Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1114 ( Thursday 30 July )

Happy 35th Independence Anniversary Vanuatu!
I was there in 1980, time flies but memories will always remain.
Kind regards, Phil
MELANESIA

1a ) Vanuatu Celebrates 35th Independence Anniversary
Death of former PM Natapei casts shadow over ceremonies

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, July 30, 2015) – Celebrations will be held in Vanuatu today to mark the 35th anniversary of the country’s independence.

The country gained independence from the joint-colonial rule of Britain and France in 1980 after a decades-long independence struggle.

But casting a shadow over today’s celebrations is the death this week of one of the country’s political stalwarts, opposition leader and former prime minister Edward Natapei.

Mr Natapei was the long-time leader of the country’s oldest political party, the Vanua’aku Pati, which was closely involved in ushering the country to independence.

Kastom festivities, flag raising and a speech by prime minister Sato Kilman are to feature in anniversary celebrations at Independence Park in Port Vila.

A state funeral will be held for Edward Natapei on Friday.

Radio New Zealand International 

1b) Bainimarama sends well wishes to Vanuatu on their National Day – Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has extended his well wishes to his Vanuatu counterpart Meltek Sato Kilman Livtuvanu on the celebration of their National Day and 35th anniversary of Independence. Bainimarama has praised the strong spirit of the people of Vanuatu while showing compassion with the challenges faced by the country during Cyclone Pam.
http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/31609/bainimarama-sends-well-wishes-to-vanuatu-on-their-national-day#sthash.FgiUiyFV.dpuf

 

2) Response to article issued by Minister Telukluk on the issue of leases given to Lands Ministry and Department staff, Daily Post 25 July 2015

[Stetmen blong mi ia i bin kamaot long Daily Post yestede 28 Julae 2015]
I write in response to the serious allegations made by Minister Telukluk concerning my actions as the Minister of Lands. I stand by my actions and my personal credibility. I doubt many other former Ministers of Lands can do the same. Minister Telukluk has an Ombudsman’s Report issued about his actions as Minister for Lands titled: “Granting of Leases by the Former Minister of Lands Mr Paul Telukluk to Himself, Family Members and Wantoks” at http://www.paclii.org/vu/ombudsman/1999/6.html).

The facts of these matters speak for themselves. State land belonging to the people of Vanuatu was leased by former Minister Steven Kalsakau to his political and business cronies, his family members and to staff in the Department of Lands. These actions are legally and morally wrong. There must be an end to corruption within government and by government.

The Public Service Commission Report points out the many ‘flaws’ in Kalsakau’s leasing of state land. The leases were not correctly valued – some were given away free. The Public Service Commission report shows that most staff paid just 10 per cent of premium required on substantially undervalued land and at least four staff paid nothing for their leases. For example, one senior government officer registered a lease title over part of the grounds of Le Meridian without paying any premium for the lease or any administrative fees. The leased land has since been valued by the Valuer General at 8,340,000 VT.

Other flaws in the leasing of state land by Minister Kalsakau include: that the Council of Minister’s did not approve large-scale leasing of state land. Some of the state land leases issued by Kalsakau included government houses. The land and buildings were state assets belonging to the people of Vanuatu. A report produced by the Valuer General suggest that all state land leases were substantially undervalued, even leaving aside the government buildings. Selling these state assets should have followed strict tendering guidelines. At every step the proper leasing process were not followed. This is how corruption works.

The Constitutional Leadership Code requires that Members of Parliament and government officials do not use their office for ‘personal gain or enter into any transaction or engage in any enterprise or activity that might be expected to give rise to doubt in the public mind’. Ministers are not allowed to use their positions for personal gain. Government officers have a duty to ensure that they do not use their positions for personal gain. The Public Services Act makes clear the duties of all government officers which include to: avoid any conflict of interest in connection with their employment; use resources and public money in a lawful and proper manner; and not make improper use of information or his or her duty, status, power or authority in order to gain or seek to gain a benefit or advantage for himself or herself or for any other person. We all know that commercially valuable state land was leased to government officers well below the market value of the land, and without following proper leasing processes. A committee made up of staff in the Department of Lands and other agencies approved the leases to themselves and other government officers in a clear conflict of interest.

