Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1112 ( Wednesday 22 July )


1) Investment bank a bold move, says Volavola

Ropate Valemei
Wednesday, July 22, 2015

IF the Melanesian Spearhead Group Investment Bank (MSGIB) contributes to providing an enabling environment to help businesses through infrastructure development then it is all well and good, says Pacific Islands Private Sector Organistion (PIPSO) CEO Mereia Volavola.

However, Ms Volavola said one should always be mindful of the management structure of the investment bank and its ability to manage its balance sheet.

Ms Volavola’s comments followed the recent announcement of the proposed bank in Suva last week.

She said the move by MSG to have an investment bank was bold and believed it would have conducted a feasibility study on the matter.

“One of the key constraints in doing business in the Pacific, especially for local businesses (SMEs), is access to finance,” Ms Volavola said.

“Despite the presence of many international banks and local banks including the development banks, this problem continues to persist.

“If the MSG investment bank is able to address that then it is well and good. Based on the newspaper report, it states that the key purpose of this MSG Investment bank is to finance infrastructure which they hope will bring about the desired investment level in the country to boost economic growth and that loans are repaid on time.”

However, she said funding infrastructure was not easy and was an investment that needed to have a viable return.

Otherwise, she said the bank would have a lot of unpaid loans.Fijitimes

2) New programme to help women in business

The National, Wednesday July 22nd, 2015

 THE National Development Bank Investment Ltd (NDBI) will be launching a new women in business incubator targeting disadvantaged women, an official says.
Chief executive officer Des Yaninen said the programme would offer training, mentoring, management support and funding.
He said NDBI would add another programme to the range of business incubators they currently offer.
Yaninen said Style Stret was one of two retail shop models developed as part of the government’s run business incubator Stret Pasin Stores. 
He said the business incubation programme launched in March this year would see 10 Papua New Guinean couples operate their own businesses with funding, mentoring and support provided by NDBI throughout the scheme. 
Yaninen said the scheme aimed to stimulate locally owned and operated retail businesses in our country.
“Style Stret is a high grade new and used clothing shop for the family which has revolutionised the clothing industry,” Yaninen explained. 
“The high returns which come with the retail of new and used clothing in PNG has led the way for the industry to continue to grow over the years. 
“Affordable for the average consumer while being able to yield a satisfactory profit, the trade of used clothing is a lucrative business venture of choice for many of our local entrepreneurs.” The said there were two fully operational Style Stret shops in PNG one of which is in Goroka a- opened in down town Port Moresby. 
“Both shops will be managed by local couples who were successful applicants of the Stret Pasin Store scheme.”
He said applications for next batch of participants under the scheme would be opening early next year.
“NDBI is set to open more shops under this scheme in various locations around the country. We have been put to task by the government to expand the scope of SME incubators we provide from just shops to other business types like guest houses and workshops,” Yaninen said.
He further said NDBI had accepted the challenge and were expanding their range of programmes. 
“We (NDBI) are confident that with the ongoing support of the Government, we can deliver for PNG,” Yaninen said.
3) Kanak Population Of New Caledonia Growing

Kanak’s are now 39% of population, Europeans are 27%

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, July 21, 2015) – Figures just released from New Caledonia’s 2014 census show the Kanak population is now 39 percent of the population, with Europeans making up 27 percent.

The census details released by the Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies show the territory’s population has grown by nearly 10 percent since the previous census in 2009 to reach 268,767.

That is an annual increase of 1.8 percent.

The French Polynesian population in New Caledonia is growing while the Wallisian and Futuna community now makes up a smaller percentage than previously, at 8.2 percent.

The statistics also show that Kanaks constitute 94 percent of the population of the Loyalty Islands and 70 percent in the Northern Province.

Seventy five percent of the territory’s total population is in the Southern Province, with a third of them European, just over a quarter Kanak and nearly 11 percent from Wallis and Futuna.

Radio New Zealand International 

4a) Vanuatu Daily News Digest | Bribery case postponed

by bobmakin

The news of today is essentially the alleged bribery case involving 6 ministers of government, 12 government MPs and one other – a businessman. Jane Joshua’s Daily Post front page reporting from an absolutely packed courtroom lacking microphones and speakers is impeccable. Radio Vanuatu did not cover the news in its early edition today.

Owing to an absence of certain legal representation, the Preliminary Inquiry appears amicably re-scheduled to 2.30 pm August 7. It will be a matter of greater interest at that time, too, as the Acting Public Prosecutor, John William Timakata, will have the assistance of the new Public Prosecutor, recruited from the UK by the former government, whilst Timakata’s contract has been extended. Present ministers involved in the case are: Moana Carcasses, Willie Jimmy, Serge Vohor, Hosea Nevu, Tony Nari and Thomas Laken.

4b) Calls for a government service centre in Rabi – The people of Rabi have requested for a government service centre on the island, where they can easily access government services. Speaking at the National Development Plan consultation on the island, Rabi Council of Leaders Executive Director, David Christopher says it is too costly for the people to cross to Savusavu to access social welfare services and other agencies.


5) Call for joint effort

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

THE leaders of the Polynesian countries have adopted a declaration calling for international recognition of their countries’ vulnerability to climate change.

The Polynesia Against Climate Threats declaration calls for a joint effort to protect the ocean and the environment, and will be taken to world leaders at a major climate change conference in December.

The declaration was signed by the leaders in French Polynesia last Friday, and highlights the region’s vulnerability to extreme weather events, loss of territorial integrity, and the displacement of populations as a result of climate change.

The leaders say they want the international community to limit global warming to below 1.5 degrees celsius by 2100.

