Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1108 ( Monday 29 June 2015 )

MELANESIA

1 ) Vanuatu NGOs shocked by MSG outcome

By Online Editor
10:36 pm GMT+12, 28/06/2015, Vanuatu

NGOs in Vanuatu says the Melanesian Spearhead Group decision not to admit West Papua as a full member, but upgrade Indonesia’s membership, is a slap in the face for ni-Vanuatu.

Chiefs and the trade union movement also say they are in shock at last week’s decision.

The chairman of Vanuatu’s West Papua support group, Pastor Alain Nafuki, says he wants the MSG leaders to revisit their decision not to give full membership to the United Liberation Movement for West Papua.

“The purpose of establishing MSG is totally to assist our people who have not gained their rights yet, independence. That was the main reason and I would tell them that they would revisit the reason of why we establish MSG.”

The MSG upgraded Indonesia from observer status to associate member status, while it admitted the United Liberation Movement as an observer.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

2a ) Reaching out across Melanesia, MSG leaders endorse engagement with Indonesia and West Papua

By Online Editor
5:07 pm GMT+12, 28/06/2015, Solomon Islands

By Nic Maclellan in Honiara

The five-member Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) has made an historic decision to expand its reach, with the granting of associate member status to Indonesia, and observer status to the United Liberation Movement of West Papua (ULMWP).

The decision on West Papua was formally announced at the final plenary of the 20th MSG leaders’ summit, held this week in Honiara.

Summit host Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare of Solomon Islands said “the summit was conducted in the true Melanesian spirit of consensus and dialogue.”

Sogavare was joined in the leaders retreat by Fiji Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, FLNKS representative Victor Tutugoro of Kanaky/New Caledonia and Johnson Naviti, Director General of the Office of the Prime Minister in Vanuatu.

The ULMWP had applied for full membership of the sub-regional organisation, but in their Thursday retreat, the MSG leaders agreed that “the ULMWP be admitted as an observer under the regional and international category representing Melanesians living abroad.”

Indonesia has been an MSG observer since the 2011 MSG summit in Fiji. This week, in the presence of a delegation led by Indonesian Vice Foreign Minister Dr. A.M. Fachir, the island leaders approved “that associate membership be accorded to Indonesia representing the five Melanesian provinces in Indonesia.”

In the final plenary, the MSG member countries presented closing statements, followed by presentations by the Indonesian Vice Foreign Minister and ULMWP Secretary General Octo Mote. Both acknowledged the historic nature of this week’s decision, but agreed to differ on Indonesia’s human rights record.

In their final communique, the leaders endorsed a series of reports and declarations, covering trade, policing, sports, violence against women, emergency response co-ordination and nuclear waste transhipments through island Exclusive Economic Zones.

A key decision endorsed the Implementation Framework for the MSG 2038 Prosperity for All Plan, an overarching regional strategy adopted at the last summit in Noumea.

With a major focus on trade, finance and connectivity, the leaders call for the finalisation of negotiations on the legal text for the third phase of the MSG Trade Agreement (MSGTA3) by October, before an MSG Trade Ministers Meeting later this year. Papua New Guinea will fund a major study of shipping, as part of a major focus on improving transport networks and communications across the MSG region.

In the closing ceremony, the five country representatives signed agreements establishing a Regional Police Academy and the legislative framework for the creation of an MSG Formed Police Unit (FPU).

As well as an MOU on technical co-operation in coastal fishery and aquaculture and an MSG Roadmap, leaders updated their twenty-year old Lakatoro Declaration on the Denuclearisation of the Pacific, with a new MSG Declaration on the Transhipment of Nuclear Waste and Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Waste.

Solomon Islands has offered to host an MSG youth hub to serve as a centre of excellence on youth development.

Leaders agreed to defer consideration of some issues, including the appointment of a new MSG High Level Representative to replace Ambassador Kaliopate Tavola of Fiji. With reservations expressed by Papua New Guinea, leaders also deferred discussion on proposals to establish an MSG Defence Ministers Meeting.

SOURCE: ISLANDS BUSINESS/PACNEWS

2b ) Fiji PM pledges full support for MSG

By Online Editor
5:11 pm GMT+12, 28/06/2015, Fiji

Fiji has pledged its support for Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) solidarity.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said, “with national unity, a sense of purpose, good governance and equality, opportunity and substantive justice for all, nothing was impossible even for small island nations”.

This was his message at the conclusion of MSG Leaders Summit at the Heritage Park Hotel, Honiara, in the Solomon Islands last Friday.

He congratulated the Solomon Islands government for assuming the chairmanship of the MSG and its role in chairing the Leader’s Summit.

“I am confident that under your leadership over the next two years, we will be able to effectively achieve our collective goals for the benefit of all our peoples.”

He assured them the Fijian Government’s co-operation and support.

“Our final communiqué is a testament to the way in which we have all worked in a positive manner this week to advance the cause of our organisation and the position of all Melanesians,” Mr Bainimarama said.

“We have faced some difficult challenges in reaching a consensus on some of these issues, but I want to commend you all on behalf of the Fijian people for approaching these challenges in an atmosphere of co-operation and goodwill.”

Bainimarama, together with other MSG leaders, pledged to redouble efforts in areas on concern to everyone – trade, the free movement of people across borders and collective response to the challenges of terrorism to name a few.

Bainimarama said, “we have elevated the sovereign power in West Papua – Indonesia – to Associate Member of the MSG.”

“We have also opened the door for the United Liberation Movement for West Papua to join us as an observer,” he said.

“In doing so, Fiji believes we are acting in the best interests of the people in West Papua, as well as maintaining the integrity of the principles on which the MSG was founded and that we must always uphold.”

He said Fiji had been guided by a number of overriding principles in approaching the West Papua issue.

“We are convinced that the best hope for improving the lives of the people of West Papua – is to work closely with the Indonesian Government, to provide encouragement and support in an atmosphere of co-operation and friendship and to encourage it in its current programme to govern West Papua in an inclusive and enlightened manner,” Bainimarama said.

“We cannot erase the history of West Papua and some of the negative aspects of that history, which we acknowledge include significant human rights violations.”

He commended the Indonesian President and his Government for the steps taken to improve conditions in West Papua for its Melanesian population.

He said from Fiji’s perspective, the best way to achieve this was to bring Indonesia closer into the workings of the MSG.

“Which is why we have supported elevating Indonesia from observer status to Associate Member and by strengthening our engagement as an organisation with Indonesia, we are also strengthening our joint co-operation on issues relating to West Papua,” Bainimarama said.

“Fiji is convinced that this is not only the best way to improve the situation for our Melanesian brothers and sisters in West Papua. It is the only way.”

He acknowledged the United Liberation Movement for West Papua, which represents a significant body of opinion in the West Papuan Diaspora and also has the welfare of the West Papuan people at heart.

The ULMWP has now been granted observer status at the MSG. The ULMWP is not the sovereign power in West Papua.

It is an external, non-government organisation that may represent West Papuan interests and opinion.

“But the MSG simply could not give it the status it desired without compromising a fundamental principal.

“That non-government organisation cannot have the same status as governments in our organisation,” Bainimarama said

He appealed to the ULMWP not to regard this as a defeat, but an opportunity.

“You have now been brought into the fold. Use this privilege to also work with us for the betterment of every West Papuan. Working together – Indonesia, the MSG countries and the West Papuan Diaspora – we can achieve much better outcomes for the West Papuan people,” Bainimarama said.

He said Fiji intends to work with its Pacific neighbours to lead the charge at the World Climate Summit in Paris at the end of November.

“Every Pacific country is affected in one way or another and in the case of three nations – Kiribati, Tuvalu and the Marshall Islands – their very existence is threatened by the rising seas,” he said.

