Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1094 ( Monday 11 May 2015 )
1) Coalition Meets With EU To Discuss Human Rights In Papua
Calls on EU to send mission to Indonesia
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 11, 2015) – Church leaders, human rights organisations, academics and international observers have gathered in the capital of the European Union, Brussels, to discuss the human rights situation in Papua.
The organisation, which calls itself the International Coalition for Papua, also met with the European Parliament last week to discuss the situation in the province, alongside the Chargé D’affaires of Indonesia and a range of diplomats.
In a statement, the group says it called on the European Union to highlight ongoing human rights violations in Papua and to send a human rights fact-finding mission to Indonesia in the near future.
It also called on Indonesia to take measures to protect the rights of indigenous Papuans — who are now a minority in the province as a result of mass migration of Javenese — including their customary rights over land and natural resources.
It also called for an end to excessive force by security forces and to release all political prisoners whouth any condition and an end to torture with impunity.
Radio New Zealand International
2) Amnesty: Attacks must end
Monday, May 11, 2015
AMNESTY International is calling on Indonesia’s president Joko Widodo to take immediate steps to end the Indonesian security forces’ increasing attacks on freedom of expression in the country’s Papuan region.
It says on the eve of Mr Widodo’s visit to Papua this weekend, about 264 political activists there have been arbitrarily arrested and detained by the Indonesian police over the last week, as part of a systematic clampdown on freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.
The humans rights body says political activists from the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) and the People’s Regional Parliament (PRD) had planned peaceful protests around the 52nd anniversary of the handover of Papua to the Indonesian government by the United Nations Temporary Executive Authority (UNTEA) on May the 1st, 1963.
It says in West Papua province, the Manokwari district police arrested 12 KNPB activists on April the 30th while they were distributing flyers about the planned demonstration in Manokwari city.
The following day, the police arrested about 200 protesters who were on their way to a demonstration near the office of the Manokwari Papua Customary Council. Security forces, both police and military, also used excessive force to disperse a peaceful demonstration in Kaimana city on May the 1st and arrested two KNPB activists. In the Papua province, police arrested at least 15 KNPB and one PRD activist in Merauke on May the 1st to prevent them from organizing a demonstration.
Meanwhile, in Jayapura, the local district police arrested 30 KNPB activists on the same day as they were walking to the Papua Parliament’s office, the site of a planned demonstration.
3) Indonesian president Joko Widodo lifts foreign media restrictions in Papua provinces
Updated 11 May 2015, 11:10 AEST
By Indonesia correspondent George Roberts
Indonesia’s president Joko Widodo has lifted restrictions that prevent foreign journalists travelling to the country’s restive Papua provinces.
Independence activists in Papua and West Papua often clash with Indonesian military, but the country is determined to hold onto the resource-rich area and has largely blocked foreign media from covering the region.
Reporters wanting to travel to the politically-sensitive areas have previously needed special permits that take a long time to be approved and their movements are often monitored.
Accurate reporting on events has been made difficult by independence activists spreading misinformation to further their cause and government officials refusing to comment on issues within the provinces.
On Sunday, Mr Widodo announced that foreign media were now permitted to freely travel to the region to report.
Last year, two French journalists were arrested in Papua province for reporting while on tourist visas and spent months in detention before being sent back to France.
Human Rights Watch researcher Andreas Harsono said the case in August precipitated Indonesia’s decision to open up media access.
“A lot of journalist associations, journalist advocacy groups in Europe, the United States, Asia, Bangkok and also in Jakarta, asked the Indonesian government to release the journalists,” Mr Harsono said.
“The French journalists were released after being jailed for two months and a half. And their source was only released this week, after being in jail for eight months. So that arrest prompted an international outcry.”
Mr Harsono said the opening up of Papua to foreign journalists could help resolve a decades-long separatist conflict in the region.
“I believe in quality journalism, however bad the situation,” he said.
“Foreign journalists can … elevate the quality of journalism in Papua.
“If we have quality journalism the society will have better informed citizenry, and better citizenry will provide better decision-making processes.”
Mr Widodo’s announcement comes a day after he pardoned five political prisoners during a visit to Papua.ABC
4) PNG to review death penalty, Indonesian President to meet govt and business leaders
By Online Editor
8:32 pm GMT+12, 10/05/2015, Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has given a strong indication that the Government is reviewing the death penalty following world outrage over the recent executions in Indonesia.
O’Neill, who was asked by the media about the death penalty carried out by Indonesia and the reaction to death penalty and whether his Government would still go ahead with the death penalty, said: “As I have indicated publicly, that (death penalty) is under review, our agencies of government are reviewing all aspects of the death penalty in our country and we will debate this issue on the floor of parliament when parliament resumes.”
O’Neill said these on the eve of Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s two-day State visit to PNG starting today to discuss bilateral issues between the two closest neighbours.
Despite national and international opposition, most recently from Catholic Bishops Conference, Justice Secretary Lawrence Kalinoe had been adamant that the 12 death row inmates would be executed this year.
The death penalty has not been used in PNG for more than 60-years but was re-enacted in 2014 when the law was amended to include more offences.
The National Executive Council then approved three modes of injection – lethal injection, firing squad and hanging.
But lack of infrastructure has meant there has been no method to enact capital punishment.
The crimes in PNG that could attract death penalty for those convicted included; treason, piracy, willful murder, aggravated rape, robbery involving violence and sorcery-related killings.
Two weeks ago, Indonesia executed the Bali Nine ringleaders, drawing widespread condemnation of the death penalty in modern society.
O’Neill came out sounding warning to Papua New Guineans who may be tempted to get into drug trafficking to think twice because their lives could be at risk.
Speaking on the aftermath of the Bali Nine drug gang executions and fears by PNG families that their relatives in jails in Jayapura may also face death penalty, O’Neill said he had a simple message for those people
“Anyone considering transporting illegal drugs must be prepared for the consequences, and these consequences are serious,” the PM had said.
Meanwhile, Indonesian President president Joko Widodo arrives at Port Moresby’s Jackson International Airport at 3pm today to begin his two-day State visit.
Widodo, his wife Iriana, and entourage would arrive aboard a Boeing 737 VIP aircraft and be welcomed by a 21-gun salute which is normally accorded to a visiting head of state.
The official program released to the media shows that the president would have a full itinerary until 9pm.
One hour after arrival, at 4pm, the president would call on Governor-General Sir Michael Ogio and Lady Esmie at Government House. This would be a 20-minute visit before he retires to Airways Hotel for the evening part of the programme
President Widodo would attend the state dinner at the State Function Hall in Parliament at 7pm, hosted by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and his wife Linda Babao. He retires for the evening at about 9pm.
Tomorrow, the president begins the day with a breakfast meeting hosted by the Business Council of PNG and Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce and Industry before he gets down to government business with the Prime Minister.
The one-hour one-on-one meeting with O’Neill would be followed by the bilateral meeting with Mr O’Neill and selected ministers at B2 conference room in Parliament.
According to the official program, the morning engagements would end with the Widodos meeting the Indonesian community at the Indonesian embassy at Gordon.
The visitors’ last official engagement would be a private tea with O’Neill and Babao at Airways Hotel.
President Widodo would be farewelled at Jackson International Airport at 3pm by a guard of honour and a 21-gun salute.
SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS
5) Polls open in Bougainville as island nation looks towards independence from PNG
By Online Editor
8:36 pm GMT+12, 10/05/2015, Papua New Guinea
Polls have opened in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville to elect a government that will lead the island on the path towards a referendum on independence from Papua New Guinea.
