Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1096 ( Tuesday 20 May 2015 )


1) PNG reacts to Australian Bougainville plans with travel ban

 19 May 2015
Papua New Guinea has announced a ban on Australians travelling to Bougainville, after Canberra said it plans to build a diplomatic mission on the island.

Despite the Australian Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, saying she consulted PNG and notified the Prime Minister last week, the PNG Foreign Minister, Rimbink Pato, says the move is “mischievous” and “outrageous”.

Bougainville, a self-governing region of PNG, is working towards holding a referendum on independence in the next five years.

The country is the largest recipient of Australian foreign aid, receiving 381.4 million US dollars.

PNG’s Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, visited Sydney last week and says there was no consultation and nothing had been agreed.

Mr Pato says the ban has immediate effect.

It will not affect Australians residing in Bougainville on work and permanent resident visas.

The ban will apply to all Australian passport holders who intend to visit Bougainville on tourist, business and other short-term entry visas.RNZI

2) Staggering HIV/AIDS prevalence in Papua’s Wamena

20 May 2015 

An Indonesian organisation, the AIDS Prevention Commission, says that over ten percent of the population of the Papua town of Wamena is infected with HIV/AIDS.

The Highlands town with a population of almost 49-thousand has now reached 5,100 cases of HIV/AIDS, which the Jayawijaya-based Commission attributes largely to rampant prostitution.

Antara news agency reports the Commission’s chairman, Gad Piramid Tabuni, as saying that his organisation is working with NGOs, public health centres and integrated healthcare posts in a race against time to tackle the high prevalence of infection in Wamena.

He says the commission is campaigning against unsafe sex and to rid the streets of prostitution at food and beverage stalls.

Mr Tabuni called on churches and mass organisations to also work in the campaign.RNZI

3) Atolls hopes to vote in time for Tuesday’s Bougainville election count

20 May 2015 

 Tasman Island in the Atolls constituency of North Bougainville is the final constituency yet to complete polling in the Bougainville election.

Counting is due to start next Tuesday, once all ballot boxes are received.

Polling officials for Tasman Island are still at Mortlock Island, and have been prevented from reaching Tasman Island due to bad weather.

The Office of the Bougainville Electoral Commissioner has already arranged with the management of Bougainville’s latest flagship, the MV Rapois Chief to travel to Mortlock and transport the polling officials to Tasman.

The vessel was expected to leave Buka last night and is due to arrive at Mortlock today.

The office says voting will commence as soon as the vessel arrives in Tasman Island.RNZI

4) Solomons govt allows limited bauxite export

 19 May 2015

The Solomon Islands government says a limited shipment of stockpiled bauxite extracted from Rennell Island can be exported by PT Mega Bingtang Borneo.

Two weeks ago the government cancelled the company’s mining lease and prospecting licence for failing to meet its conditions.

And it placed a hold on the bauxite that the company has been stockpiling from a pit in West Rennell since last year.

Now the government says exporting the bauxite is in the best interests of stakeholders, including the landowners and the government.

The government will impose a 20 percent export duty on the shipments, and the export permit shall only apply for the current stockpile.RNZI

5a) Vanuatu Daily News Digest | 19 May 2015

by bobmakin

  • Prime Minister Joe Natuman is attending the PALM 7 meeting of Pacific leaders in Japan as reported yesterday. During his absence Trade Minister and DPM Ham Lini will be Acting PM. Before his departure PM Natuman paid a tribute to the regional colleagues from MSG countries, Fiji, FLNKS of New Caledonia, PNG and the Solomons, for “lifting the spirits of the people of Vanuatu” in serving the people of this country. Daily Post has an amazing photo of the ministers of government and Vanuatu law and order personnel gathered together with representatives of the island countries outside the MSG Headquarters.
  • Rainbow Warrior, flagship of Greenpeace, is today distributing 15 tons of relief tools, solar torches, clothing, kitchen utensils, stationery and books to placesaffected by cyclone Pam, Post reports.
  • Post also reports a visit from the deputy head of the United Nations to see for himself the development needs and issues of the country. Mr Haoliang Xu felt his visit was at the right time to see for himself the challenging task of recovery following the cyclone.
  • The weekend Kivhan Music Festival at Saralana raised over VT 350,000 for the relief efforts. Five thousand people enjoyed the charity event.
  • Paama people are insisting on government removal of the MV Kimbe, the wreck of which lies off Tahji village. The vessel sank 14 years ago and Chief Paul Ulas claims significant damage to the marine and coastal environment. Daily Post carries the story.

