Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1102 ( Monday 1 June 2015 )


1) Preparation for MSG Leaders Summit well underway

By Online Editor
7:58 pm GMT+12, 31/05/2015, Solomon Islands

Preparations for the upcoming 20th Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Leaders Summit in Honiara is well underway.
The Summit will begin on June 17 with the MSG Senior Officials Meeting (SOM), to be followed by the MSG Foreign Ministers Meeting (FMM) on June 22 and the MSG Leaders Summit on June 24.
A Government Planning Taskforce headed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade (MFAET) has held a series of preparatory meetings in past weeks to deliberate on arrangements for the Summit.
Vice Chair of the Taskforce, Cornelius Walegerea said his team is moving closer to finalising major areas including accommodation, meeting venues, transportation, health and security and catering services for the Summit.
Solomon Islands was given the opportunity to host the 20th MSG Leaders’ Summit at the last meeting in June 2013 in Noumea, New Caledonia.  
The MSG is an intergovernmental organization made up of the four Melanesian states of Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Fiji and Vanuatu, and the Kanak Socialist National Liberation Front of New Caledonia.

2) Jayapura builds co-operation with PNG’s Sepik centres

1 June 2015

 The administrations of Jayapura in Indonesia and Vanimo in neighbouring Papua New Guinea are to cooperate in the agricultural sector.

The Jakarta Post reports the Jayapura Mayor Benhur Tommy Mano as saying his administration has met twice with Vanimo leaders, discussing co-operation and efforts to build friendship.

Jayapura is the capital of Papua province which shares a border with PNG, the main access point in the far north being close to Vanimo, the capital of West Sepik province.

Mayor Benhur says that under the cooperation framework, Vanimo residents would be sent to Jayapura for six month training courses on agriculture and animal husbandry, after which they are expected to return to their hometown and practice their skills.

He hoped that the cooperation could also overcome problems between the two provincial capitals, such as smuggling and trespassing.

The co-operation efforts come as Jayapura has also begun forging closer links with the municipal administration in Wewak, the capital of PNG’s East Sepik Province.

Tabloid Jubi reported that the Wewak Mayor Charles Malenki and Jayapura’s mayor signed a letter of intent at the city hall in mid-May for their two towns to build cooperation in sectors such as fisheries, agriculture, education and health.RNZI

3) Vanuatu Daily News Digest | 1 June 2015

by bobmakin

  • Parliament is meeting this morning and discussing the supplementary budget brought about by the passage of cyclone Pam. Leader of the Opposition Carcasses raised questions on the fairness of the sharing of the relief from overseas insisting there have been huge discrepancies. Prime Minister Natuman stressed the resilience of ni-Vanuatu, so few lives having been lost, and the speed of the quick recovery in our country compared with others suffering comparable disasters.
  • Prime Minister Natuman alluded to a restoration plan which will be discussed by the Council of Ministers very soon.
  • Daily Post at the weekend revealed the government will open up the Police top post to foreigners in view of the ongoing problems with local recruitment. The move is expected to be appreciated by all.
  • Post also revealed 35 students suspended at Malapoa College in a move to emphasize the need for leadership qualities in students at the premier English language school. The offences are concerned with boy / girl relationships and alcohol consumption and are said to be more concerned with students belonging to township partners rather than outer islanders.
  • Island Court decisions are now ultimately able to be adjudicated in the Appeal Court a recent decision of the Appeal Court decided.


4) Samoa Celebrates 53 Years Of Independence
Colonial rule by Germans and then NZ

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, June 1, 2015) – Samoa is celebrating 53 years of independence today

The Prime Minister of Tonga, the Ulu of Tokelau and the Lieutenant Governor of American Samoa are among the dignatories attending today’s celebrations.

The traditional malae of Tiafau is the main venue for activities starting from the raising of the flag this morning, the official address by his highness the head of state, Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi, to be followed by a march past and traditional entertainment in the afternoon.

Samoa became independent on the first of January in 1962 after years of colonial rule first by the Germans followed by New Zealand.

Radio New Zealand International 

5) American Samoa To Oppose Opening Up For Longlining
Management Council amendment to open 50 miles

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, June 1, 2015) – The American Samoa government plans to strongly oppose a plan to open up an area now reserved for local fishing boats to longlners.

The Western Pacific Fishery Management Council has approved opening up the 50 mile closure area but the federal government has the final say on the amendment.

The territory’s Governor Lolo Moliga says he is more convinced than ever that American Samoa should fight to keep the control of its ocean in its hands.

He plans to present a strong position to the Secretary of Commerce to convince him not to approve the amendment.

American Samoa’s statement to the Secretary of Commerce has been completed and the governor was to review and approve it this week.

Lolo says the territory needs to keep the 50 mile closure area for the people of American Samoa, to create jobs and business from fisheries.

There’s a public comment period before the Secretary of Commerce makes a final decision on the amendment.

Radio New Zealand International 

6) Cooks Lawyer Helping Enable Women To Speak Up
Free legal advice for abuse victims

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, June 1, 2015) – A Cook Islands lawyer says it is exciting to see women feeling empowered to speak up through having access to free legal advice.

A women’s counselling centre, Punanga Tauturu, has launched a pilot programme which focuses on mediation services and early intervention for female domestic abuse victims.

The former opposition leader, Wilkie Rasmussen, is the first lawyer to have lent his services to the pilot programme.

He says currently there are two hours set aside each week to offer free legal help, but after seeing the demand, he will recommend more sessions be made available to women.

“The atmosphere created by the women that runs the scheme is warm, it makes the women that come forward seeking help feel included into the process. I found it to be exciting in the sense that these women feels a little bit empowered and they can speak and they can tell us what the problem is.”

Wilkie Rasmussen says the pilot is enabling women to come forward, as those he’s spoken to are hesitant to go directly to a lawyer.

Radio New Zealand International 

7) Digital project could lead Cook Islands Maori revival

1 June 2015

An award-winning online database is hoping to play a part in reviving the Cook Islands Maori language.

The Cook Islands Internet Action Group recently won ‘Best Digital Leader’ at the Pacific ICT Day Awards for their language database which has thousands of users.

Project leader Ano Tisam says the database contains more than 6,000 words and has received positive feedback from Cook Islanders both at home and abroad.

Mr Tisam says he believes that digital projects could lead the way in reconnecting youth with their language and culture.

“It’s definitely something that we’ve identified as the way forward because a lot of kids, they’re into technology and stuff and this might be one way to engage them. So far from what we’ve got back in terms of feedback we seem to be on the right track. It’s just having dialogue and figuring out what are the key things we need to do to help preserve especially Pacific languages because a lot of them are starting to be endangered.”RNZI


8) Honorary USP degree for Kiribati’s Tong

1 June 2015

Kiribati’s President Anote Tong is to receive an honorary degree this week at the University of the South Pacific’s Kiribati campus graduation ceremony.

Kiribati’s campus director, Ueantabo Mackenzie, says the Doctor of Laws will be given to Mr Tong in recognition of his efforts highlighting the need to combat climate change.

President Tong has received other prestigious awards from around the world for his climate change campaigning.

Dr Ueantabo says about 50 Kiribati students will also graduate.

He says the USP can hold its graduation outside the Fiji main campus if the university’s advisory council meets there, and this year it is meeting in Tarawa.RNZI

9) Strong backing for CNMI petition opposing US military plans

1 June 2015 

An online petition opposing the Uniterd States military’s training plans for the Northern Marianas has reached over 68,000 signatures.

The petition seeks to stop the military’s proposed live fire training, including inert bombing, on Tinian and Pagan.

The Saipan Tribune reports the US confirming that in its proposed action permanent and irreparable damage will be done to the CNMI.

Petition organisers say they are aiming for 100,000 signatures from throughout the US.

