Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1083 ( Monday 30 March 2015 )

MELANESIA

1) PNG, West Papua Bond ‘Stronger Than Ever’
Recent deportation over visa issues, not politics

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 27, 2015) – A prominent West Papuan activist says his movement’s relationship with Papua New Guinea is stronger than ever and his recent deportation from the capital Port Moresby was over visa issues.

Benny Wenda, who is the spokesman for the United Liberation Movement for West Papua, was detained by immigration officials when in Port Moresby on Tuesday when it emerged he did not have a required visa.

Mr Wenda had flown from Britain where he is based to transit to visit supporters around the Pacific region.

A spokesman from the office of PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said that as a person on an Immigration alert list, Benny Wenda needed a visa to enter PNG.

Mr Wenda confirms that there were technical issues leading to his detention and it had nothing to do with politics.

“The government of Papua New Guinea, Prime Minister himself, has already stated that West Papua is their family so based on that we strongly believe that the government level already supports West Papua. Also now the building of the grassroots level to support West Papua bringing into the Melanesian family but my deportation has nothing to do with this movement.”

Radio New Zealand International

2) West Papua: PNG PM Calls On Indonesia To Reduce Troops
Fulfill promise of former president, troops in West Papua

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, March 29, 2015) – Papua New Guinean prime minister Peter O’Neill has called on Indonesia to fulfil the promise of its former president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, to reduce troops stationed in West Papua.

Mr O’Neill told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat program that Mr Yudhoyono had discussed this intention with him during a bilateral meeting when the PNG prime minister was in Indonesia for a state visit.

He said he hoped current president Joko Widodo would keep the former leader’s promise.

“We will try and hold the Indonesian government to that, to make sure that the current government also has the same view about a reduction of presence of military on the island, and of course more autonomy for the people of West Papua,” Mr O’Neill said.

He said there were no specific details discussed at the meeting with Mr Yudhoyono on the number of troops to be withdrawn.

Mr O’Neill said he wanted to take a diplomatic approach to the issue of the future of West Papua, the mainly Melanesian and Christian western half of New Guinea Island.

“We all need to have a very cordial relationship with Indonesia and we will continue to maintain that,” he said.

“But that does not mean we will not keep quiet about the abuses that are taking place.

“I’m certain that Indonesia as a member of the international community will do the right thing, they’ve committed to us.”

Dr Richard Chauvel from the University of Melbourne’s Asia Institute said he had never heard such forceful language from a PNG leader when talking about the Indonesian province.

“Peter O’Neill’s directness of laying the responsibility on the Joko Widodo government to fulfil Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono commitments … The frankness of that was remarkable,” he said.

“The language he has used in terms of identifying West Papuans as ‘our people’, the other side of the border as ‘our fellow Papuans’, I think that is a remarkable change from the statements of any of his predecessors.”

The West Papua expert also said Mr O’Neill’s statement had the potential to embarrass the Indonesian government.

“But he was also very cautious in the way that he linked the statement to the more effective implementation of autonomy for West Papua and also Indonesia’s responsibility as a member of the international community,” he said.

Mr Chauvel said Indonesia’s version of the meeting with Mr O’Neill, however, was “starkly different”.

Mr O’Neill’s comments come after West Papuan independence leader Benny Wenda was refused entry into PNG yesterday, after he arrived without a visa.

He said the reason Mr Wenda was not allowed to enter the country was a simple immigration matter and not a political issue.

“We welcome anybody to come to the country, but we must follow the immigration laws,” he said.

“There are no exceptions for anyone.”

Mr O’Neill was in Melbourne on Thursday among the mourners at the funeral of former Australian prime minister Malcolm Fraser.

He said Mr Fraser gave strong support to PNG’s push for independence, which was granted in 1975 when he was opposition leader.

“In the early years his support for Papua New Guinea was well regarded and well appreciated by our country, that is why I am here today to pay our respects to him and to the family,” he said.

Radio Australia

3) Amnesty International Concerned About Papua Youths
4 students abused and detained by Indonesian police

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 27, 2015) – Amnesty International says it has concerns for the safety of four students who have been tortured or otherwise ill-treated by police in Indonesia’s Papua province.

It says according to their lawyer, the four students, three of them children, were arbitrarily detained near Jayapura last week.

When they asked why they were being detained, the police accused them of committing a crime and at least 11 Brimob officers stabbed, beat, punched and kicked them.

One of them, Lesman Jigibalom, is in a critical condition in hospital.

Radio New Zealand International

4) Vanuatu Daily News Digest | UN Humanitarian Coordinator’s observations

by bobmakin

VANUATU: HUMANITARIAN COORDINATOR WARNS OF SECONDARY EMERGENCY

Port Vila, Vanuatu (30 March 2015) – Tropical Cyclone Pam swept through the archipelago of Vanuatu on 13 March 2015, wiping out homes and infrastructure, destroying the electricity network and razing crops in the mainly agricultural country. The Humanitarian Coordinator for Vanuatu, Ms Osnat Lubrani, visited Tafea Province on Saturday to see the effect of the cyclone on a vulnerable population.

“It is heart breaking to see the extraordinary scale of devastation,” said Ms Lubrani. Tafea was one of the most severely affected provinces when Tropical Cyclone Pam made landfall two weeks ago.

“While we can already see the positive impact of the Government-led emergency relief operation, we still need to scale up efforts to ensure all islands are provided with food, water, shelter and medical care,” Ms. Lubrani said. “The emergency is not over yet.”

Referring to the strength of the people of Vanuatu Ms. Lubrani continued, “At the same time I am also impressed by the resilience of the people who are already beginning to rebuild their lives with the help of local authorities and the international community.”

Ms. Lubrani warned that a secondary emergency could hit Vanuatu. The cyclone destroyed more than 90 per cent of crops, leaving a population that heavily relies on subsistence agriculture without a source of income and the possibility of long-term food insecurity. “One of the women I met told me that they are in urgent need of income, having nothing to sell on the local market and no money to even buy soap,” Ms. Lubrani said.

Ms. Lubrani met with provincial authorities, assessed damage to local infrastructure and visited one of the relief distribution sites. “We will continue to stand by the side of the people of Vanuatu and I call on the international community to support our work on the ground,” Ms. Lubrani said. The United Nations and partner non-governmental organizations have started to provide families with seed kits to ensure long-term food security, and will support the government in restoring community infrastructure and reviving economic activities.

The United Nations is seeking US$29.9 million to cover the needs of 166,000 cyclone-affected people for three months. To date US$6.4 million has been pledged since the launch of the Flash Appeal on 24 March but more support is required.

Two weeks after Tropical Cyclone Pam struck Vanuatu the humanitarian response reached all 22 storm-affected islands of the country, despite significant logistical challenges due to the geographic spread of the archipelago.