Under a peace agreement signed after a civil war with the PNG mainland, Bougainville has a five-year window, beginning in June this year, during which it must hold the referendum.
Whoever is elected in this month’s ballot will negotiate with PNG the exact date of the referendum and the wording of the question.
“I have been asking people to go to the polls, cast their votes and elect good leaders,” the acting Bougainville Electoral Commissioner George Manu said.
“This government will be the government that will be deciding on the future of all the people of Bougainville.”
It is the first time Bougainville has run its own elections, rather than being led by the PNG national government.
At a pre-poll briefing on Sunday, Manu thanked the United Nations, Australia and New Zealand for their help in preparing for the election.
Bougainville’s 172,797 enrolled voters will elect a president and 39 members of the House of Representatives, with reserved seats for women and ex-combatants.
Conflict over the Australian-owned Panguna mine in 1989 turned into a civil war which smouldered during the 1990s, although peace has returned to the mineral-rich island.
With media virtually non-existent outside the biggest towns of Buka and Arawa, campaigning has been a village-to-village affair of noisy stump speech rallies.
There will be a week of polling and a further week allowed for bad weather or other delays, followed by a week of counting, with a similar contingency week.
A result is expected on 08 June.
There are nine candidates for president.
The incumbent, Dr John Momis, is widely seen as the favourite but the fact 20,000 new voters have been added to the electoral roll and many thousands of illegitimate voters taken off, means this is a race any of the top contenders could win.
Dr Momis is one of the founding fathers of independent PNG and is offering voters a steady hand at the helm as Bougainville enters this crucial period.
He is running with the slogan “For the Future of Bougainville” and is the most measured on the question of independence.
Surprisingly, several ex-combatant groups have thrown their support behind the former Catholic priest.
Sam Akoitai is a former mining minister in the national PNG government and former central Bougainville MP who ran the most sophisticated and well-funded campaign over the past few weeks.
He is a former fighter, advocates strongly for independence and wants to see a diversified economy, including a revitalisation of the plantations that have been left to grow wild since “the crisis”.
Akoitai is telling voters only he can navigate Port Moresby’s corridors of power to deliver a referendum that benefits Bougainville, but his time spent away from the island also works against him in the eyes of some voters.
Another charismatic ex-combatant is Ishmael Toroama.
Campaigning with the slogan “We Are Ready” Toroama argues that Bougainville has already been going it alone for many years and a referendum will merely formalise that independence.
In 2012, he narrowly lost the race for a Bougainville regional MP seat, showing he can muster the numbers when it counts.
Sam Kauona is a similarly well-known former leader of the Bougainville Revolutionary Army who has wide support in the central region of the island.
He is also the candidate who has campaigned the least.
It is unclear whether Kaona and Toroama will split a bloc of voters who want independence delivered by a local ex-combatant or whether the limited preferential voting (numbered choices 1,2 and 3) can deliver power to one of them.
Nick Peniai, former Speaker of Bougainville’s House of Representatives who ran for president in the 2010 elections, is also considered a chance.
A total of 333 candidates are running for the 39 available MP positions.
Most of these are single constituency seats, but Bougainville’s electoral system reserves three seats for women and three seats for ex-combatants.
There is one reserved seat for each of the three regions of the island — North, Central and South.
Bougainville’s culture is based on matrilineal land ownership but men still hold most of the power.
As well as the women contesting for reserved seats, there has been a small but encouraging increase in the number of women who nominated for an open seat.
Women still make up less than 4 per cent of nominees, but it is seen as shift in the right direction.
They are some quirky showdowns amongst the open MP seats.
Two brothers are facing off for the seat of Tonsu on Buka island and a married couple have both nominated, but for different seats.
Three Catholic priests are in the running for House of Representative seats, including Father Joseph Nabui, who was the first serving priest to gain office in Bougainville in a by-election in 2013.
Four Australian MPs will be among the 75 domestic observers and 50 international observers monitoring the poll.
6) Proposal to benefit Samoan farmers and village
11 May 2015
The owner of a food company in Samoa hopes to set up a contract that allows farmers to re-invest in their work, as well as meet the cultural demands of the village.
Natural Foods International wants to teach farmers how to better maintain their breadfruit trees, to improve their yield and income.
Its owner, Papalii Grant Percival, says under Samoa’s Constitution, many of the farmers can’t work for themselves, they work for their chief or village council.
He says he’s proposed a contract which pays a portion of the income to the village, and the bulk of the payment to the farmer.
“Speaking to the matais and the village chiefs, they’re sort of saying, well, we don’t want you to do that. And I say, but the problem is if I give you the money, you’ll decide how much he gets. He needs to get the bulk of it so that he can re-invest in his farm, and increase his turn over and increase his livelihoods, and I need you to be a part of it, so that there’s control, and he doesn’t get punished for going into business, which sometimes happens in the villages.”
The owner of Natural Foods International, Papalii Grant Percival.RNZI
7) Samoa MP Guilty Of Dangerous Driving
Found not guilty of other related charges
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 11, 2015) – Samoa’s ruling party MP and Associate Minister, Peseta Vaifou Tevaga, has been found guilty of dangerous driving.
Peseta was ordered by the District Court to pay a less than 100 US dollar fine.
But the MP was found not guilty of other charges of driving under the influence of alcohol and failing to comply with the use of the breathalyzer device.
The two counts were dismissed.
Peseta was charged after a government vehicle he drove collided with a taxi at a traffic light intersection in Apia.
Radio New Zealand International
8) NZ Funded Renewable Energy Projects To Open In Cooks
Hopes to be 100% renewable by 2020
By Sarah Wilson
RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, May 9, 2015) – Next week a parliamentary delegation from New Zealand and the Cook Islands will travel to Manihiki and Penryhn to formally open New Zealand funded renewable energy projects.
The $20.5 million Cook Islands Solar project is changing lives on other isolated northern islands with almost 100 per cent of their electricity supply expected to be generated using renewable energy.
The ground-breaking project ‘Huira Natura ke Tokerau’ shows what can be achieved through shared priorities and an ambition to improve the way of life for all Cook Islanders.
The project is part of an overall plan by the Government to see the Cook Islands 100 per cent powered by renewable energy by 2020.
“The systems are designed to provide at least 90% renewable electricity, and the project shows what can be achieved with great team work and a shared ambition to reach the government’s renewable energy targets”, said former New Zealand High Commissioner Joanna Kempkers.
Two renewable energy systems have been built on Manihiki, one in Tukao and one in Tauhunu.
Penrhyn also received two new systems, one in Omoka and the other in Te Tautua.
The design and build of the solar-powered hybrid energy systems was completed by New Zealand company, PowerSmart.
One of their most well-known projects involved rolling out solar-power systems on each of the three atolls in Tokelau, with the country now deriving more than 90 per cent of its power from renewable energy.
In March, Acting New Zealand High Commissioner Aimee Jephson travelled to Pukapuka and Nassau with Prime Minister Henry Puna to attend the opening ceremonies for the completed solar power stations on those islands.
Rakahanga had already been opened and Palmerston was recently finished.
“The overwhelming impression after the visit to Pukapuka and Nassau is of inspirational and resilient people living in a place of incredible beauty and isolation,” Jephson said.
“The challenges posed by distance and their unique environment are many, including access to most public services, cost of transport, and infrequency and unreliability of supplies.”
Jephson said until recently, even the most basic of utilities and electricity was in short supply but now, as a result of the New Zealand Aid funded renewable energy programme, that is changing.