These were the facts when I gained office as Minister of Lands, and I have pursued a number of avenues to cancel the leases. When I became Minister of Lands Transparency International Vanuatu (TIV) had already initiated a case against government officers. I believe that this case should be allowed to continue and that the court should decide these matters. Telukluk mentions the cost to the public of continuing to pursue this case – that cost is minor compared to the value of the land that has currently been lost to the people of Vanuatu.

While I was Minister I also worked with the government to undertake a Public Service Commission investigation into the issuing of leases to government officers. To complete their investigation the Public Service Commission team needed access to the stat land lease files. Lands staff did not always assist the investigation and these files would not have been obtained if I had not intervened to make the land registry files available to the Public Service investigation team. The Public Service report makes this clear. My intervention in removing the lease files from the Department of Lands and into the Ministry of Lands was then subject to a complaint made to the Office of the Ombudsman, who then started an investigation into my actions. The Office of the Ombudsman completed their investigation and found that I had done nothing wrong and that investigation is now closed (last year already).

Finally, I also worked with Parliament to change the law so that Ministers could no longer issue leases over state land without following proper processes. These land reforms work to prevent corruption. They should not be repealed.

People will make their own assessment of my actions. To understand the motivations of Minister Telukluk’s statement I will quote from an internal memo written by him to all Ministry of Lands staff on the June 25 which stated,
“1) Fes priority, hem I sale blo urban land lo staf blo department blo land. Mi askem finis lo DG mo CEO sins las Mandei 15 June 2015 blo preparem wan COM pepa blo strikem kot kase we outgoing minista I mekem agens yufala. 1PA tu bae I lukluk lo COM pepa ia blo mekem soa se bae gavman I klinim fes.”

One thing we need to consider in this week leading up to the anniversary of Independence is what kind of government we want in Vanuatu. Government should act in the interests of the people of Vanuatu.

MP Ralph Regenvanu – http://www.graonmojastis.org/
 
 POLYNESIA

3) Foreigner forced out of Samoa after ebola concern

29 July 2015

A foreign visitor to Samoa has been forced to leave the country after being quarantined under Ebola protection measures.

The acting Director General of Health, Dr Robert Thomsen, says the traveller had visited the Ebola affected country of Liberia and came to Samoa through Australia before the required 21 days of clearance had been completed.

He says the woman had no signs of the deadly disease but the health requirements must be met.

She had left the country immediately after being quarantined.

The newly-built district hospital near Faleolo International Airport, in which the quarantine operation was carried out, has been closed for two weeks since the incident, but is now reopened.RNZI

4) Am. Samoa Conducts Mosquito Clean-Up Campaign To Fight Dengue
Viral outbreak declared in independent Samoa as well

By Joyetter Feagaimaali’i-Luamanu

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (The Samoa News, July 29, 2015) – As of July 26, 2015 Department of Health reports that have 184 suspected cases, 61 admissions and four confirmed deaths. At the same time the government launched a two-day clean up campaign last week to rid the island of mosquito breeding grounds, with the hope of stopping Tutuila’s current dengue outbreak. Six officials of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also arrived on island to assist local officials with the outbreak.

Last week Acting Governor Lemanu Peleti Mauga spearheaded a two-day island-wide clean up due to the dengue outbreak. The clean up project comprised directors assigning 50% of their staff to participate in the clean up. In the meantime, the island-nation of Samoa has also declared dengue fever an outbreak and has more than a hundred clinically diagnosed cases of dengue fever recorded in just over a month.

Director General of Health, Leausa Dr. Take Naseri, said the fact that 121 cases of dengue have been found is a warning. He then declared that there is an outbreak of dengue fever and cautioned members of the public. “Five of eight blood samples tested confirmed DENV serotype 3,” he explained to Samoa Observer.

