Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1085 (Wednesday 8 March 2015)

MELANESIA

1) Bylaw drafted to designate West Papua a conservation province
By Online Editor
7:54 pm GMT+12, 06/04/2015, Indonesia

The West Papuan provincial administration is preparing a regional bylaw to designate West Papua a conservation province, an official said Monday.

“The bylaw is being worked out before being submitted to the West Papua Legislative Council for deliberation,” West Papua administration secretary Nataniel Mandacan said as quoted by Antara news agency.

Mandacan said the preparation for the bylaw was made in response to the declaration of West Papua Governor Abraham Atururi to designate West Papua a conservation province to protect forests and other natural resources in the province.

With the planned enactment of the bylaw, there will be legal protection for the province to carry out conservation efforts.

He said there were three international NGOs, namely Conservation International, The Nature Conservancy and World Wildlife Fund, which have been actively assisting the West Papuan province carry out conservation activities in the region.

The conservation efforts, especially in the regencies of Raja Ampat, Kaimana and Tambraw, have been financed by the three international NGOs through 2017, he said.

“We have to say thank you to the international NGOs, which have sponsored the conservation of existing natural resources in the province,” he added.

SOURCE: THE JAKARTA POST/PACNEWS

2) West Papua groups in PNG join forces, Governor angry at West Papua ‘genocide’
By Online Editor
7:59 pm GMT+12, 06/04/2015, Papua New Guinea

Three Papua New Guinea-based West Papua groups signed a deal last week to merge as one force in the struggle for independence for their homeland.

Leaders of the three groups signed a memorandum of agreement as witnessed by Oro Governor Gary Juffa and a crowd of about 150 people at the Granville Motel in Port Moresby.

The groups are: Partners with Melanesia PNG, PNG Union for Free West Papua and Human Rights for West Papua Protection Association Incorporated.

David Dom Kua signed as chairman of PNG UFWP , Jeffrey Bomay as chairman of HRWPPA Inc, and Ken Mondiai as executive director of Partners with Melanesia.

The agreement states that the three groups had the common cause of fighting for the self determination of the people of West Papua; that the atrocities, violence and acts of genocide against  the people of West Papua had become an international humanitarian issue.

They said there would not be any referendum held by the West Papuan people under  the watch of the United Nations on the issue of self=determination

The groups agreed that they and the people of West Papua would “only fight for the Declaration of Independence”

They agreed also to  preserve, protect and promote the Melanesian cultural heritage in the forms of language, custom and traditions and the Melanesian ways.

The groups agreed to work to address the human rights issues and the plight of West Papuans in both West Papua and Papua New Guinea and other countries.

Meanwhile, Oro Governor Garyi Juffa says recent killings in West Papua were more signs of the “ongoing genocide’’ occurring under Indonesian command.

He told a crowd of 500 to 600 supporters at a rally in Port Moresby last week that the reported killings were not of foreigners but of “our sisters and brothers’’.

Let us not talk of this “imaginary border’’ drawn up by colonial powers, he said, the people of West Papua were from the same piece of land and same origins as the people of PNG.

He cited news of recent killings by Indonesian soldiers of a West Papuan man who was raising funds for storm stricken Vanuatu, and three boys under the age of 18 who were jailed for protesting against the killing of another boy.

Juffa described the killings as “inhumane”, and being like the Nazi holocaust.

He says the PNG government should take a bold stand in mapping out this issue and bringing it to international attention.

He encouraged fellow Papua New Guineans to rise up and demand freedom for their fellow Melanesian brothers and sisters who have suffered brutal killings and harassment at the hands of the Indonesian military.

He pointed to the fuss over a visa for West Papuan leader Benny Wenda, who was detained and then made to leave PNG for failing to have proper travel documents.

Juffa says he believes the government should be lenient towards West Papuans and grant them exclusive travelling rights to and from PNG, considering that PNG and Indonesia share one land mass.

SOURCE: PNG LOOP/PACNEWS

POLYNESIA

3) Cyclone Pam shows Tuvalu is still ‘least developed’
By Online Editor
11:55 pm GMT+12, 05/04/2015, Tuvalu

Tuvalu should still be considered one of the world’s “least developed countries” despite rising wealth, its UN ambassador is arguing in the wake of Cyclone Pam.

Aunese Makoi Simati wrote to the UN’s economic and social council (ECOSOC), asking for the low-lying Pacific island state’s vulnerability to climate disaster to be taken into account.

Even though Tuvalu was not at the centre of the category five storm, many of its outer islands suffered severe flooding, affecting some 45% of the population.

Homes and crops were washed away, raising fears of food shortages.

“This is the very kind of vulnerability that Tuvalu have consistently requested… Ecosoc members to take into serious consideration when they assess Tuvalu’s graduation from the list of the least developed countries (LDCs),” Simati wrote.

“Even with the eye of the storm centred in Vanuatu, it takes only the periphery of Cyclone Pam to destroy developments which have taken many years to establish in Tuvalu; thus further reaffirming our high vulnerabilities as a small low lying atoll country, to natural disaster and the inadvertent forces of nature.”

Countries are classed as “least developed” if they are disadvantaged in three areas: wealth, “human assets” (literacy and healthcare rates), and economic vulnerability to shocks.

The classification brings preferential treatment in areas like development assistance and trade agreements.

Tuvalu is arguing that its vulnerability outweighs any other development gains.

The Maldives and Samoa, two island states similarly under threat from rising sea levels, have already graduated, while Vanuatu is in transition.

Simati restated his case following an emergency meeting of the alliance of small island states (AOSIS) to discuss Vanuatu’s recovery from Cyclone Pam.

sland leaders met in New York to express solidarity with Vanuatu and call on the international community to send aid.

Odo Tevi, Vanuatu’s UN ambassador, reported that a third of the 250,000 population were in need of shelter and others lacked food and clean water. Food sources had been damaged across the archipelago.

“Disasters drive home the point, in a very real way, that small island developing states (SIDS) are affected by disasters very differently than other countries,” said Ahmed Sareer, Maldives ambassador to the UN and chair of AOSIS.

“Disasters in SIDS are not localised to the point where it strikes, our whole country is affected.

“Developmental gains achieved over many years, through tremendous effort and investment, are lost within minutes. Livelihoods destroyed. Lives host.

“And this is made more alarming by reports that indicate that up to 70% of disasters may now be climate-related, and that human induced climate change has resulted in an increase in intensity and frequency of disasters, said Ambassador Sareer.

SOURCE: RTCC/PACNEWS

4) French Polynesia Ruling Party Confirms Four Expulsions
Vice-President, mayor of Papeete out over French Senate row

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, April 6, 2015) – French Polynesia’s ruling Tahoeraa Huiraatira party has expelled four senior members, including the vice-president and the mayor of Papeete, amid a row over who can stand for the French Senate next month.

Reports say a Tahoeraa meeting at the home of the party president, Gaston Flosse, unanimously decided to expel the four for defying an earlier party selection.

In February, the party re-nominated Teura Iriti and Flosse’s son-in-law, Vincent Dubois, as candidates.

None of the government ministers, who are all Tahoeraa members, was at the weekend meeting, which has now expelled among others the vice-president, Nuihau Laurey, and the veteran mayor of Papeete, Michel Buillard.

Mr Laurey and Lana Tetuanui, who is an assembly member, say they will still seek to win the Senate seats when the electoral college meets in May.

The two have the support of the government led by Edouard Fritch, who succeeded Flosse as president last year when he lost his office because of a sentence for corruption.

Mrs Iriti and Mr Dubois 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

Mr Fritch and several ministers warned the party against the expulsions, saying they could have grave consequences for it and its majority in the assembly.

Radio New Zealand International

MICRONESIA

5) Thousands of people in FSM need food, water and shelter
By Online Editor
00:02 am GMT+12, 06/04/2015, Micronesia, Federated States of

Thousands of people in the Federated States of Micronesia remain in desperate need of food, water and shelter after the islands were struck by super typhoon Maysak.

The governors of both Chuuk and Yap states declared a state of emergency after five people were killed and up to 80 per cent of homes destroyed when Maysak tore through the islands last week.

Victoria Bannon, the North Pacific representative for the International Federation of Red Cross, told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat it was one of the biggest disasters Micronesia in years.

Bannon said getting an accurate picture of total number of people affected was a major challenge.

“People are spread across many small islands which are hundreds of kilometres apart,” she said.

“So we’re keeping together information from all kinds of sources, from radio communications to social media.

“We know that in many locations up to 60 to 80 per cent of homes have been damaged, sometimes going as high as 90 per cent in some of the more remote locations.”

Bannon said apart from the five deaths earlier recorded, no further deaths were reported to the Red Cross.

SOURCE: ABC NEWS/PACNEWS

6) Guam Mobilizes To Help Cyclone Devastated FSM

Recovery could take ‘well over a year’ in Yap, Chuuk

By Jerick Sablan

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, April 7, 2015) – Guam is lending a big helping hand to the residents of Chuuk and Yap hurt by Typhoon Maysak.

Last week, Typhoon Maysak devastated islands in both Chuuk and Yap as it passed over them. The typhoon left a trail of destroyed homes and crops, and contaminated fresh-water supplies.

[PIR editor’s note: RNZI reported that ‘The head of the Red Cross in Federated States of Micronesia says it could take well over a year for the states of Yap and Chuuk to recover from damage caused by typhoon Maysak last week. … Isao Frank says 90 percent of homes on some islands were destroyed by the category five typhoon. … Most crops were also wiped out and water supplies contaminated in the affected areas.’]

The Ayuda Foundation, a nonprofit, which falls under the Association of Pacific Island Legislatures, has two 40-foot containers donated by Matson which will be sent to Chuuk and Yap this week.

Carlotta Leon Guerrero, the group’s executive director, yesterday said the 40-foot container bound for Chuuk has already been filled. The container for Yap is about half to 60 percent full.

“Guam knows how to respond,” she said.

Since Friday, residents and businesses have brought a lot of donations to the container in Mangilao. And yesterday, several local businesses donated hundreds of pounds of rice, canned meat and cases of water, Leon Guerrero said.

The Lions Clubs International District 204 Lions donated tarps, which will help hundreds of people who’ve lost their homes and need shelter from the rain, she said.

Residents are encouraged to donate their items at various mayor’s offices or at Castle Mall in Mangilao from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today.

Other businesses, organizations and the local government are also leading efforts to help the typhoon victims.

The Federated States of Micronesia communication office in a release stated that, as of April 2, officials have confirmed that 80 percent of local food sources have been badly affected; and 830 homes have been destroyed, forcing close to 7,000 people to find shelter at schools or move in with relatives.

Thirty-seven food shops, 24 classrooms and electric power infrastructure on Weno Island have also been destroyed, the release states.

The FSM national government has begun emergency relief missions after President Manny Mori issued a declaration of emergency, allowing access to $100,000 in initial funding.