5) Vanuatu Daily News Digest 30 March 2015

by bobmakin

  • The craven utterances of the Leader of the Opposition in Saturday’s press, as numerous volunteers were trying to return Vanuatu to normalcy, are rejected outright by Prime Minister Natuman today. PM Natuman, in Daily Post, spoke of his government’s requirement to offer moral support and comfort to the many as the work of rehabilitation goes on. He also observed that politicians have caused more relief coordination problems than good and promised he would do his best to ensure the Director of the National Disaster Committee and the NDMO coordinate their efforts with the international partners. Government sources also revealed a “right hand MP of the Opposition Leader” trying to hijack certain relief efforts on Tanna.
  • 63 residents of Mataso, especially school children with parents in Port Vila, and the elderly and disabled, arrived in the capital Saturday night, on the Solomons patrol boat assisting the aid effort, the Auki. Two people died on the island with the passage of cyclone Pam.
  • A second Chinese cargo place carrying tents, tarpaulins and food was welcomed in the capital late last week by the Chinese Ambassador and Climate Change Minister Bule. More generosity from China is expected in the coming days with the arrival of rice and generators.
  • RVS Tukoro personnel, their ship driven ashore on Saturday night at Moso, are reporting directly on the matter to the Acting Commissioner of Police, Job Esau. The Commissioner said he was pleased at the way in which the 17-man crew put the vessel ashore where it was safe, with no lives lost.
  • Students of USP Emalus campus have played a part in getting education rehabilitated in Mlampa. They raised money to help the provincial education officer in the disaster zones.

POLYNESIA

6) Rifts Deepen In Tahiti’s Ruling Party
Split over potential expulsion of senior members

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 30, 2015) – The rifts within the French Polynesia’s ruling Tahoeraa Huiraatira Party have deepened, with its leader poised to expel two senior members who have decided to run for the territory’s two seats in the French Senate.

The government’s vice-president, Nuihau Laurey, and Lana Tetuanui are standing in the May election in defiance of the party and its leader, Gaston Flosse, who has re-nominated Teura Iriti and his son-in-law, Vincent Dubois.

The latter two were made Senators last year, but a French court annulled the election, saying that a march by hundreds of Tahoeraa supporters to the polling station on election day amounted to undue pressure on the electoral college.

Reports say any move to expel Mr Laurey could trigger an open split of the party, which has had an overwhelming majority in the assembly with 38 of its 57 seats.

The election to the Senate is done by an electoral college made up of, among others, assembly members and mayors.

Flosse, who lost the presidency over a corruption conviction last year, met his successor Edouard Fritch last month for the first time in five months although they belong to the same party.

Radio New Zealand International

7) American Samoa Businesses Face Fee Hikes
50-90% increase if bill passes

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 28, 2015) – Business licence fees in American Samoa could increase by as much as 50 to 90 percent if a proposed bill is passed into law.

Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga says it has been over 50 years since business licence fees were originally imposed, and he feels a substantial revision is in order.

He says aside from the need to enhance government revenue, a significant number of licences in the territory are issued annually for businesses that purport to never engage in any business related to the licence.

Lolo says the government is proposing to set the annual licence fee for most businesses at US$250.

Radio New Zealand International

8) New Samoa top cop wants change

By Online Editor
7:55 pm GMT+12, 29/03/2015, Samoa

Samoa new police commissioner Egon Keil says he wants to introduce a raft of new changes to the force.

Keil’s appointment has come as a surprise to most local police officers because it is the first time someone from outside the ministry with police working experience and qualifications has been appointed to the top job.

The former Los Angeles police department officer says he is looking forward to taking on the challenge.

“I think the police department needs a lot of new things, new way of thinking. The police department needs a new recruitement processes, new hiring processes and also how to retain people. You know I really have to get in to really see what’s going on in there but all I know is it needs a lot of new things, new thinking. I think the change has to be systemic. It has to be lasting as well. So it’s not a fast process. It’s a slow process but it’s going to be effective,” Keil said.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

9) Despite Good Progress Tuvalu Struggling After Cyclone
Concerns about freshwater supplies and sanitation

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 30, 2015) – Tuvalu’s Prime Minister says the situation in his country remains dire and unstable two weeks after cyclone Pam, but he is happy with progress that has been made.

Enele Sopoaga says enough supplies have been distributed to every affected island, although concerns remain about the state of water and hygiene.

Hundreds of people were displaced when the low lying atolls experienced widespread flooding, but Mr Sopoaga says most of them have been able to return home and those who haven’t, should be able to by the end of this week.

He says he is thankful for the work of his authorities, and the international community, in responding to the cyclone.

“Taskforces have been dispatched to the most affected islands to help the community clear debris, the stones, the huge rocks and rubbish and also helping them to rebuild. The situation was very bad and I’m happy now that to some level of degree we have been able to help some people out.”

Enele Sopoaga says there remain concerns about freshwater supplies and sanitation in affected areas, and these are being closely monitored.

Radio New Zealand International

10a ) American Samoa business licence costs could soar

30 March 2015

Business licence fees in American Samoa could increase by up to 1000 percent if a bill proposed by the administration is enacted into law.

The governor Lolo Moliga says it has been over 50 years since business licence fees were originally imposed, and he feels a substantial revision is in order.

The government is proposing to set the annual business licence fee for most businesses at $250.

At present the fee for a beer tavern business license is $50 but this could become $500 under the administration’s measure.

And an alcoholic beverage licence is now $75 and this could become $500.RNZI

10b) Tuvalu elections to take place on Tuesday

By Online Editor
8:04 pm GMT+12, 29/03/2015, Tuvalu

Tuvalu will go to the polls tomorrow to vote in elections that have been twice postponed due to the widespread damage caused by cyclone Pam.

The current Prime Minister, Enele Sopoaga, says the country’s state of emergency was lifted on Friday, which means the election can now go ahead.

Sopoaga says there was no way an election could have been held on its original date because of the scale of damage and displacement in the country.

“I think it was simply right and necessary to attend to the lives of the people that were affected by cyclone Pam and make sure things are OK for them before we can finalise the dates for general elections and I’m so happy with the support and understanding of the people of Tuvalu,” he said.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

MICRONESIA

11) Casualties and damage after typhoon hits FSM’s Chuuk

30 March 2015

Authorities in the Federated States of Micronesia say there have been casualties and severe damage to infastructure in Chuuk state after Typhoon Maysack hit on Sunday.

The director of the National Emergency Management Office, Andrew Yatilman, says the eye of the category one typhoon directly hit the most populated area of Chuuk and caused serious damage.

He says communication was restored to Chuuk today, and the office has received reports of damage to infrastructure, homes and crops.

Mr Yatilman says the office believes at least four people have died.

“Residents that [have had] their roofs completely torn off, and so whoever was staying in those will have to be accommodated either by relatives or in public shelters that have been set up by the government. Most people are alright, we understand that there may have been a few casualties; between four and five that we know so far.”

Andrew Yatilman says the typhoon is gaining intensity as it heads towards Yap state and international assistance may be requested.RNZI

12) Kiribati Culture Showcased In New Zealand

Threats to culture, climate change, and growth covered

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 30, 2015) – An exhibition referencing issues facing Kiribati including climate change, over-population and threats to traditional cultures is touring New Zealand.

An exhibition referencing issues facing Kiribati including climate change, over-population and threats to traditional cultures is touring New Zealand.

‘Tungaru: The Kiribati Project’ is a collaboration between New Zealand artists Chris Charteris and Jeff Smith and incorporates sculpture, photography and interactive video.

The project was born out of Mr Charteris’s desire to return to his ancestral homeland Kiribati for the first time.

Mr Charteris says one artwork is Te Ma, a 7.5 metre construction of Venus shells, in the form of a traditional Kiribati heart-shaped fish trap.

“I was looking at things that were unique to Kiribati, particular forms or traditions. The islands are very limited in resources. There’s coconuts, there’s shells, there’s pandanas and coconut string. So I limited myself to using materials that are found there.”

