Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1089 ( Monday 27 April 2015 )

MELANESIA

1) Vanuatu Daily News Digest | Nagol tower destroyed

by bobmakin

The major item today (and only one I can cover just now) is of concern especially to Central and South Pentecost people …

One hundred and fifty Wawan people from Panas, South Pentecost, marched to Lonoror and cut down a Nagol tower, preventing the planned Pentecost jump taking place. This was on Saturday. Many of the young men were armed with bushknives. Daily Post reports Chief Peter Watas of the Malbangbang chiefly council in the southern part of the island saying the tower was cut down because it was not constructed on the southern part of the island, south of the Pangbo River, “the true home of the Nagol.” Lonoror airport, it seems, is considered outside the legitimate custom area for the important and unique traditional event , at least by the Wawan people.

2) Vanuatu Daily News Digest | 25 April 2015

by bobmakin

  • Today 25 April is ANZAC Day, and the one hundredth anniversary of the Gallipoli invasion. Australians and New Zealanders mark the commemoration of the tragic event, and here, as in those two countries, pay tribute to the sacrifice of so many young soldiers’ lives.
  • The weekend papers continue the relentless stories of welcome and frightful news stemming from the passage of cyclone Pam. Amongst the bad news, Post reported the first ever case of zika and three of dengue. Both are mosquito borne and involve similar symptoms of fever and joint pains. However, the Health Department reports, good news now, malaria case reduction over 10 years because of newer prevention policies. And news of the same day in the UK Independent says an anti-malaria vaccine has tested so well in sub-Saharan Africa that it may be possible to make the Gates Foundation-assisted treatment available by October.
  • Radio Vanuatu and Post gave further news of the 20 tons of fish by-catch which was made available through Vanuatu Fishing Limited to schools and hospitals. It also resulted in nutritionally useful and cheaply priced fish sales to the general public. By-catch is usually rejected, but Fisheries Department’s Graham Nimoho has been urging donation rather than throwing back of this unwanted catch.
  • Vanuatu has lost its food security culture points out Vincent Lebot in an interesting Post report. People used to plant gardens in different locations in order to overcome the worst aspects of hurricane damage. No longer. And the element of resilience has also been lost. Evelyne Toa also deals with Vanuatu’s self-image of resilience, and how it is damaged. Greed in obtaining food, mis-direction of waste food, bad food allegedly delivered as aid, and political interference all have so far played their part.
  • Of particular interest is a new “Economic Rehabilitation after Pam” programmelaunched in Hong Kong ten days ago by Internal Affairs Minister Salwai. Hilaire Bule in Vila Times issue 13 speaks of it as “honorary citizenship” and entirely different to the CIIP scheme which deals with dual citizenship. CIIP, which sees much of its profits directed elsewhere, has been an issue of “grave concern” Bule notes.
  • Radio Vanuatu News spearheaded the significant (VT 350 million) New Zealand new contribution to Wan Smol Bag Theatre (WSB) for its major contribution to social and environmental issues. WSB’s CEO Michael Taurokoto and NZ High Commissioner Roberts signed the agreement Friday.
  • And to end on yet another good news note, Post reports 193 graduands at the APTC brought the total of the Vila college’s holders of recognised Australian trade qualifications up to 1,134. The ceremony took place last week at Nabanga Restaurant at the Vanuatu Institute of Technology and was the final graduation ceremony for long-serving Country Manager Kathryn Gray who finishes in June with the good wishes of staff and present and past students.

POLYNESIA

3) Protests in Rarotonga against foreign fishing

27 April 2015 

About 400 people rallied in Rarotonga on Friday to protest the use of purse seine fishing and fish aggregation devices by foreign vessels in Cook Islands waters.

Kelvin Passfield, from the environmental NGO Te Ipukarea Society, says there was a very good turnout with people, including fishers, wanting a ban on the devices and for the Cook Islands government to reduce the number of international fishing days it sells.

Cook Islands has 1250 fishing days allocated to it by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, and has only sold about 700.

However, Mr Passfield says he thinks this is still too many, and many in the country feel the same, but the government is refusing to listen.

“The view of the prime minister is that he says people are being emotive, he says the development of the purse seine fishery is based on science and, yes, it’s true the development of the fishery is based on science but they’re only looking at part of the science which refers to the skipjack tuna stocks.

“They’re ignoring the science which tells them that they shouldn’t be fishing using fish aggregation devices,” Mr Passfield says.RNZI

4) Further Splits Bedevil French Polynesian Ruling Party 

Tahoeraa Huiraatira to revise bylaws to oust those who defy Flosse

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, April 24, 2015) – French Polynesia’s ruling Tahoeraa Huiraatira Party is due to meet today reportedly to revise its internal statutes as part of efforts to rid it of members who have been defying its leader, Gaston Flosse.

The party’s political council is to convene at the leader’s home amid protracted rifts which have been open for weeks over who should be allowed to stand in next week’s French Senate elections.

Reports say the party plans to create a provision under which a member is struck off after missing three meetings.

Several high profile politicians could be affected by the move, such as the vice-president, Nuihau Laurey, and the mayor of Papeete, Michel Buillard.

It could also force the party’s assembly group leader, Edouard Fritch, to relinquish his post.

Mr Fritch succeeded Flosse as president last year after Flosse was given a suspended prison sentence for corruption and removed from office.

A formal split could deprive the Tahoeraa of its majority in the assembly, where it has 38 of its 57 seats.

Radio New Zealand International 

MICRONESIA

5) US Military seeks more feedback on CNMI expansion

27 April 2015 

The US military is conducting community consultations in the Northern Marianas this week over its expansion plans.

The plans include the lease of Pagan Island for exercises including light bomb drops and live-fire training on Tinian.

There has been political opposition to the move in recent weeks but the Executive Director of the Marine Corps Forces for the Pacific says he has asked for as much feedback as possible to the plans.

Craig Whelden says the military is going far and above what it is legally required to do in terms of consultations and negotiations.

He says there are two high profile examples.

“The Landfill at Tinian and solving what is currently a dump that does not comply with EPA rules. There are cattlemen who currently use that leased area that we have so for the past year we have been working with the Cattlemen’s Association to at least find a one-for-one substitute for land.”

Mr Whelden says the process is around two years through the three year lead-up to implementation of the plans.RNZI

6) Chikungunya Virus Reported In Kiribati Outer Islands
Outbreaks have been confirmed in 13 outer islands

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, April 27, 2015) – Kiribati’s Director of Public Health Tioboa Timeon has declared an outbreak of Chikungunya virus in most of the country’s outer islands.

Radio Kiribati reports Dr Tioboa as saying the outbreak has been confirmed in 13 outer islands of Makin, Butaritari, Marakei, Abaiang, North Tarawa, Maiana, Kuria, Aranuka, Abemama, Nonouti, Tabiteuea North, Onotoa and Nikunau.

The Ministry of Health has advised people living in the outer islands to help prevent the spread of the disease by emptying mosquito breeding places like tyres and containers, use mosquito nets and clear all rubbish from their compound.

Dr Tioboa says of the 13 islands where the virus has been confirmed, two of them have reported more than 200 cases.

Radio New Zealand International 

7) Lawmakers mull anti-crime task force

 24 Apr 2015
 By Cherrie Anne E. Villahermosa – cherrie@mvariety.com – Variety News Staff

TWO House members have expressed concern about the recent murder cases on island and are considering the establishment of a special anti-crime task force.

Reps. Glenn Maratita and Ed Propst said the recent incidents are believed to involve illegal drugs and are very alarming.

A task force to ensure the safety of residents of the commonwealth may be needed, they said.

Maratita, chairman of the House Committee on Judiciary and Government Operations, said he and the other lawmakers should also revisit existing laws that have to do with crime and punishment.

“This situation is alarming,” he added. “We have these two [homicide] cases this week alone and so despite all the law enforcement efforts we continue to see these crimes occur. We can only speculate as to their being drug-related crimes.”

He said there may be a need to amend laws relating to penalties for certain crimes.

“We need to get on top of this and the bottom line is deterrence. If lawmakers can get together we can send out a strong message that we don’t tolerate such things. I look forward to working closely with my colleagues to see if we need to impose harsher penalties. This is a very serious situation and we also need to work closely with the commissioner of the [Department of Public Safety] through a new task force.”

