Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1095 ( Wednesday 13 May 2015 )

1) Frustration Mounts As More Bougainville Voters Turned Away
Calls for Electoral Commissioner to be sacked over common roll problems

By Romulus Masiu

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, May 13, 2015) – Many more frustrated voters are leaving polling booths as Bougainville enters into the second day of polling.

The number of eligible voters turned away has now risen above 1000 and is set to increase during the two weeks of voting.

They are being forcefully turned away by polling officials as a result of no names on the common roll.

Blame and fingers are pointing to Bougainville Electoral Commissioner George Manu and his team for the failure in updating the common roll.

In Ruhwaku ward of Siwai district, South Bougainville more than 70 eligible voters have been deprived their right to vote in this very important election.

This is the norm in every polling booth throughout the island region.

In Siwelei village of Bolave Constituency of Bana district in South Bougainville more than 200 voters were turned away when they failed to locate their names on the common roll.

“This is a worst election ever,” Robert Noiba of Konnou Constituency could only describe after most of his family names were not found on the common roll to vote.

There is a possibility people of Bougainville will be taking the Bougainville Electoral Commission to court for failing miserably to update this year’s roll for voters.

Millions have been pump into and spent on electoral teams to update the common roll but the result is very poor according to the turn out.

This paper observed and witnessed that many people came to vote but the electoral commission has deprived their rights with a very poor updating of common roll.

“After two ABG Elections, we still haven’t got it right. Shouldn’t the third ABG Election be the one we get them right.

We do not need this Common Roll to be messed up when we eventually vote for Referendum,” a voter from Port Moresby said.

“This is not on. Electoral office is responsible to update the common roll. This is not on. After the election those responsible should be brought to task then for depriving the people of their right to elect leaders of their choice.

Sack the whole lot of incompetent EC employees including their boss,” another frustrated voter said at Arawa polling booth.

“This concern is very genuine and an unfortunate one. Yesterday at our polling station, at least 50 were turned away because they could not find their names on the con roll as I would call it.

There was no supplementary roll provided. If we were advocating on the importance of this election, why then this unnecessary bullshit when avenues were provided for the common roll to be updated?

Desmond Ponpon from Selau Constituency said. Many frustrated voters called for imprisonment of those who were entrusted with the responsibility to update the common roll and failed miserably to do so.

PNG Post-Courier

2) PNG MP calls for MSG to be disbanded

By Online Editor
3:51 pm GMT+12, 12/05/2015, Papua New Guinea

An outspoken Papua New Guinea MP says the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) has failed its original mandate and should be disbanded.
Gary Juffa, who is the Governor of Oro Province, says that the MSG’s leadership does not act in a way that represents Melanesian voices.
His comment comes after the Indonesian President, Joko Widodo, visited PNG this week as high-level lobbying intensifies over the looming decision on a MSG membership bid by the United Liberation Movement for West Papua.
Juffa says that behind the scenes among officials in MSG member countries there’s a growing resentment of the group’s treatment of the Papua issue.
“They said disband it, what’s the point? If it’s going to be there to be dictated to by Indonesia, what’s the point? MSG was set up to fight for Melanesian views and issues, not just be a trade agreement conduit, and not just be a muppet and puppet to the will and whim of say Indonesia,” said Juffa.

3) Free West Papua Activists Burn Indonesia Flag During PNG Visit
Protestors allegedly detained, held by police without charged

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, May 12, 2015) – Free West Papua activists this afternoon burnt the Indonesian flag at the Jacksons International airport in Port Moresby.

The activists and protestors took the inevitable action hours before Indonesian Prime Minister Joko Widodo was schedule to fly out of Papua New Guinea after a two-day state visit.

The burning of the flag comes after a day after seven activists were arrested and detained yesterday evening at Jackson International Airport for holding a peaceful protest supporting the freedom of West Papua.

The protestors said they were detained by police and held without charges after demonstrating at the arrival of the Indonesian president.

The group held a banner that read, “Indonesia –stop the genocide in West Papua’, shortly before President Widodo arrived in Port Moresby. They also waved Free West Papua flag.

Amongst the protestors was David Dom Kua, PNG Union for Free West Papua general secretary who is believed to be one of seven people taken into custody and kept without charges for six hours.

National Capital District police Metropolitan Superintendent Andy Bawa when contacted last night confirmed that some protestors and sympathizers of West Papuan people were arrested and detained at 6 Mile police station.

Mr Bawa said he is yet to get more reports on the matter with the 6 mile police station commander and could not confirm whether these protestor have being charged or not.

President Widodo had several meetings with Prime Minister Peter O’Neill on bilateral relations, agreements and co-operations between the two countries during his two day visit.

The local media were not allowed to ask questions directly to President Widodo. Much of the questions would have being on the independence for West Papua and President Widodo’s harsh death penalty for drug traffickers into Indonesia including the worldwide condemnation of his decision to put to death the famous Bali 9 drug traffickers two weeks ago.

PNG Post-Courier

4) PNG backs MSG bid


The National, Wednesday May 13th, 2015

 Papua New Guinea will support Indonesia become an associate member of the Melanesian Spearhead Group, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said.
The decision came in a meeting between O’Neill and Indonesian President Joko Widodo in Parliament yesterday after which two agreements relating to trans-national crime and energy were signed.
“We have agreed for Papua New Guinea’s support for Indonesia to become an associate member of the Melanesian Spearhead Group, which Papua New Guinea will gladly endorse  and pursue with other leaders of the Melanesian Group,” O’Neill said.
“This will enable our five Melanesian provinces that Indonesia will come under to participate in cultural and trade and investment with our Melanesian countries within the region.
“This will enable Melanesian people to participate in sporting events and other activities of cultural significance which will further strengthen our own relationships as well as with our fellow Melanesians, 11 million or so, on the Indonesian side of our border.”
O’Neill said both countries agreed to strengthen economic opportunities along the border.
“Indonesia is heavily investing in the infrastructure in those provinces, which we’d like to have access to, particularly in telecommunications, power generation and, of course, road infrastructure, giving an opportunity for Papua New Guineans to engage with fellow Melanesians on the other side  of the border,” he said.
“This is truly a unique agreement that has been reached between the two governments and I again salute the President for his courage in ensuring that we now take a step forward in how we engage with Melanesians in the Indonesian provinces.
“We look forward to working closely with the Indonesian Government on many other issues, including our bilateral relations and, of course, our international commitments into the future.
“Indonesia is a very strong supporter of Papua New Guinea both internationally and regionally, supporting us at APEC meetings where Indonesia is our number one supporter Indonesia is our number one supporter in engagements with ASEAN countries and our associate member of ASEAN for which we are grateful.”

5) Jakarta keen to build ties


The National, Wednesday May 13th, 2015

 INDONESIAN President Joko Widodo says his country and Papua New Guinea will be looking at building stronger bilateral relationships after 40 years.
He said that after a meeting with Prime Minister Peter O’Neill in Parliament yesterday.
“Papua New Guinea is the closest neighbour of Indonesia and a friend of Indonesia,” Widodo said.
“Prime Minister O’Neill and I have agreed that relationships in this 40th anniversary will become more intensified.
“We have agreed to increase our cooperation in various economic sectors to increase trade beyond the border markers to strengthen cooperation in investment and infrastructure development, as well as encourage the participation on private sector in energy, telecommunication, forestry and fisheries.
“We agreed to increase our connectivity: On this occasion, I am delighted that Garuda Indonesia and Air Niugini have agreed to code-share for Port Moresby-Denpasar-Jakarta as well as Port Moresby-Singapore-Jakarta.
“I’m delighted that today we can witness the signing of MOU (agreement) on cooperation to prevent trans-national crimes, including narcotics and terrorism, and the enhancement of capacity-building for human resources in exploration of oil and energy.”

6) Widodo urges greater trade


The National, Wednesday May 13th, 2015

 Indonesian President Joko Widodo says his country and Papua New Guinea should be looking at building stronger economic relationships beyond the popular Batas Market at Wutung on the border where trade amounts to more than US$4.5 million (K9.37 million) a year.
 He told a business breakfast organised by the Business Council of PNG and Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce and Industry at the Royal Papua Yacht Club in Port Moresby yesterday that Indonesia had a population of more than 250 million people.
“Your neighbour Indonesia is home to more than 250 million people, the biggest country in South East Asia,” Widodo told a packed room.
“Indonesia is your gateway to ASEAN. 
“I notice a strong appetite for more business contact.  
“Our cross-border trade, particularly at the Wutung border is one example. 
“It is closer and more economical, a total transaction of US$4.5 million, but we must do beyond border trade. 
“Indonesia and PNG must have stronger economic ties in other areas. 
“Energy, infrastructure, communications and fisheries are some of the industries that we can extensively cooperate in. 
“Business activities with Papua New Guinea will profit in the eastern part of Indonesia. 
“We must continue to strengthen trade and investment between our two countries.”
Widodo stressed the need for “connectivity” between the two countries. “Business activities are plentiful and waiting to be taken,” he said. 
“I encourage the business community in PNG to take advantage of this opportunity. 
 “Let me take this opportunity to invite you, the business community of PNG, to take part in the Trade Expo in Indonesia in October 2015. 