The White House has a policy that the President will directly address any petition of 100,000 or more signatures that he receives.

The petition’s backers say they are against a high impact bombing range on Tinian and Pagan, the military’s proposed relocation of island residents, the destruction of the environment, the killing of animal life and the end of the tourism-based economy.RNZI


10) Papua New Guinea foreign minister announces lifting ban on Australians travelling to Bougainville

Updated 1 June 2015, 18:10 AEST

Papua New Guinea lifts a ban on Australians travelling to the autonomous region of Bougainville, after both sides “reached common ground”, foreign minister Rimbink Pato says.

Papua New Guinea has lifted a ban on Australians travelling to the autonomous region of Bougainville, the foreign minister Rimbink Pato said, adding that Australia and PNG have “reached common ground” on issues relating to the ban.

“Travel restrictions on Australians travelling to Bougainville have been lifted as of today,” he said in a press release.

Last week, Mr Pato banned all Australian tourist, business and short-term entry visa-holders from entering Bougainville, which is an autonomous region of PNG.

The ban does not apply to work and permanent visa-holders.

There was opposition from Bougainville’s president John Momis who called on PNG to overturn a travel ban on Australians, saying it breached the spirit of the peace agreement giving the island autonomy.

‘Lapse in communication’

The PNG government expressed shock when Australia first announced plans in its budget to open a foreign diplomatic mission in Bougainville.

The government said it learnt about the move via the media, prompting the travel ban.

But Mr Pato said prime minister Peter O’Neill “reaffirmed Papua New Guinea’s position that the government does not approve of the establishment of an Australian diplomatic mission on Bougainville.”

“While the manner in which the proposal was announced was unfortunate, we have discussed the issue with our Australian colleagues,” he said.

“We recognise that there is a serious lapse in communication and we can now move on from this issue.”

However, the Australian Government said the first formal discussion of the proposed foreign mission occurred on May 12.

Foreign minister Julie Bishop said the matter was discussed with PNG officials in December 2014 and again prior to the budget.

According to Mr Pato, Ms Bishop said in a letter to Mr O’Neill, the Australian Government “regrets their miscommunication regarding the proposal for an expanded presence in Bougainville, and for the way the announcement has been reported and portrayed.”

Bougainville is an autonomous part of PNG, but will be holding a referendum in the next five years to consider independence.

The region is currently holding elections for a new president and government that will shape the date and wording of a referendum on independence from PNG.

Rebels fought a decade-long civil war with PNG, sparked by conflict over the then-Australian-owned Panguna mine.

The island was granted autonomy under a 2001 peace agreement and a referendum on independence must be held between July 2015 and July 2020.ABC


11) PNG imas redi long El Nino: Sam Maiha

Postim 1 June 2015, 15:46 AEST

Caroline Tiriman

Het blong weather ofis long Papua New Guinea Gavman i tok gavman imas statim nau wanpla komiti blong redim ol wok blong helpim ol pipal na kantri long ol heve em despla kaen taem oa weather em oli kolim El Nino bai kamapim.

Odio: Sam Maiha direkta blong PNG National Weather Service i toktok
Sam Maiha direkta blong PNG National Weather Service i mekim despla askim bihaenim woning olsem despla El Nino bai hamarim kantri long despla 12 pela mun ikam.
El Nino i wanpla kaen taem we nogat ren isave pudaon na kamapim heve long agrikalsa, planti sot long kaikai, na tu wara bai sot.
Mr Maiha itok sampla provins long kantri nau ino lukim ren long sampla wik nau, na despla bai go hed long ol despla mun ikam.
Emi tok tu olsem PNG na ol narapla kantri long Melanesia olsem Solomon Islands na Vanuatu bai bungim heve tu long despla El Nino taem.ABC

12) Gold Ridge mine ino makim yet wanpela joint-venture patna

Postim 1 June 2015, 14:48 AEST
Sam Seke

Wanpela liklik maining kampani blong Australia we i wokim mineral prospekting tu long PNG i wanpela long ol foran kampani we i laik joint venture wantaim landona kampani long developim Gold Ridge gold mine long Central Guadalcanal long Solomon Islands.

Odio: Walton Naezon, Chairman blong Gold Ridge Community Investment Limited i toktok
Gold Ridge Community Investment Limited kampani we i nau ounim dispela gold mine long i tok em i no bin sainim yet wanpela mining agrimen wantaim wanpela foran kampani.
Walton Naezon, Chairman blong Gold Ridge Community Investment Limited i tok ol i wok long toktok wantaim 10 pela foram kampani we i soin interest long dispela mine.
Mr Naezon i tok ol bai sainim joint-venture agrimen bihain ol i glasim gud ol foran kampani ia.
Em i tok ol i ken kisim sampela kampani we i wok long sampela eria blong maining, oa wanpela bikpela kampani long em yet i wokim maining.
Wanpela long ol kampani we i soim interest long tekova long Gold Ridge mine nau em i Frontier Resources.
Dispela i wanpela liklik mining kampani blong Australia we i okim exploration tu long PNG – tasol em ino wokim maining operesen blongen yet.
Walton Naezon i tok GCIL i gohet long  lukluk long proposal blong Frontier Resources wantaim ol arapela.ABC


13a) Brèves du Pacifique – lundi 1er juin 2015

Posté à 1 June 2015, 16:24 AEST
Élodie Largenton

Les Îles Cook vont-elles abandonner la nationalité néo-zélandaise ? 

Le débat fait rage dans l’archipel, depuis la révélation des projets du Premier ministre. Selon la presse, Henry Puna souhaiterait faire des Îles Cook un pays totalement indépendant pour pouvoir passer des accords avec d’autres pays étrangers plus librement. Une suggestion très commentée, et surtout très critiquée sur les réseaux sociaux. Ce débat intervient alors que les Îles Cook célèbrent, cette année, leur 50 ans d’indépendance. L’archipel polynésien est en libre association avec la Nouvelle-Zélande. 

  • En Australie, comme il l’avait annoncé, le chef de file des travaillistes, Bill Shorten, a déposé son projet de loi pour légaliser le mariage homosexuel. Dans ce texte, il propose que le mariage puisse désormais unir « deux personnes » et non plus seulement « un homme et une femme ». Mais pour le moment, Bill Shorten n’a pas le soutien de la majorité conservatrice. « C’est un sujet qui dépasse les clivages politiques », plaide le numéro un des travaillistes.
  • La position du cardinal Pell est « intenable », estime un conseiller du pape. « Il dénigre les gens, agit avec cruauté, c’est presque un sociopathe », estime Peter Saunders, nommé commissaire de l’Église catholique pour la protection des enfants, il y a six mois. Le cardinel Pell est l’ancien chef de l’Église catholique en Australie et actuel argentier du Vatican. Il est accusé par des victimes de prêtres pédophiles d’avoir couvert des abus sexuels. George Pell nie ces accusations et se dit prêt à témoigner devant la commission d’enquête mise en place en Australie.
  • Au Vanuatu, le lycée Malapoa tient à sa réputation : 35 élèves viennent d’être suspendus. Leur tort : avoir consommé de l’alcool, et avoir eu des relations avec le sexe opposé. « Bien sûr, ce genre de choses arrive dans plein d’écoles, mais on veut mettre fin à ces pratiques. On veut que le lycée  Malapoa soit une école de la discipline », explique le proviseur, Reginald Garoleo, au journal Vanuatu Daily Post. Parmi les dirigeants qui sont passés par cette école prestigieuse, il y a l’actuel Premier ministre, Joe Natuman.
  •  La Thaïlande aussi, veut renforcer sa présence dans la région. Après un sommet au Japon, neuf îles du Pacifique, dont Nauru, Fidji et les Îles Cook, ont participé à un forum en Thaïlande. Ces pays veulent étendre leur coopération, notamment dans les domaines du tourisme, de l’agriculture et des énergies renouvelables. Le Premier ministre thaïlandais a été invité à Fidji en septembre prochain.ABC