6) Tonga seeks QMS agreement with Fiji
By Online Editor
11:07 pm GMT+12, 21/07/2015, Tonga

By Vuniwaqa Bari-Bola  
Tonga Meteorological Services has sought an agreement with Fiji for Quality Management Service (QMS), a requirement of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).
Tonga Met Director Ofa Fa’anunu informed his Fijian counterpart Ravind Kumar of the need to have an agreement on forecast provided for aviation between the two countries.
Speaking to Fiji Times in Nuku’alofa, Fa’anunu explained that currently Fiji provides information on aviation and weather forecast to a few Pacific Island Countries. For Quality Management Services (QMS), the WMO requires an agreement from Fiji to allow them to be certified for QMS.
Fa’anunu revealed Tonga’s frustration at the 3rd PMC meeting currently underway in Nuku’alofa.
“We’ve had some difficulty in the past and up till now in trying to establish a MOU for service agreement with Fiji for aviation product services.
“This item remains one of the outstanding items for us in trying to establish QMS in the Pacific. I would like to ask if there are any plans or have your heard in your planning and work programme to move forward the service agreements for aviation for the smaller countries,” Mr Fa’anunu said.
Kumar responded that they needed to iron out some issues with the Fiji Airports Limited before they could progress the issue.
However he said if the need was high up on their list, he could push for this to go ahead before they work on cost recovery issues.
“Just to be very frank I have noted that, as well as it is also being looked at especially with the request from the Cook Islands. What we don’t have is the cost recovery side of things, because Airports Fiji Limited needs to draw some revenue from these services,” Kumar said.
“There are things that we need to resolve first before the MOU. That for me is the starting point and once we have that and then we can start to go into an MOU. However, without that we are happy to fulfil that cost recovery terms afterwards. However, on providing the services that you need and we provide, I’m happy to take the way forward, said Kumar.


7) American Samoa To Receive US Expertise To Combat Dengue

Team from Center for Disease Control and Prevention to arrive

By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (The Samoa News, July 21, 2015) – A three member team from the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are due to arrive in the territory this week to assist local officials in dealing with the dengue outbreak, which has so far claimed four lives in American Samoa.

Health Department director Motusa Tuileama Nua and LBJ Medical Center chief executive officer, Taufete’e John Faumuina confirmed during a House Health Committee hearing, held last week Wednesday, that CDC assistance has been sought.

Motusa, Taufete’e, and other officials from LBJ and DOH were called by the House Health Committee to provide additional details on the dengue outbreak as well as address the issue regarding the shortage of doctors at the LBJ Medical Center.

Responding to committee questions, LBJ Assistant Medical Director Dr. Annie Fuavai said there is continuing communication between DOH and LBJ with the CDC, which provides assistance such as IVs and other medical needs. She said CDC also provides a “rapid test” that is used here for dengue.

Motusa explained a letter was sent to the CDC director asking to provide American Samoa with support from the federal agency. He said the three member CDC team was to arrive either last night or by tomorrow evening (Wednesday) and the team will be here for two to three weeks.

DOH epidemiologist Scott Anesi, who also attended the committee hearing, said the CDC team consists of two epidemiologists and a physician who will deal with clinical care management. “This team cannot do direct care services, and they cannot see patients,” he said, adding that the team is an “advisory group”.

Anesi added that the team is bringing with them supplies like IVs and “all the testing capabilities” that American Samoa needs for dengue.

Motusa pointed out that “a lot of the anxiety by our people [over the dengue] is the result of the Health Department not providing and pushing the right information to the public” in a timely manner.

He said the “people need to understand everything” in order to deal with the dengue issue and “if there is going to be change every week, DOH needs to make sure that the public is aware of that.”

“I think we’re lacking on that and we’re trying to close those gaps,” he said.

As to whether dengue is an “epidemic”, Motusa told the committee that DOH and LBJ “haven’t officially declared it an epidemic because we have to first brief the governor and the governor will give us the thumbs up to declare an epidemic, providing what type of resources we have on the ground.”

At last Friday’s cabinet meeting, DOH called for a territorial meeting to be held yesterday at the office in Fagaalu to address the dengue outbreak. (See story in Monday, July 20th issue) The meeting was to include government leaders, non-government organizations, and traditional leaders.

The Samoa News

8) Samoa Mobile Phone Company Launches In New Zealand
Bluesky offers prepaid cellular plans to Samoans overseas

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, July 21, 2015) – Bluesky celebrated a major breakthrough both in Samoa and New Zealand last night.

The celebrations were to mark the company’s launch as Spark’s second prepay Mobile Virtual Network Operator (M.V.N.O) in New Zealand, with competitive prepay mobile cellular plans to serve the Samoan community in New Zealand.

“This is an exciting time for Bluesky and it’s about connecting our Pacific people,” said Bluesky Pacific Group C.E.O, Aoe’e Adolfo Montenegro.

“We are a growing Pacific operator, and we want to be the preferred network for Pacific people globally.”

Bluesky has been looking for some time at how to best service the communication needs of Samoans in New Zealand.

Following on from extensive research with the New Zealand Samoan community, Bluesky has developed a range of plans tailored specifically for them that include competitive rates within NZ and to Samoa.

All plans are prepay, rather than contract, with customers having the option of topping up online on the Bluesky website for New Zealand ( and at convenience stores.

In line with Bluesky’s deep commitment to serving local communities, it is also partnering with Samoan churches to support their fundraising initiatives.

Tole’afoa Douglas Creevey, Director and New Zealand Country Manager for Bluesky, commented that market research confirmed the majority of New Zealand-based Samoans already recognize and relate to the Bluesky brand.

And with most Samoans calling their friends and family back home at least once a month, they want a service that allows them to do this in a more affordable and convenient way.

As a Spark prepay M.V.N.O, Bluesky customers will enjoy the reliability and coverage of Spark’s nationwide network.

Bluesky will have coverage in over 97per cent of places where Kiwis live and work and have access to Spark’s super fast 4G network.

Lindsay Cowley, Spark’s General Manager Product Wholesale and International has welcomed the partnership, saying it highlights Spark New Zealand’s commitment to the Pacific.

“Spark New Zealand’s size and scale, our industry knowledge and our deep-rooted connections to the Pacific put us in the perfect place to help propel innovative new services like Bluesky forward,” she said.

“We have a tried and true M.V.N.O platform and they have a unique new approach to service the needs of a market segment – it’s a great combination.”

To join Bluesky in New Zealand, customers will need a Bluesky SIM card. They will have the option of a new “0204” Bluesky number or transferring over their existing local New Zealand number. Bluesky will also offer a range of affordable device options, however customers can use any unlocked mobile phone compatible with Spark’s network.

