Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1091 ( Thursday 30 April 2015 )

MELANESIA
1) Pour faire revivre l’industrie du kava, il faut miser sur la qualité

Mis à jour 29 April 2015, 17:02 AEST

Élodie Largenton

Des scientifiques travaillent en ce moment à produire un kava de référence. Un kava qui pourrait faire oublier les variétés de piètre qualité exportées par le passé.
Craignant que la racine ne soit toxique pour le foie, l’Allemagne avait interdit les importations de kava en 2002. En juin dernier, le pays est revenu sur sa décision, rouvrant ses portes au kava du Pacifique. Mais les pays de la région le savent, il faut désormais s’assurer de la qualité irréprochable du breuvage exporté, car l’interdiction européenne a été un coup rude pour les économies locales. On écoute le président du Conseil exécutif international du kava, Tagaloa Eddie Wilson, au micro de la radio nationale néo-zélandaise :
« La perte pour les pays du Pacifique est estimée à 2 à 3 milliards de dollars. Cela va prendre du temps pour relancer le marché et regagner la confiance des consommateurs, donc on a beaucoup de travail devant nous. »
Et cela passe donc par la définition de ce qu’est un bon kava. Des racines du Vanuatu, de Fidji, des Tonga et des Salomon vont être analysées en Allemagne.
Le scientifique Vincent Lebot, qui travaille au Vanuatu, rappelle que l’archipel a déjà pris des mesures pour interdire les variétés non nobles après 2002. Pour lui, le problème, c’est plutôt la mise en application de ces règles :
« Officiellement, les racines de mauvaise qualité sont interdites, mais certains commerçants tentent quand même de répondre à la demande européenne avec des variétés à haut rendement ou même des sous-produits, comme les épluchures, ce qui est interdit par la loi kava. Mais on sait que certains de ces produits sont exportés actuellement. »
Le Vanuatu est en train d’amender la loi kava. Le nouveau texte permettra de changer concrètement les choses, ont assuré les autorités à la radio nationale néo-zélandaise.
En Europe et aux États-Unis, le kava a été proposé principalement comme une alternative aux anxiolytiques et autres anti-dépresseurs chimiques. Radio Australia
2) Families Fear For PNG Citizens In Indonesian Jails For Drug CrimesExecution of drug traffickers worrisome; 17 men face charges


By Gorethy Kenneth

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, April 30, 2015) – Two Papua New Guinea families are praying that their family members will not be the next on the Indonesian firing line following yesterday’s execution of the Bali Nine heroin drug traffickers in Indonesia.

The PNG Government has not commented on the fate of its 17 citizens, who are locked up in jails in Indonesia for drug trafficking, as international condemnation followed the Bali Nine gang executions by firing squad.

Australia has recalled its ambassador to Indonesia and Brazil has expressed “deep dismay”. The offenders, including the two Australian ring leaders, were from Indonesia, Nigeria, Brazil and the Philippines, a woman was pardoned at the 11th hour.

The PNG drug traffickers, mostly from West Sepik Province, were caught in groups or individually trying to smuggle locally-grown marijuana to Indonesia, overland and by sea through Papua.

They are awaiting trial in jails in Sentani, near the capital Jayapura.

The Post-Courier yesterday tracked down two families of the 15 who indicated that their incarcerated relatives had not been accorded consular assistance by the PNG consul in Jayapura since their arrest early this month.

One family requested privacy but the other revealed that they had engaged a lawyer for an undisclosed amount, praying that Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo would back down on his government’s tough stand on drug pushers from PNG.

The family had instructed the lawyer to ensure their relative does not suffer the same fate as eight of the Bali Nine yesterday.

“Who is PNG to Indonesia?” the worried relatives told the Post-Courier. “If Indonesia can turn a deaf ear on Australia, PNG is no different and that is why despite our son being involved we might end up suffering like those families,” one family member said. “But then again we respect Indonesia’s law.”

The other family requested privacy.

A Government legal officer said Indonesia “has a tough law on drug trafficking” but stressed that there were legal processes to follow.

“Any decision on this lot will not come overnight,” the adviser said, adding that the Government was being briefed on the drug offenders in Jayapura.

He said because there were no proper facilities in Vanimo to send confidential information to Waigani, reports were being slowly received.

“Yes, we will respond when we get all the confirmed and necessary documents and reports on this,” the government adviser said.

A 17-year-old is among the 15 men were caught early this month smuggling marijuana into Jayapura and selling them to their dedicated customers.

Another two men were arrested soon after at Serui and Jayapura for selling marijuana to people in Sentani.

Drug trafficking is an offence which attracts harsh punishment, including the death penalty in Indonesia.

West Sepik police commander Robert Gesa said PNG marijuana, known as “gold”, was a highly sought drug in Indonesia, warning that those caught should not expect leniency from authorities there.

PNG Post-Courier

3 ) MORE AWARENESS ON REFERENDUM NEEDED
BY JENNIFER NKUI

As stated by a concerned citizen of Bougainville Boniface Kaile, more awareness on referendum is needed.
As an ordinary Bougainvillean, Mr. Kaile revealed during an interview last week that according to his own understanding, referendum is a time when the people of Bougainville will decide whether or not they want to be independent or remain with Papua New Guinea.
He said he does not know if any awareness has been carried out on referendum already.
From what he has picked up from the streets, he has heard that Bougainville needs to meet certain requirements before we can go into the referendum.
Mr. Kaile stressed that he does not know what these requirements are, that Bougainville must meet before we can go into the referendum.
He is therefore appealing to the people of Bougainville to push their leaders in parliament and in the Bougainville Public Service to carry out awareness on referendum so the ordinary village people can be made aware and will come to understand the meaning of referendum, why we should go into the referendum and why it is important for us to decide the future of Bougainville.
27/4/15 DawnFM -Buka/Autonoumous Bougainville.

4) New Caledonia row over mine debt relief

29 April 2015

There has been a sharp rebuke for New Caledonia’s president, Philippe Germain, from his predecessor over alleged concessions for the SMSP mining company, which belongs to the mainly Kanak northern province.

Cynthia Ligeard, who lost the presidency last year, has issued a statement, accusing Mr Germain of lying about the matter.

She says there never was a decision to forgive SMSP a US$26 million debt as claimed by Mr Germain and if the debt is to be struck off, it will be his decision.

Her statement comes amid a war of words within the anti-independence camp, which late last year led to the collapse of her government six months into its five-year term.

The ensuing political impasse ended at the beginning of April when pro-independence politicians helped elect Mr Germain as new president, with both sides saying at the time that no deal was struck.

Mrs Ligeard has suggested that forgiving SMSP’s debt is the price Mr Germain’s party has been prepared to pay to get the pro-independence camp’s support to win the presidency.RNZI

5) New move to curb New Caledonia gun ownership

30 April 2015

The French overseas minister, George Pau-Langevin, has tabled a law proposal aimed at curbing gun ownership in New Caledonia as part of measures to modernise provisions applied in overseas territories.

No details are immediately known but Ms Pau-Langevin has told a news conference in Paris that there are far too many weapons in New Caledonia.

Previous announcements of plans to curb gun ownership have led to a massive sales boost.

In 2011, the gun law was liberalised, setting no limit to the number of weapons a person could buy if they produced an identity card, a hunting licence and a medical certificate confirming physical and mental aptitude to buy a firearm.

In 2013, the then French high commissioner Jean-Jacques Brot said sales had doubled while the local press said weapon sales had grown tenfold, amid suggestions that there were more than 100,000 rifles in circulation.

There have been several shooting incidents in New Caledonia, which a leading politician, Philippe Gomes, said had raised the territory’s armed crime rate to three times that of France.RNZI

6) More concerns in Fiji over police brutality

Updated at 7:07 am today

A citizens’ group has expressed concern over allegations of police brutality in Fiji.

The police have confirmed there are six ongoing investigations, and there are reports that one includes a senior officer.

Most of the complaints centre on a drug bust in the northern division earlier this year, where taxidrivers and farmers were allegedly beaten.

A school counsellor for that division confirmed he has counselled children who witnessed another man being beaten by police.

A Programme Manager for the Citizens Constitutional Forum, Ken Cokanasiga, says authorities need to take action.

“Do they really know what they are doing, because if we continue down this trend there’s a high risk of change, where the citizens will go look ok we don’t trust the police anymore so we won’t report such cases, because we know when they come through they will do what they like, give us brute force, assault us.”

Ken Cokanasiga says he commends the work of the Police Commissioner, Ben Groenewald, who has vowed to hold officers to account.RNZI

7a) Vanuatu Selling Honorary Citizenships To Raise Revenue
Country looks to creative ways to fund cyclone relief efforts

By Catherine Graue

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, April 30, 2015) – Vanuatu’s government is selling honorary citizenships in a scheme to top up the country’s budget, which has been heavily depleted by Cyclone Pam.

The ‘Economic rehabilitation after Pam’ initiative will sell citizenship, priced at $162,000, to 100 applicants.

George Bogiri, Vanuatu’s director general of internal affairs, told Pacific Beat the plan is “a revenue initiative in response to Cyclone Pam”.

“Cyclone Pam came along and the situation was very critical, and we had to look around and find a solution and we came up with this,” he said.

At least 11 people were killed and 96 per cent of agricultural crops wiped out when the category five storm hit the island nation.

The passport scheme was launched in Hong Kong last month, aimed at wealthy Chinese investors.

The prime minister set a quota at 100 applicants, with an increase at “the government’s discretion”.

The successful applicants would not be expected to live or work within Vanuatu.

No official applications have been received by the government, but Mr Bogiri said “we know that people are interested, and talking to agents”.

Concerns raised over controversial immigration plan

A Capital Investment Immigration Plan (CIIP) released earlier in the year to sell Vanuatu passports to Chinese citzens was met with criticism and was found to violate China’s constitution.

But Mr Bogiri said granting honorary citizenship, as opposed to the full citizenship under the CIIP, would be different.

“We understand the reaction of the people to the issues with the CIIP,” he said.

“These are the same issues we don’t want to recreate under the program we have now.”

Dr Tony Van Fossen, author of Citizenship for Sale: Passports of Convenience said he was concerned the passport plan was a quick fix.

“There are lots of reasons for them [honorary citizenships] not to exist – but if they are to exist, it would be much better if there were far greater deliberations and far greater planning,” he said.

Mr Bogiri said the government is trying not to rush the new economic rehabilitation plan.

“We try to work within the legal framework we have … the work is continuing to look at other ways we can make honorary citizenship meaningful for the applicants,” he said.

“But we’re not rushing into that yet.”

Risk of black market passport trade

Dr Van Fossen said there had been problems with honorary consuls in Asia illegally selling passports.

“In many countries in [the] Pacific there have been legal passport or citizenship sale schemes, and there has been a secondary market created for cheaper illegal sales of something that looks roughly similar to what is sold legally,” he said.

The Vanuatu passport allows holders free access to any EU country, unlike the Chinese passport.

Dr Van Fossen said if the government wanted to avoid illegal trade and encourage applicants, the price tag was too high.

“I think if they’re going to proceed with it, it would be better to reduce the price and ensure the revenues go into the central government’s files,” he said.

Radio Australia 

 

7b) Vanuatu Daily News Digest | 30 April 2015

by bobmakin

An important news item yesterday from VBTC: it seems the Labour Department has had progress in discussing the possibility of increasing the skilled labour force in Australia seasonally. Vanuatu had achieved its limit at the end of last year, but consideration has been requested in the the light of the burdensome costs associated with cyclone Pam.

The Bouffa landfill space was yesterday reported to be running near capacity.However, Daily Post was able to indicate a strong presence of the JICA experts under their J-PRISM environmental project to assist the Port Vila Municipality.

Young women are again encouraged to take the HPV vaccine after a delivery problem associated with Health Ministry restructuring. Professor Ian Frazer’s family foundation is assisting young Vanuatu women between 9 and 15 years to take the vaccine and greatly reduce cervical cancer and mouth and throat cancers. Clinics can advise.

The Auditor General John Path has pointed out to government the fact of his department being under-resourced. His office has done splendid and respected work recently and it is to be hoped he can be granted the extra staff needed. His request to have the department made an office of state surely merits serious consideration.Read more in today’s Daily Post.

8) Victims walk 70 kms with bags of rice

Posted: Wednesday, April 29, 2015 1:00 pm

By Len Garae

Victims of Cyclone Pam from Nalema Village in South Epi have to walk 50-70 kilometres from Port Quimi in North Epi, with 25kg bags of rice on their shoulders, to return to their village when there is no money to pay for transport.

Not only that but they have lost a community water tank donated to them by New Zealand, and cooking utensils which the chief claims, were stolen at Port Quimi and he calls on the NDMO to send the police after the culprits to return the stolen goods to their village.

In fact he says the cartons reached their village but without the contents.