The exhibition will tour a number of New Zealand galleries, and is currently at Pataka in Porirua where it will run until 7th of June.

Radio New Zealand International

AUSTRALIA

13) Norfolk Island To Move Forward With Governance Referendum
Related to autonomy from Australia

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 28, 2015) – The cabinet in the Norfolk Island Legislature is going ahead with a referendum to ask the people what they think about Australia’s plans to remove the island’s autonomy.

Under legislation introduced this week Norfolk’s administration will be reduced to a regional level government, cutting the federal and state powers it has enjoyed since 1979.

The chief minister Lisle Snell says the cabinet, parliament and the people are divided on the merits of the change.

He says the cabinet has now made a formal decision to go ahead with a referendum.

“The referendum question is ‘Should the people of Norfolk Island have the right to freely determine their political status, their economic, social and cultural development, and be consulted at referendum or plebiscite on the future model of governance for Norfolk Island before such changes are acted upon by the Australian parliament.”

Lisle Snell says they want the information to be put in front of Australian MPs before the final vote on the legislation expected in early May.

Radio New Zealand International

NEW ZEALAND

14) New Zealand increases SPC assistance

30 March 2015

New Zealand is to provide US$14 million in assistance to the Secretariat of the Pacific Community over the next two years.

It includes an increase of US$3.3 million to supplement assistance already provided for the secretariat’s programmes in agriculture, public health and geoscience services.

The SPC head, Dr Colin Tukuitonga, says the move from annual to multi year funding allows for more flexibility and predictability with agencies able to plan more strategically and respond more effectively.RNZI

TOK PISIN

15) Strongpela graun guria long New Guinea Islands rijan

Postim 30 March 2015, 14:28 AEDT
Caroline Tiriman

Wanpla strongpela guria ibin hamarim New Guinea islands rijan long Papua New Guinea tede long moning na despla i mekim Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre long Hawaii long salim woning nogut wanpla stunami bai kamap bihaenim despla guria.

Map i soim hap we graun guria i stap longen long PNG (Credit: ABC licensed)
Laen blong US Geological Survey i tok olsem strong blong despla guria ibin kamap long 7.6 na ibin kamap 50 kilomta klostu long Kokopo long East New Britain provins.

National Broadcasting Corporation Radio East New Britain itok laen blong Disasta ofis i tokim ol olsem oli wok long go tokim ol pipal long wuas gut taem oli raon klostu long ol solwara nogut tsunami ikam.

Winnie Taulai emi redio brodkas ofisa wantem NBC Radio Rabaul i tok long Kokopo tu despla guria ibin bagarapim samplea samting na mekim tu ol Bank long pasim dua blong ol.

Acting director blong PNG National Disaster Centre, Martin Mose i tok maski earthquake ibin strongpela, em i hop ol damej ino bikpela.Radio Australia

16) Benny Wenda i weitim PNG Visa long Brisbane

Updated 30 March 2015, 14:10 AEDT
Sam Seke

Lida blong United Liberation Movement for West Papua, Benny Wenda i nau stap long Brisbane long Australia long stretim ol pepa blongen long go insait long Papua New Guinea.

Gavana Powes Parkop (long lef sait) na Benny Wenda long Port Moresby
Odio: Free West Papua Campaign PNG Chapter Co-ordinator, Fred Mambrasar i toktok
PNG gavman ibin diportim Mr Wenda long Fonde long wik igo pinis long wanem ol i tok Visa blongen ino stret.

Tasol ol West Papua sapota long PNG itok Benny Wenda em i wanpela British citizen na em ol iken kisim PNG Visa taim ol i kamap long Jacson’s Airport long Port Moresby.

Free West Papua Campaign PNG Chapter Co-ordinator, Fred Mambrasar itok trutru as long ol i no bin givim PNG Visa long Mr Wenda em dispela pasin ol i flaem West Papua Morning Star flag long peles blong Port Moresby gavana Powes Parkop  long December 2013.

Mr Mambrasar itok em yet na Mr Parkop i wok long toktok wantaim ol imigresen long stretim Visa blong Mr Wenda.

Em i tok ol i hop olgeta samting i o rait na Mr Wenda iken go bek gen long PNG long toktok wantaim gavman blong Papua New Guinea long ol heve na laik blong ol pipol blong West Papua.Radio Australia

17) PNG Under-23 i winim Solomon Islands long soka

Postim 30 March 2015, 15:00 AEDT
Sam Seke

Ol Papua New Guinea National Under-23 i bin  winim Solomon Islands Under-23 long naba tu international match blong tupela long Honiara long aste 2 – 1.

CEO blong Solomon Islands Football Federation, Neil Poloso i toktok (Credit: ABC)
Long nabawan plei blong tupela long Fonde last wik, tupela sait ibin dro 1 – 1.

CEO blong Solomon Islands Football Federation, Neil Poloso i tok Lawson Tama Stadium long Honiara ibin pulap tru long ol soka fan i lukim tupela match ia.

Em i tok dispela em long wanem i bin nogat wanpela nasinol tim blong narapela kantri ibin go plei long Solomon Islands stat long 2013 ikam inap nau.

Mr Poloso i tok ol soka fan long Honiara i ting olsem bai Solomon Islands i win long gen aste, taso ol i kirap nogut taim PNG i win long 2 – 1.

Mr Poloso itok sait long soka long Solomon Islands ibin go daun na ol nau wok long kamapim moa long mak em i bin stap long bipo.Radio Australia

FRENCH

18a ) Brèves du Pacifique – lundi 30 mars 2015

Posté à 30 March 2015, 16:14 AEDT
Élodie Largenton

Au Vanuatu, l’après-cyclone donne lieu à une prise de bec politique.

Moana Carcasses, le chef de file de l’opposition, reproche au Premier ministre d’avoir attribué la plupart des aides internationales aux habitants de son île natale de Tanna, et de ne pas avoir fait appel à l’opposition pour travailler à la reconstruction du pays. En réponse, Joe Natuman accuse Moana Carcasses d’essayer d’exploiter la misère humaine pour gagner des voix.

  • Amnesty International s’inquiète du sort de quatre jeunes arrêtés en Papouasie indonésienne. Selon l’ONG, les quatre étudiants, dont trois sont mineurs, ont été torturés ou maltraités par la police. L’un d’entre eux serait dans un état critique. La police les accuse d’avoir commis un crime, mais leur avocat parle de « détention arbitraire ».
  • Un tremblement de terre d’une magnitude de 7,7 a eu lieu au large de la Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée, la nuit dernière. Une alerte au tsunami a été déclenchée dans la foulée, avant d’être levée quelques heures plus tard. Selon le Centre d’alerte aux tsunamis du Pacifique, des vagues dangereuses étaient susceptibles de s’abattre sur les côtes dans un rayon de 1 000 kilomètres autour de l’épicentre du séisme, donc en Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée et aux îles Salomon. Aucun dégât n’a été signalé.
  • Des milliers de personnes ont manifesté, hier, dans plusieurs villes australiennes, pour demander la fermeture des centres de rétention de Nauru et de Manus Island, en Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée. Depuis plusieurs années, tous les demandeurs d’asile qui arrivent en Australie par bateau sont envoyés dans ces centres situés à l’étranger. Une politique « brutale et insoutenable », ont dénoncé les manifestants, à l’aide de chansons et de banderoles.
  • L’Australie aide les Tongiens à arrêter de fumer. Des professionnels de santé viennent d’être formés dans l’État du Victoria pour s’occuper de la première ligne téléphonique anti-tabac du Tonga, qui sera lancée en juillet prochain. Le royaume s’apprête aussi à diffuser un spot télévisé, largement inspiré des campagnes australiennes de prévention contre le tabagisme. Selon la Banque mondiale, plus de 40% des hommes tongiens fument, contre 20% en Australie.
  • Une guide australienne honorée pour avoir secouru des randonneurs en Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée. Son acte de bravoure remonte à 2013 : alors que son groupe de marcheurs est attaqué par des hommes armés de machettes et d’un fusil de chasse dans la province de Morobe, Christiana Jane King négocie avec les assaillants et parvient à mettre les randonneurs à l’abri. En recevant l’« étoile du courage », elle a rendu hommage aux accompagnateurs papous qui l’ont aidée ; deux d’entre eux ont été tués lors de l’assaut.
  • L’Australie a remporté son 5e titre mondial de cricket en s’imposant face à la Nouvelle-Zélande, hier, à Melbourne. Un titre acquis notamment grâce au batteur et capitaine Michael Clarke, qui prend sa retraite internationale. Près de 100 000 spectateurs ont assisté à la finale.Radio Australia