“We have our opportunity later this year to get the industrialised nations to finally sign up to the dramatic cuts in carbon emissions that the scientists say are needed to avert catastrophe.

“And it is an opportunity that we must all take.”

He said the measures to promote business activity and co-operation between the private sectors within the MSG countries is an important part of the final communiqué.

He said the meeting of MSG Finance Ministers that concluded in Nadi, Fiji, was a great success.

“I urge you all as leaders to encourage this growing engagement between our various governments at an economic and financial level for the benefit of all our peoples,” Bainimarama said.

SOURCE: FIJI SUN/PACNEWS

3a ) Indonesia Says It Will Help Develop Melanesia
Follows status elevation Melanesian Spearhead Group

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, June 27, 2015) –The Indonesian government says it hopes to make a positive contribution to economic and developmental challenges in Melanesia.

The leaders of the Melanesian Spearhead Group, which includes Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and the Kanaks of New Caledonia, elevated Indonesia’s status from observer to associate member at the recent MSG Leaders summit in Honiara.

A spokesperson from the Indonesian Embassy in Canberra, Sade Bimantara, says its associate membership is a positive step for Melanesia.

“We believe that we can contribute to the Melanesian Spearhead Group. Add value to that and also to increase connectivity between people in the Asia Pacific with those Melanesian descendants in Indonesia.”

Mr Bimantara says his country’s more than 250 million Indonesians are an untapped market that expands the trading power of the MSG.

Indonesia’s elevation to associate member saw the bid by the United Liberation Movement for West Papua for full MSG membership rejected, though the group has been given observer status as a development partner representing the welfare of Melanesian people living outside.

Radio New Zealand International

3b) ) Vanuatu’s Graon mo Jastis Pati releases MP spending reports

29 June 2015

Members of parliament in one of Vanuatu’s leading political parties have published their allocation spending reports for 2014.

The Graon mo Jastis Pati says its four MPs elected on the party’s ticket in the 2012 election have done this as part of fulfilling the campaign promises they made to their voters.

The four MPs, including party leader Ralph Regenvanu, report that they each deducted US$19,000 from their salaries to spend on community needs.

This amount used to be the allocation granted to each constituency until a change in 2011 saw the money channelled through MPs’ salaries.

The Graon mo Jastis Pati says it wants to ensure this amount is still used strictly for community purposes.

The GJP MPs have each contributed US$7000 dollars from their own allocations to establish academic scholarships schemes in their constituencies.

The four MPs spent more than US$28,000 on community needs last year – with three of them spending more than US$37,000.

The GJP has a fifth MP who joined the party more recently.RNZI

3c ) MP Ralph 2014 alokesen spending ripot: Nidim help blong yufala

Olgeta –

Mi nidim help blong yufala blong mek sua se posta blong spending blong alokesen blong mi long 2014 hemi save kamaot long ol pablik ples long evri ples long Port Vila blong ol pipol i save luk mo ridim.

Mi gat 500 posta, mo mi wantem oli putumap long ol windo blong stoa (insaed long glas), long ol notis bod long ol ofis mo ol jioj mo ol komuniti hol, long ol nakamal, mo long ol kaen ples olsem.

Sipos yu gat wan ples we yu save displeim posta, plis emailem mi afta mi save karem wan i kam blong yu putumap.  Sipos no, ring long mi o kam long Palamen Haos blong pikimap wan posta blong yu.

Tankyu blong givhan long yufala.

Yu save luk posta blong mi long ples ia.

Ta, MP Ralph Regenvanu. www.graonmojastis.org

POLYNESIA

4) Tokelau inflation eases

29 June 2015 U

Inflation appears to have stabilised in Tokelau with just a 0.3 percent increase in the consumer price index in the June quarter.

The Tokelau National Statistician Kele Lui says there was some increase in food prices, alcohol and cigarettes, but the cost of mutton was down significantly.

He says furnishings, household equipment and routine household maintenance products rose significantly due to more expensive timber.

The full year CPI to the end of June was 4.9 percent.RNZI

5) Coronation Of Tonga’s King Tupou VI
Begins 11 days of celebrations

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, June 29, 2015) – Tonga has begun 11 days of celebrations to mark the coronation of monarch King Tupou VI with an ancient kava ceremony and gifts of pigs and yams from the country’s chiefs.

Sitting in a circle wearing traditional ta’ovala mats around their waists, about 150 nobles drank kava from coconut shells in a ceremony dating back centuries.

One of the nobles, an MP and the brother of Queen Nanasipau’u, Lord Vaea, told Pacific Beat that for Tongans, Saturday’s taumafa kava ceremony was the most important event of the coronation.

“We are out there to sit on seats that have been there for hundreds of years,” he said.

“Through them, traditional ties go right back to the land and the sea.”

In the ceremony an ancient Tongan title called Tu’i Kanokupolu, that pre-dates the monarchy by centuries, passes to Tupou VI.

Anthropologist Adrienne L Kaeppler of the Smithsonian Institution said the monarchy traces its ancestry back to the sky god Tangaloa.

“The new king is the 24th Tu’i Kanokupolu, and the taumafa kava confirms his title when he drinks the kava.”

Street parties, black-tie balls, fashion shows and choral recitals will be held over the next week before the king is officially crowned in the capital’s Free Wesleyan Church on July 4.

A large number of dignitaries, including Japan’s Crown Prince Naruhito and an as-yet unnamed member of the British royal family, are also expected to attend.

Tupou VI, a 55-year-old former diplomat, succeeds his brother Tupou V, who died in 2012 after a six-year reign of major reforms that expanded democracy in the nation of about 110,000 people.

Ms Kaeppler said there was still a deep affection for the royals.

“Most of the people are still in awe of the chiefs and the monarchy, but they do have modern ideas influenced by the democratic ways they’ve seen in the US, Australia, New Zealand and so on,” she said.

Lord Vaea said thousands of expatriate Tongans have flown home for the ceremony.

“This is a time when we all come back to the islands from overseas, we work as one people for the coronation,” he said.

“We become realigned with our clans and our different groups.”

Tonga’s monarchy can trace its history back 1,000 years, and by the 13th century the nation wielded power and influence over surrounding islands, including Samoa, nearly 900 kilometres to the east.

Tupou I, who converted to Christianity after coming under the influence of missionaries, was proclaimed king in 1845 after winning control of the monarchy from two other royal lines.

By 1900 the country had become a British protectorate and only acquired its independence in 1970. It remains the only monarchy among Pacific island nations.

Radio Australia

6) Tonga Says Forbes Coverage Payment Worth It
Involves ¼ tourism marketing budget

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, June 29, 2015) –The Tongan government says it will be paying Forbes magazine US$130,000 this week in return for what it says is unprecedented coverage.

There has been confusion over a deal involving an interview the business magazine conducted with Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pohiva shortly after he was elected.

The Finance Minister ‘Aisake Eke says the resulting two page advertorial will reach up to seven million people through the magazine.

Dr Eke says it has been included in the June edition, the 2015 Investment Guide, and will also feature online for over a year and will be translated into Chinese.

He says the project is worth it even though it costs around a quarter of the budget available for marketing tourism.

“What we are looking here is the opportunity to get a lot of people world-wide. This is a very high profile magazine not only for potential tourists but also for investors so I think this is unique. I think this is what this special magazine offers, which I think is more than what we have been normally promoting from and for.”

Radio New Zealand International

7) Tonga to issue new currency
By Online Editor
8:43 pm GMT+12, 28/06/2015, Tonga

Tonga will issue new currency notes and coins after the installation of King Tupou VI this week.

Assisted by the Reserve Bank of a Fiji, the Tonga will launch the currency to coincide with the coronation.
Lorraine Seeto, Special Adviser to RBF Governor Barry Whiteside, will be in the kingdom to assist with the launch.

Meanwhile, Fiji Airways flew a second service to Nuku’alofa to cater for additional passengers on the route to attend the coronation.