5b) Vanuatu Daily News Digest | 18 May 2015

by bobmakin

  • Information and Communications Technologies have dominated the media in recent days in Vanuatu. Prime Minister Natuman emphasized at the Warwick Le Lagon event marking Pacific ICT Days 2015 “ICTs are now essentially part of our lives” (Daily Post). Three overseas companies attended the event VBTC News reported.
  • The Appeal Court is reported in Post to have ordered the Director of Lands to register Takara leases to Green Peak Limited and Costa del Mar Limited after receiving proof of the incorporation of the two companies. The leases are concerned with geothermal exploration.
  • PM Natuman is attending the Japanese Pacific Islands’ Leaders Meeting (PALM 7). It is on the theme “We are islanders”: Commitment to the Pacific from Iwaki, Fukushima: Building a prosperous future together.” PM Natuman is speaking on the recovery operation after cyclone Pam, and the major role of the NDMO in restoration.
  • Port Vila Municipality is warning kava bar operators to provide better hygiene and toilet facilities points out Post today.

6) New Caledonia sackings challenged

 19 May 2015

An injunction has been sought in New Caledonia to stop the president from sacking the assistants of three government ministers.

The move is the latest in a legal battle within the administration led by Philippe Germain, who is pitted against three other ministers of the anti-independence camp.

In the latest move, the ministers concerned say the sackings make their jobs so difficult that it goes against the public interest.

Mr Germain last week ordered that the sacked staff surrender their badges.RNZI

7) Fiji government criticised for royalty payment fiasco

 19 May 2015

 A Fiji opposition MP says problems associated with royalty payments to landowners could have been avoided if they had been consulted properly from the outset.

The SODELPA MP Mosese Bulitavu presented a petition to parliament last week, with nearly 300 signatures, calling on the Government to hand over royalties to landowners at the Nawailevu bauxite mine.

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

The Lands and Mineral Resources Minister Mereseini Vuniwaqa has said royalty payments are being held in a trust while a formula for fairly allocating the funds is determined.

But Mr Bulitavu says the mine was opened in 2011 and it should have been sorted out a long time ago.

“We’re trying to correct what has been done and if consultation was met in the first place and if Government was true to its dealings this situation should not have arisen. But as we now arrive to this and there are breaches everywhere, Government has to find a remedy now to solve those issues.”RNZI

8) Call for limits on mining extraction in Fiji

20 May 2015 

 A Fiji opposition MP says a law should be put in place to limit the amount of bauxite that can be shipped out of the country.

The SODELPA MP Mosese Bulitavu presented a petition to parliament last week, calling on the Government to handover royalties to landowners at the Nawailevu bauxite mine.

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

Mr Bulitavu says they’ve discovered that there is no limit on bauxite exports.

“There should be a law, because it’s dealing with soil and rock that will not be returned back to Fiji. It’s an environmental issue so there has to be a stop in regards to the limit of things that you can take out of Fiji.”

Mosese Bulitavu.

The Lands and Mineral Resources Minister Mereseini Vuniwaqa has directed the royalties issue be investigated by the Committee for Natural Resources.RNZI

9) Fiji Airways warns of week-long delays after incident

 19 May 2015

Fiji Airways is warning that some flights may be delayed by as much as 17 hours for the rest of the week after one of its aircraft was damaged on Saturday night.

The airline says a truck backed into the cargo section of one of its A330s at Nadi airport as it was preparing for a flight to Los Angeles, causing extensive damage.

A Fiji Airways board director, Stefan Pichler, says the incident will be extremely costly to fix and the plane has been taken out of service for extensive repairs.