Maratita said identifying a funding source is a priority.

We’ll have another meeting next week to finalize these things,” he added.

In a separate interview, Propst said he supports the creation of anti-crime task force even as he is organizing a neighborhood watch program for his precinct starting in Dandan.

“I had a meeting at Dandan Middle School [Wednesday] night to do this neighborhood watch program. We have to start somewhere and we’ll start with Dandan and eventually move to Koblerville, San Vicente and to the other villages too. I’ve asked my colleagues to do the same in their precincts.”

Propst will meet with the school principal and other members of the community on Wednesday, May 13, at 6 p.m. to discuss the neighborhood watch program.

Propst said he is frustrated because there has been a lot of finger-pointing, and DPS is being criticized for not doing its job.

“These recent crimes are extremely tragic and heartbreaking. They’re a wakeup call for the CNMI. How long have we been calling for the community to rise up? Now is the time. It’s frustrating because everyone is pointing fingers at DPS but we have to understand that they are underfunded and we don’t have enough police officers — we also don’t give enough funding to Customs and our other men and women in uniform. If we want to secure our borders, if we want to have better law enforcement then we have to pay for it. It should be our priority.” 

http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/76182-lawmakers-mull-anti-crime-task-force

8) April 23-May 2 is Marianas March Against Cancer Week

 24 Apr 2015
 By Raquel C. Bagnol – raquel@mvariety.com – Variety News Staff

THE Commonwealth Cancer Association, committee members of the 2015 Marianas March Against Cancer and Lt. Gov. Ralph Deleon Guerrero Torres on Thursday urged members of the community to support the fight against cancer which is one of the leading causes of death in the CNMI.

Torres, who signed a proclamation declaring April 23 to May 2, 2015 as Marianas March Against Cancer Week, said the community should commemorate the week by honoring the memory of those individuals who have lost the fight against cancer.

“Let us stand, march and unite with all those facing cancer today,” Torres said.

Nora Sablan, TakeCare Insurance operations manager, read the proclamation which stated that nearly half of all men and a little over one third of all women in the United States will develop cancer during their lifetime.

LT. GOV. RALPH TORRES JOINS REPRESENTATIVES OF THE COMMONWEALTH CANCER ASSOCIATION, THE 2015 MARIANAS MARCH AGAINST CANCER COMMITTEE, LEGISLATORS AND OTHER COMMUNITY MEMBERS DURING THE PROCLAMATION SIGNING ON THURSDAY AT THE TSL PLAZA IN GARAPAN. PHOTO BY RAQUEL C. BAGNOL

According to the proclamation, the risk of developing most kinds cancer can be reduced by changes in a person’s lifestyle: by quitting smoking, eating a better diet and increasing physical activity.

The proclamation said that cancer does not discriminate by age, gender or race and stressed the importance of finding out about it and getting treatment as early as possible for a better chance of living for many more years.

Saying that “Cancer Can be Beaten,” 2015 Marianas March Against Cancer overall chairperson Diana Benavente is inviting everyone to join the fight against the deadly disease and participate in the overnight fundraising event which will be held from 6 p.m. on May 1 to 6 a.m. on May 2, 2015 at Hopwood Jr. High School.

“We thank all our sponsors for their continued support and we hope to see you at the Marianas March Against Cancer next weekend,” Benavente said.

The Marianas March Against Cancer is the biggest and signature event of the CCA each year to raise funds to help those who are fighting cancer, and to conduct cancer awareness, education, and outreach activities in the CNMI.http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/76172-april-23-may-2-is-marianas-march-against-cancer-week

AUSTRALIA


9) Thousands march through Sydney

Smh
Sunday, April 26, 2015

SYDNEY – They stood eight-deep in parts of George Street as about 22,000 veterans, servicemen and women and their families marched from Martin Place to Hyde Park on the Anzac Day centenary.

This year’s march was poignant in so many ways.

There was the centenary, of course, but veterans made sure they turned out for the most symbolic Anzac Day of their lives.

While some rode in tooting RSL Cabs or Land Rovers, many men in their 80s and 90s strode purposefully up George Street, carried on by the lifting sound of 60 military, cadet, school and pipe bands.

Col. Moir, 92, of Five Dock, said nothing could have stopped him.

“I marched in respect for my mates and the men I served with in the war,” he said.

Eighty-six year old Dadinyada Harrington, flew down from Popondetta, Papua New Guinea, on Friday.

“I was one of your ‘Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels’,” he said.

“I carried out wounded Australians during the Battle of Buna-Gona.

“I came to show my respect on Anzac Day for the men I fought beside.”

Similar sentiments were echoed by the former president of East Timor, Xanana Gusmao, who marched with fellow Timorese veterans.

10) Aussies consult locals on police projects


Source: 
The National, Friday April 24th, 2015

 AUSTRALIA has consulted the people of Manus on the design of the $A38 million (K79 million) provincial police headquarters and Lorengau police station.
Australian High Commissioner Deborah Stokes said consultation between all stakeholders was vital to the delivery of a final product which served the whole community.
“We want the Manus community to have their say in the new police station buildings which is for the people of Manus,” she said.
“The final building design will incorporate considerations such as energy efficiency and the environment, and provide better protection for survivors of family and sexual violence, and greater accessibility for people with disabilities.”
Deputy Police Commissioner Awan Sete said everyone had worked together to ensure that all services were provided in the new design.
“The police look forward to working with the provincial administration to address important issues facing Manus province,” Sete said.
The existing buildings will be demolished and temporary structures constructed at a site agreed to by the Manus provincial administration to ensure that police services were not interrupted.
A tender for construction is expected to be released in July. Construction is to start before the end of the year.
It is part of Australia’s A$38 million (K79 million) additional assistance package to Manus which includes the recent handing over of a vehicle for the Family and Sexual Violence Unit in Manus.
Manus Governor Charlie Benjamin said once built, the infrastructure would allow police services to expand.
 
NEW ZEALAND

11) NZ gifts for ceremonial guards

Source: 
The National, Friday April 24th, 2015

 The New Zealand Defence Force has started its gifting programme aimed at equipping the Papua New Guinea Defence Force Ceremonial Guards with appropriate accessories for ceremonial parades.
New Zealand defence adviser Lt-Col Nicholas Ang said the gifting programme included M16 ancillary parts, which would be presented to better equip the recently-formed Ceremonial Guards.
“I wish for PNGDF guards to look as good as our counterparts from the police and Correctional Services in that when we have the three forces on parade, defence must look exactly like the other forces in terms of equipment, appearance and standard of drill,” Ang said.
He said more gifts would be presented to Papua New Guinea Defence Force  Commander, Brig-Gen Gilbert Toropo by his New Zealand counterpart when they meet at the South Pacific Defence Ministers’ meeting next week.
Colonel Mark Goina, who received the gift from Ang, thanked the New Zealand Army for initiating the gifting programme.
“At the moment the Ceremonial Guards do not have these accessories,” he said. 
He said these gifts will certainly improve the professional outlook of the force and improve the image of the country,” Goina said.
He said the country would be playing host to major upcoming events like the South Pacific Defence Ministers’ Meeting, the Pacific Games and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in 2018.
He said the Ceremonial Guards were expected to provide parade duties for these events.

TOK PISIN

12) Koros bihain long kilim dai blong 10 pela pipol long Hela Provins ino stret yet

Postim 27 April 2015, 14:29 AEST
Sam Seke
Ol polis na komiuniti lida i wok long traim stretim yet heve namel long ol Wapiago na Tapamu wanpisin long Hela Provins long PNG  bihain long sampla ibin  kilim dai 10 pela pipol long wik igo pinis.
 
Wanpela lain polisman blong PNG i waus long trabol 
Odio: Acting Provincial Police Commander blong Hela Provins, Chief Superintendent Mark Yangen i toktok
Pait ibin kamap bihain long wanpela man i sutim tok long pipol blong narapela vilis olsem ol ibin stilim pik blongen long naba 18 long dispela mun.
 