Tupou VI is expected to be installed traditionally on Saturday followed by a coronation at the Centenary Church.

SOURCE: ISLANDS BUSINESS/PACNEWS

8) Former American Samoa Official Jailed For Fraud

Awarded contract after soliciting personal loan

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, June 27, 2015) –A former cabinet member in American Samoa, Evelyn Vaitautolu Langford, has been sentenced to 22 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution of $US 260,000.Langford served under former Governor Togiola Tulafono as director of Human Resources and Governor’s Authorized Representative to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

She pleaded guilty to one count each of wire fraud and bribery.

She admitted asking for and obtaining loans from a company that was awarded a sole source contract of $US 4.7 million by the American Samoa government to provide training for displaced workers following the 2009 tsunami.

The two loans which Langford received from the company Native Hawaiian Holdings Company totalled $US 260,000.

Radio New Zealand International

9) Samoa Street Vendors To Face Prosecution
Enforcement of new law

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, June 29, 2015) –Street vendors in Samoa will face prosecution when police start enforcing a new law banning people from selling goods in front of shops and around town areas.

A police spokesperson, Su’a Muli’aga Tiumalu, says the Prime Minister has correctly said the new Fugalei market in Apia and other markets are available for small business operations.

Mr Tiumalu says the police have given steet vendors enough time to shift their businesses to the markets, and will start prosecuting people from next month.

Radio New Zealand International

10) Cooks Calls For Disaster Ready Buildings
Need to be ready for climate change induced events

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, June 29, 2015) –The Cook Islands Finance Minister says because of climate change, key infrastructure needs to be built with the expectation it will be hit more often and more severely by natural disasters.

Mark Brown has been in Fiji for a high level forum facilitated by the International Monetary Fund on disaster risk reduction.

He says they’re looking at the impact disasters have on the economy and how quickly they are able to rebound financially.

Mr Brown says preparation is key, like having emergency response plans in place beforehand, and key infrastructure built and maintained to withstand more frequent disasters.

“To take into account the impact of stronger storms, things like airports, roads, ports, all have to be built with the expectation that they will be hit. But if they’re built and engineered to be able to withstand severe disasters, that helps the country get back and rebound faster.”

Mr Brown says the Cook Islands has established its own emergency response fund, and has ongoing significant investment in infrastructure upgrades.

Radio New Zealand International

11) Minimum wage $6.25 from July 1

By Online Editor
8:42 pm GMT+12, 28/06/2015, Cook Islands

Employers and workers in Cook Islands are reminded that the minimum wage rate of pay will increase to $6.25  (US$4.26)per hour from 1 July 2015, a rise from the current minimum wage rate of $6 per hour (US$4), in accordance with the Employment Relations (Minimum rate of pay) Regulations 2015.

The increase is a result of the review by the Minimum Wage Panel appointed by the Minister for Internal Affairs Albert Nicholas under the Employment Relations Act 2012 and guided by terms of reference, criteria, and public feedback.

The Minimum Wage Panel submitted the 2015 Minimum Wage Rate Review Report to Nicholas in March.

This year’s Minimum Wage Panel comprised Patricia Tuara Demmke (Ministry of Internal Affairs), James Webb (Ministry of Finance and Economic Management), Steve Anderson (Chamber of Commerce), Anthony Turua (Cook Islands Workers Association) and Nga Mataio (community representative).

SOURCE: COOK ISLANDS NEWS/PACNEWS

12) Cooks Govt official accused of abuses

29 June 2015

A Cook Islands Government financial manager has been exposed in a report tabled in Parliament.

Sarah Samuels has been accused of abusing her position of power at the Business Trade and Investment Board in 2013.

The report says Ms Samuels overpaid her brother and paid for a number of personal expenses with Board funds without the authority of the chief executive officer, Terry Rangi.

The report also says Mr Rangi failed in his duties, by pre-signing cheques without adequate monitoring of their use and letting mismanagement slide.

The report says Ms Samuels used Board funds to pay for personal newspaper announcements, phone cards and airfares.

The Audit Director, Allen Parker, says there were poor internal controls, and referred the matter to the police.

In a letter responding to the review in November last year, Mr Rangi said Ms Samuel’s father had repaid the outstanding amounts.RNZI

MICRONESIA

13) Former Palau VP facing criminal charges
By Online Editor
8:34 pm GMT+12, 28/06/2015, Palau

Former Vice President and Minister of Finance of the Republic of Palau, who served under the Johnson Toribiong administration, is facing serious criminal charges.

Interim Special Prosecutor Robert Charles Lee filed three criminal charges against former VP Kerai Mariur on June 17, 2015, including one count of violation of code of ethics and one count of misconduct in public office.

Mariur has yet to publicly respond to the charges against him. Until he is properly served, the public has no access to the case file and details therein.

Mariur is the second high-ranking government official from the previous administration to face criminal charges.

Former Ngiwal governor and now the state’s current House of Delegates representative, Masasinge Arurang, was the first to face criminal charges following Lee’s appointment. In March this year, Arurang pleaded guilty to one count of violation of ethics and one count of misconduct in public office for the illegal sale of a personal vehicle through the state government.

SOURCE: OCEANIA TV NEWS/PACNEWS

14) Suspended Nauru MP In Limbo

‘Security risk to nation’ cannot get passport to go to NZ

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, June 29, 2015) –A suspended opposition MP on Nauru says he’s frustrated at the Supreme Court’s decision to defer his appeal to get his passport back for two weeks.

Roland Kun’s passport was cancelled by the government after protests a week ago, preventing him from returning to New Zealand where he has been living since his suspension from parliament last year.

He says the Justice Minister, David Adeang, wrote to him explaining the cancellation was because he was deemed to be a security risk to the nation.

Mr Kun denies this and has applied for a judicial review of the government’s decision, but the court on Saturday deferred hearing the application until July the eighth.

Mr Kun says the decision is incredibly frustrating as he had nothing to do with the protests at parliament.

“It is very frustrating and it’s placing great strain on my family and it just adds to the frustration I’m facing at the moment that we’re just constantly facing deferment on getting my issues heard.”

Radio New Zealand International

15) Concerns Pacific neighbour Nauru is moving towards a dictatorship

By Online Editor
8:38 pm GMT+12, 28/06/2015, Nauru

A Wellington family has been forcibly separated from its father and husband as concerns mount over democracy on the island of Nauru.

Growing tension and reports of restrictions on freedom have drawn the attention of the New Zealand Government.

The Wellington-based Kun family have been forcibly separated from their Nauru opposition MP dad, Roland Kun. When he boarded his plane to join them in New Zealand he was hauled off by Nauruan officials and had his passport cancelled.

“I was deemed a risk to the nation. And the other reason was there were criminal investigations with which I was directly linked,” Kun told ONE News in a telephone interview.

The criminal investigation relates to protests last week at Parliament. Three opposition MPs have been charged, two of them imprisoned, accused by the Government of trying to destabilise it.  Kun is under investigation, having been suspended from Parliament a year ago.

“We are concerned to hear that there have been steps taken that might impinge on the liberties of individuals, and particularly elected representatives,” says Murray McCully, New Zealand Foreign Minister.

The arrests are the latest in what critics say are moves towards a dictatorship. The Nauruan Government has suspended five opposition MPs, banned the use of Facebook, deported outspoken foreigners and introduced a law where threatening public order can result in up to seven years in jail.

“It’s an attempt to try and stifle democracy in a way that is not good for the future of the country,” says Dr Steven Ratuva of Canterbury University.

New Zealand gives $2 million a year towards Nauru’s justice system and wants some answers over recent events.  McCully will be meeting with Nauru’s president early next month, but it’s also drawing international attention.