Patrol boats have been deployed to both Chuuk and Yap, while the MS Caroline Voyager is to be loaded with food and water to help the affected islands, the release states.

Pacific Daily News

7) Palau Named Top Dive Destination For Japanese Tourists
3 of top 5 hotels also located in Palau

KOROR, Palau (Island Times, April 7, 2015) – Palau has been a mega diving destination for Japanese tourists for decades, and once again, Palau received top recognition at the Marine Diving Fair (MDF) 2015 in Tokyo, Japan. In an award ceremony on April 3rd, Mr. Charles Mitchell (Deputy Chief of Mission – Minister Counselor) from Palau Embassy received several top awards on behalf of Palau.

Not only did Palau take home the 1st prize for Best Diving Area (Overseas), our underwater wonderland won 2nd prize in the Dreaming Area category, second only to the Maldives, which took 1st prize.

The Palau Pacific Resort was awarded 1st prize for the Best Hotels for Divers Category, followed by Palau Royal Resort (2nd prize) and Palasia Hotel Palau (5th prize). Aqua Magic and Palau Sport were also 1st prize winners as the Favorite Diver Operator, Overseas and Best Liveaboard categories respectively. Their outstanding services were echoed by Daydream Palau (4th prize) and Blue Marlin (6th prize) as Favorite Dive Operators (Overseas) and Ryoma Palau was awarded 4th prize in the Best Liveaboard Category.

Palau’s high marine diversity, countless dive sites and World War II Wrecks continue to attract divers from around the globe, and the pioneering innovative ways that dive operators, hotels and resorts showcase the marine attractions are just some of the reasons that Palau is so well received at the MDF each April. Held at the Sunshine City Convention Center in Ikebukuro, Tokyo, Japan, the MDF is the largest diving & beach resort show in Asia. Held since 1993, the MDF attracts over 50,000 scuba diving and travel enthusiasts to meet over 200 exhibiting diving resorts, tourism boards, airlines, hotels and manufacturers from 49 countries and regions.

Palau was well represented this year at the MDF by the Palau Visitors Authority (PVA), Palau Pacific Resort, Palasia Hotel Palau, Carp Island Resort, IMPAC Tours, Dolphins Pacific and Palau Sport. PVA would also like to extend a big “Mesulang” to all tourism partners who activities and services ensure Palau continues to receive top awards at these overseas fairs and trade shows. Let us continue in our partnership, ensuring the sustainability of our Pristine Paradise. Palau.

Island Times

AUSTRALIA

8) ASIC to investigate suspicious ‘spike’ in Australian dollar prior to Reserve Bank’s interest rate decision

Updated 8 April 2015, 0:45 AEST
By finance reporter Simon Frazer

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission investigates another round of suspicious currency trading after the Australian dollar sharply rose around five seconds before yesterday’s Reserve Bank interest rates decision.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is investigating another round of suspicious currency trading after the Australian dollar sharply rose around five seconds prior to yesterday’s Reserve Bank interest rates decision.

It was the third straight month that money traders appeared to have correctly guessed the RBA’s next move.

“ASIC confirms it will investigate a spike in the Australian dollar shortly before the Reserve Bank’s monetary policy decision today,” ASIC said in a statement released late on Tuesday.

“The investigation will look at trading in the dollar prior to the RBA’s interest rate decision statement at 2.30pm (AEST).”

Most economists had correctly predicted that the RBA would keep rates on hold at 2.25 per cent at yesterday’s board meeting.

But many currency traders had expected a follow-up to February’s rate cut, and as a result the Australian dollar climbed more than 1 per cent against the greenback after the on-hold decision was announced.

That rapid rise would have meant trades made even a few seconds earlier could have delivered a huge windfall.

Last month’s suspicious trading took place around 45 seconds before the RBA’s decision was posted.

Yesterday’s trading appeared to have been much closer to when the decision was released, with the dollar’s rise appearing to have begun five seconds early.

The cases have raised concerns about whether some may be getting advanced notice of the central bank’s impending decisions.

But some currency traders have warned that any moves in the Australian dollar in the lead-up to such a major announcement could be amplified at a time when very few are trading.

In March Treasurer Joe Hockey said he had spoken with RBA Governor Glenn Stevens about the currency trading.

“Obviously I was, like he was, concerned about reports that there had been extraordinary trades before the release of the Reserve Bank decision yesterday,” he said at the time.Radio Australia.

9) http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2015-04-08/ice-epidemic-focus-for-new-national-taskforce-tony-abbott-says/1434280

NEW ZEALAND

10) PM Key: New passports will cost more
By Online Editor
7:51 pm GMT+12, 06/04/2015, New Zealand

New Zealanders could be jetting in and out of the country on a 10-year passport in as little as six months’ time, the Prime Minister says.

John Key has confirmed the switch away from the “annoying” five-year passports will happen soon, but he’s keeping mum on the new price tag, saying only that it will cost “a little bit more”.

The charge will be more than the current $135 (US$101) and less than the doubled cost of $270 (US$203), he told TV3’s Paul Henry programme.

“It takes a wee while, the proposal’s got to come to Cabinet, it’s got to go through legislation but give it six months or so,” Key said.

He defended the price increase, saying it was necessary to cover the fixed cost of running the section of the Department of Internal Affairs that processes passports.

The Prime Minister said he knows the price tag of the new books, but he wouldn’t divulge it.

“I can’t. It hasn’t even gone to Cabinet yet… they don’t know.”

The change follows from a review of the five-year limit, which went to the Government at the end of last year.

The validity period of the New Zealand passport was reduced to five years more than a decade ago in response to international security concerns following the 9/11 attacks.

However, Australia, the UK and the US never followed suit.

Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne ordered a departmental review of the five-year limit in the wake of the introduction of biometric passports, which are more difficult to counterfeit or falsify.

SOURCE: TV3/PACNEWS

TOK PISIN

11) Moa long 40 meri bai resis long Bougainville ileksan

Updated 7 April 2015, 13:28 AEST
Caroline Tiriman

Despla emi nambawan taem bikpla namba blong ol meri bai sanap long  Autonomas Bougainville Gavman ileksan.

Odio: Helen Hakena direkta blong Leitana Nehan Divelopman Agensi long Bougainville itoktok wantem Caroline Tiriman

Moa long fopla  ten ol meri bai resis long Autonomas Bougainville Gavman ileksan em bai kamap stat long naba 11 long mun May na bai gohet long tupela wik.

Ol despla meri bai sanap long ol constituensi blong ol na tu sampla bai resis long tripla rijinal reserve seats em oli makim blong ol meri iet insaet long Bougainville Palaman.

Sampla itok olsem, despla  bikpla namba blong ol meri husat bai resis long ileksan i kamap long wonem oli kisim bikpla halvim na treining long ol gutpla rot blong ronim ol ileksan kempein blong ol.

Ol laen olsem United Nations women, International Women Development Agency  blong Australia  na tu Leitana Nehan Development Agensi long Buka ibin givim planti treining igo long redi-im ol meri long ileksan.

Caroline Tiriman i askim Helen Hakena, direkta blong Leitana Nehan Development Agensi long ol treining em oli givim long ol meri Bougainville.Radio Australia

12) PNG Imas redi gut long 2018 APEC miting

Updated 7 April 2015, 14:36 AEST

Sam Seke

Chief Secretary blong gavman, Manasupe Zurenuoc i mekim dispela toktok long ol nius pipol long Port Moresby tede.

Odio: ABC niusman long PNG Wesley Manuai itoktok wantem Sam Seke

Papua New Guinea authority we i gohet long ol wok redi long hostim Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation oa APEC miting long 2018, i laikim olsem olgeta samting imas redi gut.

Chief Secretary blong gavman, Manasupe Zurenuoc i mekim dispela toktok long ol nius pipol long Port Moresby tede.

Em i tok sait long ples we ol pipal imas slip long en, miting peles, security, wok blong soim ol pasin oa kalsa blong kantri, logistics na olgeta samting imas redi gut.

Sir Manasupe itok em ino laik long ol wok  redi ino pinis gut oa emi haphap tasol long Port Moresby na arapela senta long kantri taim APEC miting i kamap long 2018.

Niusman blong ABC long Port Moresby, Wesley Manuai ibin go harim tu toktok blong Sir Manasupe na em i stori moa.Radio Australia

FRENCH

13a)  Brèves du Pacifique – mardi 7 avril 2015

Mis à jour 7 April 2015, 18:15 AEST

Caroline Lafargue

États fédérés de Micronésie: à Yap et à Chuuk, 6 jours après le passage de Maysak, qui a fait 5 morts, le bilan des dégâts matériels est toujours en cours.

Le navire du gouvernement de Yap étant en réparation, les autorités ont du réquisitionner le bateau d’une organisation de missionnaires, pour aller explorer les îles plus éloignées, et faire un premier bilan des ravages causés par le cyclone de catégorie 5. Pour le moment, d’après la Croix Rouge micronésienne, dans certaines des îles déjà explorées, 90% des bâtiments et des cultures ont été détruits. Il faudra au moins 6 mois pour obtenir les 1ères récoltes, et un an pour tout reconstruire, car beaucoup de bassins de captage d’eau potable ont été endommagés.
Transfield Services interdit à ses employés de prendre la carte d’un parti qui s’oppose à la politique de l’immigration du gouvernement australien. L‘entreprise, chargée de la gestion des centres de rétention australiens à Manus et à Nauru, leur interdit aussi de devenir membre d’une église qui dénonce la détention des migrants arrivés par bateau. L’information émane de la rédaction australienne du quotidien “The Guardian”. Transfield Services a aussi interdit à ses employés de révéler ce qui se passe derrière les portes de ces centres. C’est peine perdue, car on ne compte plus les photos, videos et témoignages diffusés par ses employés, particulièrement sur les agressions sexuelles qu’auraient subies des demandeurs d’asile.
Immense soulagement en Australie. Le petit Luke Shambrook a été retrouvé sain et sauf, après quatre jours d’angoisse et une mobilisation populaire sans précédent. Le petit autiste, âgé de 11 ans, s’est perdu vendredi dans le parc national de Fraser, dans le Victoria. Les secours l’ont découvert mardi matin, épuisé, en hypothermie et déshydraté, mais par ailleurs en bonne forme. Au moins une quarantaine de vacanciers australiens ont participé à la battue dans le parc.
Les États-Unis vont renforcer leur présence militaire aux Mariannes du Nord. Le Pentagone va aménager des centres d’entraînement avec une zone de tir à balles réelles sur deux des îles du territoire micronésien: Tinian, située entre Saipan et Guam ; et Pagan, une île jusqu’à présent inhabitée et qui hébergera donc, à terme, une centaine de militaires américains. Radio Australia

PASIFIK


13b) Fiji PM Bainimarama will not attend Pacific Forum Leaders in PNG unless Aust, NZ is out

By Online Editor
5:01 pm GMT+12, 07/04/2015, Fiji

Fijian Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama says he will not attend the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders meeting in Papua New Guinea in September unless the ball game changes in the forum.

