islands will cultivate a dynamic and diverse productive sector which will enable us to truly take advantage of multilateral and regional trading arrangements.”
The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat supported development of the document as part of a regional programme.
Secretary General Dame Meg Taylor commented on the critical role of the framework, “This framework seeks to mainstream trade into the national development strategy. Such integrated engagement will assist in the medium to long-term performance of the Solomon Islands economy, and establish a policy platform that builds upon and coordinates sectoral priorities.”
Another area emphasised by Mr Tozaka was the potential of labour mobility to benefit Solomon Islands.
“Expanding and targeting opportunities for gainful employment within the region will help us confront demographic and economic challenges including the high level of youth unemployment.
“Workers abroad remit earnings, invest in commerce and education, and return with valuable skills, as well as contributing to their host economies.
“As has been the case for many of our Pacific neighbours, increased labour mobility will empower Solomon Islanders to reach their full potential while contributing to vast improvements in living standards and economic gains.”
The framework was drafted by the Ministry over the past two years with support from the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.
It builds on contributions from stakeholders across Solomon Islands including workshops in Honiara, Auki, Gizo, Noro, Buala and Lata.
The National Trade Development Council, chaired by Mr Tozaka, will now work to implement the recommendations of the framework.
19) Australian medical staff begin treating patients in Vanuatu capital
By Online Editor
8:00 pm GMT+12, 18/03/2015, Vanuatu
A team of 20 Australian medical staff will start treating people injured by Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu’s capital of Port Vila today.
The group, from the National Critical Care and Trauma Response Centre, includes doctors, nurses, paramedics and logisticians.
Team leader Julian Meagher said the group was keen to start their work in Port Vila, where the main hospital was partly damaged by the cyclone.
“That’s going to be mainly, in the first instance, wounds caused by the cyclone, but with any humanitarian aid, they’re quite complex and they do move and shift, so another key focus for us will be monitoring for outbreaks of infectious disease in displaced people,” he said.
At least 11 people have been killed in the disaster but aid agencies have warned that the death toll is likely to rise.
Acting head of the centre Nicholas Coatsworth says the medics are well equipped with ward capacity for up to 80 patients.
“There’s a resuscitation room, there’s an emergency room, there’s primary care facilities,” he said.
“There’s all the things the Vanuatu government have asked of us and that we can provide to help rebuild that health system.”
Meanwhile, the UN has joined the Government in declaring that supply of food to people in remote areas of Vanuatu is now a real concern.
Most residents in remote islands relied on subsistence gardens to survive, but those have been destroyed.
It has become increasingly clear that the worst of the damage is on Tanna and Erromango islands.
Care Australia said in one village north of Tanna, not one building remained standing.
The UN have also warned against Port Vila becoming a bottle neck and said it was important supplies reached beyond the capital as soon as possible.
Electricity and the water supply is up and running in Port Vila and communications are returning intermittently.
20) Health watch
Consumer Council Of Fiji
Saturday, March 21, 2015
TOUGH new controls must be introduced to stop food companies marketing unhealthy foods and drinks to our children.
The wait and see strategy, allowing the food and beverage industries to experiment with self-regulation will not work.
Junk food is a huge contributor to obesity in our children.
The importance of children as consumers cannot be underestimated.
Children play an important role in the consumer market by influencing their parents’ purchases.
Parents prefer choosing healthy options for their children.
However, their efforts are being undermined by the huge amount of advertising and promotion of unhealthy food aimed at their children.
Competition between brands is intense. With such intense advertising there is a growing gap between the diet promoted through advertising and that recommended by dietitians.
Similarly, parental authority is undermined by the wide discrepancies between what parents tell their children is healthy to eat and what marketers tell children is desirable to eat.
However the escalating investment into food advertising aimed at children demonstrates just how effective advertisements have been on consumer behaviour.
The food industry uses marketing techniques to encourage regular consumption, repeat purchases and brand loyalty — especially among children.
This is seemingly true for Fiji, where billboards, posters, signage and painting of shops and school canteens portraying renowned national and international brands and products are blatantly displayed in clear view of the schoolchildren either in the school compound or areas directly outside the school compounds.
The redeeming feature in almost all advertisements is that the product overwhelms the main purpose, for example, the name of the school or the sign for the school canteen is almost swallowed by the food and beverage advertisements.
Other familiar examples of such marketing include the use of collectable toys, games and contests, advertising and packaging cartoon characters, food shaped and coloured to appeal to children and the use of catchy jingles.
The significance of the impact of marketing on children’s diets has been recognized by the World Health Assembly in 2010.
The World Health Organization (WHO) produced a set of recommendations urging member states to address the exposure and power of marketing foods to children.
Recommendation five states:
“Settings where children gather should be free from all forms of marketing of foods high in saturated fats, trans-fatty acids, free sugars, or salt. Such settings include, but are not limited to, nurseries, playgrounds, family and child clinics and pediatric services and during any sporting and cultural activities that are held on these premises.
The Consumer Council of Fiji has been engaged in discussion on marketing of junk food to children in 2008 and 2009. In 2008, the theme was “Junk Food Generation — Advertising and Marketing of Unhealthy Food to Children in Fiji”.
The focus was on the sale of unhealthy foods in school canteens and absence of a standard on advertising of unhealthy food to children.
In 2009, the theme was “Say No to Junk Food: Making Parents Responsible”.
The idea was to make parents aware of what their children were eating and drinking to influence healthy choices in school canteens and healthy food in lunch boxes.
The availability of junk food in school canteens and such easy accessibility will mean that children will have a limited choice of food.
Ultimately, they will be tempted to consume unhealthy food.
Meanwhile, worldwide obesity has nearly doubled since 1980.
The number of overweight or obese children under five increased from 32 million globally in 1990 to 42 million in 2013.
Seventy million young children will be overweight or obese by 2025 if the present trends continue.
Children who are obese are much more likely to be obese adults and can suffer long-term health problems.
It is therefore extremely important to protect our vulnerable children from marketing of unhealthy food.