“It’s serious enough for the Pacific Islands Forum to seriously look at what it can do,” says Dr Ratuva.

The Nauru Government insists it is upholding law and order, looking after the best interests of its people. But those on the receiving end, including the Kun family, are paying a harsh price.

SOURCE: TVNZ/PACNEWS

16) Advocate: No Longer Fear In Speaking Out In CNMI
Follows former governor corruption sentencing

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, June 29, 2015) – An anti-corruption advocate in the Northern Marianas says people are no longer afraid to speak up about corruption after last week’s sentencing of the former governor. Benigno Fitial was sentenced to one in year in jail after he was convicted of misconduct in public office and conspiracy to commit theft of services while he was governor until 2013.

Fitial had shielded his former attorney general as he fled the territory to avoid a penal summons, and released a prisoner in the middle of the night to give him a back massage.

Glen Hunter, who was one of the first people to speak out about the case, says corruption under Fitial had pervaded many branches of law enforcement, and it was up to the people to speak up.

He says there are still concerns about corruption in the CNMI, but things have greatly improved.

“It’s going to be an ongoing battle and it’s going to be an ongoing struggle out here a little bit to fight public corruption and I don’t think there’s every an end goal anywhere in the world. But what I’ve noticed is, since the first people started speaking out – there was a strong climate of fear prior to…that climate of fear is gone, it’s dissipated, there’s almost no more sense of fear at least, people can speak openly.”

Radio New Zealand International

17) US Navy Hails New Report On CNMI Training
Claims training will not jeopardize endangered species

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, June 29, 2015) – The United States Navy has welcomed a biological report indicating its proposed training plans will not jeopardise endangered species in the Northern Marianas.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Fisheries report says ‘accidental kills’ estimated by the Navy will not destroy the animals or their habitats.

The US Mariana Islands Training and Testing Project Manager, John Van Name says the report backs up a lot of the work already done by the Navy.

Mr Van Name says it also includes mitigation procedures that will be used when conducting sonar detection or mine detonation exercises.

He says this will include specialist lookouts for marine life and stand-downs if any is present.

Mr Van Name says the independent report should ease the environmental concerns of opponents.

“I hope it will because the National Marine Fisheries Service, it’s their biological opinion, it’s there conclusion of what the impacts and effects might be of the Navy training.”

Radio New Zealand International

NEW ZEALAND


18) NZ provides funding for Fiji audit software
By Online Editor
10:42 pm GMT+12, 28/06/2015, Fiji

The New Zealand Government through its NZ Aid Programme will provide funding to the Fijian Government for the purchase and implementation of audit management software.

The software known as Team Mate will help to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of internal audits undertaken by the Ministry of Finance.

Speaking after signing the Grant Funding Agreement (GFA) in Suva today, Permanent Secretary for Finance,  Filimoni Waqabaca said the software which is used by more than 53,000 internal auditors in 1500 countries will increase the speed of processing data and will help them meet international standards.

“We are grateful to the New Zealand Government for its support and we are eagerly awaiting the full implementation of the software system. The training and system setup will commence in early August and we should be fully complaint and ready to use the software by the end of August.”

“The Auditor General’s office is also using the same software so now we will be connected to them automatically through the software and it will be easier to use and transmit data through the automated process.”
“The software will also help us in addressing recurring audited issues and will bring about a lot of efficiency.”

New Zealand High Commissioner, Mark Ramsden said the NZ Government has provided a grant of approximately FJD$620,000 (US$295,180) to purchase specialised audit software, upgrade associated hardware and support to the salaries of two new technical staff who are being brought on to help implement the system over the next two years.

“We anticipate the new internal audit system will ultimately contribute a better control of public funds and resources and improve governance and risk management across the whole of Government.”

He said the investment to acquire software and automate internal auditing is quite modest in comparison to the expected improvement and time-saving the new system is likely to offer.

The project will be managed by the Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) unit of the Ministry of Finance while the Government Information Technology and Computing Services will provide technical support to assist in the installation, implementation and maintenance of the auditing system once it is established.

SOURCE: FIJI LIVE/PACNEWS

19) Academic: More Focus On Gender Equality Needed In Pacific

Should be priority for more NZ aid

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, June 29, 2015) – An academic says a review of New Zealand’s aid programme shows New Zealand is neglecting issues such as gender equality and human rights.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development has released its five yearly peer review of the country’s aid funding.

Terence Wood of the Australia National University says given extraordinarily high rates of domestic violence in the region, it is odd that New Zealand’s Foreign Minister, Murray McCully, does not put greater priority on gender issues.

“Under the current government, what’s called in aid jargon “cross-cutting issues” such as human rights and gender, have been really neglected and this, I think, reflects the fact that the minister doesn’t view such issues as important for development work.”

Terence Wood says he agrees with the report’s findings that New Zealand needs to give more aid.

Radio New Zealand International

TOK PISIN

20) Ol West Papua Grup igat MSG Observor luksave

Updated 26 June 2015, 16:03 AEST
Sam Seke

Melanesian Spearhead Group Leaders miting long Honiara i wanbel pinis long givim Observer Status long ol pipol blong West Papua thru long United Liberation Movement for West Papua.

Odio: Sam Seke i ripot long tingting blong MSG lidas long givim Observor status long West Papua United Liberation Front
Odio: Benny Wenda, tokman blong ol United Liberation Movement for West Papua i toktok wantem Sam Seke

Melanesian Spearhead Group Leaders miting long Honiara i wanbel pinis long givim Observer Status long ol pipol blong West Papua thru long United Liberation Movement for West Papua.

Papua New Guinea Praim Minista Peter O’Neill nau i itokaut long dispela aste nait, pastaim long MSG Secretariat i itokaut long wanpela Joint Communiqué long ol samting ol lida ibin wanbel longen.

Long wankain taim, Mr O’Neill i tok ol MSG lida i wanbel long apim moa status blong Indonesia lusim Observer igo long Associate Member.

Ol United Liberation Movement for West Papua i bin askim long kamap Full memba long Melanesian Spearhead Group, ino Observer Status.

Na dispela disisin blong ol MSG Lida i bringim ol kaen kaen wari na bikpla tinging long lida na pipol long Melanesia husat i kampen strong long sapotim ol West Papua.

Gavana blong Oro Province long Papua New Guinea, Gary Juffa i tokim Pacific Beat olsem, dispela tingting emi i givim sampela luksave long ol West Papua long MSG.

Tasol Member blong West Makira long Solomon Islands palamen, Derrick Manuari i tok solidariti muvmen blong ol ino hamamas long dispela MSG disisin.

Mr Manuari i tok bai ol i gohet long fait long sapotim West Papua thru long MSG em Solomon Islands i nau chair longen.

Long wankain taim, ol United Liberation Movement for West Papua i tok ol i hamamas long ol Melanesian Spearhead Lida i wanbel long givim Observer Status long ol.

Tokman blong ol, Benny Wenda i tok ol ibin kempen had wantaim sapot blong ol pipol long rijin, na dispela i wanpela step klostu long kamap memba blong MSG.ABC

21) Ol pipal smagla i yusim boda blong PNG na Indonesia

Postim 29 June 2015, 16:02 AEST
Caroline Tiriman

Het blong polis long Western Provins blong Papua New Guinea i toaut long ol wok i stap long kisim hait ol pipol igo long Australia.

PNG gavman imas strongim wok sekiuriti long boa blong kantri
Provinsal polis komanda long Western Provins we Daru istap long en, Silva Sika itok ol pipal smagla nau istat long iusim ol bodamak namel long Papua New Guinea na Indonesia long bringim hait ol pipal igo insait long Australia.

Mr Sika i tok olsem bihain long ol i bin stopim tripla pipal blong India long Western Provins na bringim ol igo long Port Moresby haus kalabus aste.

