Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1097 ( Wednesday 20 May 2015 )

MELANESIA

1) West Papua movement focused on MSG bid

Source: 

The National, Wednesday May 20th, 2015

 THE United Liberation Movement for West Papua is not concerned about Indonesia’s bid to become an associate member of the Melanesian Spearhead Group.
Spokesman Benny Wenda said the movement was more focused on its bid to become a full member of the MSG.
Foreign ministers of the MSG countries are scheduled to meet tomorrow to consider the application for a full MSG membership.
In the lead-up to the membership decision, expected in July, Indonesia has increased its high-level lobbying in Melanesian countries.
Last week, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill gave his support to Indonesia joining as an associate member.
Wenda said they were not concerned about  Jakarta’s latest manoeuvres.
“For us it’s a different issue because West Papua is entitled to become a full member. If Indonesia’s wants to be an associate member, that’s up to the Melanesian leaders. But West Papua is entitled to become a full member. So I’m not really concerned about Indonesia’s request.”
O’Neill had said the move would bring about a great opportunity to engage the Melanesian people of Indonesia with the Pacific Islands countries. He said it was for the MSG member countries to decide on Indonesia’s membership.


2) Indonesia plans for border trade boom

Source: 

The National, Wednesday May 20th, 2015

 INDONESIA expects a huge flow of goods and people along the border with Papua New Guinea and plans to build a bigger border administration complex, an official says.
Vanimo-based Indonesian Consular Elmer Lubis said about K10 million was been generated annually from the popular Batas market on the Indonesian side of the border. This is expected to increase once the new border complex is in operation.
Indonesia has a small border administration office at Skouw. But Lubis said they were planning to build a bigger one, similar to PNG’s new complex at Wutung.
“Both Governments know that the border offices at Skouw (Indonesian side) and Wutung (PNG side) will be very important,” Kubis said. The new Indonesian border administration complex will be about 200 metres from PNG’s building.
The PNG border complex will be used by agencies such as Customs, National Agriculture Quarantine Inspection Authority, Immigration, Motor Vehicle Insurance Limited and Investment Promotion Authority. 
They monitor the movement of goods and people along the border.
Meanwhile, West Sepik provincial administrator Henry Nom said they had developed a Vanimo city plan (2016 -2066) for free-trade city.
“The PNG-Indonesian border is already buzzing with business and all it needs is better roads, airport, seaport and land to be freed up,” he said.
“Vanimo has the potential to be transformed into a major industrial centre given its location near the border, a large population base and the hive of activities already taking place there.”
Nom said the plan was to declare Vanimo as a city by 2066, making it an international gateway outside Port Moresby.
“We are now noting an increase of immigration from other provinces in the Momase and the Highlands regions. 
“This is due to the opportunities available through informal trade at Wutung border and further across to Jayapura,” he said.

3) President Momis: Bougainville Feels Like ‘Meat In A Sandwich’
Diplomatic row between PNG, Australia must be resolved for peace


By Isaac Nicholas

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, May 20, 2015) – Bougainville has become the “meat in a sandwich” in the diplomatic row between Australia and Papua New Guinea as senior officials call for heads to roll, including that of the PNG Foreign Affairs Minister and his department secretary.

Bougainville President John Momis yesterday called on Australia and PNG to resolve their differences in the spirit of the Bougainville Peace Agreement for lasting peace on the island.

“It is most unfortunate because it places us as a meat in a sandwich,” Mr Momis said.

“The Bougainville Peace Agreement calls on all stakeholders – Bougainville, Papua New Guinea and Australia – to adhere to the peace agreement and collaborate to bring permanent peace.

“It’s a constitutional contract between Papua New Guinea and Bougainville. We must at all times maintain the big picture. I hope PNG and Australia resolve their differences over the consulate issue.”

Mr Momis said Papua New Guinea and Australia had both contributed so much to Bougainville in terms of development programs and funding.

“We are now at a stage to embark on a referendum and we have to be sensible on how we conduct and manage the outcome of the referendum. Both PNG and Australia have contributed a lot more funds to Bougainville,” he said.

Mr Momis said Australia always had an office in Bougainville to manage and oversea their programs.

“Australian officials have been based in Buka for a long time. There is nothing new, just the name ‘consulate’ caused the differences.”

Mr Momis also said that the Bougainville Peace Agreement requires PNG to consult with Bougainville in matters relating to foreign affairs. On the travel ban imposed on Australians travelling to Bougainville, Mr Momis said it was unfortunate to Bougainville businessmen and churches working with foreigners on investments and programs on the island.

“I call on both Papua New Guinea and Australia to resolve their differences as soon as practicable to restore normalcy.”

“The travel ban will not affect current Australians working on Bougainville but will affect businessmen and advisors who come to Bougainville from time to time to help us develop policies and new laws. The travel ban will be detrimental to us.” Mr Momis said.

A foreign service official, who refused to the named, said if the Foreign Affairs and Immigration Department had been vigilant in all its interactions, they would have picked up the incremental build-up by Australia at bilateral meetings to intensify its diplomatic presence on Bougainville and found a way diplomatically to avert the current situation.

PNG Post-Courier

4) Diplomatic row

By Online Editor
01:17 am GMT+12, 19/05/2015, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea’s diplomatic row with Australia over Bougainville has taken a new turn with PNG imposing an indefinite travel ban on all Australians travelling to the island.

Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister Rimbink Pato, still fuming at Canberra’s “outrageous and mischievous” plans to set up a diplomatic mission on Buka, said Monday he had instructed the Chief Migration Officer to impose the ban with immediate effect.

Bougainville President John Momis could not be contacted for comments as the Autonomous Region of Bougainville was in the midst of the regional elections which had been largely funded by the Australia government.

It emerged yesterday that Australia had stepped in at the 11th hour to print ballot papers and provide ballot boxes to make the elections possible because Waigani had issues with funds availability on the eve of the elections.

The Post-Courier was reliably informed that Momis had turned to Australia for help because Bougainville simply did not have the money to conduct the elections now being observed by an international team, also being funded by Australia.

Yesterday’s travel ban comes a week after the Australian budget was brought down with provisions to open a diplomatic mission on Buka, which Pato and Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said PNG was not consulted on.

“I have instructed the Chief Migration Officer to impose the ban with immediate effect and to notify all PNG overseas missions and posts and domestic carriers of the ban,” Pato said.

He said Australians living on Bougainville on work and permanent resident visas would not be affected by the ban.

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

Pato said all diplomats and foreign government officials wishing to visit Bougainville must seek clearance from the Foreign Affairs Department before travelling to Bougainville.

He said a clearance note would be issued to the carrier to allow the named official to travel.

The ban would also be imposed on any foreigner who applied for a visa at any PNG overseas missions and posts to visit Bougainville.

Although both Pato and the Prime Minister’s were “shocked” by the decision to set up mission on Buka, Australia’s foreign minister Julie Bishop denied there had been a failure to consult.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

5) Indonesia Reportedly Arrest Freeport Mine Protestors
Group set up roadblock in response to industrial dispute


WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 20, 2015) – Indonesian police have reportedly arrested 12 miners and 17 citizens after a road blockade at the Freeport mine in Papua province.

Sriwijaya Post reports the Mimika Police Chief, Mujiharso Yustanto, as saying members of seven ethnic groups blockaded the key mining road at mile 72, Tembagapura.

The workers, who are mostly from mine maintenance contractor led by Arnold Beanal, are reportedly in custody at Mimika Police station.

Their road blockade is being linked to recent industrial action over which they are requesting Freeport go to arbitration.

According to Commander Yustanto, the workers and fellow protestors refused to open the mine road and threatened to shut down the company if their demands were not met within one month.

Mine operations have returned to normal after the brief disruption.

Radio New Zealand International 

6) Fiji to get $15 m aid from Japan- Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has pledged about fifteen million dollars in aid to Fiji to redevelop radio broadcasting to improve the response to natural disasters. Following yesterday’s meet in Tokyo with Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, Abe agreed to promote bilateral trade and investment and cooperate in pursuing reform of the U.N. Security Council. ‘’Speaking at a joint news conference last night in Tokyo, Prime Minister Abe said the two leaders agreed to promote bilateral trade and investment and support continuing reform at the United Nation Security Council and join hands in ensuring success of the two-day summit of the PALM meeting later this week’’. PACNEWS reports Bainimarama expressed appreciation for the aid, saying as Fijian prime minister, he acknowledges the generous assistance the Japanese government has given to Fiji all these years. He said meeting was very fruitful and covered many important issues that will strengthen our bilateral relations. The two leaders also agreed to cooperate in international forums. Bainimarama says Fiji is supportive of Japan’s contribution to peace globally.

http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/29616/fiji-to-get-15-m-aid-from-japan-

7) Fiji urges Japan to deal with it ‘directly‘- Fiji has stepped up its rhetoric with Japan, saying the country should no longer deal with Fiji through third parties. The Fiji Prime Minister, Frank Bainimarama, met with his Japanese counterpart, Shinzo Abe, at the 7th Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting in Japan. Mr Bainimarama told Mr Abe Japan must deal with Fiji in a more open and direct manner – and with a greater appreciation of its position. He says Japan shouldn’t take advice from third parties about the relationship. Mr Bainimarama also urged Japan to complete the Nadi River Realignment Project, which has had the support of the Japan International Cooperation Agency, or JICA.

http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/274133/fiji-urges-japan-to-deal-with-it-‘directly’

POLYNESIA

8) Tonga Establishes Working Group To Respond To Drought
Tongatapu recorded driest April in recorded history


WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 18, 2015) – A working group has been established in Tonga to respond to the current drought conditions.

The director of Meterology in Tonga, Ofa Faanunu, says Tonga is coming into its dry season, but has already been experiencing drought conditions for eight months.

He says some of the smaller islands, which depend entirely on rainfall, had to have water shipped out to them last year.

Mr Faanunu says the national emergency management committee met last week to discuss the conditions, and a working group was set up.

“We’ve recorded the driest April in our records here in Tongatapu. With the forecast as it is, we are taking precautions and trying to come up with measures and trying to mitigate the effects of this drought, if it will continue.”

Ofa Faanunu says they expect drier than normal conditions during El Nino periods, and they will be preparing for the long term when when the working group meets this week.

[PIR editor’s note: RNZI reported that ‘The Tonga Red Cross Society says it’s trying to educate the community to use water wisely, as the country prepares for more months of drought.’]

Radio New Zealand International 

9) Tongan Catholics March Opposing UN Women’s Convention
CEDAW seen as contrary to Christianity, Tongan family life


NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, May 19, 2015) – Waving pictures of Jesus and placards in opposition to the United Nation’s Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), Tonga’s Catholic Women’s League today marched to Parliament to present a petition.

Lady ‘Ainise Sevele, the Assistant President of Tonga’s Catholic Women’s League with the Vicar-General Monsignor Lutoviko Finau and other church members led the march of about 300 people. Lady Sevele said the petition had more than 2000 signatories, calling for the Government of Tonga not to ratify the United Nation’s CEDAW convention for women.

The petition was presented to the Speaker of the House, Lord Tu’ivakano, by Joyce Afeaki the assistant treasurer of CWL, accompanied by Hifoileva Papa Fifita CWL Secretary and Monsignor Finau.

The main reasons for their opposition is because they believe that the convention, which seeks to eliminate discrimination against women, clashes with their Christian faith and does not concur with the fundamental values of Tonga’s family life.