18b) Bougainville se prépare à une élection cruciale

Mis à jour 30 March 2015, 16:28 AEDT

Élodie Largenton

Le compte à rebours a commencé dans la province autonome de Bougainville, en Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée : les citoyens sont appelés à élire le nouveau Parlement du 11 au 25 mai. Les candidats ont jusqu’à mercredi soir pour s’enregistrer.

 

Les résultats de l’élection devraient être connus fin juin. (Credit: ABC)

C’est ce futur Parlement qui sera chargé d’organiser le référendum sur l’avenir de la région. Le vote doit avoir lieu entre 2015 et 2020, selon l’Accord de paix de Bougainville. Les 175 000 Bougainvillais choisiront alors entre l’indépendance, ou le maintien de leur statut de région autonome au sein de la Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée.

Dans un premier temps, c’est donc leurs représentants qu’ils doivent choisir. Face aux enjeux, George Manu, le commissaire électoral assure avoir tout fait pour que le maximum d’électeurs puisse s’exprimer :

 

« C’est une élection très importante pour nous, en Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée. C’est mon intention et celle de la commission électorale de fournir tous les moyens possibles aux électeurs de Bougainville de voter, qu’ils soient dans la région ou même ailleurs dans le pays. »

 

Cinq bureaux électoraux seront ainsi ouverts en-dehors de Bougainville, dont un dans la capitale, Port-Moresby. Par ailleurs, une campagne de sensibilisation au vote débutera le 13 avril, et les autorités comptent s’appuyer sur les radios pour appeler les citoyens à se déplacer dans les bureaux de vote.

 

Des conseillers électoraux d’Australie et de Nouvelle-Zélande sont déjà sur place pour aider la commission de Bougainville à organiser le scrutin. Le Programme de développement des Nations unies apporte, lui aussi, son soutien, en formant notamment de potentielles candidates. Sur les 40 sièges du Parlement, 3 sont d’office réservées à des femmes, mais l’Onu cherche à encourager plus de femmes à se présenter. Pour Julie Bukikun, du programme des Nations unies, une représentation féminine plus importante permettrait de lutter contre les violences conjugales :

 

« Bien sûr, les hommes sont conscients du problème, mais les femmes qui en souffrent directement comprennent mieux les challenges qu’il faut relever, les désavantages que les femmes doivent affronter, et comment les violences conjugales et sexuelles peuvent affecter les familles, la communauté, et c’est très important à Bougainville. »

 

Pour le moment, l’Onu a formé 25 femmes, en leur apprenant les bases d’un bon discours politique, mais aussi comment se servir du lobbying et l’importance d’entretenir un réseau.

 

La région de Bougainville a été le théâtre d’une guerre civile qui a duré une dizaine d’années, et a fait entre 15 000 et 20 000 morts.Radio Australia

POLITIC
19) Discord over New Caledonia rolls persists

By Online Editor
10:56 pm GMT+12, 29/03/2015, New Caledonia

The three anti-independence parties in New Caledonia are strongly opposed to a French law proposal aimed at defining the electoral rolls for those allowed to vote in an independence referendum due by 2018.

The three parties, which have a majority in Congress, have voted against the proposal to automatically include on the roll only indigenous Kanaks.

The loyalist camp says this is discriminatory and will force tens of thousands of people to seek enrolment although they have been born in the territory.

The eligibility question has divided the the community even further, with the anti-independence camp accusing the French state of no longer being impartial.

The pro-independence side, however, says the process to enrol voters has not been compliant with the 1998 Noumea Accord, which is the territory’s decolonisation roadmap, and that thousands of people voted last year illegally.

It has suggested that the United Nations may need to get involved to resolve the issue.

The proposed law is scheduled to be discussed by the French government next week.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

20) Fiji Party On Zero Parliamentary Funding In Protest
Protest of ‘political interference’ by Attorney General

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 30, 2015) – Fiji’s opposition National Federation Party says it’s operating with zero parliamentary funding in protest at what its leader calls political interference by the Attorney General.

Biman Prasad says the Secretary General originally offered US$37,000 for staff and other requirements after the election last year, but that was suddenly dropped to $22,000 with no explanation.

Mr Prasad says the drop followed a letter by the attorney general, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, on Christmas Eve.

He says the reduction means four staff have lost their jobs, but the party is refusing to take the reduced amount as a matter of principal.

“What we are saying is that the secretary general is now denying that the attorney general interfered, the attorney general has denied that and if that is the case then we are calling on the secretary general to restore the original allocation because that was the allocation that she agreed independently based on our submission to her.”

Radio New Zealand International

BUSINESS

21) 80 per cent of population do not bank in PNG
By Online Editor
11:02 pm GMT+12, 29/03/2015, Papua New Guinea

Eighty per cent of the population in Papua New Guinea does not have access to financial services, an official says.

More women than men fall into the category.

The figure translates to about five million citizens without the services, with social and economic conditions influencing the exclusion.

Those observations were made by PNG Women in Business chief executive officer Tushari Hewapathiram and Bank of Papua New Guinea Deputy Governor Ben Popoitai during the launch of the Lae branch of Women’s Micro Bank last Friday.

“There are five million people without a bank account in PNG, we need partners like Women’s Micro Bank to help us reach out and bank the five million people in the next 10 to 20 years. We want to the whole of PNG to be banking,” Popotai said.

“The majority of the population is out of the formal financial sector, with the statistics claimed that 86 per cent of the population does not have access to financial services,” Hewapathiram said.

“Women account higher percentage of the financial exclusion and the majority of them are financially disempowered,” she said.

“Rural women, for example, are disadvantaged on multiple levels as they are often physically far from financial institutions and services, have lower levels of education and lower levels of income.”

Meanwhile, the Papua New Guinea Women’s Micro Bank (PNGWMB) is the first in the Pacific and the sixth in the world of its type.

It is an achievement which has placed the country on the international stage of banking, says Ben Popotai, the Deputy Governor of the Bank of Papua New Guinea.

He said that in Lae last Friday when opening the PNGWMB Lae branch at Niall Oval in front of hundreds of women and members of the PNG Women in Business.

“The PNGWMB is the sixth women’s bank in the world and this has put PNG on the world map, you all should be happy for this achievement,” Popotai said.