Long wik igo pinis, Komisina blong polis long PNG Gary Baki ibin tokaut olsem emi lukim Daru town bai nap kamap olsem wanpla ples we ol trabalman na peopkle smugglers isave iusim long bringima hait ol pipal long Australia.

Ol nambis blong Papua New Guinea istap olsem 4 pela kilomita tasol longwe long Saibai Island long Australia.

Nau Mr Sika itok National gavman imas tingting gut nau long lukautim ol bodamak na national sikiuriti blong en.ABC

22) PNG i sting long korapsan: Sam Basil

Updated 29 June 2015, 16:10 AEST

Caroline Tiriman

Deputy Oposisan Lida long Papua New Guinea, Sam Basil i tok PNG emi sting tru long korapsan.

PNG lawyer, Harvey Maladina
Mr Basil i sutim tok tu long ol niusman-meri long PNG long ol imas sem long oli no wok strong long tokaut long despla heve.

Em i mekim dispela toktok bihaen long Special Broadcasting Service blong Australia ibin tokaut olsem tupla sinia lawyer ibin tokaut long ol rot em ol pipal iken bihaenim long surikim ol korap moni namel long Australia na Papua New Guinea.

Despla tupla Lawyer, Greg Sheppard na Harvey Maladina ibin tokim despla televisan progrem long SBS long Tunde nait olsem igat ol kaen kaen wei em ol pipal iken salim moni lusim PNG ikam long Australia.

Siaman bifo blong Anti korapsan laen, Task Force Sweep, Sam Koim ibin askim Australia long lukluk long despla kaen pasin na wokbung wantem PNG long stopim ol PNG pipal isave surikim moni ikam long Australia.ABC

23) Pacific Games medal winas bai kisim PNG Bilum

Updated 26 June 2015, 14:39 AEST
Caroline Tiriman

Pasin blong givim bilum long narapla man oa meri emi soim bikpla luksave na wanbel igo long husat i kisim despla bilum.

Odio: Florence Kamel blong Jauka Bilum Products blong Goroka itoktok wantem Caroline Tiriman

Pasin blong givim bilum long narapla man oa meri emi soim bikpla luksave na wanbel igo long husat i kisim despla bilum.

Florence Kamel blong Jauka Bilum Products blong Goroka i mekim despla toktok taem oli wok long redi-im ol bilum blong givim igo long ol sportsman-meri em bai kisim ol Pacific Games medal long mun bihaen.

Laen blong Pacific Games Organising Committee iwok bung wantem ol mama long Port Moresby na ol mama blong Eastern Highlands provins.

Bilum emi wanpla samting emi sanap makim Papua New Guinea stret, olsem na oli laikim ol medal winas long kisim wanpla liklik hap blong PNG taem oli go bek long ol ples blong ol.

2015 Pacific Games bai stat long Port Moresby long namba 4 July igo inap long namba 18 July.ABC

FRENCH

24) Brèves du Pacifique – lundi 29 juin 2015

Mis à jour 29 June 2015, 16:08 AEST

Élodie Largenton

La table-ronde australienne sur le climat : c’est le nom d’un groupe hétéroclite qui vient de se former pour pousser le gouvernement à définir une politique claire en matière d’environnement. 

(Credit: ABC)
Entreprises, syndicats, investisseurs ou encore organisations environnementales ont décidé de faire cause commune, alors que la grande conférence de Paris sur le climat approche et que l’Australie n’a toujours pas annoncé son objectif en matière de réductions d’émissions de gaz à effet de serre. On veut une stabilité politique, explique le directeur général du groupe industriel AI Group, Innes Willox : « Depuis dix ans, les politiques menées ne cessent de changer du tout au tout et on n’en peut plus. Il faut qu’on arrive à se mettre d’accord et comme cela, quand on ira à Paris, on pourra s’appuyer sur ces principes et tous défendre la même ligne. » Ce qui est en jeu, selon lui, c’est la stabilité économique du pays.
Une enquête a été lancée en Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée après la diffusion d’un reportage à la télévision australienne, montrant des avocats papous en train d’expliquer comment blanchir de l’argent sale en Australie sans se faire repérer. Plusieurs plaintes ont été déposées, indique le gouvernement papou, et le Premier ministre, Peter O’Neill, demande à l’Australie de l’aider à mener l’enquête. Rappelons que le dirigeant papou a été formellement accusé de fraude et de blanchiment d’argent, il y a un an.
D’ordinaire peu bavard, le gouvernement de Nauru communique pour donner sa version des faits. À la suite d’une manifestation devant le Parlement, trois députés de l’opposition ont été arrêtés et sont actuellement en prison. Il ne s’agissait pas d’une manifestation, mais d’une émeute, affirment les autorités. La menace est bien réelle, et plusieurs policiers ont été blessés, déclare le ministre de la Justice, David Adeang. Il annonce qu’une vidéo des événements sera bientôt diffusée pour prouver tout cela. Rappelons qu’un autre député de l’opposition a vu son passeport être annulé, officiellement « pour raisons de sécurité ».
Aux Îles Fidji, un député suspendu prend la tête du principal parti d’opposition, le Sodelpa. Le mois dernier, Ratu Naiqamaa été exclu du Parlement pour deux ans, après avoir insulté une députée du parti au pouvoir. Il a été élu président du Sodelpa samedi dernier, au cours d’une assemblée générale du parti. Il est chargé de définir la stratégie de l’opposition en vue des élections de 2018.
Le gouvernement des Îles Cook assure ne pas se sentir menacé par l’opposition. Depuis plusieurs semaines, l’équipe d’Henry Puna est sous le feu des critiques, accusée notamment de vouloir se détacher de la Nouvelle-Zélande. Des rumeurs de tentatives de renversement sont régulièrement rapportées et le gouvernement cherche à abréger les débats sur le budget. Il faut dire que le Premier ministre ne dispose que d’une très faible majorité – une seule voix de plus que l’opposition. Malgré cela, le bureau du Premier ministre assure que le gouvernement travaille normalement. Les critiques viennent de l’opposition, mais la population tient à ce que cette équipe continue de gouverner, affirme le directeur de cabinet d’Henry Puna.ABC.

PASIFIK

25) Position of PIDF Secretary General advertised
By Online Editor
8:33 pm GMT+12, 28/06/2015, Fiji

The position of Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Development Forum has been advertised but Fiji citizens will not be accepted.

Fijian diplomat Amenatave Yauvoli held the post in an acting capacity until recently.

He is expected to join the regional environment programme, SPREP. The PIDF is a regional organization set up to counter the influence of the Pacific Islands Forum Srcretariat and it’s major sponsors, Australia and New Zealand.

An advertisement in local newspapers specifically noted that the position was available to citizens of all small island developing states except Fiji.

The successful applicant will be expected to have a strong background in strategic leadership, research and development, organizational management and membership support services.

SOURCE: ISLANDS BUSINESS/PACNEWS

WORLD

26) Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank: Australia sixth biggest shareholder in China bank

Updated 29 June 2015, 18:45 AEST
By Huey Fern Tay in Beijing

Australia has become a major shareholder in the first China-led multilateral institution, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

Representatives from 50 countries, including Treasurer Joe Hockey, took part in a signing ceremony of the articles of agreement at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

China’s finance ministry said seven other countries that applied to join did not sign the agreement because they did not yet have domestic approval.

China is the largest shareholder in the bank, with a stake of 30.34 per cent.

Australia is the sixth largest, committing around $930 million over five years to finance infrastructure projects in Asia.

The private sector will also be involved.

Australia, the United States and Japan once shared concerns about the way the AIIB would be governed.

However Australia signalled its readiness to join the bank a few months ago.

In a statement the Treasurer’s office said: “All members will be directly involved in the direction and decision-making of the bank in an open and transparent manner”.

China is keeping the door open for anyone else who wants to join the multilateral institution that they hope to have fully operational by the end of the year.