“Since mid June, there has been a cumulative total of 121 dengue like illness (D.L.I.) cases recorded. So far there are no reported deaths there but there are complicated cases.”

According to the M.O.H. Situation Report 2, D.L.I. definition is an acute fever with any two of other symptoms such as joint and muscle pains, macula pappular rash, severe headaches, nausea and vomiting, pains behind the eyes, bleeding and leucopenia.

“To date, there have been nine hospital admissions with at least two Dengue Hemorrhagic cases. No deaths have been reported,” stated the report. Leausa explained that so far, most cases are from the Apia urban area with the age group most affected are those under 25 years old.

Male have the highest rate of those being clinically diagnosed of 55% and 45% for female. According to Leausa, the hospital staff are monitoring them. “There is no antivirus for dengue,” he said. “We are supporting them if they are dehydrated we give them fluids and plasma is given when required.” The Director General urged the public to work together in source reduction. “The public should take care not to panic,” he said.

“Take note that dengue is here and it can kill. Source reduction is the solution… there are no deaths but we might be just starting.” Leausa added that the surveillance for border control has been increased and schools, hospitals and other vulnerable areas are being sprayed.

The prevention of dengue fever requires control or eradication of the mosquitoes carrying the virus that causes dengue. There is currently no vaccine for dengue fever.

The Samoa News

MICRONESIA

5) Tropical Disturbance Moving Toward Marianas This Weekend

System, currently north of Kwajalein, could become tropical storm

By Maria Hernandez

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, July 30, 2015) – The National Weather Service is monitoring a tropical disturbance that could bring a tropical storm through the Marianas by the weekend.

“We’ll need to watch it very closely for any possible effects for the Mariana islands by this weekend,” Weather Service lead forecaster Clint Simpson said.

The disturbance is located north of Kwajalein, in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, which is about 2,510 km southeast of Guam. The system continues to slowly build, an NWS advisory states.

Current forecasts show the disturbance moving on a westward track, which could take it toward the Marianas at around tropical storm strength.

It could move north, Simpson said, but it’s still too early to tell.

“It bears watching closely and we’ll be monitoring it in the coming days,” he said.

The system could threaten the northern parts of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the advisory states.

Because the south side of the system is weaker, islands to the south of the disturbance “may not even realize something is passing by,” the advisory states.

Pacific Daily News

6) Education Assessment Tool Brings Improvements In Micronesia
Trial in RMI, FSM shows bilingual literacy, numeracy tool enhances learning

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, July 29, 2015) – A new bilingual literacy and numeracy tool has shown encouraging results after a year long trial in Micronesia.

Developed by the Asian Development Bank, the Early Grade Learning Assessment aims to provide real-time data on a student’s progress.

The ADB’s Pacific education specialist Chimi Thondon says the system uses regular one on one assessments to gauge student progress and areas of difficulty and was trialed in the Federated States of Micronesia and the Marshall Islands.

Ms Thondon says the system targets both the student’s learning and the development of teachers.

“And the results have shown an average gain of between 24 and 32 percent across both literacy and numeracy. So we have been really encouraged by these positive results and what it shows us is that this is a very important useful tool to use in combination with teacher training.”

Chimi Thondon says the focus now is getting EGLA into education systems in Micronesia.

Radio New Zealand International

7) Guam Decolonization Commission Meeting Cancelled By No-Shows
Commission to discuss participation at UN Decolonization meetings

By Manny Cruz

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, July 30, 2015) – No-shows warranted the cancellation of a Commission on Decolonization meeting at Adelup on Tuesday.

Ed Alvarez, the commission’s executive director, and Sen. Tony Ada were left waiting at the far end of the conference table for 30 minutes before it became apparent that no one else was coming.

The meeting would have covered the decolonization process and the commission’s participation at a United Nations meeting in October and the Pacific Islands Forum in September.

“We’re represented at the United Nations every year,” Alvarez said. “Guam now has its own resolution instead of being lumped together with every other non-self-governing territory. We can now stand alone and create more awareness.”