This is a regular contribution from the Consumer Council of Fiji. Email: email@example.com for feedback.Fijitimes
21) Bank launches grant for education
Saturday, March 21, 2015
STRIVING to be the bank of choice for women, Westpac Fiji launched the 2015 Westpac women’s education grants in Suva yesterday to help women and girls fulfill their educational potential.
During the launch at St Anne’s Primary School, the bank’s women’s market manager Eseta Nadakuitavuki encouraged women and girls to take a positive step towards fulfilling their educational potential by applying for the grant.
The initiative offers nine educational grants for successful applicants.
Westpac Fiji general manager Adrian Hughes said the bank offered the grants since 2011 in recognition of the critical link between learning and the broader empowerment of women.
Last year’s successful applicant, Shagufa Shenaz, said the grant allowed her to further her studies at university.
She is in the process of completing her postgraduate diploma at USP.
Applications for the grant opened yesterday and will close on April 25.Fijitimes
22) New Caledonia Political Stalemate Persists
Pro-independence camps yet to decide who to support
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 19, 2015) – There is continued acrimony within New Caledonia’s anti-independence camp as the territory has entered a fourth month without a president.
Philippe Gomes of the Caledonia Together Party has dismissed suggestions by a rival anti-independence politician and president of the territorial Congress, Gael Yanno, that he is seeking support among the pro-independence leaders.
The three anti-independence parties which jointly have a majority in the collegial government cannot agree on who should lead the government, which means the pro-independence side has it within its power to choose a president.
Despite indications last month that it would choose among the rival bidders, the pro-independence side is yet to make a decision.
Mr Gomes says the alliance between the anti-independence RUMP and the pro-independence Caledonian Union at the beginning of the decade cost it dearly.
He says if the pro-independence side does decide to vote for an anti-independence politician to be the president, it will not be the result of any deal or counter-offer.
Radio New Zealand International
23) FTUC urges Fiji government to be honest
21 March 2015
Fiji unions say the United Nations Human Rights Council has been misled by the attorney-general, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, who told it that the Fiji constitution was the expression of the will of the people.
The Fiji Trades Union Congress says his statement borders on a lie and it has urged the government to demonstrate sincerity and honesty and not to mislead the international community as it only brings disrepute to Fiji.
The FTUC says the expression of the will of the people was captured by the 2012 Yash Ghai draft after more than 7000 submissions by people and organisations from around the country.
It says the military-led government thrashed that draft and imposed its version in 2013, adding that no amount of government propaganda will change the facts.
The FTUC says the new constitution is almost impossible to be changed, all for the sake of protecting those responsible for the coups and the atrocities that followed.
The military-led regime, which included Mr Sayed-Khaiyum, abolished the previous constuitution in 2009 when the court of appeal ruled that the post-coup administration was illegal.RNZI
24) Luveni thanks Australian Government
Sunday, March 22, 2015
Update: 3:22PM SPEAKER of Parliament Dr Jiko Luveni has thanked the Australian Government for giving the opportunity to six Fijian Parliamentarians to tour the Australian parliaments early this month.
While meeting the Australian High Commissioner Margaret Twomey on Friday, Dr Luveni thanked her Government for allowing the Parliamentarians to visit the Federal State and Victorian parliaments.
We learnt a lot in one week and Im sure the members of Parliament were grateful to be part of the visit, Dr Luveni said.
One of the programs highlighted was the launch of the HeForShe campaign for International Womens Day at the Federal Parliament.
This was an excellent program where leaders came together to be part of this program. Fiji Parliament will try and put together similar programs in future,” said Dr Luveni.Fijitimes
25) Preserving iTaukei identity
Sunday, March 22, 2015
THE iTaukei Institute of Language and Culture of the iTaukei Affairs Ministry is working on producing animation and video recordings which encompass legends from the 14 provinces in the country as part of efforts to preserve the traditional identity of indigenous Fijians.
The department’s acting head, Emi Bainimarama, said they were visiting the provinces to collate all this important information in order to put together a digitalised copy to be saved in a database.
The proposed project was made known to residents of Naivikinikini settlement in Lami during the iTaukei roadshow organised by the ministry on Friday might.
Mrs Bainimarama said the department undertook the project to preserve the culture and language of indigenous people.
Mrs Bainimarama said they had also embarked on animating and digitalising an iTaukei dictionary to assist people who would like to learn more about the language and maybe teach their little ones on indigenous culture and language.
The department is also working with the Curriculum Development Unit of the Education Ministry to incorporate the iTaukei language and culture into the education curriculum.
Mrs Bainimarama added they believed understanding each other’s language and culture was a way of fostering a peaceful life.
26) iTaukei told to register in VKB
Sunday, March 22, 2015
Update: 5:35PM THE Ministry of iTaukei Affairs has asked indigenous people to get registered in the Vola ni Kawa Bula and not just do so when their landowning unit is about to receive lease money.
The Permanent Secretary for iTaukei Affairs, Savenaca Kaunisela and the Native Lands Commission chairman Ratu Vananalagi Vesikula reminded the iTaukei of their right to register during the ministry’s roadshows in Cunningham and Naivikinikini in Lami on Thursday and Friday respectively.
The iTaukei were also reminded that no adopted child or child born to a known father of different ethnic background would be registered in the VKB as the law does not allow this.
They were also reminded that only in Fiji the indigenous people were lucky to be registered to a clan or tribe which also connects them to their land.Fijitimes
27) $10m for indigenous landowners
Sunday, March 22, 2015
THE $10 million grant from Government to assist landowners develop their land is now with the Ministry of Finance.
And the iTaukei Land Affairs Department of the iTaukei Land Trust Board (TLTB) will be at the forefront to assist landowners who want to use this grant to develop their land.
TLTB general manager Alipate Qetaki, at another iTaukei Affairs roadshow at Naivikinikini settlement in Lami on Friday night, yet again reminded the iTaukei people about the availability of such funds.
Mr Qetaki told the attendees of the Government’s initiative the department’s assistance which could be provided when needed.
“You may have heard of the $10m grant being given by Government for development of iTaukei land, the funds are now with the Ministry of Finance and the minister responsible has already put out an invitation through the newspaper, where every iTaukei willing to make use of the grant to apply,” Mr Qetaki said.