13b ) La Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée s’engage contre le mariage des mineurs

Mis à jour 1 June 2015, 16:39 AEST

Élodie Largenton

Il sera bientôt illégal de se marier avant d’avoir atteint l’âage de 18 ans en Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée. Un projet de loi doit être déposé très bientôt devant le Parlement.
Selon l’Unicef, 21% des jeunes filles sont mariées avant d’avoir 18 ans. Les autorités ne présentent pas de statistiques, mais elles reconnaissent que le problème des jeunes filles poussées à se marier est « très répandu à travers le pays ». Eric Kwa est le secrétaire de la Commission de réforme de la Constitution :
« On est parfaitement conscient de ce qui se passe. Et ça se passe à tous les niveaux, donc on doit aborder cela au niveau national. »
Le gouvernement papou a déjà donné son aval à la future loi, assure Eric Kwa, mais il craint que sa mise en application dans les régions reculées du pays soit difficile :
« On sait que ce sera un grand problème pour nous, mais on voudrait d’abord promulguer la loi et ensuite aller informer les gens. Je pense que la principale difficulté sera d’éveiller les consciences. Il faudra qu’on soit plein d’énergie pour expliquer la loi aux gens dans tout le pays. Je pense qu’avec le temps, peut-être dans cinq ans, nous aurons fait passer le message à l’ensemble de la société. »
Cette démarche est suivie de près par les associations de défense des femmes en Mélanésie. Au Vanuatu, par exemple, les femmes doivent être âgées de 16 ans et les hommes de 18 ans pour pouvoir se marier. Mais malgré la loi, les préjugés traditionnels persistent, témoigne Marilyn Tahi, du Centre vanuatais pour les femmes :
« Chez nous, il y a des gens qui disent qu’à partir du moment où elles ont leurs règles, elles sont prêtes à être mariées. D’autres disent qu’à partir du moment où elles ont des seins, elles peuvent être mariées. »
Marilyn Tahi milite pour que l’âge requis passe à 18 ans pour les femmes, pour les protéger, mais aussi par souci d’équité. Elle espère que la loi papoue va permettre de faire changer les choses dans son pays.ABC

14) More inclusive anti-corruption strategy for Pacific

1 June 2015 

The Global Organisation of Parliamentarians Against Corruption, or GOPAC, is calling for a more inclusive approach to tackling corruption in the Pacific.

Tonga is the latest country to sign onto GOPAC after the Cook Islands and Kiribati.

The organisation’s chairperson, John Hyde, says tackling corruption in the region cannot be achieved without including those in power.

“You can have well meaning activists that say we’ve got to do this, got to do this but if you don’t bring the government if you dont bring the elite, the decision makers, the big business people that control the economy. If you don’t bring them on board, then you are not going to succeed.”

Mr Hyde says corruption is a serious problem in the Pacific with 60 percent of business people saying they expect to have to pay a bribe within the next year so they can carry out their normal business activities.RNZI

15) Asia-Pacific countries agree roadmap to promote sustainable development in the region

By Online Editor
5:26 pm GMT+12, 31/05/2015, Thailand

Asia-Pacific countries embarked on an ambitious agenda last  week to promote the balanced integration of the economic,social and environmental dimensions of sustainable  Development at the 71st session of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). The voice of the Pacific was strongly heard at the intergovernmental level this year, with the largest group of Pacific Heads of State and Government on any Commission panel in recent history.
Among the 14 important resolutions passed, the Commission committed to strengthening the unfinished agenda of intraregional and interregional connectivity in Asia and the Pacific by reinforcing cooperation in the development of their strategies on maritime transport, international railways and Information Communication Technology (ICT) connectivity infrastructure.
In response to the evolving post-2015 development agenda, the Commission resolved to adapt its conference structure and establish a new Committee on Energy to assist in developing strategies towards attaining internationally-agreed development goals on energy, and to enhance energy security, with a view towards promoting greater use of sustainable energy resources.
Recognizing the important contribution of disaster risk reduction to inclusive and sustainable development in the region, the Commission also agreed to create ESCAP’s sixth regional institution, the Asian and Pacific Centre for the Development of Disaster Information Management in Iran. The new Centre will help reduce risks and damages from natural hazards by building the capacities of countries in the region, and strengthening regional cooperation on information sharing and management of disaster risk reduction.
United  Nations  Under-Secretary-General  and Executive Secretary of ESCAP, Dr Shamshad  Akhtar,  emphasized  that  2015  presents  an  unprecedented opportunity  to  decide  on  new  paths  to improve the lives of all people around  the world, ahead of the General Assembly summit in September, where the United Nations post-2015 development agenda will be adopted.
Our  region  is  changing  and  the  global  development paradigm is being transformed, said  Dr.  Akhtar. To remain relevant and effective, and to provide  the  support  our  member  States  need to implement the post-2015 development agenda, ESCAP must change too. This week member States provided us with the mandates to make these changes.
From meeting the needs of our most vulnerable countries, to women empowerment, gender equality and better management of regional natural resources, member States have entrusted the Commission with the responsibility to support their work in driving Asia-Pacific success in the next phase of global development,†Dr, Akhtar added.
The outcomes of the 71st Commission session will serve as the Asia-Pacific voice at the landmark development events of 2015, including the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in New York from 26 June to 8 July, the Third International Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa from 13 to 16 July, the United Nations Summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda, in New York from 25 to 27 September,and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change from November 30 to 1 December in Paris.
 For more information please visit the event page:

16) Law professor says PIF needs to become legal – A professor of law in the region, Tony Angelo, says the Pacific Islands Forum needs to become a legal entity so it can function fully. He says at the moment the regional grouping does not have the power to enforce agreements like the new Framework for Pacific Regionalism it launched last year. Professor Angelo of New Zealand’s Victoria University says the organization’s institutional identity rests with the Forum secretariat which only has powers to advise, research and consult. He says not all Forum countries have ratified a proposal to shift the legal focus to the Forum itself so leaders’ dealings and decisions have bite.

17) Forum head says Fiji is taking its role as host seriously – The head of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat Dame Meg Taylor has said Fiji is taking its role as Secretariat host seriously. Samoa’s Prime Minister has said the Forum must look at moving its headquarters away from Suva as his Fijian counterpart is refusing to retake his seat at the table because of differences over Forum membership. Taylor said the fact that Fiji’s Supervisor Elections led a Forum team to monitor Bougainville’s election is an example of recent good engagement between the two sides. She said there is no formal correspondence via the Secretariat from Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama on his decision not to attend this year’s Forum.


18) Travel ban stirs anger

Bbc News
Monday, June 01, 2015

THE European Union has responded angrily to Russia’s entry ban against 89 European politicians, officials and military leaders.

Those banned are believed to include general secretary of the EU council Uwe Corsepius, and former British deputy prime minister Nick Clegg.

Russia shared the list after several requests by diplomats, the EU said.

The EU called the ban “totally arbitrary and unjustified” and said no explanation had been provided.

Many of those on the list are outspoken critics of the Kremlin, and some have been turned away from Russia in recent months.

The EU said it had asked repeatedly for the list of those banned, but nothing had been provided until now.

“The list with 89 names has now been shared by the Russian authorities. We don’t have any other information on legal basis, criteria and process of this decision,” an EU spokesman said on Saturday.

“We consider this measure as totally arbitrary and unjustified, especially in the absence of any further clarification and transparency,” he added.

A Russian foreign ministry official said the ban was a result of EU sanctions against Russia.

“Why it was precisely these people who entered into the list… is simple — it was done in answer to the sanctions campaign which has been waged in relation to Russia by several states of the European Union,” the official, who was not named, told Russian news agency Tass.