Acting Provincial Police Commander blong Hela Provins, Chief Superintendent Mark Yangen itok ol i arestim pinis wanpela man em oli ting ibin stilim pik na tupela man husat i kilim dai tupela meri.
 
Tasol Mr Yangen i tok ol i laik long olgeta arapela husat i stap insait long dai long tupela sait wantaim long ol imas givim ol iet  long polis.
 
Em i tok ol polis blongen wantaim help blong soldia blong PNG Defence Force i wok long traim long stretim sindaun long komiuniti we em i tok  ples stap olsem bikpla trabal i nap kamap longen oa emi “very tense” yet.Radio Australia

PASIFIK


13) PIFs funding will be affected if Australia and New Zealand are taken out as members
By Online Editor
5:16 pm GMT+12, 23/04/2015, Fiji

Political analyst says funding of the Pacific Islands Forum will be affected if Australia and New Zealand are to be taken out as members.

University of the South Pacific (USP) Associate Professor Sandra Tarte says this can impact the work the Forum does for the region.

However, there could also be some advantages for other members of the Forum.

Australia and New Zealand have been members of the Pacific Islands Forum since 1972.

With Fiji lobbying to have both nations removed as members of the forum, USP Academic Associate Professor Sandra Tarte says this could literally come at a cost.

“There is going to be the financial implication obviously. The big part of the Forunm budget comes from Australia and New Zealand. This would force the Forum to become a lot smaller and mover linear in its size and the work it does,” said Associate Professor Sandra Tarte

Tarte says although Australia and New Zealand’s presence has boost the region’s voice internationally, interests of smaller island nations have also been neglected due to their influence at times.

“Having a collective voice with Australia and New Zealand was necessarily to the advantage of the Pacific Island Countries because their own positions were weakened. The issue that’s been raised now is of course climate change, they (Australia and New Zealand) have different positions on that. So it’s not necessarily to the advantage of the Pacific Island Countries to have Australia and New Zealand with them at the international level,” he said,

Fiji has suggested that both the countries be development partners instead.

Tarte says nothing will change if there isn’t a broad consensus between members of the forum.

“This is the only regional group of Pacific Island leaders and at this point in time, there is no substitute. Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF) os not a substitute. So I think Fiji should probably return to the Forum in due course. The question is timing, what circumstances will allow that to happen so that all sides feel that they have something to gain,” he said.

Fiji had earlier stated that it would not attend this year’s Forum in Papua New Guinea.

SOURCE: FIJI TV/PACNEWS

WORLD

14) Human rights struggle cause ‘climate of fear’ in Maldives

News.Com.Au
Sunday, April 26, 2015

IT’S one of the most desirable — and expensive — places on Earth, but it’s dealing with a huge problem.

Protesters are being frequently beaten up while the media faces a growing number of death threats in the Maldives, Amnesty International said, after a fact-finding mission to the honeymoon islands.

It has urged India to lead diplomatic engagement with authorities there, to deal with a deteriorating human rights situation.

A delegation from the human rights group visited the Indian Ocean island nation and tourist paradise this month and said vigilante religious groups and criminal gangs were attacking peaceful anti-government protesters while police looked the other way.

Maldivian authorities were muzzling peaceful protesters and abusing police and judiciary to imprison opposition politicians, the group found.

They were also often doused with petrol. Amnesty’s delegation met with lawyers, journalists and activists. But it wasn’t allowed to meet with government officials and jailed former President Mohamed Nasheed and instead was told to come again in May, Amnesty researcher Abbas Faiz said in New Delhi.

“The international community must wake up and realise that behind the facade of a tourist paradise, there is a dark trend in the Maldives where the human rights situation is rapidly deteriorating.” Mr Faiz said.

HEALTH

15) Fish part of plan to erase malaria in Papua

27 April 2015

Health authorities in Indonesia’s Papua region say they’re aiming to erase malaria by 2030.

The Jakarta Post reports mosquito nets are being distributed to households in the region especially in malaria endemic areas.

The authorities say they will work together with other agencies to clean up the environment and on plans like bringing in mosquito larva-eating fish to eradicate the mosquito-borne disease.RNZI

16) Australia, NZ medics conduct free clinics in rural areas

By REPEKA NASIKO
Monday, April 27, 2015

Update: 4:00PM A TEAM of medical professionals from New Zealand and Australia will be conducting free medical clinics in rural areas in the Western and Central divisions.

The group brought in by the Sathya Sai International Organisation Fiji will be in the country until Friday.

The clinics began in Tailevu today before moving to Tagaqe District School in Sigatoka on Thursday and then onto Matawalu Village in Lautoka on Friday.Fijitimes

17) Fiji Launches Manuals To Combat Non-Communicable Diseases
Diabetes Foot Care, Wellness Promotion manuals released

By Reginald Chandar

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, April 23, 2015) – Two health manuals were launched yesterday to combat the rising cases of Non-Communicable Diseases in Fiji.

The Assistant Minister for Health, Veena Bhatnagar and the President of the Australian Senate Stephen Parry conjointly launched the Diabetes Foot Care Manual and the Wellness Promotion Manual at the Lami Health Centre.

The two manuals are designed to help frontline healthcare workers ‘inspect and protect’ feet of diabetic clients and assist primary health care workers communicate more effectively with clients about NCDs respectively.

People in Fiji are amongst the highest in the Pacific to have contracted NCD’s over a short period of time and this initiative from the Health Ministry and the Fiji Health Sector Support Program is designed to help reduce the burden of Non-communicable Diseases.

Minister Bhatnagar said people have become victims to NCD’s due to their lifestyles and the launch of the manuals is an added initiative of the Ministry to combat these diseases.

“The Foot Care and Wellness Manuals is an added milestone to the Ministry of Health & Medical Services targeted initiatives to prevent and manage NCDs.” “These publications will ensure that our forerunners of health service delivery, the nurses, will have improved access to information that will provide them the necessary guidance in advocating wellness and proper foot care”.

Senator Parry said Australia was happy to be involved in reducing the burden of NCD’s in Fiji.

“On behalf of the Australian Government, I congratulate all who were involved in the production of these two very important training manuals.”

“These manuals will help frontline health staff to tackle the issue of non-communicable diseases, and ensure that they have the right skills and information to pass on to the community.”

“I am very impressed on how the Manual will be used in future and it is certainly a great pleasure for Australia to be involved in a very key preventative measure.”

The two manuals will be sent out to all health facilities around the country and will be used as a guide by the health staff to advise the public on practicing healthy lifestyles and proper foot care for diabetic patients.

Fijilive

EDUCATION

18) Tuition-free preschools

Siteri Sauvakacolo
Sunday, April 26, 2015

ANY new kindergarten registered at the end of term two will be given free grants by the Education Ministry.

Education Minister Dr Mahendra Reddy shared this as the ministry looks forward to the planned free tuition fees to be provided to kindergarten students around the country next term.

“All registered schools meaning, they have qualified teachers, their learning environment is safe for the children and basic safety issues. All of that are supposedly registered with the ministry and we have a database then they will be able to get a grant of $50 per child per term,” Dr Reddy said.

“We have the data arranged now, but some more new schools might come up, maybe by the end of term two and as they come up, we will take them on board and we will provide money for them.”

Last week, ministry permanent secretary Kelera Taloga said the ministry defined kindergarten as the preparatory year for Year 1, and it was only for five year olds.

“For kindies, we’re working towards that. By term two, they are assisted by fees, $50 per child, but that needs to be taken into consideration because some private kindergarten charge more than $50,” she said.

“The assistance that is coming from Government is $50 per child for school fees.”