7) Indonesia, PNG agree to combat border crime


The National, Wednesday May 13th, 2015

 Indonesia and Papua New Guinea yesterday signed two agreements relating to trans-national crime and petroleum and energy.
The first agreement, on preventing and combating trans-national crime, was signed by Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Retno L Marsudi and her PNG counterpart Rimbink Pato.
The second, on cooperation on human resources in petroleum and energy, was signed by Indonesia Minister for Energy and Mineral Resources Sudirman Said and Pato.
The agreements were signed after a meeting between Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Prime Minister Peter O’Neill with their respective delegations.
Widodo returned to Indonesia yesterday after arriving on Monday for his two-day visit.
While in the country, he met Govenor-General Sir Michael Ogio.
 “Let us work to build Indonesia and PNG together.”

8) Fiji National Security, Defense Consultations Identifies Threats
Unemployment, poverty, land, identity issues highlighted

By Siteri Sauvakacolo

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, May 13, 2015) – Unemployment, poverty and land issues have been identified as threats to national security.

This was highlighted by the chairman of the National Security and Defence Review Committee Esala Teleni at the discussion of the strategy review at Novotel Suva Lami Bay yesterday.

“It is very interesting, when you go right down to community and village level, they look at land and identity as threat to national security, however, in urban areas they look at poverty, unemployment and economic disparity as threat to them and it’s a reflection of the society we live in,” Mr Teleni said.

“For people in rural areas, the problem is the lack of understanding of what the Government has done in ensuring that anything to do with the iTaukei is protected.

“I think the main thing now is it has to do with public awareness.”

While the endorsement of this national document is still a long way to go, Mr Teleni said they hoped to submit the proposal to the National Security Council then to the Government and Cabinet by August.

Certain agencies of the Government, Mr Teleni said, were addressing these issues and they would be taken on board as they had been addressed by the people.

“Of course we will look at courses of actions and recommendations on how to address these issues raised and for issues they thought were a threat, we will look at solutions and make recommendations to the Government so we will identify weaknesses and gaps.

“We take an inclusive approach and we include all government ministries in this action.”

The National Security Strategy Framework is expected to come into effect by the end of the year.

Fiji Times Online.


9) Former Cooks MP To Government: Ignore Referendum At Your Peril
Decision on Sunday flights to Aitutaki yet to be announced

By Matariki Wilson

RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, May 12, 2015) – Lawyer and former politician Norman George says the people of Aitutaki deserve an apology for Sunday flight promises not honoured by the former Democratic Party government.

He also warns the current Cook Islands Party government to ‘ignore the referendum at your own peril’.

Weighing into the Sunday flight debate, George pledges to continue his absolute support of the people of Aitutaki who voted to stop Sunday flights.

In fact, George says he has always stood by the Aitutaki people and if he is ever successful again of returning to parliament, he would champion the views of what he described as the ‘vigilant prayer -givers’ of Aitutaki.

“The vigilant prayer-givers of Aitutaki have been praying for change – they have been betrayed.”

In a letter to the editor, George spells out some ‘cold facts’ about the Sunday flight saga dating back to the 2008 Democratic Partly led government.

“The Democratic Party government through the then Deputy Prime Minister Terepai Maoate in 2008 met with the people of Aitutaki and promised them to allow a six month trial period to take place before putting the matter to a referendum,” writes George.

“It was a promise which was sadly not honoured and the Democratic Party owes the people of Aitutaki an apology and if they ever wish to win seats in the future, support the legislation to ban Sunday flights.”

George fires shots at the current Cook Islands Party government, saying they also made unqualified promises to the people of Aitutaki.

“The CIP made a clear unqualified promise to the people of Tautu Vaipae to hold a referendum on the Sunday flights issue if they elected the CIP candidate Moana Ioane,” says George.

“Ioane was duly elected, the referendum was held, and the people of Aitutaki by a clear majority disapproved of the Sunday flights.”

In his letter George also highlights the non-binding nature of the Aitutaki flight referendum saying, “Clearly PM Puna is looking for an emergency escape exit!

“If MP Moana Ioane is worthy of his reputation, he must place his future on the line, he should demand his CIP Government to legislate to stop Sunday flights, following a sensible scaling-down period, or resign from the CIP.”

Cook Islands News


11) Samoa, ADB launch project to boost economy through Agri business

By Online Editor
3:58 pm GMT+12, 12/05/2015, Samoa

The Government of Samoa and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has launched a grant project that aims to strengthen the agribusiness sector in the country by providing support services and financing to companies over the next 7 years.
Samoa’s Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi delivered the keynote speech at the launch of the AgriBusiness Support Project, while Xianbin Yao, Director General of ADB’s Pacific Department also spoke at the event.
“Agribusinesses whether they are producing banana chips or exporting taro, are businesses that provide jobs and income for rural raw material suppliers and are critical for stimulating agricultural production in the economy,” said Yao.
The Samoa AgriBusiness Support Project is expected to boost the Pacific island nation’s economic performance by addressing constraints that hinder increased trade and export. It will assist commercial partner agribusinesses to grow sustainably, and work with participating commercial banks to provide suitable financing to partner agribusinesses.
In addition, the project will provide business support services, like financial management and technical support as well as assistance in developing business plans and providing guidance to secure commercial finance.
The Samoa AgriBusiness Support Project will support any commercially viable and sustainable agricultural project with preference given to projects that source raw material from Samoan farmers under outgrower or contract farming arrangements; span the entire value chain from grower to end user; create jobs, especially in rural areas; and contribute to exports or import replacement.
The 7-year project is financed by ADB, the Government of Samoa, commercial banks and agribusiness investors, with the Ministry of Finance as the executing agency.





13) Aust aid agency: Inclusive growth real issue in PNG


The National, Wednesday May 13th, 2015

 DIRECTOR of International Programmes at Save the Children in Australia and former head of Australian Aid in PNG Stuart Schaefer has stressed that inclusive growth is the real issue in Papua New Guinea.
He highlighted in his recent presentation titled “Aid to PNG: A long game” on Monday that the need for economic growth is not the issue in PNG, inclusive growth has argued in Save the Children’s submission to the PNG aid inquiry recently. 
He said the central focus for Australia’s aid programme should be in helping the PNG Government transform the benefits of its natural resource wealth into improved well-being for all citizens.
“To that end, we are not convinced that a compelling case has been made to re-prioritise 30 per cent of the aid programme to private sector led growth and aid for trade,” Schaefer said. 
“Of course, the private sector drives economic growth. aid investment decisions, however, should be based on the comparative advantage of aid in any given country and the best return on investment for Australia’s aid dollars. 
“In PNG, this includes investment in health and education. 
“If large-scale aid investment is contemplated in the private sector, this should be non-government service providers, including the churches.” 
He added that in PNG, 13,000 children die each year before the age of five according to UNICEF statistics, largely from preventable causes. “Preventable and treatable diseases like pneumonia, diarrhoea, measles and malaria are the biggest causes of child deaths. 
No child should die from preventable illnesses, especially when there are simple and low-cost solutions that can help. 
“We are deeply concerned about any rapid transition away from service delivery,” he said. 
Schaefer said in PNG, spending on core services was insufficient. 
“Public health expenditure is only 12.6 per cent of total government expenditure in PNG (this includes aid funding); in Australia health is 17.8 per cent of total government expenditure. 
“There are major gaps in service provision and it is the most marginalised and deprived that are missing out,” he said.
He added that with private wealth accumulating from natural resources projects, there is a serious underclass developing in PNG.

14) Aust aid budget shameful business focus – Greens

 13 May 2015

 The Australian Greens spokesperson for international aid says it is shameful that the focus of Australia is the national interest and not poverty reduction.

Senator Lee Rhiannon was reacting to the largest ever annual aid cut of $US797 million dollars as laid out in the latest national budget.

Most of the cuts are in Africa and Indonesia with the Pacific largely unscathed, but Senator Rhiannon says she is very concerned at the new Innovation XChange program which is operating in this region.

She says it is using aid money to open up opportunities for Australian businesses.

“It’s about new technologies and opening up businesses with many Pacific Island countries, but when you read into the detail, you know I certainly become more worried and I did notice it on the website of DFAT [ Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade] they actually boast that it is enhance Australia’s impact on the economies of the Indo-Pacific region.”