The ceremony in Manihiki and Penrhyn will be attended by Cook Islands Government parliamentarians including Prime Minister Henry Puna, and New Zealand delegates, Minister of Foreign Affairs Murray McCully, MP’s Winston Peters and David Shearer (Zealand Labour Party spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Energy and Resources.), and Pacific Economic Ambassador Shane Jones.
Cook Islands News
9) 1M Expected To Visit Art Exhibition About Tuvalu
Represents plight of Tuvalu facing sea level rise
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 11, 2015) – More than one million people are expected to pass through a pavilion for Tuvalu at one of the world’s most prestigious contemporary art exhibitions — the 56th Venice Biennale.
The pavilion, by Taiwanese artist Vincent Huang, contains a turquoise pool that is crossed by two paths that submerge slightly when walked across, which Mr Huang says represents the plight of Tuvalu in facing rising sea levels caused by climate change.
Mr Huang says he hopes the massive crowds expected at the Biennale will learn of the challenges Tuvalu is facing as a result of a problem it did little to create.
“I started to create to assist the tiny island nation to get more international attention. The theme of this year’s Venice Biennale is ‘all the world’s future.’ So it’s a sinking nation combined with a sinking city, which is Venice here.”
Vincent Huang says he was inspired by a speech by, Ian Fry, Tuvalu’s representative at the 2009 UN climate change conference in Denmark, in which he said “the fate of my country rests in your hands.”
Radio New Zealand International
10) Military land use faces new hurdle in Marianas
11 May 2015
The United States military may face further hurdles acquiring land in the Northern Marianas if a new bill passes through Congress.
The bill contains a provision requiring the Department of Defence to consult with the governor of a state or Commonwealth in considering options for the location of military installations and activities before going to Congress for permission.
A Northern Marianas Delegate, Gregorio Sablan, says the provision in the National Defence Authorisation Act is there to keep local officials fully involved in decisions on the military’s use of land.
In addition to the provision, Mr Sablan says Covenant Section 806(b) also specifies that the US will acquire no interest in real property in the Northern Mariana Islands unless authorised by Congress and unless Congress also appropriates funds for the acquisition.RNZI
11) Marshalls’ UN rights review today
11 May 2015
The promotion of human rights in the Marshall Islands is under United Nations review in Geneva from tonight.
The review comes a few weeks after a US State Department report cited issues with prison conditions, government corruption and domestic violence.
The Marshalls’ last Universal Periodic Review was in 2010 which resulted in 38 recommendations to work on around various rights treaties and concerns.
Currently the islands have one of the lowest human rights treaty ratification records in the region.RNZI
12) Marshalls Ambassador To Washington Steps Down For WB Job
One of several posts expected to have new individuals
By Giff Johnson
MAJURO, Marshall Islands (Marianas Variety, May 10, 2015) – Marshall Islands Ambassador to Washington, D.C. Charles Paul is stepping down from the post to take a job with the World Bank.
It is one of several Marshall Islands diplomatic posts that are expected to see new faces in the next few weeks.
Paul was in Majuro this past week to formalize his resignation from the post he’s held for nearly four years.
His resignation comes a few weeks before he is scheduled to take a new job with the World Bank in Washington.
Paul officially began as the Marshall Islands’ ambassador to Washington in September 2011 after presenting his diplomatic credentials to President Obama.
Paul is also scheduled to graduate with a master’s degree in finance from the Johns Hopkins University on May 20.
He was nominated for the World Bank post by the Marshall Islands government through Finance Minister Jack Ading. Paul will be the adviser to the World Bank’s Executive Director for the Pacific region.
Current Marshall Islands Ambassador to Japan Tom Kijiner is expected to be named ambassador to Washington. In the meantime, Junior Aini is the chargé managing the Washington embassy.
The Marshall Islands embassy in Fiji and its United Nations mission are also being run at the chargé level, as former ambassador to Fiji Frederick Muller was recalled late last year and is awaiting re-posting, while former ambassador to the U.N. Amatlain Kabua stepped down late last year to contest a parliament seat in the national election this November.
13) Lawyer: Guam Couple’s Rights Violated By Governor’s Actions
Stalling the case considered an ongoing violation
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 11, 2015) – Lawyers for a couple fighting the Guam Governor over same sex marriage say stalling the case is an ongoing violation of their clients’ rights.
Last month two women launched legal action after being refused a marriage licence.
Despite the Attorney-General saying a licence should be issued the Governor has stood firm, asking for a stay until a similar case is resolved by the US Supreme Court in June.
Lawyer Mitchell Thompson says the court is obligated to follow precedence set by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which has jurisdiction over Guam.
Mr Thompson says the Surpreme Court case may not have a definitive conclusion and forcing his clients to wait is wrong.
“Unless and until that ruling from the Ninth Circuit Court is set aside, the law as of today is that bans on same sex marriage violate the United States Constitution and so every day that the Governor tells wait is a day that their rights have been violated. They shouldn’t have to wait. They should be based on controlling court decisions. They should be allowed to marry today.”
Radio New Zealand International
14) Norfolk: Canberra being misled into reforms
11 May 2015
The Norfolk Island government says Australian MPs are being misled into pushing through reforms of the island’s political status.
This week the House of Representatives in Canberra is considering a Bill which would end the island’s autonomy, including abolishing the legislative assembly.
A referendum last week showed an overwhelming majority on Norfolk want a say in determining the island’s future political status.
Norfolk government minister, Robin Adams, says the federal government Bill is based on a fabrication that the community had been adequately consulted.
Ms Adams says the Australian MPs have not been given correct information by the minister responsible, Jamie Briggs.
“That bipartisan support, we believe, is based on erroneous facts. The facts being stated by Minister Briggs, on advice from his department and his administrator, is that this is what the community wants. The community clearly has not said this is what it wants. It wants full facts and to be consulted appropriately.”
Norfolk government minister, Robin Adams, says the bill would be a denial of human rights and a travesty of justice.RNZI
15) Bikpela welkam long President Joko Widodo blong Indonesia long PNG
Postim 11 May 2015, 16:32 AEST
President Joko Widodo blong Indonesia ibin gat bikpela welkam taim em i kamap long Port Moresby long wanpela ofisal visit.
President Widodo i go long wanpela visit long tupela dei long Papua New Guinea.
PNG gavman i makim visit blong President Widodo wantaim wanpela 21 gun salute long Jacksons Airport namel long tait sekiuriti.
Ol sekiuriti i stap long olgeta hap long Jackson’s Airport na polis band ibin pilai tu maski ibin gat bikpela ren.
Niusman blong NBC long Gregory Moses i tok bihain long welkam long airpot, President Widodo na meri blongen bai go bungim gavana general, Sir Michael Ogio na tumora bai em i bungim praim minister Peter O’Neill.
Tupela bai toktok long ol kainkain wokbung namel long tupela kantri .ABC
16a) Brèves du Pacifique – lundi 11 mai 2015
Les petites îles du Pacifique vont-elles disparaître à cause de la montée des eaux ? Pour le moment, c’est le contraire qui se produit, révèlent des chercheurs, qui se sont intéressés aux Îles Marshall, à Kiribati et à Tuvalu.
16b) Les bureaux de vote ont ouvert à Bougainville
Les quelque 173 000 électeurs de la province autonome de Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée sont appelés à élire leur président et leurs députés, cette semaine.
16c) Indonésie : les journalistes étrangers peuvent désormais « se rendre librement en Papouasie occidentale »
17) Julian Assange: Sweden’s Supreme Court rejects Wikileaks founder’s appeal to revoke detention order
Updated 11 May 2015, 18:35 AEST
Sweden’s Supreme Court says it has rejected an appeal by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange against his arrest warrant for alleged sexual assaults.