Bainimarama has told Fijivillage Tuesday that Australia and New Zealand have to go out of the regional grouping.

He made the comment as Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister Peter O’Neill told The Australian that as the host of this year’s Pacific Islands Leaders Forum, he has written to invite Prime Minister Bainimarama to attend the annual summit of Pacific Leaders.

O’Neill said Bainimarama has done the right thing in reinstating a democratic government, and there is no reason why he should not fully participate in the leader’s meeting.

Steven Ciobo, who was recently appointed Parliamentary Secretary to Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and to Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb, returned to Australia over the weekend from his first official visit to Suva, where he met Foreign Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuobola.

Ciobo told The Australian that he had “expressed the view that Australia respectfully disagrees” with being levered out of the Pacific Islands Forum.

He said Australia holds the belief that ongoing dialogue is important, to which Fiji agrees.

Ciobo said Bishop has consistently stressed both the importance of the relationship with Fiji, and that Australia is a neighbour within the Pacific.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola has told Fijivillage that he made clear Fiji’s position to Ciobo during their discussion.

He stressed that Fiji would like to see changes and reforms first before considering returning to the Forum.

Kubuabola said one of the changes is for Australia and New Zealand to cease becoming a member of the Forum but remain a development partner. …PACNEWS

SOURCE: FIJI VILLAGE/PACNEWS

14) NZ had no intention to leave Pacific Islands Forum: McCully
By Online Editor
8:00 pm GMT+12, 06/04/2015, New Zealand

The Prime Minister of Fiji, Voreqe Bainimarama, has repeated his call for New Zealand to be kicked out of the Pacific region’s main decision-making body.

Bainimarama’s foreign affairs minister told Australian officials on the weekend that either New Zealand or Australia should cease to be full members of the Pacific Islands Forum, the Australian reported.

If this did not occur, the Fijian Prime Minister wanted close ally China to be brought into the 16-member forum.

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully said Monday New Zealand had no intention of leaving the forum.

Last week he emphasised the positive steps that New Zealand and Fiji were making in reforging closer ties.

The two countries collaborated on aid to Vanuatu after Cyclone Pam. Last week, a Royal New Zealand Air Force Hercules helped transport Fijian military engineers, doctors and supplies.

“This co-operation between New Zealand and Fiji is a positive development that reflects the steps we have been taking to re-engage with Fiji politically and militarily,” McCully said at the time.

New Zealand reinstated its high commissioner in Suva following the Fijian elections, which came after eight years of military rule.

Fiji’s membership of the forum was suspended in May 2009 when it failed to hold elections, but it was reinstated last year.

The forum is the main inter-governmental body for co-operation between Pacific countries and its secretariat is based in Suva. It is made up of 14 small island states as well as Australia and New Zealand. Pacific Rim countries such as the US, China and Japan hold observer status within the forum.

After his election last year, Bainimarama said Australia and New Zealand should have their status in the forum downgraded to observers or “development partners”.

If they did not leave the forum, he said, observing countries such as China should become full members.

WORLD

15) New aluminium battery for smartphones can be charged in one minute: US scientists

Updated 8 April 2015, 7:10 AEST

US scientists say they have invented a cheap, long-lasting and flexible battery made of aluminium for use in smartphones that can be charged in as little as one minute.

The researchers, who detailed their discovery in the journal Nature, said the new aluminium-ion battery had the potential to replace lithium-ion batteries, used in millions of laptops and mobile phones.

Besides recharging much faster, the new aluminium battery is safer than existing lithium-ion batteries, which occasionally burst into flames, they added.

Researchers have long tried but failed to develop a battery made of aluminium, a lightweight and relatively inexpensive metal that has high charging capacity.

A team lead by chemistry professor Hongjie Dai, at Stanford University in California, made a breakthrough by accidentally discovering that graphite made a good partner to aluminium, Stanford said in a statement.

In a prototype, aluminium was used to make the negatively-charged anode while graphite provided material for the positively charged cathode.

A prototype aluminium battery recharged in one minute, the scientists said.

“Lithium-ion batteries can be a fire hazard,” said Professor Dai. “Our new battery won’t catch fire, even if you drill through it.”

The new battery is also very durable and flexible, the scientists said.

While lithium-ion batteries last about 1,000 cycles, the new aluminium battery was able to continue after more than 7,500 cycles without loss of capacity. It also can be bent or folded.

Larger aluminium batteries could also be used to store renewable energy on the electrical grid, Professor Dai said.

Reuters

16) Expect the same treat

Reuters
Wednesday, April 08, 2015

US companies can expect the same treatment as those from the rest of the world, receiving neither special benefits nor punishment, if there is a further commercial opening between Cuba and the US.

“US business people will enjoy the same treatment that is offered to the rest of the world that has ties with the island today,” Rodrigo Malmierca, the Cuban Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment, said in an interview published in official Cuban media on Monday.

“It’s true that we will view positively, once the US laws permit it, that they will be able to trade and invest. But that does not imply a preferential treatment,” Mr Malmierca said.

The US and Cuba announced in December they would restore diplomatic relations and seek to normalise trade and travel that were disrupted more than 50 years ago during the Cold War.

US President Barack Obama has relaxed some parts of the US economic embargo against Cuba.

Although he has authority to do more, he needs the Republican-controlled Congress to remove the embargo definitively.

The opening has generated tremendous interest from US companies looking to crack a market that has long been closed, but even with a relaxation of the embargo US companies need an agreement from the Cuban Government.

17) Scientists reveal glaciers to shrink by 70pc

Afp
Wednesday, April 08, 2015

PARIS – The glaciers of western Canada, one of the world’s most picturesque mountain regions, are likely to largely melt away over just three generations, scientists say.

By 2100, the glaciers of Alberta and British Columbia are set to shrink by 75 per cent in area compared to 2005 levels, and by 70 per cent in volume, according to their predictions.

But in two out of the three regions that were studied, the decline could be even more dramatic — over 90 per cent.

The loss will hit many sectors, from agriculture, forestry and tourism to ecosystems and water quality, the investigators warned.

The study, published in the journal Nature Geoscience, was headed by Garry Clarke, a professor at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

“The disappearance of (the) glaciers … will be a sad loss for those who are touched by the beauty of Canada’s mountain landscapes,” Clarke told AFP.

HEALTH

18) Health leaders to meet

Repeka Nasiko
Wednesday, April 08, 2015

REGIONAL health leaders from 22 Pacific Island nations will be reviewing a 20-year-old declaration for a “healthy islands vision” made in Sigatoka in 1995.

The 11th Pacific Health Ministers meeting on Yanuca Island’s Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort later this month will discuss the declaration which places key focus on children’s health, environment sustainability and ecological balance.

The three-day meeting held between April 15 to 17 will be hosted by the Fijian Government in collaboration with the World Health Organization and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.

Health Minister Jone Usamate said apart from the main objective, the event would also assess the implementation of the outcomes and recommendations made during the tenth meeting in Apia and Honiara.

“The eleventh Pacific Health Ministers meeting will also set future strategic direction in health leadership and development in the Pacific, especially with the health sector being a challenge in developing Pacific Island countries,” he said.

The program will focus on the healthy islands thematic areas of avoidable disease burden, premature deaths, nurturing children in body and mind and promoting ecological balance.Fijitimes

19) Institute fulfils vision to open clinic

Atasa Moceituba
Wednesday, April 08, 2015

THE Pacific Eye Institute has fulfilled its vision to open a new and the first eye clinic in the Pacific after several attempts to open one.

Director Dr Jim Stewart confirmed this after they announced they would be launching their new mobile eye clinic in Suva next week.

Dr Stewart said the clinic would play a critical role in bringing free eye care closer to the people.

He said different kinds of services would be provided in the new clinic including eye surgeries, eye treatments and any other form of eye conditions.

“By bringing these services to the people, we hope to help clear the backlog of avoidable blindness in Fiji and tackle the issue of diabetes-related eye disease, which we already know is on the rise right across the Pacific region,” Dr Stewart said.

He said the clinic would complement the ministry’s outreach strategy to bring in city-level services to remote areas.

He said the clinic would have a huge impact on Fijians in need of eye care.

“We’re thrilled to offer everyone free access to eye checks, and where required, surgery and treatment for a range of eye conditions.

“No matter what their age or background, we’re here to help anyone who is having trouble with their eyesight.”

Health Minister Jone Usamate will open the new eye clinic next Tuesday.

The project is funded by New Zealanders and the FIJI Water Foundation.Fijitimes

EDUCATION

20) Call to allow mobile phones in schools

Atasa Moceituba
Wednesday, April 08, 2015

THE use of mobile phones in schools can be a great learning aid for students. Therefore, students should be allowed to take their mobile phones to school.

These were the views of Vodafone Fiji Ltd head of mcommerce and corporate affairs Shailendra Prasad in an interview with this newspaper yesterday.

“We support the Ministry of Education policy as the authority responsible for issuance and administration of school policies. And we strongly believe that mobile phones are an important communication tool in times of emergency for the safety and security of children,” Mr Prasad said.

Students are not allowed to carry mobile phones to school.

Like many other gadgets, Mr Prasad said mobile communication devices had their advantages and disadvantages.

“The advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. What is important is to acknowledge that mobile phones are a reality and we must get our parents, teachers and the society to recognise this fact.”

Inkk Mobile CEO Paul O’Neile said students should take their mobile phones to school for emergency purposes. “Whilst the country mourns the loss of a young student’s life in Lautoka, we should be careful not to let emotions cloud our judgement to make an informed and rational decision on this issue,” Mr O’Neile said. Questions sent to Digicel Fiji Limited remain unanswered when this edition went to press.Fijitimes

21) Education access

Luke Rawalai
Wednesday, April 08, 2015

THOSE in the North wishing to get a Level Two certificate in various trade studies do not need to travel to Suva.

They can access these education units at the Vanua Levu Arya Samaj campus of the Technical College of Fiji.

Opened by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama yesterday, the college already has a total of 290 students studying in various trades within the institution this year.

In his address at the opening, Mr Bainimarama told students they no longer needed to go to Suva to get access to Level Two Certificates in the various trades.

“We are keeping you at home where you belong. Close to your families and friends,” he said.

“We are keeping you in Vanua Levu where you belong and where you are needed to help to continue to build the local economy.

“We are going to need more qualified and certified plumbers, electricians, carpenters and more of every trade discipline as the economy improves and the opportunities in the North expand.”Fijitimes

22) College to boost training of young people

Luke Rawalai
Wednesday, April 08, 2015

GOVERNMENT intends to raise the standards of local tradesmen and women throughout Fiji by giving them better access to formal qualifications through technical colleges.

These were the words of Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama as he opened the Vanua Levu Arya Samaj Campus of the Technical College of Fiji yesterday.