Bluesky is a leading Pacific regional telecommunications operator providing mobile, broadband, TV and landline services in American Samoa, Samoa and the Cook Islands.

Samoa Observer


9) Kiribati benefits from the Upper Air Service Agreement
By Online Editor
11:11 pm GMT+12, 21/07/2015, Kiribati

By Ueretan Bauro
 Kiribati is one of the three Pacific Island Countries that will benefit from the Upper Air Service Agreement, facilitated by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).
The agreement is between SPREP, the overseer of the utilisation fund and the three countries, Cook Islands, Kiribati and Tuvalu.
Kiribati Meteorological Services director, Ueneta Toorua says the project enables Kiribati to continue using the weather balloon. The cost of operating or releasing one balloon is over US$500.  
“This weather balloon is very critical in our weather forecast because it gives us information of the upper atmosphere – wind speed, temperature, relative humidity to name just a few. Information from the balloon is also very important for flight services and research.”
“Data we collect from the balloon is recorded and sent to the Global Upper Air Network, which Kiribati is also a member of. The data is then disseminated worldwide and used by relevant stakeholders,” Toorua explained.
He said that operating the Radiosonde Balloon is a very expensive activity and that KMS has been using this equipment since colonial times funded by the United Kingdom.
“We are thankful to the UK for its continued support for this program, and SPREP for looking after the fund which has greatly helped us in our daily forecast.” Toorua said.

10) Micronesian Presidents Call On PNA To Support Palau Sanctuary

FSM, RMI, Palau want other Nauru Agreement members to endorse efforts

By Jose Rodriguez T. Senase

KOROR, Palau (Island Times, July 20, 2015) – The three heads of states of the Micronesian countries of Palau, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), and the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) attending the 15th Micronesian Presidents Summit in Majuro, RMI have written a letter asking other members of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) to support Palau’s National Marine Sanctuary initiative.

The letter, which was signed by Palau President Tommy Remengesau, RMI President Christopher Loeak, and FSM President Peter Christian, was addressed to PNA members including Kiribati, Tuvalu, Papua New Guinea, Nauru and Solomon Islands. The letter was dated July 15, 2015.

The Nauru Agreement Concerning Cooperation in the Management of Fisheries of Common Interest, or The Nauru Agreement is an Oceania sub-regional agreement between the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu. The eight signatories collectively control 25–30% of the world’s tuna supply and approximately 60% of the western and central Pacific tuna supply.

The three presidents said the marine sanctuary initiative contributes significantly to global and regional conservation efforts.

“This will provide a significant contribution to global and regional critical conservation goals and is critical to the long term future of Palau’s dominant industry- tourism,” the letter states.

The letter also stressed that despite the marine sanctuary initiative Palau will not turn its back to other PNA members and regional fishery organizations.

The letter also asked the other PNA members to respect and endorse Palau’s move.

“Palau respectfully requests a parallel respect and endorsement of its course of action and its desire to maintain its parties allowable effort (PAE),” the letter further states.

The proposal on the National Marine Sanctuary put forward by President Remengesau includes a complete prohibition on purse seine fishing that covers 100 percent of the EEZ; a no-take Marine Sanctuary that covers over 80 percent of the Palau EEZ; a highly regulated Fishing Zone that covers approximately 20 percent of the EEZ that will provide for only Palau’s domestic fishing needs; and a prohibition on commercial fish exports.

The proposal to create a Palau National Marine Sanctuary has been introduced and pending in the Senate as Senate Bill No. 9-30. Despite strong local and international support, the measure has languished in the Palau Senate.

Island Times 

11) Revised Impact Statement On Guam Military Build-Up Released
Job growth projected, clashes with tourism can be mitigated

By Gaynor Dumat-ol Daleno

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, July 21, 2015) – The number of active-duty Marines and their dependents will begin to increase from 25 Marines and eight family members this year to 2,990 Marines and 908 dependents five years from now, according to the revised Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement.

The SEIS document is the first of two documents that could give the military buildup the green light after years of delays. The second document, called Record of Decision, is expected to become public about 30 days from now.

Most of the 5,000 Marines — who are being relocated to Guam in response to the United States’ agreement to reduce the presence of U.S. troops in Japan — won’t be here until about 10 years from now.

Existing property

The downsized plan to build a Marine Corps operational base, housing facilities and a live-fire training range complex would be built on existing military property adjacent to or on Andersen Air Force Base, according to the SEIS.

Off-island construction workers for the Marine Corps base facilities would number 1,071 next year and triple to 3,227 three years from now, according to the SEIS’ downsized plans for the Marine base and support facilities.

The revised plan shows a major reduction in projected population growth on Guam as a result of adding a Marine base on Guam.

If the larger 2010 plan went unchanged, more than 8,000 Marines, 9,000 dependents and a population growth of 79,178 would have occurred as early as last year.

In the scaled-down plan, the total population growth would peak between 2020 and 2023 with 8,191 to 9,721 additional people, the SEIS states.

Jobs growth

The civilian labor force demand is expected to increase by a maximum of 7,031 full-time jobs in 2021, most of them related to construction and 881 connected to other buildup-related operations.

Less than half of those projected new jobs — 3,058— could be held by Guam residents, the SEIS states.

The military expansion is expected to increase the civilian community’s payroll by up to $296 million in 2021 and reach a “steady-state level of $67 million in 2028,” the SEIS states.

The estimated average salaries for jobs related to the construction phase is $38,600. When the Marine base is operational, the civilian salaries for jobs related to military expansion would average $46,000 a year, according to the SEIS.

That would be considerably higher than the 2012 Guam median salary of $28,074, according to the SEIS.

Government of Guam tax revenues are expected to increase by a maximum of $86.4 million in 2021 and reach a “steady-state” level of $40 million in 2028, according to the SEIS.

The bulk of GovGuam’s additional tax collections would come from income tax payments from the additional civilian and military personnel who will be working here because of the Marine base and its support facilities, according to the SEIS.