Sweden issued the arrest warrant in 2010 following allegations from two Swedish women, one who claimed rape and another who alleged sexual assault.
The court said in a statement that theprosecutors’ decision in March to question Assange in Londonsupported the decision to uphold the detention order.
“The Supreme Court notes that investigators have begun efforts to question Julian Assange in London. The Supreme Court finds no reason to lift the arrest warrant,” the court said.
One of the five Supreme Court judges, however, dissented and argued for the arrest warrant to be lifted.
“We are of course disappointed, and critical of the Supreme Court’s way of handling the case,” Assange’s lawyer Per Samuelson told Reuters news agency.
“This decision has been taken without letting us close our argument.”
Assange has been stuck inside Ecuador’s London embassy since June 2012 to avoid a British extradition to Sweden.
The 43-year-old Australian, who faces arrest if he tries to leave the Ecuadorian embassy, has always vehemently denied the allegations and insisted the sexual encounters were consensual.
Assange has refused to travel to Sweden because he fears the country would send him to the United States.
the US, an investigation is ongoing into WikiLeaks’ release in 2010 of 500,000 classified military files on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and 250,000 diplomatic cables which embarrassed Washington.
18) O’Neill hails university for its growth
The National, Monday May 11th, 2015
PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill has praised the Divine Word University for its growth and development in its 19 years as a university.
O’Neill was at the Madang campus on Saturday to open an online study programme, an academic administration building, a health clinic, staff accommodation units, and the TB ward at the Modilon General Hospital which the university funded.
Catholic archbishop of Madang Stephen Reichert blessed the infrastructure before the opening. O’Neill was accompanied by Minister of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology, Malakai Tabar, Finance Minister James Marape and Usino-Bundi MP Anton Yagama.
O’Neill said the developments at the university were in line with Government policy.
“We believe that education can change our country and we are proud of DWU’s lead.
Father Jan (Czuba) and his team have done a tremendous job,” O’Neill said.
He announced the tertiary students’ loan scheme to be introduced next January to assist students facing fee problems as well.
University council member Sir Peter Barter said the university was focused on development and meeting targets.
Sir Peter praised Czuba for his leadership in developing the university from a college.
19) Call to prioritise literacy development
Monday, May 11, 2015
LITERACY development in primary schools needs to be prioritised if reading skills for students in high schools and tertiary institutions in Fiji are to improve.
This call was made by Fiji Head Teachers Association president Ramesh Raman.
He was responding to recent comments made by the Education Ministry’s CDU director Iowane Tiko who said some students across the country had issues with reading.
Mr Raman said one solution to the literacy problem was to simply improve phonics being taught in schools.
He added that literacy was the most important aspect to developing good reading and comprehension skills.
“With the new reforms by Government and the commitment of teachers, we have seen a difference in English marks for some high schools,” he said.
“If you notice the overall results and marks previously, the only subject that was not scaled upward was English.”
However, Mr Raman said there was an urgent need to develop literacy in primary schools.
“Primary schools need to be taught oral English.
“If you don’t know the phonics, you can’t spell or read.
“We also believe that the skills of teaching phonics need to be developed in universities.”
School Management Association of Fiji president Govind Singh echoed similar sentiments, saying more of the focus fell on secondary schools.
“We need to monitor literacy and numeracy levels in primary schools as well,” he said.
“If we are able to address literacy and numeracy at primary school level, then we won’t have this problem surfacing in secondary schools.”
Meanwhile, CDU director Iowane Tiko said an ongoing study of non or poor readers in the Suva-Nausori corridor has revealed some alarming statistics and the Education Ministry would be in a better position to gauge the extent of the problem once the survey on the issue was completed.
“It would not be fair to make an estimate now as we are only focusing on schools in the Suva-Nausori corridor, which is still to be completed,” he said.
“However, the increasing percentage of non-readers revealed in our survey is causing alarm at the Education Ministry headquarters and we are working through for the most effective strategies to counter this dilemma.”Fijitimes
20) Vanuatu court dismisses appeal against MPs
11 May 2015
Vanuatu’s Appeal Court has dismissed the appeal of the speaker of parliament, Philip Boedoro, over last year’s suspension of 16 opposition MPs.
Mr Boedoro had suspended the MPs, including the opposition leader, Moana Carcasses, amid allegations of bribery.
15 of the MPs had been accused of having received one million vatu, or $US9,500, each from Mr Carcasses, in a breach of parliamentary standing orders.
But the MPs went to court, asserting the suspension was a breach of their constitutional rights.
They won, prompting Mr Boedoro’s unsuccessful appeal.RNZI
21) Forum sends election monitors to Bougainville
11 May 2015
A Pacific Islands Forum team is among the observers for the Bougainville elections that got underway this morning.
The poll in the autonomous Papua New Guinea region lasts for two weeks.
The Forum team is headed by Fiji’s election supervisor Mohammed Saneem and includes his Vanuatu counterpart, John Killion Taleo.
Other monitors have come from New Zealand, Australia, Japan, France and the United Kingdom.RNZI
22) Bougainville goes to the polls
The National, Monday May 11th, 2015
POLLING for the 2015 general election in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville begins today, according to the acting Bougainville Electoral Commissioner George Manu.
“Polling will start on Monday and I want to assure the people that the officials are ready to conduct polling,” Manu said.
Polling materials, including ballot boxes and ballot papers, have been transported to each constituency.
Polling will start in 215 locations in the 33 constituencies.
Three special polling booths will be set up in Buka, Arawa and Buin for voters who cannot return to their constituencies to cast their votes.
Polling will be conducted in the National Capital District, Lae, Rabaul, Madang and Goroka for Bougainvilleans living there. Polling is expected to take two weeks before ballot boxes are taken to the three central counting centres in North, Central and South Bougainville.
23) PM announces new appointments
By NASIK SWAMI
Monday, May 11, 2015
Update: 3:31PM VIJAY Nath is the new assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, relinquishing his existing portfolio of assistant Minister for Education, Heritage and Arts.
Former assistant Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism Lorna Eden has bee appointed as the assistant Minister for Local Government, Housing and Environment.
Also, Parliament’s newest member, Jilila Kumar has been appointed as the assistant Minister for Education, Heritage and Arts.
The appointments were confirmed by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama in a statement today. Fijitimes
24) Questions raised by Solomons mine sale
11 May 2015
Some landowners of the Gold Ridge goldmine in Solomon Islands say the recent sale of the mine was done without proper consultation.
They say there is confusion over what exactly it is they have purchased.
The chairman of the Gold Ridge Community and Land Owners Council, Dick Douglas says members of the financial arm of his association, Gold Ridge Community Investments Ltd rushed into signing the deeds of sale for the mine.
He says the former owners, Australian miner St Barbara had said their offer to sell would expire on the first of May.
” They by-passed the council and in a properly manner it has to be brought to the council and then we should thoroughly look at it. It is a rush so, more of the share-holders and directors didn’t really know the content of these deeds.”
Mr Douglas says he refused to sign off on the purchase and says he will be seeking clarification from St Barbara and the Solomons government on what exactly Gold Ridge Landowners have acquired.RNZI
25) Rights group welcomes Papua media ban lifting
11 May 2015A New Zealand-based rights group has welcomed the Indonesian President’s latest promise to open up West Papua to foreign media.
West Papua Action Auckland says President Joko Widodo’s vow, while visiting Papua on the weekend, is a hopeful sign that the rigid repression of the provinces by Indonesia could be softening.
Jokowi also released five political prisoners, who had been jailed since 2003.