Mr Bainimarama said the college was one of the first 10 across the country that they intended to open before the beginning of next year.

He said that such centres would boost the training of young people in the trade skills needed to build our nation.

“We are determined to develop the North and end the decades of neglect by previous governments and to provide the people of the North with the services they deserve and which we intend to deliver,” he said.

“Whether it is better access to education, health care, electricity, water, better roads or better telecommunications, the FijiFirst Government has intent on giving the people of the North the same level of services as anyone on Viti Levu.

“Over time, we are determined to do whatever is necessary to enable the North to achieve its full potential.”Fijitimes

POLITIC

23) Gomes eyes New Caledonia’s economic sovereignty
By Online Editor
8:08 pm GMT+12, 06/04/2015, New Caledonia

A leading New Caledonian anti-independence politician, Philippe Gomes, says the territory has to attain economic sovereignty by winning control over its natural resources.

Gomes, who is a member of the French National Assembly, made the comment to the news agency AFP after his Caledonia Together Party won the presidency last week thanks to the support of three pro-independence ministers.

New Caledonia has about a quarter of the world’s nickel reserves and Gomes says it is imperative for the territory to both win control over the resource and to create a fund to the benefit of future generations.

His stance echoes that of the pro-independence camp which has been seeking majority control of the territory’s historically dominant SLN nickel company.

Currently, New Caledonia’s stake is 34 percent in SLN, which is part of the French Eramet concern.

Gomes has reiterated that his party won the presidency without striking any deals with the rival pro-independence side.

Rifts within the majority loyalist camp had prevented it to agree on a president for more than three months until the pro-independence side opted to support Philippe Germain for the top job.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

24) 342 candidates to contest Bougainville election
By Online Editor
4:58 pm GMT+12, 06/04/2015, Papua New Guinea

A total of 342 candidates are contesting in the 2015 Autonomous Bougainville General Election.

From this total, North Bougainville recorded the highest with 158 candidates contesting the various seats including the former combatants, women’s and the constituency seats.

South Bougainville is next with 103 candidates while Central Bougainville has 72 candidates contesting.

Haku constituency in Buka has the highest of 24 candidates contesting while the seat that has the least number of candidates registered is Kongara constituency in Central Bougainville which has only two candidates contesting.

Current member Dominic Itta is aiming to create history by becoming the first member in the ABG’s political history to win in three consecutive ABG elections.

However, his opponent Graham Davaku is out to cause upset by wrestling the seat from him.

In the presidential seat, eight other candidates are up against President John Momis. Former Central Bougainville MP in the National Government and Mining Minister Samuel Akoitai is looming as the main threat to Momis, but former BRA commander Ishmael Toroama is also capable of causing an upset.

Meanwhile, four members in the current Bougainville House of Representatives will not be defending their seats in this year’s ABG General Election.

They include the member for Nissan constituency in North Bougainville, Leo Hannett, Central Bougainville former combatants representative David Sisito, Kokoda constituency member Joseph Bausina and South Bougainville former combatants’ representative, Michael Laita.

Sisito has decided to contest the South Nasioi constituency seat currently held by member John Ken while his counterpart from South Bougainville, Laita is vying for the Makis constituency seat.

Laita is aiming to topple current member and ABG Minister for Lands and Physical Planning Newton Kauva.

Former Bougainville Regional MP in the National Parliament and member for Nissan constituency Leo Hannett is believed to have decided not to contest due to frailing health conditions.

The reason behind Bausina not defending his seat is not known.

The fifth seat in the ABG parliament which currently has a vacancy is the Bolave constituency seat in the Bana district of South Bougainville.

The seat had became vacant following the death of member, the Lawrence Wakai, early this year.

25) Former Government Opponents Support Bougainville Elections

Government must implement Peace Agreement, conduct referendum

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, April 7, 2015) – A former Bougainville president, James Tanis, says former opponents of the autonomous government have thrown their support behind next month’s election process.

The Papua New Guinea province goes to the polls for two weeks from May 11th.

Mr Tanis, who was president from 2008 to 2010 but is not standing this time, says there is broad agreement among the nine presidential candidates on the critical issues of mining and the independence referendum.

And he says last week he witnessed a delegation from the Panguna region, including members of the former separatist group the Me’ekamui, giving its backing to candidates and the autonomous government.

Mr Tanis says they recognise it is time to move on.

“What they know is that there is no other way out. Bougainville needs to move ahead, implement the Peace Agreement and conduct the referendum. So that the question of Bougainville independence is put to rest once and for all.”

He says, from what he is hearing, all the candidates seem committed to ensuring the referendum on possible independence from PNG, to be held within the next term, is successful.

“And so far I have heard, including President Momis, assuring that they are committed to Bougainville independence through a referendum. So there seems not much difference among the candidates, so far.”

Radio New Zealand International

26) Solomons Government Tables $548 Million Budget

‘People’s Budget’ is largest in country’s history

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation, April 2, 2015) – Finance Minister, Snyder Rini has tabled the 2015 National Budget this morning.

This budget is the first budget of the Democratic Coalition for Change Government and at over $4 billion [US$548 million], it is the largest in the country’s history.

[PIR editor’s note: SIBC reported that ‘Total revenue for 2015 is expected to be more than $3,721 million [US$509 million].’ SIBC also reported that during his budget speech, Minister Rini said the government will ‘will rehabilitate the Development Bank of Solomon Islands (DBSI), redirect the Commodities Export Marketing Authority (CEMA) and reinvigorate the Investment Corporation of Solomon (ICSI) Islands.’]

SIBC’s Leni Dalavera was up at Parliament this morning and he gave this report on Minister Rini’s budget speech.

“Among what he said was that the government’s primary objective is to achieve a broad-based economic development by empowering the people of Solomon Islands to engage in productive activities as well as activities that can absorb a gainful employment for the people. He said the budget, therefore, is a fundamental instrument of the government policy to achieve these objectives and so the more than $4 billion budget is the first step in that direction. He also said that this budget is best described as the “Peoples’ Budget” which will deliver a record $4.81 billion [US$658 million] in spending to provide services to all Solomon Islanders.”

More on the Finance Minister’s budget speech in our later bulletins and current affairs programs.

Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation

27) Fiji Bill to protect and promote traditional knowledge
iTaukei Affairs Ministry to protect knowledge from commercialization

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, April 7, 2015) – Fiji’s iTaukei Affairs Ministry is hopeful for the implementation of a bill it had drawn up aimed to protect and promote traditional knowledge including its commercialization.

In an update before the parliamentary committee on natural resources, iTaukei Affairs Permanent Secretary Savenaca Kaunisela said the bill or decree, called, “Traditional knowledge and Expression of culture” was prepared in 2011 and is still being vetted by the Solicitor General’s office.

“When it comes out, it will be a milestone for iTaukei because it also covers benefits for iTaukei in case our traditional knowledge is commercialised.

“It is in that legislation and we are hoping it will come soon. The sooner the better especially with a lot of commercialisation going on and the iTaukei people losing out from some of the benefits that should be accrued to them through the commercialisation of our traditional knowledge.”

Fijilive

28) Society: Put Bill through professional working group

Talebula Kate
Wednesday, April 08, 2015

THE Fiji Law Society has recommended the Companies Bill should be put not just to a select committee but to a professional working group of people who can go through it line by line.

Society member Richard Naidu said people such as accountants, company directors, lawyers and overseas experts are needed for critical review, simplification and completion of regulations and prescribed forms.

“There is too little available information on the Bill to enable legislators to identify the intention of the drafters,” Mr Naidu said.

“In any event, we say simplification is needed; we simply do not need a law that is this complicated.”

He said there must be a lead time between enactment and the coming into force of the Bill.

“This needs to be at least 12 months. This is to allow regulations and prescribed forms to be prepared, and for users to be trained and to adapt to the new system.

“These include company officials, lawyers, accountants — and most critically, regulators, who have the most catching up to do.”

He concluded by saying that the companies legislation was last aired in public in 2011-12.

“It then went to sleep for three years. Now it is back and being debated and discussed in a more democratic way, there should be greater consultation, not just on the concepts but the detail.”

He said the draft law would benefit from being tested by a working group which included people who would actually use it.Fijitimes

29) Council: Bill anti-women

Talebula Kate
Wednesday, April 08, 2015

WHILE applauding the move to have an amended Companies Bill that regulates all financial activities on our shores, the National Council of Women Fiji has also found that the Bill is anti-women.

National Council of Women Fiji general secretary Fay Volatabu made the statement in her submissions to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Justice, Law and Human Rights yesterday.

She said NCWFiji agreed having a very thorough Bill that regulated companies from their birth to their death was very efficient.

But she said some of the reservations the NCWFiji had about the Companies Bill 2015 included the definitions of companies to include a category for micro private companies with a threshhold of $100,000.

“Women-owned companies that earn $50,000 or less should be tax-exempted and this would include our small business women such as food sellers, tailors, craftswomen and market vendors,” Ms Volatabu said.

She said micro businesses (like fisherwomen, roadside vendors, etcetera) are to have a special help desk and have licences free of charge as the cost of licences and all related costs are often too expensive and detrimental to the survival of their businesses. “Local women entrepreneurs are to have a grace tax exemption period of five years when they start up businesses. This will encourage women to start up their businesses.

“The appointment of directors (s94), all companies should be regulated to at least have 50 per cent of directors to be women.”Fijitimes

MULTI MEDIA


30) Radio farewells another icon

By Online Editor
4:52 pm GMT+12, 06/04/2015, Papua New Guinea

The man responsible for the setting up of three radio stations – FM Central, FM Morobe and Lalokau FM – has left a huge void in the Papua New Guinea broadcasting industry with his passing last week.

William Mairi, known as “W tamona bona M tamona” on PNG airwaves, was a pioneer broadcaster, presenter and programmer.

Late Mairi was tasked to set up a radio station in 2000, resulting in the establishment of FM Central.

Two years later, he started FM Morobe then Lalokau FM in the nation’s capital.

The Motu word maoro became popular with this entertainer who knew how to interact with his listeners and keep them entertained.

According to Moua Amoa from FM Central, Mairi had been working with TNT but did a stint for Kalang FM, now FM 100 and afterwards became a popular character on radio.

“He was a self-taught announcer and he had the voice for radio,” Amoa said. “He was very professional and everything he did had to be perfect, he was a straight shooter.

“He is a mentor for many young announcers.”

Mairi was a big promoter for the Hiri Motu language and will always be remembered as a very down to earth person with a passion for his job.

A funeral service for the will be held at the Reverend Sioni Kami Memorial Church this Friday and then his body will be taken to Oroi village in Kairuku for burial on Saturday.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

31) Case for High Court

Talebula Kate
Wednesday, April 08, 2015

THE de facto partner of former journalist Losana McGowan has been remanded in custody after appearing in court yesterday charged with her murder.