The Speaker and Deputy Speaker Lord Tu’i’afitu and some MPs came out to the Parliament’s gate and greeted the marchers after the petition was presented.

The march from the Catholic Basilica began with prayers and ended with prayers with hymns sung during the march. One placard called for ” ‘Akilisi and your government step down!”. Another placard warned of doom.

Parliament opens next week on Thursday, 28 May. The government announced to the UN in March this year that it intended to ratify CEDAW.

Matangi Tonga Magazine

10) Tourism Division In Tonga Shifting To Ministry Of Infrastructure
Move away from Ministry of Labour, Commerce comes as a surprise

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, May 19, 2015) – In a surprise announcement today Tonga’s government revealed that it is shifting its Tourism Division away from the Ministry of Labour, Commerce, and Tourism and placing it under the Ministry of Infrastructure from June 1.

The statement said that Cabinet had approved the transfer last Friday 15 May 2015, before the Prime Minister left for the PALM7 meeting in Japan.

The transfer makes Hon. ‘Etuate Lavulavu the new Minister of Tourism and Ringo Fa‘oliu the new CEO of Tourism, in addition to continuing the other services under the Ministry of Infrastructure.

The Tourism Division will continue to operate from its current offices.

“The outgoing Minister of Tourism, Hon. Dr. Pohiva Tu‘i‘onetoa, and the incoming Minister, Hon. ‘Etuate Lavulavu, will be working together for a smooth transition before 1 June,” said the statement.

Consultation cancelled

Responding to the announcement today, the Ministry of Labour, Commerce and Tourism cancelled this week’s two-day “Tourism Industry Day” consultation with the industry that was scheduled for May 21-22 at the Fa’onelua Convention Centre. The theme for the programme was “Tourism is Everyone’s Business”.

The acting CEO, Distaquaine Tu’ihalamaka said that the focus of the Tourism Industry Day was going to be on stocktaking to see what was going on in the industry since they took up tourism and to consult the industry in building up a plan for the next financial year.

“But we were told that they were taking Tourism and had got a new plan. We have not seen it.

“It was disappointing to cancel the Tourism Industry Day after a lot of work, but we didn’t want to ask the industry to make a contribution that could not be incorporated into the plan for next year,” she said.

The cancelled programme included presentations by the CEO of the MCTL and representatives of the Tourism and Trade Division. The Tonga Tourism Authority was to present its Marketing Plan. The Tonga Development Bank was to make a presentation on the Tourism Fund, and the Tonga Ports Authority on the Cruise Day operation, with speakers from Fiji Airways, Air New Zealand, Virgin Australia, and Real Tonga Airline. On Friday the Tonga Quality Mark was to be launched along with presentations from the outlying islands of Vava’u, Ha’apai and ‘Eua, and sessions from inbound tour operators and the handicraft program. The aim of the programme was to discuss ways of moving the industry forward.

“We were surprised when we got the announcement yesterday afternoon. We were told that the Tourism and Trade Division Office would be taken over by Infrastructure,” she said. “We are still trying to digest what is happening.”

Meanwhile, the staff of the Tonga Tourism Authority did not want to comment on the future of their Marketing Plan after their presentation was cancelled.

Matangi Tonga Magazine

11) Am. Samoa Official Calls For UN Decolonization Delisting
Problems between territory, U.S. should be resolved between the two


PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (The Samoa News, May 19, 2015) – Western District Governor Lualemaga Faoa has urged the United Nations Decolonization Committee to delist American Samoa from the list of UN colonies, saying that problems between American Samoa and the U.S. are resolved between the two parties and not with the UN.

The Decolonization Caribbean seminar opens today and runs through May 21 at Managua, Nicaragua. The territory is being represented there by Secretary of Samoan Affairs Mauga T. Asuega and Attorney General Talauega Eleasalo Ale.

American Samoa is considered by the UN as one of 17 non-self governing territories in the world. Over the years, previous administrations have called for delisting American Samoa as a colony, stating that American Samoa has a special relationship with the United States.

In an official statement released over the weekend to the media, Lualemaga reminds American Samoa and its people that “Prevention is Better than Cure”, saying that some people believe the status of American Samoa and the U.S. is “unsatisfactory”. However, he believes that “our relationship with the United States is satisfactory and still in good condition.”

He thanked and expressed appreciation for “the wisdom of our forefathers who signed the Treaty of Cession in 1900 for Tutuila and in 1904 for the Manu’a islands. That’s the reason I stand firm and keep the wisdom of our forefathers for giving American Samoa under the control of the United States [sic].”

Lualemaga said their foresight and wise consideration is continuing “our good relationship with the greatest nation, the United States of America.” He pointed out that the UN was not party to the Treaty of Cession.

“If American Samoa has some problems with the United States, [we] go directly to the United States… not the United Nation (sic)”, he said, adding that it’s been 115 years since the U.S. “has been feeding and supporting us in many ways. No other nation in the world has provided for the needs of Tutuila and Manu’a and supported what we need.”

To the UN, he said, “We are very concerned that the United Nations continues to mistakenly label American Samoa” as a colony of the U.S. “and ignores the wishes of our people.”

Lualemaga “strongly recommends” that the UN remove American Samoa “from the United Nations list of non-self governing colonies”.

He pointed out that American Samoa is still a U.S. territory and reiterated that if ASG is having problems with the federal government, American Samoa will go straight to the U.S. to “present our problems to them” — not to the UN.

He also said that the “decision by our forefathers to trust the United States as our Father Nation in the realm of government and in all aspects relative to our American Samoa and its people has been nothing but good fortune from the beginning to the present” and God willing for our future.

Further, the US has “spent billions and billions of dollars to help American Samoa in so many ways.”

According to Lualemaga, the UN continues to classify American Samoa as a colony of the U.S. “and both American Samoa and the U.S. have objected to this, but to no avail during the duration of our cherished relationship.”

In closing, Lualemaga “strongly recommends to the government and the people of American Samoa to uphold and protect the Treaty of Cession signed by our forefathers in 1900 and 1904.”

Lualemaga said that his grandfather Misa Vaeva signed for Ofu Island in 1904 for the Manu’a Treaty of Cession. Additionally, his ancestor — Lualemana of Aasu — was one of the traditional leaders who signed the Tutuila and Aunu’u Treaty of Cession of 1900.

UN PAPER ON AMERICAN SAMOA

Meanwhile, a working paper on American Samoa prepared by the Secretariat of the UN has been submitted to the Decolonization committee ahead of the Caribbean seminar.

The 14-page working paper outlined issues such as constitution, current political status, immigration, public health, minimum wage, tourism and agriculture. It also provides the latest developments in the territory, and many of these issues have been covered by Samoa News over the last 12 months.

The paper recalls what the governor’s representative told last year’s Pacific seminar in Fiji. For example, the representative had said that the governor recognized that at no point in time had the United States acted contrary to the expressed wishes of the people of American Samoa.

However, he also observed that, in his view, the current legal status of American Samoa had caused the Territory to be affected by the actions of the U.S Congress in unforeseen ways, owing to its size, location, geography and economic circumstances.

He further stated that now was the time to take the next step of serious discussion about the future political status of the Territory, a process that would commence in 2015.

As to the position of the Administering Power — referring to the U.S. — there is no new position by the U.S. and the same position was restated which had been outlined in a November 2006 letter to then Congressman Faleomavaega Eni from the U.S. State Department, which was that the status of the insular areas regarding their political relations with the federal government “was an internal United States issue and not one that came under the purview” of the UN Decolonization Committee.

The Decolonization Committee does call on the U.S. to assist the territorial government in the diversification and sustainability of the territory’s economy and to address employment and cost of living issues.

The committee also says that it welcomed the work of the territorial government with respect to moving forward on political status, local autonomy and self governance issues with a view to making political and economic progress, and in particular the announcement of a dialogue to commence in 2015 among the people of American Samoa on the territory’s future political status.

The Samoa News

12) Failed French Polynesia Candidate Wants Elections Voided
Dubois loses bid for French Senate seat


WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 19, 2015) – A French Polynesian candidate who failed to win a French Senate seat earlier this month wants the election outcome to be voided.

Vincent Dubois has lodged a complaint with the French High Commission in Tahiti to ask a French court to annul the vote which saw the vice-president, Nuihau Laurey, and an assembly member, Lana Tetuanui, elected as the territory’s two new members of the French Senate.

Mr Dubois says the election was unfair because the two winning candidates had the support of the local government.

In February, Mr Dubois and Teura Iriti lost their French Senate seats after a French court ruled that a march by hundreds of the Tahoeraa Huiraatira supporters to the polling station on election day amounted to undue pressure on the 700-strong electoral college.

Mr Dubois has had the support of the leader of the Tahoeraa Huiraatira Party, Gaston Flosse, who is his father-in-law.

The Senate race exacerbated the rifts within the Tahoeraa and led to more than a dozen top members being expelled, which also deprived the party of its majority in the assembly.

Radio New Zealand International 

13) Agricultural Exports From Rotuma To Tuvalu Resumes
Bilateral trade agreement collapsed in 2011

By Jone Luvenitoga

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, May 19, 2015) – The first load of root crops will make its way to Tuvalu from Rotuma as trade between the two islands nation resumes this week, says Rotuma district officer Niumaia Masere.

“A total of 10 tonnes of dalo plants, kumala (sweet potatoes) and cassava, bought at $A2/kg ($F3.23) will be the first shipment out of Rotuma Island since the trade was revived by the Prime Minister last year,” Mr Masere said.

A company called the Rotuma Export Marketing Company (REMCOL) was set up by PM Voreqe Bainimarama during his visit as chief guest to the Rotuma Day celebrations to oversee the trade since the bilateral trade agreement collapsed in 2011 after three years of its existence.

“Now the exporting business has been handed to the hands of the Rotuman Council and the Government office providing its support through the Biosecurity and Customs office.”

He said it was also the idea of the Government to bring the trading post to Rotuma since the agreement was signed between the two countries in 2008.

“The shift from Fiji’s exporting business to Rotuma was based on the closeness of the island to Tuvalu. It takes 12 hours by boat to reach Tuvalu and the exported goods are still well intact.”

“Exports were supposed to begin in March but the slow installation of facilities like generators and large coolers to cater for commercial exports at Ahau, the port of entry in the island weren’t able to be completed until last month,” he said.

Farmer Fesaitu Ravai, 45, of Oinafa welcomed the move saying that Rotuma was always playing the catch up game with high cost of transportation in the past years.

“The recent find of the fruit fly brought all hopes to a standstill. But now, we have something to work with,” he said.

Fiji Times Online.

14) Cooks fish exports top $14 million USD– 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.

http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/274013/cooks-fish-exports-top-$14-million-usd

15) Tuvalu Sea-Level Rise Accompanied By Increased Land Area
Rates of rise projected to double, unclear whether islands can persist

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 18, 2015) – The study analysed time slices of shoreline position over the past 118 years at 29 islands in the Funafuti Atoll.

It found that while Funafuti experienced some of the highest rates of sea level rise totalling about 300mm over the past 60 years there has been a 7.3 percent increase in net island area over the past century.

That means some islands in the atoll lost land area while others gained.

Five Australia and New Zealand-based scientists, who carried out the study, say the Tuvalu data showed islands can persist on reefs even if the sea level rise is five millimetres a year.