The chief says it does not make much sense for their relief supplies to be left at Port Quimi because he points out, “Epi is a big island and it is expensive to hire trucks to travel from the South to the North to pick up our supplies. Please NDMO; any further supplies must be unloaded at Nalema to avoid a further risk of theft and expenses”.

Chief Marama says Nalema Village is located at the end of the island not far from Tongoa Island so the best way out is for a ship to drop off their supplies in their village. “It is normal for ships to drop anchor in our village and our supplies should be dropped off in the same manner”, he says.

In addition the chief says North Epi was not badly damaged by Cyclone Pam and it is not a good idea for the relief supplies to be dropped off there. “We had to pool our financial resources to hire a truck to Port Quimi School to collect our rice but when we got there, some of the rice was already stolen”.

With no money to hire a boat or truck to return home, the chief says his people walked for 70 kilometres with their bags of rice on their shoulders to reach home.

The chief also appeals to all politicians not to interfere in the work of the NDMO, a concern which the Prime Minister’s Office wishes to assure the country of saying the NDMO Team is going a great job with transparency to make sure no political interference is involved.Vanuatu Daily Post

POLYNESIA

9) Workshops Raise Awareness Of Cyber Crime In Tonga
EU, Council Of Europe fund criminal justice professional trainings


NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, April 30, 2015) – Tongans working in the judicial system are being made aware of cyber threats and the risks associated with the use of the internet, where cyber criminals can exploit the unwary public.

Steven David Brown, a Project Manager for the Council of Europe’s GLACY Project and one of three trainers running workshops in Tonga this week, said the potential for harm caused by criminals who exploit the many advantages of the digital age must be met by a criminal justice system equipped with the right legislation, skills and tools for the job.

Tonga’s foresight and recognition in building such resources will help protect its people now and in the future, he said.

The series of workshops in Cybercrime and Electronic Evidence Training are being held in Nuku’alofa to assist criminal justice professionals, from 24 April to 1 May.

They are organised by the Council of Europe within the framework of a Global Action on Cybercrime (GLACY) Project with the Tonga’s Attorney General’s Office. The workshops include Judicial Introductory Training, First Responder Course of Law Enforcement, Workshop on Interagency Cooperation and Workshop on Setting up a Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT).

The Acting Attorney General and Director of Public Prosecutions ‘Aminiasi Kefu said the Tongan Government is grateful to the EU and the Council of Europe for allowing the GLACY Project to provide Tonga with these useful and timely training, especially soon after Tonga’s connection to the Southern Cross submarine fibre optic cable.

“After the training, the Tongan officials and private operators will surely be more aware and prepared to protect the Tongan people from cyber threats and risks and to bring cyber criminals to justice,” he said.

Convention

In November 2013, the Tongan Government submitted its intention to accede to the Council of Europe’s Budapest Convention on Cybercrime.

In October 2014, Tonga was officially invited by the Council of Europe to accede to the Budapest Convention of Cybercrime. As a result of this invitation, Tonga has been considered a priority country under this project to prepare before its accession to the convention.

GLACY Project is a joint project of the EU and Council of Europe aimed at enabling criminal justice authorities to engage in international cooperation on cybercrime and electronic evidence on the basis of the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime.

Matangi Tonga Magazine

10) Am. Samoa Senator Calls For Minimum Wage Hike
Galea‘i pushes $7.50 per hour in all industries

By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (The Samoa News, April 30, 2015) – Declaring that he is an “advocate of labor”, Sen. Galea’i M. Tu’ufuli says the minimum wage should be raised to at least $7.50 per hour for all local industry categories and that he would like to see minimum wages for American Samoa set locally — through the appropriate legislation at the Fono.

Galea’i, who called a news conference last week to discuss several issues, was asked for his view on the next minimum wage hike, and he responded, “I’m an advocate of labor. I’ve always been an advocate of labor.”

He also believes that there should be one minimum wage for all 18 industry categories in American Samoa.

“I support the minimum wage. If the middle class is given some kind of [wage] increase, that increases their buying power,” he said.

The senator also says that when people go to stores and restaurants where they notice price increases, nobody says anything about it “because we don’t have a price control board. And yet, a slight increase mentioned by the federal government — people go hey-wire.”

“I say that by giving the people the buying power to buy what they want, it helps the economy too, because that money stays here,” he said.

Galea’i acknowledged that the canneries would have concerns over increases, however, he said, “the canneries have been here for so long. They have taken everything out of the workers except their skin. Even their hearts are gone and their brains are gone, because of they way they were treated the last 30 plus years.”

He said it’s about time that the canneries face the facts and pay these workers the right amount of money. “The canneries are not going anywhere. They like it here,” he said and stressed that the local labor force should get wage hikes in order for them to afford to buy things for their children, their families.

And with the government raising taxes, Galea’i said it’s appropriate for the minimum wage to be increased.

“The government is raising fees and taxes. How can you balance out the equation? If you raise the cost of living, the poor [working] man has to find a way to increase his salary, instead of going out and stealing things,” he said.

“So I pray for the day that the federal government says — $7.50 per hour will be the minimum wage in American Samoa. I pray for that day — $7.50 across the board for everyone no matter the industry you’re in,” he told reporters, adding that the federal minimum wage in the U.S. is already above $7 and there are cities with a higher minimum wage.

Galea’i revealed that he has asked Congresswoman Aumua Amata to start thinking of introducing federal legislation to allow American Samoa to set its own minimum wage. “That way it’s easy for us to look at our economy and other contributing factors to set the minimums instead of depending on a [federal] labor board to come here to set the minimum wage,” he said.

Before the 2007 federal law that sets American Samoa’s minimum wage, a U.S. Department of Labor appointed board would come to the territory every two years to hold meetings and set minimum wages in accordance with local economic conditions. Three of the board members were local residents while 6 were from off island.

Galea’i said he was a member of the board in the past and “they are terrible, they’re anti labor” — referring to the labor board. He recalled one year, the board raised the minimum wage 2 cents, 3 cents and 5 cents per hour for some local industries.

Asked how he plans to set up local minimum wage, Galea’i said the Fono can create a board by law to have this done, or the Fono can set the minimum wage through legislation following appropriate public hearings.

American Samoa is the only U.S. jurisdiction with 18 different industries with different minimum wages. The lowest minimum wage category is $4.18 per hour in the garment manufacturing industry, while the highest is $5.59 in the Stevedoring, Lighterage and Maritime Shipping Agency activities.

The canneries minimum wage stands at $4.76 while the minimum wage for government employees is $4.41 per hour. The next 50-cent wage increase for all industries is set for Sept. 30, 2015 after being postponed from 2009.

A complete list of American Samoa’s minimum wages for the 18 different industries and other information is available at www.dol.gov

Samoa News should point out that Galea’i stated during the news conference last week that he not running for political office, but he was looking for “one honest man” to run — while at the same time noting he was still a supporter of Gov. Lolo M. Moliga.

The Samoa News

11) Wage increase would stem Cooks population loss – union

29 April 2015

A Cook Islands trade union leader says if the government is serious about overcoming depopulation it must increase public servants’ wages.

The Cook Islands Workers Association’s Anthony Turua says there have been no adjustments in the past 8 years and public servants have lost as much as 24 percent of their buying power.

He says claims by the financial secretary, Richard Neves, that the country cannot afford a cost of living adjustment ring hollow when a lot of infrastructure work is being undertaken.

Mr Turua says if the Cooks is to retain its people it must pay them a decent wage and provide them with a decent living.

“Already we have got a crisis in terms of our depopulation. So why they are leaving? – it is purely because of the remuneration.”

Anthony Turua/RNZI

MICRONESIA

12) FBI joins CNMI investigation into security guard’s homicide

30 April 2015

The FBI became involved because a firearm was used in the homicide James Patrick Deleon Guerrero.

The Department of Public Safety Commissioner says the autopsy showed that Deleon Guerrero died of a gunshot wound to the right side of his chest.

The late security guard is the police chief’s cousin.

Deleon Guerrero was on duty at Royal Poker in Afetnas Tuesday last week when a masked man entered and shot him with a handgun.

Sources say police are pursuing “good leads” on the identity of the masked gunman.RNZI

13) U.S., Japan Defense Chiefs Confirm Marines Transfer To Guam
5,000 troops to relocate from Okinawa to Guam


By Gaynor Dumat-ol Daleno

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, April 29, 2015) – U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and his Japanese counterpart, Minister of Defense Gen Nakatani, announced yesterday in New York they’re steadily implementing the relocation of U.S. Marine troops from Okinawa to Guam and other locations outside Japan, the U.S. State Department announced.

Carter and Nakatani and the foreign affairs heads of the two countries made the announcement as they reached new defense guidelines to broaden their cooperation from regional to global, the Defense Department announced.

The world has changed much since 18 years ago, Carter stated in a video of the announcement released by the Pentagon.

Defense Department Media Activity reporter Jim Garamone, in an exclusive interview with Nakatani, quotes the Japan defense minister as having said: “The scope of our cooperation will also include new strategic areas such as space and cyberspace.”

Nakatani sees more exercises between the Air Self-Defense Force, the U.S. Air Force and the Australian Air Force, in addition to U.S.-Japan air defense exercises off Guam and Australia, Defense Department Media Activity reports.

Japan is paying $3 billion of the $8.6 billion tab to move about 5,000 Marines and their estimated 1,300 dependents from Okinawa to a base that will be built on Guam. U.S. Marines are also being moved out of Okinawa to Australia and Hawaii, the Defense Department has previously stated.

Guam Delegate Madeleine Bordallo states in a press release she believes that continued efforts to improve military training ranges in the Marianas region will be an important aspect of joint training and cooperation between the United States and Japan.

Proposed military live-fire training ranges in the Marianas include one on Guam within Andersen Air Force Base’s fence. Public access to a portion of the wildlife refuge at Ritidian could be limited during live-fire training because of the need to establish a safety buffer zone, Pacific Daily News files show.

Military live-fire training ranges also are proposed on the island of Tinian, where two-thirds of the island’s land is covered by a U.S. military lease for up to 100 years, and on the volcanic island of Pagan. Tinian and Pagan are both in the Northern Marianas.

“I support the defense guideline revisions and have sponsored a provision in this year’s defense bill that expresses the House’s support for the guideline revisions and urges the Department of Defense to fully exercise the potential of this document,” Bordallo said.

Pacific Daily News

14) Nauru Airlines To Extend Service To FSM

Airline to purchase 5th plane to service Kosrae, Pohnpei

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, April 29, 2015) – Nauru Airlines is to extend services into the Federated States of Micronesia and this has prompted it to buy a fifth plane.

Less than two years ago Nauru Airlines was operating just one jet, but on the back of the activity brought by the Australian run detention camps on Nauru, it can now support four Boeing 737 passenger jets and a freighter.

[PIR editor’s note: Nauru Airlines was formally known as Our Airlines (2006-2014) and Air Nauru (1970-2006).]

The airline’s Brisbane based chief executive, Geoff Bowmaker, says it hopes to soon start freighting fresh tuna from Kiribati and will expand the current weekly passenger service into the Marshall Islands.

“From the 12th of June we will be extending that service right across to the Federated States of Micronesia. Initially Kosrae and Pohnpei – those two ports of the FSM. So that is a fair additional amount of flying that we will be undertaking.”

Radio New Zealand International

15) US report: Chronic government corruption in Marshall Islands

By Online Editor
00:26 am GMT+12, 28/04/2015, Marshall Islands

 Prison conditions, government corruption and domestic violence are the main human rights problems in the Marshall Islands, according to the latest Human Rights Report issued Friday by the U.S. State Department.
 
“The most significant human rights problems included Spartan prison conditions, chronic government corruption, and chronic domestic violence,” said the report for 2014. “Other human rights problems included child abuse, sex trafficking, and lack of legal provisions protecting worker’s rights.”
 
The report noted that the government “initiated and successfully concluded prosecutions and punished officials who committed abuses.”
 
The human rights report follows the submission last month to the United Nations of a report on a survey showing that seven out of 10 women in the Marshall Islands experienced violence in their lives.
 
These are among issues that will be addressed next month in Geneva when Marshall Islands government officials appear for the second Universal Periodic Review of human rights in the Marshall Islands. The last Universal Periodic Review was in 2010. Foreign Minister Tony deBrum is expected to head the delegation that will present its report.
 
The State Department’s report said Majuro jail “conditions did not meet international standards” — an observation that has been in all recent U.S. Human Rights reports on the Marshall Islands. It noted that as of September, there were 35 prisoners in the jail that was built to hold 36 people.
 
The report said in 2013 the Marshall Islands Police Department acquired three acres in Laura in order to build a new prison facility.
 
But there has been no further activity on this.
 
The report observed that after about 11 months with an acting attorney general, the post was filled last August. “The office staff was young and relatively inexperienced,” the report said, but added that the office “vigorously prosecuted a fraud/bribery scandal and successfully concluded prosecutions begun earlier.”.