Usaia Kilaiverata, 28, appeared before Magistrate Margaret Mua yesterday.

Police prosecutor Corporal Apenisa Keresoni objected to bail and told the magistrate that the charge was an indictable offence and should only be tried in the High Court.

Ms Mua agreed with Corporal Keresoni and transferred the case to the High Court. She told Kilaiverata that any bail application he wished to make should be made to the High Court.

Kilaiverata will appear in the High Court in Suva on April 17.

Mr Kilaiverata is alleged to have assaulted Ms McGowan, causing her death.Fijitimes

32) West Papua pastors on radio mission

Source:
The National, Tuesday April 7th, 2015

FIVE West Papuan pastors hoping to start a radio station are in Lae to raise funds.
They are members of the Lae-based Asia Pacific Harvest International Ministry (APHIM).
The pastors, Eddie Warpur and his younger brother Roy, Ricky Matuan, Yornius Matuan and Demus Mirin received a radio licence from their Government in 2011.
They were supported by a sponsor who has since backed out and they are now seeking help to raise money to  buy equipment for the station.
The pastors hope to raise at least K3 million. They hope to set up something similar to Papua New Guinea’s Radio Light.
The Asia Pacific Harvest International Ministry was founded by United States of Ameria-educated Ps Fabian Peter, who was born and raised in Lae.
His mission into Asia was to train pastors at the Missionary Training College and Academy in Lae and then send them abroad.
The pastors believe more missionaries are needed in West Papua.
The missionaries will be in Lae this week before continuing on to Alotau, Milne Bay.

33) Port Moresby 2015 names FM100 as second Pacific Games radio broadcaster

By Online Editor
00:12 am GMT+12, 06/04/2015, Papua New Guinea

Port Moresby 2015 has announced FM100 as the second local radio station to be given broadcasting rights for this year’s Pacific Games.

FM100 will be providing live coverage of the event, due to take place in the Papua New Guinea capital from July 4 to July 18, and will give an audience of up to 2.5 million people updates in the build-up to the Games.

They join fellow radio broadcaster National Broadcasting Cooperation as the Organising Committee continues to make the Games, being held in Papua New Guinea for the third time, as accessible as possible.

The deal also includes FM100 airing Pacific Games commercials in the lead-up to the competition and the station is due to cover local Games marketing events.

“We are excited to be part of the team that will help bring the games to the people of Papua New Guinea,” FM100 President John Mong said.

“Through our radio network, our audiences will be able to hear the excitement of the Games no matter where they are in Papua New Guinea.

“These pre-Games air-time promotions include Games ticketing information, relay updates, sports and athlete profiles.”

The news comes after the Games Organising Committee announced an affordable ticket pricing scheme, with seats available for as little as K10 (US$3.75).

Port Moresby 2015 also said it is in talks with other radio broadcasters, and executive operations manager Clint Flood believes radio is one of the best mediums to share information and coverage of the event to the Papua New Guinea population.

“FM 100 adds yet another dimension of coverage for the Games here in PNG,” he said.

“Their audiences will be able to tune in throughout the Games to hear live Games and get regular updates on team PNG’s progress.

“Radio has a wider reach than another other mode of communication in PNG, we appreciated that the rural population has access to radio, therefore, we’d like to cater to those people so the Games experience is shared with everyone across the country.”

About 3,000 athletes from 21 nations are due to compete across 28 different sports at the Games, which will offer competitors the chance to earn Olympic qualification for Rio 2016.

SOURCE: INSIDETHEGAMES/PACNEWS

34) Blogger taken to New Caledonia court
By Online Editor
00:00 am GMT+12, 06/04/2015, New Caledonia

A French blogger, Franck Theriaux, says he has been summoned to appear in the criminal court in New Caledonia next month for allegedly defaming a local politician and a businessman.

The two, Gregoire Bernut and Didier Leroux, want US$23,000 in compensation and costs over an article on the Caledosphere site, which linked the two men’s activities.

The blog pointed out that Bernut is both a legislator and a person being employed by Leroux, who has vast business interests, including in the pharmaceutical sector.

The blog further noted that Bernut voted against a company tax hike in the territory’s Congress.

The two men’s lawyer say the blogger suggests that Leroux corrupted Bernut and that Bernut accepted to be corrupted.

The case it to go to court on May 29.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

35) Police caution

Nasik Swami
Wednesday, April 08, 2015

WHILE social networking sites such as Facebook are the “in-thing” in Fiji, the Fiji Police Force is warning users to be careful.

The Cybercrime Unit of the force is now reviewing the country’s cybercrime laws that will mean harsher penalties for postings or shared items that are in breach of privacy laws and prevent the course of justice.

Unit boss Inspector Epi Veimosoi sounded this warning yesterday following an influx in cyber-related crimes on social sites involving minors as young as 10 years old.

“Cybercrime is a new thing and some people are committing crimes through social media because they think they have all the rights to do these things,” Mr Veimosoi said.

He said the situation in Fiji was that there weren’t laws that bound cyber bullying and cyber harassment laws through social media.

Mr Veimosoi said for any cybercrime-related issues, his office resorted to the legislations in the Crimes Decree to prosecute offenders.

He said his office noted an increase in cybercrimes such as people annoying others via the use of social networks, putting up derogatory comments against other people and defaming others through social networks.

He said perpetrators knew the privacy laws, and the problem the unit was facing with putting the social network accounts down was because administrators or account holders were overseas.

“We have so many cases, some pending in court.

“Recent case is of a primary school (Year 8) student of a prominent Suva school who was communicating with a person on Facebook who is a 17-year-old boy from Nadi.

“The 17-year-old boy told the girl to change her school clothes at a public convenience in Suva, catch the first bus to Nadi. She did that and went to Nadi, a motel was organised for her.”

He said when the girl went to Nadi, she found out that the boy she was chatting with on Facebook was someone else.

“The 17-year-old boy raped the girl, she came back to Suva, changed her clothes and went home after 3pm.”

Mr Veimosoi revealed that a lot of people were also being blackmailed on social networking sites.

“People are being blackmailed – a man, with the profile picture of a girl, was chatting with a businessman posing to be a young girl.

“While chatting, the same person who in actual fact was a boy blackmailed the businessman that the girl’s uncle had found out about the dirty messages he has been sending to her niece.

“The boy demanded thousands of dollars from the businessman.”

He said the unit was also working together with the Australian Federal Police to gather digital evidence in relation to cyberbullying in the country.Fijitimes

36) All for sex or money

Nasik Swami
Wednesday, April 08, 2015

PICTURES of some young girls and members of the gay community in compromised positions have surfaced online with perpetrators blackmailing victims for sex or money.

This was revealed yesterday by the co-ordinator of the Fiji Woman’s Crisis Centre, Shamima Ali, as the centre recorded reports from some young girls and members of the gay community being ridiculed and bullied by those circulating their photos.

And this has prompted the centre to issue renewed calls for the vulnerable to limit their use of social networking sites to useful things only.

“Gay people are being bullied by some people who are friends with them on Facebook. Some people are gay and they don’t want to come out because the time is not right for them,” Ms Ali said.

She said some people who were aware that a particular person was gay and his family did not know about it would go on Facebook blackmailing the person who is gay that he/she would tell everyone of their sexual status.

“Facebook is a good thing. It should be used to improve knowledge and young people have to be very careful of what they do on Facebook.”

She said for perpetrators, social networking sites were like a playground.

“People stalk others profiles and social networks was a playground for perpetrators to exploit young people and abuse their innocence.”

She said young girls, especially those in schools, should be very careful who they chat with.

“They should not go out to meet them, share their details or send pictures of themselves.”

She also called on police to publicise cases of cybercrimes and use them as a tool for advocacy in schools and communities.Fijitimes

37) Cyber bullying concerns

Felix Chaudhary
Wednesday, April 08, 2015

OPPOSITION leader Ro Teimumu Kepa says the alleged suicide death of 18-year-old Lautoka student Navneeta Devi — while unfortunate — has led to questions on how Fiji was addressing serious issues such as physical and cyber bullying.

Responding to the death of Ms Devi, the Opposition leader said the results of a survey conducted with students four years ago was disturbing.

“The 2010 Fiji Global School-based Student Health Survey covered alcohol abuse, dietary behaviour, mental health, physical activity, sexual behaviour, tobacco use and violence,” Ro Teimumu said.

“It surveyed 1673 students and revealed that 42 per cent experienced bullying in the previous 30 days before the survey. 52.2 per cent reported serious injury in the previous 12 months while 47.3 per cent said they were involved in a physical fight more than once in the previous 12 months.”

She also said in 2012, the Fiji Cyber Security Working Group revealed the extent of cyber bullying suggested that university students were more likely to face cyber-attacks aimed at their sexuality, ethnicity and relationships.

Ro Teimumu said a study conducted by Yale University claimed that between seven and nine per cent of bullied victims were likely to consider suicide as a response to being bullied.

Meanwhile, Empower Pacific — a non-government organisation that specialises in counseling services — said anyone going through difficulties should call them on 5626 to speak to a professional. CEO Patrick Morgam said, last year about 4000 students, teachers and parents attended information sessions on suicide and depression.Fijitimes

38) Facebook risks

Nasik Swami
Wednesday, April 08, 2015

THE amount of time you spend on social media sites impacts your mental health.

That’s the revelation by one of the leading universities in the US, the University of Houston, in its recent survey where it found that more time spent on Facebook caused depression.

According to the university researcher Mai-Ly Steers, this kind of social comparison paired with the amount of time spent on Facebook may be linked to depressive symptoms.

“The social media site, Facebook, can be an effective tool for connecting with new and old friends. However, some users may find themselves spending quite a bit of time viewing Facebook and may inevitably begin comparing what’s happening in their lives to the activities and accomplishments of their friends,” Ms Mai-Ly Steers said.

The researcher conducted two studies to investigate how social comparison with peers on Facebook might impact users’ psychological health.

Both studies provide evidence that Facebook users felt depressed when comparing themselves to others.

“It doesn’t mean Facebook causes depression, but that depressed feelings and lots of time on Facebook and comparing oneself to others tend to go hand in hand,” she said in her research made available to this newspaper.

The first study found an association between time spent on Facebook and depressive symptoms for both genders.

However, the results demonstrated that making Facebook social comparisons mediated the link between time spent on Facebook and depressive symptoms for men only.

Similarly, the second study found a relationship between the amount of time spent on Facebook and depressive symptoms was mediated by social comparisons on Facebook. Unlike the first study, gender did not moderate these associations.

“One danger is that Facebook often gives us information about our friends that we are not normally privy to, which gives us even more opportunities to socially compare. You can’t really control the impulse to compare because you never know what your friends are going to post. In addition, most of our Facebook friends tend to post about the good things that occur in their lives, while leaving out the bad.