But they say with sea levels projected to be double the current rate it is unclear whether islands will be able to survive.

Radio New Zealand International 

MICRONESIA

16) UNICEF delivers critical aid to Chuuk

Updated at 9:40 pm on 20 May 2015     

The United Nations Children’s Fund has delivered materials for the victims of Typhoon Maysak which hit the Federated States of Micronesia in late March.

UNICEF has given child vitamin supplements, oral rehydration solution and a water quality testing kit to the Chuuk Department of Health to help children affected by the storm.

The agency says the portable water quality testing kit is state of the art and can be used to conduct three kinds of tests to know whether water is safe to drink.

Around 30-thousand people have been directly affected by Cyclone Maysak, with 90 percent of food crops in Yap and Chuuk destroyed and 281 homes destroyed.

Five people died as a result of the typhoon.

It is estimated $7.5 million US dollars will be needed for ongoing relief support and US$8.5 million for the longer term reconstruction effort.RNZI

17) Palau Marine Environment Study To Be Released
Efficacy of system of small marine protected areas explored


By Peter Erick L. Magbanua

KOROR, Palau (Island Times, May 18, 2015) – In September 2014, the Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) worked closely with top coral reef scientists on a study conducted to assess the health of Palau’s marine environment in conjunction with an expedition led by the National Geographic Society.

In addition, the expedition aimed to evaluate the efficacy of Palau’s established marine protected areas. The results of the study will be briefed this week to Palauan leaders at a series of meetings to be held at the Center beginning today.

Dr. Yimnang Golbuu, Chief Executive Officer of the Palau International Coral Reef Center, along with Dr. Alan Friedlander of the University of Hawaii and the National Geographic Society, conducted the study and will present its results.

This is the first comprehensive study of the efficacy of Palau’s current system of small marine protected areas. At the time of the study last fall, both Dr. Golbuu and Dr. Friedlander were impressed with the relative health of the deep-sea environment, and found the near-shore protected areas to be among the most pristine in the Pacific.

The study, which was recently completed, compares Palau’s deep-sea and off-shore protected areas to similar coral reef and deep water environments. The question of whether protected areas work is one for which there is a growing body of evidence globally supporting the establishment of reserves. This study was limited to the current near-shore marine protected areas in Palau, but it was designed to assess the potential for positive environmental impacts if the proposed large-scale sanctuary in Palau’s national waters was established.

A summary of the results of the study will be available to the public on Wednesday at the Center’s web site, www.picrc.org. Copies of the full report will also be available at the Center later this week.

Island Times 

18) Oregon Legislature Passes Resolution Thanking COFA Citizens
Those in U.S. ‘should be fairly treated in recognition of … relationship’

By Peter Erick L. Magbanua

KOROR, Palau (Island Times, May 18, 2015) – The Oregon legislature has adopted unanimously a resolution thanking citizens from the Compact of Freely Associated States (Marshall Islands, FSM and Palau) for their contributions to the United States.

During the Regular Session of the 78th Oregon Legislative Assembly, House Concurrent Resolution 21 was passed expressing support for and gratitude for citizens of Compact of Free Association nations residing in United States.

The resolution stated that notwithstanding their status as independent nations, the COFA islands are heavily dependent on United States government grants and are subjected to United States military presence under the COFA treaty.

“Because of the unique relationship that has existed between the three COFA nations and the United States, the COFA treaties allow island citizens to enter the United States without visas to study, live and work and to have access to available services such as driver licenses and health care,” the resolution stated.

It further stated that since the COFA treaties came into effect, citizens of the COFA islands have moved to the United States for education and work opportunities because stagnant island economies have made it difficult for residents to find jobs or obtain good education.

Aside from that, it also stated that COFA island citizens volunteer to serve in the United States Armed Forces at a higher per capita rate than United States citizens; and while the United States retains a strong military and economic presence in the islands, Congress and some state governments have reduced some benefits, including access to medical coverage and driver licenses, for which COFA islanders residing in the United States have historically been eligible.

“COFA islanders and their children who are residing legally in the United States should be fairly treated in recognition of the unique relationship between the United States and the COFA islands and because of the continued need of the United States to maintain a strong military and economic presence in the COFA islands. Eastern Oregon University has had a program for students from the Federated States of Micronesia since 1977 that provides services to COFA students in recognition of the challenges these students will face in achieving their academic goals and in their everyday lives in the United States,” it further says.

The Legislative Assembly of the State of Oregon strong stated in the resolution to support the rights of Compact of Free Association islanders residing in Oregon to live freely among them and that they express their deepest appreciation for their extraordinary commitment to the service and defense to the United States of America.

Island Times 

AUSTRALIA

19) Australia expresses regret to PNG over diplomatic row– Australia has expressed its regret at the highest level to the Papua New Guinea government about the ongoing row over Canberra’s plan for a diplomatic mission in Bougainville. The Trade Minister Andrew Robb has met Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and told him that Australia respects PNG’s sovereignty. PNG correspondent Liam Cochrane spoke to Mr Robb after that meeting, and asked him first about the ban imposed on Australians travelling to Bougainville in retaliation for what PNG’s Foreign Minister has called Canberra’s outrageous move.

http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/radio/program/pacific-beat/australia-expresses-regret-to-png-over-diplomatic-row/1449402

20) Canberra to address travel entry concern

By Online Editor
01:15 am GMT+12, 19/05/2015, Australia

Australia will try to improve on the current visa arrangements with Papua New Guinea, Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Robb says.

He was responding to Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, who expressed concern about the difficulty PNG citizens faced when trying to get visas to travel to Australia. 

Robb said Australia valued highly its relationship with PNG and that Canberra was addressing the visa issue.

“I am pleased to say that we are introducing multi-year visas, especially for business and distinguished people in PNG and multi-entry visas associated with that,” Robb said. 

“We have the problem that we don’t provide visa on entry into any country in the world.

“We are working through it, we are trying our best, we’ve got special lanes at some of the airports to recognise the significance of Papua New Guineans coming in so they can fast-track their entry and not be bothered with the unnecessary long queues.

“We do value the opportunity to work closely together, there is a lot of history between us.”

O’Neill said the issue had been discussed on numerous occasions “but we have seen limited progress”

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

21) Australian Investment In PNG Tops $15 Billion
Bilateral trade stands at $5.6 billion


By Isaac Nicholas

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, May 19, 2015) – The Australian investment in Papua New Guinea is worth about AU$19 billion [US$15 billion] while bilateral trade stands at round AU$7 billion [US$5.6 billion].

This was revealed by Australian Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb who visited the country yesterday to promote further commercial and two-day investment in areas such as resources and energy, infrastructure and services.

It is believed Robb will also lead a business delegation of prominent Australia companies in infrastructure, petroleum and mining and many which already have significant presence in PNG and are looking for further opportunities.

The visit coincides with PNG Business Forum, the major annual bilateral business meeting between Australia and PNG.

In his press release sent yesterday Robb said, “PNG has an unprecedented opportunity to turn the economic value of the recent resource boom into tomorrow’s future prosperity.”

Rob said resources and energy was an area of growing collaboration and Australia is a major supplier of equipment, technology and services to PNG mining, oil and gas industries.

“PNG is set to become one of the world’s fastest growing economies, with the commencement of the exports from the US19billion PNG LNG Project and our delegation will also visit the project site on Tuesday this week,” Robb said.

Robb said Australia has now re-oriented its aid program to focus on supporting private sector growth in PNG.

Robb will also lead his delegates to visit the Australian Pacific Technical College in Port Moresby which represents a significant Australian investment in helping to build capacity and PNG’s workforce.

Robb said, “Australia has much to offer PNG in services like education and vocational training, in key skills areas such as automotive, manufacturing, construction, electrical, tourism, hospitality and health.”

PNG Post-Courier

22) Australia’s offshore processing challenged in court– Ten asylum seekers have launched a High Court challenge on the legality of the Australian government’s offshore detention policies, in a bid to prevent their return to Nauru. Ten asylum seekers have launched a High Court challenge on the legality of the Australian government’s offshore detention policies, in a bid to prevent their return to Nauru. The asylum seekers and their families, including a newborn baby, have been temporarily moved to Australia for medical treatment, but are facing imminent return to offshore detention. The Human Rights Law Centre in Australia is running the case on behalf of the asylum seekers. Its director of legal advocacy, Daniel Webb, says the group is asking the High Court to rule on whether the government has the power to detain asylum seekers in foreign countries.

http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/programmes/datelinepacific/audio/201754858/australia’s-offshore-processing-challenged-in-court

NEW ZEALAND

23) John Key interested in Fiji visit- New Zealand Prime Minister John Key is contemplating a visit to Fiji later this year. This has been confirmed by Foreign Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola in parliament this morning. He says during a meeting with his counterpart Minister Murray McCully in Auckland, the New Zealand government has suggested a state visit later this year. This would the first visit by any New Zealand Prime Minister since before 2006. 

http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/29609/john-key-interested-in-fiji-visit
http://fijivillage.com/news/NZ-PM-expected-to-visit-Fiji-later-this-year-59sk2r/


TOK PISIN 

24) Mental Helt bikpla wari long Bougainville

Updated 20 May 2015, 12:22 AEST

Caroline Tiriman

Bougainville igat bikpla wok long stretim wari blong mental helt oa sik long hed emi wok long hamarim planti pipal long despla Autonomas rijan long PNG.

Odio: Bougainville Helt minista Mrs Rose Pihei na emi toktok wantem Caroline Tiriman.

Bougainville igat bikpla wok long stretim wari blong mental helt oa sik long hed emi wok long hamarim planti pipal long despla Autonomas rijan long PNG.

Despla em toktok blong minista blong Helt long ABG gavman em klostu bai pinis bihaen ileksan, Mrs Rose Pihei.

Mrs Pihei husat i sanap long ABG ileksan itok mental helt na helt blong ol mama na pikinini i bikpla wari long Bougainville bihaenim politikal crisis emi bin kamap namel long ol pipal blong Bougainville na Papua New Guinea gavman.

Planti tausan pipal ibin dai long despla heve.

Mrs Pihei itokim Radio Australia olsem maski bel isi na gutpla sidaon i stap nau long Bougainville klostu long 18pla yia, wari blong mental helt bai kamapim bikpla heve long future blong ol pipal, sopos oli no painim gutpla rot long daonim despla wari.ABC

25) Transparency Solomon Islands na ALAC i paitim korapsan

Updated 20 May 2015, 16:02 AEST

Sam Seke

Advocacy and Legal Advice Centre blong Transparency Solomon Islands i askim strong ol pipol long iusim free legal advais blong ol long paitim korapsen long kantri.

Odio: Nelson Kere, loia blong Advocacy and Legal Advice Centre blong Transparency Solomon Islands i toktok wantem Sam Seke

Advocacy and Legal Advice Centre blong Transparency Solomon Islands i askim strong ol pipol long iusim free legal advais blong ol long paitim korapsen long kantri.

Dispela i wanpela long ol bikpela toktok tupela loia blong ALAC ibin tokaut longen long Gizo, biktaun blong Western Province long aste na tede.

Wanpela long tupela loia ia, Nelson Kere itok tupela ibin toktok tu long wanem nau em i korapsen na sampela wei long paitim.