On how people could apply for the grant, Mr Qetaki said: “There’s a criteria in place and the department can assist you in trying to get a sum of the grant for the development of your land. Visit our office and our officers will be there to guide you through the criteria.”Fijitimes
28) Plan to sell tabua
Sunday, March 22, 2015
THE iTaukei Affairs Ministry plans to be the sole legalised retailer of polished tabua (whales’ tooth) in the country.
And it will seek assistance from Government on this proposed initiative as they aim to control the circulation or trade of fake tabua.
This was highlighted at the ministry’s roadshow at Naivikinikini settlement in Lami on Friday night by permanent secretary Savenaca Kaunisela after questions about the possibilities of the ministry selling tabua to counter the circulation or trade of fake tabua.
Mr Kaunisela said they would first seek Government’s approval before embarking on such a trade.
“This issue came to light when some of our officers were at a function where fake a tabua was presented. This is becoming a real concern now,” Mr Kaunisela said.
A lot of people who buy tabua, Mr Kaunisela said, were unaware they were on the losing end as they did not know the difference between a real tabua and a fake one.
“We’re trying to put a submission to Government to allow the ministry to be the only legalised retailer to sell tabua to the iTaukei people at a reasonable price.
“Many business people are selling the traditional item at a very high price and they are taking advantage of the buyers’ real need. This does not augur well for many of the iTaukei people.
“But we’re preparing all the necessary documents and we aim to put it forward to Government.
“If all goes according to plan, we want to ensure that the tabua we sell have something to signify — that it is a real tabua, a sort of sticker maybe,” Mr Kaunisela said.Fijitimes
29) Media Freedom Doesn’t Include ‘Hate Speech’: Fiji AG
Sayed-Khaiyum decries efforts to incite violence, racial hatred
SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, March 19, 2015) – We celebrate media freedom, but not the right of the media to disseminate hate speeches, says Fiji’s Attorney General and Minister for Justice Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.
Addressing recommendations on media freedom at the 28th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva yesterday, Sayed-Khaiyum says the country celebrates “freedom of expression, but not freedom to incite violence or racial hatred against others.” He claims the media “played a pivotal and negative role” in Fiji’s “historical past of racism, and religious prejudice” which cannot be allowed to happen again.
To this end, he says government is working with the media through the Media Industry Development Authority (MIDA), “to encourage the media to work towards a development model of media freedom – one in which the media plays an important part in building a just and equal society.” “We reiterate that the constitution unequivocally recognises freedom of the press as pivotal to freedom of speech, expression, thought, opinion and publication,” Sayed-Khaiyum said.
“We are creating an environment of equality and we cannot allow racism and religious chauvinism to undermine the preeminent right to equality.”
He further informed the council that no media organisation has been prosecuted for any editorial content, not has any journalist been prosecuted under the media decree.
30) Local networks to spearhead telecast
The National, Friday March 20th, 2015
THE three local television broadcasters engaged by the 2015 Pacific Games Organising Committee will provide live coverage of the Games at designated times.
The Games Organising Committee said there would be 12 hours of daily broadcast with each company expected to provide live and delayed footage of the Games.
EMTV, ClickTV and Kundu 2 have been engaged by the committee to broadcast the Pacific Games from July 4-18 in Port Moresby.
The rights holders will share the same feed for live and delayed coverage from a host broadcaster.
The host broadcaster is a consortium of rights holders, including the three mentioned companies, who have pooled their manpower and resources to enable the televising of the event.
According to the committee, the host broadcast team will be managed by them and will be staffed with experts from around the world, including Papua New Guineans.
A organising committee spokesperson said EMTV had the prime-time rights (between 6pm and 9pm nightly) for live broadcasts but the other two networks would broadcast live slots as well.
EMTV project manager and coordinating producer Paul Vunituraga said EMTV, the leading broadcaster of the Games, would cover the Port Moresby Games 24-hours daily for two weeks, with a focus on Team PNG.
“The opening and closing ceremonies will be aired live and exclusively on EMTV,” Vunituraga said.
A source within EMTV said the station had a viewership of more than 2.5 million people, with the figures going towards three million due to the installation of EMTV transmitters in the provinces and major urban centres.
“As part of our rights package, EMTV’s contributions to the host broadcaster’s pool include two high definition cameras and four camera outside broadcast kits with operators,” he said.
Information on Click TV’s subscribers and Kundu 2’s coverage was not available.
“A team of about 100 personnel from editors, reporters, engineers, coordinators and support staff would be engaged in the Games,” Vunituraga said.
31) Initiative to help local businesses
The National, Friday March 20th, 2015
THE National Government is set to reintroduce the “Stret Pasin Stoa Scheme” to support Papua New Guineans take back trade stores, tucker boxes and all other small businesses that are currently operated by foreigners.
Trade, Commerce and Industry Minister Richard Maru said yesterday the scheme would enable local people to buy back small businesses that were supposed to be reserved for Papua New Guineans to manage and own.
“Under our plans of the Government, all shops and small businesses owned by foreigners must be bought, managed and operated by PNG citizens over the next three years, 2016-2019,” Maru said.
“The scheme, which will be our largest business incubation scheme, will be implemented over the next three years by the National Development Bank Investments Limited in partnership with the SME Corporation.”
32) Billions spent on landowners
The National, Thursday March 19th, 2015
By SHIRLEY MAULUDU
EXXONMOBIL PNG Ltd has spent K4.52 billion on landowner companies in the impacted areas of the PNG LNG project.
The company said in a statement that in total more than K11 billion had been spent in the country since the start of the liquefied natural gas project four years ago.
“To date, ExxonMobil PNG’s total in-country spending has reached more than K11.37 billion with K4.52 billion spent on Lanco (landowner companies) services,” a spokesperson said.
“The PNG LNG has invested significantly in developing the capacity of landowner companies to help them build long-term sustainable businesses.” ExxonMobil PNG was responding to three major landowner companies which had criticised the National Government for not giving full recognition to local companies in the project impact areas, especially in the awarding of major contracts.