“If we’re comparing ourselves to our friends’ ‘highlight reels’, this may lead us to think their lives are better than they actually are and conversely, make us feel worse about our own lives.”

Fijian psychologist Selina Kuruleca said the research and its support that the continued use of Facebook and social media contributed to depressive symptoms was well documented.

“It must be stated that it is not the use of Facebook per se that leads to depressive symptoms but rather the continued experience of reading about the positive things that people post about themselves that may lead users to experience envy of the activities and lifestyles of their friends on Facebook. These people are more likely to report feelings of depression,” Ms Kuruleca said.

She said Facebook was a great communication and networking resource, but if it was used as a way to measure how one was doing, as in comparing oneself and achievements with others could have a negative effect.

“Some of these negative feelings that people may have include feelings of envy that leads them to feel inferior to others, that it’s unfair that some people seem to have all the fun; people would become bothered about things that usually didn’t bother them and because more time was spent on the internet, less time on building and nurturing people and relationships in real time, people had neglected these real relationships.

“So when they wanted to talk to people in real time, they didn’t have that relationship base and hence would tend to talk less.” Via – Fijitimes

39) Samoa weekly publishes news in Chinese

8 March 2015

A weekly newspaper in Samoa has published local news translated into Chinese for the benefit of the local working Chinese community.

The Samoa Today newspaper owned by a local construction company has been re-launched since it was opened for business less than six months ago with local news published in three languages including Samoan, English, and Chinese.

Our correspondent in Apia reports the change has come because of the growing number of Chinese people working in several construction companies in the country who need to understand what’s happening around Samoa.

It is the first time a local newspaper has been published in another language apart from English and Samoan.

A Chinese volunteer is helping with translation at the newspaper.RNZI

BUSINESS

40) Preparations for APEC on time: Official

Source:
The National, Tuesday April 7th, 2015

Papua New Guinea will be ready for the 2018 Asia Pacific Economic Conference (APEC) summit, PNG APEC interim chief executive officer Chris Hawkins says.
Hawkins  said 21-member economies in the Asia Pacific region would take part in the summit in Port Moresby.
He told The National that despite criticisms of PNG’s ability to host the APEC summit, he believed the country had the capacity to host a successful meeting.
“I think there has been skepticism both externally and internally on whether PNG can host the APEC but I believe people will be very surprised,” he said.
“From a security perspective it is actually quite manageable where the security operations can utilise what we have already in Port Moresby as it is going be the biggest concern when you have twenty one leaders in one location and in one room.
“We have the basis of what we need where a lot of infrastructure have been constructed already as part of the Government’s 2 billion infrastructure roll out in the city.
“So we have the primary road that takes us to the main APEC venues and then we have the secondary roads which provide a supplement optimal security perspective so that we can ensure that leaders travelling between venues will be safe.
“In terms of infrastructure we have a lot more planning to do, and it’s a mammoth task ahead.
“But because we are starting as early as we are, we have the opportunity to ensure that we get this right and we have everything in place to ensure that the leaders, delegates and ministers have successful meetings and discussions in a safe and secure environment.”

Hawkins said the Asia Pacific Economic Conference summit would be an opportunity for Papua New Guinea to gain experience in current domestic and international issues.

41) Amend 2015 budget: PNG Central Bank Governor

By Online Editor
5:08 pm GMT+12, 07/04/2015, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea’s Central Bank Governor, Loi Bakani is calling on the Government to revisit the 2015 Budget and make amendments to suit the current situation the country is facing.

In his 2015 Monetary Statement released on March 31, 2015, Bakani said the continued high economic growth and increased Government spending contributed to high import demand and the depreciation of the Kina exchange rate.

However, Bakani said while inflation trended upwards in 2014, the levels are considered manageable.

He said the Central Bank maintained the neutral stance of Monetary Policy throughout the year.

“For 2015, economic growth will reflect a full year of LNG production and export. However, lower net inflows than earlier envisaged are expected from LNG exports.

“This may be compounded by the lower prices of other export commodities and the Government should revisit the 2015 Budget.”

Bakani said the non-mineral sector is also expected to grow, supported by the Government’s continued investments in the priority areas of education, health, agriculture and physical infrastructure.

“With the commencement of LNG production and export, it is important that the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) is established with an appropriate structure that adequately caters for macroeconomic stability, the country’s development needs and future generation.”

He said considering the growth prospects in 2015 and the projected inflation, the Bank will continue to maintain its Monetary Policy stance in the next six months.

Bakani said 2014 was the second year of expansionary fiscal policy, entailing another budget deficit that was financed from domestic sources.

SOURCE: PNG LOOP/PACNEWS

42) EU To Conduct Legal, Scientific, Trade Study Of Kava
Vanuatu Ambassador in Brussels: Global export of product is goal

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, April 7, 2015) – Vanuatu’s ambassador in Brussels says the European Union will carry out a study into kava, which is banned in countries like Germany.

The commodity is popular in Melanesia but faces uncertainty in many export markets.

The ambassador, Roy Mickey Joy, says the European Union has agreed to consider a submission to the Technical Barriers to Trade programme and will appoint a legal firm to carry out a kava study.

This, he says, will take seven months and take into account legal, scientific and trade aspects of kava.

He says a two-day conference is planned in Brussels involving Pacific kava producers, with its outcome to be shared with the firm conducting the kava investigation.

This is expected to lead to a ministerial conference on kava, to be able to agree on a roadmap that would address the kava ban in Germany.

It would also look at market and quality issues, so that the product can be exported globally.

Radio New Zealand International

43) Betelnut Trade In Port Moresby Worth $1.2 Million Weekly

Despite ban, checkpoints sellers are thriving

By Gorethy Kenneth

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, April 7, 2015) – The Port Moresby betelnut trade is worth more than K3 million [US$1.2 million] a week, according to conservation estimates.

And the biggest beneficiaries are the Central and Gulf growers, the retailers and many public servants in and around the capital city.

Good money is being made despite the checkpoints since the National Capital District buai ban came into effect more than a year ago.

About K500,000 [US$200,400] changes hands every day among betelnut wholesalers, retailers and the travelling public at the Ukaukana and Pinu junction, Manumanu village and Hisiu beach, Kairuku district, in the west coast of Central Province.

A Post-Courier check reveled that there is a 24-hour local trading market at Pinu or Ukaukana junction where buai traders from Kerema and Mekeo meet with their Port Moresby buyers and clients, mostly Motuan villagers and Highlanders, who travel there by night.

There are two pick-up points everyday – by road and by boat.

By road, Port Moresby-based 24-seater buses travel to Pinu every day to pick up buai and drop off at the beach.

Some travel with their cargo all the way to the city – despite the roadblocks!

Checks reveal that between 50 and 100 vehicles travel to the Pinu junction every day loaded with 5kg, 10kg and 50kg bags of buai. The truck owner charges K300 a load to Hisiu beach or Manumanu.

By sea, according to villagers, up to 150 boats visit Hisiu every afternoon to pick up the betelnut bags destined for Hanuabada, Porebada, Pari, Tubusereia, Fisherman’s Island and Taurama Beach in Port Moresby.

These transactions are done overnight to enable the buyers or retailers to supply to the city the next day.

Vendor Steven Mona (not his real name) sold one bag 10kg for K250 and one 50kg for K500.

That evening him and his wife pocketed K11,250 for their produce from the buyers at the Pinu junction (K6250 for the 10kg bags and K5000 for the 50kg bags).

At Hisiu, the Post-Courier witnessed the sale of 53 bags, five 50kg bags and 48 10kg bags by Moses Amos.

He sold the 48 bags for K300 each and the 50kg bags for K1000 each, making K14,400 and K5000 respectively.

The same afternoon William Maino loaded 86 bags of 10kg of betelnut bag on dinghies at Hisiu and collected K25,800. He says that at least 150 dinghies, each capable of carrying 25 bags, visit Hisiu every day.

PNG Post-Courier

44) Regional Seasonal Employment Work scheme extension urged

By Online Editor
8:06 pm GMT+12, 06/04/2015, New Zealand

The  New Zealand Government is being urged to extend the Regional Seasonal Employment (RSE) scheme to help families in the most severely-damaged islands of Vanuatu, following Cyclone Pam.

“Allowing a further 300 people to take up seasonal employment in New Zealand under the successful scheme is a practical way of providing support to those who have suffered the most,” says Labour’s Immigration spokesperson Sue Moroney.

“Workers from Vanuatu take up almost half of the capped RSE positions available for our Pacific neighbours, so it is obviously a scheme that works well for them and can provide some well-timed relief in the aftermath of Cyclone Pam.”

Labour’s Spokesperson for Pacific Island Affairs, Su’a William Sio also urged the Government to allow employers to take on more workers.

“Cyclone Pam has affected thousands of people on 33 different islands. Getting cash in their hands quickly is the best way to help them replenish food supplies and rebuild their homes and their lives.

“Increasing the RSE scheme for Vanuatu is the perfect way to do that,” he said.

SOURCE: SUN LIVE/PACNEWS

45) Growth transition

Ropate Valemei
Wednesday, April 08, 2015

THIS year appears to be a crucial one for the Fijian Government as it focuses its efforts to guide the economy through a transition from growth driven by domestic investment and public stimulus to growth with a broader foundation.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) revealed that maintaining macroeconomic stability while attracting greater investment from overseas, including investment projects funded by development partners, would be central to this effort.

ADB’s South Pacific subregional head of economics and programming unit, Caroline Currie, in the bank’s recently launched Asia Development Outlook 2015 report, said the economy had enjoyed sustained growth during the past five years, but the Government’s policy options for spurring future growth had been eroded by rising expenditures and relatively expansionary monetary policy in recent years.

“To maintain macroeconomic stability and facilitate investment, policy makers need to control Fiji’s fiscal and trade deficits and keep the public debt burden manageable while maintaining growth during the transition,” Ms Currie said.

As growth accelerates, she said, the economy may face capacity constraints, including skills gaps and shortages, until investments in infrastructure and human resources yield returned.

In the interim period, she added, a risk was that higher imports could deepen the trade deficit.

To manage this transition, the bank said policy makers needed to accelerate the pace of structural and financial management reform announced in the 2015 Budget.

“An increasingly open and transparent policy making process, as seen since the election last September, would help alleviate policy uncertainty and encourage domestic and foreign investment.”

She said rapid progress on reform should make budget execution more efficient, strengthen Government accountability and transparency, and improve state-owned enterprises’ provision of basic public services such as electricity and other utilities.Fijitimes

INFRASTRUCTURE

46) Solomons airport maintenance contracts cut off

7 April 2015

Lucrative airport maintenance contracts worth hundreds of thousands of US dollars have been declared null and void by the Solomon Islands Ministry of Finance pending a review of tender processes.

The ministry’s move this week has been applauded by Transparency International which says many past contracts were obtained illegally.

TSI’s Chief Executive Daniel Fenua is urging the ministry to keep up the good work and says he hopes this practice is extended to other government ministries.