Em i tok ibin gat sampela askim long Transparency Solomon Islands i putim wanpela ofis long Gizo, tasol ol ino gat moni longen.

Mr Kere i tok wokabaut blong tupela igo long Gizo, em i hap blong ol wok long lukim olsem wok blong TSI long paitim korapsen i stap strong long Western Province.ABC


FRENCH

 

26) Brèves du Pacifique – mercredi 20 mai 2015

Mis à jour 20 May 2015, 18:09 AEST

Élodie Largenton

Norfolk va produire et exporter du cannabis thérapeutique. 

 La société TasCann vient d’obtenir le feu vert des autorités pour cultiver des plants sur cette île australienne autonome. Une première tonne de cannabis devrait être exportée dans un an au Canada. Une entreprise internationale de sécurité sera chargée de surveiller la plantation. C’est pour des raisons de sécurité que l’État fédéral australien avait bloqué ce projet à deux reprises, dans le passé.

L’Australie fait tout pour apaiser la colère de la Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée. Canberra a officiellement regretté la brouille actuelle, déclenchée par l’annonce de l’ouverture d’une mission diplomatique australienne dans la province autonome de Bougainville. « L’Australie respecte la souveraineté du pays », a déclaré hier le ministre australien du Commerce, Andrew Robb, lors d’une rencontre avec le Premier ministre papou, Peter O’Neill. « C’est un problème de communication », assure-t-il. La semaine prochaine, la ministre australienne des Affaires étrangères, Julie Bishop, rencontrera son homologue papou pour « clarifier la situation ».

L’Onu appelle le Vanuatu à être plus flexible avec les donateurs internationaux. Le gouvernement devrait se préoccuper davantage des résultats et ne pas chercher à tout contrôler, recommande ainsi Haoliang Xu, administrateur du Pnud – le programme des Nations unies pour le développement. Quelques jours après le passage du cyclone Pam, le gouvernement vanuatais avait critiqué les ONG, leur reprochant de ne pas coordonner leurs opérations.

Aux Îles Tonga, la ligue des femmes catholiques manifeste contre un texte qui promeut l’égalité entre hommes et femmes. Le royaume s’est engagé à ratifier la convention des Nations unies sur l’élimination de toutes les formes de discrimination contre les femmes, mais pour les centaines de manifestantes qui ont défilé hier dans les rues de Nuku’alofa, cela va obliger le pays à renier ses traditions, notamment en ce qui concerne l’avortement et le mariage homosexuel. Le Premier ministre, Akilisi Pohiva, a fait savoir à plusieurs reprises que Tonga ferait des exceptions sur ces sujets sensibles.

En Nouvelle-Zélande, une marque de chocolat vient de sortir une nouvelle gamme de produits réalisés avec de la vanille des Tonga et du cacao des Samoa. En plus d’embaucher du personnel local, l’entreprise Whittakers a aidé à fournir eau et électricité dans le village de Vava’u, aux Îles Tonga, où se situe la plantation de vanille, selon le témoignage d’un salarié, recueilli par la radio nationale néo-zélandaise.ABC

27) Papouasie: Jokowi ouvre la province aux journalistes

Mis à jour 20 May 2015, 12:02 AEST

Élodie Largenton

Un geste positif, mais que Thomas Dandois accueille avec prudence. L’année dernière, le journaliste français a tenté de tourner un reportage pour Arte, sans demander un visa de reporter. L’enquête a tourné court. Il a terminé en prison avec sa collègue. Entretien avec Thomas Dandois. 

Audio: Écoutez Thomas Dandois sur « l’aberration » de fermer un pays aux journalistes.
Depuis le 10 mai, les journalistes étrangers peuvent « se rendre librement en Papouasie occidentale ». Le Président indonésien, Joko Widodo, l’avait promis à son arrivée au pouvoir, il y a quelques mois. Promesse tenue, donc : il vient d’annoncer que les journalistes du monde entier vont pouvoir effectuer des reportages dans cette région riche en ressources naturelles, où le pouvoir indonésien est contesté par plusieurs groupes séparatistes.
L’an dernier, deux journalistes français travaillant pour Arte, Thomas Dandois et Valentine Bourrat, avaient été arrêtés, puis détenus pendant deux mois et demi pour avoir voulu tourner un reportage avec un visa de touriste.
Le directeur de Human Rights Watch en Indonésie, Andreas Harsono, estime que c’est leur cas qui a permis de faire avancer les choses.
Depuis, Thomas Dandois a continué à garder un oeil sur ce qui se passe en Papouasie occidentale. Il a donc suivi la visite, il y a quelques jours, de Joko Widodo dans cette province disputée. Visite lors de laquelle le président indonésien a annoncé que les journalistes étrangers étaient désormais les bienvenus. De quoi lui donner des idées:
« J’ai le pressentiment que si je demande le visa, je ne vais pas l’obtenir. Mais c’est sûr que c’est la première idée qui m’est venue quand j’ai vu cette nouvelle. Je me suis dit, tiens, voyons comment ils vont agir. »
Père de deux enfants, ayant déjà été emprisonné au Niger avant de connaître le même sort en Indonésie, Thomas Dandois s’est juré de « ne plus retourner en zone de guerre, de ne plus prendre ce risque ». Mais cette annonce de Jokowi est en train de le faire changer d’avis. Car malgré son arrestation, son travail n’a pas été détruit:
« On a pu récupérer des images. Je ne l’avais encore jamais dit jusqu’à maintenant. Mais on a pu conserver des images. On n’avait pas de quoi faire un reportage complet. Mais ça pourrait être intéressant, aujourd’hui, un an ou un an et demi après, de compléter notre reportage en pouvant donner la parole aux uns et aux autres. Cela ferait un reportage complet, et pas un reportage à charge contre le gouvernement indonésien. »
Le journaliste français reste toutefois méfiant. Même s’il salue l’annonce de Jokowi, il doute de l’ouverture totale de la région. Depuis l’annonce du président indonésien, plusieurs officiels – des membres de l’armée ou des responsables locaux – ont tenté d’atténuer ses propos, affirmant que les journalistes devaient toujours demander un permis pour pouvoir faire des reportages dans la région. Thomas Dandois:
« Il faut voir clairement quelles vont être les possibilités de travail sur place. Je pense que ça ne va pas changer de façon radicale du jour au lendemain. Il faut voir, à l’usage, le genre de reportage qu’ils vont pouvoir sortir. Et les reportages, ils ne vont pas faire plaisir au gouvernement indonésien, il va y avoir des choses qu’ils n’ont pas envie d’entendre. Il faut voir combien de temps elle va durer, cette situation. Est-ce que la Papouasie est définitivement ouverte aux journalistes, est-ce qu’ils vont pouvoir faire correctement leur travail? Pour l’instant on n’a pas encore la réponse, et il faut rester extrêmement prudent. » 
Même si l’ouverture totale et réelle de la Papouasie occidentale sera difficile à mettre en place, Thomas Dandois estime qu’elle bénéficierait au pouvoir indonésien:
« J’ai toujours trouvé que c’était une aberration totale, quel que soit l’endroit, de vouloir empêcher les journalistes d’entrer et d’aller et venir librement, parce que cela ne fait qu’accréditer les soupçons, la thèse du pire. Alors que finalement les situations ne sont jamais ni noires, ni blanches. Et Jokowi, en permettant aux journalistes de revenir là-bas, va permettre de faire entendre les deux versions. »  
Le Président indonésien avait aussi promis d’ouvrir la région aux ONG. Mais il n’a fait aucune déclaration à ce sujet.ABC

PASIFIK

28) EU still committed to EPA in Pacific– The European Union says despite recent claims to the contrary, it remains firmly committed to reaching an Economic Partnership Agreement in the Pacific. It says negotiations, which began nearly 11 years ago, are still a long way from being concluded. The secretary general of the Pacific Islands Forum, Dame Meg Taylor, claims the European Commission Trade Commissioner has proposed a 3 year deferral, which she says is unacceptable. But the EU says the intentions of Trade Commissioner, Cecilia Malmstrom, have been misunderstood. It says Ms Malmstrom has invited her Pacific counterparts to reflect on a way out of the current stalemate.

http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/274126/eu-still-committed-to-epa-in-pacific

29) PNG to take a lead in Pacific

By Online Editor
00:46 am GMT+12, 19/05/2015, Japan

Papua New Guinea is expected to take over the leadership of the Pacific Islands Forum when Pacific Leaders meet in Japan this week.

The upcoming 7th Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM 7) which starts today will seek to establish new partnerships to tackle common challenges affecting Pacific Island countries.

Papua New Guinea leaders are among other Pacific nations who will meet in Iwaki Prefecture to further build cooperative relationships with Japan.

One of the itemised issue that will be discussed will be the Technical Cooperation Agreement between Japan and the Pacific Island coutnries.

The Pacific Islands Leaders’ Meeting with Japan is a summit-level meeting held every three years since 1997. Prime Minister Peter O’Neill is expected to lead his delegation to Japan.

The meeting will discuss and review the 2012 PALM 06 recomendations and how the Pacific nation leaders have fared so far on (1) response to natural disasters (2) environment and climate change (3) sustainable development based upon human security (4) people-to- people exchanges and (5) maritime issues.

At PALM 6 in 2012, Pacific Island countries agreed on the need for a comprehensive response to climate change adaptation in the Pacific, focusing on the importance of promoting sustainable development, based on human security through the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

These issues included the response to natural disasters, environment and climate change, sustainable development based upon human security, people-to- people exchanges and maritime issues.

In 2013, Foreign Affairs Minister Rimbink Pato after the PALM Foreign Ministerial Review said discussions with Japan to assist in development arrangements have provided opportunities for better outcomes.

There they adopted the summary of the chairman’s meeting and the Tokyo Declaration on Maritime Secretary’s issues.

The arrangements provided for improved outcomes for PNG and other Pacific Island countries benefitting from Japan’s social and economic development programmes under the PALM strategy.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

WORLD

30) Obama moves to demilitarise police

Afp
Wednesday, May 20, 2015

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama has barred police from using tracked armoured vehicles, bayonets, grenade launchers and large-calibre firearms, in response to accusations that US law enforcement has become too militarised.

After controversy over the policing of high-profile protests in Baltimore, Maryland and Ferguson, Missouri, Mr Obama said communities should not feel there is an “occupying force” in their neighbourhood.

Each of the demonstrations were met with police deployments, which Mr Obama agreed appeared more like a military style operation — with tactical units in full combat gear atop armoured personnel carriers.

“We’ve seen how militarised gear can sometimes give people a feeling like there’s an occupying force as opposed to a force that’s part of the community that’s protecting them and serving them,” Mr Obama said in announcing the measures on Monday.Fijitimes

HEALTH

31) A better health service

Atasa Moceituba
Wednesday, May 20, 2015

DOCTORS all over the country were part of the Ministry of Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations phase two training in the evaluation of permanent impairment held at the Holiday Inn in Suva last week.

The two-day program that began on Thursday was to inform and educate doctors on the importance of providing better health care and social security for injured workers and dependants of deceased workers.

Program co-ordinator and Occupational Health Safety physician Dr Rauni Tikoinayau said the training program would help boost the number of competent assessors in addition to the 129 medical assessors who had been trained.

Dr Tikoinayau said it would also help doctors to familiarise themselves with proposed changes that would occur in the coming years in the field of workmen’s compensataion.