SOURCE: MARIANAS VARIETY/PACNEWS

AUSTRALIA

16) Indonesian authorities act ‘cruel’

Nasik Swami
Thursday, April 30, 2015

AUSTRALIAN Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop have labelled the execution of its citizens, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, by Indonesian authorities as “cruel and unnecessary”.

And of the many consequences that lay ahead of Indonesia’s decision to execute the drug row prisoners, in a statement to this newspaper, Mr Abbott yesterday confirmed the recall of his ambassador to Indonesia, Paul Grigson.

“These executions are both cruel and unnecessary; cruel because both Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran spent some decade in jail before being executed, and unnecessary, because both of these young Australians were fully rehabilitated while in prison,” Mr Abbott said.

Mr Abbott said while Indonesia went ahead with its plan to execute the prisoners despite several pleas, it wasn’t business as usual between the two countries.

“Australia respects the Indonesian system. We respect Indonesia’s sovereignty but we do deplore what’s been done and this cannot be simply business as usual.”

Mr Abbott stressed Australia’s relationship with Indonesia had suffered as a result of what had been done over the past few hours.

“Whatever people think of the death penalty, whatever people think of drug crime, the fact is that these two families have suffered an appalling tragedy and I’m sure that every Australian’s thoughts and prayers will be with those families at this time.”

Ms Bishop also confirmed that Australia had suspended all its ministerial contacts with Indonesia and would strictly review its aid to the country in May when it does its budget.

“I was in contact with the families overnight. They are in a devastating position and I understand that they will put out a statement later,” Ms Bishop said.Fijitimes

TOK PISIN

17) Australia imas respektim death penalty loa blong ol arapela kantri: Kua

Updated 29 April 2015, 15:11 AEST
Caroline Tiriman

Ol wan wan kantri imas luksave na respektim loa blong ol narapla kantri maski sopos sampla loa emi blong kilim dai ol pipal, olsem pasin em Indonesia i mekim tede long kilim tupla drug smugglers blong Australia.

Kerenga Kua, MP na Attorney General blong PNG bipo
Odio: MP na Attorney General bifo blong Papua New Guinea Kerenga Kua i toktok
Despla em toktok blong MP na Attorney General bifo blong Papua New Guinea Kerenga Kua husat ibin wok wantem gavman long kirapim tingting blong death penalty long kantri.
 
Mr Kua itok PNG isave Australia igat strongpla tingting long nolaik long death penalty, tasol emi tok Australia imas luksave tu long ol loa blong ol narapla kantri.
 
Emi mekim despla toktok bihaen long Indonesia gavman ibin sutim dai Andrew Chan na Myuran Sukumaran tede long bik moning.
 
Mr Kua i tok tu olsem  PNG igat ol bikpla heve tru long loa na oda na gavman igat rait long painim wonem kaen loa long daonim despla, na oli ting death penalty emi wanpla gutpla wei long daonim wari blong loa na oda.Radio Australia

18) Ol Kaiwe komiuniti lida long Mount Hagen i go pas long stretim sanguma heve


Updated 28 April 2015, 15:18 AEST
Sam Seke

Ol komiuniti lida long Palimp 2 council ward long Mount Hagen Rural long Wesntern Highlands i wok had long stopim pait long kamap namel long Moga Nambka Melimp traib.

Meri long Kaiwe long Mt Hagen ol i paitim na kukim skin blongen long aian, long tokwin em i wokim pasin sanguma
Piksa: Meri long Kaiwe long Mt Hagen ol i paitim na kukim skin blongen long aian, long tokwin em i wokim pasin sanguma
Odio: Paul Petrus, Western Highlands Violence Response Team Leader i toktok
Dispela i bihainim sampela lain long Kaiwe komiuniti ibin paitim nogut tupela meri na kukim skin blong tupela long tupela Sande igo pinis.
 
Dispela em long tokwin olsem tupela meri ia ibin kilim dai sampela man insait long dispela traib long sorcery oa sanguma pasin.
 
Paul Petrus, Western Highlands Violence Response Team Leader itok narapela tupela man tu ol ibin paitim tupela long ol dispela tokwin long sorcery.
 
Em i tok ol komiuniti lida ibin tokim ol pipol long dispela bung long Sunday igo pinis olsem em ino bin gat evidens or pruf long sorcery ibin kamapim dai.
 
Mr Petrus i tok ol lida i askim strong tu long ol pipol i mas stap isi taim ol i weit long glasman igo tok klia long narapela bung long Sande i kam sapos sanguma ibin kamap trutru oa nogat.
 
Mr Petrus i tok ol polis ino bin stap insait long bung we oli ibin holim long Sande igo pinis.Radio Australia

BAHASA

19) Penonton Festival Musik Australia Jadi Korban Penipuan Akomodasi Liburan


Terbit 30 April 2015, 1:38 AEST

Sejumlah rumah milik warga dijadikan objek iklan palsu menyediakan akomodasi liburan oleh pelaku penipuan yang menyasar para penggemar musik yang hendak menghadiri Festival musik di Bunbur, Australia Barat.

Keluarga Gelmi misalnya mendapati rumah mereka masuk dalam daftar rumah yang disewakan selama berlangsungnya Festival Musik Groovin Moo akhir pekan ini di salah satu situs terkenal.
 
Festival ini menyedot banyak penonton dan tiket yang disediakan panitia sebanyak 20 ribu orang telah ludes dibeli. Padahal harga tikel festival ini 3 kali lebih tinggi dari harga tiket biasa.
 
“Kami sangat terkejut dan tidak tahu bagaimana rumah kami bisa diiklankan seperti itu,”
 
Setidaknya dua kelompok orang dari Perth telah membayar ratusan dollar untuk menyewa rumah Gelmi yang memiliki 4 kamar tidur.
 
Polisi mengatakan begitu uang dikirim, penjual iklan palsu itu berhenti merespon email atau menelpon mereka.
 
Namun ketika dihubungi polisi, iklan itu sudah dihapus.
 
Gelmi mengatakan penipan ini membuat dirinya kesal sekaligus bingung.
 
“Penipu itu seperti menginvasi rumah kami, karena kami tidak tahu bagaimana orang itu bisa melakukan hal demikian dan sangat berhasil,”
 
Keluarga ini mengaku tengah bersiap menerima kedatangan orang yang menjadi korban iklan palsu tersebut.
 
“Kami terpaksa menyediakan kasur busa, bantal dan barang-barang semacam itu karena kami tidak tahu harus melakukan apa,” katanya.
 
“Mereka akan marah karena mereka tidak tahu harus tinggal dimana lagi, seluruh akomodasi di Burnbury sudah habis disewa,”
 
Koordinator Komisi Perlindungan Konsumen Australia Barat, Debbie Butler mengatakan kasus ini merupakan bentuk lain dari penipuan penyewaan dan tiket yang banyak terjadi sebelumnya.
 
“Dulunya mereka menipu dengan jalan menjual tiket palsu, tapi sekarang mereka menipu dengan menjual jasa akomodasi palsu,” katanya.
 
Butler mengatakan meski iklan palsu merupakan tindak pidana, namun ini juga merupakan PR bagi konsumen.
 
“Cobalah selalu memverifikasi penawaran mereka, identitas merkea dan apakah rumah yang disewakan itu benar-benar ada,” katanya.
 
Polisi mengatakan sering kali mereka kesulitan menangkap pelaku penipuan karena mereka berada di luar negeri.
 
“Masalahnya adalah jika transaksi itu dilakukan melalui email, maka bisa jadi pelaku berada ditengah Nigeria,” kata polisi Bunbury, sersan Laurie Seton.
 
“Satu-satunya jalan masuk yang bisa kita telusuri adalah rincian data bank yang mereka gunakan,”
 
Konsumen didorong untuk melaporkan insiden serupa kepada kepolisian setempat dan meminta ganti rugi dari bank jika transaksinya menggunakan kartu kredit.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/indonesian/2015-04-30/penonton-festival-musik-australia-jadi-korban-penipuan-akomodasi-liburan/1441812

FRENCH

20) Brèves du Pacifique – mercredi 29 avril 2015

Mis à jour 29 April 2015, 16:46 AEST
Élodie Largenton

Les droits des Aborigènes régressent en Australie, selon l’Onu.

En prenant ses fonctions en 2013, Tony Abbott s’est déclaré « Premier ministre des Affaires indigènes ». Mais aujourd’hui, sa politique envers les Aborigènes est critiquée par l’Onu. (Credit: ABC)
La remarque vient d’une rapporteuse des Nations unies, qui critique les récentes déclarations de Tony Abbott sur la fermeture de près de 150 communautés aborigènes en Australie occidentale. Le mois dernier, le Premier ministre australien a soutenu la mesure, affirmant que les contribuables ne devraient pas payer pour financer les « choix de vie » de ceux qui habitent dans des endroits très isolés. Une politique aux« relents racistes », dénonce l’Onu. Plusieurs manifestations en opposition à ces fermetures de communautés et à la politique indigène du gouvernement sont organisées, ce vendredi, en Australie.
 
Pour être Australien, il ne faut pas forcément être né en Australie, mais il faut savoir parler l’anglais. C’est ce qui ressort d’une étude sur l’identité nationale, réalisée par l’université nationale australienne. Le sondage révèle aussi que la plupart des gens ont une vision positive de la contribution des immigrés légaux, mais ils souhaitent que des mesures plus sévères soient prises contre l’immigration illégale. Les Australiens sont, par ailleurs, toujours majoritairement en faveur d’un changement de régime, mais la famille royale britannique est de plus en plus populaire. Ils sont 25% aujourd’hui à vouloir que la reine reste à la tête du pouvoir, alors qu’ils n’étaient que 15%, il y a deux ans. 

  • En Nouvelle-Zélande, du pétrole s’est déversé dans le port de Tauranga, sur environ 300 mètres. La fuite a eu lieu en début de semaine, lorsqu’un bateau s’est arrêté pour être ravitaillé en carburant. La compagnie américaine Mobil prend la responsabilité de cette pollution et annonce qu’elle paiera les travaux de nettoyage, qui doivent durer une petite semaine. Les autorités demandent aussi à la compagnie de mieux s’équiper pour éviter que cela ne se reproduise.
  • En Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée, le ministre du Tourisme a été jugé coupable de détournement de fonds. Boka Kondra a utilisé pour ses dépenses personnelles plus de 100 000 dollars de subventions destinées à la région de North Fly. Sa peine ne sera prononcée que le mois prochain.
  • La Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée, où des milliers de personnes se sont rendues à l’aéroport de Port-Moresby pour accueillir l’une des premières éditions de la Bible du roi James, qui date de 400 ans. Offerte par un Américain, cette Bible sera conservée au sein du Parlement. Entouré de nombreux responsables religieux et politiques, le Premier ministre Peter O’Neill a qualifié le livre historique de « trésor national ». Cette traduction de la Bible est celle qui a été utilisée par les missionnaires, et pour certains, l’arrivée de cet exemplaire en Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée montre que le gouvernement cherche à renforcer l’importance du christianisme aux dépends du passé tribal du pays. Radio Australia

 PASIFIK

21a) Germany Officially Ends 15-Year Kava Ban
Court finds no evidence of health risk


By Iliā L Likou

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, April 28, 2015) – It’s official. The 15-year ban on kava imposed by the German Health Authorities has been lifted.

And in Samoa this week is leading Kava Scientist and Expert, Toafia Dr. Mathias Schmidt, to deliver the message personally to the people of Samoa.

Toafia met with Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi during a cocktail held at Alaimoana last night, where his efforts in fighting the ban were acknowledged.

During a press conference yesterday, Toafia said he was pleased for Samoa.

“I’ve been working on kava for many, many years and I was always interested in the questions of ava,” he said. “Even before the kava ban came, I already did some research in Vanuatu.”

Toafia reaffirmed that the Court in Germany has found that there is no health risk in kava.

“The ban was lifted during the second court hearing in February 25th this year. The authorities had the possibility to appeal but they did not so it has become final.”

From now on, Toafia will be working on samples of kava cultivars to be analyzed in a highly specialized German laboratory for purposes of finding a generally applicable marker for the differentiation between ‘noble’ and ‘non-noble’ kava. The findings will support and strengthen the draft FAO Codex Alimentarius standard for kava being proposed by the Pacific.

This will also identify the safe kava cultivars to be included in a Standard for kava importation from the Pacific into the EU.

International Kava Executive Council (I.K.E.C) Chairman, Tagaloa Eddie Wilson, said the news is great for Samoa.

“Our kava is the best quality and we need to produce more because us and Tonga are the most relied upon countries for the best quality,” Tagaloa said.

Toafia’s visit to Samoa is part of a trip around the Pacific funded by the ACP-EU on all relevant kava cultivars from Vanuatu, Fiji, Tonga, Samoa and the Solomon Islands.