Lee Rhiannon.RNZI


15) NZ Delegation congratulates Fiji parliament

By Online Editor
7:33 pm GMT+12, 12/05/2015, Fiji

A New Zealand parliamentary delegation visiting Fiji has commended the efforts of Fijian Parliament.
David Carter, New Zealand’s Speaker of Parliament led the team on a two day visit where they were able to observe proceedings in the House – including the Questions and answer session.
Carter says he’s pleased with what he’s seen, given that our parliament is only a few months old.
“A good democracy requires a strong government and a strong opposition. If you don’t have a strong opposition having its opportunity to account, then you won’t have a strong democracy in this country. We’ve had the opportunity of meeting the Prime Minister, the Attorney General, other ministers and members of the Opposition – all of them need to be congratulated on the progress they’ve with this parliament,” said Carter.
The delegation included former New Zealand Foreign Minister and current MP Phil Goff, MP Mark Mitchell, clerk to parliament Mary Harris and Daniel Tasker.
Carter has invited his Fijian counterpart – Dr. Jiko Luveni and staff from the parliament office for further visits to Fiji.



16a) Brèves du Pacifique – mercredi 13 mai 2015

Posté à 13 May 2015, 16:35 AEST

Élodie Largenton

Les Îles Mariannes du Nord et Guam sont en alerte : elles se trouvent sur la route du cyclone Dolphin. 

Les habitants de Chuuk, dans les États fédérés de Micronésie, ont aussi été invités à se préparer. Le cyclone pourrait atteindre la catégorie 3 sur 5, et frapper la région vendredi.
  •  Nauru n’apprécie pas les critiques sur sa politique intérieure. Si le gouvernement a décidé de bloquer temporairement l’accès à Facebook, c’est pour protéger les enfants de la pornographie, et non pour échapper au contrôle de la communauté internationale, affirme le président Baron Waqa. Il se dit déçu que l’on s’inquiète du sort des enfants réfugiés et pas du sort des enfants de Nauru. Rappelons que dans un premier temps, le gouvernement nauruan avait nié avoir bloqué Facebook.
  •  La sortie du film Mad Max n’est pas passée inaperçue, à Sydney. Des acteurs et des fans de la franchise culte ont défilé en camions, motos et voitures pour fêter l’avant-première, ce soir, de Mad Max Fury Road. Une autoroute de la région de Sydney a même été momentanément fermée. Des véhicules qui ont servi sur le tournage du nouveau Mad Max ont ensuite été faire le show devant l’Opéra de Sydney.


17) Mambrasar les tru long Indonesia i kamap memba blong MSG

Postim 13 May 2015, 15:20 AEST
Caroline Tiriman

Fred Mambrasar, lida blong ol West Papua long Papua New Guinea i tok Indonesia em i wanpela Asian kantri na em i noken kamap ful memba blong Malenesian Spearhead Group.

Odio: Fred Mambrasar, West Papua lida long PNG na West Papua sapota John Tekwie i toktok
Mr Mambrasar i mekim dispela toktok  bihaen long Praim Minista Peter O’Neill ibin i tokim ol niusman-meri long Port Moresby aste  olsem em i laikim bai Indonesia i kamap memba blong MSG.
Praim Minista O’Neill ibin autim despla tingting blong en bihain long em ibin toktok wantaim President Joko Widodo blong Indonesia – pastaim long president i go bek long Indonesia.
Long despla taem laen blong United Liberation Movement for West Papua iwok long wetim askim oa application blong ol em oli bin givim pinis long ofis blong Melanesian spiahed grup long Vanuatu long joinim MSG olsem ol full memba.
Long stat blong despla yia Mr O’Neill ibin tokaut olsem PNG imas toktok olgeta taem long ol pasin nogut em Indonesia isave mekim long kilim nating nating ol pipal long West Papua, tasol astem emi bin mekim despla toktok long Indonesia i joinim MSG.
Fred Mambrasar  itok em iet na ol pipal bek long ples long West Papua ino wanbel wantem despla toktok blong Mr O’Neill.
Tasol, wanpla lida blong west Papua indipendans lida long PNG John Tekwie itok emi luksave long toktok blong Praim Minista O’Neill long sait blong ol wokbung namel long Indonesia na PNG.
Tasol emi laik long Indonesia i mas givim iet indipendans long West Papua sampla taem bihaen.ABC

18) Toktok long wanem Australia budget i minim long PNG na Pacific: Barker

Postim 13 May 2015, 15:33 AEST
Caroline Tiriman

Long Australia, Federal Treasurer, Joe Hockey ibin tokaut long budget aste nait long Palaman na emi tok despla namba tu budget blong en i wanpla gutpla budget.

Odio: Paul Barker, Executive direkta blong Institute of national afeas long PNG i toktok
Wanpla samting em despla budget ibin soim em gavman i ibin katim halvim igo long planti kantri olsem ol kantri long Africa na tu emi bin katim gut halvim igo long Indonesia.
Moni em oli save givim igo long ol narapla kantri long despla faifpla yia ikam oli kating long samting olsem seven billion dolas.
Tasol tupla kantri long Pacific rijan, Papua New Guinea na Nauru em oli gat ol Australian asylum ditensan senta ino bin kisim taem long despla budget.
Australia ino bin katim tu halvim igo long ol narapla liklik ailan kantri we emi save helpim ol.
Long odio bai yu ken harim Paul Barker, Executive direkta blong Institute of national afeas long PNG  i givim lukluk blongen long despla tingting blong Australia long noken katim aid igo long ol Pacific Island kantri.ABC

19) Sekiuriti long boda namel long Bougainville na Solomon Islands

Postim 13 May 2015, 16:09 AEST

Sam Seke

Wok sekiuriti namel long Bougainville na Solomon Islands i tait bihain long sampela lain long Bougainville ibin go stil na wokim trabol long hap blong Solomon Islands.

Ol polis long Bougainvile na Solomon Islands i wok long mekim ol wok sekiuriti long boba namel long South Bougainville, na Shortland Islands long hap blong Solomon Islands .
Acting Bougainville Police Commissioner, Chief Superintendent Paul Kamuai i tok ol i goget long toktok wantaim ol Solomon Islands boda patrol i stap insait long hap blong ol yet.
Ol dispela boda sekiuriti wok i kamap bihain long sampela lain long Buin ibin go insait long hap blong Solomon Islands na kamapim sampela heve pastaim long dispela mun.
Wanpela ripot i tok wanpela lain blong Buin wantaim high-power gun ibin go long wanpela logging camp long Shortlands na reidim wanpela logging camp.
Polis ripot ia i tok ol 7 pela man ia i stilim moa long 80,000 US dollar long cash, 10 pela chainsaw na planti moa ol sating blong Asian man long logging camp ia.ABC


20) Fiji PM reiterates call to review Pacific Islands Forum membership at PALM 7

By Online Editor
3:48 pm GMT+12, 12/05/2015, Fiji

Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says he will continue to reiterate his call to review the membership of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) at the PALM 7 meeting later this month.
The meeting will also be attended by other Pacific Island Leaders who could use the opportunity to lobby Bainimarama to change this mind about Fiji’s membership.
Speaking to FBC News, Bainimarama stated, he will tell the Leaders exactly what he has been saying in the past few weeks, that Australia and New Zealand should be excluded from the Forum.
Last week, Bainimarama stated that he will not participate in any Forum Leader’s Meeting until the issue of the undue influence of Australia and New Zealand is addressed.
Bainimarama is expected to address the PALM 7 meeting which will be held in Iwaki, Japan.



21) EU proposes three-year pause in economic deal

3 May 2015

 The European Union has proposed a three-year pause in negotiations on the Economic Partnership Agreement.

FBC reports that the Fiji Permanent Secretary for Industry and Trade, Shaheen Ali, says there has been very little progress in negotiations since October 2013.

The EU’s Pacific Ambassador, Andrew Jacobs, told FBC the negotiations have not been easy and an agreement may take a while yet.

He says key areas of dispute include the conservation of fish stocks in the Pacific.RNZI


22) No TB records, experts say


The National, Wednesday May 13th, 2015

THE lack of proper records of suspected tuberculosis carriers and positive cases has seriously affected monitoring of medication for patients, experts say.
They said that resulted in confusion on whether patients were taking the medication daily or the medication had become resistant to their bodies.
The visiting team of international tuberculosis technical experts under the Green Light Committee (GLC)identified the problem when visiting the Lawes Road TB clinic in the Moresby South Electorate yesterday.
The team found there were blank spaces in the TB suspect and positive registry books at the clinic and no way to follow up on patients.
New Jersey Medical School Global Tuberculosis Institute visiting professor of medicine, preventive and community health Dr Lee Reichman told TB officers at the clinic if the simple things were not achieved in the clinical setting, how could they expect bigger things to be achieved?
He said the clinic needed major improvement in its clinical activities when dealing with TB patients. Dr Richard Lumb, the principal medical scientist – mycobacterium reference laboratory, Australia and Dr Chris Coulter, director  of Queensland Mycrobacterium Laboratory, Australia, commended the laboratory of the clinic.
They made their observations after going through the files and using the microscopic machine at the clinic. NCD health services coordinator disease control Dr Moromai Ipai said the laboratory was established at the clinic this year with microscopic and Gene X-pert machines to identify TB germs.
Laboratory assistant Samantha Lomutopa told the experts that she collected specimens from five other TB clinics to analyse their treatment that was on-going.