He said the workshop was part of the ministry’s vision “Decent and Productive Work for All” and its mission of “ensuring social justice good faith employment relations, safe and productive driven workplaces”.

“The workers compensation reform will provide basic social protection and also strengthen our national social security regime with a “no-fault” social insurance scheme, with a return to work policy to boost productivity,” Dr Tikoinayau said.

He said the training was part of the overall workmen’s compensation reform to assist the ministry in reducing the number of backlogged cases which was a great challenge to the ministry.Fijitimes

32) Learn to take care of facilities: Hospital CEO

Source:

The National, Wednesday May 20th, 2015

Bringing in new facilities and providing health care material and equipment is easier than changing attitude, culture and norms around Angau hospital, chief executive officer Dr Jim Abrahams says.
Abrahams said with new developments taking place in the hospital, people needed to appreciate them and take care of them.
“I would say bringing in developments is easy compared with changing norms around the hospital,” he said.
“The difficult task is changing the attitude of staff and patients, culture and the ways in which things are done here.
“With all the developments taking place, the challenge is to ensure that we can maintain them.
“There is potential to further upgrade the new facilities, but first people have to learn to take care of what has been provided so that it can last for a long time.”
Developments have made the hospital much safer, with a cleaner environment for patients to live and the doctors to work in.
This includes the facilities as well.
Positive changes include the entrance, which was previously condemned, has been cleared and planted with grass and driveways have been improved.
The old termite-infested wards have been flattened and three new wards made of steel have been erected.
The wards are air conditioned, have new beds, nurses’  stations, doctors’ room and  kitchen.
The ablution block and sink are clean.
Abrahams confirmed that there was surplus drugs brought into the hospital.
“We need to train and build up skills in our local doctors and nurses,” he said.
“We are considering bringing in more people from overseas to help in that area.”
He urged employees and the public to look after the hospital facilities.
“We must take care of the facilities.”

33) Chikungunya prevention – People are still being advised to take precautions and destroy mosquito breeding sites to minimise the spread of the disease: Chikungunya. National Adviser for NCDs, Dr. Mike Kama says destroying mosquito breeding places should be an effort for individual and a community as a whole.

http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/29533/chikungunya-prevention

POLITIC

34) OPEN COUNTING

By Tom Kathoa

A call has been made for the Electoral Commission to conduct an open counting of votes during the counting period.
The call was made by the candidate for the North Bougainville Women’s Regional Seat, Anastasia Lapointe.
Candidate Lapointe says everything that happens during counting must be done in the open to be witnessed by all scrutineers.
This is for the benefit of the two parties, polling officials and scrutineers to avoid unnecessary allegations of foul play by counting officials.
Mrs Lapointe is also calling on the electoral commission to move away from manual counting to electronic counting adding this system is better, allowing the general public and supporters to also see on the spot how their candidate is doing.
She says, electronic counting also eliminates any changes of foul play by counting officials and unnecessary objections by scrutineers.
A check with the office of the electoral commission this morning reveals that counting would be conducted at Hutjena Secondary School Hall.
The office also says that counting would be done manually.18/5/15Dawnfm

35) SPEAKER GETS SUPPORT
By Tom Kathoa

A call by the outgoing Speaker of the ABG House of Representatives has attracted support from a former staffer of the first ABG Government.
Speaker Andrew Miriki is right when saying there should only be three candidates for the speaker’s post.
The three candidates according to the ABG constitution in relation to the appointment of the speaker says these candidates should be nominated by Regional Committees from the three regions, North, Central and South Bougainville.
The former employee says the constitution is very clear on this, that the speaker is not a member of parliament and should not also be a member of any political party.
There are four political parties supporting candidates in this election.
In supporting this call, the former employee who requested his name be withheld says a repeat of what happened in the past should not be allowed to continue.
He says more than three candidates contested past election of the speaker breaching this constitution and should not be allowed this time round.
Meanwhile, the former ABG employee has gone one step ahead by warning would be elected leaders not to be bribed by candidates vying for the speaker’s post.
He says there is nothing wrong with lobbying for support, but money or any form of bribery should not be entertained.
And, he has also called on those people vying for the speakership to refrain from such illegal activity, but allow leaders to make their own choice of who to should be our next speaker.18/5/15 Dawnfm

36) COMMISSIONER COMMENTS ON COMMON ROLL
By Aloysius Laukai
The Bougainville Electoral Commissioner, GEORGE MANU today commented on the 2015 ABG Election Common Roll.
He told a media conference in Buka this afternoon that significant resources are required at an Institutional, Human Resourcing and Infrastructure level to maintain an accurate and comprehensive Common Roll and this remains a challenge for Bougainville.
MR. MANU said that it is a legal obligation of every Bougainvillean to enrol as a voter and it is the obligation of the Bougainville Electoral Commissioner, through the Returning Officers to provide that facility to the people.
He said that a good roll depends on the involvement by the people.
MR. MANU said that through the Returning Officers, Office of the Bougainville Electoral Commission undertook an active enrolment drive between September 2014 and February 2015.
The drive resulted in a Preliminary Roll with about ELEVEN THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED additional voters.
The Preliminary Roll was put on public display for about two weeks and at the end of the public scrutiny another EIGHT THOUSAND EIGHT HUNDRED voters were added to the roll.
The Electoral Commissioner said that the final Electoral Roll used for the 2015 ABG Election totals 172,797 voters, which is an increase of about 20,000 extra voters from the previous roll.
He said that his office received funding for the 2015 ABG General Elections only few weeks before the roll closed on the issue of the writs on March 27th, 2015.16/5/15Dawnfm

37) SPEAKER GETS SUPPORT
By Tom Kathoa

A call by the outgoing Speaker of the ABG House of Representatives has attracted support from a former staffer of the first ABG Government.
Speaker Andrew Miriki is right when saying there should only be three candidates for the speaker’s post.
The three candidates according to the ABG constitution in relation to the appointment of the speaker says these candidates should be nominated by Regional Committees from the three regions, North, Central and South Bougainville.
The former employee says the constitution is very clear on this, that the speaker is not a member of parliament and should not also be a member of any political party.
There are four political parties supporting candidates in this election.
In supporting this call, the former employee who requested his name be withheld says a repeat of what happened in the past should not be allowed to continue.
He says more than three candidates contested past election of the speaker breaching this constitution and should not be allowed this time round.
Meanwhile, the former ABG employee has gone one step ahead by warning would be elected leaders not to be bribed by candidates vying for the speaker’s post.
He says there is nothing wrong with lobbying for support, but money or any form of bribery should not be entertained.
And, he has also called on those people vying for the speakership to refrain from such illegal activity, but allow leaders to make their own choice of who to should be our next speaker.20/5/15Dawnfm

38) COMMISSIONER COMMENTS ON COMMON ROLL
By Aloysius Laukai
The Bougainville Electoral Commissioner, GEORGE MANU today commented on the 2015 ABG Election Common Roll.
He told a media conference in Buka this afternoon that significant resources are required at an Institutional, Human Resourcing and Infrastructure level to maintain an accurate and comprehensive Common Roll and this remains a challenge for Bougainville.
MR. MANU said that it is a legal obligation of every Bougainvillean to enrol as a voter and it is the obligation of the Bougainville Electoral Commissioner, through the Returning Officers to provide that facility to the people.
He said that a good roll depends on the involvement by the people.
MR. MANU said that through the Returning Officers, Office of the Bougainville Electoral Commission undertook an active enrolment drive between September 2014 and February 2015.
The drive resulted in a Preliminary Roll with about ELEVEN THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED additional voters.
The Preliminary Roll was put on public display for about two weeks and at the end of the public scrutiny another EIGHT THOUSAND EIGHT HUNDRED voters were added to the roll.
The Electoral Commissioner said that the final Electoral Roll used for the 2015 ABG Election totals 172,797 voters, which is an increase of about 20,000 extra voters from the previous roll.
He said that his office received funding for the 2015 ABG General Elections only few weeks before the roll closed on the issue of the writs on March 27th, 2015.
Jennifer Nkui of New Dawn FM in Blue checking her name at the BIB Polling Booth in Buka.16/5/15Dawnfm

39) TWENTY FOUR CONSTITUENCIES COMPLETE
By Aloysius Laukai

Polling in TWENTY FOUR of the THIRTY- THREE seats in the Autonomous Bougainville Government’s Parliament were completed today Saturday May 16th, 2015.
This means only NINE Constituencies are yet to complete polling before end of polling on May, 2015th.
This also means that the remaining areas must be covered in the next nine days.
This was revealed by the Acting Bougainville Electoral Commissioner, GEORGE MANU this afternoon in his daily press conferences.
MR. MANU said that despite the hiccups at the start of Polling he was happy that polling is progressing well.
By this afternoon polling have been completed in many areas.
In North Bougainville, polling has been completed in 12 CONSTITUENCIES of HAKU,PEIT,HALIA,HAGOGOHE,TONSU,TSITALATO,SELAU,TEUA,MAHARI,
TAONITA TINPUTZ and TAONITA TEOP.
In South polling has been completed in twelve Constituencies of RAMU,KONNOU,LULE, BAUBAKE,MAKIS,KOPII,MOTUNA HUYONO, BABA,LATO,BOLAVE and TOROKINA.
The Commissioner said that due to communication difficulties receiving updates for Central continues to be challenging at times.
Polling for Monday will take place at RATERI in the Rao Constituency whilst team 99 For IORO will poll at SIREDONSI village, team 111 for South Nasioi will poll at ROREINANG and in KOKODA team 125 will poll at KOROMIRA.16/5/15Dawnfm

40) Deputy governor ousted

Source:

The National, Wednesday May 20th, 2015

By CLIFFORD FAIPARIK
THE Sandaun provincial assembly has ousted deputy Governor Paul Nengai in a vote of no confidence as the process to elect a Governor in a by-election proceeds.
Nengai, the Walsa Local Level Government president, has been replaced by East Coast-Aitape LLG president Sylvester Apiep. Nengai had been the acting governor since September 2013.
Provincial assembly clerk Simon M’lendu told The National yesterday that Nengai was voted out by 12 LLG presidents plus Governor Belden Namah.
Nengai and the other LLG presidents were absent when the vote was taken. There are 24 members of the assembly.
Namah was elected governor on April 21 by 13 LLG presidents. Nengai and the other members were absent. Apiep chaired that meeting.
Namah chaired the meeting on Monday to elect Apiep as deputy governor.
Meanwhile, West Sepik provincial returning officer Kila Ralai said Greg Waflow had joined the contest for the governor’s seat as an independent candidate.
The other independent candidates are Oree Kapanompo, Bob Namah, Tony Woiwoi and Maima Kaupa.  Former Governors Amkat Mai and Simon Solo have already been nominated while John Tekwie is expected to file his nomination today as the People’s National Congress candidate.
Namah is expected to nominate a PNG Party candidate today too.
Mai is the National Alliance Party candidate while Solo represents the People’s National Congress Party.

41) Solomon MPs given fidelity advice

Solomon Star
Wednesday, May 20, 2015

HONIARA – Members of Parliament are told engaging in extramarital affairs damages their reputation and lead to lack of public trust on their leadership.

Former prime minister and three-term North East Guadalcanal MP Dr Derek Sikua reminded his colleagues of the issue this week during an induction program for parliamentarians.