The Pacific Kava Producing countries and I.K.E.C have already engaged in preparatory arrangements for quality assurance, including the establishment of national standards for Kava and cert i f ication requirements for export of kava from the Pacific to protect the industry from export of non-noble kava, as well as import compliance protocols.

Toafia’s visit to Samoa is coordinated by Samoa Association of Manufacturers and Exporters (S.A.M.E) – which hosts the I.K.E.C head office in the Pacific.

Dr. Schmidt was officially bestowed the honorary matai title of “Toafia” from Musumusu- Fagaloa to recognise his services to Samoa and the Pacific.

The ceremony was held last Saturday at Mususu-Fagaloa.

Samoa Observer
21b) Fijians can still be part of proposals: Forum SG
By Online Editor
00:19 am GMT+12, 28/04/2015, Fiji

Fijians can still have a say on what needs to be prioritised in the region by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.
 
This despite Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama’s decision not to attend the Forum Leaders meeting scheduled to be held in Papua New Guinea later this year.
 
The Forum Secretariat says Fijians can still be part of proposals for regional action.
 
With the Pacific Island leaders adopting the Framework for Pacific Regionalism to be implemented by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, the framework will see the emphasis on inclusivity.
 
“This new approach recognises that complex regional challenges cannot be addressed solely by governments or by any one sector and that the private sector and civil society are critical to developing innovative solutions to enduring regional challenges,” the secretariat said.
 
It added: “The new process allows any individual, organisation or group in the region to put forward a proposal for regional action to address an issue of regional concern.”
 
This can see Fijians who would like to make a proposal to the forum on what needed prioritisation in the region to do so.
 
“The call for proposals will be made very shortly and anyone in the Pacific will be able to submit a proposal, including the people of Fiji and Fiji-based organisations.”
 
The secretariat confirmed that a number of Fijian citizens have also been invited to sit on the panel of experts that will provide support to the Specialist Sub-Committee on Regionalism that has been established as a key advisory mechanism under the framework.

SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

22) Forum Secretariat Won’t Comment On Calls To Relocate
Decision to be left to leaders themselves, Secretariat won’t weigh in


By Vuniwaqa Bola-Bari

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, April 29, 2015) – The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat will not comment on calls made by Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi to relocate the secretariat headquarters out of Fiji.

This is the second time since 2009 for Samoa to push for the relocation of the secretariat out of Fiji.

Mr Malielegaoi’s comments have again come in light of Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama’s comments that Fiji would not attend the forum and neither would he join the forum leaders meeting unless Australia and New Zealand leave the forum.

“Our position is that the discussions happening at the moment are between leaders themselves and the secretariat does not comment on those matters that leaders have stated,” the secretariat said.

The Samoan Observer reported that Mr Malielegaoi wanted to take this up again at the forum leaders meeting in Papua New Guinea later this year.

PACNEWS reported Mr Bainimarama as saying that for the past six to seven years, “no one cared much about Fiji joining PIF”. “Everyone’s jumping up and down for nothing. We will stay away until things change in the composition of PIF,” Mr Bainimarama had said.

“PIF will continue this year and years to follow with or without Fiji. All we are saying is that Australia and New Zealand should remain funders but not be part of PIF because they bring in a lot of influence with their dollars when their agenda is totally against that of the Pacific Island nations.”

Mr Bainimarama’s comments are in line with the finding of former PNG PM Sir Mekere Morauta where he highlighted that nations who give aiding grants to Pacific Island countries are those that influence a lot of decisions made by leaders in the Pacific when they conducted a review of the Pacific Plan.

[PIR editor’s note: Fiji Times reported that ‘The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat’s sub-committee looking after regionalism is calling for submissions on regional initiatives. … This means that anyone can make a proposal on what they feel should be prioritised by the forum at regional level. … PIFS secretary-general Dame Meg Taylor said the committee’s work was the beginning of an historical process for the region. … “Because it allows people of the Pacific to put through their own submissions on what they think leaders should be focusing on as regional priorities,” Dame Taylor said. … The new framework for Pacific regionalism was the result of the review of the Pacific Plan, which now sought to strengthen co-operation and integration in the Pacific region.’]

Fiji Times Online.

23) Regional initiatives sought by Forum body

By Online Editor
00:16 am GMT+12, 28/04/2015, Fiji

A committee set up by Pacific Forum leaders to encourage inclusivity and to foster regional initiatives is open for business.

The eight-member Specialist Subcommittee on Regionalism, set up on 13 April this year, is now calling for submissions on regional initiatives.

Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, and chairman of the committee, Dame Meg Taylor, said the committee’s work was the “beginning of an historical process for the region — because it allows people of the Pacific to put through their own submissions on what they think Leaders should be focusing on as regional priorities.”

The new framework for Pacific regionalism grew out of the Pacific Plan and seeks to strengthen co-operation and integration in the Pacific region. Its specialist subcommittee, as part of its mandate to implement the new framework, also encouraged multi-sectoral partnerships and opened up more inclusively to the private sector and to civil society

Secretary General Taylor of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, which implements the mandates of Pacific leaders, said “the Sub-committee’s work represents a shift in the development paradigm and is vital in shaping the future Pacific regional agenda. This committee is tasked with identifying truly game-changing initiatives to transform the region, which will be put to Leaders for their consideration”.

She asserted the calls for regional initiatives will remain open for seven weeks: “Proposals or initiatives should be pitched at the regional level, that is, issues that we as a collective group can best respond to.” she added.

All proposals received for regional initiatives will be available on the Forum’s website: www.forumsec.org.
 
The eight members of the Specialist Sub Committee are: Melanesia, Leonard Louma (PNG), Micronesia, Gustav Aitaro (Palau), Polynesia, Lopeti Senituli (Tonga), Australia, John Davidson (Australia), Smaller Island States, Teresa Manarangi-Trott (Cook Islands), Civil Society, William Kostka (FSM), Private Sector, Peter Kiely (NZ), Chair, Dame Meg Taylor (PIFS).

SOURCE: PIFS/PACNEWS

By Online Editor

24) Forum will miss Fiji
By Online Editor
11:14 pm GMT+12, 28/04/2015, Fiji

A country has the sovereign right to decide whether to participate or not in a regional political organisation, such as the forum.

The Forum Secretariat made these comments in light of Fiji’s non-participation in the forum, which emerged after Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama maintained his stance not to attend the forum unless Australia and New Zealand leave the forum.

 Bainimarama made this known in an interview with a local media a fortnight ago.

“But by deciding not to participate in the Forum, the Fiji Government takes itself out of that decision-making body, missing out on an important opportunity to influence the political level discussions that are setting the course for how Pacific countries can work with each other to advance regional ambitions for sustainable development, economic growth, strengthened governance and security development,” the Forum Secretariat said.

“And of course, the forum misses out on the particular perspectives and experience of Fiji, which up until recent times, played such a dynamic role in the forum. Fiji had been an active and respected member of the forum, as would be expected of a founding member.”

With the Framework for Pacific Regionalism, not attending the Pacific Leaders meet in PNG would see Fiji miss out “on game-changing policies and initiatives that will help to make the Pacific a better place”.

The Secretariat says: “As set out in the Framework for Pacific Regionalism, leaders believe that the Pacific should be a place where Pacific people can lead free, healthy and productive lives and they have committed to working together to address common challenges and ensure the Pacific advances in a way which brings practical benefits to all Pacific people.

“Forum leaders have committed to pursuing ‘deeper regionalism’ which will help increase market opportunities, improve service delivery, and ensure good governance for Pacific people.”

SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

25) War of words should not affect relations: Politics expert

By Online Editor
11:16 pm GMT+12, 28/04/2015, Fiji

Fiji and Samoa’s bilateral relations should not be affected by the war of words between the leaders of the two nations says politics expert, USP’s Director of Politics and International Affairs Programme, Dr Sandra Tarte.
 
Tarte says the exchange of words is not new. They go back as far as December 2006 after Fiji was banned from the Pacific Islands Forum for the coup.
 
According to politics expert, despite the tension, Fiji and Samoa can still work together on some levels.
 
“At the Leader’s level, things may not seem so good. I think that you will find that at other level they work together and that is the case also at the United Nations – our country’s submission there, they worked together. Fiji supported Samoa in being the host for the UN Simmit on the Small islands developing states and Samoa supported Fiji in the G77. They do work together. This kind of outbursts is unfortunate.”
 
In the latest exchange, Prime Minister Bainimarama says he will not attend Pacific Island Leaders Forum in Papua New Guinea in September unless the membership changes.
 
He says NZ and Australia should not be members as they provide financial assistance to member countries and have their own agenda.
 
Meanwhile, Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi has now openly admitted he wants the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat moved from Suva to Apia.
 
This is the first time that he has come out publicly to declare his desire since a series of exchanges with Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.
 
Bainimarama said he was not surprised at all with Tuilaepa’s call.
 
He said: “He has always been trying to shift the PIF Secretariat to Apia.
 
“That’s why he has been attacking Fiji,” Bainimarama told the Fiji Sun
 
Tuilaepa said he wanted the issue to be discussed in Papua New Guinea at the Forum meeting in September, according to a Samoa Observer report.  
 
Bainimarama said it was up to PIF members to decide whether to move the Secretariat or not.
 
This is the second round of recent exchanges between the two leaders.

SOURCE: FBC/FIJI SUN/PACNEWS

WORLD

26) 8 executed, lone lady spared

News.Com.Au
Thursday, April 30, 2015

IT was the cruellest end to an altogether ghastly process.

The families of eight prisoners executed in Indonesia, including Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, were forced to listen as the gunshots rang out.

A marquee set up for the loved ones of the condemned was set up at the opposite end of Nusakambangan Island and far away from the killing ground. But it was not far enough.

Witnesses say families and supporters were left even more distraught as the executioners opened fire.

It took a further 27 agonising minutes for the grim outcome to be confirmed: all eight were dead.

Mercifully, the families of Chan and Sukumaran were not among those to overhear the gunfire, having opted to leave the island after saying their final goodbyes earlier in the day.

Present was the pair’s Australian lawyer Julian McMahon and Australia’s consul to Bali Majell Hind. The families of Indonesian prisoner Zaenal Abidin and the three Nigerian prisoners were also there.

Earlier, they were pictured sobbing, hugging and holding their heads in their hands.

Sukumaran’s mother Raji broke down as she told gathered media earlier in the day: “I just had to say goodbye to my son and I won’t see him again.”

His sister Brintha, on the verge of collapse, had to be supported as she wailed: “Please don’t take my brother from me, please, please.”

Sukumaran’s family in the UK were last night “devastated” as they searched the internet for news of their loved one’s fate.

Speaking just moments before first reports emerged confirming he and Chan had been executed, his cousin Niranjela Karunatilake said the family were struggling and “not great”.

“We’re devastated, we feel quite helpless here, we obviously just want to be with the family there at this time,” she told News Corp Australia. “Its hard at the moment it really is.”

Chan and Sukumaran spent their final day supporting the seven others who were to die with them. Filipina Mary Jane Veloso was eventually granted an eleventh-hour reprieve.

27) Baltimore braces for more protests

Afp
Thursday, April 30, 2015

BALTIMORE – National Guard troops have been deployed to prevent another night of violence in Baltimore as President Barack Obama warned recent incidents “raise troubling questions” about the policing of black communities.

Violence and looting erupted in Baltimore on Monday night after the funeral of 25-year-old African-American man Freddie Gray, who died after suffering severe spinal injuries during a police arrest.

On Tuesday, protest marches and sporadic, low-level confrontations continued, but there was no initial sign of a return to widespread violence as an overnight curfew approached.

Mr Obama condemned the rioting, but also said a series of recent incidents — beginning last year with the police shooting of an unarmed black teenager in Missouri was worrying.

“Since Ferguson … we have seen too many instances of what appears to be police officers interacting with individuals primarily African American, often poor in ways that raise troubling questions,” the president said.

Mr Obama expressed sympathy for civil rights leaders and protesters as well as for police on the front line of demonstrations and said America needed to address the strained ties between officers and blacks.

He said it was essential that “we don’t just pay attention to these communities when a CVS (store) burns. And we don’t just pay attention when a young man gets shot or has his spine snapped.”

HEALTH


28) Vanuatu records first case of rare mosquito-borne zika virus
By Online Editor
11:13 pm GMT+12, 28/04/2015, Vanuatu

Vanuatu health officials have for the first time confirmed cases of the rare mosquito-borne zika virus.

Zika is the “milder brother” of dengue fever, head of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Vanuatu Jacob Kool said.

The two illnesses share similar symptoms of fever, aching joints and rash.

Although there were no recorded deaths from zika, health officials warned it can cause “very explosive outbreaks”.

Like dengue fever, there is no cure for the zika virus.

The WHO advises prevention through using mosquito nets, protective clothing and insect repellent and removing breeding sites.