The airline is warning customers that many of its long-haul flights will be affected by delays or aircraft downgrades.

Passengers are advised to check the Fiji Airways website.RNZI


10) March in Tonga against ratification of CEDAW

Updated at 6:51 am today

Thousands of women marched through Tonga’s capital, Nuku’alofa, yesterday to protest against the country’s signing of the UN convention to eliminate disrimination against women.

The group, led by Catholic Church, marched from the town’s Catholic Basilica to Parliament, where a petition was presented to the speaker, Lord Tu’ivakano.

Tonga is one of seven countries, which includes the United States, not to have signed the convention.

The protesters say the convention puts pressure on the country to change its culture, as it includes conditions on same sex marriage and abortion.

MPs have said Tonga already has laws against discrimination and violence against women.

One of the protesters, Hifoileva Fifita, told Radio Tonga the treaty would affect future generations of Tongans.RNZI

11a ) Cook Islands sends condolences to ship’s crew

19 May 2015

 The Cook Islands prime minister, Henry Puna, has sent his thoughts and prayers to the victims of the attack on a Cook Islands-flagged ship in the Mediterranean.

The cargo ship, registered in the Cook Islands but owned by a Turkish group, was targeted last week by an aircraft belonging to Libyan forces.

The ship’s second officer was killed and several crew members injured when a fire broke out on board.

Mr Puna says his government is extending heart felt condolences to the family and friends of the dead officer following the unprovoked attack.RNZI

11b ) Cooks fish exports top $14 million USD

19 May 2015

The Cook Islands says its fish exports have exceeded $14.7 million US dollars, supporting strong economic growth in the sector.

Provisional statistics for 2014 indicate that 97 per cent of that total comes from fresh fish exports, which are the highest since 2000, when the black pearl market accounted for most of the gains.

The overall revenue collected by the Ministry of Marine Resources for 2014/15 is $9.5 million US dollars, compared to $4.1 million in 2013 and just $108,000 US dollars in 2005.

The majority of revenue is gathered from the purse seine fishery, which accounts for over half of the 21,000 tonnes of catch landed in 2014.

The exports will help the GDP statistics and the overall credit rating.

The MMR Secretary, Ben Ponia, says the trends reflect the Ministry’s progress in expanding the Cook Islands participation in the sustainable use of the region’s tuna resource.

He says the Cook Islands is now starting to realise the potential from the largely-untapped two million square kilometre Exclusive Economic Zone.RNZI

12) Tahiti minister says Facebook account hacked

19 May 2015

French Polynesia’s housing minister, Tearii Alpha, has warned the public that his Facebook identity has been hacked.

Mr Alpha says whoever is behind this has been sending messages to ask for large sums of money in order to help with social housing needs.

He has asked the public to ignore the message and to be on alert for cybercriminals.

Mr Alpha says only the housing authority is allowed to deal with accommodation requests.

Mr Alpha says a complaint has been lodged for identity theft.RNZI


13) CNMI Governor calls state of disaster on Rota

19 May 2015

The Governor of the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas has declared a state of disaster on Rota Island, in the wake of Typhoon Dolphin.

The declaration comes in advance of an assessment from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Red Cross, whose workers are on Rota to survey the effects of the tropical cyclone.

Rota is the southernmost island of the group, and was the worst hit, along with the US territory of Guam.

Governor Inos declared the state of disaster so that public funds can be channeled immediately for the relief and reconstruction of the island.

A threshold of $1 million US dollars on crops and infrastructure damage is needed for an emergency declaration to be declared.RNZI

14) Thousands without water and power on Guam

19 May 2015

Thousands of people on Guam are still without utility services, a couple of days after Typhoon Dolphin hit the island.

The Pacific Daily News reports that the Guam Power Authority expects about 2,000 customers will have their power service restored tonight although another 4,600 customers may have to wait until the end of the week.

The water agency had previously said it didn’t expect the storm would cause outages, but has now said it didn’t anticipate the high winds that blew across the island.