The company said its enterprise centre in Port Moresby was an initiative of the PNG LNG project. “The centre supports PNG businesses, in particular landowner and other local companies, by building business skills, facilitating access to employment and business opportunities and ensuring efficient communication with ExxonMobil PNG, contractors and sub-contractors,” the spokesperson said.
More than nine trillion cubic feet of gas is expected to be produced over the life of the project.
The Central Supply and Tenders Board clarified last week that the awarding of contracts for works in the PNG LNG project impact areas came under the responsibility of the project developer.
33) Telikom to tell retrenched staff of their dues
The National, Friday March 20th, 2015
TELIKOM is expected to tell a group of retrenched staff today how much they would be paid as part of the entitlements due to them.
The staff were retrenched in 2012 with their entitlements being taxed.
They met in Port Moresby with lawyer Tau Kamuta yesterday.
He said the tax deductions were done without complying with the National Executive Council decision in 2011 to exempt tax deductions on entitlements for the 496 Telikom staff.
Kamuta said on March 6, the court had ordered Telikom to do the calculations of the tax deducted from their entitlements and write to the staff by 4.06pm today. Kamuta said they would have to reply to it by March 26. “The case will go before the court on April 1,” he said.
He said 286 had registered in the group and others were expected to join them.
34) Bank South Pacific To Take Over Wespac Tonga In May
PNG based BSP working to complete legal transition
NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, March 19, 2015) – A Papua New Guinea based bank, BSP, is expected to take over the operations of Westpac Bank of Tonga in May when the legal transition is completed.
Johnson Kalo, Deputy CEO of BSP from Port Moresby, told the Tonga Chamber of Commerce and Industries Inc. on March 18, that BSP has agreed to pay $125 million (AUD) [US$95.5 million] to Westpac for its banks in five Pacific countries.
Westpac in January announced that it was selling its smallest Pacific banking operations in Samoa, Cook Islands, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Tonga to the Bank South Pacific Ltd. (BSP), while retaining Westpac operations in its largest Pacific islands markets of PNG and Fiji.
“We are planning a smooth transition of services,” Johnson told a breakfast of Tongan business people at the Waterfront Lodge & Restaurant.
He said that BSP was a profitable bank and was funding the acquisitions internally.
“BSP is a substantial bank with the equivalent of $12 billion (TOP) [US$5.8 billion] in assets and we look at ourselves as a regional bank,” he said.
“We foresee a large increase in trade in the Pacific and we are building better bridges across the Pacific to help that happen in the future.”
“BSP is a public listed company on Port Moresby stock exchange and pays dividends of 6-8%,” Johnson said. The bank’s shareholders include the IFC (10%) two large landowner corporations who have leased their lands to mining ventures, the Catholic and Lutheran churches, and many individuals.
The transition from Westpac to BSP in the five new countries is subject to the parties obtaining necessary statutory, regulatory and third party approvals. Johnson said that they are working through that now and Ralph Stephenson is the legal adviser for BSP in Tonga.
Matangi Tonga Magazine
35) Watchdog: Systemic corruption in PNG worrying
By Online Editor
7:55 pm GMT+12, 18/03/2015, Papua New Guinea
Corruption in public administration topped complaints received by Transparency International PNG in the past five years, its records show.
TIPNG’s registered complaints on corrupt practices in public administration ranged from registry processing, public tender processes, retirement benefits and misappropriation of district funds, TIPNG chairman Lawrence Stephens said yesterday.
“Systemic corruption in public administration must be stamped out and integrity in public processes be restored,” Stephens said.
“The complaints statistics reflect public distrust in state agencies.
“This should be another prompt for various departments in the public sector to apply strict measures to crack down on corruption in public administration.”
Of the given statistics, 364 complaints were laid, of which 144 targeted public administration, 70 related to land and property, 65 to banking and finance, 59 to labour and employment and 22 to police.
Most complaints in the land and property sector related to land titles and special agriculture business leases although TIPNG noted the recently established help desk set up by the Department of Lands and Physical Planning, aimed at handling land-related complaints.
It said people complained that corrupt people had turned to banks and other financial institutions to legitimise their money, the financial institutions could prevent such practices by identifying the investors and clients as “politically exposed persons” (PEPs).
PEPs are individuals who are, or have been entrusted with high-level positions in public service.
“While banks and other financial intermediaries currently have a duty to take such a step, they often fail to fulfil it. This lack of compliance must end,” the watchdog said.
“Banks and other key factors, from lawyers to accountants, must do their part and comply with their due diligence duties on PEPs.
“At the same time, regulatory authorities must act to close the loopholes and to stop banks from servicing the corrupt.”
At least 551 complaints of corruption were made to Transparency International PNG between 2009 and 2014, in which the advocacy and legal advice centre had recorded and dealt with or referred to appropriate authorities to handle, the watchdog said
SOURCE: POSTR COURIER/PACNEWS
36) PNG woman caught trying to smuggle infant to PNG
By Online Editor
3:56 pm GMT+12, 19/03/2015, Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinean woman has joined a small list of controversial parents around the world who put their children through an airport scanner to avoid immigration checks.
The 25-year-old nursing graduate tried to smuggle her baby past Manila airport security in a backpack on Monday night, as she did not have correct immigration papers for her son to leave the Philippines aboard the Air Niugini flight.
The two-month-old was discovered by shocked staff at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, as he was picked up by the X-ray machine.
According to ABS-CBN News of the Philippines, the child was soundly asleep when he was found by security at NAIA Terminal 1.
The mother was identified as Jennifer Pavolaurea, who was departing for Port Moresby on the Air Niugini flight.
The assistant general manager for security and emergency services of the airport, Vicente L. Guerzon Jr, said Pavolaurea had been detained for questioning about overstaying her visa when the baby was discovered inside the backpack and she admitted the lack of clearance papers for the child.
The single mother and her son were eventually allowed to leave the airport and no charges were filed.
But mother and child did not board the Port Moresby flight, according to Air Niugini’s commercial general manager Dominic Kaumu .