The group says there are many other political prisoners, including Filep Karma, who was jailed for 15 years for taking part in an event when the independence Morning Star flag was raised.
West Papua Action Auckland says many prisoners will never accept ‘clemency’ because it involves accepting guilt for actions that are the free expression of political aspirations.
The group is calling on Jokowi to expand the prisoner release project to include a full amnesty for all political prisoners.
West Papua Action Auckland’s Maire Leadbeater says one of the biggest problems for West Papua was being shut away from the outside world and its Pacific neighbours.
“If people understand what’s happening in West Papua, and they understand that the people there don’t have full freedoms and their human rights are abused, then they engage with the issue more strongly, and they press their governments to engage with the issue, and I think we can start to hope for change in West Papua.”
Maire Leadbeater says she’s hoping media in New Zealand will now take the opportunity to visit West Papua freely, as the President has promised.RNZI
26) Financial inclusion plan
Monday, May 11, 2015
THE Reserve Bank of Fiji (RBF) with the National Financial Inclusion Taskforce (NFIT) will develop a new financial inclusion strategy for Fiji that will run from 2015 to 2020.
Alliance for Financial Inclusion’s head of Policy Programs and Regional Initiatives Eliki Boletawa said Fiji had just completed its demand side survey and should be sharing its results soon.
Other than this, he said Fiji had accomplished a number of initiatives.
“RBF successfully achieved its target of reaching 150,000 unbanked Fijians,” he said from Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.
The National Financial Literacy Strategy for Fiji has been endorsed by the Government for implementationand the finalisation of the Consumer Protection Pre-Disclosure template, which will be implemented by the Licensed Financial Institutions.
He said Fiji continued to be a policy champion in certain areas of financial inclusion in the region and peers from the Pacific and members from the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) have benefited from the knowledge that has been shared through AFI working groups, the AFI Global Policy Forum, financial inclusion events where RBF has been invited as speakers and through knowledge products.
Mr Boletawa said this included the development and formulation of national strategies for financial inclusion, the roll out of mobile financial services, the implementation of financial education programs in the education curriculum and the risk-based approach on know your customer (KYC) for AML/ CFT issues.
In addition, he added RBF had been very active in its leadership role as the chair for the group and also as co-chair in the working group for the Pacific Islands.
Fiji will be represented by RBF governor Barry Whiteside at the Pacific Islands Regional Initiative that will be launched tomorrow in Dili, East Timor, by policymakers from seven Pacific nations to provide a platform where the region can convene to discuss financial inclusion innovation and strategies, as well as creating tools that can be tailored to other island nations.Fijitimes
27) Adequate liquidity to support economy
Geraldine Panapasa In Baku, Azerbaijan
Monday, May 11, 2015
LIQUIDITY in Fiji’s domestic market of about $573million is adequate to support increasing economic activity, says Reserve Bank of Fiji deputy governor Ariff Ali.
He said monetary policies remained accommodative to assist economic growth, adding the RBF’s overnight policy rate was 0.5 per cent.
“Government’s debt management policy is geared towards ensuring lower costs, prudent degree of risk, debt sustainability and support for productive investment and economic growth,” said the temporary alternate governor for Fiji at the Asian Development Bank’s 48th annual board of governors meeting in Baku, Azerbaijan last week.
“Fiji’s foreign reserves held with the RBF are $1.8billion, which is adequate to cover 4.5 months of retained imports of goods and non-factor services.
“Record tourism and remittance income continue to support Fiji’s balance of payments position.”
Mr Ali said inflation was anticipated to be below 3 per cent by year-end after it fell to 0.1 per cent at the end of last year.Fijitimes
28) Aviation in Vanuatu receives critical upgrade
By Online Editor
10:32 pm GMT+12, 10/05/2015, Vanuatu
The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved a credit of US$59.5 million to improve the safety and efficiency of Vanuatu’s aviation sector – a critical pillar in Vanuatu’s continued social and economic development, and a key part of its disaster management and recovery activities.
The Vanuatu Aviation Investment Project will deliver sector reform, along with essential upgrades to runways, terminal infrastructure and air traffic control management for Vanuatu’s international airports.
“Efficient and safe air travel is vital to Vanuatu’s tourism sector, regional integration, foreign trade and the broader economy,” said Franz Drees-Gross, Country Director for the World Bank for Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea, and the Pacific Islands. “Approving this project has been a priority for the World Bank, especially given the important role aviation continues to play in Vanuatu’s recovery following tropical Cyclone Pam.”
A World Bank technical team arrived in Port Vila on March 31, days after Cyclone Pam, to negotiate funding for the project with the Government of Vanuatu, with formal approval announced just over one month later. US$3.8 million of project funding has been set aside for emergency reconstruction works.
The project will invest in key aviation infrastructure and navigational and communication equipment in Vanuatu’s three international airports – including new runway lighting and improved safety and security equipment for luggage and cargo screening. Bauerfield International Airport will receive urgent runway rehabilitation and a new domestic terminal.
In addition, the project will finance the strengthening of Vanuatu’s aviation regulator and institutions by developing an Airport Master Plan and an Aviation Sector Strategy, as well as delivering targeted technical assistance and training to identify and support the sector’s long-term needs.
“The Government of Vanuatu is acutely aware of the importance of strengthening the nation’s aviation sector for all Ni-Vanuatu,” said Maki Simelum, Vanuatu’s Minister for Finance. “We are looking forward to working with the World Bank to deliver this project, which will see vast improvements to air travel within Vanuatu for tourists, business operators, healthcare providers and those assisting natural disaster recovery.”
US$59.5 million for the project will be funded through a credit from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s fund for the poorest countries. The Australian Government has committed US$300,000 through the Pacific Regional Infrastructure Facility (PRIF) for a safety and security audit and advisory support services.
SOURCE: WORLD BANK/PACNEWS
29) More trade opportunities
By Online Editor
8:38 pm GMT+12, 10/05/2015, Fiji
The US is one of the top export markets for Fiji, buying $183million (US$90 million) in Fijian goods and services, up 5.6 per cent over 2014, says the US ambassador to Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Tonga and Tuvalu, Judith Beth Cefkin.
And as the Fijian economy recorded a 4.2 per cent growth in 2014, Cefkin said another year of positive growth will be further strengthened by increasing trade opportunities between Fiji and the US.
Speaking during the US Embassy roadshow at the Tanoa Waterfront Hotel on Friday, Cefkin said construction was driving an economic expansion, which included infrastructure projects, new homes and investments in new hotels.
“The United States has exports worth $79million (US436 million) to Fiji, which has increased by 19 per cent,” she said.
“I am here in part today to encourage you to expand your use of US products and services. Increased trade and investment benefits the people in both our countries and brings us even closer together.”
“Whether it’s Waisale Serevi leading Serevi rugby and training the next generation of rugby players in the US, Fiji Water sold in US restaurants and in the State Department cafeteria or American run resorts in Fiji, our trade and investment relationship provides jobs and encourages tourism,” she said.
SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS
30) PNG’s death penalty policy ‘under review’ after fallout from Indonesia executions, Peter O’Neill says
Updated 11 May 2015, 16:50 AEST
Papua New Guinea’s prime minister Peter O’Neill says the death penalty is “under review” after recent global outcry over the execution of foreign drug convicts in neighbouring Indonesia.
PNG revived capital punishment two years ago to reduce rampant crime, prompted in part by the live burning of a 20-year-old woman for sorcery.
The country’s National Executive Council approved three modes of execution – hanging, lethal injection and firing squad – but none of the 12 convicts on death row have been killed, due to a lack of infrastructure.