Alvarez said the commission recently approved a budget for its three task forces to prepare educational materials, which detail the pros and cons of the different political status options — independence, free association and statehood.

“Independence is the most common choice,” Alvarez said. “There are over 200 independent island nations. Free association, on the other hand, is like having a room at your parents’ house where you can control everything that goes on in your room but not outside of it.”

The Calvo administration is planning to launch an educational outreach campaign before a potential plebiscite vote in July 2016.

Gov. Eddie Calvo is expected to request a federal grant of $250,000, which Speaker Judith Won Pat, D-Inarajan, has called “woefully insufficient.”

In comparison, Puerto Rico was granted $5 million for its plebiscite in 2012, according to Pacific Daily News files.

According to the Guam Election Commission, as of June 30, there were 8,912 native inhabitants enrolled on the decolonization registry.

Pacific Daily News

8 ) Bad Weather Blamed For Fiber Optic Cable Damage In CNMI

Lawmakers to meet with IT&E to discuss future contingency planning

By Gaynor Dumat-ol Daleno

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, July 30, 2015) – A string of bad weather is to blame for the undersea cable outage earlier this month that disconnected the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands’ web, phone and online banking services for a few days and kept online connection slow during the time the cable was cut for a few weeks.

“IT&E has investigated the cause of the undersea fiber cable breakage and has concluded that the break was the result of harsh conditions brought on by a series of typhoons in the region,” the company stated in a press release.

IT&E owns the only undersea cable link that brings fast Internet to the CNMI.

[PIR editor’s note: The Saipan Tribune reported that ‘Members of the House Committee on Public Utilities, Transportation, and Communications are set to meet with representatives of IT&E sometime next week. … The main purpose of the meeting, according to Rep. Francis Taimanao (Ind-Saipan), who chairs the committee, is to inquire about the service provider’s contingency plans.’]

The company hired an international undersea cable repair ship and crew from TE SubCom. Repairs were completed last weekend, according to the company.

“IT&E crews, along with a subcontractor, repaired the cable break on Sunday, and have been restoring circuits and traffic back to the cable since early Monday morning,” according to IT&E. “Full migration of all circuits and traffic back to the cable is expected by early morning Wednesday. The initial migrations brought high-speed Internet service back to Saipan. Customers may experience temporary service interruptions as the migrations continue and IT&E restores the network to 100 percent capacity.”

The company has apologized for the disruption in communications services, which affected everybody in the CNMI and some of IT&E’s customers on Guam.

PTI Pacifica, a company owned by the Philippine-based Delgado family, bought IT&E from its Guam owners several years ago.

Pacific Daily News

TOK PISIN

9) Vanuatu i makim 35 yiar blong Indipendans wantem bikpla askim

Updated 30 July 2015, 15:43 AEST
Caroline Tiriman

Igat askim olsem Vanuatu nau imas kamapim ol strongpla loa blong stopim ol vote of no konfidans na kamapim heve long kantri olgeta taem.

Vanuatu nau imas kamapim ol strongpla loa blong stopim ol vote of no konfidans na kamapim heve long kantri olgeta taem.

Despla toktok i kamap taem ol pipal i makim 35 yia blong indipendans em oli bin kisim long 1980.

Tuopla kantri blong Europe, France na Britain ibin lukautim ol ailan em oli save kolim bifo olsem New Hebridies inap oli senisim igo long Vanuatu long taem blong indipendans.

Tasol ol wok politik long kantri iwok long bungim planti tumas long wonem planti taem oli save mekim ol vote of no konfidans na rausim ol gavman.

Nau planti lida long kantri, olsem Pastor Allan Nafuki blong Presbyterian sios na wanpla politisan bifo itok, oli mas kamapim strongpla egensim ol vote of no konfidans.

Narapla lida na minista blong finance Willy Jimmy itok emi sapotim despla tingting blong mekim bikpla senis long wok politik long kantri.