Dr Kool told ABC’s Pacific Beat removing sites was “going to be very challenging” following the devastation caused by Cyclone Pam, which killed at least 11 people last month.

“Breeding sites could be any cracked coconut, for example, and there’s a lot of debris like that — things that collect water where mosquitoes can breed,” he said.

Zika was first discovered in 1947 in Rhesus Monkeys in Uganda’s Zika forest.

“Zika is a very strange story … it had caused only about 20 known human cases until 2007, when there was suddenly 6,000 cases on the island of Yap in the North Pacific,” Dr Kool said.

The symptoms usually last four to seven days.

The mild symptoms and similarity to other illnesses may have been the reason for the low number of confirmed cases.

“In hindsight, we think zika has always been confused for dengue in many countries,” Dr Kool said.

“So zika virus may have been around and always misdiagnosed for dengue.”

In the aftermath of Cyclone Pam, medical teams reported several cases of pink eye to the WHO.

“Pink eye, or red eye, is also a common symptom of zika virus. So I wouldn’t be surprised if those cases were zika virus as well,” Dr Kool said.

SOURCE: RADIO AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS

EDUCATION

29) Solomons School Fees To Be Brought Back In Line
Many schools increased fees without Ministry approval

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation, April 29, 2015) – The Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development will be instructing schools to impose the right level of school fees for students as of this year.

Announcing the fee free basic education in Parliament on Monday, Minister for Education Dr. Derek Sikua said, most school fees have increased without the approval of the Ministry of Education.

He said the Ministry will be instructing schools the right amount of school fees be charged especially in the upper levels.

“Most of these school fees have been increased or have been charged over the years without the prior approval of the Minister or the Ministry of Education Mr Speaker Sir, so we’ll be looking at that as well and will be instructing schools on what the correct levels of fees would be if the fees need to be charged firstly, at the upper levels Mr Speaker Sir.”

Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation

30) CALLS FOR ABG TO PAY TEACHERS TRAINING FEES
BY JENNIFER NKUI

A Bougainvillean lecturer at the Callan Studies National Institute is calling on the Autonomous Bougainville Government to start taking into account education and teachers training because it is the children of Bougainville who will benefit when teachers acquire more knowledge through trainings.
As one of the lecturers facilitating the Applied Diploma in Special Education training for the first time in Bougainville, Everlyn Mosanga pointed out that it is true that most of the participants have paid their own fees to attend such trainings but the knowledge acquired will benefit all the children in the class.
She told New dawn Fm in an interview that it is also true that the trainings is being conducted during class time and the teachers will be missing two weeks of classes but that would not count as a loss because the knowledge acquired will definitely be implemented by the teachers in their respective schools and in the end the schools will get a good name as a result of the performance of the students.
Therefore Ms. Mosanga is appealing to the Bougainville government to acknowledge what Callan Studies National Institute is doing and help those teachers attending this training by paying their fees.
She said the teachers are teaching and educating the children who are the future of Bougainville so the government should have a heart for these teachers.
She would like also to thank the Bougainville education division for acknowledging what they are doing by releasing the teachers who are now undergoing this training because the education division has seen that schools in Bougainville need such training.
29/4/15 DawnFM -Buka/Autonoumous Bougainville.

31) SPECIAL AND INCLUSIVE EDUCATION TRAINING UNDERWAY
BY JENNIFER NKUI

Twenty selected primary school teachers right across the Autonomous region are undergoing a two weeks training on Special and Inclusive Education.
This training which is being facilitated by two lecturers from the Callan Studies National Institute is currently underway at the Uni-Centre Conference Room at Kubu in Buka, North Bougainville.
Callan Studies National Institute according to lecturers Everlyn Mosanga and Phyllis Amos is an institution that looks after special and inclusive education in the country and it caters for all teachers who are already teaching in the classroom and teaching children with special needs.
As one of the senior lecturers, Ms. Mosanga explained that as lecturers, they are expected to conduct trainings, hold in-service and workshops and most of all they teach Applied Diploma Programme throughout the country using those teachers already in the classrooms.
She said the institute has seen a big need for teachers to take these trainings in order for them to take care of children who need special help with their learning.
This Applied Diploma in Special Education training which started on Monday is the first of its kind to be held in Bougainville and as revealed by lecturer Mosanga this is the first training in which the participants have covered the first unit with seven more units to be covered before they can earn their Applied Diploma in Special Education.
She said this is a residential session and will continue on for two years and after attaining their Diploma, the teachers can also continue up to get their degree in Special Education.
Meanwhile most of the participants have shown great interest in this training and most of them have revealed that even though they have attended other trainings, they were still searching for answers to really help the children in the classrooms.
The Applied Diploma in Special Education Training will end next week Friday.
29/4/15 DawnFM -Buka/Autonoumous Bougainville.

32) School fee exemption in the pipeline

Posted: Wednesday, April 29, 2015 1:00 pm

Compiled by Glenda Willie

The Ministry of Education and Training calls on all school management, principals and head teachers not to use outstanding school fees as an excuse to send their students home.

The appeal is part of the government’s plan in addressing the impacts left behind by Tropical Cyclone Pam.

Director of Education Services, Roy Obed, said the government is working on a paper to go before the Parliament immediately to address the issue of school fee exemption.

He added, “If any school management or principal has sent out students due to unpaid fees, they are asked to refrain from it and recall their students”.

Director Obed also said that if any school management or principal has any issues with regards to unpaid fees are advised to discuss the issue with the Ministry of Education and Training.

Many people in the rural areas of Shefa Province and Tafea Province that depend on income from agricultural produce to pay for their children’s school fees were badly affected by the cyclone recently.

Already the gardens are beginning to recover but it will take months for food or cash crops planted after the cyclone will mature.

glenda@dailypost.vu

POLITIC

33) PNG registrar of political parties defends push for more women representation
By Online Editor
11:11 pm GMT+12, 28/04/2015, Papua New Guinea

The Registrar of Papua New Guinea Political Parties Alphonse Gelu has defended the push for political parties to have more women candidates in national elections.

He said that the move to endorse at least 10 per cent of candidates as women was not out of proportion and “non-progressive” as claimed by former attorney-general Kerenga Kua.

“This is an assumption by Kua because that was not what the registry had in mind when we decided to include that provision in the revised OLIPPAC.  Kua has taken this issue out of proportion and should at least consult the registry before going out and making public statements,” Gelu said.

He said that the registry had never in any point in time assumed that “women suffer some form of disability by virtue of their sex which would require affirmative action.

“These are the words from Kua and not from me as the Registrar of Political Parties. In democracies where they have successfully rolled out affirmative action, they did not come up with the policy because they see their women as suffering from some disability because of their sex. He said the policy is positive for women”.

Meanwhile, political parties are important players within a democracy and as such should be seen as promoting democracy and its ideals.

Registrar of Political Parties Alphonse Gelu said this when commenting on the provision in the Revised Organic Law on Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates (OLIPPAC) about political parties endorsing 10 per cent women candidates out of the total number of candidates in national elections.

“One way is to make political parties inclusive rather than being exclusive institutions,” Dr Gelu said.

“Political parties have had a history of endorsing women candidates. It is nothing new but they did it without any legislation requiring them to do that. It was the inconsistencies in endorsing female candidates that contributed to the registry including that provision.

“The provision in the revised OLIPPAC may not see more women entering into Parliament but a platform is available to give them that opportunity.

“The registry applauds the achievements of the three women MPs and agrees that women should not be given preferential treatment.

“But is three women MPs enough? We can continue with this scenario for some time and turn a blind eye to the calls by our women that opportunities should be given to them.

The registry is only responding to this call by making available a platform that would at least give the women some opportunities to enter into politics.

“The Registry took the stand without in any way branding women as having some form of disability because of their sex.

“The Registry would also appreciate if leaders can drop in and have a chat with the Registrar before going public with thier assumptions that would only mislead the public.

“The intentions and thinking of the Registry is wnoble and should not be branded in any way by individuals who do not appreciate the environment that we live in,” he said.

Gelu said the registry is also looking at other options to promote women in politics in which one is to look at a voting system that would also make it possible for more women to enter Parliament.

“A study initiated by the Registry in conjunction with the National Research Institute is near completion and it is becoming clearer from the study that there are voting systems that can promote political parties and at the same time for the political parties to select more women to represent them in Parliament.

“Putting your hands up to contest an election is already a big step for a woman candidate,” he said.

He said this when expressing his concern over comments made by Minister for religion, youth and community development Delilah Gore on the provisions in the Revised Organic Law on the integrity of Political Parties and Candidates that address the plight of women candidates during national elections.

He told the Post Courier that it takes courage and guts for women candidates to get themselves in as candidates in a male dominated game. “Minister Gore fails to understand the reality of Papua New Guinea politics.

“Laws are made to address specific situations in any society; in our case we included that provision to address the plight of women candidates in PNG who with some possessing good qualities as leaders but finds it tough to make a break through.

It is even a surprise to Dr Gelu to see this comment coming from a woman leader who should be supporting initiatives such as this instead of misleading the public on the noble intentions of the provision.

According to Dr Gelu, Minister Gore made it in the 2012 election and we (both men and women) are proud of her achievement but let us give opportunity to other women as well.

“From the comments from Minister Gore, it is obvious that women are their own worst enemy.

“Women should be supporting and not branding each other as lacking in certain qualities.

“Let the people be the judge.”

Gelu said the comments by Gore will not change the position of the Registry on what it intends to promote and give equal opportunity to women.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

34) Solomons Needs Broad, Non-Discriminatory Investment Policy: PM

Sogavare calls on Parliament to enact clear, competitive incentive regime

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation, April 28, 2015) – Solomon Islands needs a broad investment policy to boost investment in its potential investment sectors.

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare made the statement during his contribution to debate the current Solomon Islands Trade Policy Frame Work report in Parliament today.

Prime Sogavare says this ideal investment policy should also be automatic and none discriminatory to any investor.

“But an ideal system Mr. Speaker is one that can apply to a broad range of activities and can be written in our tax laws and regulations that are automatic and non-discriminatory. In other words, Mr. Speaker the system must target sectoral investments, not a preferred investor in a particular sector.”

Mr Sogavare adds this is crucial to enable Solomon Islands to be more internationally competitive in its investment aspirations.

“What is effectively suggested here Mr. Speaker is an incentive regime that is clear, easily understood where there are clearly defined set of rules that allow investors to forward plan and compare Solomon Islands with other countries.”

Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation

35) Fiji Opposition MP charged
By Online Editor
11:33 pm GMT+12, 28/04/2015, Fiji

Fiji’s opposition in parliament is reporting that one of their own MP has been charged by Fiji’s anti-graft commission and will be appearing in court today.

They have named the MP as Ratu Isoa Tikoca, who is also the opposition whip.

Ratu Isoa is a member of the Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA).

Details of the charges have not been disclosed.

Meanwhile, it’s been worth the wait for unionist and former teacher Mikaele Leawere.

The Fijian Electoral Commission has now confirmed him as the new Member of Parliament, replacing the late Ratu Viliame Tagivetaua, of the Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) who died after a short illness, early last month.

Leawere was looking forward to Parliament next week, where he will be sworn in.

Leader of Opposition, Ro Teimumu Kepa said that they had been concerned about identifying their newest member, so Tuesday was the completion of a journey they were now thankful for.

“We are thankful that we have come to this point whereby he is announced the new Member of Parliament. So we are happy that he’s now able to join us.”

It’s understood Leawere has submitted his resignation from the Fijian Teachers Association (FTA), where he works as a senior officer.

SOURCE: ISLANDS BUSINESS/ FIJI SUN/PACNEWS

MEDIA

36) MEDIA ORGANISATIONS SIGN MEDIACODE OF CONDUCT
BY JENNIFER NKUI

Following the announcement of the start of a media accreditation process for the coverage of the 2015 elections on Monday, media organizations in Bougainville were also asked to complete the Media Accreditation form and sign also the Media Code of Conduct for election reporting.
The signing of the Media Code of Conduct which took place today at the Bougainville Electoral Commission Office saw representatives from New Dawn Fm, Post Courier, NBC Bougainville, Radio Ples Lain, Kundu 2 and EM TV sign the Media Code of Conduct in the presence of the acting electoral commissioner for Bougainville George Manu.
Speaking before the signing of the Media Code of Conduct for election reporting, Mr. Manu stressed that what the media organizations are involved in is a new concept introduced to ensure that the media sees the acting electoral commissioner and his office as part of the team in delivering this election.
He then stressed that under this Media Code of Conduct, all journalists and media organizations are expected to do their reporting during the elections according to the media Code of Conduct as it specifically states what the media should do when covering the elections.
However, the possibility of course according to the acting electoral commissioner is that the media does not interfere with his election process.
At the conclusion of the short but significant accreditation ceremony, Mr. Manu demonstrated to all the media representatives present the advanced security features of the ballot papers that will be used in the 2015 Bougainville General Election.
This advanced security features as explained and demonstrated by the acting electoral commissioner does not allow for photocopies to be made of the original ballot papers.
He said all the ballot papers that will be used during the election have the Bougainville Crest printed into them and photocopies can be clearly picked out by holding a UV light above the ballot paper.
29/4/15 DawnFM -Buka/Autonoumous Bougainville.