She said this was standard for all registered kindergartens around the country.FIJITIMES

19) Uni gets K200,000 for new programme
Source:
The National, Friday April 24th, 2015

The University of Papua New Guinea Student Representative Council received about K200,000 from IPI Catering Services on Monday.
The money comes following an agreement made between the previous student representative council and IPI Catering as part of an entrepreneurship programme that the student council is introducing.
Council secretary Philemon Yama said the money was presented to the executives on Monday by IPI project manager Peter Denmead and UPNG Vice-Chancellor Prof Subba Rao.
Yama said the entrepreneurship training programme was started in 2013.
He said the council had two canteens in the school –  a coffee shop and the canteen – that are operated by IPI Catering as part of the programme.
“Last year the catering company made a profit of about K400,000 from the canteen and coffee shop,” Yama said.
“According to an agreement made between the catering company and the 2014 SRC, 50 per cent of the profit made should be given to the SRC.”
Vice-president Julianna Mohe said the student council would use the money to fund the activities they had planned for this year and to run projects that had been initiated.
“One of the projects that we are working on is the printing service for students that will be offered at an affordable price to ease the printing problems faced by students every year,” Mohe said.
However Yama said the slowness in establishing the SRC delayed the working plan.
“We cannot carry out our programmes unless the council members are established. There are procedures and protocols that we have to follow.”

POLITIC

20) Australian women MPs to mentor Fiji counterparts

27 April 2015

Nine Australian women MPs are heading to Fiji this week to mentor Pacific island women politicians and discuss ways to tackle domestic violence.

The women will attend the Pacific Women’s Parliamentary Partnerships Forum along with Australian Ambassador for Women and Girls, Natasha Stott Despoja.

Women currently make up five percent of parliamentarians in the Pacific compared to the global average of nearly 22 percent.RNZI

21) Party backs women

Source:
The National, Friday April 24th, 2015

THE Opposition has called on Prime Minister Peter O’Neill to release development funds for two districts and a province that for the first time had three women representatives in Parliament.
In a press conference at Goroka, Opposition leader Don Polye said the Government  embarked on passing a law to see that at least 10 per cent of election candidates were females.
“If the Government wants to increase female representation to 10 per cent, I urge Prime Minister (Peter) O’Neill to consider not to hold back money earmarked for developments of the three electorates the current three women MPs represent,” Polye said, referring to Eastern Highlands Governor Julie Soso, Sohe MP Delilah Gore and Lae MP Loujaya Kouza.
“I call for political parties not to put up candidates against the seats held by these women, to allow them to retain it to encourage women to enter Parliament.”
Polye, who is the leader of The Triumph Empowerment (THE) party said his party had policies to promote and empower women candidates where Soso and Gore had won in the 2012 election.
“For the Government to introduce legislation on 10 per cent for women to be endorsed is childish because my party believes in partnership of men and women in every aspects and has been promoting it.
“THE party will endorse more women in the 2017 General Election, we will endorse more from the New Guinea Islands region where the matrilineal society exists, giving women greater powers, and in the Highlands where Governor Soso has already set a benchmark,” he said
Polye described Soso as an “iron lady” of the Highlands and PNG politics who deserved to be respected at all levels in the male-dominated political arena.
“I call on the Eastern Highlands MPs and Prime Minister to back Soso in implementing her policies and avoid interference, intimidation and play-politics when she is performing her mandated duties.”

22) By-election to use biometric system

Source:
The National, Friday April 24th, 2015

THE biometric counting system will be used in East New Britain during counting at the Pomio by-election and Sinivit local level governmentpresident’s election.
Assistant returning officer for Sinivit LLG Dominic Huranaka said there would be training for polling officers on how to use the system after the conclusion of the polling period.
“Preparations for both elections are progressing well and are on schedule and we are now preparing for training to be conducted for polling officials,” Huranaka said.
He said training officers from PNG Electoral Commission travelled to Palmalmal this week to train polling officials for Melkoi, West Pomio Mamusi, Central Inland Pomio and East Pomio.

He said there was no problem reported relating to campaigning conducted by candidates in the local level government for both seats.

23) PNG Government Won’t Recognize Election Of West Sepik Governor

Deputy PM: Ex-opposition leader ‘hijacked, abused democratic process’

By Isaac Nicholas

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, April 24, 2015) – The National Government has refused to recognise the election of Vanimo-Green MP Belden Namah as West Sepik (Sandaun) Governor this week.

Deputy Prime Minister Leo Dion, the minister responsible for Inter Government Relations, said he was studying documents alleging that Mr Namah “hijacked and abused the legitimate and democratic process of the election of a provincial governor.”

Deputy Governor and acting Governor Paul Nengai had complained in a letter to Mr Dion that there was a total disregard of the legal and proper process of parliamentary election by Mr Namah, who did not have respect and regards for rule and process of law and parliamentary processes. “… I appeal to you not to recognise the event at hand as legitimate and legal. I further request your intervention and investigation of the whole process employed by Mr Namah to have himself purportedly elected Governor of Sandaun Province.

“I very much appreciate your immediate act in this respect for protection of the legal and proper parliamentary process,” Mr Nengai said in his letter.

According to document of facts, there was a notice issued for a provincial assembly meeting to take place last Monday, April 20, but realising that the former Assembly Clerk, who was now in his substantive position as director assembly services, abused the process in allowing the meeting under dubious means.

PNG Post-Courier

24) Indonesia, Vanuatu sign inter-parliamentary cooperation agreement
By Online Editor
5:13 pm GMT+12, 23/04/2015, Indonesia

JThe Indonesian and Vanuatu parliaments have signed an inter-parliament cooperation agreement which is part of the Asia-Pacific Parliament Forum.

Chairman of the Indonesian House of Representatives (DPR) Setya Novanto and his Vanuatu counterpart, Phillip Boedoro signed the cooperation agreement at the Parliament Building here on Thursday.

During the signing of the agreement, Novanto was accompanied by Deputy Chairmen of the DPR Fahri Hamzah and Agus Hermanto, while Philllip Boedoro was flanked by his deputy Dunston Hilton.

On the occasion, Novanto also expressed gratitude to the Vanuatu parliament for sending its delegation to the Asian-African Parliament Conference.

Similarly, Phillip Boedoro expressed gratitude to the Indonesian parliament for inviting the Vanuatu parliament to the conference.

Through the conference, the Indonesian parliament is looking forward to establishing closer and more strategic relations with parliaments from Asian and African countries, Novanto said.

Phillip Boedoro also expressed gratitude to the Indonesian government which has helped the people of Vanuatu when natural disaster hit the state recently.

“This shows good cooperation between Indonesia and Vanuatu,” he said.

The conference was part of a series of events held to mark the 60th anniversary of the Asian African Conference held in Bandung, West Java, in 1955.

SOURCE: ANTARA NEWS /PACNEWS

25) Solomon Islands MPs allegedly remove need to pay tax

24 April 2015

The anti-corruption body, Transparency Solomon Islands, says the country’s MPs no longer have to pay tax.

Changes to the Parliamentary Entitlements Regulations are reported to have come into force on April 1st but attempts to reach the chairman, Johnson Siapu, have been unsuccessful.

The changes are said to include an increase in MPs discretionary funds, a salary increase backdated a year and a reduction in the time before a MP qualifies for a life pension from eight years to four.

Our correspondent in Honiara, Dorothy Wickham, says taxpayers are furious.

“Each average Solomon Islanders salary is it is very low. To hear of these hundreds and thousands of dollars being given to MPs and then also giving an increase in salary and then now they get tax taken away. I mean there is no way a Solomon Islander will not disagree with this. Everyone is thinking my God, what else are they going to get?”

Dorothy Wickham says it is still not clear whether the changes have been gazetted.RNZI

26) New Caledonia leaders called to Paris over disagreements

27 April 2015

The president of the French National Assembly has called for a meeting of New Caledonia’s political leaders in Paris to overcome disagreements over a new electoral law for the territory’s independence referendum.

Claude Bartolone made the proposal after talks in Noumea and after a mass rally by loyalists determined to stay French.

He says he has discussed holding such an extraordinary meeting with the French government in Paris before June in a telephone call with the prime minister, Manuel Valls.

The anti-independence parties keep accusing the French Socialist government of siding with the pro-independence camp despite repeated assurances by Paris that the French state is impartial in the decolonisation process as outlined in the 1998 Noumea Accord.

They are in particular incensed at a law proposal now before the Senate which would automatically enrol only indigenous Kanaks for the indepedendence referendum due by 2018.

This means, they say, that tens of thousands will be forced to prove that they are Caledonians as well.

French government leaders say they are bound by the interpretation of the relevant provisions by the country’s highest court.