The public affairs director for the consolidated utilities says about 4,500 customers or 11% of the Guam Waterworks Authority’s customers are waiting for service to be restored.RNZI

15) Inquiry into sexual assaults in Nauru detention opens

20 May 2015

An Australian senate inquiry is looking into serious allegations of sexual assault, abuse and neglect at the Nauru detention centre.

The inquiry will look at 23 submissions from groups and individuals.

A submitter, The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, says the living conditions and treatment of asylum seekers, including reports of violence and sexual abuse of children, are alarming.

Its submission says women and children are forced to wet the bed, as they are too afraid to go to the bathroom at night for fear of their safety.

It says there are just four toilets for 400 people to share.

It says male guards are in charge of the women’s shower block, and have offered to extend shower time to women who agree to shower while exposed to them.

The submission says five to six families live together in each communal tent, which are filled with mice and cockroaches, no air conditioning, and mould which causes caused skin infections.

The inquiry is today expected to hear from the immigration department, Transfield Services, Wilson Security and Save the Children.RNZI


16) Pacific leaders committed to ending child violence

19 May 2015

The United Nations says Pacific leaders are showing they are committed to ending high rates of violence against children in the region.

This week, UNICEF is hosting a three-day conference in Fiji to bring policy makers, civil society groups and government leaders from 14 Pacific countries together to come up with solutions to what it calls an “alarming” problem.

The Special Representative to the United Nations Secretary General on Violence against Children, Marta Santos Pais says the high levels of violence against children can be prevented.

“Through strong information and awareness raising campaigns, through investment in the way the topic is addressed within schools, the way that we encourage the sharing of responsibilities between men and women, boys and girls, all of that helps to change social norms.”

Marta Santos Pais says each national delegation will leave the conference having put in place a plan on how they will tackle child violence.

17) Pacific leaders gather for PALM meeting

19 May 2015

Pacific leaders are now gathering in Japan for this week’s Pacific Alliance Leaders’ Meeting, or PALM.

The meeting is to be held in Tokyo and Iwaki City until May the 23rd.

The summit, held every three years, focusses on fostering co-operative relationships between the island countries and Japan.

This year’s meeting will include Fiji for the first time since before the 2006 coup when Japan had refused to invite the military-led regime.

But Fiji’s prime minister Frank Bainimarama will be at this meeting and his concerns over Australian and New Zealand dominance of the Pacific Islands Forum are expected to be on the agenda.

The meeting will be co-chaired by Japans’ prime minister Shinzo Abe and President Tommy Remengesau of Palau.

New Zealand is being represented by civil defence minister Nikki Kaye.RNZI

18) NZ chocolates use Tongan vanilla and Samoan cocoa

19 May 2015

A New Zealand chocolate company has released a new range of chocolates using ingredients from the Pacific, vanilla from Tonga and cocoa from Samoa.

Another 100g block, ‘Hawke’s Bay Braeburn Apple with Vanilla’, uses pure Heilala Vanilla beans from Tonga.

Sofaia Latu works for the New Zealand owned Heilala Vanilla company on Vava’u and says she’s excited to take the blocks of chocolate back home to show her family.

“I think they will be real proud of having that chocolate, because they work hard at the plantation, but it’s very different if they know that the Heilala Vanilla is around the world, in the chocolate. I think they will be proud of that and they will feel special.”

Sofaia Latu says the vanilla bean work helps feed her children and family, and the company helps provide water and power to the village.RNZI



19) Brèves du Pacifique – mardi 19 mai 2015

Posté à 19 May 2015, 16:22 AEST

Élodie Largenton

Tonga fait face à une sécheresse qui pourrait durer plusieurs mois. 

Cela fait déjà un moment que le royaume est confronté à un manque d’eau, et la situation risque de s’aggraver avec l’arrivée annoncée du phénomène El Nino, selon le service météo tongien. Les 7 000 habitants de l’île d’Eua sont les premiers concernés, leurs réservoirs d’eau sont pratiquement à sec. Mais la sécheresse commence aussi à se faire sentir dans la capitale, Nukuʻalofa, selon la Croix-Rouge tongienne.