EU sanctions were imposed after Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea region in March 2014, and they have been extended amid ongoing fighting between government troops and pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte told journalists on Friday the list had been shared with EU diplomats and that three Dutch politicians were on it. He said the Netherlands would not abide by the ban as it was “not based on international law”.

British intelligence chiefs appear to have been targeted, with a leaked version of the list (in German) naming MI5 director general Andrew Parker and the former MI6 chief Sir John Sawers.

19) South China Sea: US Calls For End To China’s Island-Building
US vows for more patrols in the region

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, May 30, 2015) – The United States calls for an immediate end to China’s intensifying reclamation works in the South China Sea and vows more patrols in the region.

The United States has called for an immediate end to China’s intensifying reclamation works in the South China Sea and vowed to continue sending military aircraft and ships to the tense region.

US defence secretary Ash Carter told a high-level security conference in Singapore that Beijing was behaving “out of step” with international norms. But this drew a scathing response from China’s foreign ministry in Beijing.

“China has reclaimed over 2,000 acres, more than all other claimants combined … and China did so in only the last 18 months,” Mr Carter said at the annual Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.

“It is unclear how much farther China will go.”

He said the United States was “deeply concerned” about the scale of China’s land reclamation and the prospect of further militarization of the islands, saying it would boost “the risk of miscalculation or conflict”.

A Chinese delegate at the forum initially gave a measured response, in which he said Mr Carter’s comments were not as hostile as those made at the Shangri-La Dialogue in previous years, but the foreign ministry reacted strongly.

“The United States disregards history, legal principles and the facts,” spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.

“China’s sovereignty and relevant rights were established a long time ago in the South China Sea,” she said, adding that China’s island-building is “legal, reasonable, conforms to the situation and neither impacts nor targets any country.”

Despite the rhetoric, Mr Carter said there was no military solution to the South China Sea disputes.

“Right now is the time for renewed diplomacy, focused on a finding a lasting solution that protects the rights and interests of all,” he said.

Admiral Sun Jianguo, the head of Beijing’s delegation, addresses the conference on Sunday.

China took a measured tone after bilateral meetings with Japan and Vietnam on Friday, two of the states it is embroiled with in maritime sovereignty disputes.

In his speech, Mr Carter urged China and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to adopt a “code of conduct” in the disputed waters this year.

According to state news agency Xinhua, China’s vice foreign minster said the code was “meant to be a set of rules for China and countries in this region rather than rules set by outsiders for us,” adding that “positive progress” had been made.

ASEAN members Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei claim parts of the sea, along with Taiwan.

Meanwhile, Japan and China both claim islands that lie between them in the East China Sea.

But earlier this week, Beijing was assertive about the disputes.

In a policy document issued by the State Council, the country’s cabinet, China vowed to increase its “open seas protection”, switching from air defence to both offence and defence, and criticised neighbours who took “provocative actions” on its reefs and islands.

Mr Carter’s remarks in Singapore came a day after the Pentagon confirmed reports that China had put mobile artillery at one of its reclaimed islands in the South China Sea.

The US defence chief insisted US forces would continue to “fly, sail and operate” in the region to ensure the freedom of navigation and overflight permitted by law.

“America, alongside its allies and partners … will not be deterred from exercising these rights,” Mr Carter said.

“Turning an underwater rock into an airfield simply does not afford the rights of sovereignty or permit restrictions on international air or maritime transit.”

Japan’s defence minister said China and other parties in the dispute had to behave responsibly.

“If we leave any unlawful situation unattended, order will soon turn to disorder, and peace and stability will collapse,” Gen Nakatani told the forum.

“I hope and expect all the countries, including China, to behave as a responsible power,” he said.

Malaysia’s defence minister, Hishammuddin Hussein, urged all parties in the South China Sea dispute to exercise restraint or face potentially dangerous consequences.

“This has the potential to escalate into one of the deadliest conflicts of our time, if not history,” he said.

“Inflamed rhetoric does not do any nation any good.”

Radio Australia 


20) Look on the inside

Atasa Moceituba
Monday, June 01, 2015

THE Open Heart International team which consists of 40 medical volunteers began their open heart surgeries at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Suva yesterday with about four people undergoing operations.

Team co-ordinator Dr Melanie Windus said two of the patients they treated yesterday had their valves replaced.

Dr Windus said they were hoping to operate on about 30 people or more.

She said the operation might take a while since the patients were diagnosed with different diseases.

“The top surgeries they are having are children who have congenital heart defect, holes in hearts that needs to be fixed and adults who are having their valves replaced due to rheumatic heart disease.

“What we will be doing is we will be putting an artificial valve to keep the heart pumping correctly,” Dr Windus said.

When asked about the cases, she said the types of cases were the same compared with the past 23 years.

“Valve replacement, congenital heart defect and rheumatic heart disease are the three common trends amongst the 30 patients who will undergo operations this year.”

She said they had brought about four tonnes of equipment from Australia and would be use them for the treatment and the leftover valves could be used by the surgeons in the country for other operations.

“In Australia, to get a valve replaced costs about $35,000. The benefits of having your surgery here is that you’re in your local environment and family to care for you.”

Dr Windus said the free open heart surgery was something locals could make use of.Fijitimes

21) Three children to go to India for immediate heart surgery – The Children’s Heart Foundation is currently preparing for the evacuation of three children to India for immediate heart surgery. CEO Shereen Sadr said unfortunately a 4-month-old baby passed away last week. Sadr said her passport and visa were ready and she was about to go. She said her spot is now taken by a 10-year-old boy who is suffering from Rheumatic Heart Disease.


22) Mass suspension to clean up prominent Vanuatu college

1 June 2015 

Vanuatu’s Malapoa College has suspended 35 of its students for what it describes as misbehaving, and confiscated more than 300 mobile phones and ipads.

The students have been accused of breaking rules around alcohol and mobile phone use.

The principal of the college Reginald Garoleo says he has to safeguard the image of the school which has bred many prime ministers including the incumbent Joe Natuman.

The principal says he is determined to clean up the college, and that more students are likely to be suspended.RNZI


23) PNG anti-child marriage bill expected to pass

Updated 1 June 2015, 11:30 AEST

By Michael Walsh, staff

A law making marriage under the age of 18 illegal is expected to be tabled and passed in Papua New Guinea’s parliament.

There is currently no legislation in PNG to regulate the marriage age, meaning child marriage is practiced legally.

PNG Constitutional Law Reform Commission secretary Eric Kwa said the issue of child brides is “spread throughout the country”.

UNICEF’s 2015 statistics found 2 per cent of women aged 20-24 were married by the age of 15, with 21 per cent married by 18 years of age.

“We are aware and we are mindful that this is happening,” Mr Kwa told Pacific Beat.

“So we need to address this at a national level.”

Mr Kwa said PNG’s cabinet had signalled its intention to approve the law.

The issue, he said, would be enforcing the legislation, especially in the “far-flung areas of the country”.

“We know it’s going to be a major issue for us in terms of implementation, but we would like to enact the law and then inform the people,” he said.

The law is being introduced alongside a raft of other legislation designed to protect children in PNG, including revisions to the country’s Lukautim Pikinini Child Protection Act.

Mr Kwa said the marriage laws will “gel together” with recently-introduced free education and free basic healthcare legislation.

‘So long as they’re menstruating, they’re ready to be married off’

Women’s groups in the Pacific said they will be watching the PNG law to see how it could be reflected in the region.

In Vanuatu, the law forbids marriage of women before the age of 16, and for men before the age of 18.

But Vanuatu Women’s Centre (VWC) coordinator Marilyn Tahi said throughout Melanesia, traditional perspectives were still prevalent.

“Our people even have traditions where so long as they’re menstruating, they’re ready to be married off,” she said.