37) MEDIA TRAINING ON ELECTION COVERAGE
BY JENNIFER NKUI

Media officers or journalists from media organizations in Bougainville will be undergoing a training tomorrow in preparation for the 2015 ABG General Election.
This one day media training on election coverage will be facilitated and conducted by the United Nations Development programme and all media organizations are invited to attend this training.
This training will be held at the UN office in Buka town.
Participants are expected to arrive for the training at 9am Bougainville Standard Time.
29/4/15 DawnFM -Buka/Autonoumous Bougainville.

38) Radio Kiribati Editor sacked over ‘unbalanced’ reporting ( Micronesia )
By Online Editor
11:26 pm GMT+12, 28/04/2015, Kiribati

The Broadcasting and Publications Authority (BPA) in Kiribati says Radio Kiribati’s editor was sacked because of her reporting of the death penalty bill.

Aneta Moote was fired after Radio Kiribati rebroadcast a story from Radio New Zealand International, which said President, Anote Tong supported the bill.

The Kiribati Indepedent has reported that following public criticism of the Bill, the government back-tracked on its support and was embarrased by the Radio Kiribati story.

But the BPA chairman, Bootii Nauan, says Moote was not fired because of reporting which reflected negatively on the government, but because the story was incomplete and unbalanced.

“Three weeks or four weeks before that, the President gave a press release on the issue. Everything the President mentioned was not reflected in the news broadcasted at that time.”

Nauan says the BPA does not place any restrictions on what its reporters can cover.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

39) Twitter becomes victim of social media as profit results released early

Updated 29 April 2015, 17:00 AEST

By AM business editor Peter Ryan

Twitter becomes a victim of its own technology after its profit results are accidentally released and disseminated via the social media platform.

The social media company’s stock fell as much as 26 per cent at one point after its first quarter earnings results were posted prematurely onTwitter’s investor relations website.

The costly error was detected by data mining company Selerity, which promptly circulated the documents and even posted them on Twitter.

The viral nature of the inadvertent posting sent investors into a spin after Twitter’s first quarter profit came in well short of estimates and its second quarter earnings guidance was downgraded.

The incident is now the latest case study in the perils of social media and its ability to spook investors and to move markets.

Twitter shares dropped by 6 per cent before trading was suspended and another 18 per cent when trading resumed.

The confusion allowed traders or algorithms following Selerity’s tweets to react in split seconds to get an edge over other investors.

A Twitter spokeswoman confirmed the earnings announcement has been “prematurely disclosed” and that investigations into how that occurred are underway.

“We asked the New York Stock Exchange to halt trading once we discovered our Q1 [first quarter] numbers were out and we published our results as soon as possible thereafter,” an investor teleconference was told.

“Selerity who provided the initial tweets with our results informed us the earnings release was available and on our investor relations site before the close of market.

“We explicitly instructed them not to release our results until the market closed and only upon our specific instructions.”

Twitter was scheduled to release the earnings results after the New York Stock Exchange closed for the day (4:00pm US eastern time) to allow investors to assess the details and to avoid a kneejerk reaction.

Twitter misses revenue targets, widens loss

The results show that, while Twitter’s revenue of $US436 million was up 74 per cent year-on-year, it was below market forecasts.

It also reported a net loss of $US162 million, worse than last year’s loss of $US132.4 million.

But investors appeared shocked when Twitter downgraded its revenue forecasts to be between $US2.17 billion to $US2.27 billion, which is lower than the range forecast in December.

“We underperformed against our expectations. We anticipate the factors that affected our first quarter result which also affect our 2015 guidance,” chief executive Dick Costolo told investors.

“While I’m disappointed we didn’t continue to exceed expectations on revenue, I am proud of the team’s focus, innovation and energy around the way we manage the business in light of the shortfall.”

Dick Costolo is battling criticism after Twitter’s slowing user growth, which climbed 18 per cent compared to 20 per cent in the previous quarter.

Mr Costolo and Twitter executives are now moving to push new innovation tools to dispel doubts about Twitter’s professed potential as a destination for advertising and social media.

Audio: Twitter profit dives on early profit release (The World Today)

Twitter is now placing a lot of hope in its live streaming video service Periscope which has been used in major events such as last week’s floods in and around Sydney, the Baltimore riots and the Nepal earthquake.

“Periscope enables people to connect to what’s happening in their world and it actually takes that connection to an entirely new level,” Mr Costolo said.

“By transforming into people’s lives you can now jump into the life of a Paris ballet director, you can see what he sees, you can hear him speak to his dancers and you can communicate with him on the moment as his day unfolds.”

Mr Costolo will be looking for similar fancy footsteps as he bets Periscope will bring more logged-on users and advertisers to Twitter to turn the slowing growth around.

Twitter shares ended down 9.4 per cent at $US42.27 a share.

Follow Peter Ryan on Twitter and on his Main Street blog.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2015-04-29/twitter-becomes-victim-of-social-media-as-profit-results-released-early/1441576

BUSINESS

40) Kava deal agreement

Ropate Valemei
Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A FIJIAN kava exporter has secured its new export destination in New Zealand.

A1 Kava & Spice Dealer has signed a deal with Royal Global Marketing & Distributors (NZ) Ltd last week in Suva.

The deal was made possible after the 12-member business delegation from New Zealand met in Suva on a business mission seminar.

Company director Arunesh Chand said after a meeting with the NZ company, a memorandum of understanding was signed for export of his products to New Zealand where Royal Global Marketing & Distributors (NZ) Ltd would retail, wholesale and distribute to major cities around NZ.

Mr Chand’s consignment to NZ could leave Fiji as early as Friday.

“I have an established export business known as 1 Kava & Spice Dealer in Fiji and we export kava and spices to Kiribati, Tuvalu and USA.

“I was in search of a buyer from NZ for a long time and when I saw this delegation I was very happy and looked forward to establish a business deal,” Mr Chand said.

He acknowledged the Fijian Government for the initiative to empower export businesses in Fiji.

Royal Global Marketing & Distributors (NZ) Ltd managing director Jai Prakash said it was good that government was opening up doors for overseas business delegation to help investment in Fiji and secure export market for local businesses.

Mr Prakash said it made work easier for them with the assistance of the Government that allowed such one-on-one meetings and seminars in the country.Fijitimes

41) IMF finishes mission

Ropate Valemei
Thursday, April 30, 2015

AN International Monetary Fund (IMF) has concluded Article IV mission to Vanuatu and reaches staff-level agreement on financial assistance under rapid credit facility and rapid financing instrument

The mission also discusses policies and IMF financial assistance to support economic recovery in the wake of Cyclone Pam.

“On behalf of the whole team I would like to express our heartfelt sympathies to the people of Vanuatu for the loss of life and destruction wreaked by Cyclone Pam,” said IMF senior economist Vladimir Klyuev in a statement.

He said the cyclone caused significant disruption to economic activity and inflicted damages and losses in the order of 50 per cent of GDP.

“We welcome the measures taken by the authorities to address immediate needs, and support their request for IMF emergency assistance of SDR17 million ($US23.5m) ($F42.3m) provided in equal shares under the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) and the Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI).

The request will be submitted to the IMF’s executive board for approval in June 2015.

“Cyclone Pam caused serious damage to production facilities and a sharp fall in economic activity.

“Tourism and agricultural output are expected to sustain a large decline in 2015, although reconstruction activities and the commencement of several large infrastructure projects will provide a partial offset.

“On balance, real GDP is projected to decline by 2 per cent this year-in contrast to the pre-cyclone forecast of about 3.5 per cent growth.”

He said growth was projected to rebound to 5 per cent in 2016, driven by a recovery in tourism and agriculture combined with further ramping-up of spending on infrastructure.

“Dealing with the consequences of the cyclone requires resolute measures.”

He said cyclone preparedness could be credited with limiting the loss of life, and the emergency response by the government and the international community was strong and agile.Fijitimes

42) Active investor

Ropate Valemei
Thursday, April 30, 2015

CHINA has been an active investor in Fiji over the past decade, accumulating about $US200million ($F402.09m) in foreign direct investment (FDI).

ANZ Asia-Pacific economist Daniel Wilson said foreign investment had been elevated and they looked for this to soar over the medium term.

ANZ Pacific and Fiji CEO Vishnu Mohan said while Fiji did not really depend on China for trade and investment, China was the leader when it came to investors in the country.

Mr Mohan said Pacific trade with China had grown by 25 per cent every year over the past five years.

“While we talk about China, you’ll see increasingly Kiwi companies coming here for infrastructure project,” he said.

“I don’t think it’s fair to say that it’s all about China but it is clearly the leader in the forefront of investment and infrastructure that are growing, not just in Fiji, but across the Pacific.”

And at the same time, he said there were also other regional players from countries such as New Zealand and Australia who played an active role.

“Australia and New Zealand will remain to be a dominant trade partner for Fiji and the Pacific.”

He said the presence of competitive elements in the country needed to be taken into account.

Mr Wilson said the bank continued to see growth in Fiji.

“It’s driven by the Government, private sector, aid flow coming through as well as FDI.” Fijitimes

43) Australian Investment In Fiji Declining: Assistant Minister

Aussie projects make up only 3.4 percent of private investment

By Ropate Valemei

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, April 29, 2015) – Recent trends have indicated that Australian investment in Fiji is declining.

This was revealed by Assistant Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism Lorna Eden at the 2015 Exploratory Investment Mission in Suva yesterday.

“Sadly, Australian investment in Fiji is lagging behind when we want investment to grow,” Ms Eden said.

“Recent trends have indicated that Australian investment in our country is declining; in 2014 total registered Australian projects were 3.4 per cent, or $43.6million [US$21.4 million], of the total private investments in Fiji,” she said.

She said this was well behind other countries when it came to tapping investment opportunities in Fiji.

“This positive growth is attributed to the booming investment (which has been recording over 25 per cent of the GDP in the past two years and the same forecast for this year), growing the manufacturing base (this includes, food, building materials, garments to name a few) and the strong tourism industry.”

She told the 10 Australian investors that the tourism industry alone contributed approximately 34 per cent to the Fijian gross domestic products.

“2014 was a bumper year for tourism as visitor arrivals increased by 5.3 per cent and earnings increased by 6.6 per cent and over half our total visitors, or 349,217, were Australians and they contributed to 54 per cent of the total earnings.”

However, she said, missions such as the one yesterday was a positive sign ahead in the Fiji-Australia relations.

“We envisage more Australian investors taking advantage of the incentives provided and also being part of the Fijian boom.”

Reserve Bank of Fiji chief manager financial institutions Esala Masitabua said Fiji needed to close the gap between exports and imports between the two countries.

Mr Masitabua said Fiji imports more than export to Australia.

Investment Fiji Sector Promotion and Investment manager Ritesh Gosai said Fiji’s total import from Australia was $859.33m [US$421.06 million] while exported $299.74m [US$146.87 million] in 2014.

Fiji Times Online.

44) State entities’ value stands at K20 billion
By Online Editor
00:14 am GMT+12, 28/04/2015, Papua New Guinea

Government-owned businesses have significantly increase their asset value from K4 billion (US$1.4 billion) to a staggering K20 billion (US$7.4 billion) in just over two years.

The 13 State-owned enterprises, including Air Niugini, PNG Ports Corporation, Motor Vehicle Insurance Limited (MVIL) PNG Power and Telikom.

Government investments through shareholding in Bank South Pacific, Oil Search and 18 per cent interest of LNG held under National Petroleum Company have boosted the State total asset value and a combined turnover of K5 billion (US$1.8 billion)  last year.

The State asset value is expected to increase by 40 per cent during the next two years following National Executive Council approval last week of a policy on the principles of State Ownership and participation in commercial activities.

Public Enterprises and State Investment Minister Ben Micah, who took a policy submission to Cabinet, said the SOEs play a significant role in the economy, contributing about 30 per cent in GDP (gross domestic product).

“I want you to know and for the information of the public, since I took over as Minister in 2012 the value of the SOEs was around K4 billion, today the total value of the SOE assets stands at around more than K20 billion.”

“This includes NCCP which owns 18 per cent of our interest in the LNG project, the States 10 per cent investment in Oil Search Limited, a significant shareholding in Bank South Pacific plus the assets of our 13 State-owned companies, Air Niugini, PNG Power, PNG Ports and Telikom last year made a combine turn-over of K5 billion.”

He said the Government expects that turnover to increase by about 20 per cent this year (2015).

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

INFRASTRUCTURE


45) PNG plans for international airport in Mount Hagen

By Online Editor
11:37 pm GMT+12, 28/04/2015, Papua New Guinea

Mount Hagen is to be developed into an international airport as part of the Government’s plan to develop airport infrastructure around the country, Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill says.