23) Scholarship deal

Ropate Valemei
Wednesday, May 13, 2015

 A COMMERCIAL bank made a commitment with a regional tertiary institution yesterday to enhance education that would lead to Fiji’s economic prosperity.

Westpac Banking Corporation inked the deal with the University of the South Pacific (USP) to provide $20,000 per year in terms of scholarship bursary to pay for the tuition of three selected students from any of USP’s member countries.

Westpac’s mission and ambition is to be a great company in Fiji, helping their staff, customers and communities, particularly the education community to prosper and grow.

The bank’s general manager, Adrian Hughes, said such scholarship agreements were part of education assistance under their corporate social responsibility programs.

“We are truly thrilled to be partnering with a great institution like USP,” Mr Hughes said.

Acting vice-chancellor Professor Richard Coll assured that the university would ensure it fulfilled its end of the obligation towards the memorandum of understanding.

“The university is really grateful to Westpac for their continued generosity towards the university and its students,” Prof Coll said.

The selected students will major in the discipline of either banking, economics, finance, computing science, information systems or those who were pursuing a degree in Bachelor of Net-Centric Computing or Bachelor of Software Engineering.Fijitimes

24) Students threaten to withdraw


The National, Wednesday May 13th, 2015

MORE than 400 students at the University of Goroka have threatened to withdraw en-masse from studies after the management refused to listen to their demand.
In a meeting yesterday morning, a management team headed by Associate Prof Michael Mel agreed to increase the Bachelor of Education programme from four years to six years.
The management maintained that the changes were in the implementation stage and would not be reversed.
Their position did not go down well with the students who unanimously agreed on the mass withdrawal.
Student Representative Council president Chris Ambai said the boycott of classes was in relation to university restructure programme. 
He confirmed the main reason was because the management team did not respond positively to the students’ petition two weeks ago. 
“Students have three plans to take, one of them is for the management to call the Office of Higher Education to come down and solve the issue,” Ambai said.
“If we did not get a proper feedbag from the OHE then year one and two will go for a mass-withdrawal for this year.
“I appeal to the Government to come immediately and resolve the issues because it will affect the academic programme at the institution.
“The programme takes six years which means four years content and two years post-graduate diploma,” he said.
“Students were really frustrated and said the years will take too long and they don’t want that because some students come from poor backgrounds and for them six years is too long and it will involve large amount of money.”
Ambai said the students wanted the Office of Higher Education or the Higher Education Minister to address the issue immediately.


25) Woman MP hits back at PAP

Published: 12 May 2015

Temotu Vatud MP Freda Tuki Soriacomua has hit back at the People’s Alliance Party (PAP) president Sir Nathaniel Waena over accusations that she was an arrogant party-hopper.

Soriacomua contested and won last year’s election under PAP ticket.

But she said she’s now resigned from PAP and now a Kandere Party member.

She explained there’s nothing fishy about her resignation from PAP.

Instead, she said she left before of the arrogance of the party leadership.

“My move was clear and precise because the president was dictating and wants us the members to follow what he exactly wishes,” Soriacomua claimed.

“It’s very colonial, and I personally cannot settle in well and accommodate such leadership. Let alone the other two MPs who have also deserted PAP.”

Soriacomua confirmed both MP for Central Makira, Nestor Ghiro and MP for Ulawa/Ugi, Bradford Marau have also moved out from PAP, leaving only Milner Tozaka the only PAP member.

The Vatud MP said she has high respect for PAP, the president and its members and wants to remain but the way it’s administered under current president is not favourable.

She said what she did was what’s best for her so she can settle in well and concentrate on her job.

“I appreciate the help as claimed by the PAP president during the election, but let me get the story right that Casper Fa’asala who is a member of PAP is true.

“But his accompanying me was not under PAP, he was wearing the hat of the Coordinator for Women in Politics supporting women who ran during the election and every expense incurred was not covered by PAP,” she explained.

“I remain a women leader in Parliament and I have respect, high regard to actively involve and support women in the country.

“I have just come back from Fiji from a conference on violence against women, is that not a form of backing issues of the women of this country?” she questioned.

She said claims made by PAP president are non-sense.

“Because of his arrogant manner, PAP’s secretary has requested him to step down as president yet he continued to ignore the advice.

“And that is when we all decided to resign from the party because of his attitude.”

Sir Nathaniel in an expulsion letter dated 2nd May, 2015, stated Soriacomua is no longer welcomed back to PAP because she had “arrogantly displayed no appreciation towards the assistance of the party.”


26) Paris accused of spreading hatred in New Caledonia

By Online Editor
7:32 pm GMT+12, 12/05/2015, New Caledonia

A leading anti-independence New Caledonian politician, Pierre Frogier, has accused the French government of spreading hate and discord in the territory, saying it is more sectarian and ideological than ever.
Frogier, who is a member of the French Senate, was commenting after the French prime minister called a meeting in Paris on 05 June to discuss the controversial law proposal defining the electoral roll for the independence referendum due by 2018.
All signatories of the Noumea Accord are invited to the extraordinary meeting and Frogier says he will attend, although he says he is uncertain anything positive will come out of it.
The anti-independence side rejects the government’s proposal to automatically enrol only indigenous Kanaks on the referendum roll.
The government has said it is prepared to amend the proposal before it goes to the French legislature next month, but insists that it is bound by the court’s interpretation of the law.
Last month, thousands of people in New Caledonia held a rally to express their opposition to the bill and to independence, amid claims that the French government is pushing the territory to independence.


27) French assists in border patrols

Salaseini Moceiwai
Wednesday, May 13, 2015

FIJI’S military doesn’t have the resources to monitor our Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) through aircraft surveillance.

As a result, the RFMF last year entered into an agreement with the French armed forces for such assistance, something that has been working out well so far.

The French Armed Forces base in Noumea, New Caledonia has been assisting the Fiji Navy with aircraft surveillance for 15 hours, every month since last October.

RFMF Land Force Commander and spokesman Colonel Sitiveni Qiliho said they appreciated the assistance from their French counterparts.

“The French military have continued to assist us in terms of patrolling our EEZs. Unfortunately, the Fiji military doesn’t have the assets to effectively police our EEZs and the assistance from the French military is very much appreciated,” Col Qiliho said.

“They monitor through aircraft surveillance and their naval vessels. Any suspicious activities they come across within our EEZs, they immediately alert the Fiji Navy.

“They assist our navy with identifying contrabands, illegal fishing and other travellers within Fiji waters. The bilateral relations between the two armed forces were renewed last month and a team led by the RFMF Commander, Brig-Gen Mosese Tikoitoga, visited Noumea to hold military talks with their counterparts there.”

Asked on how many people had so far been apprehended for illegal fishing and other suspicious activities within Fiji’s EEZs, Col Qiliho said such information could not be revealed at the moment because it would hamper their operations.

“But all I can say is that the bilateral operations have been successful so far. We do have a large EEZ to look after and hopefully in the future, we will have our own resources to monitor these areas.

“We are not paying them for their surveillance assistance and this is something we are appreciative of. We also plan to exchange training programs in the future for the benefit of both forces.”Fijitimes


28) Journos need permits

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

A West Papua journalist says although the Indonesian President, Joko Widodo, has promised West Papua will be open to foreign media, a Cabinet minister is saying special permits are still needed.

Victor Mambor is a journalist for Tabloid Jubi, and interviewed Mr Widodo, who told him the ban on foreign journalists would be lifted.

Mambor says after he spoke with Mr Widodo, he read an article quoting the Minister of Internal Affairs, Tjahjo Kumolo, who said foreign media would still needed special permission.

“The President said, all of the foreign journalists can come to West Papua free, no special needs.

“But his minister said foreign journalists who come to West Papua need special requests, need a special permit, need to write a letter, need to explain where they want to go. So I’m sorry, that’s a problem.”

Mambor says foreign journalists must try to enter West Papua and test the process.

The Co-ordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, Tedjo Purdijatno, has told the Antara news agency there would be screening and permits, which carry preconditions if journalists want to report.

He says reports must not discredit Indonesia.

29) Baki seeks to work with media


The National, Wednesday May 13th, 2015

NEW Police Commissioner Gari Baki says he will be looking to work more closely with the media to expose problems in the force. 
He said that yesterday at Jackson Airport after farewelling Indonesian President Joko Widodo.
“I’d like to offer the challenge to the media to be the eyes and ears of what the police force is doing,” Baki told The National.
“I will accept criticisms of what we do so that it will help us in changing the image of this constabulary.”
Asked to comment on Cabinet sacking his predecessor Geoffrey Vaki, and appointing him to the top post, Baki said: “All I can say is that the Government has made a change to the Office of the Commissioner. 
“There are reasons that the Government has outlined for the need for a change. 
“This is what I will need to embrace and take the constabulary forward, with the changes that are required so that we can put this constabulary back on track.” Baki said he was aware of the existing criticism of police and the general mindset of the people about the force, and would work to correct that.
“This constabulary is meant to serve the people of Papua New Guinea, not the people of Papua New Guinea serving the police force,” he said. “I have already commenced duties but the formal handover-takeover for (Geoffrey) Vaki and I will take place on Friday in front of the (police) Minister. 
“By Monday, I should be in office.”