The loyalists, who last Friday took to Noumea streets in their thousands, want the law to be amended while the pro-independence group has said the Noumea Accord and its provisions should be implemented as it stands.RNZI

27) Fiji Delegation Meets With Commonwealth Secretary General

AG, High Commissioner share positive developments with Sharma

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, April 23, 2015) – Fiji’s Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum and High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Solo Mara met with the Secretary General of Commonwealth Kamlesh Sharma in London today where Fiji’s 2014 Election and new Constitution was discussed.

The Secretary-General and Attorney-General discussed the 2013 Constitution that contains an unprecedented and comprehensive Bill of Rights.

They discussed the successful UPR report of Fiji at the UN Human Rights Council.

They also discussed the objective of the FijiFirst government to create strong independent institutions as provided for under the Constitution.

Mr Sharma was also briefed on the economic strides made by Fiji in recent years and the opportunities of investment for foreign capital.

Minister Sayed-Khaiyum then discussed the prospects for foreign companies and governments, including from the Commonwealth, given the unprecedented and sustained economic growth, public sector reforms and liberalization of the market.

The Secretary-General was also informed of Fiji’s full engagement with multilateral agencies including the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and International Monetary Fund.

The Attorney-General informed the Secretary-General inter alia of the massive budgetary allocation for infrastructure development and focus on service delivery.

They discussed the benefits of free education and other provisions such as free medicine, free water and the civil service reform.

They recognized the strides made by Fiji in respect of the ICT sector including the spectrum allocation, the government telecentres, move from analog to digital television and network coverage.

Discussions were also held regarding technical collaboration in areas of legal drafting, the hubs and spokes program, and capacity building in the Fijian parliament.

The Secretary-General and Attorney-General also discussed ways of using Fiji’s hub status and technological advancement for regional co-ordination in the areas of climate change, the blue economy and improving management and response times to natural disasters.

The Secretary-General informed the Attorney-General that the Commonwealth looked forward to warmly welcoming Prime Minister Bainimarama to CHOGM to be held later this year in Malta.

The Secretary-General and the Attorney-General also discussed the Secretary-General’s pending visit to Fiji.

Fijilive

LAND,INDIGENOUS CUSTOM,CULTURE+

28) Mission gives back to tribe

Source:
The National, Friday April 24th, 2015

THE New Tribes Mission has handed over properties worth more than K3 million to the Yamo Yato business group belonging to the Katagu people in Lower Bena, Eastern Highlands.
The mission was given a big portion of land in Katagu where they built high covenant buildings and properties for Interface Missionary training.
Missionaries from abroad will be taught local customs before they went out carrying out their mission.
New Tribes Mission director Phil Emery said New Tribes had been running the facility for 23 years training overseas students on how to go about missionary work, PNG cultures and traditions.
Katagu spokesman Zurophet Iyopeso appreciated the long association and interaction with the missionaries at Katagu village. “The properties you left behind with us will benefit us as it has benefited us. This is the end of an old chapter and the opening of a new chapter,” he said. Branson Tomane thanked the contributions of missionaries on the lives of the people.

29) Protecting landowners prompts election bid by Bougainville rebel

By Online Editor
7:07 pm GMT+12, 23/04/2015, Papua New Guinea

Sam Kauona, a leader of the Bougainville Revolutionary Army during the civil war, wants to see mining restored in the region but not until the resource owners are fully protected.

Kauona is one of nine contenders for president in next month’s election in the autonomous Papua New Guinea region and he supports a resumption of mining but there are issues to be sorted first.

Under the just passed Mining Act Bougainville resource owners have been given control over their own resources but Kauona says landowners are still not fully protected and this is what prompted him to stand.

“Resource owners that missed out in the benefits, in equal participation, before. We need to put that right first before we could actually get ourselves involved in developing the mining industry. Yes, we certainly need the mining industry to bankroll the economy of Bougainville.”

Kauona says a key reason he is running in next month’s election is that under the act Rio Tinto, the majority owner of Bougainville Copper Ltd, which ran the Panguna mine before the civil war, has still got an exploration licence.

“Licence was given before and even in the new law it was given back to BCL. Although restricting them of mining licence, the exploration licence was given back, was recognised.”

Kauona, who says he recognises that Bougainville needs to re-embrace mining to develop its economy.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

30) Fiji landowners want promised mine royalties

27 April 2015

A petition will be presented to the Fiji government next month by landowners in the Northern Division who say they have not received any royalties from a bauxite mine they consented to in 2011.

The Chinese company Aurum Exploration Limited has almost completed mining at the site in Nawailevu, which has produced almost 1 million tonnes of bauxite.

The SODELPA MP Mosese Bulitavu says the company has only paid $600,000 so far in royalties to the Lands Department, which still hasn’t been handed over to the landowners.

And he says the company still owes another $1.5 million in royalties.

“Commodore Bainimarama, he had promised at the opening of the Nawailevu bauxite mining, in his opening statement, that government will be paying them after 2011, two years time, will be $3 million dollars, plus other development projects, housing developments, that has all not happened.”

Mosese Bulitavu says at least 300 signatures have been gathered so far.

The same company has just commenced mining at a second site in Leketu and was just recently issued a lease for a third bauxite mining site at Dreketi.RNZI

31) The rights of Fiji’s Itaukei are protected: UN forum told

By Online Editor
7:17 pm GMT+12, 23/04/2015, Fiji

A Fijian government delegation has told a UN meeting that the indigenous people of Fiji are firmly in control of their destiny.

The 14th session of United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues is currently underway at the UN Headquarters in New York.

The Forum heard that the iTaukei enjoy full rights to land, culture, institutions and religion, with all these rights firmly protected within the 2013 Constitution and the nation’s written laws and regulations. In no way, the Fijian Delegation affirmed, should these rights of the iTaukei be perceived to be under threat.

The Permanent Mission’s First Secretary, Gene Bai, advised the Forum that Fiji’s 2013 Constitution is consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People.

He directed the Forum to the relevant provisions in the Constitution of Fiji that specifically protect the rights of the iTaukei.

He said the Constitution affirms that the ownership of all iTaukei land shall remain with the customary owners and that iTaukei land can never be alienated by sale or transfer. Bai explained that for the first time, the Constitution’s Bill of Rights sets out the right to a fair share of royalties for the landowners of any minerals found under their land or under the seabed in which they have customary fishing rights.

The Permanent Mission’s statement reported that in contrast to many other countries in the Pacific and Pacific Rim, the colonial experience of Fiji was not one of large-scale dispossession of land and the suppression of the indigenous people.

Bai told the gathering that around 90% of all land in Fiji is owned by the indigenous people through customary ownership and cannot be permanently alienated from them. He said this has given the iTaukei a level of security that has been central to their social, cultural and economic wellbeing.

First Secretary Bai said the Fijian Government was committed to achieving the goals of the soon-to-be-installed Post-2015 Development Agenda, saying that the agenda fitted with the Government’s own aims of leaving no one behind, removing discrimination by providing access to basic rights, and eradicating poverty.

He reported that in furtherance of these aims, the Fijian Government had implemented policies and laws that establish a common and equal citizenry; reaffirm civil, political and cultural rights; and as such, guarantee the social and economic rights of the iTaukei.

The Fijian Delegation’s statement affirmed that the iTaukei are firmly in control of their own destiny and that they are secure in their customary land ownership and unique culture. The UN forum was told that the indigenous people of Fiji “are a proud and vibrant member of the human family, committed to the well-being of the international community and the planet we inhabit”.

SOURCE: DINFO/PACNEWS

MEDIA

32) Magazine for travellers

Litia Mathewsell
Saturday, April 25, 2015

LOCAL media stakeholders witnessed the launch of Fiji Island Living, a lifestyle and tourism magazine in Nadi on Wednesday night.

The publication is one of five editions of Pacific Island Living magazines by business partners, Australian publisher Craig Osment and editor Tiffany Carroll, who are based in Vanuatu.

Distributed free of charge and published quarterly, Ms Carroll said, the business began three years ago to fill a void in necessary content for visitors aside from tourist information, with plans to eventually branch out to Fiji.

“Our in game was to always come to Fiji,” she said during the launch at the Taste Fiji eatery.