China’s vice minister for finance, Shi Yaobin, said potential additional members have until then to sort out their “internal procedure”.

The United States and Japan have not announced a change of heart.

The AIIB is considered a major foreign policy success for China and is seen as a challenger to the US-led World Bank and Japan-led Asian Development Bank.

Beijing has repeatedly assured others the AIIB that was first proposed in October 2013 will complement existing international institutions.ABC

HEALTH

27) Heart by-pass surgery now available in PNG

29 June 2015

Coronary artery bypass surgery is now available in Papua New Guinea after Pacific International Hospital made history by conducting two operations.

The Post Courier reports the hospital’s deputy chair Mathias Sapuri as saying he was proud to announce the surgery could now be done in the country.

Dr Sapuri says it is historic as the hospital can now conduct open heart operations for all conditions at all times and people won’t have to travel or wait for the annual open heart programme.RNZI

EDUCATION

28) Peer pressure blamed for rise in drug abuse

Atasa Moceituba
Monday, June 29, 2015

PEER pressure is the common reason students experiment with drugs.

This was revealed by police chief operations officer ACP Rusiate Tudravu during the Drug Awareness program at Ratu Kadavulevu School last week.

Mr Tudravu said drugs challenged children to indulge in unhealthy behaviours.

With marijuana, glue sniffing and alcohol identified as the most common forms of drugs used by youths in Fiji, he said the challenge now was to stop and convince youths and students from abusing these substances.

He said marijuana was the most common form of drug in circulation.

“Reasons young people have given for taking drugs are to fit in, to escape or relax, to relieve boredom, to seem grown-up, to rebel or to experiment,” Mr Tudravu said.

He said most of those found either planting or using marijuana were under the age of 25.

Mr Tudravu reminded students they must be equipped with the right knowledge in order to face the challenges ahead.

He said everything started at home and lack of respect was one of the reasons people took drugs.

“Drugs affect more than just you.

“If you love and appreciate everything your parents and teachers are doing for your education, then stay away from drugs.”FijiTimes

29) Reddy: Education audit reveals abuse of grants

By LUKE RAWALAI
Monday, June 29, 2015

Update: 5:40PM AN audit carried out by the Ministry of Education revealed that 20 per cent of school managements abused grants given to them by the Government.

Speaking at the Northern Division School Association Management in Labasa, Education Minister Doctor Mahendra Reddy said he expected the figures to rise as the audit continued.

Dr Reddy said this was one of the reasons they were forming alliances with school management associations around the country after beginning in the West last month.

“You have been given the powers under the Education Act to be the custodians of the school while the head teacher will deal with operational matters of the school,” he said.Fijitimes

30) Fiji Higher Education Commission first in the region
By Online Editor
8:26 pm GMT+12, 28/06/2015, Fiji

The Fiji Higher Education Commission has established itself as the first external quality assurance agency for tertiary education to be entered in the Regional Register.

An international team appointed by the Asia Pacific Quality Register(APQR) visited the institution to review their operations at the invitation of the Commission.

The international review team paid a courtesy visit to the Minister for Education  Dr Mahendra Reddy this week to discuss issues regarding the review undertaken at the Fiji Higher Education Commission.

The review team comprised of Professor Colin Peiris, Professor Dr Jianxn Zhang and Dr Jeannette Baird. The three experts have a wealth of experience chairing international panels and spearheading many quality assurance programmes.

Minister Reddy expressed his appreciation to the group for their work and said that this will assist in raising the standard of delivery in the higher education sector.

“This will greatly boost the vision of the government to have a knowledge based society and to fully equip the national intellectual capital. This quality assurance review will surely ensure that there is improvement in the systems and processes which will have a positive impact in the quality of students trained in higher education sectors,” Minister Reddy said.

The review panel will make a report to the APQR with recommendation. The report will also include suggestions for further improvements.

The chairperson of the review team, Professor Collin Peiris said that it is fair to say that the panel has been deeply impressed by the achievement of the FHEC in a short period of five years. He added that the team is grateful for the initiative shown by FHEC in asking for this review on international standards for quality assurance agencies for Tertiary Education.

Minister Reddy stated this quality assurance review will certainly assist in addressing the problems faced by industries on the quality of output churned by tertiary training providers.

“This review will have a direct bearing on the training providers and the impact will boost our national intellectual capital to have that competitive edge in the labour market,” Minister Reddy said…PACNEWS

SOURCE: DINFO/PACNEWS

POLITIC


31) Lalabalavu leads SODELPA party
By Online Editor
5:03 pm GMT+12, 28/06/2015, Fiji
Suspended Fijian parliamentarian Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu is SODELPA’S new president.

This was revealed by  Fiji Opposition leader Ro Teimumu Kepa , following the party’s AGM on the weekend.

Ro Teimumu said Ratu Naiqama has been voted in as president, replacing Ratu Silivenusi Waqausa, who tendered his resignation some months ago.

She said representatives and members of the party who were present at yesterday’s AGM voted Ratu Naiqama to be the president for the next two years.

“We all looking to his contribution, because this is the first time that he is holding any position in the party and we really look forward to his contribution in terms of work and what the party needs to do in regard to the Nadave workshop that was held last year,” Ro Teimumu said.

“He will take up his post straight after the AGM because the formalisation has gone through.”

She said the party was grateful for everything Ratu Silivenusi had done for them.

“He was our president and we are very grateful to him for being a leader through the difficult times from pre-election and post election,” she said.

SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

LAND

32) Dion: Foreigners should respect law, people

Source:
The National, Monday June 29th, 2015

DEPUTY Prime Minister Leo Dion has warned of what he has described as “a very dangerous trend developing in the country that Papua New Guineans should be aware of”.
He said while the country welcomed foreign-owned companies to invest in the country and create employment, they should respect the people and abide by the country’s laws.
“Foreigners must not indulge in our internal politics and use the power of money to take sides and influence politics and administrative decision-making,” he said.
“There is a trend of unfair competitive advantage in the allocation of prime land to 100 per cent foreign-owned business and companies in Kokopo and indeed for that matter in East New Britain and around the country.
“We must not condone heavy-handed tactics and intimidation that cause suffering and human rights violations at the hands of foreigners in our own land at the expense of economic developments.
“We must resolve these matters through peaceful means.”
He said land must remain “our birth right and the government through the Minister for Commerce Trade and Industry Richard Maru was progressing a policy with legislation to ensure equity participation by our indigenous people with foreign-owned companies.”
He said illegal squatting on State land and traditional land was a growing concern that should be addressed through existing strategies like the land mobilisation, land settlement and the urban and regional development policy of the provincial government. “Unless we take control of this now, this trend will become a time bomb that will explode in a similar situation like what we have seen in Honiara, the Solomon Islands, a few years back.”

MEDIA


33) Fiji Television handed 12 year broadcast licence
By Online Editor
5:16 pm GMT+12, 28/06/2015, Fiji

Fiji Television Limited’s broadcast license has been extended to 12 years.

Attorney General and Communications Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum made the announcement saying this extension comes with certain conditions.

Fiji Television was allocated the license to headline the spectrum allocation as well.

“As with other broadcast licence holders; what will happen is Fiji TV is that as soon as the switch over from analog to digital switch takes place, this licence will than be valid to reflect the digital spectrum and obviously number of changes takes place.

For the first time in Fiji’s history we have got such specific spectrum allocation for each of the separate stations. For example, you have different stations throughout Fiji. Each station is given specific spectrum and the conditions under which they operate as it is done with everyone else and we have the Fiji TV broadcasting licence for a period of 12 years. Obviously this is all going to change once we have digital television in place,” Sayed-Khaiyum said.

It’s welcomed news for the company as the country prepares to move onto the digital broadcast platform.