“This 02 business (having more than one wife) has to stop as parliamentarians are public figures who deserve respect from the people,” Dr Sikua said.

It’s public knowledge that several MPs are engaging in this practice, while some left their wives since they became MPs and are living with younger women.

Dr Sikua has questioned whether anti-corruption agencies had the mandate to deal with national leaders who entertained extra-marital affairs.

“Those living this immoral lifestyle are going to lose the respect of the people they are supposed to look after,” the education minister said.

“As MPs, we must reflect virtues of Christian ethics so that the public can trust and put their hopes in us,” Dr Sikua added.

He urged relevant government agencies that dealt with the integrity of national leaders to seriously look into the issue.Fijitimes

42) Solomons MP Induction Program To Increase Performance: PM
Sogavare wants Parliament to be made up of knowledgeable professionals

By Aatai John

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, May 20, 2015) – Prime Minister (PM) Manasseh Sogavare has reiterated during the opening of the Members of Parliament’s (MP) induction program that MPs will become better in their performance after going through series of their induction session.

Speaking during the opening of the induction program at the Heritage Park Hotel early last week, PM said that his clear portrayal of Solomon Islands being operated on what he called the Mamaloni Approach will further enlighten MPs to know better of their roles and how to make good decisions.

“The purpose of the program is to equip Honorable Members to be better Members of Parliament,” the PM stated.

The PM further stated that through the induction program MPs will become better, as professionals and specialists.

He added that MPs will be professionals and specialists as they will associated with a corporate culture or the private and sector business.

Sogavare continued by saying that corporate systems and practices are now part and parcel of the public sector, because they will certainly improve public sectors performance that will have huge positive impacts to the government.

“Granted that both the private and public sectors serve different ends, one profit, the other service, increasingly there is this heightened acceptance that the corporate way of doing things delivers better returns and thus justifies also its use in the public sector,” the PM stated.

The PM summed up his remarks by saying that the induction programs will surely improve MPs as knowledgeable and consistent people to their attendant roles of lawmaking and God fearing credible leaders.

Solomon Star

43) Govt looks at paying out additional benefits to Qarase as a former PM– The government is now dealing with the issue regarding former Prime Minister, Laisenia Qarase’s additional benefits as a former Prime Minister under the law of the country. While answering a question from Leader of Opposition, Ro Teimumu Kepa in parliament today, Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum confirmed that the full pension arrears of $583,263 has been paid out to Qarase for the period from December 2006 to December 2014. Sayed-Khaiyum also confirmed that Qarase is also receiving the fortnightly pensions and his latest payment was made last Wednesday. It has also been confirmed that Qarase has also claimed the reimbursement of telephone and medical expenses in the sum of $926.26 for the period 2013 and 2014. This has also been paid out by the government. Sayed-Khaiyum has revealed that Qarase has also claimed a cash allowance of $245,000 from 5th December 2006 and 5th February 2015. Under the law, there is a $30,000 yearly allocation for the engagement of personnel staff for the former Prime Minister. The cabinet office has written to Qarase to verify who were the staff who were engaged and how much they were paid.

http://fijivillage.com/news-feature/Govt-looks-at-paying-out-additional-benefits-to-Qarase-as-a-former-PM-95s2kr/

http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/29612/former-pms-pension-paid-in-full-however-other-benefits-remain-outstanding

  44) Speaker rules MPs need permits for constituency meetings- Speaker of Parliament, Doctor Jiko Luveni has today ruled that members of parliament have to get permits under the Public Order Act if they are having constituency meetings. This follows Opposition MP, Tupou Draunidalo’s call for a ruling last week after SODELPA was told to get a permit for their constituency meetings. Doctor Luveni says the law is clear on this.

http://fijivillage.com/news/Speaker-rules-MPs-need-permits-for-constituency-meetings-r5k29s/

http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/29615/permit-needed-for-constituency-meetings-speaker

45) AG can sit on Parliamentary Privileges Committee: Speaker- Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum can sit on the Parliamentary Privileges Committee to look at the comments made by SODELPA parliamentarian, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu. Speaker of Parliament, Doctor Jiko Luveni has made this ruling today after Opposition MP, Mosese Bulitavu questioned the eligibility of the Attorney General to sit on the Privileges Committee inquiry as he was the mover of the motion referring the allegation of breach of privilege to the committee. Doctor Luveni said Sayed-Khaiyum moved the motion on behalf of the government and does not have any direct personal interest in the case. Meanwhile Doctor Luveni also confirmed that SODELPA MP, Semesa Karavaki has now withdrawn his point of order raised yesterday. Karavaki had said that he had evidence that Sayed-Khaiyum had allegedly used vulgar language in parliament. Karavaki said earlier today that he will have further discussions with the Speaker on this.

http://fijivillage.com/news/AG-can-sit-on-Parliamentary-Privileges-Committee—Speaker-s592kr/

http://fijilive.com/news/2015/05/ag-will-remain-in-committee-speaker/61075.Fijilive

46) Opposition asks Govt on former Prime Minister’s vehicle entitlement– The opposition has asked the government why former Prime Minister, Laisenia Qarase and Sitiveni Rabuka were denied ministerial type vehicles as they are entitled to it under the law. SODELPA parliamentarian, Niko Nawaikula said the government should give an explanation on this. Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said they now want to remedy the past and the government will ensure that it deals with the cases of all the former Prime Ministers.

http://fijivillage.com/news/Opposition-asks-govt-on-former-Prime-Ministers-vehicle-entitlement-r2ks95/

47) Fiji AG to sit on Privileges Committee

Updated at 9:40 pm on 20 May 2015

The Speaker of Fiji’s parliament, Jiko Luveni, has ruled that the Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum can stay on the Privileges Committee to hear a complaint about an opposition MP.

Last week, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum moved a motion in parliament to refer Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu over an alleged slur about the speaker made during a constituency meeting.

The opposition considered that it was against natural justice for a complainant to also be sitting in judgment.

It also argued that the Privileges Committee had no right to rule about comments made outside parliament.

But according to FBC News, Dr Luveni dismissed the concern, saying Sayed-Khaiyum had no direct interest in the motion and is therefore allowed to be on the Committee.

It is not known if Dr Luveni lodged a police complaint for alleged defamation

Last week, the prime minister, Frank Bainiamarama, who shut down the last parliament as part of his 2006 military coup, expressed sadness at reports of the alleged slur about what he called the esteemed position in the supreme law making body.RNZI

LAND

48) Agency loses airport land

Source:

The National, Wednesday May 20th, 2015

National Airports Corporation has lost about 120 hectares of land over the last four years, it has been revealed.
Former chairman of the NAC board Peter Neville revealed this in an interview with The National.
The Lands Department yesterday clarified that airport land came directly under NAC and the Department of Lands had nothing to do with it. Neville, who has an interim court order in place to prevent a new board from assuming its duties, said he had previously fought against issues, including land alienation at the airport.
“At Jacskon’s Airport, we’ve lost over 120 hectares of land over the last four years,” he said.
“Civil aviation and others have been alienating the land illegally from the airport.” Airport land is governed by the Civil Aviation Act and the only body responsible for the airport is the operator, the National Airports Corporation.
“The airport land is for aviation services and corporate services,” Neville said.
“The landmass around the airport is utilised in an airport city concept. We are trying to put new hangers on the other side of the airport but people have alienated land over there.”
A statement from the Lands Department media unit stated that “there were some land given with clearance from National Airports Corporation and the land was obtained under UDLs (urban development leases) that is towards the 9-Mile area.”
He said 90 per cent of airports are community service obligated and only earned enough revenue to cover their actual costs.
Meanwhile, Neville dismissed claims that NAC was operating without a proper board.
“We have two ex-officios who are the secretaries of Transport and Treasury, the acting managing director and myself,” he said. “The board is fixed and working.”

BUSINESS

49) PNG’s Highland’s tops list of unbanked

By Online Editor
00:54 am GMT+12, 19/05/2015, Papua New Guinea

More than 90 per cent of the population in the Highlands region is yet to access financial services, according to a publication by the Bank of Papua New Guinea (BPNG).

The Papua New Guinea National Financial Inclusion and Financial Literacy Strategy 2014-2014 showed that the region has the highest unbanked segment of 91.92 per cent.

This was followed by the Momase region at 82.30 per cent.

Notably, both regions have correspondingly the lowest literacy rates at 39.2 per cent and 53.9 per cent respectively.

BPNG and six working groups met during a workshop in Port Moresby last week to discuss how they can work together to address the issue of financial exclusion in PNG.

Governor Loi Bakani said of the seven key objectives, one was to reach one million more unbanked people in a one year (2014-2015) period.

He said based on data gathered a total of over 440,000 unbanked opened bank accounts by end 2014, of which 32 per cent were women.

“I encourage all banks and financial institutions to continue the efforts of ensuring more of the unbanked population get to open banked accounts and have access to banking services.

“We have to reach one million more unbanked low-income people in PNG and micro and small enterprises, with a diverse range of financial services. Fifty per cent of people reached will be women;

“To actively support innovative use of technology for scaling-up access to financial services and financial literacy;

“To strengthen consumer protection by issuing prudential guidelines and creating a platform for various national regulators and industry networks to monitor consumer protection, etc,” he said.

Bakani highlighted other BPNG’s initiatives relevant to Financial Inclusion Efforts.

“This included the implementation of the Kina Automated Transfer System,” he said.

“The BPNG, in collaboration with commercial banks and other key stakeholders, to improve efficiency in the payments and settlements (or clearing) of transactions, said Bakani.

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

50) Kina takes over Maybank

Source:

The National, Wednesday May 20th, 2015

By GYNNIE KERO
KINA Bank will become the country’s fourth largest bank following the Kina Group’s K319 million-plus acquisition of Maybank PNG.
Kina Group chief executive officer Sydney Yates said Maybank and the Kina Group customers could now access a broader range of banking and financial services and products under one roof.
Kina Group is the country’s largest non-banking financial institution. “Cornerstone investors that have agreed to provide funding in connection with the transaction include PNG superannuation funds Comrade Trustee Services Limited, Nambawan Super Limited and National Superannuation Fund Limited,” Yates said.
“Kina Group is presently considering options to fund future growth, including a possible stock exchange listing.”
Yates said Maybank PNG was an attractive banking business with a solid capital and liquidity position. The transaction is being undertaken in consultation with the Central Bank of PNG and should be completed in July.
Yates said Kina Group would pay about  K319 million, plus the difference in the value of the net assets of Maybank PNG at the completion of the proposed acquisition, compared to December 31, 2014.
“The acquisition allows Kina to enter into electronic banking, leveraging Maybank PNG’s client base and the growing demand for electronic banking services,” Yates  said.
“Kina Group already services the financial and investment needs of our 8000 lending clients, 3000 stockbroking clients and 150,000 fund administration clients, as well as acting as a licensed investment manager with approximately K4.7 billion in funds under management.
“Maybank PNG’s business provided a natural fit to Kina, enabling it to extend its reach in PNG’s financial sector market with an established and profitable company that had all necessary licences and an established client base.”
Yates said the acquisition “further reinforces our commitment to provide the PNG community with an alternative to the big banks and offers our combined customers access to a wider range of products and services”.
He said Maybank PNG was identified as an attractive acquisition for Kina due to its established infrastructure, conservative capital structure, and client base which offered exposure to PNG’s growing middle class, small-to-medium enterprise sector and high net-worth individuals.
“Kina Group intends to extend its physical presence in PNG, through expanding its branch network following the acquisition,” he said.
“Providing greater access to financial services to residents in isolated areas will be critical in tapping into this growth opportunity.”
Maybank PNG was established in 1994 as a subsidiary of the largest Malaysian banking and financial services business, the Maybank Group.
It offers a range of products including loans, overdrafts, trade financing, foreign exchange, banker guarantees, current accounts, savings and fixed deposit accounts.
Yates said a key benefit for Kina Group of a full banking licence would be the lower cost of wholesale funding.