Taem kantri i makim 35 yrs blong indipendans, ol pipal bikpla belsore tu long dai blong  Edward Natapei  lida blong olpla politikal pati, we emi bin bringim indipedans igo long kantri em long Vanuaku pati.

Tumora bai oli planim Mr Natapei long Port Vila na CEO blong Vanua’aku Pati, Avio Niki Robert itok Mr Natapei emi wanpla gutpla na strongpla lida blong pati na kantri na bai hard tru long painim wanpla kaen man olsem em long go pas long pati blong ol.ABC

10) Wari long sapos OK Tedi mine long PNG i pas olgeta

Postim 29 July 2015, 15:29 AEST
Caroline Tiriman

Wari i stap long sait long moni gavman i save kisim long dispela mine na tu ol moni na arapela benefit ol papa graun i save kisim longen.

Praim Minista blong Papua New Guinea itok emi wari tru long ol heve em bai kamap bihaen long Ok Tedi mine long Western provins itokaut long stopim ol wok blong en.

Mr O’Neill i autim wari long moni bai ol papa graun na gavman bai lusim sapos mine i pas olgeta, natu bai planti pipol i lusim wok blong ol.

Long Mande Ok Tedi mine ibin tokaut olsem bai oli rausim sampla wokman-meri long wonem nogat ren i pudaon na i mekim Fly River i go daon oa emi drai na ol ship ino nap iusim long kisim kopa igo long Port Moresby blong salim igo long ol narapla kantri.

Emi tok tu olsem narapla samting emi mekim ol long stopim em prais blong copper long wold ibin pudaon nogut tru.

Martyn Namorong emi blong Western provins na tu emi wanpla political activist i tok despla wari em Ok Tedi mine iwok long bungim nau emi kamapim heve tu long ol pipal klostu long fly riva na tu ol bisnis pipal.ABC

FRENCH

12) Brèves du Pacifique – jeudi 30 juillet 2015

Mis à jour 30 July 2015, 17:19 AEST

  • Le Vanuatu célèbre aujourd’hui les 35 ans de son indépendance. 
Un anniversaire marqué par des festivités coutumières, un lever de drapeau et un discours du Premier ministre Sato Kilman. La mort, mardi, de l’ancien Premier ministre Edward Natapei jette toutefois une ombre sur ces festivités ; il était le chef de file du plus vieux parti politique du pays, le Vanua’aku Pati, qui a participé à la lutte pour l’indépendance de l’archipel.
  • Chacun choisit son camp, en Australie : pro ou anti Adam Goodes. Le footballeur star des Sydney Swans, désigné « Australien de l’année » en 2014, se fait huer dans les stades depuis quelques semaines, depuis qu’il a décidé de célébrer ses buts en faisant une danse guerrière. L’hostilité que le joueur aborigène doit affronter à chaque match est telle qu’il a décidé de prendre une pause. Une décision très commentée : l’ancien gardien de but Griffin McCaster a appelé, hier, à ce qu’Adam Goodes soit « expulsé » s’il n’est pas content. Pour le joueur de footy de Brisbane, Jason Akermanis, Adam Goodes « joue la victime », les attaques dont il fait l’objet ne sont pas racistes, estime-t-il. D’autres, en revanche, prennent sa défense : les joueurs du club de Richmond porteront leur maillot aborigène Dreamtime (le temps du rêve) lors de leur prochain match, demain. 
  • Un tremblement de terre de magnitude 5,3 s’est produit, ce matin, au large de l’Australie, non loin de Brisbane. La secousse a été ressentie pendant 15 secondes à deux minutes, selon l’endroit. Dans la petite ville de Bundaberg, certains immeubles ont été temporairement évacués. Aucun blessé ni dégât n’a été rapporté.
  • L’aile d’avion découverte à l’île de La Réunion provient-elle du Boeing 777 de la Malaysia Airlines, disparu le 8 mars 2014 ? Cette question intéresse de près l’Australie. Canberra a investi des dizaines de millions de dollars pour localiser l’épave de l’avion au large de Perth, sans succès, pour le moment.   
  • On parle aussi, en Australie, du crash d’un autre avion, celui qui a été abattu dans l’est de l’Ukraine, il y a un an. La ministre australienne des Affaires étrangères, Julie Bishop, n’a pas réussi à convaincre la Russie de ne pas utiliser son droit de véto contre une résolution qui aurait créé un tribunal spécial pour juger les responsables du crash. Cette décision « aggrave l’atrocité » de la catastrophe, dénonce Julie Bishop. 38 Australiens font partie des victimes du crash. 
  • En Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée, le directeur de police de la province d’Enga demande que sa région soit déclarée « zone de guerre tribale ». Cela permettrait aux policiers d’agir sans mandat. Ces deux dernières semaines, 15 personnes ont été tuées près de la mine de Porgera. L’orpaillage illégal permet aux habitants d’acheter de l’alcool et des armes, explique George Kakas à la radio nationale néo-zélandaise. 
  • Les habitants frappés par une tempête de grêle dans la province indonésienne de Papouasie, au début du mois, ont besoin d’eauindique la Croix-Rouge locale. Les sources d’eau sont gelées ou elles ont été contaminées, et les marchés de la région ne vendent pas de bouteille d’eau, explique l’ONG. Les volontaires ont beaucoup de mal à venir en aide aux habitants : les villages touchés sont nichés au creux de montagnes, atteignables uniquement après des jours de marche. 
  • Une touriste a été expulsée des Samoa par crainte du virus Ébola. Elle s’était rendu au Libéria, l’un des pays touché par l’épidémie, avant de rejoindre les Samoa en passant par l’Australie. Même si elle ne présente aucun symptôme, la touriste n’aurait pas dû se rendre aux Samoa avant d’avoir attendu 21 jours – le temps maximum d’incubation du virus Ébola.ABC