“This is a good step forward. Going forward on compliance and financial purposes for strategic reasons  for Fiji TV has to increase its local content. Financially its really good for us to improve and also our audience who have been watching all the important programmes they want local content. So going forward we will see a much more number of local content,” FHL chief executive, Nouzab Fareed said.

Fiji TV’s six month broadcast license was to expire on 30 June.

SOURCE: FIJI TV/PACNEWS

BUSINESS

34) Fijians given ultimatum to declare offshore accounts within 4 months
By Online Editor
5:15 pm GMT+12, 28/06/2015, Fiji

Fijians will need to declare their offshore accounts in the next four months.

According to Fiji’s Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, the new deadline is 15 October.

Government amnesty period has been extended until then.

“We had so far about $13.5 million (US$6.4 million) worth of assets have been declared by Fijians. Now this extension is until the 15th of October. we are giving people more time. A lot more people are finding the will now to come forward and declare these assets,” Sayed-Khaiyum said.

Sayed-Khaiyum says going forward from 2016, certain taxable charges will be levied.

Severe penalties will be taxed on Fiji citizens who pay taxes here but fail to declare their offshore accounts.

“I want to assure all these people who have assets offshore; please feel free to come forward and declare your assets. If you don’t and we discover, there will be very heavy penalties,” the attorney general added.

Meanwhile, the Fijian Government has applauded the Fiji National Provident Fund’s financial performance.

As a result, the FNPF has been able to declare an interest of 6 percent for financial year June 30th 2015

This means the Fund will pay out 224.8 million (US$107.7 million) in interest to members last week.

“These rates of return are actually certified by accruals. It is also certified that there is enough solvency. In other words you have a solvency ticket to say there is enough funds to look after everybody even after they retire,” said the attorney general, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

SOURCE: FIJI TV/PACNEWS

35 ) PNG PM: Melanesia Will Benefit From PNG Economy
PNG growth been over 9% for last decade

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, June 27, 2015) –Papua New Guinea’s prime minister, Peter O’Neill says the economic wealth and prosperity of Papua New Guinea must be shared, and benefit all Melanesian countries.

Mr O’Neill was speaking when commissioning the Papua New Guinea chancery in Honiara, Solomon Islands.

He says PNG businesses are slowly spreading to the other Melanesian countries, not to be dominant, but to share their economic success by creating jobs and generating tax income for local governments.

Mr O’Neill says PNG’s economy is growing at a rate of 9-percent for the past 10 to 14 years, and it will continue to grow at the same rate for the next 10 to 14 years time.

Peter O’Neill says PNG plans to open a chancery in Paris, and also one in Suva.

Radio New Zealand International

LAW&ORDER,CORRUPTION+

36) High Level Inquiry Into PNG Law Firm
Corruption charges over bribes to Aus politicians

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, June 29, 2015) –A Papua New Guinea lawyer has denied that he has been advising people on how to funnel corrupt money from PNG into Australia.

In secretly-filmed video broadcast by the Australian broadcaster SBS last week, PNG lawyer Greg Sheppard was shown saying the only way to bribe foreign politicians was in small amounts, disguised as commercial transactions.

However, he denies any wrongdoing, and says he was misinterpreted. He says it is a crime to film someone without their permission.

The allegations aired in the SBS documentary have prompted a high-level inquiry in PNG, with the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff, Issac Lupari, saying a number of serious claims were aired.

The investigation will cover all government cases being handled by Mr Sheppard’s firm, Young and Williams.

Radio New Zealand International

REFUGEE,ASYLUM+

37) PNG breaking international law by restricting movement of refugees on Manus Island, says UN

By Online Editor
8:37 pm GMT+12, 28/06/2015, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea is breaking international law by restricting the freedom of movement of refugees on Manus Island, the United Nations says.

Refugees who are part of the Australia-funded offshore processing system remain effectively under “island arrest” until the PNG government approves a resettlement policy, which was due to be completed a year ago.

Iranian civil engineer Reza Mollagholipour thought he was doing the right thing and organised job interviews in Port Moresby. He borrowed money for a flight to prepare for his new life as a refugee in PNG.

But his plans and his spirits were crushed when PNG’s chief migration officer forbade him to travel.

“I am really confused … I don’t know why I was given a PNG document and work permit [but] I am not allowed to leave Manus Island,” Mollagholipour said in a letter to PNG and Australian officials earlier this month.

“Let’s show the world that you are not lower than developed countries and that you are planning very well with this new project for your country.”

There are currently 43 men in the same position as Mollagholipour.

Their asylum applications have been processed, they have been released from detention and are living at the Australia-funded Lorengau transit centre on Manus Island.

Almost two years after former prime minister Kevin Rudd signed the Refugee Resettlement Agreement with PNG, no refugees have been resettled.

Those waiting say the legal limbo has added to their anguish.

“What makes me crazy is that everything they are telling about the law … which law? I leave detention and I’m free, you told me I’m free,” Mollagholipour said.

A spokesman for the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) said the travel restrictions imposed on the men was not legal.

“Under international law, the fundamental right to liberty and the prohibition of arbitrary detention applies to all people regardless of their immigration or other status, including asylum seekers and refugees,” the UNHCR spokesman said.

“Contracting states to the 1951 Refugee Convention are obliged to provide refugees lawfully within their territory the right to choose their place of residence to move freely within its territory, subject to limited exceptions.”

PNG has defended its right to stop refugees leaving Manus Island.

“The government of PNG does not want to restrict any freedoms of refugees and does not do so lightly,” PNG’s acting chief migration officer, Esther Gaegaming, said in a statement.

“However, we also have a duty of care to ensure that refugees are adequately prepared to successfully and safely settle in Papua New Guinea.”

Gaegaming said PNG’s government was confident of its legal footing.

“The state solicitor of PNG has provided advice that the instruction of the chief migration officer [to restrict travel] is compliant with PNG’s constitution, the Migration Act 1978, and the Ministerial Instrument gazetted under S15C of that act.”

But refugee law expert Madeline Gleeson from the University of New South Wales has questioned PNG’s legal position.

“Domestic law and policy must be consistent with the legal obligations that states voluntarily assume under international law,” she said.

“International law recognises that there may be cases where some limits on a person’s freedom of movement may be necessary, and so certain exceptions that accommodate this reality are built into the human rights standard itself,” she said.

“Preventing refugees from leaving Manus Island to attend job interviews does not appear to be a reasonable and proportionate way of achieving one of the objectives that would justify such a restriction, such as the protection of national security, the rights of others, or public order, health or morals, and may be discriminatory,” she said

SOURCE: ABC/PACNEWS

CLIMATE CHANGE,CONSERVATION,ENVIROMENT

38) Recycling machines to preserve environment

Josaia Ralago
Monday, June 29, 2015

A LABASA company has invested millions of dollars into recycling machines in an effort to preserve the environment.

PINTO Industries Ltd has set a benchmark for other companies in the North through its mission to encourage the communities to keep a clean environment.

Speaking at the Duavata Northern Crime Prevention Carnival last week, the company’s managing director, Nileshni Narayan, said they had been working to ensure that littering was minimised in the North.

While she was unable to reveal the cost of the machines, Mrs Narayan said it was important for people to know the reasons to save the environment.

“As the manufacturer of plastic and drink bottles in the Northern Division, we are investing millions of dollars every year in importing raw materials, buying machinery and employing people in our factory to manufacture all types of plastic products.

“These products are sold and used by all of us in our homes, workplace, communities, towns and cities, locally and abroad.

“Our company has purchased additional machines to recycle our waste plastic products.”Fijitimes

MINING,FORESTRY,AGRICULTURE,FISHERIES,TOURISM

39) PNG minister says seafloor mining close

29 June 2015

The Papua New Guinea Mining Minister Byron Chan is confident the mining of copper and gold on the seafloor in the Bismarck Sea will start soon.