INFRASTRUCTURE

51) Need for quality aggregate rocks

Luke Rawalai
Wednesday, May 20, 2015

THE right aggregate of rocks for the road refurbishment projects on the Dreketi-Nabouwalu stretch can be found on Vanua Levu but there is no licensed company to extract nor process it to standard quality.

Fiji Roads Authority CEO Neil Cook said the issue was about getting the right quality of rocks in the right quantity.

When asked whether there were worthy rock aggregates in the North such as the ones used previously on the Savusavu-Labasa highway, Mr Cook said the same road was about to be rebuilt piece by piece because of improper aggregates used in the structure.

He said they would consider transporting rocks from Vanua Levu on barges.

“The problem is getting the right quality of rocks in their right quantity. Then we have to consider finding a licensed company to extract the rocks before processing them to the standards required under the project.”

Mr Cook said a few barges had started transporting rocks from Viti Levu.

“However the rocks being transported are not for pavement works but for sealing programs because they need to be of high quality,” he said.

China Railway First Group’s project engineer Jeff Peng earlier said they had to carry out improvements on rocks so it could be used for the road sealing program.

Mr Peng said since hiring OPUS International consultancy group from New Zealand for advice, they had been informed that most rocks exceeded the standard plastic index specification for road sealing purposes.

He said they had identified some rocks that did not meet the required specifications but could perform with some alterations.

This included rocks and pebbles found in rivers.Fijitimes

52) No plans yet for Qoma jetty– Government has no immediate plans to construct a jetty at Qoma Island, in Tailevu but the issue is in a discussion state at the Commissioner Central’sOffice. This was confirmed by the Minister for Infrastructure Praveen Bala when asked by Opposition MP Anare Vadei in Parliament this morning. Bala told Members of the House that the construction of jetties and roads is under the responsibility of the Fiji Roads Authority and they have already drawn up their plan for 2015. He adds villagers of Qoma have also requested for assistance on the construction of the sea wall via the Commissioner Central’s Office. Qoma is only accessible by sea.

http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/29576/no-plans-yet-for-qoma-jetty-

LAW&ORDER

53) Former MP denies misusing K13.1m

Source:

The National, Wednesday May 20th, 2015

FORMER Jimi MP Wake Goi has pleaded not guilty to misappropriation charges involving K13.1 million.
Goi, from Gobo village in Jimi, Jiwaka, represented the Jimi electorate between 2007 and 2012.
Goi appeared for trial on Monday in the Waigani National Court for allegedly misappropriating government funds of K13,104,266 allocated to the District Services Improvement Programme funds for Jimi district.
Justice Panuel Mogish read the charge to Goi, who pleaded not guilty.  Mogish said the charge against Goi was that he used a sum of K13,104,266, property of  the State.
The trial continued yesterday with prosecution presenting its witnesses.
The first witness, Jennifer Doa, was the pay officer of Jimi district Treasury during the time of the offence.
She claimed Goi told her to raise cheques under her name, which she cashed and then passed the money to him.

54) Officers off to Aust

Source:

The National, Wednesday May 20th, 2015

The Papua New Guinea-Australia policing partnership has seen an additional eight local officers sent to Canberra as part of the Mekim Senis programme to undertake a four-week placement.
The group followed successful placements to Darwin, Brisbane, Cairns, Townsville and Canberra over the past 12 months.
The eight officers left for Canberra on Saturday.
The officers were selected from police stations in Port Moresby, Goroka, Lae and Madang.
Two women were in the group. Madang provincial commander Chief Superintendent Sylvester Kalaut farewelled the contingent while he was in Port Moresby last week.
Two officers from Madang, Senior Constable Yawing Poang and Senior Constable Doreen Abel, were in the group.
“This is a very good programme that gives us the opportunity to see and experience a range of policing operations,” he said.
“I am particularly pleased that two officers from Madang were on the last placement in Darwin.
The head of the Australian Federal Police deployment in PNG, Assistant Commissioner Alan Scott said the officers would work with the community policing functions.

55) Three arrested on suspicions of illegal drugs– Police are questioning three men in separate locations who reportedly had dried marijuana leaves on them. A-24-year- old man of Nadera was arrested by police after dried leaves believed to be marijuana were found on him at the FNU Campus in Nasinu. A security officer saw the suspect acting in a suspicious manner and alerted police. In Tavualevu, Tavua police searched the home of a 51-year old man and found dried leaves wrapped in a plastic bag. Police acted on information after they were tipped off about illegal drug activities at the suspect’s home. The third suspect was arrested in Labasa after dried leaves wrapped in plastic believed to be marijuana were found on him. A police officer on beat saw the 52-year old suspect acting suspiciously, stopped him and allegedly found the drugs after a search.

http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/29607/3-arrested-on-suspicions-of-illegal-drugs

http://fijivillage.com/news/3-men-in-custody-after-illegal-drugs-were-allegedly-recovered-from-them-59srk2/

56) LTA to get rid of corrupt staff  – There’s a possibility of restructures at the human resource level to reduce incidents of corruption and to get rid of unethical staff at the Land transport Authority. LTA chief executive Naisa Tuinaceva speaking to FBC NEWS, after the Transport Ministry openly admitted that corruption is a problem at the authority.

http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/29536/lta-to-get-rid-of-corrupt-staff-

France resumes its military links with Fiji- French troops could soon be stationed in Fiji, under a cooperation agreement signed by the French and Fijian armed forces. The two-year agreement will see the troops sharing training exercises, language and military surveillence in Fijian and New Caledonian waters. It’s the biggest move in military cooperation since France suspended assistance after the 2006 coup. Deputy head of mission at the French embassy in Suva, Jules Irrmann, says cooperation makes strategic sense for both nations.

http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/radio/program/pacific-beat/france-resumes-its-military-links-with-fiji/1449410

CLIMATE CHANGE,CONSERVATION,ENVIROMENT

57) El Nino event to bring rainfall and temperature shifts across Pacific- Scientists at Australia’s weather bureau have officially declared a major El Nino event due to an increase in sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean. It’s likely to bring hotter temperatures and lower rainfall to much of eastern Australia. Dr David Jones, who manages climate monitoring and prediction at the National Climate Centre in Melbourne, says the Pacific will see a shift in rainfall and temperatures — but the incidence of natural disasters will fluctuate for different parts of the region.

http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/radio/program/pacific-beat/el-nino-event-to-bring-rainfall-and-temperature-shifts-across-pacific/1449414

58) UN Calls On Vanuatu To Be More Flexible With Cyclone Aid
Government should take ‘results-oriented approach,’ not control everything

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 19, 2015) – A senior United Nations official has called on the Vanuatu Government to be more flexible with international donors helping in the recovery effort from Cyclone Pam.

A UNDP assistant administrator, Haoliang Xu, says he is happy with the progress of humanitarian assistance in Vanuatu but says as the country looks to its long term recovery it needs to take a results-oriented approach to maximise outputs.

“We need to also focus on delivering results. And we should use government capacity and systems as much as possible but we ask the government for flexibility to use other channels of delivery. So that we do work together to achieve what the government wants to achieve. That is to really deliver benefits to the people.”

Mr Xu says the Vanuatu government would like to shift emphasis from humanitarian relief to rehabiliation as soon as possible.

Radio New Zealand International

MINING,FORESTRY,AGRICULTURE,FISHERIES

59) Creating more jobs

Source:

The National, Wednesday May 20th, 2015

INFORMATION from Ramu NiCo Management Ltd shows that the US$2.1bn (K5.6bn) nickel-cobalt project in Madang has created significant employment opportunity for locals since its inception.
The company’s human resource division said in the first three months of this year, a total of around 600 citizens were employed.
The figure covered the three sites at Ramu NiCo’s Madang base, Kurumbukari mine and the refinery at Basamuk.
Business development officer Brodney Seip said: “Though many local people are directly employed by MCC-Ramu NiCo, a good number of people are employed by landowner companies.”

60) Farm and management training for farmers in North- Farmers in the Northern Division will now be able to boost their business through the farm and management training for farmers and agriculture officers. Principal Agriculture Officer in Farm Management, Joape Waqabaca said the training will enable farmers to improve natural resource management for sustainable farming production. Waqabaca said the training will also promote farming as a business and a rewarding form of employment to alleviate poverty in Fiji. The training is taking place at the Friendly North Inn in Labasa and will be held for a week.

http://fijivillage.com/news/Farm-and-management-training-for-farmers-in-North-2ks9r5/

WOMAN,YOUTH,CHILD

61) UNICEF: 57% Of Pacific Women ‘Violently Harmed By Their Partners’
75% of adolescent boys say it’s OK to beat their wives study finds

By Litia Mathewsell

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, May 20, 2015) – A report launched at the Pacific Conference on Ending Violence Against Children noted that about 57 per cent of women in the South Pacific countries surveyed have been violently harmed by their partners.

“And that 75 per cent of adolescent boys surveyed in three Pacific countries think it is OK to beat your wife,” a statement from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) noted.

“Violence extends to the classroom as well, with teachers in seven out of 16 Pacific countries allowed to hit children.”

Hosted at the Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa in Nadi, the conference is also being attended by Marta Santos Pais, special representative to the UN Secretary-General on Violence against Children.

“This conference is timely given that you can reflect how to better address violence against children, share lessons and bring to an end all forms that comprise children’s development,” she told participants.

“Violence against children is a global concern and no country is immune to this phenomenon. Protecting children from violence is a distinct and cross-cutting priority in the post-2015 development agenda. Truly sustainable development requires the elimination of all forms of violence against children.”

Fiji Times Online.

62) Violence against children requires smart solutions- Violence against children is a big problem that requires smart solutions says President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau. Opening the Pacific Conference on Ending Violence Against Children 2015 yesterday, Ratu Epeli said child protection is an area that requires an integrated approach across family welfare, health, education and justice. Only 10 per cent of children in the Pacific are fully protected by law from corporal punishment. In most Pacific countries where baseline data exist, more than 70 percent of adults admit using violent punishment on children at home. The President says a holistic approach to protecting a child requires an equally holistic coalition of partners. “We may have limited resources; we may have financial challenges, limited human resources and a multitude of pressing concerns to address. But if we are serious about protecting our most vulnerable – the same beautiful children we hold in our arms and promise to protect on the day they come into this world, then this must be a priority. Anything else is just an excuse.” Ratu Epeli says all limitations can be overcome when countries work in partnership by pooling knowledge, expertise and resources.

http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/29568/violence-against-children-requires-smart-solutions

63) Court rejects wife plea

Source:

The National, Wednesday May 20th, 2015

MAGISTRATE Bruce Tasikul declined a woman’s plea to the court not to send her husband to jail on drug charges, saying traffickers deserved a harsh penalty and imposed a 12-month jail sentence on him.
Gareth Low, 34, and of Kerevat, East New Britain, pleaded guilty to possession of dangerous drugs – marijuana.
The court heard that on March 11 after an argument, Low’s wife discovered four bundles of marijuana wrapped inside an S26 baby milk can.
She took the can with the drugs to police. Police were looking for Low, but he avoided them and tried escaping to Rabaul on a flight, but was apprehended at Buka Airport by police.
Tasikul said the penalty for possession of marijuana under the Dangerous Drugs Act carried a minimum of three months to maximum of two years imprisonment.
Low’s wife asked the court to be lenient, saying she was angry with her husband, which was why she took the drugs to police. She did not want her husband to be involved in such illegal activities.
She said she was the only one working while the husband took care of their two children.