“Others say, so long as they have breasts, they’re ready to be married off.”

Ms Tahi called the inconsistency between the legal age of marriage for men and women in her country “unfair” and said the VWC had been pushing to bring the age up to 18.

She said the revisions to PNG’s child protection act could spark similar changes throughout the region, including in Vanuatu.

When Vanuatu was the first nation in Melanesia to criminalise domestic violence in 2008, “a lot of the other Pacific countries got on board”.

“We can learn from each other,” she said.ABC

24) PNG’s People’s Progress Party rues departure of MPs

1 June 2015 

The executive of one of Papua New Guinea’s leading political parties is reeling from the departure of two of its MPs to the ruling People’s National Congress.

The People’s Progress Party’s general-secretary has confirmed that their two departing MPs, Theo Zurenuoc and Tobias Kulang, have written to him formally notifying of their departure.

Moses Kar says the PPP, now reduced to five MPs, is disappointed it has lost the MPs to its bigger coalition partner.

“We were a bit upset because their departure was a surprise to the whole team. But there’s nothing much we could do. The reasons were not given and I don’t know why they left, because we are part of the coalition partner.”

Moses Kar says the PPP executive and parliamentary caucus will meet to discuss a response to the MPs’ departure.

It remains to be seen whether the role of speaker of parliament, currently held by Theo Zurenuoc, will be given to an MP still in the PPP.

Under the Alotau Accord, through which the coalition government was formed, the speaker’s position was to be held by a PPP member.

Mr Kar says it’s the prerogative of the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill to decide.RNZI

25) Kapavore wins by-election in PNG’s Pomio

1 June 2015

An independent candidate, Elias Kapavore, has won the by-election in Papua New Guinea’s Pomio Open electorate.

The Electoral Commission declared Mr Kapavore the winner, beating the former East New Britain governor Francis Koimanrea of the Peoples Democratic Movement after the count went down to preference votes.

The Pomio seat became vacant last year when the incumbent Paul Tiensten was given a nine-year jail term for being convicted on corruption-related charges.

Mr Kapavore is the former chief executive officer of Vanimo General Hospital and although he ran as an independent, is expected to be the subject of lobbying to join the ruling People’s National Congress.

The PNC’s candidate in the Pomio by-election, Francis Waina, finished third.RNZI

26) PNG speaker’s move strikes sad note for Chan

1 June 2015 

The founder of Papua New Guinea’s People’s Progress Party says there’s not much the party can do about losing members to the ruling People’s National Congress.

The Kundiawa-Gembogl MP Tobias Kulang, and Finschhafen MP Theo Zurenuoc, who is the speaker of parliament are joining the PNC, led by prime minster Peter O’Neill, which now has around 60 of the 111 MPs.

The PPP, which was founded by Sir Julius Chan in 1968, now has just five MPs, although it remains part of the coalition government.

Under the Alotau Accord, through which the coalition was formed, the speaker’s position was to be held by a PPP member.

Sir Julius says the government should stand by the terms of the coalition agreement.

“The only thing I can say is that I am sad that he failed to talk to me before he made the switch. On the question of the other member who moved across, well Mr Kulang is quite unpredictable.

Sir Julius Chan- RNZI

27) Incumbent out in front in Bougainville race

1 June 2015

The incumbent president in Bougainville, John Momis, is establishing a huge lead in the race to win the post for the next five years.

Nine people contested for the role in the autonomous Papua New Guinea region, in elections that finished a week ago.

Counting of the presidential votes got underway at the weekend and Mr Momis has established a 14,000 vote margin over second placed former national cabinet minister, Sam Akoitai.

Mr Momis has garnered more than half of all votes counted so far.

The next most prominent candidates are Ishmael Toroama and Sam Kauona, two former commanders of the Bougainville Revolutionary Army, which led the opposition to the PNG Defence Force and a loyalist militia during the ten year long civil war.RNZI

28) Bougainville Electoral chief declares eight seats

By Online Editor
5:15 pm GMT+12, 31/05/2015, Papua New Guinea

Acting Bougainville Electoral Commissioner George Manu has announced the declarations of eight newly-elected constituency members of the Bougainville House of Representatives.
They include Steven Suako (Torokina), Rodney Osioco (Kokoda), Dominic Itta (Kongara), Simon Oriai Dasiona (South Nasioi), Dennis Alexman Lokona (Bolave), Christopher Kena (Lato), David Braun Vatavi (Taonita Tinputz), and Fidelis Semoso (Tsitalato).
Messrs Suako and Vatavi have retained their seats and will be serving their second term in parliament while the member for Kongara, Dominic Itta will be serving his third term in parliament.
Itta was first elected during the inaugural ABG General Election in 2005.
His declaration on Saturday now marks him as the first member in ABG’s political history to have defended his seat in two ABG General Elections.
Osioco was first elected into the ABG parliament in 2005, but failed to defend his seat in 2010.
The newly-elected member for Tsitalato, Semoso is not new to politics as he was the regional member for Bougainville in the National Parliament from 2007-2012.
The other four will be serving their first term in the ABG parliament.
Meanwhile,Manu said counting is still progressing in the three counting centres in Bougainville.
In the North Region counting centre, counting is now into the Haku constituency, while counters in Central Region count centre are still continuing with Eivo-Torau constituency. In the South region counting centre, counters are now counting the ballots for Baba constituency.
“Also, in South and Central the regional women’s and former combatant seats are being counted progressively as the counting officials count ballot boxes from each constituency. As such, there are results gradually coming in for these elections,” said Manu.
“In North the regional women and former combatant seats will be counted following the completion of the constituencies.
“I have been advised that in North the order of the constituency count has changed.
Manu says he is pleased with the behavior of people during this counting period.
“I am pleased by reports that the majority have been patient with the commencement of the counting in each of the regions,” Manu said.  
In Central and South Bougainville, there were delays as there were additional ballot papers to be included in the count.
“These were flown from Buka by helicopter to quickly finalise the sorting and recommence counting,” said  Manu.
“I thank all the counting officials, the scrutineers, the candidates and the public for their ongoing understanding of the counting process.
“I also thank the Returning Officers for doing everything they can to maintain the integrity of the count by pausing until the ballot papers could be included.”
Manu also encouraged the scrutineers and observers to attend the count centres, noting that only one scrutineer per candidate can be inside a count centre at any one time.
“Just as during polling, they are not to interfere with the process or the order of the counting,” he said.
“Their role is observe and if there are any concerns with counting officials not following the correct process, then they are able to discuss this with the returning officer for that constituency.
“Finally, I once again thank everyone for their participation in this process. My office will continue to provide updates on the 2015 ABG General Election Facebook page, and on the website, he said

29)  update for the Presidential seat ( Bougainville /Dawnfm) 
By Aloysius Laukai
After count 12 this morning, Monday June first, the figures are as follows.
Ballot No Candidate Prev Tot Votes New Total 
16 John Lawrence Momis 17509 1295 18804 
14 Sam Akoitai 4089 321 4410 
17 Ismael Toroama 3540 138 3678 
10 Nick F. Peniai 2306 194 2500 
12 Sam Kauona 2090 153 2243 
18 Reuben Siara 1185 29 1214 
11 Justin Pokata Kira 841 24 865 
15 Simon Dumarinu 371 12 383 
13 Peter Nerau 299 13 312 

Total Valid Votes 32230 2179 34409 
Informal 755 33 788 
Total Votes 32985 2212 35197 

30) Momis increasing margin in Bougainville

1 June 2015 

The main who has led Bougainville for the past five years is on course to continue in the role as his lead grows with the vote count well underway in Buka.

John Momis, who has been involved in Bougainvillean politics since before it was established as a Papua New Guinea province more than 40 years ago, has taken an approximately 17,000 vote lead over Ishmael Toroama in second place.