“It’s such a great destination and we approached Tourism Fiji to ask if they’d be interested in producing a magazine for them at no cost to them whatsoever.” She noted the extensive exposure for Fiji through the magazine, which was also to 3500 travel agents and at 24 airport Qantas Club lounges in Australia.

The first issue had a print run of 21,000 copies, which are also still being distributed around Fiji.

“We have two people in Fiji at the moment and will hopefully have more, as we are getting more staff members and looking for journalists and photographers. Our writers are based in Nadi and have a lot of stringers that come in from Australia — one is here at the moment and another at Treasure Island, so we bring journalists here from Australia as well, but are very happy to get more Fijians in as well.”

Tourist Minister Faiyaz Koya welcomed the new publication and lauded its circulation in Australia, Fiji’s largest traveller market.FIJITIMES

BUSINESS

33) Vanuatu Defends Passports For Cyclone Rehabilitation Investors
Chinese willing to do business in country targeted

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, April 27, 2015) – The Vanuatu government has defended a new scheme giving passports to overseas investors wanting to help rehabilitate Vanuatu after Cyclone Pam.

The “Economic Rehabilitation after Pam” scheme was officially launched in Hong Kong this month by the Minister for Internal Affairs, Charlot Salwai.

The government is targeting Chinese nationals interested in doing business in the country.

The director of the government’s passport unit Henry Tamashiro says all applications would be strictly scrutinised and checked before an applicant was granted honorary citizenship.

He said there would be no middle people in the arrangement, and all funds collected would go directly to the Treasury.

Applicants would pay a quarter of the approximately 120 thousand US dollar fee before undergoing scrutiny by a government committee.

Successful applications would then be submitted to the Prime Minister who would then make a recommendation to the President.

Radio New Zealand International

34) Demand for pilots soars

Source:
The National, Friday April 24th, 2015

PAPUA New Guinea’s reliance on air transport continues to increase at an exponential rate and so will the demand for experienced pilots, Captain Bruce Paki says.
That presents an opportunity to the Government and private investors to seek partnerships focused on training cadets to meet the demands.
“Cadet pilots on average, spend up to K200,000 (or more) in a rigorous 12 to 24-month commercial pilot training programme abroad,” Paki said.
“On completion cadets return to PNG with about 230-300 flights hours but not enough of the industry minimum of 700 to 1000 flight hours to find employment in PNG,” he said.
Paki said as the demand for aviation service continued to grow in PNG, qualifying certified pilots to meet minimum Civil Aviation Authority standard was essential to support the industry.
“The Government and private investors are presented with a unique opportunity to cultivate students specifically to serve PNG and its needs,” he said.
The Elite Global Aviation Inc (formerly known as Aero Equipt Aviation) was an ICAO (international) certified aviation academy in Subic, the Philippines, offering professional commercial pilot training courses for  US$43,000 (K112,000) including food and accommodation) for  9-11 months’ training programme with the option of receiving flight instructor training at no extra cost.
“There are currently 18 PNG pilot cadets at EGA under my care. I was trained in United States as an international flight instructor and I am the vice-president of the Elite Global Aviation in the Philippines,” he said.
“Upon completion, EGA will assist pilots to achieve flight hours to help meet industry requirements. EGA will donate more than K5000 towards flight hours per graduating student and offer reduced prices to fly weekly or monthly within PNG,” he said.

35) Discussions on taxes for businesses

Source:
The National, Friday April 24th, 2015

NEW businesses in Papua New Guinea do not pay taxes due to certain hindrances, Treasurer Patrick Pruaitch says.
Pruaitch said he had a meeting this week with the Taxation Review Committee, which raised issues that included start-up businesses not given the opportunity to pay tax.
“During the presentation yesterday (Wednesday), there were issues about us not making sure new, businesses are not provided opportunity for them to pay their taxes and all that,” he said.
“I made it my business to make sure that Customs and IRC (Internal Revenue Commission) assist Government to make sure that as far as revenue collection is concerned, the work is done efficiently.
“I’m sure that Government will be focusing on ensuring that sufficient resources are given over the years to make sure you (IRC and PNG Customs) deliver, and particularly revenue collection is done on timely manner.”
Committee chairman Sir Nagora Bogan had said earlier that feedback received from their consultations suggested that improvements in the revenue administration needed to be a significant focus of any reform process, including the country’s tax system.
“There are people complaining but it is important both for the organisations as well as government and tax review committee to understand exactly what is the situation and state of affairs in those two organisations,” Bogan said.
“The reform (reviewed tax system) eventually will go back to them (IRC and Customs) because they are the ones who are going to implement and administer the review tax system.”
He said reviews into the two main tax administrators had been completed.
Examinations were carried out into IRC and PNG Customs Services to have them prepared to efficiently and effectively implement the PNG tax system once the committee completed the review.

INFRASTRUCTURE

36) Road vital for law, order

Source:
The National, Friday April 24th, 2015

The importance of roads dawned on South Bougainville acting police commander Snr Sgt John Popui when he tried to head a general election awareness programme into remote Bougainville.
He included awareness on law and order issues related to elections at  Kekemono village in Buin district, South Bougainville, on Tuesday.
“Roads are vital links to assist in bringing in basic services,” he said.
The villages in that part of Bougainville are only accessible by foot.
He said it was three hours by foot from where the vehicle track ended. A group of six officers, including one female, were there to carry out an awareness programme and urged locals to elect a responsible leader who would bring vital services and infrastructure development to their area.

LAW&ORDER

37) Fiji villager allegedly beaten by police

27 April 2015

Police in Fiji are alleged to have beaten a man in front of his family and fellow villagers on the northern island of Vanua Levu last month.

The Fiji Times reports the whole village watched as Sakiusa Niulala was beaten as lay half naked on the ground at Naibalebale settlement in Viani Bay on the 20th of March.

The paper says the man was wanted in a drug related case.

Fiji’s Police Commissioner Ben Groenewald says it is a very serious matter and an official investigation has been launched by the Police Internal Affairs Unit.

In February Mr Groenewald said the investigation into the filmed beating of two men by security personnel in 2013 had been completed and was with the Director of Public Prosecutions.RNZI

38) Military team to leave for Noumea

Salaseini Moceiwai
Sunday, April 26, 2015

A TEAM of military personnel led by the RFMF Commander Brigadier General Mosese Tikoitoga will be leaving for Noumea today to hold military talks with their counterparts at the French Armed Forces in New Caledonia.

Brig-Gen Tikoitoga said this was to further enhance their bilateral relations that was initiated during the visit of his counterpart, Brig-Gen Luc de Revel last October.

“We confirmed all our discussions and continue to provide the rescue and capability of all our seafarers in Fiji’s Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) and also other smaller Pacific island nations that may require our help under the search and rescue obligations,” he said.

“The French have been very supportive and this is very much appreciated. They are providing platforms that we can use to ensure that we keep coverage of our EEZs.

“We will be leaving on Sunday and we are looking forward to returning the courtesy visit that was accorded to the RFMF by our French counterparts last year.”

French Ambassador to Fiji Michel Djokovic, during a joint press conference in Suva on Friday, said France was a country of the Pacific with tangible interests and two frontiers with Fiji through Wallis and Futuna and New Caledonia.

“Like Fiji, we are facing the same challenges when it comes to illegal fishing or trafficking in our two EEZs.

“Fiji and France are big contributors to peacekeeping operations.

“The prevalent challenges on the EEZs surveillance have made maritime co-operation between our two nations a strategic necessity.

“Fiji and France also have common interests in defence because we have common frontiers and we need to control our EEZs.”

Meanwhile, Mr Djokovic said the French naval frigate Vendemiaire would soon make a port of call in Suva.

The frigate already left Noumea with a Fijian Navy officer on board.

The frigate will participate in common exercises with the Fiji Navy in the Fijian waters.