“As I have indicated publicly, that (the death penalty) is under review,” Mr O’Neill told reporters in comments published by the Post-Courier newspaper, after being asked whether PNG would think again following the Indonesian fallout.
“Our agencies of government are reviewing all aspects of the death penalty in our country and we will debate this issue on the floor of parliament when parliament resumes.”
The prime minister’s comments came ahead of a two-day visit by Indonesian president Joko Widodo, under whose leadership 14 drug convicts have been executed, including Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.
Catholic church welcomes suggestion of review
Catholic archbishop John Ribat, a vocal opponent to the death penalty in PNG, told Pacific Beat he supported suggestions of a review and said it would “promote respect for life”.
Fact check: No proof the death penalty prevents crime
Following the executions of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran in Bali, debate about the role of the death penalty in society has led to calls for Australia to push for an end to the punishment around the world.
Mr Ribat said he respected Mr Widodo’s right to enforce the death penalty in Indonesia but did not agree with the punishment being used in PNG.
“That is the view of his nation, but here we are Christians, and we believe God’s law must prevail,” he said.
“No-one has any right to take the life of any other people.”
Australia’s SmartTraveller website advises those visiting Papua New Guinea to “exercise a high degree of caution… because of the high levels of serious crime”.
In February, attorney-general and Department of Justice secretary Dr Lawrence Kalinoe said the government wanted to make the country a safer place by re-introducing capital punishment.
But Mr Ribat said the crimes punishable by death – treason, piracy, wilful murder, aggravated rape, robbery involving violence and sorcery-related killings – would be better dealt with long prison terms.
He said the government was “avoiding responsibility” with the death penalty by not rehabilitating serious offenders.
“We believe that a better way of dealing with people who have broken laws is actually to commit them to a life sentence, and that is a way of rehabilitating people and helping them to become good people,” he said.
31) Villagers give bullet to detectives
The National, Monday May 11th, 2015
By CLIFFORD FAIPARIK
HANUABADA villagers have handed over a bullet retrieved from a victim of January’s shooting to detectives at the police headquarters in Port Moresby.
A Hanuabada leader Lohia Samuel, when handing over the bullet to the crimes director Acting Assistant Commissioner Donald Yamasombi last Friday, said that they had kept this bullet because they had suspected that the report of the first investigation would not go down well with them.
“So now we are handing over this bullet that was been removed from Nou Karoko to the police forensic in front of the media (public) to Yamasombi,” Samuel said.
Karoko was one of the wounded men during January’s incident.
The bullet was removed from the man’s back by surgeons at the Pacific International Hospital. Police officers allegedly shot indiscriminately after the villagers allegedly stoned police vehicles patrolling the area.
The alleged stoning occurred after a reserve unit attached to the National Capital District Commission rampaged through the village to implement the betel nut ban. They allegedly destroyed a market and terrorised villagers.
Samuel said at Konedobu that they were handing over the bullet so police could determine the shooter. They were unhappy with the report of the first investigation released by the National Capital District- Central Commander Jerry Frank.
The report said that the bullet fragment removed from one of the deceased, Nicholas Rarua, when tested was not dislodged from a police firearm. That firearm was tested.
Yamasombi, when receiving the bullet from Samuel, said that the investigations by NCD detectives were not over yet.
“The file from Boroko is with us now. It will be further scrutinised to assist the coroner when it is called for,” he said.
“We are calling for more witnesses to come forward. Detectives cannot do a miracle without collecting statements and evidence.”
Yamasombi said that the investigation file was inconclusive and it would take 12 months from the time of the incident to investigate in order for the coroner’s inquest to take place.
Meanwhile Sinaka Rarua, brother of the late Nicolas Rarua, is appealing to fellow villagers who had witnessed the incident to help provide statements for the investigation.
32) Highway peddlers told to stop illegal fuel trade
The National, Monday May 11th, 2015
PEDDLERS selling fuel illegally along the Highlands Highway in Chimbu have been warned to stop what they are doing.
Acting provincial police commander Albert Beli issued the warning last Friday following the arrest of six people involved in the illegal fuel trade.
“This warning goes to both the highway drivers transporting fuel and people who buy it from them and resell it illegally,” Beli said.
“Police will arrest you on the spot if you have no receipt to show that you have legally purchased the fuel,” Beli said.
Beli said the illegal “black market” fuel trade was rampant along the Highlands Highway starting in Lae.
He said trucking companies like Mapai, Traiser and Kutubu Transport are losing thousands of kina daily because of the fuel trade.
“People selling fuel without a valid receipt or licence will be charged with stealing,” he said. “We have arrested six people but released them later and warned them not to commit the offence again,” Beli said.
“After this warning there will be no mercy, even if you are a first-time offender,” he warned.
Beli said legitimate fuel distributors like service stations who pay taxes to the Government are losing money becuse of the cheap fuel sold along the highway.
“Vehicle owners operating along the highway must not purchase fuel from these black markets as the fuel they are selling maybe contaminated and affect the engines of your vehicles.” Beli said during the unloading processes, the fuel may come into contact with water and dust and may affect its quality.
33) State vehicles under the spotlight again
Monday, May 11, 2015
THE issue of Government vehicles operating after hours without a pass has surfaced yet again.
And the Public Service Commission (PSC) has issued fresh advice for people not to hesitate to inform them of misuse of government vehicles.
PSC permanent secretary Parmesh Chand said in a statement that all vehicles should have a pass signed by their respective head of departments or permanent secretaries.
“The Ministry of Finance released the Transport Policy in 2013 to address all issues involving Government owned vehicles and plants,” he said.
“Under this policy, drivers who are seen to be misusing Government vehicles or passes given by permanent secretaries are liable to be surcharged or disciplined.
“The PSC is urging all drivers and public officers to be accountable to the public and not to take advantage of their positions as civil servants by abusing privileges in regards to Government vehicles.”
Asked on how many vehicles have so far been reprimanded for misusing such vehicles, Mr Chand said: “The PSC has no official number for this as it is within the authority of the respective permanent secretaries or heads of agencies to ensure that vehicle privileges are not abused.
“Members of the public are encouraged to report any abuse of Government vehicles and to contact the PSC, the Ministry of Finance or the government ministries concerned so that issues of misuse can be dealt with immediately.”Fijitimes
34) Rising sea level erodes slope
Monday, May 11, 2015
THE impact of rising sea level has started to wash away a slope by the shores of Korotubu Village in Macuata.
And the villagers have seen the waves gradually wash away the base of the slope during high tide.
Korotubu traditional leader Samuela Tuidravu is one of those who have witnessed the change over the past decade.
“Every high tide we will see the waves come to the shores and return to sea with soil from the slope and I have been here since my childhood days and have seen the big difference,” he said.
“The slope used to be right by the seaside 10 years go but now it is about two metres away from the seashore and during high tide, the waves sit right under the slope.
“So the water is coming into the village compound and that is why we have started working with World Wide Fund for Nature Pacific (WWF) on programs to control and prevent impact.”
Mr Tuidravu said they had planted mangroves by the seashore, discouraged cutting down of trees and dumping of rubbish around the village.
“We have continued to work with our villagers in raising awareness about the importance of saving our environment through zero tolerance of bushfire and dumping rubbish,” he said.
“We need to act now for the sake of our children and the future generation of this village.
“Getting to actually see the impact affect our village makes us seriously think about saving our environment.”