Mr Toroama is the former commander in the Bougainville Revolutionary Army which fought for the region’s independence in a bitter and violent civil war.

On Monday evening Mr Momis had more than 22,000 votes with Mr Toroama on just over 5,000.

In third place is former national government cabinet minister, Sam Akoitai.

Nine men ran for president.

Meanwhile 12 of the 39 seats in the new parliament have now been declared.RNZI

31) New Caledonia Leader Bound For Paris

Resolve who can vote in independence referedum

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, June 1, 2015) – New Caledonian leaders are due in Paris this week for talks with the French prime minister, Manuel Valls, in a bid to resolve the dispute over who is allowed to vote in New Caledonai’s independence referendum.

The vote is due by 2018 but there are strong disagreements on the proposed make-up of the roll which is to be debated and approved by the French Senate this month.

The bill only provides automatic registration to indigenous people and those who voted in the 1998 Noumea Accord referendum.

The anti-indepedence side is strongly opposed to these terms, with a top politician, Pierre Frogier, accusing the French government of spreading hate and discord in the territory.

In April, a mass anti-independence rally was held in Noumea, with the loyalists accusing the French government of supporting the pro-independence side.

The protest and the discord prompted Paris to convene the special meeting of the signatories of the Noumea Accord this week to unblock the situation.

Radio New Zealand International 

32) Solomons leaning towards preferential voting system

1 June 2015 

An academic from the Victoria University of Wellington says Solomon Islands is leaning towards preferential voting as a replacement for its first-past-the-post system.

Professor Jon Fraenkel has been in Honiara for a seminar looking at proposals to change the electoral system.

He says a preferential voting system is shaping up as the likely replacement.

“I think probably the majority of participants there were keen particularly on some kind of optional preferential voting system. One or two keen on a two round system as is used in Kiribati. There didn’t seem to be much support for a far reaching shift to some kind of proportional voting system.”

Professor Fraenkel says there were also many concerns raised about political integrity and stability in Solomon Islands.

He says these issues will not be resolved by changing the electoral system.RNZI

33) Solomons Political Parties Integrity Act To Be Reviewed
Tested during last year’s general election

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, May 30, 2015) – The Political Parties Integrity Act (PPIA) that was tested during the National General Election last year is on a process to be reviewed.

This was pointed out by the Registrar of the Political Parties Integrity Commission, Calvin Ziru during a joint press conference with the local media on Wednesday.

He added that the PPIA have several components that need to be reviewed.

“With the Political Parties Integrity Act we have several components that need to be reviewed.

“One of the major ones is the provisions that relate to women in political parties and therefore women in parliament,” he said.

He was also speaking ahead of the regional conference for women that will take place in the capital next week.

He said that the conference that will take place next week will be the first to be conducted as part of the review that the Political Parties Commission will be conducting.

“Out of the whole review that the Political Parties Commission will be conducted, this conference is the first.

“It is intended to examine and explore the current status we have in the Solomon Islands given all our laws, given the Constitution, given the electoral laws, given even the Political Parties Integrity Act to examine the pattern or the trend within which women have been involved or in participating in politics and the lack there of,” he added.

He added that the purpose of the conference is also to help them to come up with set of recommendations to be presented to the government.

“The purpose is to come up with a set of recommendations over and above the report.

“Recommendations that the Political Parties Commission will be able to take to the government and say, it concerns women and their role in parliament and in politics.

“These are the things that we understand need to be changed and need to be reviewed if we are to enhance not only just governance but more specifically the capacity and the number of women that engaged in parliament and in politics,” the Registrar said.

According to Mr Ziru, several ongoing conferences are taking place right now as part of the government’s reform program in examining and exploring how to improve the system that the country currently have both in the election system and the political party system and also institutions that govern anticorruption in the Solomon Islands.

Solomon Star

34) Financial records will be protected under Companies Act – Financial disclosures required for local businesses under the new Companies Act will not automatically become public documents. The Act provides that companies file their records with the Registrar of Companies. MP and Chair of the Standing Committee on Justice, Law and Human Rights – Ashneel Sudhakar says there will be protections accorded to companies. “If I go to a company for nuisance or go to the Registrar of Companies and have some malicious agenda to bring out the company’s accounts – the Registrar will be the judge whether I am a genuine person, why do I need the accounts.


35) Quality reporting

Solomon Star
Monday, June 01, 2015

HONIARA – Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has re-emphasised the need for local journalists to strive for quality reporting.

He re-iterated this to go in line with the theme of this year World Press Freedom Day “Let Journalism thrive towards better reporting, gender equality and Media safety in the digital age”.

He said everyone knew the importance of media freedom could not be over-stated nor could its power be underestimated.

“The media has the potential to build or destroy but it is also important that the power of the media is not a licence for journalists to write or broadcast the first piece of information that comes to hand without checking fact.”

He said media freedom came with awesome responsibility— a responsibility that lay largely with journalist — the very people who practise the craft.

HONIARA – Honiara City Council (HCC) through the office of the Market Master is planning to monitor the weighing scales used by fish vendors at the Honiara Central Market.

This came after few incidences of unscrewed weighing scales that occurred over weekend.

Speaking to the Solomon Star this week, an officer from the office of the Market Master said, they are aware of the problem, hence continue to send out their staff to do regular checks on the scales used by fish vendors.

“We are aware of this continuous cheating by fish vendors, thus we will closely monitor them to ensure public customers are not robbed by these greedy vendors.”

36) RADIO FIJI ONE                                  Fiji Police Force Assistant Police Commissioner (ACP) Rusiate Tudravu appeared for the midday show. Mr Tudravu spoke about police services around the country and reiterated the need for the Force to improve on its service to the people. Mr Tudravu called on the public to work with the Force in trying to reduce crimes in the country and also highlighted that all complaints received by the Force are dealt with in a professional manner and according to the law. He stressed that any officer on duty need to know the law and know what actions to take when receiving complaints from the public. He highlighted that the Force was always trying its best to deliver the best services in terms of security to the people.


37) Solomons wants more from Australia’s seasonal scheme

1 June 2015 

The Solomon Islands says it is asking Australia to raise the cap on seasonal worker numbers and to broaden the industries in which they can work.

The Foreign Minister, Milner Tozaka, met with his Australian counterpart Julie Bishop last week and asked that Solomon Islands get the same treatment as other Pacific Island countries in the Seasonal Pacific Worker scheme.

He says he has asked that more positions be made available for workers in the tourism, hospitality and skills areas, but he also wants more placements for horticulture workers.

“We need assistance to look at our capacity and organisation of the seasonal workers here, because I also look at the other Pacific Island countries, they are going ahead with it quite well, so we are driving this very important sector that I think will be very helpful for us.”

Milner Tozaka says he is happy with the response and is grateful for Australia’s commitment to send officials to assist in its Labour Mobility Unit in Honiara.RNZI

38) Economy remains buoyant – The number of vacancies advertised in April this year have jumped 10.3 percent compared to the same month in 2014. The Reserve Bank of Fiji’s Economic Review for April states vacancies notably rose in the community, social and personal services sector, construction and finance, insurance, real estate and the business services sector. The RBF review states the labour market improvements are due to a buoyant domestic economy.


39) Skilled labour import

Vuniwaqa Bola-Bari
Monday, June 01, 2015

Minister for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations Jioje Konrote is concerned with the number of labour import in the country.

Mr Konrote attributed the trend to the lack of skilled labour in the country.

Mandated to find work and lower the unemployment rate in the country, he said: “We have an acute shortage of skilled labour, we can’t even meet the requirement, and we’re importing Filipinos and Indonesians to work in the building industry.

“When we get those people from overseas, I’m very concerned as a Minister for Employment. I’m very concerned because when we do that, we’re taking jobs away from our own people,” Mr Konrote said.