“Just putting out a notice, public notice like this is a first step but then we, would public would also want to know you know how the contracts are being awarded and on what basis and if they can come out publicly and put out in the papers as well winning bidders of the public procurement process.”

Transparency Solomon Islands Daniel Fenua.RNZI

CLIMATE CHANGE,CONSERVATION,ENVIROMENT


47) ‘Climate change has arrived’ warns Marshall Islands foreign minister

By Online Editor
5:00 pm GMT+12, 07/04/2015, Marshall Islands

Intense tropical storms are the “new norm” in the Pacific, according to Marshall Islands foreign minister.

Tony de Brum tweeted his comments after flying from his capital Majuro to Guam to witness the damage caused by Typhoon Maysak, which passed across the North Pacific last week before making landfall in the Philippines.

The Federated States of Micronesia bore the brunt of the storm, with five killed and thousands left homeless, according to the Red Cross, which estimated 60% of homes were damaged.

“[The] Island of Chuuk looks like it’s been seared by flame throwers. Winds not only knocked everything over but actually “browned” the vegetation,” said de Brum. “Climate change has arrived,” he added.

At its peak Maysak was generating gusts of 300 kilometres an hour in the ocean, leading to the evacuation of 24,000 from villages along the east coast of the Philippines.

While wind speeds dropped significantly as the Typhoon neared the Filipino coast, observers said it could still increase the chances of tidal surges, floods and landslides.

Climate scientists say they cannot be certain what effect rising global temperatures will have on tropical storms, but projections indicate it may mean typhoons and cyclones become more intense.

The tropical storm season usually runs from early November to late April, say meteorologists.

Typhoon Haiyan, which hit the Philippines in 2013, was the costliest event ever to hit the country, leaving over 6000 dead and causing an estimated US$ 6billion in damage.

Three weeks ago Cyclone Pam left parts of the Pacific island of Vanuatu devastated, an event the small island nation’s president said was caused by climate change.

Island states are at most risk from climate change because of the high proportion of land area exposed to storm surges and rising sea levels.

In its latest global atlas of climate impacts risk analysis group Verisk Maplecroft rates the Philippines, Japan, Hong Kong, Jamaica and Taiwan at “extreme” risk from climate change.

“Rising temperatures, changing rainfall patterns and sea-level rise are already impacting coastlines, plant and animal species, agriculture, human health and economies around the world,” it said.

“Climate change will prompt more frequent and severe extreme climate-related events, such as flooding and droughts, posing risks to a country’s population, economy and infrastructure.”

The risks faced by the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Vanuatu and other small Pacific island states could not be evaluated because there was limited or no data available, it said.

SOURCE: RTCC/PACNEWS

48) Vanuatu Moving Into ‘Second Phase’ Of Recovery Assessment

95% of crops wiped out: Seeds, planting kits needed for next harvest

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, April 7, 2015) – The leader of the United Nations Disaster Assessment Co-ordination team in Vanuatu says authorities are now moving into a second phase of assessment for the country’s long-term recovery after cyclone Pam.

Sebastian Rhodes Stampa says until now, the main focus has been to raise money and get basic supplies such as food, shelter and water distributed to the people who need it.

He says now the focus will be on identifying the people who are still in need, whether the response needs to be changed, and looking at longer-term planning.

“So we’re still addressing some fairly critical needs, but we’re also looking at the life-sustaining and early recovery needs. I mean, you’ve got something like 95 percent of crops wiped out in the affected area, and people need planting kits and seeds so they can start getting a crop in now for the next harvest.”

Sebastian Rhodes Stampa says disaster authorities in Vanuatu have handled the response to cyclone Pam magnificently.

Radio New Zealand International

49) UN Defends Vanuatu Response To Cyclone Pam
Disaster Assessment Coordinator: Criticism of government ‘unfounded’

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, April 7, 2015) – The leader of the United Nations Disaster Assessment Coordination team in Vanuatu says criticism of the government’s aid response to Cyclone Pam is unfounded.

Vanuatu’s government has been criticised for not distributing foreign aid as soon as it arrived after the category five cyclone tore through the country three weeks ago.

But Sebastian Rhodes Stampa says authorities were dealing with a disaster on an unprecedented scale and handled it magnificently.

“I think the NDMO and ourselves would always like aid to flow faster than it actually does. But when you’re dealing with issues of access, when you’re dealing with the distances and the sheer volume of relief items we were trying to move, we can never move fast enough. I don’t think criticism directed at the NDMO, or indeed any part of the relief operation, is justified.”

Sebastian Rhodes Stampa says authorities are now moving into a second phase of assessment for Vanuatu’s long-term recovery.

Radio New Zealand International

MINING,FORESTRY,AGRICULTURE,FISHERIES

50) Tolukuma mine to cease operations this month
By Online Editor
5:04 pm GMT+12, 07/04/2015, Papua New Guinea

Petromin PNG Holdings Limited (Petromin) subsidiary Tolukuma Gold Mine (TGM) in Central Province is set to cease operations mid April this year.

TGM owner Petromin, who acquired the mine in 2008, has made this known during a visit to the mine site last Tuesday.

According to a statement released later that week, Petromin said it has been subsidising operations for the past four years as it struggles with high operating costs, low gold price, lower grades and dwindling resources.

Petromin managing director, Thomas Abe, who was among the delegation visiting the mine, pointed out that Petromin had spent large amounts of money in recent years, including over K10 million (US$3.7 million) in the first three months of 2015, for which he said has come despite significant cost savings made at the operation in the past six months.

Abe said the situation is that the mine is unable to produce enough gold each month to cover costs attributing to this, as the sole reason why Petromin is planning to cease operations this month.

He said the company is consulting with regulators, stakeholders, employees and local landowners as it prepares to move to a care and maintenance phase.

Petromin said it is facing new pressures with a pending restructure significantly affecting income, and the cash drain from Tolukuma has adversely affected its balance sheet to the point that it can no longer keep supporting operations.

Furthermore, the company claims the high cost structure of the operation has not been helped by the lack of road access, something the National Government had agreed on years ago, but not yet actioned.

According to the statement, Petromin is keen to ensure that TGM’s 320 employees receive their full entitlements, and that the welfare of the landowners and settlers at Tolukuma is a priority.

It further stated that the workers want Petromin to ensure they receive full entitlements, and that any engagements of people involved in care and maintenance should be on a separate agreement.

Petromin said landowners petitioned the delegation for a special meeting to discuss the implications of the closure, outstanding MOU and other commitments from TGM and Petromin.

Petromin’s visiting delegation was made up of managing director Thomas Abe and TGM CEO Sam Inguba, accompanied by Central Provincial Government and Administration representatives Gei Raga and Ambassador Maimu Raka-Nou, who assured locals that the provincial government would assist in any capacity they can to address the local landowners issues.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

51) Miner makes move to secure funding for project

Source:
The National, Thursday April 2nd, 2015

INDOCHINE Mining has appointed voluntary administrators after being unable to secure funding for its Mt Kare project in Eastern Highlands.
The company had been in discussions over a strategic funding agreement for some time, but the remaining interested party recently withdrew its funding offer.
As a result, the board of Indochine appointed Martin Jones, Darren Weaver and Benjamin Johnson of Ferrier Hodgson as joint and several administrators.
“The company’s board is disappointed that despite its best efforts, a funding agreement for the Mt Kare project could not be concluded,” Indochine said.
“The directors will continue to work with the company’s administrators to help them achieve the best outcome for all of the company’s stakeholders.”
PCF Capital Group had been engaged over a deal on Mt Kare, while Indochine was progressing plans to list on London’s AIM.
Indochine shares were suspended from trading on March 17 after the company failed to lodge its half-year accounts.
The company had cash of A$413,000 (K842,138) at the end of December and raised A$500,000 (K1,019,502) in February.
However, it has a A$3.75 million (K7.64m) loan due at the end of next month. – Australian Mining News
Indochine had been aggressively cutting costs, going from a burn rate of more than $1.2 million a month in the middle of last year to less than A$250,000.
The Mt Kare project, only 15km from Barrick Gold’s massive Porgera mine, has resources of 2.1 million ounces of gold and 18.4Moz silver.
A previous owner of Mt Kare also went into administration in 2008.
Indochine shares will remain suspended. – Australian Mining News

 52) Plan to develop agriculture businesses

Source:
The National, Tuesday April 7th, 2015

Agriculture and Livestock Minister Tommy Tomscoll said the National Agriculture Development Plan (NADP) was developed to be a vehicle to drive the sector.
“The NADP is a plan to improve and enhance the way we do agriculture businesses,” Tomscoll said.
“Unfortunately, the programme was underpinned by allocations of money.
“Once there was a suspect of misuse and misappropriation of the money that would have underpinned the success of NADP, and money was removed obviously, which immediately sounded failure of NADP.
“So it has become difficult to implement the plan because there is simply no money.”
Tomscoll said the relevant agencies were working on reforming the sector.
“In the current reform, we (those in agriculture sector) want to create an investment vehicle. And that investment vehicle is currently in the form of bill, the Agriculture Investment Corporation Bill 2015,” he said.
“Once we’ve created this vehicle, we want the Government to invest all monies through this vehicle, instead of the current way we do business, which we name agriculture projects whether it’s some fund with some attachment with agriculture, money is kept outside the agriculture department.
“So in fact our department (Department of Agriculture and Livestock) and the (commodity) boards don’t get to decide who accesses that money.
“But going forward, we want all those money parked and channelled through a common vehicle and this is where the Government can invest so that we through the same vehicle, want to ensure that we have a business plan and those plans must tell us, for the investment we make, what is the return we will bring.”

53) NFA gets positive reaction for Pacific tuna forum

By Online Editor
5:03 pm GMT+12, 06/04/2015, Papua New Guinea

PORT MORESBY, 07 APRIL 2015 (POST COURIER) — Papua New Guinea’s National Fisheries Authority (NFA) has been receiving a lot of good response from corporate agencies and partners in the industry to sponsor the upcoming Pacific Tuna Forum to be held in Fiji.

The fifth Regional Tuna Industry and Trade Conference, which will be held on September 22 and 23 this year, will be co-hosted by Fiji and Papua New Guinea who are the two main financial contributors to the event.

Aside from NFA and Fijian Government who will contribute 50 per cent each, it is hoped that enough sponsors can be secured to host the tuna forum, which will cost roughly around K1 million (US$373,704)

NFA executive manager Welete Wararu, who is in charge of the program for the Pacific Tuna Forum, said that there are four categories and the response for sponsorship have been good so far. He have the platinum which is an investment of K40, 000 (US$14,941)

“We have the gold sponsorship investment of K20, 000 (US$7,470) and we have silver K15, 000 (US$5,602) and bronze K10, 000 (US$3,735) and the support sponsors of K5, 000 (US$1,867),” Wararu said.