The villagers joined a team from the iTaukei Land Trust Board over the weekend to plant more mangrove seedlings for neighbouring villages.Fijitimes
35) Scientists call for monitoring of Solomons dolphin hunt
11 May 2015
The South Pacific Whale Research Consortium are calling for more scientific monitoring of traditional dolphin hunting practices in Solomon Islands.
In 2010, the Earth Island Institute was able to negotiate a moratorium on the practice with dolphin hunting tribes.
But the agreement fell apart in 2013 and the ensuing hunt, which began in January, saw more than 1,500 dolphins killed in the space of a few months.
An Associate Director of the Marine Mammal Institute at Oregon State University and adjunct professor at the Auckland University, Scott Baker, was part of a team that travelled to the country in March of 2013 to scientifically document the mass dolphin hunts.
He says there is simply not enough data to guide policy and regulation of the ongoing practice.
” These are large numbers taken from coastal populations, that may well be relatively localised and so not terribly abundant. The government of the Solomon Islands has actually been very supportive of this work, but their resources are not sufficient to gather the kinds of information you would really need for an adequate management plan.”RNZI
36) Games will be the best, O’Neill says
The National, Monday May 11th, 2015
By GABRIEL LAHOC
PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill says the Pacific Games in Port Moresby will be the best in the history of the regional competition.
“This year we are going to host the Pacific Games in the country and it’s going to be the best Pacific Games ever in the history of the Pacific Games,” he said.
“The Government has of course put a lot of investment into the Games and we not only expect a good outcome but more gold medals for our country.
“We want to finish on top of and not behind Fiji and New Caledonia. For the Pacific Games, the pool is almost ready, the gyms are there, almost all the sporting facilities are there, the accommodation is almost ready. We will be ready in 60 days, we have no doubt whatsoever. I can assure you that.”
O’Neill made the comment last Friday in Lae while launching the Lae leg of the Prime Minister’s Corporate Golf Challenge at the Lae Golf Club.
“Thank you very much for all your support that you have extended, especially the business houses who have travelled in from everywhere.
Without your support, many of the sporting organisations in the country will not succeed as we have seen in the past years. It is great to see the community spirit,” he said.
“As a nation, we work together in developing our sports. It is not only good for our health but good for the discipline and confidence of our young men and women who continue to play sports.
“Every year we support our sports federation and their team to support our sports men and women.”
37) Men’s hockey aims for gold in PNG
Monday, May 11, 2015
FITNESS, speed and skill are what the focus of the Fiji men’s hockey team as they aim for a gold in the Pacific Games in Papua New Guinea.
Coach Shaun Corrie said with the exception of the two younger players, nobody had played five-a-side hockey at national level.
“The players have adopted well. This is the faster version of the game and what we did was fill all the positions with playmakers,” he said.
“This gives the game more mobility and the players are able to perform better as a team.”
Corrie said Vanuatu tends to be tough in the shorter version of the game.
“They have five villages who play the abbreviated version almost every day so Vanuatu would be a team not to be taken lightly,” he said.
“The hosts PNG would have also spent a lot of money preparing their teams and we know that they would like to win the gold. And the hope support will be with them.
“Another good news from PNG is that the hockey turf is ready.”
Men’s hockey returned to the Pacific Games schedule after 20 years. PNG the hosts have opted to host the sport in the abbreviated code.
Nine players have been named in the national squad.
The women’s hockey team would also compete in the Pacific Games.
* Pacific Games coverage courtesy of BSP-Fijitimes
38) Pools confirmed for HSBC Sevens World Series finale
By Online Editor
6:31 pm GMT+12, 10/05/2015, United Kingdom
After their Cup win at the eighth round of the Series in Glasgow, Fiji are top seeds and head Pool A, while runners-up New Zealand, third-placed England and the fourth semi-finalist USA head the remaining pools.
The 2014/15 season carries added significance because the top-ranked sides in the series qualify directly for the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016. Following their performances in Glasgow, South Africa, Fiji and New Zealand have all confirmed their place in Rio, with just the fourth and final spot still be decided.
Following the pool draw for round nine of the Series, which was made before the Cup final at Scotstoun Stadium, Fiji head Pool A in London and face Canada, Argentina and Samoa.
Glasgow runners-up New Zealand and defending series champions will play Australia, as well as Wales and Japan in Pool B.
Hosts England head Pool C as the third-placed team in Scotland and face Scotland, Kenya and Brazil. USA, meanwhile, will play South Africa, France and Portugal.
SOURCE: WORLD RUGBY/PACNEWS
39) Rio spot confirmed for Fiji 7s team
By Online Editor
6:25 pm GMT+12, 10/05/2015, United Kingdom
GLASGOW, 11 MAY 2015 ( FIJI TIMES) — Fiji will be at the Olympic Games rugby sevens event next year in Rio after qualifying to the quarter-finals of the Glasgow Sevens on Saturday night.
Sports Minister Laisenia Tuitobou said coach Ben Ryan was the man of the moment because it was his vision and dedication that transformed Fiji back into a sevens powerhouse.
Captain Osea Kolinisau was overjoyed and said the players had worked hard
“We have made it into the Olympics, it has been a tough road but we have made it. There are plenty of top teams in the series. We have worked hard. The boys are very proud about making it to Rio,” Kolinisau said.
“It means a lot to Fiji as a whole because it is the first time a team of athletes will go to the Olympic Games who would be in medal contention. It is a dream come true to be an Olympian.”
Tuitubou added the Government had full confidence in Ryan.
“Ryan was the catalyst. He helped shape the attitude of the players and made them into champions. His teaching methods can be used across the board to transform all national sports,” he said.
“Government will continue to support the sevens team and coach Ryan. Now that they have gone a level up, we will also have to do that.”
It started as a dream with World Rugby and the International Olympic Committee agreeing that the top four finishers this season qualify for the Olympics 7s.
To make this dream a reality, in September 2013, Ryan signed on as the new head coach for the sevens team. And since as coach of Fiji, he has won two tournaments in the 2013-14 season and three in the 2014-15 and this season it just keeps getting better.
After being recognised as official qualifiers Ryan tweeted, “We can now officially say it. Fiji are going to the Olympics! Part 1 done. #wananavu.”
South Africa also officially qualified to the Olympic Games and New Zealand needs to reach the semi-final to become the second Oceania team through.
Australia and England will battle for the fourth available spot this season.
Oceania National Olympic Committee president said this was excellent news.
“This is really good for Fiji and we hope that Fiji is joined by more Oceania teams so we have greater representation in the Olympic Games,” he said.
The qualification means the for the first time Fiji enters the Rio Olympic Games as a serious gold medal contender
SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS
40) Tabakaucoro sets Fiji 100 metres record in Australia
By Online Editor
6:19 pm GMT+12, 10/05/2015, Australia
Fiji and Pacific Games champion Banuve Tabakaucoro has recorded a new Fiji 100 metres record at the Oceania Championships in Australia yesterday.
Tabakaucoro clocked a time of 10.22 seconds to win the Oceania 100m event.
Tabakaucoro’s father Ratu Jo Tabakaucoro said the impressive performance from the former Coca-Cola Games champion was part of their plan in preparations for the Pacific Games and also in achieving the Olympic qualifying time.
“This is a good progress for him (Banuve) as he has been improving his performance and getting good results,” Ratu Jo said.
“With more top competition such as the Oceania Championships Banuve should be hitting the Olympic qualifying time of 10.16s very soon. We want him to qualify early and not pressured by trying to hit the qualifying time when we come close to the Olympics,” Ratu Jo said.
Coca- Cola Games girls 100 metres champion Younis Bese was also in impressive form achieving a personal best time of 11.87seconds in the women’s competition.