The National newspaper reports he recently went to Newcastle in Britain to see Nautilus Minerals offshore mining tools being manufactured and assembled.

He told the paper that he can now say with confidence that he has seen the equipment and that seafloor mining within the Bismarck Sea will soon be a reality.

The planned Bismarck Sea mining operation by Nautilus Minerals is expected to be the world’s first sea-floor mining operation.RNZI

WOMAN,YOUTH,CHILD

40) Mother and baby survive drifting off Bougainville

29 June 2015

A mother and her baby clung to the remnants of a boat and drifted for more than 24 hours off Bougainville at the weekend, surviving a boating mishap on the way to the Carteret Islands.

The pair were among a party of teachers who set out from Buka on Saturday morning to their jobs on the islands, which lie 86 kilometres northeast of Bougainville.

A search is continuing for two people still missing after the boat took on water during attempts to refuel in heavy seas.

The manager of Bougainville’s Disaster Office, Franklin Lacey, said the mother and her 18-month-old drifted for about 30 kilometres before coming ashore.

“Somehow she got some debris from the sunken boat and got her baby on the debris and they floated. They floated to one of the islands in the Carteret Islands – Iangain Island. They are OK; they are OK. They’re safe and sound on the island. They are with the health authorities on the island now.”

Mr Lacey said three boats were still searching for the missing pair but five others also survived, although he was unsure how they came ashore due to patchy communication with the islands.

He said helicopters from the US Navy’s USNS Mercy also helped in the search.RNZI

41) Act sets benchmark for protection of children in PNG
By Online Editor
10:38 pm GMT+12, 28/06/2015, Papua New Guinea

The drafting of the Lukautim Pikinini Act is in order and sets a benchmark for the protection of children in Papua New Guinea, says Secretary Constitutional and Law Reform Commission (CLRC), Dr Eric Kwa.

Kwa said CLRC had helped the Department of Youth, Religion and Community Development draft the bill.

“The actual Bill took almost took five years. When we came in we got it completed within 12 months. It is now in the process of getting the Act through to be certified,” he said.

“Our partners First Legislative Council is handling the Child Protection Policy and working on the legislation.
“Child Protection Policy is the mirror for the Lukautim Pikinini Act. There are still the outstanding forms and regulation of the details which are being fine-tuned.

“There needs to be more clarity and new forms would be required which is what the the Legislative Council is working on now.

“We have a committee comprising CLRC, Public Solicitor, Community Development, Department of Justice and Attorney General, Office of the Legislative Council, Department of National Planning, Department of Community Development, Correctional Services, police and Juvenile Justice and Public Solicitors Office.

“All these relevant partners have been working on the draft Act which repelled the Infant’s Act and, Deserted wife’s and Children’s Act.

“For the first time husbands can also claim maintenance and custody over the child. The law will also address issues of child marriages, child labour and pregnant mothers in prison.

“As part of the process of implementing the Pikininin Lukautim Act, a new Family Court would be set up by the Magisterial Services to address cases relating to this.

“It’s parental responsibility for their children and it’s good that this law is addressing both parents to be responsible.”

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

EVENT

42) Chimbu dancers ready for Games

Source:
The National, Monday June 29th, 2015

By SAMSON JOHN
A WOMEN’S group from Chimbu is preparing to display bilas and songs during the opening of the Pacific Games in Port Moresby on Saturday.
The Five-Mile Down Base women’s group is in Port Moresby after travelling from the Elimbari Range of Chuave district, in Chimbu.
The women held a rehearsal at the 5-Mile park which attracted a crowd who watched them with their beautiful traditional bilas and songs as they danced and shook their heads to the beat of kundu drums. The group is one of four selected by the Games organising committee to represent Chimbu at the Games opening.
The group’s president Rose Bomai said they were happy to represent Chimbu.
“We will make sure that we put on a memorable display during the opening ceremony so that we’ll promote our rich culture and tradition to our visitors,” she said.
“We will do a final rehearsal this Friday at the Sir John Guise Stadium and on Saturday we’ll perform.”
The group had performed at the recent APEC women’s meeting in Port Moresby and during the visit of Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo.

SPORT

43) Team officials arrive at Games Village

Source:
The National, Monday June 29th, 2015

THE first group of Pacific Games officials have arrived in the country, with teams arriving from tomorrow.
Officials for Team Vanuatu and Team Tahiti arrived for the delegation registration meetings ahead of the athletes and team officials.
Officials of Team Vanuatu, Tahiti and Cook Islands have already checked out the Games Village. Australia’s advance party will arrive today.
The team officials are making sure that arrangements by the Games organising committee are in place before teams arrive.
Committee chairman Peter Stewart said: “We are so excited to be welcoming the first representatives of teams to the village. We served over 80 meals for the first time in the village dining hall. So our Games Village is open for business.”
The early arrivals include an observer delegation from the Samoa 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games. They are residing at the Games Village.

44) Vanuatu beach volleyballers upbeat despite defeat

29 June 2015

Vanuatu are staying upbeat despite another loss at the Beach Volleyball World Championships in the Netherlands.

Miller Pata and Linline Matauatu started strongly in their second pool game against the Brazilian duo of Maria Antonelli and Juliana Felisberta Da Silva in Amsterdam, leading 3-1 in the opening set before the South Americans took control to win 21-16.

The Pacific pairing got out to another early lead at 2-0 in the second set before eventually going down 21-13.

Coming off a three set loss to Germany, Linline Matauatu says it was always going to be tough against last year’s World Tour champions.

“We know that they are the top team in the world so we’re really happy to play against Brazil. We start the first game and they are good players but we tried our best to play against Brazil”.

Vanuatu face newcomers Algeria in their final pool clash this evening.RNZI

45) PNG Hunters win ninth straight game

29 June 2015

The Papua New Guinea Hunters have climbed to second in the Queensland Cup rugby league standings after extending their winning run to nine matches.

Captain Israel Eliab bagged four tries as the Hunters thrashed Central Queensland Capras 68-4 in Kokopo yesterday to leapfrog the Ipswich Jets, who were beaten by defending champions the Northern Pride.

Competition leaders Townsville are level with the Hunters on 26 points but have played one less game.

Their Round 16 clash against the Sunshine Coast Falcons was cancelled following the death of Falcons forward James Ackerman, who suffered a head injury in a tackle five minutes into their games against Norths Devils the previous weekend.

He died in hospital two days later and the rugby league community showed their support at the weekend by taking a #‎takeakneeforackers.

The PNG Hunters are away to the Redcliffe Dolphins on Sunday and have a bye next weekend, during which 13 members of their squad, and head coach Michael Marum, will be involved in the Papua New Guinea team competing in the rugby league nines competition at the Pacific Games.RNZI

46) Ryder in jail

Serafina Silaitoga
Monday, June 29, 2015

TWINKLE-toed rugby player William Ryder is serving a prison sentence for failing to pay maintenance.

France-based Ryder, who was sent to the Vaturekuka Corrections Centre last Wednesday, is serving a 28-day sentence.

It is understood that the maintenance totals $1789. Corrections department media officer Kuini Waqasavou confirmed Ryder was in prison.

“We can confirm that he is at the Vaturekuka Correction Centre in Labasa. Other than this, we cannot reveal any other details,” she said.

The French-based player, who was interviewed by this newspaper earlier this month, was arrested at his home in Nabouwalu.

Ryder, who is on holiday from his French-based club, has been part of the Bua provincial team since his arrival in early June.

In an earlier interview, he said there were plans to develop his home team. He said he had just signed a ten-year contract with his French club after which he intends to return home.

Ryder had joined Rupeni Caucau in the Bua rugby team that played against Seaqaqa in Labasa.Fijitimes

w: www.voiceofmelanesia.com

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