Dans le Pacifique, 70% des adultes reconnaissent faire usage de la force pour punir leurs enfants à la maison. Un chiffre alarmant révélé par l’Unesco, qui organise une conférence à Fidji, cette semaine. Décideurs politiques, membres de la société civile et chefs religieux de 14 pays de la région sont invités à réfléchir à des moyens d’enrayer cette violence. « Il y a des normes sociales et des traditions qui rendent l’usage de la violence acceptable. Et puis, certains parents ont grandi dans des environnements violents, et sont donc plus susceptibles d’être brutaux à leur tour », explique Amanda Bissex, de l’Unicef. L’agence de l’Onu rapporte aussi de nombreux cas de maltraitance de femmes enceintes dans la région Pacifique.

Nouvelle enquête en Australie sur le traitement des demandeurs d’asile dans le camp de rétention de Nauru. Un examen indépendant a révélé, le mois dernier, que plusieurs d’entre eux, dont des enfants, avaient subi des violences physiques et sexuelles. Des sénateurs vont maintenant tenter d’en savoir plus en interrogeant des agents d’immigration et des membres du personnel du centre de détention.

Une entreprise chinoise se lance dans un projet de développement colossal aux Îles Mariannes du nord. Au départ, l’Alter City Group, basé à Macau, prévoyait de construire une station balnéaire sur l’île de Tinian, mais il voit nettement plus grand, aujourd’hui, rapporte la radio nationale néo-zélandaise : le projet comprendra un casino, un terrain de golf, un hôtel de 2 500 chambres, ainsi que des villas et des appartements. Un vaste complexe pensé pour les touristes asiatiques, notamment chinois.ABC

20) Les Australiens interdits de voyage à Bougainville

Mis à jour 19 May 2015, 16:31 AEST

Élodie Largenton

La Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée est mécontente et le fait savoir : les Australiens n’ont plus le droit de voyager dans la province autonome de Bougainville. Décision prise après l’annonce de l’intention de l’Australie d’ouvrir une mission diplomatique à Buka.

Si l’annonce du gouvernement australien a été si mal perçue, c’est qu’elle intervient à un moment important de l’histoire de Bougainville : les citoyens de la province sont en train d’élire leur président et leurs députés. Des responsables politiques qui auront ensuite la charge d’organiser le référendum d’autodétermination, avant 2020.
À Port-Moresby, certains estiment donc que l’Australie prend de l’avance et parie sur la victoire du camp pro-indépendance.
La réaction des autorités de Bougainville est sensiblement différente. La ministre de la Santé de la province autonome, Rose Pihei, regrette la décision du gouvernement papou d’interdire l’entrée aux touristes australiens :

« Je pense qu’il est important de garder de bonnes relations avec l’Australie, et de faciliter l’accès aux deux pays. C’est important pour le gouvernement de Bougainville, qui compte sur l’aide extérieure pour fournir les services nécessaires aux habitants. On entre maintenant dans la période du référendum et on va avoir besoin de l’aide de l’Australie et d’autres pays pour soutenir ce processus d’autodétermination. »

La ministre australienne des Affaires étrangères a annoncé qu’un haut fonctionnaire se rendrait en Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée prochainement pour en discuter directement avec les autorités. Julie Bishop rappelle au passage que l’Australie a prévu de soutenir le pays à hauteur de 477 millions de dollars en 2015-2016, dont 50 millions destinés à Bougainville.

Mis à jour 18 May 2015, 16:05 AEST

Élodie Largenton//ABC

21) Brèves du Pacifique – lundi 18 mai 2015

Le nombre de Maoris dans les prisons néo-zélandaises est trop élevé, dénonce l’Onu.

Le cyclone Dolphin est passé entre Guam et les Îles Mariannes du nord, dans la nuit de vendredi à samedi. Les deux territoires américains ont donc été épargnés, même s’ils ont subi des vents violents et des pluies abondantes. L’électricité a été coupée sur certaines îles, et les principaux ports, ainsi que l’aéroport avaient été fermés.www.voiceofmelanesia.comLa moitié des prisonniers du pays sont maoris, alors qu’ils ne représentent que 15%, environ, de la population totale, souligne le comité des Nations unies contre la torture. Le gouvernement néo-zélandais affirme avoir mis en place un plan d’action pour lutter contre la délinquance juvénile, en mettant l’accent sur la population maorie. Des centres de réhabilitation maorie ont, en outre, été ouverts dans les prisons, ajoutent les autorités.