AUSTRALIA

13) Queensland hit by 5.3 quake

AAP
Thursday, July 30, 2015

Update: 4:17PM People in south-east Queensland in Australia have been rocked by an earthquake.

Social media went into meltdown just before 10am on Thursday morning, with people saying they felt tremors which shook their houses in Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast and the Wide Bay region.

Geoscience Australia has confirmed that it was a 5.3 magnitude quake which hit 100km east of the Sunshine Coast at a depth of 50km at 9.41am.

That’s the biggest earthquake to hit the area since 1901 when a 5.6 magnitude quake hit, according to Brisbane Times. There is no threat of a tsunami.

Queensland resident Sandy Macarone said she felt the quake at her home in Strathpine.

“The whole house was swaying. Everything on the table was bouncing up and down, windows were rattling. [It] was very freaky,” she said.

Other residents reported “a bit of a wobble” hitting the town of Maryborough just after 9.30am.

14) Aussie naval vessel to conduct seabed mapping

By FELIX CHAUDHARY
Thursday, July 30, 2015

Update: 2:02PM AN Australian Naval vessel conducting seabed mapping of the Fiji waters will arrive in Lautoka tomorrow afternoon.

HMAS Leeuwin arrives in Lautoka for the second phase of its seabed mapping activities as part of its regional engagement with the Republic of Fiji Military Forces via the Fiji Naval Division, and the Royal Australian Navy.

Mapping surveys will be conducted from August 5 to August 7 in the vicinity of Lautoka and surrounding waters in partnership with the Fiji Hydrographic Office.Fijitimes

NEW ZEALAND

15) NZ flag controversy

Rnzi
Thursday, July 30, 2015

AUCKLAND, RNZI – The Government maintains it has public support for its referendum to change the flag.

On Tuesday, a Bill providing for the two-stage referendum passed its second reading 63 votes to 58.

Deputy Prime Minister Bill English sparked off the debate in Parliament with a stinging attack on the Opposition.

“I don’t look forward to hearing the whinging, backward-looking complaints of the Opposition who lack confidence in New Zealand and aspiration for New Zealanders.”

But Labour leader Andrew Little was having none of that.