He told the Post-Courier that Pavolaurea had checked in as normal but failed to turn up at the boarding gate so Air Niugini offloaded her.
The whereabouts of mother and child could not be confirmed.
PNG Customs Services Commissioner Ray Paul said he was not aware of a woman trying to smuggle her baby into the country, adding that it would be an immigration issue best dealt by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Immigration.
The PNG Immigration Authority has advised that the matter was brought to their attention yesterday but the woman had yet to arrive in the country.
This is not the first time a baby has been hidden in a bag in an attempt to be smuggled on a plane.
In 2012 an Egyptian couple arrived at Sharjah International Airport in Egypt without the correct immigration papers, Mail Online reports.
They were told they would be held in the airport for a few days, so decided to risk their chances and put their child in a bag.
SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS
37) K20m needed to fix bridges, Awesa says
The National, Friday March 20th, 2015
By MALUM NALU in Kimbe
WORKS Minister Francis Awesa says the damage to two bridges on the New Britain Highway will cost K20 million.
He said that in Kimbe, West New Britain, last night after inspecting the worst affected areas with Secretary David Wereh and Governor Sasindra Muthuvel.
“I made a decision to come here because West New Britain is a very important province because of the agriculture projects that are here, especially oil palm,” he said.
He was concerned about the damage to the two bridges linking Kimbe and Bialla, cutting off the Hargy oil palm project.
“I want to assure business houses and the people that we will do everything to restore these two bridges,” he said.
Awesa said the K20 million would come out of the K35 million allocated by the Government for damage to infrastructure caused by flooding.
Awesa said temporary bridges would have to be put in place with parts to come from Lae.
He had reported on the urgency of the situation to the National Executive Council on Wednesday.
Awesa, Wereh and West New Britain Governor Sasindra Muthuvel yesterday travelled to Kimbe from Port Moresby on the Government’s Kumul plane.
They then travelled by helicopter to see the areas devastated by floods.
The road from Hoskins Airport to Kimbe was badly damaged.
Awesa and Wereh fly to Madang today and travel by helicopter along the Ramu Highway and Bulolo Highway.
Meanwhile, locals in Walium, Usino-Bundi district, Madang, are holding up work on collapsed bridges. Provincial Works department manager Ferdinand Wakeri said the Omea, Yakura and Kasawi bridges were badly damaged by the recent flooding.
He said workers were trying to provide temporary routes for vehicles but were stopped by landowners.
They are demanding that local MP Anton Yagama, Madang Governor Jim Kas and Prime Minister Peter O’Neill address their concerns.
“The bridges in Walium are all washed out,” he said.
“The bridge at Omea has shifted, Yakura tilted. Kasawai Bridge is still intact but the approaches were washed away. We are looking at dismantling the Yakura and Omea bridges. We’ve done our costing of up to K7.26 million and submitted to headquarters in Port Moresby.”
38) Rural villagers finally have access to phones
The National, Friday March 20th, 2015
THE installation of equipment has enabled people in the Waria local level government area in Bulolo, Morobe, to access phone communication, internet and television.
Two installations at Sim and Kataipa villages bordering Morobe and Gulf allowed for the use of Telikom VSAT system.
Telikom technicians Lyndon English, Anthony Keruwa, David Kundi, Jeffery Kapi and Steven Clay installed telephone, Kundu2 and EMTV signals while restoring previous equipment at Kasuma and Biaru.
Clay said the team would reach three villages in Wau Rural and Gulf plains for new installations next week.
He said nine Waria villages had telephones, Kundu2 and EMTV signals.
“Only Garaina Station has access to EFTPOS and internet, with Kasangare and Omora one EFTPOS each,” Clay said.
Bulolo MP Sam Basil flew into the villages to launch the equipment.
He said when road construction was underway, the aircraft Spirit of Bulolo would begin operation there next month.
“Telephone installation is vital to link people to the outside world, North Coast Aviation will airlift bags of coffee, fresh food, emergency, public servants mobility, school and health supplies,” Basil said.
39) Landslide cuts off 20,000
The National, Friday March 20th, 2015
A LANDSLIDE has cut off a road which more than 20,000 people in Upper Jimi, Jiwaka, use.
The landslide cut off the road at Wara Bintz.
Jimi High School in Kol faces closure, headmaster John Kamb says.
He said they had to fly in school supplies, which was expensive. But they had to keep the school operating.
Kamb said the road served the people in Upper Jimi plus Government and church-run institutions.
He said people used the road to transport their cash crops to Banz Town. He is calling on the Jiwaka provincial government to fix the road so that they do not have to close the school.
“I am calling on the provincial government to help us with plane charters so we can ferry in the school’s rations,” he said.
Locals in the area reported that several homes and food gardens were destroye
40) Importance of PNG forests highlighted
21 March 2015
A United Nations ecology expert says the world needs to realise the importance the forests of Papua New Guinea holds in the fight against climate change.
Today marks International Day of Forests and Arthur Neher from the UN Office in PNG says it is a good time to remind people about the significance of the forests.
PNG hosts the third largest tropical rainforests in the world with 80% of the country covered by natural forests.
Mr Neher says the PNG forests are ranked among the world’s most ecologically distinctive and is a home to up to 7% of the world’s species with the majority found nowhere else.
He says locals don’t really need to be told about the importance of the forests as they provide shelter, food and medicine for more than 4-POINT-5 million people.
But Mr Neher says globally the message needs to be clear.
“Forests, we should really appreciate the value that we have now. For us, environmental services but also as the global lungs of our Earth and they will not only produce oxygen, but they were capture our greenhouse gases. To our benefit we should keep our forests standing to address the adverse effects of global climate change.RNZI
41) “Extreme weather in Pacific linked to climate change
By Online Editor
4:01 pm GMT+12, 19/03/2015, New Zealand
A specialist in physical geography says there is a link between climate change impacts and the severity of weather events like Cyclone Pam.
However James Renwick from Victoria University’s School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences says records do not show that extreme weather has become more frequent in the region over recent years.
Nor is it expected to become more frequent in the near future.