Tourism and military

A socio-economic impact study that’s part of the SEIS states there’s a concern that publicity of the proposed military expansion on Guam and an increase in military activities would affect tourists’ perception of the island as more of a military base, rather than a tropical vacation spot, the study states.

“The supplanting of a cultural tourism branding for one that is more militarized appears to be a strong possibility, as Japan remains the source of 80 percent of Guam’s visitors, and there has been extensive publicity in Japan about the proposed (military expansion),” the study states.

The study’s reference to Japan as the source of 80 percent of Guam’s tourists is a few years outdated.

Over the past two years, Japanese tourist arrivals to Guam have decreased. Last month, Japan arrivals made up just 54 percent of all tourists who visited Guam, Pacific Daily News files show.

The potential adverse outcome of an expanded military presence to Guam’s vacation destination image is “not inevitable,” the SEIS states.

Military cooperation in exposing personnel to Chamorro culture and Guam history, and visible presence of police in tourist areas frequented by many off-duty Marines, can help to reassure Japanese visitors with negative perceptions of the military, the study states.

Pacific Daily News 


12) PNG Gavman i rausim PIMZ kot keis

Updated 22 July 2015, 15:51 AEST
Caroline Tiriman

Gavman blong Papua New Guinea i rausim kot keis emi bin putim long ol papa graon na sapota  egensim Pacific Marine Industrial Zone long Madang provins.

Papua New Guinea National gavman ibin rausim kot keis emi bin putim long  sampla papa graon na ol sapota blong ol husat ibin wok long fait agensim Pacific Marine Industrial Zone long Madang provins.

Wanpla long ol despla sapota em Dr Nancy Sullivan em ibin dai long birua blong wanpla kar emi bin stap long en long America long wik igo pinis.

John Simoi, wanpla activist husat isave wok wantem ol indiginis pipal long saed blong land rights, na tu ol wari blong environment.

Em i tok gavman blong Papua New Guinea imas luksave long rights blong ol asples pipal taem emi lukluk long larim ol foran kampani i kirapim Pacific Marine Industrial Zone long Madang provins.

Igat wari olsem sopos despla bisnis igo hed em bai kamapim ol bikpla bagarap tru long sidaon blong ol pipal na ol solwara blong ol.

Mr Simoi itok tu olsem sopos bagarap i kamap long despla bisnis, heve bai kamap tu long faifpla provins em oli stap long ol solwara long Bismark em oli stap klostu long Madang olsem, Manus, New Ireland, East and West New Britain provins na East Sepik provins.ABC


13) Brèves du Pacifique – mercredi 22 juillet 2015

Mis à jour 22 July 2015, 16:25 AEST

Élodie Largenton

Sécurité renforcée en Papouasie, après les violences confessionnelles du week-end dernier. 

Selon le Jakarta Globe, quelques dignitaires religieux musulmans appellent les fidèles à se venger contre les chrétiens. Dimanche dernier, à Tolikara, des hommes ont lancé des pierres sur des musulmans en train de prier. Une mosquée a été brûlée, et une soixantaine de magasins ont été détruits. Les raisons de cette flambée de violences ne sont pas claires. Les autorités indonésiennes ont évoqué un prospectus, signé par des dignitaires religieux chrétiens. Ces derniers nient avoir attisé la violence. Autre raison invoquée par le directeur de cabinet du président Joko Widodo : certains chrétiens auraient voulu protester contre l’utilisation par les musulmans de haut-parleurs pour appeler à la prière ; des hauts-parleurs qui auraient été placés près de leur église.
En Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée, un gouffre s’est formé et a englouti 16 maisons et blessé deux personnes dans une zone marécageuse du Sepik oriental. La terre s’est ouverte en l’espace de quelques minutes, témoignent des habitants dans le journal Post Courier. Beaucoup ont trouvé refuge dans les villages alentour.
Quel statut pour les victimes du changement climatique ? L’Organisation internationale pour les migrations vient de signer un accord avec la Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée pour l’aider à prendre en charge les personnes déplacées par la montée des eaux, notamment. « Le changement climatique est le nouveau facteur qui pousse à la migration », explique le chef de mission de l’organisation en Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée. Il estime que le statut de réfugié ne peut pas s’appliquer à cette catégorie de migrants, mais que les instances internationales doivent créer un nouveau statut pour ce « groupe émergent ».
Le tourisme se porte toujours aussi bien aux Îles Fidji. L’archipel s’attend même à signer un nouveau record cette année, avec 700 000 visiteurs. Selon le président de l’association du tourisme et du secteur hôtelier, interrogé par la radio nationale néo-zélandaise, il y a deux principaux facteurs qui expliquent la popularité des Fidji : de nombreuses liaisons aériennes et une population très accueillante. 20% des touristes reviennent chaque année dans l’archipel, souvent au même endroit. Ils viennent en majorité d’Australie et de Nouvelle-Zélande.
Parmi les îles plébiscitées par les touristes aux Fidji : les Yasawa et les Mamanuca. Depuis plusieurs mois, ces deux chaînes d’îles sont frappées par la sécheresse. 440 000 litres d’eau ont été distribués, cette semaine, aux habitants.
Une équipe américaine spécialisée dans la prévention des maladies est en route pour les Samoa américaines, où la dengue a fait une quatrième victime. Plus d’une centaine de personnes ont été infectées par le virus.ABC


14) Pacific to benefit from new SIDS programme
By Online Editor
11:14 pm GMT+12, 21/07/2015, Tonga

By Gregory Moses

Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and territories in the Pacific, will now benefit from a program established by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).                                                                              
WMO Development and Regional Activities Director Robert Masters said the Third International Conference on SIDS launched the Small Island Developing States Programme with assistance from Environment Canada in Samoa last year.
Masters said the programme is aimed at increasing the resilience of Small Island States and Territories to extreme weather events and other adverse impacts of climate change, which has affected over 3. 5 million people causing damage to property valued at about US$34 billion since the 1970s.
He said the SIDS Accelerated Modality of Actions (SAMOA) Pathway is covered under the WMO Operating Plan 2016 to 2019, and aims to improve the delivery of weather and climate information services in the region.
The WMO Development and Regional Activities Director also said other areas this pathway will address are human and technical capacities at National and Regional Climate Centers, increase the range of products and services delivery to stakeholders, foster the South – South and North- South Co-operation and expand the infrastructure required for weather and climate research and services.