“This place (Lae) is the hub of business in PNG, we already have the biggest port in the Pacific, so Women’s Micro Bank here already have a future in your hand, with the Morobe government support, all the business community need to support this so all our women can be actively engaged in the process of economic development,” Popoitai said.

“Now is the opportune time for you women to catch the boat to be part of the process of economic development.

“You (women) have a bank that is dedicated to looking after your home and your needs and everybody’s needs,” he said.

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

22a ) Air Niugini introduces new flights schedule
By Online Editor
5:41 pm GMT+12, 29/03/2015, Papua New Guinea

Air Niugini has effected a new flight schedule which includes three flights a week to Hong Kong.

The northern summer schedule came into effect Sunday and is part of the airline’s effort in supporting Papua New Guinea trade, visitors and customers.

Under the new schedule the national flag carrier will operate three times a week to Hong Kong every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, allowing more frequent connections to north Asia.

The airline currently operates on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

“We have re-timed our first morning service out of Brisbane, PX 006 to a new time of 7.55am instead of 9am to give travellers the benefit of an earlier arrival into Port Moresby at 11.05am.

“The second daily service from Brisbane, PX 004 still leaves at 10.40am. From Port Moresby, departures to Brisbane are at 6.15am (PX003) and 1.30pm (PX005). Air Niugini will continue to operate twice daily services to Brisbane except for Saturday, where there is only one service, the company stated.

Air Niugini will also introduce the Fokker 100 jet on the Port Moresby-Cairns route. This route will now be operated by jet aircraft (Fokker 100/70) replacing Q400 aircraft. It saves 20 minutes travel time compared with the Q400, and allows more capacity for freight.

Locally, F100 services between Port Moresby and Lae have been increased to four per day, and there is an additional Q400 flight to Vanimo on Thursdays, making five services per week. Q400 Kieta services are re-timed to connect with international flights in Port Moresby.

Air Niugini’s subsidiary company Link PNG will begin commercial flights to Losuia airport in Kiriwina, Milne Bay Province starting today.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWSINFRASTRUCTURE

22b ) Govt welcomes determination made by ILO – The government has welcomed the determination of the International Labour Organization because a Commission of Inquiry was not in the best interests of Fiji and Fijians. Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has made this statement from Geneva after the signing of an agreement by the Fijian government, the employers and the unions to use the Employment Relations Promulgation as the primary basis for labour management relations in the country. The agreement signed in Geneva also says that government shall restore the check-off facilities which are the direct union fees deductions for civil servants who are members of public sector unions. Sayed-Khaiyum said the government believes in adhering to international standards.

http://fijivillage.com/news/Govt-welcomes-determination-made-by-ILO-5k9sr2/

http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/28052/ilo-commission-of-inquiry-not-in-the-best-interest-of-fiji-ag

 

22c ) Overnight policy rate stands at 0.5pc   THE Reserve Bank of Fiji board has agreed to maintain its overnight policy rate at 0.5 per cent. RBF governor and board chairman Barry Whiteside said economic activity had been robust and driven by strong business confidence,  and accommodative monetary and fiscal policies.

http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=299712

LAW&ORDER

23) NGO takes stock of growing list of PNG MPs being probed

30 March 2015

The chairman of Transparency International Papua New Guinea admits it’s becoming hard to keep track of all the members of parliament referred to the public prosecutor.

The Bogia MP, John Hickey, is the latest parliamentarian to be referred to the prosecutor, Pondros Kaluwin, on misconduct charges, mainly related to alleged corruption.

There are at least seven others, including government ministers Francis Awesa, Sir Puka Temu, Ben Micah and Boka Kondra.

Three MPs in the current term have already been jailed on corruption-related charges.

TI PNG’s Lawrence Stephens says he can never recall a time when PNG had three MPs in jail.

“But I certainly do recall one of the chief ombudsmen saying once that were he to prosecute all the leaders who were offending, we’d be the laughing stock of the world. The implication of that was that there was much more happening than what was being acted upon.”

Meanwhile, the Prosecutor has told local media he is not fazed by an attack on him outside his Port Moresby home a week ago.RNZI

24) Corruption Stalling PNG Wealth, Says UN Rep

Resource base should have improved human development

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 27, 2015) – A United Nations representative says corruption is one of the reasons why Papua New Guinea’s large wealth from its resources has not improved the country’s human development.

Jorg Shimmel, from the UNDP in PNG says that despite having one of the highest growth rates, PNG will not meet any of its 2015 Millennium Development goals.

A conference last week, hosted by the government and the UN, brought together experts and researchers, industry, civil society and government stakeholders to discuss the issue.

Mr Shimmel says PNG has joined the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and is looking into additional steps to increase transparency and accountability of public financial management.

“This was in fact confirmed by the Minister of Planning at last week’s conference aswell. Corruption is definitely an issue in that regard but there are also very tremendable steps to actually address those issues. ”

Jorg Shimmel says economic growth is good if the wealth trickles down and income is generated for the ordinary citizen.

“Overall the economic growth has been very strong and yet the millenium development goals will not be met. And of course, there are some concerning figures such as 25 percent of children are not attending school. You know almost 40 percent of the country’s population lives on $1 a day. ”

Radio New Zealand International

25) PNG Officers expose visa racket

By Online Editor
10:52 pm GMT+12, 29/03/2015, Papua New Guinea

A joint operation by officers from the immigration, labour and police departments has exposed an alleged scam involving the production of fake passports, visa and work permits by foreigners.

Police, accompanied by labour and immigration officers, raided a home in Port Moresby on Thursday night and confiscated computers and printers they suspect were being used to produce fake PNG passports and work permits. Also discovered were hardcover papers used as covers of passports. Foreign passport labels such as US passports were confiscated.

Chief Migration Officer Mataio Rabura told The National that he was aware of the raid and was expecting a report from his officers.

Acting Assistant Police Commissioner Donald Yamasombi said that he was awaiting a briefing and report from the officers involved.

One of the officers who asked not to be identified said four foreigners had been questioned and placed under house arrest.

The officer said they raided the premises after receiving an anonymous tip-off.

“We suspect that this syndicate is producing counterfeit foreign passports, visas and work permit for clients,” he said.

The raid was conducted at about 8pm on Thursday. People living inside the house were caught by surprise when the officers entered the premises tucked away in a back street of Hohola in the capital city.

They caught a male foreigner watching a pornography video with a local girl.

The local girl tried to fight off a police officer when he wanted to question her.

A female foreigner collapsed when she saw the officers. She was later revived after cold water was poured on her face.

The work permits had various PNG company labels. Information on the work permits in the passports were the same but with photos of different persons.

Fake PNG and foreign passports were produced in a similar fashion.

The officer said the discovery explained the increase in the number of non-English speaking foreigners entering the country.

“We have confiscated documents and computers that produce the false work permits,” he said.

“Two prerequisites to get a work permit to enter PNG are that you must speak good English and be in a management position to train locals.

“When you meet those requirements, immigration officials can grant you a visa to enter PNG. But some of them, when they produce their work permits, immigration officers cannot say no because their work permits are in order. So visa is granted for them to enter PNG.”

The officer said the Labour department and Immigration office had often been blamed for the high influx of foreigners especially from Asian countries.

“But it is such syndicates that are producing false work permits and passports for them to come here,” he said.

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

26) PNG Police undergo training to combat sexual violence

30 March 2015

Papua New Guinea police are undertaking a new round of training to help them address sexual violence in the community but also to make sure they are not part of the problem.