Natabua High School student Batinisavu Uluiyata won the 400m gold in 48.8sec.
Other top performance from Fiji athletes include Waisale Dausoko’s 7.51m jump in the long jump. Shane Tuvusa won the U18 400m in 49.8sec, and was bronze in 200m while Vilisoni Rarasea Sailosi ran a personal best of 56.22sec in 400m hurdles to put him in contention for a Pacific Games top three finish.
Milika Tuivanuavou won gold in the triple jump and shot put in the open grade.
The Fiji men’s 4x100m relay of Banuve, Dausoko, Rarasea, Batinisavu won first place while the men’s 4x400m relay team finished second to Australia in final.
Altogether the Shop N Save Athletics Fiji team won eight gold.
SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS
41) Samoan Alexander Rose breaks Oceania Discus Record
By Online Editor
6:17 pm GMT+12, 10/05/2015, Australia
The saying goes that rules are made to be broken, but in the case of the men’s discus, it was the records that were tumbling.
It was one of the fiercest battles of the Oceania Athletics Championships, as two athletes not only set new personal bests throughout the event, but also broke the Oceania record an incredible three times.
Samoa’s Alexander Rose and New Zealand’s Marshall Hall were certainly ready to bring their A game when they arrived at Cairn’s Barlow Park .
On Rose’s first throw the 24 year old broke his own Oceania record of 56.29m that had stood since June 2012. His new record was almost a metre better than the one he set in 2012, as he threw an incredible 57.13 metres.
Not to be outdone on his first throw, 27 year old Hall broke Rose’s record by 30 centimetres, throwing 57.43 metres and setting the tone for a fierce battle for the gold medal.
It was clear that the duo were competing at another level, as the gold medal quickly became a two man race, as competitors and spectators alike were treated to an enthralling display of athleticism.
In the end it was Rose’s third throw that not only smashed the new record set by Hall by 3.52 metres, but also secured him the gold medal and the title of Oceania Champion.
Despite again improving on his personal best with a final throw of 59.87 metres, Hall could only manage the silver medal, whilst Guam’s Justin Andre won bronze.
These results now see Hall ranked in the top five New Zealand discus throwers of all time, whilst Rose is the proud owner of the Samoan National Record and is currently ranked 39th in the world for discus.
After delivering such impressive performances, there is no doubt we will be hearing about these two men well into the future.
SOURCE: UNITED YOUTH MEDIA/PACNEWS
42) Firebirds too strong for Melbourne Vixens
Monday, May 11, 2015
GOLD COAST – Queensland Firebirds captain Laura Geitz says her side have their sights set on a home conference final in the trans-Tasman netball competition following a comfortable 54-45 victory over Melbourne Vixens yesterday.
The Firebirds toppled their 2014 grand final opponents for the second time this season to move to equal-first with Perth-based West Coast Fever.
A first-place finish will earn the Firebirds a week-one final on home territory.
With three rounds to play, only goal differential separates the Firebirds and Fever in the Australian conference.
“It’s really important to give we give ourselves the best chance of playing a home final… last year we did a lot of travelling backwards and forwards,” Geitz said.
“We want to obviously get big wins, help our percentage and claim that number one spot at the end of the rounds.”
Now on a winning streak of seven matches, Queensland’s form shows no signs of abating.
In front of a 4,444-strong crowd, they lead at all changes but it was a 17-goal third quarter that broke the back of the Vixens.
They opened up a 40-34 gap before running away with it in the final quarter.
“It was an ugly win, I don’t think it was our best netball. Vixens put out different combinations and different styles of play and we couldn’t find our rhythm,” Geitz said.
The Firebirds’ mid-court pairing of Caitlyn Nevins and Kimberley Ravillion caused turnovers early, while Gretel Tippett (16 goals from 25 attempts) compensated for a somewhat out-of-sorts start from star shooter Romelda Aiken (38 from 44).
Tippett found plenty of space at goal attack on her way to five goals for the opening quarter. However, Aiken found her groove at the end of the second, landing a brace of goals and one on the siren for a 23-20 lead.
43) Drew eligible for Wallabies
Monday, May 11, 2015
Waratahs wing Rob Horne has welcomed the challenge Toulon star Drew Mitchell will pose for an international place heading into the World Cup.
Mitchell, who helped his club side claim a third straight European title on Saturday, was in impressive form alongside Matt Giteau at Twickenham.
And with the veteran pair now eligible to play for Australia once again, Horne believes that can only be a positive for the Wallabies in the near future.
“Competition is good for all spots, especially in a World Cup year. It brings out the best in everyone,” the consistent Horne told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“It was awesome to see Drew play so well and to get up again, especially that Australian contingent, it was awesome to see.
“It was unfortunate for John Ulugia, who plays for Clermont, but it’s great to see Australians over there playing well and representing us.”
Meanwhile, Australia head coach Michael Cheika was also impressed by the performance of wing Mitchell, who can also cover the full-back position.
“He did pretty well, didn’t he,” he told Fairfax Media.
“Of course, I said at the time, the point is creating more depth. We have three more players now that you’ve got to be looking at.”
44) England rule stays
Monday, May 11, 2015
FORMER England wing Mark Cueto believes the playing overseas rule is “black and white” as the debate rumbles on surrounding Top 14 stars.
The 35-year-old finisher, who is set to retire at the end of the current campaign, has been a stalwart at Sale Sharks since making his club debut back in 2001.
And looking ahead to the Rugby World Cup on home soil, the man capped 55 times by his country has stated that all players know the rules for Test rugby.
“On form, there is no way you can ignore them but rules are rules,” he told BBC Sport, with French-based duo Nick Abendanon and Steffon Armitage in mind.
“The EPS agreement has been in place for so long and if you leave the Premiership, you know you won’t be considered to play for your country.
“It is black and white. It’s their decision to go out there.”
England is set to face a daunting pool campaign against rivals Australia and Wales, but Cueto is confident in how their preparations are taking shape.
“England are in a really good place. The first three years under Stuart they progressed really well,” said the Premiership’s all-time top try-scorer.
“They had a shaky patch but they came relatively good again in the recent Six Nations.
“They have a strong set-piece and a forward pack that can compete with anyone in the world. In the Six Nations, they were also ahead of the others in terms of try-scoring, so that shows the attacking side of things is developing too.
“Taking all of that into account and being at home, I think they are in a good spot.”
45) Club v country World Cup problem a global issue
11 May 2015
The International Rugby Players Association says the reluctance of clubs to contract players from smaller nations during a World Cup year is not isolated to just one or two countries.
Manu Samoa lock Daniel Leo told Planet Rugby that some Pacific Island players are being pressured to declare themselves unavailable for internationals or asked to take a pay cut if they continue.
Players Association Executive Director Rob Nichol says players from second tier nations are vunerable because they often lose money by choosing to play for their country and rely on clubs for the bulk of their income.
He says it is happening all over the rugby globe.
“If you are a player that plays for anyone other than the All Blacks at a World Cup you are going to be absent this year, in New Zealand, from the ITM Cup so if you are a provincial union contracting a player who plays for Tonga or Samoa or the USA or a Canada for example, and you are looking to contract a player and he turns around and says, “well actually I was looking to go to the World Cup”, the province has to release the player, and in the Northern Hemisphere the club has to release the player, and when you go to contract that player you’re going to say, “well hang on a second – you’re going to be away six or seven weeks so we’re probably aren’t going to pay you what we otherwise would have paid you. So, you know, you can understand that”.
Rob Nichol says the issue is a commercial challenge that requires a commerical solution from Rugby World Cup and World Rugby.RNZI