15) Friends again

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

WASHINGTON – Cuba and the US have formally restored diplomatic relations after an agreement struck last year putting aside decades of hostility came into force.

Just after midnight local time, the diplomatic missions of each country became full embassies.

The Cuban flag was raised on Monday at the newly opened embassy in Washington.

“Nothing is more futile than trying to live in the past,” said US Secretary of State John Kerry.

“We’re taking a historic and long overdue step in the right direction.”

Despite the historic shift, both sides admit to lingering difficulties.

There were still “issues that we don’t see eye to eye on”, a US state department spokesman said.

A flag will not be raised at the US Embassy in Havana until Mr Kerry pays a visit there on August 14.

Bruno Rodriguez, Cuba’s minister of foreign affairs, called for a removal of the 53-year-old US trade embargo and for the US to return Guantanamo Bay to Cuba.

“I will welcome Mr Kerry in a few weeks and continue talks,” Mr Rodriguez said.

Outside of the embassy, crowds of people cheered as the Cuban national anthem played and three Cuban soldiers stood at attention while the flag was raised.

Protesters dotted the crowd, and one was removed from the area by police.


16) Malaria Early Warning System established in Solomon Islands
By Online Editor
11:24 pm GMT+12, 21/07/2015, Tonga

By Francis Talasasa

Solomon Islands is the first Pacific island nation to set up a Malaria Early Warning System.

The Director of Solomon Islands Meteorological Service, David Hiriasi said the Malaria Early Warning System module was introduced on the main island of Guadalcanal.

“The malaria early warning system was created basically to give information to the people about updates or warnings about malaria in concentrated areas. The initiative started in 1998 with the idea to monitor and control the spread of the disease,” said Mr. Hiriasi.

With the support of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology and the Solomon Islands Ministry of Health, the Malaria Early Warning System was set up.

“The module itself depends on data’s collected by health authorities from medical records of infected patients. The meteorological service then receives the records on a monthly basis and evaluates it against rainfall.”

“The information prepared is then categorised to a low, medium or high risk category before it is delivered to health authorities to use in their programs against malaria,” said Hiriasi.

The target is to create possibilities to eradicate malaria or to decrease the number of malaria infection.


17) Junk food one of the concerns causing NCDs – One of the major concerns of Non Communicable Diseases is the consumption of junk food. Consumer Council Chief Executive, Premila Kumar says combatting NCDs needs to take a holistic approach. However, Assistant Minister for Health Veena Bhatnagar says the onus of staying healthy, is on every individual.


18) Fiji Teachers To Possibly Be Placed In Chinese Schools
English language training in Guangdong needed

By Reginald Chandar

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, July 20, 2015) – Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says there is a possibility of placing Fijian teachers in schools at one of China’s fastest growing provinces, Guangdong.

At a meeting with Guangdong Province party secretary, H.E Hu Chunhua in the weekend, PM Bainimarama said Fijian teachers can make an immense contribution to China’s effort to improve the English language skills of its people and especially in the area of international trade, which is, of course, a priority for Guangdong.

The provincial capital, Guangzhou City, is the third largest city in China and the transportation and communications hub of Southern China, internationally regarded as a centre of foreign trade.

During the meeting, the Prime Minister also raised the possibility of support from the province to develop Fiji’s sporting facilities.

“One area that we are looking to for assistance is to improve and expand the sporting facilities in our capital. And I ask you to consider this as a practical way in which our relationship can be strengthened”, the Prime Minister said.

Mr Hu said that as a sister city to Suva, Guangdong would provide the necessary assistance to strengthen ties.



19) Airline to start Manila service
By Online Editor
11:07 pm GMT+12, 20/07/2015, Papua New Guinea

Philippine  Airlines (PAL) will begin operations between Port Moresby from Manila later this year, an official says.

When confirming PAL’s services to Papua New Guinea, National Airports Corporation managing director Joseph Tupiri told The National the arrangement followed an air services agreement between the two governments.

“We (NAC) can confirm that Philippine Airlines have requested for slots through our recently appointed slot coordinator for Jackson International Airport,” Tupiri said.

A landing, takeoff, or airport slot is a right granted by an airport owner which allows the slot holder to schedule a landing or departure during a specific time-period.

“They (PAL) have requested and we have approved two slots per week, Fridays and Sundays begining in October 2015,” Tupiri said.

“NAC and Philippine Airlines will be discussing the conditions of use of our airport.

“PNG Government and Philippine Government have an Air Services Agreement (ASA). PNG uses its side of the ASA with Air Niugini operating into Philippines.

Philippine Airlines is using their right under the same ASA to operate into PNG,” he added.

In a statement yesterday, PAL president and chief operating officer Jaime J Bautista said: “The robust investment climate and the upsurge of business travel to and from Papua New Guinea make it ideal for PAL to open services between Manila and Port Moresby.”

He said the service would operate twice a week, with flight PR215 departing Manila every Friday and Sunday at 2.10am arriving in Port Moresby at 9.20am.

“The return flight, PR216, departs Port Moresby on the same days at 10.10am, arriving in Manila at 1.20pm.
The schedule will allow passengers to further connect with the flag carrier’s domestic and international route network.

After Port Moresby, PAL would fly to Cairns, Australia and Auckland, New Zealand in December


20) BSP takeover Westpac operation in Tonga

By Online Editor
11:27 pm GMT+12, 21/07/2015, Tonga

Papua New Guinea’s BSP has taken over Westpac Banking Corporation’s operations in Tonga.
This after the Australian-based Westpac made a strategic decision to pull out of the region except in Fiji and Papua New Guinea.

BSP opened its doors for business here on July 13.

The PNG company bought Westpac’s operations in Tonga, Samoa and the Cook Islands fir $AUD91million (US$67 million)

CEO Robin Fleming said BSP was committed to the region and its people..