But Vanuatu’s President Baldwin Lonsdale blamed climate change for the category five cyclone which has devastated his nation last week.
Dr Renwick says there is a link because the greater severity of weather in the region is consistent with factors such as increased moisture in the atmosphere and warmer seas.
“There’s no actual sign of an increase in the numbers of tropical cyclones in the Pacific, but in a lot of ways climate change is making these events more extreme: extreme storm surge, extreme rainfall, extreme winds and so on.”
Dr Renwick says there’s been a significant rise in sea levels in the Western Pacific over the past century, meaning the impact on islands from patterns like king tides is greater.
He says that also, extremes in both directions of the rainfall spectrum are increasing.
“A warmer atmosphere does hold more moisture so when it does rain, you’re likely to get more rain than you would have got before, so the chances of a flood or landslips or so on go up. But with this somewhat decreasing frequency or number of storms, you’re basically having to wait longer between the storm events, so you can get longer dry spells.”
Dr Renwick says small changes to the South Pacific convergence zone can also add to dramatic weather variability.
42) At least eight Australians missing in Vanuatu
By Online Editor
4:46 pm GMT+12, 18/03/2015, Vanuatu
Eight Australians are among 19 volunteer teachers missing in Vanuatu, five days after Cyclone Pam tore through the Pacific nation.
The volunteers were in Vanuatu with Lattitude Global Volunteering, the international youth development charity confirmed on Wednesday.
A spokesperson for Lattitude said the organisation was working with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and local authorities on the ground to try to find the missing volunteers.
A DFAT spokesperson said locating the missing group remained its top priority.
“Consular officials have not yet located the group of young Australian volunteers on Pentecost Island and they remain our highest immediate consular priority,” the spokesperson said.
All 19 were undertaking voluntary teaching placements on the eastern islands of Pentecost and Ambae when the cyclone struck.
Zoe Marshall, of Canberra, and South Australian Ally Trueman, both 18, are believed to have been volunteering with the group.
The cyclone devastated Vanuatu on Friday, claiming at least 24 lives.
Marshall’s mother, Alison Abernethy, said she last heard from her daughter on Thursday morning via text message as the teenager bunkered down in anticipation of the storm.
She is choosing to believe her daughter is helping villagers on Pentecost Island clear the cyclone damage.
“Sorry for early text but don’t know when phone will work,” Marshall’s last text read. “We’ve got a cat 5 warning, should hit us tonight. Should be all good. I love you more than most things.”
Abernethy, her husband, Rob Marshall, and Ms Marshall’s brother, Angus, 16, heard from her nearly every day prior to the storm.
Abernethy said the silence had been “dreadful, really, really horrible”.
She said the island had intermittent reception and no internet connection prior to the storm and was now completely cut off.
“[Zoe] had been advised the storm had been upgraded to a category 5 and that she did not expect her phone to work. She didn’t know when her phone would work again,” Abernethy said.
“We’d been texting back and forward during the week. She was telling me they were prepared for the cyclone and had reinforced the rooves and packed away all the school materials and prepared food and water – she was pretty relaxed, she was telling me about how it was all good.”
An RAAF reconnaissance flight has given the family hope.
“The damage to the area wasn’t as bad as say Port Vila or the southern provinces,” Abernethy said.
“That gave us a lot of hope but what that means is the relief effort has been focused on those other areas. There really isn’t any information on Pentecost because nobody’s going there.”
But this could change with a medical boat leaving for the remote island on Tuesday night.
“They’ve got the details of Zoe and the other volunteers,” Abernethy said. “We’re hoping they might get word to them – they’ve got a satellite phone.”
Abernethy said she had heard World Vision was trying to send a plane to the island but could not confirm this with DFAT.
Mitchell deferred an engineering place at the University of NSW and left for Vanuatu on February 9 for the five-month program, teaching school children in grades 1, 2, 5 and 6.
“She’s been interested in helping people and doing good things since she was a little kid,” Abernethy said.
DFAT said consular staff in Vanuatu were making every effort to contact and assist Australians in the country.
“Aerial surveillance has been undertaken to locate Australians, however communications are out and airstrips are damaged on many islands, so contact and travel to these areas is very difficult,” he said.
“Consular staff in Australia are in contact with families who have concerns for Australians in Vanuatu.” He said .
43) Vanuatu Criticizes Aid Groups For Lack Of Coordination
NGOs dispute complaints, government response blamed
MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, March 19, 2015) – Vanuatu’s government has hit out at aid groups over a lack of coordination that it says has resulted in “precious time” being wasted as the country grapples with the aftermath of Tropical Cyclone Pam.
Food and relief supplies finally reached the southern island of Tanna on Wednesday, five days after Pam roared ashore.
However, many of the 80 islands that make up the sprawling archipelago remain without help.
Aid agencies are continuing to battle logistical challenges, with a lack of landing strips and deep water ports hampering their efforts to reach the outer islands.
They have described scenes of large-scale property and crop destruction, and said there is an urgent need for clean water, medical supplies, tents, bedding and hygiene kits.
Benjamin Shing, deputy chair of Vanuatu’s national disaster committee, said while his country appreciated the aid, the initial response could have been handled better.
He accused many groups and NGOs of working on their own rather than in cooperation with the government.
“I do apologise but I have to state the facts. We have seen this time and time again,” he said at a briefing.
“In nearly every country in the world where they go in they have their own operational systems, they have their own networks and they refuse to conform to government directives.
“We had to spend the first three days trying to get some form of coordination in place. That was much precious time that could have been spent doing the assessments instead.”
Oxfam country director in Port Vila, Colin Collett van Rooyen, denied any disorganisation.
“Our position is that we will continue to work with the government, as we have been, and as we always do, to address the best interests of those in need,” Mr Collett van Rooyen said.
Transparency Vanuatu blamed the government for its disaster response, saying officials were still identifying where aid and medical supplies ought to be delivered.
“After six days the problem with the aid is that it has not been distributed,” Transparency’s president Marie-Noelle Ferrieux Patterson told the ABC.
“There is a difference between assessing the widespread disaster and making plans, and at the same time knowing which islands have been affected.