“But then our people do not have the skills and the trade to do the certain work.”

He said Government had a lot of catch up to do and they needed to start somewhere.

This, he said, had seen his ministry working closely with the Education ministry to address the issue.

“The building industry is moving but we haven’t got skills, people who are brick layers, the plumbers, the carpenters, that’s why the Minister of Education is talking about building more technical colleges in Fiji to address that,” Mr Konrote said.

“If you look at the way the curriculum is now addressed by the Ministry of Education, I work closely with the Ministry of Education to look at the shortfalls.”

He said some children were less fortunate and could not make the national toppers or loans scheme of Government.

“Some kids are weak, not all of us are meant to be doctors, lawyers. I’ll be honest but these kids have a lot of talent in their hands and these are the kids that we’re looking at to channel them to another field of work where we can utilise the skills that they have.

“We cannot afford to ignore the rest of the kids who are coming out from school. At the end of each year, Year 12 and Year 13, I’m looking at 12,000 to 14,000 school leavers; we can’t even find jobs for them. So we are now looking at helping these people.” Early this month, the Education Minister, Doctor Mahendra Reddy, announced the building of more technical colleges to address skill shortages.Fijitimes

40) 46,277 job seekers – WITH 46,277 job seekers in his database, the Minister for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations has one advice for unemployed youths — go back to the village and plant more cassava to make money. Mr Konrote made the comment as his ministry tries to address the high number of job seekers registered with the National Employment Centre. Of this number, 2741 are diploma holders and 1640 are degree holders. Heading the ministry that has the Government mandate to lower the unemployment rate in the country, Mr Konrote said his challenges were “up to his eyebrows”.


41) PNG firm on travel ban

Monday, June 01, 2015

PORT MORESBY – The Papua New Guinea Foreign Affairs Minister says the country is standing firm on a travel ban imposed on Australians to the autonomous region of Bougainville.

The Post Courier reports that Rimbink Pato told Parliament the Government had discussed some of the issues on Bougainville, particularly the announcement by Australia that it would open a foreign mission in Buka.

Mr Pato said the lifting of the ban would depend on the ongoing discussions.

He said he didn’t want to do what the Australians did and make an announcement and later talked about solutions.

Mr Pato told Parliament he thinks they would find a solution because of the bilateral relations that existed but in a way that would not affect the issue of sovereignty or territorial jurisdiction of PNG and their affairs.

He warned that any issues to do with Bougainville must be dealt with in a responsible manner because of the sensitivity of the issues and the history that surrounds the autonomous region

42) PNG Military And US Air Force Partner In Humanitarian Assistance
4th such cooperation exercise in ongoing collaboration

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, June 1, 2015) – The United States of America, Papua New Guinea and other partner defence forces are currently involved in a humanitarian assistance mission.

The mission had just ended at the Taurama Barracks, home of the First Royal Pacific Islands Regiment, in Port Moresby on May 25-29 and would continue in Goroka, Eastern Highlands Province, on June 1-6.

The mission, Pacific Angel 2015 (PACANGEL 15), will upgrade education and health facilities, as well as work to deepen local disaster response capabilities.

A planning team that consists of US Air Force, PNG Defence Force planners, and PNG civilian, government and healthcare personnel was in Goroka earlier this year to establish priorities for this exercise – PACANGEL 15.

This exercise will be the fourth military-to-military co-operation between PNG and the US this year and is part of a larger operation that has spanned over eight years.

Pacific Angel is an annual joint and humanitarian assistance operation led by the US Air Force. The exercise is designed to enhance PNG’s humanitarian assistance and disaster relief capabilities while providing needed services to the people of Unggai-Bena district.

PNG Post-Courier

43) Roads scam case nears end – It’s day eighteen of the multi-million dollar scam allegedly involving businessman Feroz Jan Mohammad and former employees of the then Department of National Roads. As the prosecution case nears the end, the court was told that Mohammad allegedly made 14 payments to second accused Iliesa Turagacati. It’s alleged that Mohammad made the payments through his Bank of Baroda account – to Turagacati who was the then accountant of the DNR in Suva, approving all payments to contractors. Giving evidence this morning, Fiji Independent Commission against Corruption Financial investigator Frank Tora, claimed they have phone records and financial transaction reports between the A.Jan group of companies and the second accused.


44) Vanuatu holding Brussels disaster conference

1 June 2015 

Vanuatu is planning an international donors’ conference in Brussels later this year to share experiences on the destruction and recovery from Cyclone Pam.

The Foreign Affairs Minister, Sato Kilman, says a disaster assessment report will be presented to donors and friends of Vanuatu during discussions on how they can assist further.

The PACNEWS agency quotes Mr Kilman as saying his government is having the event in Brussels because it wants European Union participation, especially in addressing Vanuatu’s vulnerabilities to climate change and disaster.

While the final assessment of the impact of Cyclone Pam is still being completed, Mr Kilman estimates recovery costs could reach $US570 million dollars.RNZI

45) Blue Eco-Tourism, a sustainable future for the Pacific

By Online Editor
5:20 pm GMT+12, 31/05/2015, French Polynesia

The Blue Days Project aims to strengthen marine ecotourism in the Pacific islands region, starting with a regional conference hosted in French Polynesia this week from 1 – 5 June.
Combining economic growth, a respect for natural resources and Oceania culture is at the core of the Blue Days Project that will see more than 50 delegates, practitioners and experts come together for a regional conference aimed at providing advice and guidance to the South Pacific Tourism Organisation Ministerial Conference to be held in October.
“Tourism is one of the major engines of economic growth in the Pacific region, and marine species-oriented ecotourism, an undeniably growing sector, will benefit from structured and sustainable guidelines,” said . Pascale Salaun, from the Biodiversity and Ecosystem Management Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).
“The aim of this is to develop a long-term framework that respects emblematic and vulnerable marine species and local knowledge and traditions but also brings economic benefits for the local communities in their territorial waters.”
Through the Blue Days Project, participants will provide input to the growth of marine-based ecotourism in the Pacific islands, based on best international practice.
The three main themes of the conference are – Culture and Blue Ecotourism; Blue Ecotourism, science and research; and Structure and Development of Blue Ecotourism. To promote discussion and planning, there will be a range of presentations and case studies made by experts, professionals and industry promoters in the areas of marine conservation, biodiversity and ecotourism.
“This is also an opportunity for SPREP to carry out a mid-term review of the Marine Species 2013 – 2017 regional framework for action. We’re very excited by what this conference will bring and the journey ahead for the Blue Days Project,” said Salaun.
The project is co-financed by the Government of French Polynesia, by the Pacific Fund, by SPREP and many partners including GIZ, GIE Tahiti Tourism, and Air Tahiti Nui. DIREN (French Polynesia Environment Direction) and SPREP are coordinating the project and co-organising the event



46) Company stopped from exporting Solomons’ bauxite

1 June 2015 

 The Solomon Islands High Court has stopped the export of bauxite by an Indonesian mining firm, Bintang Borneo, on Rennell Island.

High Court Judge Leonard Maina has ordered Bintang Borneo not to export 56,000 tonnes of bauxite it has stockpiled on Rennell.

He gave the order last week after a rival company, Asia Pacific Investment Limited, or APID, took legal action.

APID had gone to court after the recent government directive giving Bintang Borneo an export licence.

Meanwhile, Solomons’ Customs has detained a ship Bintang brought to Honiara to transport the bauxite.

Mr Maina’s High Court order stops Bintang from loading the mineral because he says it has been dug illegally.