21) PNG Law Society to probe ‘money laundering’ video

22 July 2015

Papua New Guinea’s Law Society says it will thoroughly investigate a video that features two lawyers discussing how political figures launder money outside the country.

Lawyers Greg Sheppard and Harvey Maladina appeared in a video on Australian broadcaster SBS, explaining to an undercover investigator how suspect funds could be transferred to Australia by PNG politicians.

Mr Sheppard, from the firm Young and Williams, has since defended himself and says filming another person without their permission is illegal.

The President of PNG’s Law Society, Peter Kuman, told the National newspaper that the society has appointed an independent inspector to analyse the firm’s trust account over the past five years.

Mr Kuman says the society has written to the lawyers’ statutory committee to look into possible breaches of lawyers’ conduct rules.

He says there is possible misconduct, construed by simply watching the video.RNZI

22) Pirate drowns and 11 missing in PNG bad weather

22 July 2015

Two people have been confirmed dead and 11 are still missing in Milne Bay Province after a spate of bad weather over the past fortnight.

Six separate incidents across the province have stretched local disaster authorities and search teams but efforts to find the missing are still underway involving a helicopter, and several vessels.

Milne Bay’s provincial administrator Michael Kape says most of the incidents involved overloaded boats except for one where a group of pirates attacked and robbed a cargo vessel.

That vessel later sank while making its getaway resulting in the death one of its crew members.

Mr Kape says the province is doing its best to improve maritime safety in the region but progress is slow.

“People, individuals are taking the responsibility and ownership of their own lives and property. In a lot of incidences warnings have been issued, awareness have been conducted but people just simply are ignorant. Not taking heed of the warnings that are given.”

The police in the coastal town of Alotau say controlling piracy is a struggle.

The provincial police commander, Joseph Morehare, has called for a new engine for the police boat, as a way to tackle a growing problem on coastal waters.

The Post Courier reports that the recent attack involved seven armed criminals who stabbed students on board and took money and cargo, as well as stealing a smaller escort boat.

One student and teacher were later treated in hospital, while the pirates were shortly after hit by strong waves, which capsized their dingy.

Chief Superintendent Morehare says the police were given a 320 horse powered boat last year, but it had a defective engine.

The police are hiring costly local boats in the meantime to travel to crime scenes in the maritime Milne Bay province.RNZI

23) Fiji Peacekeepers leave Liberia for Haiti

22 July 2015

The final unit of Fiji police working in the UN Peacekeeping mission in Liberia has been pulled out and is awaiting reassignment possibly to Haiti.

Fiji’s police commissioner Ben Groenewald says the withdrawal began earlier in the year at the height of the Ebola epidemic but says all his officers who were in Liberia are now safely home awaiting redeployment.

Mr Groenewald is part of a ministerial delegation visiting Fiji defence force troops and police officers this week in various UN Peacekeeping missions around the world.

He says so far he is satisfied with the conditions and support being provided to Fijian police officers overseas.

“It is deployments from United Nations countries up to 100 I think 138 countries plus are involved in the Peacekeeping missions. And I think it is a good learning curve for our officers to be deployed in peace keeping missions.”

Fiji Police Commissioner Ben Groenewald- RNZI

24) Solomons MPs run up huge hotel bill

By Online Editor
10:56 pm GMT+12, 20/07/2015, Solomon Islands

Three MPs in Solomon Islands are reported to have asked the Government to pick up their US$100,000 tab at the country’s premier hotel.

Augustine Auga, David Dei Pacha and Bartholomew Parapolo are the ministers for agriculture, mines, and tourism and they have been named by the Opposition as having outstanding bills at the upmarket Heritage Park Hotel, dating back to January this year.

The Leader of the Opposition, Jeremiah Manele, says he is calling for the Government to justify any move to settle the bills and to identify where the money will be coming from.

“The ministers have already received their rental entitlements for that period. So that would be a question for the office of the prime minister but this is certainly something that is not budgeted for.”

An initial attempt to get parliament to pay for the bills was rejected by the house with the parliamentary clerk, Clezy Rore, stating any post-election entitlements for MPs residing in hotels, ended after the formation of Government and the swearing in of its ministers.


25) Fiji reviews two nations in compliance with UNCAC – Fiji is currently reviewing two nation’s compliance with the United Nations Convention against Corruption under the Peer Review Program. Speaking at the Pacific Parliamentarians Anti Corruption workshop in Nadi yesterday, Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says Fiji also raised its hand for other countries to review its performance.

26) Bank employee wanted for arrest for obtaining over $110K under false pretense – An employee of a bank is wanted for arrest after he is alleged to have obtained more than $110,000 under false pretense early this month. Police spokesperson Ana Naisoro says a report was received by the Criminal Investigations Department on the 16th of this month whereby a Fazeel Rasid Ali is alleged to have falsely created e-mail correspondences purporting to be the banks treasurer offering the best rates of foreign exchange for two companies.


27) International Organisation for Migration To Help PNG Climate Refugees

Migration must be adaptation strategy for climate impacted communities

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, July 21, 2015) – The International Organisation for Migration has signed an agreement to help Papua New Guinea cope with people forced to move because of the changing climate.

The IOM and the PNG Government’s Office of Climate Change and Development signed an memorandum of understanding this week.

The IOM’s head of mission in PNG, George Gigauri, says they want to increase the ability of affected communities to find durable solutions and also to use migration as an adaptation strategy.

“We recognise that climate change is the new driver of migration and we are working together with our partners on a number of things, but ultimately it is about helping people to adapt to the climate change and the changes around them induced by environmental changes. And that ranges from disaster risk reduction work to ultimately, resettlement.”

He says while the term refugee cannot be applied to environmental migrants there is a need for a legal mechanism that recognises their plight.

This week an i-Kiribati man, Ioane Teitiota, who has been seeking to stay in New Zealand, was refused a legal appeal to a deportation order, after he had claimed he was a climate refugee.

Mr Gigauri says refugee status is clearly defined under the Refugee Convention, and as it stands this cannot be applied to climate change victims.