“I thought that at least the deputy Prime Minister might stand up and tell us what he stood for. He stood there for half his speech with his hands in his pockets and he didn’t tell us a thing.

“He stood there, dare I say it, whinging and moaning and carrying on, because the truth is, New Zealanders don’t want this change right now,” Mr Little said.

He said the country was spending millions on a referendum when it could ill afford it.

All up, the estimated cost of the flag change is nearly $25.7million, of which $17.3m will be spent on the two postal referendums, with the rest on public consultation.

Mr English said thousands of people took part in the select committee process and more than 10,000 flag designs were submitted to the flag panel.

That indicated the high level of public interest, he said.

However Green Party MP Russel Norman said the process was skewed.

“The Prime Minister is purposely manipulating the progress to push it towards the outcome he wants.”

New Zealand First MP Denis o’Rourke called for the Bill to be withdrawn.

He told Parliament the consultation process showed very little public pressure for any flag change.

“The truth is that this Government is pushing this Bill against public opinion, not following it,” Mr O’Rourke said.

Labour MP Trevor Mallard criticised the nearly $7m spent on the consultation process as outrageous.

16) NZ PM Won’t Discuss UN Membership With Cook Islands PM
Key reportedly says shared citizenship would need to change

RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, July 29, 2015) – While PM Henry Puna wants to rekindle talks on United Nations membership and New Zealand passports, New Zealand media are reporting New Zealand PM John Key isn’t planning further discussions.

Radio New Zealand reported that Key is looking forward to his next conversation with Prime Minister Puna when he visits Rarotonga on Monday, but he is not planning another discussion on UN membership with him.

A statement by John Key’s spokesman said Prime Minister Key was clear that New Zealand is not in a position to support Cook Islands membership of the UN under the Cooks Islands’ current constitutional status.

The statement went further to say if the Cook Islands wants UN membership, the constitutional relationship, including the current shared citizenship will need to change.

It says New Zealand is open to reviewing its relationship with the Cook Islands, if the Cook Islands wants to do so, though New Zealand is not seeking a change.

PM Puna repeatedly stressed in a media conference late last week that doing away with New Zealand citizenship has never been part of his government’s UN membership plan.

The issue of UN membership has been simmering since a story about the Cook Islands’ alleged push for independence, was published on New Zealand news website Stuff in May.

The story prompted huge reaction from Cook Islanders who were outraged that Cook Islands Prime Minister Henry Puna would even think about giving up island residents’ rights to New Zealand citizenship.

It said it was ‘understood’ the Cook Islands saw a vote at the UN as an important bargaining chip that could give the country greater influence and leverage to secure more aid and economic development cash.

“Puna is keen for what officials are calling ‘the money and the bag’ option – full independence while retaining New Zealand citizenship – but that is unlikely to be granted,” the story said.

Cook Islands News

PACIFIC 

17) Pacific leaders urge to fight for justice
By Online Editor
00:17 am GMT+12, 29/07/2015, Fiji

Pacific leaders have been urged to take strength in the fight for justice from the memory of the late former Vanuatu Prime Minister, Edward Natapei.

The fierce self-determination advocate and supporter of freedom in West Papua died on Tuesday after a long illness.

Pacific Conference of Churches’ Acting General Secretary, Murray Isimeli, said Natapei was an example to leaders across the region.

“Natapei’s support for the West Papuan cause was consistent and he used Parliamentary democracy to focus attention on what is an uncomfortable issue for some regional leaders,” Isimeli said.

“Natapei comes from a long line of Vanuatu political leaders who continue to stand out in words and deeds on the issue of self-determination in the Pacific in general and West Papua in particular.”

Isimeli said regional leaders could learn from Natapei’s example.

“As representatives of the people, all our leaders have a moral obligation to bring attention to the issues which affect the people,” he said.

“This is Natapei’s legacy to the region and its people,” he said

SOURCE: ISLANDS BUSINESS/PACNEWS

HEALTH

18) NZ charity throws Solomons hospital a lifeline

29 July 2015

Solomon Islands national hospital is being thrown a lifeline of medical supplies donated by a New Zealand NGO, Take My Hands.