“And when you have volunteer doctors that are offering to help all over the place, coming even with medical supplies … [they should] be able to send helicopters to different islands as soon as possible.
“But at this stage nothing has been done on that part.”
Government, UN at odds on cyclone death toll
Meanwhile, a team of Australian medical workers has started treating injured people at the main hospital in the capital Port Vila.
At least 11 people have been killed in the disaster, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says.
However, the Vanuatu government said in fact only seven people were confirmed dead and that the four others were patients already in hospitals whose deaths were not directly related to the storm.
Reconnaissance flights by military aircraft from Australia and France has “found severe and widespread damage across the larger islands of Tanna, Erromango and Efate”, the UN said.
New Zealand has sent a navy ship to Vanuatu with heavy engineering equipment to help repair roads and key infrastructure.
France has also dispatched a frigate from New Caledonia with helicopters on board.
Vanuatu’s agriculture minister David Tosul warned the subsistence-based country needed rice, biscuits, seeds, tinned protein and cash to help ship them in.
He said bananas and other fruit trees had been destroyed, leafy vegetables devastated and staple root crops irreparably damaged, with limited supplies of imported food.
“In short, our agricultural experts estimate that Vanuatu’s people will run out of food in less than one week,” he said.
44 ) Relief Supplies, Aid Starts Flowing In Solomons, Tuvalu, Kiribati
Australia, NGOs working with local governments to assist
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 20, 2015) – A Solomon Islands government vessel is leaving Honiara today carrying relief supplies for the eastern parts of the country struck by Cyclone Pam last week.
The islands of Tikopia and Anuta are believed to be the worst affected, with extensive damage reported on Tikopia, and no contact made with Anuta.
[PIR editor’s note: RNZI also reported that following: ‘The Australian government is providing an initial 760,000 US dollars in urgent humanitarian support to Tuvalu in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Pam. … The foreign minister Julie Bishop says it has water and medical supplies ready and has experts assessing needs.’ ‘UNICEF is sending emergency supplies to cyclone victims in Tuvalu where nine of its 11 atolls are under a state of emergency. … Assessments show 42 percent of households in the northern islands of Tuvalu were seriously affected by flooding from tidal surges caused by Cyclone Pam.’ ‘The Kiribati government says a boat will be leaving this afternoon with aid supplies for the three islands most affected by Cyclone Pam. … Its spokesperson Rimon Rimon says the Australian and New Zealand governments as well as the Red Cross are now working with Kiribati to help with disaster recovery.’]
The director of operations for the National Disaster Management Office, George Baragamu, says the police boat is carrying an assessment team and emergency relief supplies and will arrive in the area early next week.
“We are expecting significant damage, particularly to certain sectors like agriculture, probably fisheries, as well as water and sanitation and so to the health sector.”
George Baragamu says another supply vessel will depart Honiara early next week.
Radio New Zealand International
45) The role that forests play
Sunday, March 22, 2015
Update: 3:57PM FISHERIES and Forests Minister Osea Naiqamu says the ecosystem services that forests provide are always taken for granted and is always totally absent from the national accounting books.
Mr Naiqamu said a study was undertaken in 1994 to try and value Fiji’s ecosystem services.
He said forests and mangroves contributed more than $543.7million annually in terms of ecosystem services.
“These figures are never appreciated and not accounted for in our national books for various reasons,” he said at the International Day of Forests celebration at Nanukuloa Village in Rakiraki yesterday.
“But it brings home the message that the central role that forests freely play in supporting national development and sustaining livelihoods must be celebrated.
“Trees and forests are to be loved, protected, nurtured and enhanced for what they are, and celebrated for all that they have to freely offer,” he said.Fijitimes
46) 2500 officers to help in Games
The National, Friday March 20th, 2015
NORMAL policing in Port Moresby will continue during the Pacific Games in July, with extra police personnel deployed to the city, a senior police officer said.
Acting Deputy Police Commissioner Operations Jim Andrews said officers at the eight city stations would continue their normal duties and would not be pulled out to provide security.
In all, he expected 2500 personnel to be engaged during the Games.
“The public should not panic thinking that the streets will be left vacant,” he said.
Members from the National Capital District police support units will be used as well as the mobile squad units.
“Support will come from outside centres, with additional support from the Papua New Defence Force and the Correctional Service.”
It is anticipated that two or three officers from each province will be posted to Port Moresby for the duration of the Games starting on July 4. Police operations are expected to start well before that.
It is not a National Capital District games. Provincial centres must participate by sending officers across,” he said.
The number of officers deployed will be determined by the funding.
Police reservist units will be considered if there is a need. Volunteers from the public would be decided by the Games Organising Committee to perform minor roles but the security aspect will be done by the police personnel.
Other disciplinary forces have done their own planning in preparation for the Games.
He said at this stage the three disciplinary forces were coordinating the planning and preparations quite well.
The forces will consolidate their plans and assess them for improvement either next month or in May, Andrews said.
They will finalise heir plans and confirm their strength in June.
The first batch of recruits this year will be engaged during the Games before they are posted to other provincial centres.
47) Soccer: Nadroga defeats Labasa
Sunday, March 22, 2015
Update: 7:23PM NADROGA stopped Labasas winning run in the Rewa Galaxy Premier League competition this afternoon.
The Nadroga side defeated the league leaders 2-1 in front of their home crowd at Lawaqa Park in Sigatoka.
Labasas Christopher Wasala scored the opening goal of the match in the 20th minute to lead 1-0.
Anish Khem equalised for Nadroga in the 22nd minute before Epeli Leiroti nailed the winner in the 26th minute of the first half through a penalty.
Last night, Labasa upset the Nadi side with a 1-0 win at Prince Charles Park in Nadi.Fijitimes
48) Soccer: Rewa defeats Ba
Sunday, March 22, 2015
Update: 5:17PM REWA defeated Ba 1-0 at Govind Park in Ba in their Rewa Galaxy Premier League clash this afternoon.
The only goal of the game was from Savenaca Nakalevu in the 31st minute of the first half.