Le chef indépendantiste papou Benny Wenda s’est vu refuser l’entrée aux États-Unis. Réfugié à Londres, il s’apprêtait à embarquer pour Los Angeles, la semaine dernière, lorsqu’il a appris que son visa avait été révoqué. Benny Wenda devait tenir plusieurs conférences sur son combat indépendantiste pour la Papouasie occidentale. Il affirme ne pas savoir pourquoi son visa a été révoqué. En mars dernier, le chef indépendantiste avait été bloqué à l’aéroport de Port-Moresby parce qu’il n’avait pas demandé de visa pour entrer en Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée.

Deuxième semaine de vote à Bougainville. Mais seul un tiers des bureaux reste ouvert, les opérations de vote sont terminées dans les autres bureaux de la province autonome de Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée. Les observateurs internationaux qui supervisent le scrutin se disent très satisfaits, jusqu’à présent. Malgré quelques changements de dernière minute dans certains bureaux, l’élection est très bien organisée, estime ainsi une députée australienne, Jane Prentice.

Le bateau patrouilleur des Îles Cook est de retour à Rarotonga, après avoir été rénové en Australie. Les travaux ont coûté plus de 6 millions de dollars, et ils devraient permettre au Te Kukupa de rester en activité en attendant le prochain patrouilleur, qui doit entrer en service en 2019. Le futur bateau viendra d’Australie, comme le Te Kukupa, qui avait été donné aux Îles Cook en 1989.ABC


22) Vanuatu bai sapotim iet West Papua Indipendans
Updated 19 May 2015, 14:37 AEST

Sam Seke
Vanua’aku Pati we i lidim gavman blong Vanuatu i tok bai em ino senisim tingting blongen long sapotim “self-determination” blong ol pipol blong West Papua.

CEO blong Vanua’aku Pati, Avio Niki Robert i tok dispela tu em i as tingting long ol Melanesian kantri ibin statim dispela Melanesian Spearhead Grup.

Em i tok em i “prerogative” oa laik blong PNG gavman sapos em i laik long Indonesia i kamap memba blong MSG.

Tasol Mr Robert i tok Vanua’aku Pati na gavman i lukim olsem dispela United Liberation Movement nau i makim trutru ol pipol blong West Papua, na i gut sapos em i kamap ful memba blong MSG.

Em i tok Vanuatu bai no senisim tingting blong en long helpim ol pipol long wol long kisim fridom. ABC

23) Bougainville Bisnisman ino wanbel long PNG Gavman

Updated 19 May 2015, 14:05 AEST
Sam Seke

Turis bisnisman itok tingting blong gavman long stopim ol Australian pipal igo long Bougainville bai kamapim heve ken long ol pipal.

Mr Miriona i tok Bougainville Experience Tours em i wok long olgeta hap blong Bougainville na em i save stretim wokabaut blong ol turis igo kam long Solomon Islands..Papa blong Bougainville Experience Tours itok pasin em Papua New Guinea gavman i mekim long  stopim ol pipol blong Australia i noken go long Autonomous Region blong Bougainville, em i kamapim heve long ol pipol blong Bougainville – ino Australia.

Zhon Bosco Miriona i tok pipol blong Bougainville ibin kisim taem nogut taim PNG ibin putim blockade, na dispela em i wanpela kain blockade gen.

Mr Miriona i tok tupela gavman blong PNG na Australia imas toktok na stretim dispela isiu long wanem em bai bagarapim ol wok bisnis em i stat long kamap gut long Bougainville.

Em i tok, sapos PNG i koros long Australia, em i imas stopim ol wok blong kirapim ofis blongen long Bougainville – na ino kamapim nating ken ol heve long ol pipol blong Bougainville.ABC

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