Assistant Commissioner Francis Tokura is leading the move to get officers from around the region specifically trained under a programme called Family and Sexual Violence.

Mr Tokura says over the years the levels of such violence have increased in PNG with members of the police sometimes being involved.

He says as a result over 100 officers have come through the programme which he says is positive.

“To help our men and women be made more aware of the signs in terms of sexual violence. What to do to avoid that from happening and what sort of assistance they need to provide to victims and also make them feel more responsible themselves as well. Must have them see responsibility to community themselves and also within their own family units to be role models to others.”

Mr Tokura says as well as the training 3-4 person units have been set up in 10 police districts specifically to deal with family and sexual violence.RNZI

27) Fiji To Take Action Against Phone Tapping

Wake of allegations made against the NZ government

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 27, 2015) – The Fiji government says it will take action against the possibility of phone tapping in the future.

This comes in the wake of allegations made against the New Zealand government of listening in on Fiji’s military, police and government calls made on a particular network.

The Fiji Times reports defence minister Timoci Natuva as saying the government would invest in extensive security measures and make its communication networks more secure.

He says with its current technology, anyone can tap its phone communications.

Mr Natuva says the government would not be writing to New Zealand on allegations about it spying on Fiji.

Meanwhile, New Zealand’s Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, Cheryl Gwyn, has announced that she will investigate complaints that the country’s spy agency, the GCSB, intercepted the communications of New Zealanders in the Pacific.

Earlier this month, documents released by the US whistleblower Edward Snowden showed that the GCSB set up a listening post at its embassy in Honiara to tap the phone network and collect emails from named government employees.

Radio New Zealand International

CLIMATE CHANGE,CONSERVATION,ENVIROMENT

28) Small wave but no damage after massive PNG quake

30 March 2015

The acting director of the Papua New Guinea National Disaster Office, Martin Mose, says they have not received any reports of damage following a tsunami alert.

The Pacific Tsunami Center issued a warning for a tsunami after a quake near New Ireland in PNG this morning.

The tremor measured 7.6 and was at a depth of 33 kilometres.

The Center said waves of up to 3 metres were possible in PNG and up to 0.3 metres for much of the rest of the Pacific.

But it withdrew the warning several hours later.

Mr Mose says a small wave, estimated at about half a metre, did occur at Rabaul — one of the closest towns to the epicentre.

But he says he is not expecting reports of any damage or injury.

“Up to now we have not received any reports of any damage caused by the tsunami. Now, because of the isolation reports may be slow to get to the provincial headquarters to reach the national office, but i would assume that if there was any impact then it would have been minimal”RNZI

29) PNG gives K5 million to Vanuatu for relief
By Online Editor
5:31 pm GMT+12, 29/03/2015, Vanuatu

Papua New Guinea has given K5 million (US$1.8 million) to Vanuatu for emergency relief efforts and reconstruction after the devastation caused by tropical Cyclone Pam two weeks ago.

Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister Rimbink Pato made the presentation in Port Vila where he was last week for the special Melanesia Spearhead Group (MSG) meeting.

He also signed the memorandum of understanding on cooperation on higher and technical education and human resources development between PNG and Vanuatu.

This now paves the way for 200 spaces to be made available for Vanuatu students to study in PNG tertiary institutions and also train military and security (police) forces from Vanuatu in PNG.

Pato conveyed condolences and words of encouragement to the government and people of Vanuatu, including staff members of the MSG Secretariat and their families for their individual and collective losses caused by cyclone Pam.

“PNG is not immune to such natural disasters and has had its share of such occurrences annually and we are also grateful and highly value the numerous support from the MSG countries over the many years in our history.

“PNG stands ready to work closely with the government and people of Vanuatu to rebuild after cyclone Pam.”

Pato said PNG was comforted and encouraged by the level of resilience and determination of Ni-Vanuatu people, to stand together and face the aftermath of cyclone Pam and restore this paradise.

The government last week has dispatched an advance party of an assessment team led by PNG High Commissioner to the Solomon Islands, Fred Yakasa.

Also with Yakasa were officials from Foreign Affairs and Works already on location in Port Vila who will soon be joined tomorrow by a full complement of members comprising of officials from the Prime Minister’s Department, PNG National Disaster and Emergency Services and Health Department to assess the damage caused.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

30) Vanuatu Aid Delivery Triggers Political Spat

Accusation that PM’s home island got more supplies

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 30, 2015) – Vanuatu’s opposition leader has accused the prime minister, Joe Natuman, of being greedy, saying most of the relief supplies donated after Cyclone Pam have been sent to his home island of Tanna.

Tanna, with its population of 30,000, was one of the islands worst-hit by the category five cyclone.

Moana Carcasses says he has waited two weeks for the Prime Minister to invite the opposition to work with his government in the wake of the disaster, but hasn’t heard a thing.

Mr Carcasses says with a cyclone of the nature of Pam, the Government must work with opposition MPs to visit their constituencies to see for themselves the suffering they face on the ground.

Mr Natuman says the opposition seems to have awakened from their deep slumber after the cyclone to capitalise on the situation and exploit misery and suffering for their own political gain.

Unicef helps mothers affected by Pam

Unicef is boosting its support for breastfeeding mothers as the immediate relief effort for the survivors of Cyclone Pam steadies.

The aid organisation has spent the past two weeks immunising 10-thousand children in Vanuatu against measles, and supplying basic food and water to communities.

A Unicef spokesperson, Alice Clements, says breastfeeding women and children under five are the weakest in the communities, and the agency wants to ensure they get the nutrients they need to keep them healthy.

Ms Clements says the arrival of the New Zealand Navy ship HMNZS Canterbury means aid workers can provide communities with supplies of clean drinking water.

Schools struggle to reopen

The aid organisation Unicef says many schools in Vanuatu will not be reopening as planned today as the archipelago recovers from Cyclone Pam.

The government has instructed all schools to start lessons today, but according to Unicef some are too badly damaged to do so.

It says about half of Vanuatu’s schools have been damaged or destroyed.

Radio New Zealand International

31) Cyclone Creates Building ‘Lessons’ For Vanuatu
Red Cross urges better preperation

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 28, 2015) – The International Red Cross says communities in Vanuatu need to be better prepared for future cyclones.

The aid agency has been working in Vanuatu for the past ten years, and says the number of buildings damaged and people left homeless could have been reduced with better structures.

The organisation’s communications delegate, Madeline Wilson, says much can be learnt from Cyclone Pam.

“There will be a lot of lessons learnt and there will a lot of work to strengthen community resilience and the hard infrastructure in terms of houses into the future.”

Madeline Wilson says she expects the initial response stage to take another couple of weeks before the relief effort enters the recovery stage.

Strong buildings saved lives

Villagers on Lamen Island in Vanuatu’s Shefa Province say money from seasonal workers helped build solid houses that could withstand the latest cyclone.

Nurse Leiwia Jimmy whose aid post was partially destroyed by Pam says if it were not for some well built houses in the village built by people who had taken part in seasonal work in New Zealand many people would have died.

“Even though this big cyclone was here through those who went to New Zealand and came back and built these big, strong buildings. They saved our lives. If it were not for those who went to New Zealand and built these big buildings I can say there many people would have died because we would have been running from house to house and we would have been killed by the flying debris. But these big buildings that we have saved the lives of everyone on Lamen Island.”