Another French navy patrol boat — La Glorieuse will also make a port of call in Lautoka at the end of next month.FIJITIMES

39) Chinese appear in court charged with using trademarks of others
Source:
The National, Friday April 24th, 2015

EIGHT Chinese nationals have appeared before the Waigani Committal Court for selling items using the trademarks of others.
They were charged with the unauthorised selling of items with the trademarks of the PNG Rugby Football League, SP Hunters, PNG Kumuls, Digicel Cup, LBC Snax Tigers and Kemele Hela Wigmen. Magistrate Cosmas Bidar said police conducted a raid on April 7 at Erimart Building in Erima, Port Moresby, and confiscated more than 10,000 jerseys and shirts having the counterfeit trademarks.
PNGRFL chairman Sandis Tsaka had lodged a complaint with police.
The eight are Weiqiang Zhuang, 34, Jinping Yan, 33, Yan Kunxiang, 33, Chungchen Wu, 33, Chen Chiachu, 34, Huayue Shuang, 30, Jie Cheng, 30, and Liao Sumin, 30. They are all from the Fujian province of China. They were granted K1000 bail each.
Bidar warned them to abide by the bail conditions. “You must bring your passport and travel documents to the police to surrender it to the court registry,” he said.
“You must not interfere with the police investigation, especially not to talk to your shop assistants who are the witnesses. You must remain in the same location you reside in until the conclusion of your court case.” Bidar said the offence they allegedly committed was serious and had to go through the committal court process.
“Using the trademark or logo of another organisation or company is unlawful,” he said. They will next appear in court on May 26.

CLIMATE CHANGE,CONSERVATION,ENVIROMENT

40) 100,000 In Vanuatu Lack Clean Water A Month After Cyclone
People at risk of contracting diseases: UNICEF

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, April 24, 2015) – The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says more than 100,000 people in Vanuatu have no clean drinking water, more than a month after Cyclone Pam struck.

UNICEF said two thirds of the archipelago’s water and sanitation infrastructure had been damaged or destroyed and most wells were contaminated.

UNICEF Vanuatu field office chief Ketsamay Rajphangthong said as a result there were lots of risks of people contracting diseases, especially diarrhea.

Cyclone Pam destroyed homes and infrastructure, leaving 11 dead and affecting the majority of the 252,800-strong population of Vanuatu.

The agency has been providing water purification tablets and plastic sheets for rainwater collection as a temporary substitute for the 68 percent of rainwater harvesting structures that have been damaged.

Ms Rajphangthong said fixing the damage was urgent because women and children have to walk to shower facilities and toilets further from home, where they may lack privacy and expose themselves to abuse.

UNICEF needs $US1.5 million to close the gap between donations and its appeal target so it can finish the repairs.

Radio New Zealand International

MINING,FORESTRY,AGRICULTURE,FISHERIES

41) First export in 2021

Source:
The National, Friday April 24th, 2015

THE first export of liquefied natural gas from the Gulf LNG project operated by French oil major Total SA is expected in 2021, InterOil executive vice president Isikeli Taureka (pictured) says.
“Total and its partners InterOil and Oil Search plan to begin marketing a total of 6.8 million tonnes of LNG per year from the project mainly to buyers in China and Japan,” Taureka told Reuters on Wednesday.
The project would become Papua New Guinea’s second, after ExxonMobil PNG Ltd in May last
year began exports from its US$19 billion (K51 billion) PNG LNG project. Taureka said the new project, drawing gas from the Elk and Antelope fields, hoped to take advantage of many LNG contracts expiring in North Asia around that time.
He added that he expected Chinese demand to double.
The project “would be taking advantage of contract expiring in North Asia, a rebound in energy prices … and China will be doubling in demand,” Taureka said.
However, the project may face competition from LNG from North America and Australia, where projects will ramp up towards the end of the decade.
Asian LNG prices have more than halved since last year in tandem with lower oil prices and as demand growth fails to keep up with new supply.
“Preliminary estimates show the Elk and Antelope fields in Gulf hold 5-9 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, although reserves will only be confirmed once an appraisal study is complete by the middle of this year,” Taureka said.
Total bought a 40.1 per cent stake in the project from InterOil in April last year for US$429 million (K1.165  billion).
The sale was disputed by Oil Search, which claimed it had the right to buy the stake, but lost the case in international arbitration.
Total has made few comments on the project, but said Papua New Guinea holds the right to acquire a 22.5 per cent stake in the project once a final investment decision has been made, which would lower Total’s stake to 31.1 per cent.
InterOil has a 36.5 per cent stake in the project, while Oil Search holds about 23 per cent.

42) Agriculture institute signs new agreement

Source:
The National, Friday April 24th, 2015

AN agreement for use of agricultural technology between the National Agriculture Research Institute of PNG and the Korean International Cooperation Agency was signed in Port Moresby yesterday.
This agreement was on the development and dissemination project of the agriculture-appropriate technology using patented information.
Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology Minister Malakai Tabar said: “Basically, introducing this technology is to help with rice farming and irrigation.
“I hope we are going to see this as a potential to improving and increasing rice farming.
“The underlining issue is we would like to encourage farmers who own most of the land to understand their responsibility.
“No one will come and grow your rice, you will need to get out and grow your own rice.” Korean Ambassador Kim Seong-choon said the agriculture sector provided employment, income-earning opportunities and subsistence consumption for the rural majority.
“Furthermore, the sector generates significant revenue for the country from its commodity exports.
Kim said PNG’s agriculture sector was generally less productive and less profitable compared with many other countries due to poor infrastructure.
“The objective of this project is to develop and disseminate water pump using appropriate technology, to provide equipment and materials.” Korean experts will provide technical guidance and training.

 43) Task Force To investigate Solomons Beche-De-Mer Industry

Allegations that export licenses issued breach fisheries laws

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation, April 23, 2015) – A special taskforce has been established to investigate the beche-de-mer industry following allegations that export licenses for marine products that were issued were in breach of fisheries laws.

The allegations are the export licenses were issued contrary to the requirements of the Fisheries Act 1998 and associated Regulations.

In a statement today, the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet says the Democratic Coalition for Change Government sees it necessary to establish a Special Taskforce to enquire into beche-de-mer farming and trading to establish the truth about the alleged irregularities.

Members of the Special Taskforce include Gabriel Titili as Chairman, Dr. Melchior Mataki as Vice Chairman, Derek Futaiasi as Secretary and John Muria, Nathan Kama Makini, Dentana and Dr. Reuben John Sulu as Members.

One of the taskforce’s nine responsibilities is to investigate the involvement of all stakeholders on the conduct of irregularities of beche-de-mer farming and trading.

The task force will also work to identify areas of weaknesses that would discourage the effective and non-corrupt implementation of Solomon Islands National Sea Cucumber Fishery Management and Development Plan in the country.

Meanwhile, the Beche-de-mer Taskforce is holding a series of public hearings next week to gather information from individuals and organizations about beche-de-mer harvesting, processing, buying, transporting, grading and weighing, and exporting beche-de-mer.

The public hearings are scheduled to begin on Monday next week at the Prime Minister’s Office Conference Room.

Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation

EVENT

44) Second round of auditions

Talebula Kate
Sunday, April 26, 2015

POTENTIAL Vodafone Hibiscus Festival queen contestants for this year’s festival have been auditioning for the past two weeks.

The second audition was held yesterday at TappooCity in Suva.

Member of the auditioning panel Elenoa Dolodolotawake said the five-member panel were basically short-listing the applicants from the entire applications that the Hibiscus Events Group had received.

She said they auditioned 10 aspiring contestants last week and 15 for this week.

“It’s interesting as there’s a mixture of individuals with their own talents, skills and what they intend to contribute to the festival,” Ms Dolodolotawake said.

“We’ve had a lot of talented ladies come in and I think there will be a good show at this year’s festival,” she said.

Meanwhile, Hibiscus hopeful Tupou Matea, 23, of Vunivaivai, Nakelo in Tailevu said she learned a lot at the auditions and it was a great experience.FIJITIMES

SPORT

45) Pacific Oceania confident ahead of Davis Cup opener

27 April 2015

Pacific Oceania are taking a confident approach into their Davis Cup tie in Bahrain as they bid to escape the bottom rung of international tennis.

The men were relegated to Asia/Oceania Zone Group IV two years ago, and have been under pressure to perform, with funding tight and the women’s Fed Cup team showing promise.

18 year old newcomer Heve Kelley from Tahiti has been entrusted with the role of singles number one, alongside the returning Cyril Jacobe from Vanuatu, and doubles pairing Brett Baudinet from the Cook Islands and Guam’s Daniel Llarenas.