A fee of K1, 500 (US$560) will be charged for those who have an interest in the tuna industry and want to participate in the forum.

NFA managing director John Kasu added also that they have the Pacific Island Forum Fisheries Agency and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) amongst others who will be assisting in the programme.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

54) SPC Concerned About Coastal Fisheries In Vanuatu

Overfishing after Cyclone Pam needs to be properly managed

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, April 7, 2015) – The Secretariat of the Pacific Community says it is concerned that coastal fisheries in Vanuatu are coming under increased pressure from overfishing after Cyclone Pam.

The SPC’s Director of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems, Moses Amos, says marine ecosystems battered by the cyclone are already vulnerable and the likelihood of overfishing after the cyclone just increases the pressure on the fishery.

Mr Amos says managing the fishery is crucial for both short- and long-term food security.

“We are working with Fisheries Department to identify the immediate responses that are needed now, particularly for food security and then also to identify early recovery assistance and also assistance for long-term recovery. So a technical report has been completed and will be submitted to the minister on Monday.”

Moses Amos says one of the worrying long-term effects of the cyclone on rural communities is the abrupt change in diet from healthy traditional foods to the processed relief food being supplied by the authorities.

Radio New Zealand International

SPORTS

55) Ol top Vanuatu soka team igo nau long Fiji

Updated 7 April 2015, 13:40 AEST
Sam Seke

Tupela top football club blong Vanuatu, Tafea FC na Amicale FC i lusim Port Vila tede long avinun  blong go long OFC Chaimpions League long Fiji.

Odio: Harry Atisson blong Vanuatu Foootball Federation i toktok wantem Sam Seke

Tupela top football club blong Vanuatu, Tafea FC na Amicale FC i lusim Port Vila tede long avinun  blong go long OFC Chaimpions League long Fiji.

Western United blong Solomon Islands na Hekari United blong Papua New Guinea tu bai stap long dispela championship stat long Sarere naba 11 igo inap long final long naba 26 long April.

Wanpla ten tu long ol top soka klab long rijin nau isave stap long dispela Oceania Football Confederation Champions League.

Amicale FC bai agensin Western United long nabawan gem blong tupela long Sarere, na Hekari United bai pleim Tafea long Sande.

Harry Atisson blong Vanuatu Football Federation itok tupela tim blong Vanuatu i redi gut long tek pat long dispela championship.Radio Australia

56) Draw made for Glasgow Sevens

Radio NZ International
Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Update: 10:30AM FIJI will face Wales, Portugal and hosts Scotland in next month’s penultimate round of the World Sevens Series in Glasgow.

Following their third place finish in Japan at the weekend, Ben Ryan’s team trail series leaders South Africa by four points with two rounds remaining.

They can seal Olympic qualification for Rio 2016 with a top-six finish in Scotland.

Tokyo champions England are top seeds in Glasgow and head Pool A, while South Africa face New Zealand, Samoa and Kenya in a difficult Pool B.

57) Pacific Games Village into final stages
By Online Editor
8:27 pm GMT+12, 06/04/2015, Papua New Guinea

The Pacific Games Village that will house 4,000 athletes and officials is nearing completion.

The ten blocks structure, located at the University of Papua New Guinea, consists of three levels each with 110 standard bedrooms and two mini suites.

Venue infrastructure and equipment committee chief executive officer Paul Stangroom confirmed that the block structures had all been completed.

Stangroom said the biggest task now is the landscaping, joinery and roads with electricity connected last week to allow for the testing of lights and power point switches.

The cabinet installation including desks and wardrobes for each room is close to 60 percent done while the landscaping is going well and is halfway completed.

Stangroom said 4, 000 beds had arrived and would be moved into the 110 standard bedrooms by the second week of April with 5-6 beds to a room.

The road works into the Games Village will start on April 22 and will take three weeks to complete.

The facility features free Wi-Fi for internet access, coffee kiosks to provide tea and snacks for the athletes, common rooms, bathrooms, toilets and laundry facilities.

It includes a hall which will cater for 1000 people at a time for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The K309 million (US$117 million) infrastructure package will be handed over to the Games Organising Committee by May 31 with a “soft opening’’ expected on June 25. GOC should start moving athletes into the village by July 1.

The Games Village will be handed over to UPNG after the Games to accommodate its students.

SOURCE: PNG LOOP/PACNEWS

58) Fiji 7s team on right track

By Online Editor
6:03 pm GMT+12, 07/04/2015, Fiji

Fiji 7s coach Ben has rated the Vodafone Fiji 7s team’s statistics in the 2014/2015 HSBC World Sevens Series as one of the best in recent years.

According to Ryan, Fiji has played in seven tournaments recording 21 group game wins which no other team had achieved.

He said winning the Hong Kong 7s was the highlight for the players.

“It was a terrific effort from the boys over the three days and I owe a lot also to my management staff who always go unheralded,” Ryan said.

“One of the things everybody told me when I came to Fiji was about consistency. The players need to be consistent.

“We have played seven tournaments and 21 group games have been played, Fiji is the only team to record 21 wins.

“We had an 18-game winning run and in the history of the series Fiji has never had this streak.

“The boys are showing consistency and winning Las Vegas and backing it up with the Hong Kong title is great. What you don’t see is the state of the body of the players after a big tournament.”

“There were 12 small car crashes on the Monday after the Hong Kong 7s.

“And then we took the flight to Tokyo and William (Kwoong) did a wonderful job with Naca (Cawanibuka) to get the players energy back to fight back.”

South Africa leads the series with 129 points and is ahead of Fiji on 125 and New Zealand on 120.

Ryan said it was a three-way race for the title.

“It happens in rugby, you win some and lose some,” he said.

“It was one try a piece against South Africa who are now fighting hard with us for the series along side New Zealand so it is a three way horse race.

“We know that a quarter-final at Glasgow will guarantee direct Olympic entry which is hugely important.

“That is our priority this year and it looks like that we will get there which will be a big achievement.

“We are only four points behind South Africa. In cross over pool in Glasgow we could quite easily be playing South Africa or New Zealand in the quarter-final.

“If we play South Africa then it could be the series decider. We don’t have to worry about the other teams’ results so it is down to us.

“Two good performances in Glasgow and London will give us the chance to win the series after a long time since Waisale Serevi’s team in 2006.

“It is been a long time coming but the chance is there. The boys will earn a well deserved rest for a few days but partying need to be suspended.

“We have four weeks and if we can get it right then we can have a long party after the London 7s.”

The players have been advised to refrain from partying ahead of the next camp.

SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

59) Singapore announced as fourth destination of 2015-2016 World Rugby Sevens Series

By Online Editor
5:59 pm GMT+12, 07/04/2015, Singapore

Singapore has been announced as the latest World Rugby Sevens Series hosts from the 2015-2016 season, with their new National Stadium set to host a men’s event for the next four years.

The Asian country are the fourth venue of next season to be confirmed, with Vancouver in Canada, Sydney in Australia and Cape Town in South Africa having already been announced for next year’s 10 destination series.

Singapore’s 55,000-capacity state-of-the-art national stadium will host the series and their inclusion follows a tender process, in which 25 locations were vying for the role as series hosts.

The successful bid from the Singapore Rugby Football Union and City of Singapore focused on furthering the growth of rugby across Asia, with 445,000 men women and children now participating in the sport across the continent.

“We truly believe that our event at the iconic national stadium has the potential to match the excitement surrounding current tournaments in the Series,” Low Teo Ping, Singapore Rugby Union President, said.

“Engaging rugby in Asia and growing the sport in Singapore is our prime vision for the tournament and the key associated events and community outreach as part of this tournament will be critical to the long-term sustainability of rugby as we strive to ignite passion in the next generation of players and fans in Singapore, Southeast Asia and ultimately across Asia.”

Hong Kong and 2020 Olympic Games host city Tokyo in Japan have been the two Asian destinations this season, with England’s victory in the Japanese capital putting them firmly in the hunt for one of four Rio 2016 qualifying berths, which would be awarded to Britain.

World Rugby chairman Bernard Lapasset believes the newest addition highlights the growth of the sport as it prepares for its Olympic debut.

“The World Rugby Sevens Series continues to go from strength to strength, proving a hit with fans, broadcasters and sponsors around the globe with its winning blend of compelling and competitive action, global destinations and festival atmosphere,” he said.

“As a major tourism and business destination, Singapore’s inclusion on the Series is great news for fans and great news for rugby as the sport continues to experience record growth ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.”

World Rugby chief executive Brett Gosper echoed Lapasset’s thoughts.

“Asia has been at the heart of the rugby sevens success story and it is exciting to add another fantastic location and an incredible stadium to the stellar and expanded line-up of World Rugby Sevens Series host destinations from 2015-16,” he said.

“I am sure Singapore, with its major event experience and passion, and superb new stadium, will become a fan and team favourite on the record-breaking World Rugby Sevens Series.”

There are two legs remaining of the current nine event series, with Glasgow in Scotland set to stage the next tournament on May 9 and 10 before the series concludes at Twickenham on May 16 and 17, where the winners and Rio 2016 qualifiers will be decided.

SOURCE: INSIDE THE GAMES/PACNEWS

60) England stun South African Blitzboks with Tokyo Sevens win in run for Rio Olympics
By Online Editor
00:14 am GMT+12, 06/04/2015, Japan

England has floored South Africa 21-14 in a battle of attrition to win the Tokyo Sevens on Sunday and take a significant step towards qualifying for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Forward Phil Burgess charged the length of the field to give England a 14-point cushion in an absorbing final, before a late surge from the Blitzboks came up just short in the pouring rain.

England’s first sevens title in two years lifted them above Australia into fourth place in the standings, with only the Glasgow and London legs of the nine-stage tour remaining.

The top four teams in the Sevens World Series automatically qualify for Brazil, where the sport will make its Olympic debut.

South Africa lead the standings with 129 points, ahead of Fiji on 125 and New Zealand on 120 points.

England improved to 100, with Australia on 91 after their weekend fell flat.

Fiji had to settle for third place as their bid for a hat-trick of victories fell short following success in Hong Kong last week and in Las Vegas in February.

The Pacific islanders squeaked past a fired-up Canada 21-19 in a nail-biter, after the Canadians had produced the shock of the weekend by dumping New Zealand in a stunning 19-15 quarter-final win.

Canada’s dream run however, bravely led by inspirational captain John Moonlight, was ended by England 14-5 in the semi-finals.

The All Blacks had to console themselves by winning the Plate after a 21-14 victory over Scotland, with substitute Dylan Collier crashing over at the buzzer.

“It’s not the trophy we wanted, you got that right,” snapped New Zealand skipper DJ Forbes.

Australia’s miserable weekend was completed in the Bowl final when Perry Baker crashed down in the corner to give the United States a thrilling 17-12 extra-time victory.

SOURCE: AFP/PACNEWS

w: www.voiceofmelanesia.com

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