US increases relief funds

The United States has released more funds to victims of Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu and Solomon Islands.

A statement by the US embassy in Papua New Guinea says the US has contributed 1,000,000 US dollars to the World Food Program to support the immediate food security needs of affected populations in Solomon Islands and Vanuatu over the coming three months.

This funding is in addition to a previously-donated 250,000 US dollars to the World Food Program for logistical support for humanitarian assistance in Vanuatu.

USAID’s Office Foreign Disaster Assistance dispatched a disaster relief team to Port Vila in the wake of Cyclone Pam.

Radio New Zealand International

32) Vanuatu PM says opposition playing politics over Pam

By Online Editor
8:00 pm GMT+12, 29/03/2015, Vanuatu

The Vanuatu Prime Minister Joe Natuman says the opposition is being childish over its criticism of the government in the wake of Cyclone Pam.

The leader of the opposition Moana Carcasses has accused  Natuman of being greedy, saying most of the donated relief has been sent to his home island of Tanna.

Carcasses says he has been waiting for the Prime Minister to invite the opposition to work with his government in the wake of the disaster.

Natuman says the opposition has been awakened from its deep slumber to capitalise on the situation and exploit misery for political gain.

He says extra powers have been to the National Disaster Management Office and the Director of the National Disaster Committee because in the past politicians and MPs have abused funds that were intended as relief assistance money.

He says the aim of his visits to affected islands has nothing to do with politics but to offer moral support to those affected.

The government says one opposition MP last week attempted to hijack a truckload of cyclone relief from Isangel for his supporters at Whitesands.

It says he was stopped on the way by military personnel already stationed on Tanna, using a Black Hawk helicopter.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

33) UAE supports Solomon Islands after Tropical Cyclone Pam

By Online Editor
7:57 pm GMT+12, 29/03/2015, Solomon Islands

Solomon Islands foreign minister, Milner Tozaka has thanked his United Arab Emirates (UAE) counterpart. His Highness sheikh Abdullah bin zayed Bin Sultan al Nahyan for the generous contribution of US$200,000 towards assistance to rehabilitate Solomon Islanders from the impact of tropical cyclone Pam.

The assistance was transmitted to Solomon Islands National Disaster Council last week.

Foreign Minister Tozaka said the gesture by UAE demonstrates the strong and firm relations that exist between the two countries.

The growing impact of climate change has seen the frequency and intensity of natural disasters in Solomon Islands increased. The country remains vulnerable to natural disasters and needs such partnerships in building a resilient country.

Minister Tozaka acknowledged the existing cooperation between UAE and Solomon Islands and also with other pacific neighbors. The Cooperation is focused on mitigating against climate change with renewable energy projects in the region.

Solomon Islands looks forward to working closely with UAE’s Foreign Minister in enhancing relations between the two countries. Solomon Islands continue to work with UAE and the international community in establishing a strong, ambitious comprehensive climate change agreement this year in Paris under the UNFCCC process.

SOURCE: SIG/PACNEWS

MINING,AGRICULTURE,FORESTRY,FISHERIES

34) Solomons timber exports under scrutiny

30 March 2015

Verifying the legality of sawn Solomon Islands timber sold into New Zealand and Australia was a focus during a visit by exporters.

Most trees harvested in Solomon Islands are sent to China as logs but the government wants to add value through expanding the sawn timber market into Australia and New Zealand.

Exporters highlight legal harvesting of Solomons timber

Photo: AFP

Andrew Piper of the Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access Programme says there has been a lot of work in the past two years on how to prove trees have been legally and sustainably harvested.

He says this has been prompted by law changes in Australia.

“Importers in Australia are required to demonstrate the legality of the timber that they bring in, so we have been working with the Australian market around complying with that and then equally at the moment talking to the New Zealand market about the requirements for legality of timber and sustainable certification.”RNZI

SPORT

35) Pacific Games tickets on sale

By Online Editor
6:18 pm GMT+12, 29/03/2015, Papua New Guinea

The tickets to the XV Pacific Games in July went on sale Sunday at the BSP Harbour City outlet.

The first two recipients of tickets to the opening ceremony on July 4 were Jubilee Secondary School principal Bernadette Ove and the longest serving air stewardess of Air Niugini Esther Sapulai.

Both were loss for words when presented with their tickets by NCD Governor Powes Parkop.

Parkop said he chose the two women because of their long serving history with their respective professions.

“These two wonderful women have served their country through their profession with professionalism and courage to last in their line of work,” Parkop said.

“It wasn’t hard to decide who the first two recipients were and I am glad I chose both women who are outstanding in their work.”

Ove said that they were both speechless and sincerely thanked the Governor for choosing both of them to receive the first two tickets.

“I want to thank the Governor for the tickets for myself and Esther Sapulai we weren’t expecting this gift, but we are both looking forward to being present at the opening ceremony on July 4,” Ove said.

Governor Parkop reiterated his appeal to all the residents of Port Moresby to welcome all athletes and promote the people, culture and customs of PNG.

“Let’s make Port Moresby a place to be in for the future, lets welcome our guests in style and greet them in true Melanesian style.”

Sports and Pacific Games Minister Justin Tkatchenko said that for all the hard work the sale of tickets cemented the confidence of everyone involved that the Games would begin on time.

“The tickets going on sale are a sign that the venues will finish on time, and the Games will commence as scheduled.

“Go out and buy your tickets and be a part of the Games experience, don’t miss out on what will be the greatest sporting event in the Pacific,” Tkatchenko added.

Bank South Pacific chief executive officer Robin Fleming said the launching of the tickets and the bank was committed to the Games and would promote the Games in a positive and inclusive way.

“We are now committing our people and 17 branches to ensure Papua New Guineans had the opportunity to witness the Games,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Oil Search XV Pacific Games Baton relay on its 100 days journey was in Vanimo .

Receiving the baton from Gerea Aopi the Executive General Manager External Affairs & Sustainability of Oil Search, the acting Governor of West Sepik Hon Paul Nengai who was led by Tura the Kokomo, school children and dignitaries did a tour around town to give a glimpse of the peaceful place.

“I wish to thank the O’Neil-Dion government; Pacific Games organizing committee and especially Oil Search Limited who is promoting the games, for choosing West Sepik to kick start the Pacific Games relay.  On behalf of the West Sepik people, I say thank you.”

..“This baton will travel to all our villages in the districts especially Nuku, Telefomin and Vanimo Green. Dear people of West Sepik let us be proud to be the first province to kick start this historic event in PNG. We hope the baton will complete its journey in a couple of days. Sandaun is a peaceful province and there will be no trouble. I can guarantee security and peace for the baton and those who will be taking part”, said the Governor in his short welcome speech.

The baton which is a replica of a traditional kundu drum, will remain in West Sepik Province for three days before embarking on its next journey by road to neighboring East Sepik.

According to the official program, significant sites and icons in the province will be visited in this relay  including the first German border marker at Wutung, surfing village of Lido, the Sissano Lagoon, the first missionary landing on Tumleo Island, the last frontier for the US & the Allied Forces during WWII at Paop in Aitape, Tenkile Conservation at Lumi and the Selkambang experience in Telifomin

source: POST COURIER/ PNG LOOP

36) Fiji reign supreme in Hong Kong

By Online Editor
6:26 pm GMT+12, 29/03/2015, Hong Kong

Fiji were outstanding in beating defending champions New Zealand 33-19, their second consecutive Cup final win, at the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens, round six of the HSBC Sevens World Series.