30) Company conducts culture awareness


The National, Wednesday May 13th, 2015

 MELANESIA Trustee Services Ltd (MTSL), through its fund Pacific Balanced Fund (PBF), has been promoting the importance of a saving culture throughout the country.
Partnering with other leading financial institutions, MTSL recently undertook an awareness exercise in New Ireland as part of the Savings for Young Minds initiative.
This initiative spearheaded by the Bank of Papua New Guinea provided the platform for Melanesian Trustee to visit schools in the entire province.
Senior trade executive Isaac McNerbai said: “The awareness drive is crucial in ensuring that the future generations start to develop a savings culture – something which MTSL is keen to continue supporting through Bank of PNG’s initiative of Financial Literacy and Inclusion.”
Melanesian Trustee Services Ltd did presentations on investing in trust funds, educates locals on the benefits of investing in these funds and met with unit holders of the Pacific Balance Fund.
During the visit to New Ireland, more than 30,000 unverified units were identified and updated – a resounding success for PBF and its verification exercise. 
The Savings for Young Minds initiative would be rolled out in Western Highlands and Jiwaka provinces in August.

31) Bank waiting on approvals from island nations


The National, Wednesday May 13th, 2015

BANK South Pacific (BSP) says it is waiting for few more regulatory approvals before it can fully acquire the banking operations of Westpac in Samoa, Cook Islands, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Tonga for A$125 million (K269m).
Chief executive officer Robin Fleming (pictured) said the bank was targeting end of May to complete the transactions.
He told The National BSP representatives had engaged with staff from Westpac operations in the five countries and the outcome was positive. 
“Target is at the end of this month, but we need to get  a couple of the regulatory approvals,” Fleming said.
“Two have been approved; we still got three others from around the Pacific island countries. 
“In the last four weeks, our deputy general manager travelled around each of these countries (Samoa, Cook Islands, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Tonga)  talking to all the staff about Bank South Pacific and PNG and I think has a success rate of 99.9 per cent.
“All the staff has signed up to come over and work with Bank South Pacific.
“It’s really critical to have the staff feeling comfortable with BSP.
“The staff say once the approval has come through we are going to work with BSP. We are comfortable, happy and confident to work with BSP.”
BSP is a major commercial banking and finance group across PNG, Solomon Islands and Fiji, with assets of approximately K16 billion representing approximately 38 per cent of loans and 49 per cent of deposits across those markets respectively. 
In PNG, the BSP Group holds approximately 50 per cent market share in both loans and deposits.
In terms of the bank’s investment this year, Fleming said: “The Pacific Games sponsorship has been a significant investment over the last three years (2013-2015) and is a landmark event for PNG and particularly BSP in our 40th anniversary.
“We are now positioning ourselves to how we approach our sponsorship across the whole Pacific region; the real need is for a little bit more social responsibility on the health side, education and other projects.”

32) Financial results revealed


The National, Wednesday May 13th, 2015

 FINANCIAL data from Nautilus Minerals for the first quarter shows that it is well set to advance its seabed mining of rich volcanic copper and gold rich minerals in Papua New Guinea waters.
The Canadian miner is the operator of the Solwara 1 project in the Bismarck sea.
The company advised that it continued to advance the project and in particular, the three key equipment contracts.
Chief executive officer Mike Johnston said: “We (Nautilus) are delighted to have made such good progress since the beginning of the year with the build of our seafloor production equipment. For the next 12 months we will remain focused on the build of the PSV (production support vessel) and the delivery of the equipment that is to be integrated in it.”
“It is very pleasing to have recommenced our exploration initiatives, with our first programme planned for May this year in the Solomon Islands, as we advance our pipeline of seafloor massive sulphide systems in the South West Pacific.
“The company remains committed to maximising shareholder value by achieving its objective of developing the world’s first commercial high grade seafloor copper-gold project and launching the deep water seafloor resource production industry in 2018.”

33) PNG businesses urged to invest in Indonesia

By Online Editor
10:43 pm GMT+12, 11/05/2015, Papua New Guinea

Indonesian President Joko Widodo has invited business communities in PNG to invest in Indonesia and participate in its economic growth.
Speaking at a business breakfast this morning in Port Moresby, Widodo told business communities his first visit to the country marks a new beginning for both countries.
“A new beginning for stronger relations including economic ties.
“To have a strong and good relationship is a must for our countries,” said President Widodo.
President Widodo emphasised that economic relations between the two countries must be strengthened and allowed investments in both countries.
The breakfast was hosted by the Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Business Council of PNG.


34) President hopes Indonesian products enter PNG market

By Online Editor
7:45 pm GMT+12, 12/05/2015, Papua New Guinea

Indonesian President Joko Widodo believes that products from the country can enter and dominate the Papua New Guinea (PNG) market.
“If Indonesian products enter PNG, it will be easy for business players to enter the country,” the president said on Tuesday.
According to the head of state, with the upcoming implementation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), Indonesia should be ready to keep up with other countries.

“The boundaries of all member states of the ASEAN will open following the implementation of the AEC. Therefore, we all have to be ready,” the president remarked.
Furthermore, he expressed his pride in knowing that Indonesian business players could dominate the PNG modern market, where 50 percent of the products are Indonesian.
Jokowi also believes that Indonesian products have high competitiveness and should be further improved to enter the neighboring country.
“We should not be mere spectators in the market,” he said.
The Indonesian president was in PNG on 11 – 12 May for a two-day working visit.
During his visit to PNG, the president signed cooperation agreements on the prevention of cross-border crimes, including those related to drugs and terrorism, and on capacity building of human resources to explore the oil and energy sectors.
In the field of economy, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea have agreed to increase cooperation in various areas, encourage trade beyond border market regions, boost the strengthening of infrastructure and investment cooperation, and push for private sector participation in the fields of energy, telecommunications and fisheries.
Jokowi also took time to hold a dialogue with Indonesians who reside in Papua New Guinea.
There are as many as 2,500 Indonesians in Papua New Guinea, working as skilled employees in a number of fields.
Of the 2,500 Indonesians, 1,000 live in the border areas, while 1,500 live in the capital of Papua New Guinea, Port Moresby.


35) Potential for Indonesia to explore trade

By Online Editor
4:01 pm GMT+12, 12/05/2015, Papua New Guinea

There is an immediate potential for Indonesia to enhance domestic trade and connect businesses with PNG, Papua New Guinea Business Council president David Toua said.
Toua told visiting Indonesia president Joko Widodo at the PNG Business Council breakfast that it was now time for both countries’ businesses to connect and move forward.
“There is an immediate need for Indonesia to enhance domestic trade, immediate need for small and medium enterprises to have necessary support to participate meaningfully in any economic activity,” Toua said.

“We must connect our business so that they are able to participate actively,” he added.
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill on the other hand said PNG and Indonesia had a lot of opportunities and that PNG should start to take advantage of some of the opportunities that Indonesia presents.
“Indonesia presents some great opportunity and I want to thank president Widodo and his government in giving PNG an opportunity start to take advantage some of the decent opportunities that are there,” he said.
“Since his election to office, there are substantial investments that the President is doing in many part of Indonesia in terms of infrastructures development,” he said.


36) International flights from Fiji to Vava’u in Tonga start in November

By Online Editor
4:02 pm GMT+12, 12/05/2015, Tonga

 International direct flights from Nadi to Vava’u operated by Fiji Airways are expected to start in November, as well as direct flights from Apia to Tongatapu.
The Minister of Infrastructure  ‘Etuate Lavulavu confirmed the new services after holding talks with Fiji Airways officials in Nadi last week.
The new services will open up international access to Vava’u from Asia and Australasia via Nadi.
Lavulavu represented Tonga in the talks with Poasi Tei the Minister of Public Enterprises and Viliami Ma’ake CEO of Tonga Airports Ltd., while accompanying the Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pohiva to Fiji where he met with Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.


37) Foreign exchange controls in PNG affect Westpac

By Online Editor
7:35 pm GMT+12, 11/05/2015, Papua New Guinea

Foreign exchange controls in Papua New Guinea have affected higher net interest margins for Westpac Pacific’s firshalf results of the year, according to the bank.
This has led to Westpac having recorded an overall group result of A$3.78 billion (US$2.98 billion) cash profit in the period.
Its Pacific division represented by Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and the Cook Islands, generated cash earnings up A$2 million (US$1.57 million) with most of the increase due to movements in exchange rates.
While growth in loans, deposits and higher net interest margin in the region were partially offset by the impact of foreign exchange controls introduced in PNG last July.
Bank of Papua New Guinea last year made regulations on the trading of the kina with an aim to stabilise the country’s currency.
“These controls reduced the supply of foreign currency and the spreads on foreign currency transactions,” Westpac says.
“Non-interest income was A$9 million (US$7.1 million) or 14 per cent lower (18 per cent excluding foreign currency translation impacts) driven by reduced foreign exchange income following the introduction of foreign exchange controls in PNG.
“Net interest income increased 19 per cent (9 per cent excluding foreign currency impacts) from higher returns on the PNG Government securities portfolio, margin management and growth in both deposits and loans.
“Excluding currency movements, deposits rose 6 per cent, largely in PNG, while loans rose 1 per cent, mostly in Fiji.”
Westpac said the Pacific countries contributed to nearly 14 per cent of cash earnings and approximately A$360 million (US$284 million) of loans from overall group results for the first half.