He says they can be climate change migrants or internally displaced people but this points to the need for a new legal framework.

“It doesn’t mean that we have to change the Refugee Convention, it just perhaps means that we have to come up with a new, whether it is a regional or a national or even a global convention, that is some sort of a normative instrument that recognises this special category of people. So yes the legal system does need to catch up to this emerging group.”

Radio New Zealand International


28) Weather-beaten regencies in Papua finally get aid

22 July 2015

Aid has arrived in the city of Timika in Indonesia’s Papua province following a cold snap that claimed 11 lives.

There are reports that15 tons of rice, 300 blankets, and hundreds of packets of food have been dispatched to the victims of the persistent cold weather.

The hail and snow in the regencies of Nduga, Lani Jaya, and Puncak, has ruined crops, leaving more than 21,600 families across 21 villages in six districts facing the threat of starvation.

Farm animals have died and among the eleven people dead are five babies.

Although the worst weather hit two weeks ago, the rough terrain of the affected area – located at 2,700 metres above sea level – has impeded the delivery of the aid.RNZI

29) Fiji drought hits tens of thousands – Dry weather in Fiji is affecting up to 30,000 people in the Western Division. Fiji Village reports the Divisional Planning Officer, Sitiveni Tavaga says they have already distributed 300,000 litres of water to the Yasawa Island group and another 140,000 litres will be delivered to the Mamanuca group and Yanuya Island today. Mr Tavaga says the mainland areas from Sigatoka to Tavua have received 280,000 litres of water, but there are still requests for more. The Water Authority of Fiji says they are carting water to paid customers as well as those in non-metered areas.

30) Heavy Rains In Solomons Cause Food Shortages In Malaita
Price of rice increases; reports of starvation are heard

By William Ekotani

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, July 22, 2015) – The nonstop downpour in Malaita Province since Christmas, coupled with the two tropical cyclones is severely affecting food crops in Malaita.

Everywhere in communities, it is the same complaint.

“Food gardens and root crops are yielding nothing and or rotting,” people told the Solomon Star in Auki.

Many people spoken to in Auki said families are starving and are now resorting to Kakake (swamp taro).

“It is very difficult to have three meals in a day at the moment.”

As a result of the low crop output situation, rice is the only substitute for those who can afford to buy a sack of rice.

“Because of the dependency on rice, the price of rice has increased recently.”

The Solomon Star in Auki found that a sack of 20kg which used to cost around $170 [US$21] has increased to $190 – $200 [US$24-$25].

“This is even creating more difficulty for families.

“With the current poor condition of roads, people are not able to transport anything to Auki to sell.

“This situation is urgent. It’s crippling people in the rural areas.

“Some families with members working and living in Honiara are depending on those in Honiara to support them.”

People are urging responsible authorities to deal with the problem in any way possible.

“One way is to repair roads so that people can participate in economic activities so that they are economically sustained.

“For Now, the North road, Fulisango road, South road, are all in very poor conditions forcing vehicle owners to decide not to provide services to those areas.”

People also called on Auki shop owners to genuinely put reasonable mark-up prices on rice sacks and not to be driven by demand.

Solomon Star


31) PNG Becomes World’s Largest Tropical Log Exporter
3.8 million cubic meters of logs valued at $317 million

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, July 22, 2015) – The Asia-Pacific region is the main export destination for nearly 100 per cent of the logs and wood products that are exported from Papua New Guinea.

The country has become the biggest tropical log exporter in the world during the past two years, says Forest Minister Douglas Tomuriesa.

“Papua New Guinea exported a record volume for the first time of 3.8 million cubic metres of logs in 2014,” he said in a statement.

He added that the export was valued at more than K900 million [US$317 million].

Mr Tomuriesa said this when announcing that Papua New Guinea would be hosting the third APEC meeting of ministers responsible for forestry in October in Port Moresby.

The meeting is a follow up of two previous forestry-related ministerial meetings, one in China in 2011 and the other in Peru in 2013.

“Our increased connectivity and participation in this regional forum will enhance our ability to secure and protect our markets as well as enable us to engage in APEC initiatives like the increase in forest cover by 20 million hectares in the Asia Pacific region by 2020 to combat adverse effects of climate change.

“Papua New Guinea needs to progress its efforts in further downstream processing of logs consistent with the examples of the other member economies of APEC.

“The domestic forest industry support is essential in this regard,” Mr Tomuriesa said.

He said the third APEC forest ministerial meeting is a test run to showcase Papua New Guinea and its people in preparation of APEC leaders meeting in November 2018.

PNG Post-Courier

32) State uses satellite to monitor logging

The National, Wednesday July 22nd, 2015

FOREST Minister Douglas Tomuriesa says any illegal logging operation in the country can be monitored by a satellite system in Port Moresby.
The system was set up by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency.
He said illegal logging operation was “a thing of the past”, and for too long, many countries viewed PNG as a place where a lot of illegal logging was taking place.
“I for one used to think so from outside. But I’m here and I have realised that our National Forest Authority officers have worked hard to combat illegal logging operations,” he said.
Tomuriesa said the country generated about K900 million from exporting 3.8 million cubic metres of logs in 2014 “through genuine logging operations”.
“PNG has become the biggest tropical log exporter in the world in the past two years.”

33) Oil Search cofident LNG production will increase

The National, Wednesday July 22nd, 2015

OIL Search managing director Peter Botten says the company is confident that production from PNG LNG project will be higher than expected this year.
Botten said this following the company’s announcement of its highest total LNG production in its 2015 second quarter results, with 7.41 million barrels of oil equivalent (mmboe) recorded, a result that was 7 per cent higher than the previous quarter and the highest quarterly production recorded, according to Botten.
He said the PNG LNG plant’s current performance would see production exceed the 6.9 million tonnes that was expected annually.
“Total production of 7.41 mmboe for the quarter was the highest quarterly production ever achieved by the company,” he said.
“This excellent result reflected further production increases from the PNG LNG project, combined with a solid performance from our operated oil fields.
“The PNG LNG project’s contract customers continued to take their full contractual volumes and the project was successful in selling all its
additional spot cargoes during the period.
“In June, we celebrated the delivery of the 100th LNG cargo from the project, achieved in just over one year from the start of export operations, underscoring PNG LNG’s reputation as a reliable.
“Total production for the first half of 2015 was 14.3 mmboe, nearly three times higher than in the same period of 2014.
“Based on the strong first half production performance, the company now expects 2015 full year production to be between 27-29 mmboe, up from the previous guidance range of 26-28 mmboe producer of gas,” Botten said.
Despite the high production in the second quarter, results for Oil Search showed total revenue was US$391.5 million (K1.054bn), which was a 17 per cent fall from the first quarter result of US$472.3 million (K1.271bn), while total operating revenue for the first half of 2015 stood at US$863.8 million (K2.323bn), 69 per cent higher than in the first half of last year.