The win puts them just two points behind South Africa (110) in the overall series standings and one point ahead of third-placed New Zealand (107), with Australia (84) and England (78) rounding out the top five as the race for Olympic qualification continues.

“This victory is certainly up there,” Fiji’s coach Ben Ryan, who won his first-ever Hong Kong title, said.

“Outstanding performance by the team, they controlled the game really well tactically. Our bench were magnificent. We’ve spent a lot of time of defence and it’s starting to pay dividends.”

Fiji started brightly with tries to Savenaca Rawaca and Jerry Tuwai to race to a 14-0 lead. Rawaca’s second, against the run of play, extended the lead to 21-0 before Beaudine Waaka scored in the corner right on the break.

Sherwin Stowers created space for Scott Curry to cross adjacent to the posts to get his side back in the game at 21-12 but Jasa Veremalua responded immediately for the Pacific islanders. The All Black Sevens fought back again with Curry picking up his second after good lead up work from Sam Dickson but Fiji’s Apisai Domolailai extended the lead again to put the result beyond doubt with less than a minute to play.

Earlier, South Africa beat Samoa 26-5 in the play-off for third place, picking up 17 valuable points to maintain their place at the top of the overall series standings.

Earlier in the Cup semi-final, Jerry Tuwai broke free to score Fiji’s first followed by tries to Semi Kunatani and Pio Tuwai. Frankie Horne, Cecil Afrika and Seabelo Senatla hit back with tries for the Blitzboks in the second half to reduce the lead to 21-15 as the match went down to the wire.

Sir Gordon Tietjens’ side scored a late penalty drop-goal from Joe Webber to secure a 15-14 victory over Samoa to set up a repeat of the USA Sevens final.

Scott Curry and Sherwin Stowers capitalised for a 12-0 half-time lead before Samoa struck back on the resumption of play with Lafaele Vaa breaking free of the All Blacks Sevens defence before Samoa Taloa gave his side a 14-12 lead. Curry gave Webber the ball once a penalty had been won to secure the defending champions’ place in the final.

“The boys were really blowing and there was only a minute left so we took the shot,” said Curry. “Now we owe Fiji one from Vegas and hopefully the boys can get up for the final here in Hong Kong.”

Earlier Fiji took an unexpected 7-5 lead into the break after England had the run of play in the first half. Jerry Tuwai scored for Fiji on the stroke of half-time after England’s Phil Burgess crossed out-wide earlier.

In the second half Samisoni Viriviri was awarded a penalty-try just after the break, extending their lead to 14-5 before Dan Norton scored late to set up a tense final minute.

he All Blacks Sevens proved too strong for Argentina running out 31-21 winners. First half tries to Beaudine Waaka and Scott Curry set New Zealand on the path to the semis, a Santiago Alvarez try keeping Argentina within reach 14-7 at the break. The All Black Sevens took control in the second half with tries to Sherwin Stowers, a neat-stepping Joe Webber and Jordan Bunce. Alex Muller and Rodrigo Etchart replying late for Los Pumas.

AUSTRALIA DEFEAT USA IN PLATE FINAL

Australia beat the USA 21-17, collecting their second consecutive win in a Plate final andvaluable Series points. Breakaway tries from the USA’s Andrew Durutalo and speedster Perry Baker gave the Eagles a 12-7 lead at half-time after Australia’s Allan Fa’alava’au had earlier dashed to the try-line unapposed. But tries to Shannon Walker and Cameron Clark looked to have wrapped up the victory for Geraint John’s side.

Unlucky not to pull off an upset over Fiji in the Cup quarters, England also suffered defeat to Australia as both sides battled it out for fourth place in the Series.

Captain Ed Jenkins scored twice as Australia recorded a 12-7 win over Simon Amor’s side to face USA in the final, which means they will extend their lead over England in fourth place. The USA beat Argentina 28-14 thanks to tries from Danny Barrett, Maka Unufe, Perry Baker and Zack Test.

SCOTLAND CONVINCING WINNERS IN BOWL FINAL

Both teams impressed on day three but it was Scotland prevailing 26-5 in the final against France, posting first points through James Johnstone before Virimi Vakatawa reduced the margin to two points at the break. Two tries to Colin Gregor and Johnstone’s second sealing the win for Callum MacRae’s men.

“We worked hard to win the breakdown and have played smarter, and won three on day three,” said Scotland captain Scott Riddell. “We need the belief in ourselves, the performance is there. We need to be more consistent and keep bringing it game after game.”

France score six tries to three in defeating Canada 38-19 on their way to the Bowl final, Pierre Gilles Lakafia scoring a hat-trick as Les Bleus worked their way back into the match from 7-0 down. Liam Underwood one of Canada’s best scored a brace but it was not enough for Liam Middleton’s side.

KENYA TAKE SHIELD OVER BRAVE BLOSSOMS

Kenya proved too strong for Japan, winning 26-7 and scoring four tries to one in the Sheild final. After trading first-half tries courtesy of Collins Injera, who became the all-time leading try scorer in Hong Kong on 26, and Katsuyuki Sakai, a brace from Billy Odhiambo and a late Leonard Mugaisi try gave the Africans the ascendency.

Captain Andrew Amonde hopes to build on this Shield success next weekend in Tokyo: “We needed a morale-boosting victory and we are happy to win the Shield. It’s been a tough weekend for us but this will give us confidence ahead of Tokyo next weekend.”

Kenya scored three unanswered tries on their way to the Shield final with a 21-0 win over Portugal while Japan were too strong for Belgium 42-7, Brave Blossoms playmaker Lomano Lemeki scoring two tries in an emphatic win.

SOURCE: WORLD RUGBY/PACNEWS

37) Pools declared for Tokyo Sevens
By Online Editor
6:22 pm GMT+12, 29/03/2015, Hong Kong

World Rugby has confirmed the pool draw for the Tokyo Sevens in Japan, round seven of the HSBC Sevens World Series 2014-15 on 4-5 April, 2015.

After their third win of the season in Hong Kong, Fiji are top seeds and head Pool A, while runners-up New Zealand, third-placed South Africa and the fourth semi-finalist Samoa lead the remaining pools.

The 2014-15 season carries added significance because the top four ranked sides after the ninth and final round in London in May will qualify directly for the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016.

Ben Ryan’s Fiji were drawn alongside his former charges England, Wales and Hong Kong in Pool A at the Prince Chichibu Memorial Ground in Tokyo.

New Zealand will again face Australia in Pool B along with Scotland and Portugal, the side they drew with in the pool stages in Hong Kong.

Current series leaders South Africa will face USA, Canada and Kenya in Pool C, while Samoa will tackle Argentina, France and host nation Japan in Pool D.

SOURCE: WORLD RUGBY/PACNEWS

38) PNG Hunters return to winning ways

30 MARCH 2015

The Papua New Guinea Hunters returned to winning ways with a comprehensive 38-10 victory over Tweed Heads Seagulls in Kokopo to move up to second in the Queensland Cup rugby league standings.

The injury-plagued Hunters ran in seven tries, with Ase Boas named man of the match after bagging a hat-trick.

Toa Samoa international Kalifa Faifai Loa crossed for the visitors.

The Hunters have won three of their opening four games and are one of five teams tied on six points, but trail the Townsville Blackhawks on points differential.RNZI

w: www.voiceofmelanesia.com

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