He was at the Kagamuga airport in Mt Hagen this week to welcome Air Niugini’s latest addition to its fleet – the Fokker 70 aircraft.

O’Neill said Kagamuga airport would be reopened in August when its upgrading was complete. He said the “international section” of the airport would be ready soon after that.

He told Air Niugini officials, Cabinet ministers, public servants and the people that he had not forgotten the request by Western Highlands Governor Paias Wingti to have international flights landing at Kagamuga.

“I can assure Governor Wingti to honour his request on the international flights that not long, Mt Hagen will access international flights,” he said.

The Government is calling for tenders for the rebuilding of the airport terminal at Goroka.

He said the Government was in the process of redesigning Lae airport while Tokua airport was “in process”.
Port Moresby will have a new international terminal.

“We have neglected our infrastructure for many years. So our Government has been investing money in it. Kagamuga airport has been developed today,” he said.

“Almost 1.5 million people travel in airlines, and they deserve to travel in comfort with decent facilities.”
The aircraft was named “Mt Hagen” and was on its first flight to the city. O’Neill said it was to honour the contribution of the province to national development.

He said “we will continue to maintain the highest standards that we already have in Air Niugini, in terms of services that we provide to PNG citizens”.

The aircraft is the first of six to join the Air Niugini fleet.

Air Niugini Chairman Sir Frederick Reiher said the airline chose the Fokker 70 aircraft because “we believe it best meets our domestic and regional needs well into the future”.

“This step really marks a new beginning for our national airline,” he said.

“The acquisition marks the beginning of a significant re-fleeting programme Air Niugini is undertaking over the next three to five years.”

Sir Frederick said the total cost would be K700 million (US$260 million) over the next five years.

“Air Niugini’s focus to develop Port Moresby as a hub to connect major markets in Asia with the Pacific region will be enhanced greatly as we welcome the multi-million kina development by the Government of Port Moresby’s Jackson Airport,” he said.

“The completion of this redevelopment will see world-class airport facilities, providing the travelling public with a much better customer experience.

“The full development of Port Moresby as a regional hub will benefit the economy of the nation’s capital and the country.”..

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

46) Relocation Of Port Moresby Port Opposed By Motu Landowners
Neighboring villages fear heavy traffic, noise, loss of land

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, April 30, 2015) – The relocation of the Port Moresby wharf to Motukea Island has not gone down well with Motu landowners of Moresby Northwest who have threatened to stop the move.

They fear a sudden increase in heavy traffic through their already congested roads, noise pollution and the widening of roads will encroach on their limited land.

Most affected are the city-side villages of Hanuabada, Elevala, Gabi, Baruni and Tatana.

State entities’ umbrella body, Independent Public Business Corporation, had signed an agreement with the owner of the Motukea, Curtain Brothers, late last year, to relocate the wharf to the island.

A recent public notice by the Conservation and Environment Protection Authority for submissions objecting to the relocation has prompted Elevala villagers to act. In fact, objections must be lodged by tomorrow, May 1. Already roads leading to Motukea had been expanded for the future heavy traffic passing through Baruni, Tatana and Hanuabada villages, causing anxiety among villagers, especially those who have roadside homes.

However, IPBC projects manager Larry Hore had indicated that much of the traffic to the relocated wharf would be using the back-road, via Gerehu. The road expansion was a National Capital District Commission project, he added.

Unconvinced, the villagers organised a public meeting inviting technical officials from NCDC to address them.

They said that they would liaise for support with their neighbouring villages that would directly be impacted by the relocation.

Motu-Koitabu West women representative Mere Kilawin Oala said that the relocation of the port to Motukea threatened the existence of Motu coastal villages west of Port Moresby.

Talks of the relocation of the big village, Hanuabada, in the light of Port Moresby wharf development plan had been on and off for the past 30 years. In that period also, the population had increased through natural births and new settlers.

According to IPBC, an environment and social impact statement for Motukea Port had been completed and ws currently available for public viewing at PNG Ports office.

PNG Post-Courier

47) Road upgrades

Vuniwaqa Bola-Bari
Thursday, April 30, 2015

NOT every road or proposed road on every district or provincial council’s list of desired new roads can be accommodated, says the Fiji Roads Authority.

Authority CEO Neil Cook said this after many provincial council meetings highlighted the need for road upgrading in their province.

A fortnight ago, the people of Naitasiri, who attended their provincial council meeting, highlighted the need to have roads to their villages.

Mr Cook confirmed he had met Minister for Infrastructure Pio Tikoduadua and the chairman of the Naitasiri Provincial Council, Alivereti Nabulivou, to find out the issues raised at the council meeting.

“The majority of the requests were noting relatively minor issues in that area. One request was for a major new road construction to service very few people and this will be taken into account in FRA’s discussions with divisional commissioners regarding overall priorities for each division and across divisions,” he said.

Though they would not be able to accommodate every road need, Mr Cook said rural areas had been serviced far more effectively than ever before.Fijitimes

LAW&ORDER

48) ESCAPEES STILL AT LARGE DUE TO CAPACITY PROBLEM
BY JENNIFER NKUI

Escapees from the recent and past breakouts from the Buka Police station cells are still at large due to the capacity problems of the holding cells.
As revealed by senior sergeant Emart Tsimes, this does not mean that the police and the correctional service are not doing their job but this is because if they do recapture these escapees, the capacity of the holding cells at the Buka police station will not accommodate them.
He then explained that the Buka police station cells can only accommodate about forty prisoners at one time and it does not have the capacity to accommodate a bigger number of convicts, remandees and fresh matters.
He said the only available cells at the Buka Police station can only accommodate for forty prisoners and if they decide to bring in the escapees from past breakouts, there will be no space to put them unless the status of the institution at Bekut is changed and is maintained.
But as it is, the escapees from breakouts in the past and from these recent breakouts cannot be recaptured and brought in because the capacity of the Buka police station cells cannot accommodate all of them.28/4/15 DawnFM -Buka/Autonoumous Bougainville.

49) More PNG MPs in trouble with law
By Online Editor
00:23 am GMT+12, 28/04/2015, Papua New Guinea

Three Members of Parliament, including a Papua New Guinea Government Minister, went under the scrutiny of the high courts in Waigani on Monday.

Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture Boka Kondra, who is North Fly MP, came out the worst – found guilty by a Leadership Tribunal on all six allegations of misappropriation and constitutional breaches against him.

In the second tribunal hearing on penalties against Manus Open MP Ronny Knight, who had been found guilty of corruption, deputy Public Prosecutor Camillus Sambua urged the tribunal to dismiss the MP from Parliament.

Enga Governor Peter Ipatas was the happiest of the three leaders when the National Court dismissed an election petition challenging his 2012 general elections victory.

The Boka Kondra leadership tribunal was unanimously in its ruling yesterday evening at the Waigani Court House. One member of the tribunal however, found the MP not guilty of two of the six allegations.

Due to the 2-1 ruling on these two allegations, the leader was guilty of all as charged. Kondra was found guilty to have used North Fly’s district support improvement program (DSIP) and district support grant (DSG) funds wrongly to pay for rentals of office and family accommodation in Port Moresby and for settling personal debts he incurred during the 2007 elections.

The alleged offences occurred between 2008 and 2010. It is understood that the DSIP and DSG funds were generally kept under the North Fly District’s operating account when they were obtained.

After analysing the evidence put forward by the Public Prosecutor following the Ombudsman Commission’s investigation, Kondra was told that he had been found guilty on all allegations.

This relates to separate payments made for office rentals, family’s accommodation rental and settling of personal debts using more than K200,000 (US$74,000) belonging to the people.

The tribunal had found that despite receiving vehicle and accommodation allowances from his salary, the payments made by the district amounted to double-dipping on the leaders part.

He had failed to notify relevant authorities involved in making payments when knowing that there were two sets of payments made for the same services.

Chairman of the tribunal Justice Salatiel Lenalia said he was of the view that the “leader and his associates be criminally prosecuted for misappropriating public monies.”

Meanwhile, deputy Public Prosecutor Camillus Sambua has urged the Leadership Tribunal to dismiss Manus Open MP Ronny Knight from the office he holds.

This was mentioned during the hearing of submissions on penalty for the MP who was found guilty of four allegations of corruption related activities.

During the submission hearing, Knight’s lawyer, Noel Ako, argued that the penalty for the leader must also reflect the way the joint district planning and budget priorities committee and the provincial supplies and tenders board (PSTB) compromised their functions.

He said the penalty must show that Knight was not solely responsible for the approval and payments of the DSIP funds to buy the vessel, MV Trade Star, as the greater part of the blame must lie on the province’s supplies and tenders board.

It was also submitted that the penalty should not be dismissal from office.

Ako said a fine of K1, 000 each (US$372) for the four charges Knight had been found guilty of would be appropriate.

However, Sambua said the leader should face full responsibility for his actions and that was dismissal from office.

“This is a serious culpability that borders along criminal action. A lot of money was misappropriated,” Sambua said.

Sambua said a penalty to deter other leaders should be imposed. He added that the monies were being used to enrich  Knight and his associates.

It is understood that about K2.5 million (US$932,000) of the Manus district funds had been used purportedly to purchase the ship.

The tribunal comprised Justice Lenalia, magistrates Rossie Johnson and Ignatius Kurei.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEW

CLIMATE CHANGE,CONSERVATION,ENVIROMENT

50) Warning issued on Tanna volcanco

Posted: Wednesday, April 29, 2015 1:00 pm

Activity at the Yasur Volcanic is showing signs of unrest as such, strong explosions can occur at times.

The Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazard Department (VMGD) issued the warning in its first bulletin on Monday this week.

All communities, visitors and travel agents are cautioned not to approach the crater to avoid any volcano related incidents; it would be safer to view far away from the crater rim.

VMGD warned that the danger remains on areas in proximity to and around the volcanic crater and on volcanic ash and gas prone areas exposed to trade winds.

It is recommended that everyone take this advise seriously.

VMGD will continue to monitor the volcano activity and will provide information accordingly when necessary. The Alert Level is maintained at Level 1.Vanuatu Daily Post

51) Mangrove survey

Shayal Devi
Thursday, April 30, 2015

A SURVEY conducted by the University of the South Pacific’s Institute of Applied Sciences along Navilitilevu Bay in Ra found the number of mangrove stands to be relatively lower when compared with the mangrove population along the Rewa delta.

Institute acting director Dr Johann Poinapen said they had been tasked with conducting the Ra integrated coastal management baseline survey.

“Over a five-day period in October last year, a five-member team consisting of staff from the Institute of Applied Sciences Herbarium and Environment Units surveyed mangroves across five villages — Togovere, Malake, Nayavuira, Navitilevu and Naocabau,” he said.

Dr Poinapen said the stands of mangroves found along the Navitilevu Bay offered a nursing environment for young marine organisms.

“It also protects the coast from large waves. These types of projects will ensure food security for the community and a sustainable livelihood. Institutionally, this effective and sustainable co-management model for coastal management in Ra would be able to be replicated in other parts and provinces in Fiji.”

The province is working towards finishing all surveys by July and start with the replanting of mangroves along the Ra coastline.Fijitimes

MINING,FORESTRY,AGRICULTURE,FISHERISES

52) Parties agree on tuna measures

Ropate Valemei
Thursday, April 30, 2015

THE Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) supported the World Tuna Purse Seine Boat Owners (WTPO) to implement measures to reduce effort such as applying a minimum seven to 10 days port turnaround and offered to consider assistance for the implementation of that measure.

Members of the WTPO and representatives of a number of PNA members met in Majuro, Marshall Islands on Tuesday.

In a statement yesterday, meeting considered the current market situation for tuna and the low price for tuna in the global market.

It heard from the WTPO on what their views were on the current situation and also from the PNA on how they viewed the current situation.

Both sides acknowledged they shared an interest in ensuring that the price of tuna was economically viable for all parties.

The two parties acknowledged the value of collaborating more closely in future on issues relating to the modification of the WTPO FAD closure period, reducing effort, eliminate misreporting of effort, exchange of economic data and information and removing obstacles to development of PNA vessels for domestic fleet.

This reflects the commitment of both parties to ensure a fair and sustainable purse seine tuna industry in the WCPO.Fijitimes

53) Rice farmers target 100 tonnes

Shayal Devi
Thursday, April 30, 2015

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Thakur Rajesh Singh with his paddy harvester at Koronubu, Ba. Picture: JAI PRASAD

FARMERS in the West have begun harvesting rice for local consumption as the division gears up to meet its target yield of 100 tonnes this year.

And to assist farmers, the Agriculture Ministry has provided two combined harvesters for hire that will reduce labour costs and save time.

Ba farmer Thakur Rajesh Singh said the harvester saved him money that would have been used on labour.