Team captain Gilles De Gouy, who retired from playing following last year’s tie in Iran, says the dry heat in the Middle East will be a challenge for his players, who have had limited preparation, but he believes they have what it takes.

“We have good experienced players in doubles so my goal is to win at least one singles [rubber] and I’m quite confident about the doubles becausewe have, I think, one of the best players in the fourth world division, so my goal is to get one point on the two singles and get it to the doubles.”

Nine teams are taking part in the tie, which begins on Monday, with the top two promoted to group three in 2016.RNZI

46) 14-men Toulouse beat Stade

Afp
Sunday, April 26, 2015

PARIS – Toulouse clinched a 21-12 victory over Stade Francais in the Top 14, capitalising on the Paris club having to play more than half the match with 14 men.

Both teams are still in the running to make the play-offs although a win for Stade would have eased the nerves of a team who have not made the end of season top six since 2009.

They were well-placed for victory on Friday when they led 9-8 late in the first period, but a red card for centre Jonathan Danty for violent play proved costly.

“Jo made an error of youth,” said Stade boss Gonzalo Quesada of his player who was punished for an ill-advised punch.

Toulouse forwards coach William Servat praised his team who are third in the standings.

“We are very happy but there’s still a long way to go in the season. Things are far from perfect and there’s a lot of work still to do,” he said

47) Tigers demolish Bulldogs in NRL thriller

Aap
Sunday, April 26, 2015

SYDNEY – The Wests Tigers returned to winning ways in style on Friday with a comprehensive 38-14 victory over an under-par Canterbury at ANZ Stadium.

Two tries apiece from Luke Brooks, James Tedesco and Pat Richards banished memories of last week’s collapse against Canberra.

But it was the golden boot of veteran winger Richards and a freakish first-half play from Kevin Naiqama that set the platform for the win.

With just four minutes on the clock, a Tedesco grubber kick appeared to be heading out of the in-goal area only for Naiqama to lunge forward and scoop the ball over his head and into the grateful arms of the onrushing fullback.

Richards added the extras with his first of six successful kicks before Naiqama crossed for a four-pointer following another smart Tedesco kick.

Brooks added a third try with less than 15 minutes played after his speculative kick from midfield took a wicked bounce over the head of Sam Perret, then crashed off the upright and the halfback raced through to grab the rebound and score.

Shellshocked by their horror start, the Bulldogs finally managed to get on the scoresheet through Frank Pritchard midway through the opening stanza.

But on the stroke of halftime, Richards returned to the field following stitches for a facial cut to convert a monster 55-metre kick from inside his own half to open up an 18-6 lead.

Tedesco scored his second just after the restart, putting the finishing touches to a length-of-the-field try after being put in the clear by Naiqama.

A Richards penalty stretched the Tigers’ lead before Brooks ended the game as a contest from close range after some poor defence from the home side.

Pritchard and Curtis Rona crossed late in the game for the Bulldogs but there was to be no repeat of the fightback that secured their 25-24 victory over the Tigers in round four as Richards went over in the corner in the final minute.

48) PM backs Special Olympics
Source:
The National, Thursday April 23rd, 2015

PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill and his wife Lynda Babao, have given their support for Special Olympics in the country.
Special Olympics is a global grassroots movement advocating social inclusion, acceptance and understanding for people with intellectual disabilities through sports.
Special Olympics PNG president Takale Tuna said his organisation was pleased with the gesture from the Prime Minister and his wife.
“Families are a very good foundation for advocating for inclusion, acceptance and understanding of people with intellectual disabilities,” Tuna said.
“O’Neill and Babao’s lead is an example for families to follow and get behind Special Olympics PNG.
“It is their mission to get the most marginalised and vulnerable members of our society to come out of the shadows and into the sunshine.”
Tuna, a former PNG sprint kingpin, said SOPNG were thankful that the Prime Minister and his wife were at the forefront of the journey. O’Neill showed his support by holding a red ball — a globally significant symbol of the Special Olympics.
Tuna said the red ball is a mark of the campaign for the Special Olympics aimed at youths around the world, who seek support and encouragement for people with intellectual disabilities.
Papua New Guinea Sports Foundation executive director Peter Tsiamalili Jnr is leading the way as head of the sport to promote the red ball.
SOPNG is very grateful for Tsiamalili Jnr being the first high profile government and sportsperson to support this initiative.
Tuna said the red ball is an initiative to create a awareness of the mission.
The organisation acknowledged 2015 Pacific Games Organising Committee chairperson and former PNG basketball representative Emma Waiwai for supporting the campaign.

49) Heat on Kumuls

Source:
The National, Friday April 24th, 2015

HOPES of a Pacific Cup final in Port Moresby in October rest on Papua New Guinea beating Fiji next week at Cbus Stadium on the Gold Coast.
With the PNG Rugby Football League having named a 29-man extended Kumuls squad on April 10 they are expected to announce their final 19-man side on Monday and the stakes for this match could not be any higher.
The end-of-year test match would most likely be hosted in Port Moresby at one of the new stadia currently being built for the Pacific Games.
Of the extended Kumuls squad only three men — David Mead, Nene McDonald and Ray Thompson — have NRL experience, while Canberra Raiders recruit Luke Page is getting a second shot at playing for the country after pulling out of the Prime Minister’s XIII last year.
Albert brothers, Wellington and Stanton are playing for the Penrith Panthers and former Kumul backrower Rod Griffin, who plays for the Ipswich Jets and Martin brothers Rhyse (Townsville Blackhawks) and Tyson  (Mackay Cutters) are the other eight, barring injury, who are expected to make the Kumuls line-up.
There are 18 Hunters players in the squad and despite having a scratchy second season in the Queensland Cup, most of coach Michael Marum’s players are considered good chances making the final cut based on their combinations and time spent in the Kumuls/Hunters set up.
Interestingly, 2013 World Cup Kumuls Neville Costigan and Jason Chan, who now play in the Q-Cup, were not considered for the 29-man squad.
The winner of the clash will meet the winner of the Samoa-Tonga match at the end of the year to decide who the Oceania qualifier will be to join heavyweights Australia, New Zealand and England as the fourth team in the 2016 Four Nations.
The rugby league test match will be one side of a double-header during the ANZAC weekend celebrations, which see Samoa and Tonga face off in the other South Seas tussle at the same venue.
Trans-Tasman rivals Australia and New Zealand will play a one-off test at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on May 1.
Samoa represented the region in the last Four Nations held in the Southern Hemisphere last year.
The match against the Fiji is building up to be a block-buster for the Melanesian sides, with the Bati to include an impressive array of talent taken from the National rugby League and the second-tier competitions — the NSW Cup and the Q-Cup.
Only three members of the Bati team are based in Fiji, while the rest will come from Australia.
Exciting backs Sisa Waqa (Raiders), Akuila Uate (Knights), Marika Koroibete (Storm); forwards Kane Evans (Roosters), Sims brothers Tariq (Knights) and Korbin (Knights); hooker Apisai Koroisau (Panthers) and five-eighth John Sutton (Rabbitohs) are expected to be named for the Bati next week.

50) Fiji withdraws two

Source:
The National, Friday April 24th, 2015

SUVA: FIJI will not be represented in softball and touch rugby at the 2015 Pacific Games because its government has been noncommittal to their requirements.
The Fiji Touch Rugby Association has notified the Fiji National Olympic Committee (FASANOC) that it is currently tied up with commitments to send six teams to the Touch Rugby World Cup in Australia next week.
Meanwhile, the announcement of the Team Fiji extended squad was announced yesterday at the FASANOC Olympic House in Suva.
Chef de Mission Cathy Wong said they were still awaiting the F$500,000 (K660,500) from the Government for its budget to the two-week competition in Papua New Guinea in July.
“The FASANOC executive board is in the process of talking to Government,” Wong said.
“At least half a million dollars is coming out of Government’s third.
“The national federations have given their third and FASANOC has given its third. So the executive board is talking to government to come up with that.”
Sporting federations have until the end of the month to submit their final squads for the regional event in Port Moresby from July 4-18. – Fiji Broadcasting Corporation Sports

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