The order also stops the Solomons’ Director of Mines from interfering or disturbing mining operations by APID and confirms it is only company able to legitimately extract bauxite on Rennell.RNZI


47) Inclusion and active involvement of youth vital to success of UN sustainability agenda – Ban

By Online Editor
8:12 pm GMT+12, 31/05/2015, United States

NEW YORK, 01 JUNE 2015 (UN NEWS CENTRE) — The United Nations General Assembly has commemorated the 20th anniversary of the World Programme of Action for Youth with an acknowledgement that young people have been “disproportionately” affected by many global challenges but “are ready and willing to be actively involved in shaping their future.”
In his remarks to the meeting, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted that the commemoration comes at “a critical time” as “2015 represents an opportunity for transformation.”
“As we approach the adoption of a new set of sustainable development goals, the global community has an unparalleled opportunity to change the course of history,” the UN chief said, and “as the largest generation of youth the world has ever known, you are in the driving seat of this change.
“You are the first generation that can end poverty – and the last generation that can act to avoid the worst effects of climate change,” Mr. Ban told the gathered delegates.
“I call on governments to enhance their efforts to implement the World Programme of Action for Youth under the new post-2015 development agenda, and to include young people as part of their delegations to the summit in September,” he said.
More than 60 delegates have signed up to speak at the High-Level Event of the General Assembly marking the 20th Anniversary of the World Programme of Action for Youth to highlight Youth Priorities in the Post-2015 Development Agenda,which “offers an important opportunity for Member States and other relevant stakeholders to take stock of progress made in its implementation, identify the gaps and challenges ahead while discussing the best way forward for the full, effective and accelerated implementation of this ground-breaking agreement.”
Ahmad Alhendawi, the first ever United Nations Envoy on Youth, also addressed the High-Level Event, saying the action plan is a “milestone in articulating a vision for youth development.”
“To this day,” he said, “the document remains one of the most important internationally agreed paths to a better future young people deserve.”
Earlier today, as part of his Office’s digital #YouthNow campaign, Mr. Alhendawi tweeted a number of “youth facts” and messages such as: “With 1/2 world’s population under 25yrs, investing into youth is not luxury – It’s a necessity.”
Both the UN Secretary-General and the Acting President of the UN General Assembly, Alvaro José de Mendonça e Moura, noted that youth around the world have been disproportionately affected by economic crises, recession and today’s many global challenges.
“Youth unemployment continues to be a formidable issue worldwide, with young people three times more likely to be jobless than adults,”  Mendonça e Moura said.
But on a positive note, he said, “governments are becoming increasingly aware of the need for legal and policy frameworks that adequately respond to young peoples’ needs, aspirations and demands. I am heartened to note that as of 2014, 127 countries had a national youth policy.”
“The #YouthNow digital campaign, organized by the Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, has also served as a meaningful platform for engaging web users on youth issues. Since its launch only four months ago, the site has already registered close to 500 million impressions,” he said.”
“These examples, as well as many others, demonstrate that young people around the world are ready and willing to be actively involved in shaping their future,”  Mendonça e Moura said.


48) Fiji U20 loses to Germany

Monday, June 01, 2015

Update: 3:17PM THE Vodafone Fiji U20 side lost 1-8 to Germany in their opening match of the FIFA U20 World Cup at Christchurch in New Zealand.

The European champions proved to be a class act and powered to a 6-0 lead at the break.

Striker, Iosefo Verevou became the nations first player to score in a football World Cup as he pulled one back for Fiji.

Fiji plays its second match against Uzbekistan on Thursday.Fijitimes

49) SIFF President joins Oceania Football Exec

1 June 2015 

Solomon Islands Football Federation President William Lai is the newest member of Oceania Football’s Executive Committee.

He replaces Barnabas Anga, who was the former chairman of the SIFF Normalisation Committee.

Lai was elected President of the Solomon Islands Football Federation earlier this year.

His appointment to the OFC Executive was made in Zurich ahead of the FIFA Congress, which saw incumbent Sepp Blatter re-elected for a fifth term as President.RNZI

50a) Solomon Islands to send five Paralympic athletes to Pacific Games

By Online Editor
10:10 pm GMT+12, 31/05/2015, Solomon Islands

 The Solomon Islands National Paralympics Federation (SINPF) has confirmed that five of its athletes will compete across three sports at this year’s Pacific Games in Port Moresby.
The quintet will contest shot put, table tennis and javelin as members of the first-ever Paralympics team to represent the Solomon Islands at the Games.
Team coach Fa’amoana Topue told the Solomon Star preparations are going well with training conducted daily, under the observation of SINPF President Nina Davis, at the country’s designated Multi-purpose Hall.
The Solomon Islands made their Paralympics debut at London 2012, after the SINPF was recognised as a full member of the International Paralympic Committee in the year prior to the Games.  
The country’s delegation was composed of a single athlete, Hellen Saohaga, who competed in the women’s shot put F57/58 event, finishing in 15th place.
As well as setting a personal best, she also became the Solomon Islands’ second-highest finishing athlete in Olympic and Paralympic competition.
Only Olympic weightlifter Wendy Hale has bettered her performance, coming 12th in the under 58kg category at the Beijing 2008 Games.
As many as 3,000 athletes from 21 nations are set to compete across 28 different sports at the Pacific Games, which are due to take place from July 4 to 18.


50b) Women’s football league a success in Vanuatu

1 JUne 2015 

 The Vanuatu Football Federation says the initial success of the country’s first ever women’s open league shows how popular the sport can be.

The league was established last month, and has already attracted about 200 women aged between 15 and 27.

Vanuata Football’s women’s football development officer, Joel Rarua, says the ultimate aim is to have a women’s league for all eight member associations.

“The girls get into the uniform, have their boots on, singlets, shorts, feel part of a team just by looking at their faces and how they get to [support] each other it looks very interesting and I asked them, “Did you enjoy the football?” They said “Yeah and we want more” so that is giving me an idea that the girls are becoming more and more interested in soccer”.

Joel Rarua says he wants football to overtake netball as the dominant women’s sport in Vanuatu and believes the sport can flourish providing the Oceania Football Confederation and FIFA provide more support.RNZI

50c) Temarii questioned by Tahiti police

1 June 2015 

Police in French Polynesia have questioned the former head of Tahiti Football, Reynald Temarii, two weeks after FIFA banned him for eight years over a controversial payment.

Mr Temarii, who is also a former FIFA executive committee member, was banned by FIFA’s ethics committee for accepting more than 300,000 US dollars from disgraced former Asian Football Confederation president Mohammed bin Hammam.

The money was reportedly paid to him to fund his appeal against his 2010 suspension from FIFA following an investigation into allegations he offered to sell his vote in the World Cup hosting contest to undercover newspaper reporters..

Reports say police in Tahiti want to establish if the funds from Mr bin Hammam were wired through French Polynesia.

Mr Temarii has not been charged.

When he was suspended in mid-May, he acknowledged FIFA’s decision but said he has not been convicted in any court and the sanctions only apply to the sphere of football.RNZI

50d) Samoa Rugby Union to appoint new sevens coaches

1 June 2015 

 Samoa is on the hunt for a new sevens coach after the rugby union opted not to renew the contracts of head coach, Fuimaono Titimaea Tafua, and his assistant, Galumalemana Rudolf Moors.

Fuimaono Titimaea Tafua has not been retained as Samoa sevens head coach.


The acting CEO of the Samoa Rugby Union, Faleomavaega Vincent Fepulea’i, says the board, chaired by the Prime Minister, Tuila’epa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, made the decision to appoint new mentors following a disappointing season on the world sevens circuit.

“The Union is of the opinion that results haven’t been good – we haven’t qualified for the Olympics – and at the same time our ranking in the World Series has slipped down to 10th place. The Union has not at this point in time give up hope yet. There’s still a chance to qualify for the Olympics – with the the Oceania eliminations going to be held in Auckland in November – so we’re looking for a new coach and assistant coach, and we are going through the process at the moment”.

Faleomavaega says, for the first time, an independent panel will be in charge of selecting the next head coach.RNZI


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