“For one acre of rice, I usually spent $500 on labourers but with the new harvester, I only spent $17 an hour and my work gets done faster as well,” the 59-year-old said.

With a 17-acre farm in Koronubu, Ba, Mr Singh harvested 7.8 tonnes of rice last year.

This year, he is aiming to deliver about 20 tonnes of rice.

“We have had good weather over the past few months so we are expecting a good harvest.”

According to principal agricultural officer West Vinesh Kumar, there were about 20 large-scale rice farmers in the West.

“These are farmers who own more than five or six acres of rice farms,” he said.

“One of the major challenges that we had identified with farmers during rice harvesting season was the high cost of labour.

“That is why we provided these harvesters that allow maximum grain retention.”

There are two combined harvesters in the West used by farmers from Sigatoka to Rakiraki.Fijitimes

SPORT

54) History for 2015 Pacific Games

Shalveen Chand
Thursday, April 30, 2015

A HISTORIC Pacific Games awaits athletes in July as for the first time, the regional championship will be recognised as a continental games.

This means that the Pacific Games is now a pathway to the Olympic Games. This was made possible with the inclusion of Australia and New Zealand in the Pacific Games.

Australia has confirmed they will compete in sailing, weightlifting, tae kwon do and women’s rugby while New Zealand has confirmed participation in sailing, weightlifting and tae kwon do only.

Prior to this the Pacific Games was not recognised as a continental games because the two nations were not participating therefore Pacific athletes had to compete in other international events to qualify.

At this year’s Pacific Games, weightlifting, tae kwon do, football and rugby sevens are Olympic qualifying events. Oceania National Olympic Committee president Dr Robin Mitchell said there were concerns raised about Australia and New Zealand competing.

“At the moment the focus is on PNG. It is somewhat of our Olympics because this is where we take our biggest squads. Team sizes of up to 400 athletes are going, so the focus is on the Pacific Games and then Rio,” Dr Mitchell said.

“We have been trying to get them in for 10 or 12 years. The biggest concern is the gap in the standards, so the way we brought them into the games is in sports our islands are competitive in. For example, in weightlifting Australia is not the top country, Samoa is. So we have introduced the four sports our islands can compete in and beat Australia and New Zealand.”Fijitimes

55) Pacific Games venues near completion and will be ready: CEO Stewart
By Online Editor

11:56 pm GMT+12, 28/04/2015, Fiji

By Pita Ligaiula

Papua New Guinea will be ready to host the 2015 Pacific Games in Port Moresby in less than three months.

The assurance was made by Port Moresby 2015 Pacific Games Limited chief executive officer, Peter Stewart on the fringes of the Oceania National Olympic Committee (ONOC) General Assembly to be held in Suva later this week.

“We are almost there at delivery, it’s fantastic, Stewart told regional journalists in Suva.

“We are making sure that catering, transport and accommodation for athletes will be perfect. And it’s very close to completion now and we are looking forward to Pacific athletes coming to Port Moresby.

The Pacific Games Council will take ownership of competition venues on the 31 May,” he told journalists.

Stewart said Papua New Guinea will showcase to the Pacific its world class sporting venues during the Games.

“We have some of the best venues in the world being developed at the moment. After the Games, Port Moresby is going to have probably the best sporting venue in the Pacific.

“They are going to be a wonderful legacy for the people of PNG and also for athletes of the Pacific. These venues provide an opportunity for PNG to host major events in the future. All of the venues are virtually in place now, just the finishing touches being done, said Stewart.

He said the Papua New Guinea government committed K1.2 billion for the construction of sporting facilities for the Games.

“That includes the venues of the Games, road and communication infrastructure. The Game itself cost about K160 million to run.

“Games village is fantastic. It’s by far the best Pacific Games Village. It’s the same standard as the Commonwealth and Olympics. Wonderful facilities for the athletes not only to have a good sleep but also to be able to mix with other athletes,” he said.

He also assured that the Games facilities will be put to good use after the Pacific Games and allay concerns it will be a white elephant.

“One of the challenges that very nation has, is how much they have invested in the infrastructure. It’s no different for Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games or Pacific Games. All countries face that same concern. In the case of PNG, it is at a point in history where it’s the right time to put money into significant infrastructure, said Stewart.

After the Games, majority of the competition venues will be managed by the PNG Sports foundation.

SOURCE: PACNEWS

56) Why Aust, NZ competing in the 2015 Pacific Games
By Online Editor
01:32 am GMT+12, 27/04/2015, Fiji

Australia and New Zealand’s participation in the Pacific Games in Papua New Guinea will be on a trial basis.

This was revealed yesterday by Pacific Games Council president Vidhya Lakhan at the first day of the Oceania National Olympic Committee (ONOC) and Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) media workshop.

Lakhan said the Oceania region’s continental games are not recognised by international federations because Australia and New Zealand are not allowed to take part.

“International federations now are looking for continental qualifications,” he said.

“All the continents in the five Olympic rings, except for Europe, have their continental games.

“We in the Pacific region have had our continental games since 1963 but it is not recognised because two countries in the Oceania region (Australia and New Zealand) are not allowed to take part. If international federations ask or require continental qualifications and if there are no continental games in the Oceania region, then what will happen in the future?”

With the Pacific Games in PNG just two months away, Lakhan said Australia and New Zealand would take part in four sports.

“The four sports, rugby sevens, weightlifting, sailing and taekwondo, are the ones we are competitive in,”Lakhan said.

“There is no question on Australia and New Zealand becoming members of the Pacific Games Council, no question of them hosting the games.

“At the moment, all they will do at our invitation is come and take part in the Games.

“Football is not included in those four sports which Australia and New Zealand will be taking part in.

“Oceania Football Confederation wanted us and asked if they (New Zealand) could take part in football at the Pacific Games and we said no because the issue is now closed.

“They wanted to use the Pacific Games as a qualifying event for 2016 Rio Olympics.

However, they have maintained that the winner of the football competition in Port Moresby can play New Zealand to determine who qualifies.

“After the Pacific Games we will have an open discussion on Australia and New Zealand participating in future games,” he said.

SOURCE: FIJI SUN/PACNEWS

57) New medal hope

Shalveen Chand
Thursday, April 30, 2015

SHOP N Save Athletics Fiji is hoping that a last-minute inclusion to their Pacific Games squad is approved by Team Fiji.

In a letter to Team Fiji, the national federation is hoping to include Xavier College high jump gold medallist Shauntel Lockington.

Athletics Fiji president Joe Rodan said Lockington was a sure gold medal winner.

“We discovered that we had a girl in the sub junior girls grade who won gold in the high jump with a height of 1.66m which is higher than the gold medal height at the last Mini Games and Pacific Games,” he said.

“This is the leading jump by a whole 15cm in the region, meaning a definite gold medal prospect. Her name is Shauntel Lockington from Xavier College Ba, and we are in this submission requesting for her inclusion in our team.

“We will drop one other athlete to the reserve and intending to bring her in to the core squad.”

In a letter to Team Fiji, Athletics Fiji said the Coke Games was the first time they spotted Lockington and she was definitely one of the talents of the future, who at sub-junior grade was jumping Pacific Games gold medal standards.Fijitimes

 58) Barramundi’s skipper backs team to qualify for T20 World Cup

30 April 2015

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Papua New Guinea cricket captain Jack Vare believes the Barramundi’s can take the elusive final step and qualify for the Twenty20 World Cup.

Vare was this week announced as the new Barramundi’s captain, replacing Chris Amini, who will instead lead the PNG ‘A’ team at the Pacific Games in Port Moresby.

PNG have come up short twice before in the T20 qualifiers and in 2013 lost a playoff match against Hong Kong in which the winning team advanced to the World Cup proper.

Vare says the team has been in good shape in training over the past three months and are now used to playing on the international stage, so they feel confident about doing well in Ireland and earning a place in India in 2016.RNZI

59) Bese wants PNG gold

Vishaal Kumar
Thursday, April 30, 2015

After blitzing the tracks to win two gold medals and being named the Best Female Athlete at the 2015 Coca-Cola Games, Gospel student Younis Bese has set her sights on the Pacific Games which will be held in PNG from July 4 to July 18.

After breaking the 200 meters record and equalling the 100 meters record at the Coke Games the new track queen will be gunning to do her best when the games begin.

Bese said it was a very special and proud moment for her and her family for her being selected in the team for the games.

“Actually I wasn’t expecting to break the record at the Coke Games and my hard work has paid off. This selection to the squad is one of the biggest moments in my short athlete’s career so far,” Bese said.

“The overseas tournaments I have been participating for couple of years now have really helped me better my time and given exposure on how tough the competition will be in PNG.

“For me any medal will do at the games and this is a step up from all other competitions I have taken part in so far.

“This will be my first SPG and looking forward to do my best.”

Bese will be taking part in the 100 and 200 metres events respectively in PNG.Fijitimes

60) Pini smashes PNG swim records
By Online Editor
01:36 am GMT+12, 27/04/2015, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea’s gold medal hope Ryan Pini set six national records during the National Swimming Championships over the weekend at the Ela Murray International School in Port Moresby.

The 33-year-old swam in two relay events and four individual races.

Pini improved his previous national marks in the 50m backstroke (26.70), 100m butterfly (56.19) and 100m freestyle (50.42) as well as helping the national men’s relay team set a new 4x100m freestyle mark of 3 min 48:38 seconds from the previous record of 3:49:97 seconds set in 2008 and anchoring the 4x50m mixed freestyle (1:49.02).

Pini’s 100m freestyle time bettered the 51.61 silver medal-winning swim from the 2011 Pacific Games.

Pini’s backstroke time was 65 hundredths of a second slower than his 2011 silver-medal effort of 26.05 while his Noumea gold medal-winning 100m butterfly time was 53.93.

The soon-to-be-father is having a great build-up to the Pacific Games, having already competed in two major Australian championships this year  — the Victorian titles and the Australian national titles.

Pini said it was an exciting weekend for the national squad with records tumbling and the team progressing well for the Games in July.

He said he was focused on swimming well and working a combination with his other teammates but setting national records was a bonus.

“I took some time off after the 2012 Olympic Games and I haven’t been swimming too much but with the Pacific Games, I’ve got back into active training and competition this year and producing these results is awesome,” Pini said.

Other outstanding performances during the meet that saw national records broken was by 15-year-old Savannah Tkatchenko, who set 11 national records in the U15 and the open divisions both in the relay and individual events. PNG Swimming president Elizabeth Wells said she was pleased to see the country’s best swimmers doing well in local competition and challenging themselves in the manner that they were.

She said the national champions were a vital part of the team’s preparation for the July Games.  Wells said the results were an indication of what the swimmers and coaching team had put in with their training and the challenge was to improve over the next two months and set goals as the Games drew closer.

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

61) Oceania rugby champs ideal prep for Samoa U20s

30 April 15

Samoa coach Semo Sititi says the inaugural Oceania Under 20 Rugby Championship, which kicks off tomorrow, is a perfect chance to fine-tune preparations for the World Champs in Italy in June.

The Baby Manu play hosts Australia first up before taking on former world champions New Zealand, and Japan.

Semo Sititi has taken a 29-man squad to the Gold Coast and says the tournament is the final chance for players to stake a claim.

“It’s a great opportunity for some of these players to showcase their talents against New Zealand and Australia, even Japan. It’s great to have these tournaments just to test our character and the plans we are putting in place to make sure that it is working [and] if not then we still have time to readjust it. I want them to perform. As I said it’s all a trial, it’s all about getting together and doing the things that we trained”.

Samoa will also play Australia in the pool phase at the World Cup, along with South Africa and Italy.RNZI

62) Dragons to play in Australia

Zanzeer Singh
Thursday, April 30, 2015

TOKATOKA Westfield Dragons will participate at the Central Coast 7s tournament in Kanwal, New South Wales, Australia in October.

The Dragons have been invited to the tournament by the organisers.

Dragons head coach Epeli Lagiloa said they were happy to showcase their talents abroad.

The Central Coast 7s is widely regarded as Australia’s premier rugby sevens festival outside the HSBC Sevens World Series.

Nadroga’s Daveta will defend the title.

Meanwhile scouts from the Top Marque Sports Company and Northland Rugby Club are in the country took sign up potential talents.

They have been invited by the Dragons and attended a trial in Nadi earlier this week.

Dragons head coach Epeli Lagiloa said a lot of young players were going overseas.

“The primary objective of the club is to secure the welfare of the players when they go abroad,” Lagiloa said.

“More than 300 players attended the trials in Nadi. There were 168 players in the U20 division which shows the interest of the youngsters to pursue they rugby career abroad.”

Top Marque Sports’ Jonathan Stuart (client manager Europe), Gareth Morgan (client manager Europe/Japan) Shane Singe (client manager New Zealand) and Glen Subritzky of Northland Rugby are part of the group.Fijitimes

w: www.voiceofmelanesia.com

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