This week sees Solomon Breweries embark on a new journey with their much loved, premium, locally brewed beer, SolBrew Lager.

In its 22 year history, SolBrew Lager has seen various packaging and branding evolutions, but none as significant and as exciting as the rebrand unveiled to consumers this week.

In a nod to the history and heritage of the product, the new packaging offers a refreshed and modern take on the traditional square rigged sailing ship, with a forward facing, clean lined ship ploughing ahead through the waves. The packaging also pays respect to the longevity of the brand, and includes the date of establishment, and a sample of the many international awards that the beer has won, including the most recent two in 2013 and 2014.

The swag of Monde Selection awards won by SolBrew Lager are part of an annual award submission which sees international experts rigorously testing the lager across twenty different parameters. For the past two years, SolBrew Lager has taken out silver awards internationally.

The new design is featured on the 330ml bottle, and a new 300ml can which also features a background story to the beer, outlining why SolBrew Lager is the taste of Solomon Islands. The new cans, bottles and impressive 6 pack shrink-wraps, as well as a host of other merchandise, will also roll out across bars and bottle shops in the coming weeks.

Marketing Manager Fiona Marston said she is really very proud of the hard work her team has dedicated to the rebrand of SolBrew Lager, and that the premium flagship beer of Solomon Islands, now has premium packaging befitting the quality of the beer itself. Importantly, we want to assure our consumers that whilst it is a new look, it’s the same great taste that consumers know and love.Solomon Star.

39) Ministry commits to finding jobs for unemployed

Ropate Valemei
Wednesday, May 13, 2015

AT the end of each academic year, approximately 12,000 to 14,000 Fijians who have completed years 12 and 13, including graduates from other tertiary institutions such as University of the South Pacific, join the ranks of either the unemployed or those seeking jobs.

And the Ministry of Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations has noted its record of 46,277 Fijians registered within the National Employment Centre who are waiting to be employed.

Out of this number of job seekers, 2741 have diploma level qualification and 1640 are graduates with degrees.

Speaking at the University of the South Pacific Entrepreneurial and Career Expo launch, Minister Jioje Konrote said he had a mandate to try and find employment for these individuals and reduce the present national unemployment level from about 7 per cent to 5 per cent at the end of 2016.

Within Fiji, he said, there was a variety of exciting career paths that were available and open to graduates with the right-based skills.

USP acting vice-chancellor Professor Richard Coll said Fiji was not alone on this issue because it was also happening in universities worldwide.

“When I came in 1999, students get a job after they graduate but as we produce more and more graduates, they don’t automatically get a job,” Prof Coll said.

The university has provided a solution that it is training its students to create jobs instead of being an employee.

He said this was a key feature of what the university wanted its graduates to be.Fijitimes


40) Fiji Corruption Commission Urged To Investigate Audit Revelations
Opposition MP: Response will ‘test Fiji’s new systems of accountability’

By Nasik Swami

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, May 13, 2015) – The Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) has been told to get on with the job of investigating and resolving all past corruption allegations made by the Auditor-General from 2007 to 2009.

The call was made by Public Accounts Committee chairman Professor Biman Prasad as he yesterday tabled the committee’s report from 2007 to 2009 in Parliament.

Prof Prasad also called on the Finance Ministry to work harder and fix 29 systemic failures within the wider public service.

“The tabling of the report is the start of clearing a backlog of over twenty outstanding reports from the Independent Audit Office since 2007,” he said.

Prof Prasad said all reports, including the one tabled yesterday, would test Fiji’s new systems of accountability.

“As hard as going over past corruption and past financial mismanagement is, we should not forget that this is the actual point of parliamentary democracy.

“There is no easy way around this fact other than making sure we comprehensively deal with all the issues raised by the Auditor-General over the past decade, in the most transparent way possible.”

Fiji Times Online.

41) Fiji National security strategy review

By Online Editor
7:35 pm GMT+12, 12/05/2015, Fiji

Unemployment, poverty and land issues have been identified as threats to Fiji national security.
This was highlighted by the chairman of the National Security and Defence Review Committee Esala Teleni at the discussion of the strategy review at Novotel Suva Lami Bay Tuesday.
“It is very interesting, when you go right down to community and village level, they look at land and identity as threat to national security, however, in urban areas they look at poverty, unemployment and economic disparity as threat to them and it’s a reflection of the society we live in,” Teleni said.
“For people in rural areas, the problem is the lack of understanding of what the Government has done in ensuring that anything to do with the iTaukei is protected.
“I think the main thing now is it has to do with public awareness.”
While the endorsement of this national document is still a long way to go,  Teleni said they hoped to submit the proposal to the National Security Council then to the Government and Cabinet by August.
Certain agencies of the Government, Teleni said, were addressing these issues and they would be taken on board as they had been addressed by the people.
“Of course we will look at courses of actions and recommendations on how to address these issues raised and for issues they thought were a threat, we will look at solutions and make recommendations to the Government so we will identify weaknesses and gaps.
“We take an inclusive approach and we include all government ministries in this action.”
Meanwhile, giving law enforcement officers the power to tap phones could plug the estimated $100million (US$50 million) annual laundering of funds from our financial systems.
While this is a new international standard and could be part of Fiji’s National Security Strategy Framework, Fiji Financial Intelligence Unit director Razim Buksh said our law enforcement officers must have the necessary powers to effectively carry out investigations, in particular those on money laundering.
Buksh said globally, the accepted standard was that enforcement officers must have powers to effectively investigate a criminal activity but the proceeds from that activity as well.
“They have the powers to arrest, seize and confiscate assets but the one we don’t have at the moment is the wiretapping or phonetapping powers.
“At the moment, those powers are limited to drug cases,” Buksh said.
He believes law enforcement agencies must be empowered to look at undercover operations more realistically.
“Fiji is required to provide a wide range of investigative techniques to the law enforcement authorities when investigating complex crimes such as money laundering, terrorist financing, corruption and other related predicate offenses,” Buksh said.
“This is required under the new international standards on anti-money laundering.
“This means that the Fiji Police Force, Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC), FIU, and other relevant investigative agencies would have additional legal powers to handle and successfully investigate complex crimes.
“These investigative techniques would include: undercover operations, intercepting communications, accessing computer systems and controlled delivery.”
Buksh said tax evasion comprised about a third of the $100m suspected to be laundered through financial systems annually.
The National Security Strategy Framework is expected to come into effect by the end of the year.



42) Climate change a threat to agriculture in Pacific

By Online Editor
7:43 pm GMT+12, 12/05/2015, Papua New Guinea

Climate change poses a significant threat to the survival of the south west Pacific nations and agriculture is an industry that will continue to be hardest hit.
The long standing impact of climate change and food security could be seen in Vanuatu, which was devastated by Cyclone Pam in March, the 11th meeting of the South West Pacific Ministers of Agricultures meetings heard Tuesday.
In light of this, the ministers were challenged to be innovative in addressing the issue.
The challenge was issued by Papua New Guinea deputy Prime Minister Leo Dion and Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) director-general Francisco de Silver in their opening speeches. The meeting was held in Port Moresby under the theme “Climate smart agriculture.”
Dion said agriculture is the mainstay of the region.
He said for PNG alone more than 80 per cent of its eight million people depended on agriculture production for their livelihoods.
“The situation is similar around the Pacific islands,” Dion said.
“The issues before you at this minister’s meeting are very important and affect millions of lives around the Pacific.
“In all of the island countries in the Pacific, food security and food safety are serious issues.
“Your work should lead to better planning and means to strengthen agriculture in the Pacific, to make food production more reliable and to improve the quality of food.”
FAO director-general Francisco de Silver said in order to leverage the potential of agriculture, what was critical was good public policies and innovative ways of international cooperation with the involvement of a broad range of stakeholders.
“We need to create more resilient food production systems that are better adapted to the changing climatic conditions. Better watershed management, improved soil quality and gender empowerment are some examples,” de Silver said.
He said an all-of-government approach was critical in addressing climate change.
de Silver  challenged ministers of agriculture, forestry and fisheries to be at the table when countries develop and implement domestic policies to address climate change and national positions especially in the coming negotiations during the climate change meeting in Paris, France in December.
“The FAO is here to help and provide guidance on how to actively participate in those debates,” de Silver said.
de Silver said while climate change is an issue that has existed for decades, it has been ignored by the international community.
However, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) for the United Nations says 2015 may mark a historic turning point in the way the world addresses global warming.
This was in light of the global climate change meeting which was set to take place in Paris in December.
de Silver said the planet had been affected by climate change and its devastating impacts but added that in the case of the Pacific Islands, the situation is even worse.
“Shifts in rainfall patterns, rising sea levels and sea surface temperatures have had disastrous effect on rural production, food security and livelihood, especially among developing countries.
“We have the climate change negotiations in Paris in December which will take place in the same year that also witnessed the catastrophic damage caused by Cyclone Pam to many countries of this region.
“That disaster is a clear warning of what climate change can do today, but also in the near future with even more devastating consequences,” he said.
In an earlier meeting in Port Moresby, head of the UN Mission in PNG Martin Dihm had said 2015 had been marked as the “Green Year,” adding the December meeting would be a very important one.
Dihm said as a prelude to the Paris meeting, a regional meeting would be staged in PNG which would also be attended by the EU’s commissioner for climate change.