Ba missed a scoring opportunity when Laisenia Raura missed a penalty in the 33rd minute.Fijitimes
49) Pressure continued to build on Samoa 7s team
21 March 2015
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The Samoa Rugby Union says the national sevens coaches still has its full support, but admits the team needs to start showing improvement.
The Manu Sevens has slipped to tenth in the World Series standings, after missing out on the Cup quarter finals in the past four tournaments.
The interim CEO of the Samoa Rugby Union, Faleomavaega Vincent Fepulea’i, says the Union has been focusing heavily on the sevens team in the lead-up to next weekend’s Hong Kong tournament.
“We’ve left no stone unturned to try and get our team as well prepared as we possibly can for these last four legs of the tournament. The management is also under a lot of pressure, in terms of coming up with the goods, because we’re slipping further down the line and we might not even qualify for the Olympics so they’re well aware of that.”
Faleomavaega says the Manu sevens need to move up the rankings and the only way to do that is to be in the semis and finals of the Cup.RNZI
50a) Australia defeats Pakistan in WC quarters
Sunday, March 22, 2015
ADELAIDE, March 20 AAP – Another Steve Smith gem and Shane Watson’s survival of brutal bodyline bowling inspired Australia to a six-wicket triumph against Pakistan in Friday’s World Cup quarter-final.
Smith compiled a classy 65 and Watson, who was headhunted by Pakistan pacer Wahab Riaz, made an unbeaten 64 as Australia reached their 214-run target with a whopping 97 balls to spare at Adelaide Oval.
The Australians, who finished 4-216, booked a semi-final berth against India on Thursday, in Sydney after Wahab produced one of the fiercest, and most theatrical, bowling spells of recent times.
After Australia’s recalled paceman Josh Hazlewood snared four wickets as Pakistan were bowled out for 213, the hosts cruised to 1-49 in the eighth over when Wahab was summoned, and he brought a vicious tone to the knockout bout.
The left-arm quick dismissed David Warner (24 from 23 balls) and, next over, produced a searing short ball which Australian captain Michael Clarke could only fend to short leg.
When Watson appeared, he was like a red rag to the Pakistan bull who spent the next four overs seemingly trying to knock the Australian’s block off.
After bouncing Watson first ball, Wahab’s follow-through continued until under the bemused batsman’s nose.
In a relentless short-ball barrage, Wahab almost badged the Australian a few times, responding with goading applause and even blowing a kiss to Watson.
Wahab should have had the last laugh: Watson, on four, hooked to Rahat Ali at fine leg only for the Pakistani to drop a dolly of a catch – it was a defining moment.
Their actions and verbal exchanges will cost them though, with the ICC deciding later they should be charged with code of conduct violations.
“Shane Watson and Wahab Riaz charged for breaching ICC Code of Conduct. Details to be announced on Saturday,” the game’s governing body tweeted.
Watson and Smith, who was the calm in the storm, put on an 89-run partnership which laid the platform for victory.
Smith’s 69-ball knock ended when trapped lbw by Ehsan Adil, but by then the host nation required only another 65 runs from more than 23 overs.
Watson and Glenn Maxwell (44 from 29 balls) reeled in the target after Australia produced a commanding performance in the field.
Australia recalled Hazlewood to replace Pat Cummins and he produced superb figures of 4-35 from 10 overs. Fellow quick Mitchell Starc and spinner Maxwell both took two wickets.
Pakistan’s batting never gained traction from hitting two bumps.
The first was losing two wickets in three balls to be 2-24 in the sixth over.
The next was losing 4-61 in a middle-order slump which left them 6-158 in the 34th over – they never recovered.
The defeat ends the one-day international careers of Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq and allrounder Shahid Afridi, who previously announced they would retire at the end of Pakistan’s cup campaign.
Misbah laid the blame for the loss at his batsmen.
“We just lost our way in the middle overs … and that has been a trend throughout the World Cup, we are getting starts but not converting into bigger scores,” he said.
“We got only one (individual) hundred throughout the tournament and this is not how you win tournaments like the World Cup.”
But Misbah praised the performance of Wahab for giving Pakistan hope.
“Today he has shown his class again,” he said.
“At one stage he was keeping us in the game. That (Watson dropped) catch would have made a big difference.”
Clarke hailed Watson’s performance in the face of Wahab’s sustained attack.
50b) Parling recalled
Sunday, March 22, 2015
LONDON, March 19 AFP – Leicester lock Geoff Parling was recalled by England head coach Stuart Lancaster for Saturday’s decisive Six Nations rugby showdown with France at Twickenham.
Parling comes into the second row in place of Dave Attwood, who drops out of the squad, in the only change to the team that overcame Scotland 25-13 last weekend.
Harlequins No.8 Nick Easter returns to the bench.
“Geoff did well off the bench against Scotland and, now that he has got some games under his belt, we feel it is the right time to start him and use his experience and quality in the starting line-up,” Lancaster said on Thursday in a statement.
“The same goes for Nick Easter, who has really impressed in camp and in his appearances off the bench. Nick is a quality ball carrier and great defender – things we feel we’ll need in the latter stages of the game.”
Seeking a first Championship success since 2011, England go into the final weekend level on points with Ireland and Wales at the top of the table, but with a points difference advantage of +4 and +25 over their respective pursuers.
Young Stade Francais five-eighth Jules Plisson has been called up for France, with coach Philippe Saint-Andre naming a 16th different halves pairing.
Plisson, 23, comes in for injured first-choice No.10 Camille Lopez, who misses the game at Twickenham due to a knee problem.
With Sebastien Tillous-Borde remaining at halfback, it will be the 16th different halves pairing Saint-Andre has picked in just over three years at the France helm.
In the only other change, Vincent Debaty comes in for Eddy Ben Arous at prop after the latter suffered an injury to his arm.
Remi Tales and Uini Atonio replace Plisson and Debaty on the bench.
France can still win the Six Nations but will need to not only beat England by at least eight points but also hope Ireland lose in Scotland and Wales are beaten in Italy.
Wales play away to Italy today, while Ireland tackle Scotland in Edinburgh.