64) Luveni: Women must not be left behind

By VUNIWAQA BOLA-BARI
Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Update: 2:00PM WOMEN must not be left behind in the development process and laws and policies must ensure this.

This was a call to Members of Parliament today by the Speaker of the House, Dr Jiko Luveni.

She reminded the members of the 2007 census that saw Fiji’s population in the 15 to 29 year old age group to be around 230,000 but decreased by 167,000 when it reached the 60 and above age group.

She added in the 15-19 year olds, 120,000 were men and 114,000 were women.

“Men outnumbers women by 6000, however, when we reach 60 years old and over, there were 30,000 men and 33,000 women. Women outnumbered men by about 3000; honourable members, laws and policies must ensure that women are not left behind in the development process,” Dr Luveni said.Fijitimes

EVENT

65) Duavata carnival

Serafina Silaitoga
Wednesday, May 20, 2015

PREPARATIONS have started for the Northern Duavata Crime Prevention Carnival to be held next month in Labasa.

The journey of preparation has started this week with a visit to the police headquarters where Deputy Commissioner of Police (Operations) Isikeli Vuniwaqa was briefed about the plans of the committee.

Carnival committee chairman Satish Kumar assured police this year’s carnival would definitely be bigger and better.

“We will have 22 contestants and it is the first time for us to go big on the number of contestants and it is simply because we want to spread the message of fighting crime,” he said.

“We all know that the past carnivals have been a success with a lot of people coming in including the villagers from the three provinces of Cakaudrove, Bua and Macuata.

“And the support from chiefs has been an added bonus to our carnival so we would like to thank them for all their contribution over the past years.”

The carnival will be held from June 20 to 27.Fijitimes

SPORT

66) Fans brave rough seas to get to match

Source:

The National, Wednesday May 20th, 2015

MANAM Islanders set something of a record for football fans, paddling on their outrigger canoes across the rough seas to watch the National Soccer League semi-final between Hekari United and Madang over the weekend.
Their efforts were worth their while, with the home side pulling off one of the biggest upsets in NSL history to beat the nine-time champions 3-2 at Laiwaden Oval.
Madang board member Adlof Duanga said the league’s double-header semi-finals attracted hundreds of fans from the sports-starved province and the people came from all corners of the province to watch top-level soccer.
Duanga said some Manam Islanders living on the volcanic island took a risk by paddling on canoes from the island to Potsdam Care Centre in Bogia before catching a PMV to town to watch the match on Saturday.
He said the match will go down in Madang’s soccer history as the match that made people living in remote parts of the province to make the effort to reach the provincial capital.
Fans have now called on Governor Jim Kas to arrange vehicles to take them down to Lae for the final against the Lae City Dwellers.

67) Beach v’ball courts first of its kind

Source:

The National, Wednesday May 20th, 2015

THE beach volleyball venue under-construction for the Pacific Games at the Sir John Guise Complex in Port Moresby is set to be completed at the end of this month.
The facility will be the first of its kind in the Papua New Guinea and will have a seating capacity of 300 people.
The facility will have four courts, with two to be used for official matches and the other two for training.
The venue has been closely monitored since last month and the contractor is putting the second layer of soil for the gravel base.
White sand will be the final layer.
Testing of the venue will take place on the June 13, which will see the national squad players take on local sides.
A beach volleyball official said the venue testing will serve as lead-up matches for the team.
Before the testing of the venue, a beach volleyball training workshop for officials will be staged in Port Moresby June 8-12.

68) Swimming tickets for 2015 Pacific Games sold out

By Online Editor
01:09 am GMT+12, 19/05/2015, Papua New Guinea

Tickets for the swimming events at the 2015 Pacific Games in Port Moresby have sold out, it has been announced.

Fans from across Papua New Guinea will have the opportunity to see home favourite and three-time Olympian Ryan Pini take to the pool during the competition, scheduled to take place at the Taurama Aquatic Centre from July 6 to 11.

Pini, who came out of retirement in August 2013 with the view to competing at the Games, will be aiming to win a total of 12 gold medals – seven individual and five relay – which is a feat never achieved before.

“It’s amazing, it’s going to be awesome, thank you to everyone that bought tickets,” said Pini, who competed at the Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, where he was the official flagbearer, and London 2012 Olympic Games.

Pini leads a team of young up-and-coming swimmers and encouraged all supporters to come and watch the future generation of stars ahead of his retirement after the Games.

“Now that we will have good facilities to train in, this will hopefully see Papua New Guinea Swimming taken to the next level,” he added.

Port Moresby 2015 have stated they’re hopeful that the swimming sell-out, which includes all packages and daily tickets, will “put to bed” the ongoing claims about the Games’ venues not being ready.

Chief executive Peter Stewart thanked the public for supporting Papua New Guinea Swimming and encouraged supporters of other sports to visit their nearest outlets and buy tickets.

As many as 3,000 athletes from 21 nations are set to compete across 28 different sports at the Games, which are due to be held from July 4 to 18.

69) SOKunatani leads World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year nominees after Fiji success

By Online Editor
01:07 am GMT+12, 19/05/2015, Fiji

Fiji’s Semi Kunatani is one of three nominees for the 2015 World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year Award having played an instrumental role in his country’s first Series triumph in nine years.

Kunatani, who is joined by South African duo Werner Kok and Seabelo Senatla on the shortlist, has been impressive from both a defensive and attacking perspective, finishing the season as one of the leading tacklers and try scorers.

The man who made his debut at the 2013 Dubai Sevens has earned a contract with French club Toulouse, but Fiji coach Ben Ryan will have him available for four Series tournaments next season, as well as for Rio 2016, where rugby sevens will be making its debut on the Olympic programme.

Fiji claimed their second Series title yesterday after beating South Africa 19-7 in the quarter-finals of the London Sevens Cup at Twickenham.

Kok, who featured in that defeat for the “Blitzboks”, was a key figure for his country in all nine of the 2014-2015 tournaments, most notably during their home-soil Cup win in Port Elizabeth as they became the first side to confirm qualification for Rio 2016.

Despite only making his first appearance at the 2013 London Sevens, Kok ended the season just passed as the leading tackler of all the players.

Compatriot Senatla, the youngest of the three nominees, ended the season as the leading try scorer with 47.

The 22-year-old, whose blistering pace has been one of the talking points of the season, has his name against two of this year’s “fans’ favourites” and also scored in each of South Africa’s Cup final victories in Dubai and Port Elizabeth.

“This has been the most exciting and closely-fought Series to date as we build momentum towards rugby sevens’ Olympic Games debut at Rio 2016,” said World Rugby chairman Bernard Lapasset.

“Once again, through tremendous skill, excitement, full stadia and record TV audiences, we have seen why sevens is such a hit with fans around the world.

“At the heart of the success story are our players and this year’s nominees have proven once again that we have some exceptionally talented players on the Series with each of them fully deserving of a place on the shortlist.”

The management teams of the 15 core sides, who competed at all nine rounds of the World Series, voted for the trio of nominees.

The winner is due to be announced at the World Rugby Awards dinner at Battersea Evolution in London on November 1, following the Rugby World Cup final.

Kunatani will be looking to follow in the footsteps of fellow countryman Samisoni Viriviri, the recipient of last year’s award, while Kok and Senatla will be looking to emulate the success of teammate Cecil Afrika, winner of the award in 2011.

“With the added excitement of Olympic qualification this season, this has been an extremely competitive HSBC Sevens World Series,” added Giles Morgan, group head of sponsorship for HSBC Holdings, sponsors of the World Sevens Series.

“Rugby sevens is a team sport but these three individuals have shone for their sides, bringing a combination of skill and entertainment to the Series and helping showcase the sport in the build-up to the Olympics next year.

SOURCE: INSIDETHEGAMES/PACNEWS

70) Celebrations begin after Fiji’s Series victory  – Celebrations started around the country last night as the Vodafone Fiji 7s team won the World Rugby Sevens Series title.  A special celebration is expected later this week. Meanwhile Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama said Ben Ryan and the Fiji 7s team deserve this win. A full statement will be released later today.

http://fijivillage.com/news/Celebrations-begin-after-Fijis-Series-victory-ks5r92/

71) Fiji secure World Series

By Online Editor
01:01 am GMT+12, 18/05/2015, Fiji

New Zealand’s Sevens World Series title has passed to Fiji.

Fiji’s 19-7 victory in the quarter-final against South Africa sealed their second overall triumph in 16 seasons, nine years after their last.

The All Blacks Sevens side have won 12 of the series stretching back to the 1999-00 season. This season’s title loss was exacerbated by a 21-17 defeat to England in the quarter-finals, leaving the Gordon Tietjens-coached side to contest the Plate. They beat South Africa 26-14, but remained third behind those same opponents across the season.

The United States captured their maiden sevens title after beating Australia 45-22 in the final.

Fiji’s overall win boosts the country’s hopes of attaining their first Olympic medal next year. Fiji, South Africa, New Zealand and Britain (courtesy of England’s fourth place) are the automatic Games qualifiers from this season’s series. Brazil qualify automatically as hosts. Seven other spots are available. The likes of Australia and Samoa will play off for the one vacant Oceania berth in November.

Tietjens was realistic in the circumstances, accepting they’d been beaten by a Fijian side which had been more consistent across the year, winning four tournaments to New Zealand’s one.

“Once they won their quarter-final the title race was out of our control. There was still a keenness to win this tournament, but we got off to such a slow start against England going down 14-0 at halftime.

“We missed a couple of tackles, were slow to react to a penalty for the first try and generally got punished early.

“We lacked possession in the first half and missed touch in opting for a lineout. That’s ball we should have kept and launched attacks from, but we had to defend, and England scored again.

“At the start we didn’t hunt as much as we should have, but by the end we were putting phases together.”

Tietjens lamented a severe injury toll, meaning he couldn’t tap into the services of Sam Dickson and Declan O’Donnell. The side also could not use Joe Webber, Tim Mikkelson and Ambrose Curtis at this tournament.

“That put pressure on the newcomers, in one case [Isaac Te Tamaki] playing his first tournament. The opposition sensed we were down on numbers.”

Yesterday the New Zealand women’s side lost their first tournament of the parallel series. They were beaten 24-5 by Australia in the semi-finals before edging the United States 24-19 in the third-placed play-off. Australia beat Canada 20-17 in the final.

New Zealand sits on 96 points and wins the overall series regardless of this week’s last round in Amsterdam where the winner takes 20 points. Canada and Australia are second-equal on 76 points. Teams earn one point for qualifying.

SOURCE: NZ HERALD/PACNEWS

w: www.voiceofmelanesia.com

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