He said the commissioner is expected to give an insight into the Paris meeting and to help facilitate discussions geared towards finding a common platform to benefit all.


43) Extreme El Niño expected to wreak havoc on weather this year

By Online Editor
3:45 pm GMT+12, 12/05/2015, United States

The bad boy of global weather is on its way. El Niño can cause floods, droughts, fires and epidemics around the world, and the next one could be a humdinger.
El Niño crashes on to the scene once every four years or so as hot water emerges in the Pacific and moves towards the Americas. This can bring drought to Australia and parts of Asia, while parts of the Americas experience heavy rain, flooding and outbreaks of waterborne diseases. Pacific Islands all the way from Tonga to Hawaii experience more frequent storms. And valuable fish stocks move all around the globe, following water of their preferred temperature.
Many experts are warning of a “super El Niño” this time round. “We have this enormous heat in the subsurface that is propagating eastward and it’s just about to come to the surface,” says Axel Timmermann of the University of Hawaii in Honolulu. “I looked at the current situation and I thought, ‘oh my dear’.”
Similar forecasts were made last year, too, and proved wide of the mark. This time it’s different. For one thing, we are already in an El Niño year, which makes it easier for an extreme one to form. “It’s much easier to build up from warm temperatures than from neutral temperatures,” says Timmermann.
Also, this year ocean temperatures seem to be coupled with atmospheric winds in a feedback loop that makes the El Niño stronger, says Wenju Cai at the CSIRO, Australia’s government research agency. US climate models, on average, are pointing to an El Niño comparable to the devastating 1997/98 event, says Timmermann.
Another thing likely to give this year’s El Niño an extra kick is the presence of the Southern Hemisphere Booster. A low-pressure system near Australia that boosts westerly winds across the Pacific, it helps unlock the heat fuelling El Niño, says Fei-Fei Jin of the University of Hawaii at Manoa. “The chance of a large El Niño is quite large,” he says.
Timmermann says we should be preparing, clearing rivers of debris in flood-prone areas and storing water in drought-prone areas. “There are lots of win-win things you can do,” he says.

 He has already installed hurricane clips on his roof, as El Niño also increases the chances of hurricanes making landfall on Hawaii.



44) Tuna adding value to overseas economy


The National, Wednesday May 13th, 2015

PNG tuna is adding value to the employment and economic growth of importing countries, according to former Trade Commerce and Industry Minister Gabriel Kapris.
Karpis said many people had not seen the importance of the tuna industry in Papua New Guinea and the benefits they could receive from it.
He was speaking after locals from the Pacific Marine Industrial Zone (PMIZ) project impact areas yesterday petitioned the National Government to stop the project.
He said countries like the Philippines and Thailand were adding value to their employment and economic status using PNG’s tuna resource.
“Why would PNG export tuna out and they put in tins and bring it to the stores and you go pay for it when we can do it ourselves,” Kapris said.
He said Papua New Guineans should not be “slaves in their own land”.
He added that projects like the PMIZ would create employment for many young people.
Kapris urged the local people to look at both the positive and negative sides of the project and move forward.
45) Developer plundered our forest, village, Governor says


The National, Wednesday May 13th, 2015

 SANDAUN Governor Belden Namah’s dream of hosting the biggest oil palm plantation in the southern hemisphere is now in ruins after the proposed developer allegedly plundered his forest and village.
He now regrets bringing the developer into his Vanimo-Green electorate in West Sepik.
Namah even invited Prime Minister Peter O’Neill to launch the oil palm project by planting the first oil palm seedlings in 2012 during the O’Neill-led Government. 
The oil palm tree planted by O’Neill has withered away. “I brought the Prime Minister in 2012 and we launched it. The Prime Minister planted the first oil palm. We had a big dream. The company boasted to develop and plant oil palm plantation, only to realise that we have been defrauded.”
Now Namah is planning a massive legal action against the developer to the extent of terminating the agreement and seeking compensation for environment damage. 
“We brought the company to develop an oil palm project under the Special Agricultural Businesses Lease agreement. The developer was supposed to log the forest and then plant oil palm. Instead, they have moved away from their core purpose which is agriculture to come and plant and develop an oil palm estate,” Namah said. 
“I was proud when I introduced this project and I thought it will be a leading oil palm project in the southern hemisphere. 
“But when they started to sell the first shipment of logs, they forgot about oil palm plantation and focused on logging. They didn’t observe the best agriculture practices by clear felling logs and planting oil palm before moving on. 
“Instead they just logged the area and move. Only on the side of the road they just plant oil palm juts like window dressing. 
“But you go further in, there are logs lying and dumped in the river, creeks and clear fall areas logs are there. 
“About 150,000 landowners are now displaced. The project was supposed to improve their daily livelihood. Instead it has allegedly turned out the opposite and devastated about 150,000 hectares of forest. 
“The logging operation displaced over 150,000 people by destroying their lands and rivers and creeks. 
“Even my own village has been affected. We can’t make gardens, hunt and fish anymore.”
Namah claimed that the Forestry, Agriculture, Environment, Labour and Immigration departments are turning a blind eye against the company’s operation. 
46) Korea Helps Solomons Develop Reforestation Action Plan
Ministry of Forests employees get training in Korea

By Charley Piringi

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, May 12, 2015) – The Ministry of Forest together with the Korean Government will be taking a National Action Plan on Forest Reforestation in the country.

In a process of doing so, the Ministry has sent its some of its employees to Korea in training and to see for themselves how effective the Korean Government make use of Forest reforestation.

In a press statement from the head of the program Fred Pitisopa said, “Reforestation will surely safe our endangered forests from deforestation.

“This program was still in a pipeline where the proposal will be forwarded to the Korean Government for possible funding. National Forestry Cooperative Federation of Korea, has a framework contract with KOICA grant aid for the project titled-Establishment of the Action Plan for Forest Resources.”

One of the participants Chris Ghiro said, “We have seen it for ourselves the effectiveness of the program. After many logging industries, and the aftermath of the Korean War, Korea has a beautiful forest. That was after their government taken an initiative to reforestation.”

The training program was organized by the Northeast Asia & Pacific Islands Team, of the Korea International Cooperative Agency.

The invitational training program was coordinated and implemented by the National Forestry Cooperative Federation of Korea, whom has a framework contract with KOICA grant aid for the project titled-Establishment of the Action Plan for Forest Resources.

The participant wishes to commend and thank KOICA and National Forestry Cooperative of Korea who have jointly organized the invitational training program.

The training program has been an inspiring, motivating, encouraging, and an eye and mind opening experience for the trainees, as it foster a bench mark whereby the participant can apply the knowledge and skill in Solomon Island situation and context to support social economic development to sustain livelihood and economic growth.

Solomon Star

47) FAO set to establish representation in Solomon Islands

By Online Editor
3:47 pm GMT+12, 12/05/2015, Solomon Islands

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Director General, José Graziano da Silva and Solomon Islands Minister for Agriculture, Augustine Maeue have signed an agreement to establish FAO representation for the Solomon Islands.  
The agreement was signed at the 11th FAO South West Pacific Ministers of Agriculture Meeting which is being held in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.
Assistance in Solomon Islands has focused on building the evidence base for policy-makers and supporting local food production. FAO is working in partnership with stakeholders in the Pacific to provide technical assistance in development activities.  
“The Solomon Islands has partnered with FAO since joining the Organization in 1985. Cooperation has been aimed at enhancing sustainable agriculture and rural development.” Said FAO Director General, Jose Graziano da Silva.” FAO’s presence in the Solomon Islands will be strengthened with the establishment of a country office”.
Solomon Islands Minister for Agriculture, Augustine Maeue said  “Today’s signing of the Country Agreement to house an FAO office in Honiara is a historic event indicating a whole new set of commitments each partner will be making in order for expected outcomes to be realised.”  
The Minister continued. “As has been  experienced in the past, the physical separation has created quite a lot of challenges in communication, and implementation of approved programme activities. Hopefully, this will change with having the FAO office in Honiara”.
Monitoring and analysis of data on food security and nutrition is crucial for informed decision-making and policy development. A key area of cooperation with the Solomon Islands is in data collection and analysis to fill the gap in reliable data on agricultural production, particularly smallholder production.
The FAO Sub-Regional is based in Apia, Samoa. FAO has also  established agreements for permanent representatives in Tonga and Vanuatu.