34) Central Division craft show kicks off in Suva today – 609 women from the Central Division will participate in the women’s craft show organised by the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation. The two day craft show will be held at the Suva Foreshore.


35) Flying Fijians tour target
By Online Editor
11:18 pm GMT+12, 20/07/2015, Fiji

The Vodafone Flying Fijians are not only targeting to win the Pacific Nations Cup but also to move up the world rankings to boost its morale ahead of the Rugby World Cup in October.

The Flying Fijians departed for Sacramento last night for the second round of the PNC.

Fiji was ranked number 11 as of July 13, which is likely to change when the new rankings are released this week following the 30-22 victory against Tonga at the ANZ Stadium in Suva last Saturday.

Flying Fijians coach John McKee said victories in the remaining matches would propel them up the rankings.

McKee said despite the bumps and bruises from last weekend, all players were in contention for selection for the next game against Samoa.

“We have one eye on the tournament and one eye on the challengers ahead at the RWC,” McKee said.

“We are working very hard through this tournament on our skills and fitness. So the players will be a little bit tired going into the games but at the same time this is an important competition.

“We want to do well not just to try to win the PNC but go for the world ranking points.

“Teams like Tonga, Japan and Samoa are just near us on the world rankings. So if we get wins in these games then it will help us move up the ladder.”

In the opening round matches in San Jose on Sunday, Samoa held on to win 21-16 against the United States of America while Japan downed Canada 20-6.

McKee said there was a lot of improvement needed as they did not really execute their game plan well against Tonga.

“As a team, we are progressing,” he said.

“We are working very hard off the field not just on the game plan but also around our fitness.

“There are a few things that we did not really execute in the game plan against Tonga. But I was happy with how the boys fought hard.

“It was a physical battle and we finished off strongly in the game to take the win.”

McKee praised newcomer Ben Volavola for a super effort.

He said the aim would be to give the backs more possession against the Samoans.

“Ben settled in well making the first start for the Flying Fijians,” McKee said.

“He has a little bit of work to do around with the combinations with the centres. But he showed what a good player he is and also his goal kicking was very good on the day.

“Hopefully we can get the ball more to the wider channels on more occasions against Samoa. They have a slight advantage, because they are already there. We will have a close look at their game against USA and do our analysis and be ready with a game plan for another physical encounter.”

In the second round this Saturday at the Bonney Field in Sacramento, Fiji will face Samoa and USA will play Japan, while Canada will host Tonga at the Swangard Stadium in Burnaby.


36) PNG to face Afghanistan in World Twenty20 playoff

22 July 2015

Papua New Guinea face Afghanistan in a winner takes all clash tomorrow for a spot at next year’s World Twenty20 cricket tournament in India.

Afghanistan get another life after losing to Hong Kong by five wickets overnight.

Hong Kong scored 16 runs off the last five balls to surpass the Afghan total of 161 for 7.

The Netherlands have also advanced to next year’s global event, beating Namibia by four wickets.

PNG will be hoping to go one step better after missing out at the final hurdle two years ago.RNZI

37) PNG Hunters make changes for top of table clash

22 July 2014

The Papua New Guinea Hunters will be without star centre Thompson Teteh for this weekend’s blockbuster Queensland Cup rugby league clash against competition leaders Townsville Blackhawks in Kokopo.

Head coach Michael Marum says Teteh has a hamstring injury with Lawrence Tu’u shifting from the forwards to the centres as cover.

Enoch Maki comes off the bench to start in the front row in place of Tu’u.

The Hunters beat Sunshine Coast at the weekend to extend their unbeaten run to 11 matches and consolidate second place in the overall standings.

The PNG team upstaged Townsville when they last met in Round 11 and a win this Sunday would draw the teams level on points.

Full squad:

1. Stargroth Amean

2. Bland Abavu

3. Noel Zeming

4. Lawrence Tu’u

5. Adex Wera

6. Israel Eliab

7. Ase Boas

8. Enock Maki

9. Wartovo Puara

10. Esau Siune

11. Brandy Peter

12. Kato Ottio

13. Timothy Lomai


14. Adam Korave

15. Atte Bina

16. Willie Minoga

17. Henry Noki

18. Nickson Borana

19. Roger Laka

20. David Lapua

21. Edward Goma

(Four to be omitted)RNZI

38) Expanded role likely for Australia/NZ in future Pacific Games

22 July 2015

The Pacific Games Council has hinted at an expanded role for New Zealand and Australia in future Games.

Athletes from the Trans-Tasman neighbours attended the Games for the first time this month in Port Moresby, competing in weightlifting, sailing, rugby sevens and taekwondo.

New Zealand only sent athletes in two sports but Australia finished sixth overall with 17 gold among a total haul of 47 medals.

The Executive Director of the Pacific Games Council, Andrew Minogue, says it was a promising start.

“So they were adding to the equation in terms of the overall medal tally. It made for a very very interesting competition overall. From the Games Council’s perspective having Australia and New Zealand here did add value to the Games, and to the competitions, and we’re going to look at that programme in our review over the next six months and put some recommendations to the General Assembly next year as to how we move forward on that but I think our first impressions are that it worked quite well”.

Andrew Minogue says it would make sense to include New Zealand in the football competition in future tournaments, to avoid having to split up the Pacific Games and Olympic qualifying events.RNZI


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