48) Dion: New policy will enhance food security

By Online Editor
7:39 pm GMT+12, 12/05/2015, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea deputy Prime Minister Leo Dion is confident that the new policy, climate-smart agriculture, will strengthen the implementation of food security programs in the country to enhance PNG contributions to national and regional food security.
Dion said the policy will also help the country grow food of a higher nutritional quality, and food that is also safer.
Dion made these remarks at the official meeting of the 11th meeting of FAO (Food and Agriculture of the United Nations) Southwest Pacific Ministers of Agriculture in Port Moresby Tuesday.
“There is heightened awareness globally for the long-term effects of unchecked global warming on the livelihoods of people, especially in the agriculture sector.
“New approaches are needed for a climate-constrained agriculture and high priority in this regard is disaster preparedness and response,” Dion said.
The four-day meeting that began on Monday is attended by agriculture ministers from various south-west Pacific nations, senior officials and representatives from international and regional agencies.
“The climate smart agriculture concept, developed by FAO, is a step in the right direction to facilitate a new approach to jointly address issues of food security and climate change.
“This holistic approach aims to develop efficient and resilient agriculture systems that address a range of factors that impact on production, the related environmental, economic and social issues,” Dion said.
He said whilst attempting to ensure there is food safety and security, new opportunities for future agricultural exports must also be looked at, as there is a correlation between the wealth of a nation and how it produces and consumes food.
In order to create national wealth “it was important for the food industry to develop competencies that are market-based.”
“We must look at our agricultural sectors and tailor our national strategies to meet market requirements,” Dion said.
He said the FAO is supporting the PNG Department of Agriculture and Livestock to formulate a new food security policy for the period of 2016 to 2025.
Meanwhile, the concept of climate-smart agriculture (CSA) is encouraged for governments in the Pacific region to implement in their respective countries in order to address food security and climate change issues.
Dion said “Climate-Smart Agriculture,” is very relevant as it provides a framework to focus on key areas of concern in the Pacific.
According to the (FAO) climate-smart agriculture sourcebook, climate change is already having an impact on agriculture and food security as a result of increased prevalence of extreme events and increased unpredictability of weather patterns.
Climate smart agriculture as defined and presented by the FAO, contributes to sustainable development goals.
“It integrates the three dimensions of sustainable development (economic, social and environmental) by jointly addressing food security and climate challenges,” Dion said.
He said the concept is a new approach to guide changes in agriculture systems.



49) Tui Naikasi among top popular songs

Salaseini Moceiwai
Wednesday, May 13, 2015

IF you are familiar with the Voqa Ni Delai Dokidoki band, then you are no stranger to Etonia Lote (Jnr).

The composer, songwriter and singer who has another musical band, Leba Boi Yawa E Lomai Nasau, has stamped his mark in the local music circuit after being nominated in the upcoming FPRA music awards Most Popular Song category.

In an interview yesterday, Lote (Jnr) said his new band had so far recorded three albums, the latest was released late last year.

“I was surprised when my song, Tui Naikasi, was nominated in the Most Popular Song category in the upcoming music awards,” he said.

“At the same time, I am so thankful to FPRA for this opportunity because this is a platform where local music is recognised and appreciated,” the Nasau native of Koro Island said.

“This new band is made up of four singers and I compose most of the songs. For the Voqa Ni Delai Dokidoki band, my younger brother made a request a few years back for us to part ways as he wanted to venture into gospel music and this was something we all agreed to and respected.

“For me, I decided to form another band and it’s great news that I am able to continue with my passion – singing and writing songs.”

Lote (Jnr) said he was grateful to FPRA for hosting the music awards for the second year now.

“At least, this event is a way of recognising our contributions to the local music industry and also a platform to recognise our talents and skills.

“I thank FPRA so much for this opportunity.”

Four other nominees for this category are Savuto Vakadewavosa, Viliame Ratuva’s Via Ni Tebara band, Mereani Masani and Viliame Cokanauto.

The music awards will be held on Saturday.Fijitimes


50) Two to host Games soccer


The National, Wednesday May 13th, 2015

 THE Games Organising Committee has announced that the 15,000-seating capacity Sir Hubert Murray Stadium, with the newly renovated Bisini Field will play home to soccer,  with eight men’s and seven women’s team vying for the top spot.
This year’s soccer competition is an Olympic qualifier for the Under-23 men and women’s teams.
The women’s competition is a ranking tournament for the Olympics, while the men’s is qualifier to confirm a place in the Olympics.
There will be two men’s tournament played within the Pacific Games competition – the Olympic qualifier for the U23 and the Pacific Games tournament. New Zealand men’s team will play in the Olympic qualifier tournament.
A total of 32 soccer matches will be played by the men and women’s teams, of which 10 will be played at the Sir Hubert Murray Stadium, while 22 matches will be at the newly constructed Bisini field. 
Tickets to watch a game at either of these venues is at K10 per person per day. However for a soccer fanatic, it’s only K150 for the sport package to watch all 32 matches of jam-packed soccer action and even get to witness the top team qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
The first pre-opening match will be played on July 3 at the Sir Hubert Murray Stadium.
The Oil Search Pacific Games Relay Baton will be welcomed at the stadium after completing 

51) Eligibility still an issue


The National, Wednesday May 13th, 2015

 THE Basketball Federation of Papua New Guinea has two issues to address for the 2015 Pacific Games selections.
An insider within the federation speaking on condition of anonymity said the first issue was to address the eligibility of the overseas-based players and the second is their replacements if they did not qualify.
The source said the national body had prolonged the final selection process from 15-12 players because of this.
“This is very dangerous as this delay may affect the naming of the final 12 players for the men’s and women’s divisions.
“We really need to clarify this issue,” the source said.
its 100-day journey across 22 provinces in the country.

52) Fiji’s sevens star Kunatani joins Toulouse

By Online Editor
8:01 pm GMT+12, 12/05/2015, France

Free-scoring Fiji rugby sevens powerhouse Semi Kunatani has joined French Top 14 club Toulouse on a two-year deal, the club said on Tuesday.  
The rampaging 24-year-old can play as a lock, flanker or winger and with 37 international tries since his debut in 2013 he is seen as one of the best sevens players in the world.
“I had to jump at this opportunity to play at the very highest level,” Kunatani told the Toulouse website.
“I had to think about what was best for my career, myself and my family, even if I loved playing for Fiji,” he added.


53) New Zealand Maori confirm plans to take on Fiji and the Barbarians later this year

By Online Editor
11:01 pm GMT+12, 11/05/2015, New Zealand

New Zealand Maori will play Fiji in Suva and a local Barbarians team this July, continuing a theme of second-tier opponents.
The Maori team will take on Fiji at the National Stadium in Suva on Saturday, July 11,  and return to meet the New Zealand Barbarians at Eden Park a week later.   
NZ Maori last played Fiji in the Pacific Nations Cup in 2008, winning 11-7 in Lautoka. The two sides first met in 1938 in Suva and last played there in 1996. They have played 28 times since, with NZ Maori winning 19 matches, losing seven and drawing twice.
Last year, the Charlie Ngatai-captained NZ Maori played two matches against Japan and a third game against the Asia Pacific Dragons was scrapped due to concerns over the pitch at Singapore’s National Stadium.
These most recent fixtures are a far cry from the status of the memorable Centenary Series in 2010, when NZ Maori knocked over Ireland and England.
That was also the last time they played the New Zealand Barbarians, winning 37-31.  
“It’s great news that NZ Maori will again be taking on international opposition in 2015,” New Zealand Maori rugby board chairman Wayne Peters said.
“We’re very excited to be returning to Fiji where we’ve enjoyed a wonderful rivalry over 77 years. This match will be a great celebration of the proud rugby history we share and again underlines the strong ties between Pacific rugby and New Zealand rugby.”
NZ Maori play Fiji three days after the historic test in Apia between the All Blacks and Manu Samoa.
“This match is guaranteed entertainment for Fiji, come July, and we are delighted to once again host the NZ Maori,” Fiji Rugby’s chief executive Radrodro Tabualevu said.
“The side will be filled with Super Rugby players so they will be a very good team.”
Maori coach Colin Cooper was looking forward to assembling the team again.  
“Fiji will be tough opponents and will be looking to turn in a top performance as part of their preparations for the Pacific Nations Cup and Rugby World Cup later in the year,” Cooper said. “This’ll be a real challenge for the boys and we’ll need to be on top of our game.
“The Maori team are a key part of New Zealand Rugby’s high performance programme. This tour provides an important opportunity for many players to further develop their skills and prove themselves at the international level,”  he said.



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