The under resourced hospital has come up with a wish list of its needs and Take My Hands is trying to source the equipment and supplies from around New Zealand.

The group’s managing trustee Janette Searle says it will take a few weeks to complete the request but she hopes to fill two shipping containers of supplies for the hospital.

“Once we have got a really clear idea around what we can fit into that container. We send a full inventory of what we have got to the contacts in the ministry of health and at the hospital so that they can just double check that yep that is cool we want everything on the list or maybe take this off or add this and then we pack it and send it.”RNZI

19) MPs pass bill on mental health

Source:
The National, Thursday July 30th, 2015

THE Mental Health Bill has been unanimously passed with all MPs agreeing on the importance of mental health.
The bill was passed after Health Minister Michael Malabag spoke on mental health care in the country.
“The discriminated and stigmatised people are finally given due attention and protection,” he said.
Malabag said the goal “is to reduce the number of people who become ill and die from mental illness”.
“Mental health has been neglected for far too long,” he said.
“Mental health is crucial to the overall well-being of individuals, societies and countries.
“Today, in our nation, there are many physical, social, and psychological factors that are beginning to emerge.
“Some of these common problems that cause such burdens are in the form of cults, disasters, depression, suicide, all forms of violence, child and adolescence issues, HIV-AIDS, drugs, and alcohol, teenage pregnancy – the list goes on and on.”

20) Medical training

Vuniwaqa Bola-Bari
Thursday, July 30, 2015

MORE health workers are expected to study in India with some doctors from the Indian Health Ministry coming to work in Fiji hospitals.

Acting Health Minister Jioje Konrote confirmed this yesterday as a joint working group comprising health officials from both countries met to plot the way forward for Fiji in the health system.

Mr Konrote said the meeting was a follow up to the commitment showed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his visit to Fiji last year.

Health and Family Welfare of India joint secretary Dharitri Panda said this second meeting of the joint working group was to look into the co-operation in the areas of medical education and procurement in drugs.

“This is a secretary level discussion between both the countries to progress and follow up on the various actions that have been taken and also to retain more new areas of co-operation,” Ms Panda said.

She added they also looked forward to working on areas of pharmaceutical companies for drug distribution for procurement of medicines.

“We have the Indian Pharmacopoeia, and have a MOU also in the areas of attachments and training slots and exposure visits of Fijian health officials to Government of India.”

The Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission (IPC) is an autonomous institution of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare that sets standards for all drugs that are manufactured, sold and consumed in India.

The working group will look into the training and admission in Indian medical colleges and institutions, manufacture and supplies of pharmaceuticals, and doctors in India to work in Fiji under Indian Government assistance, and to collaborate in public health and assistance for development of a new 500-bed super specialty for tertiary care.Fijitimes

EDUCATION


21) PNG to recruit retired Fiji teachers to address shortage
By Online Editor
5:39 pm GMT+12, 29/07/2015, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea is looking at recruiting retired Fijian teachers to arrest the depleting teaching numbers in the country.

Anglimp South Waghi MP Joe Koim took the Government to task to explain if there were plans to have access to teachers elsewhere to meet the shortfall in PNG.

Education Minister Nick Kuman agreed that with the government’s policy on Tuition Fee Free (TFF) the country has seen a serious growth in the student intake right around and throughout the country since 2012.

He said the Government was already engaging with Fiji to have their retired teacher come to PNG to help with the management and also teaching in many parts of the country.

But his revelation in Parliament of the plans to have Fiji retired teachers come to PNG got a point of order from an MP and giggles from the others.

“Early this year, I made a deliberate trip to Fiji and met with the Education office in Fiji to discuss a possibility of us engaging teachers in Fiji who retire at the age of 50 and obviously our retirement age here in PNG is 55 so they got five years of experience that we can explore to get them into PNG and I made a deliberate move with the PNG Teachers Association to engage them so there is no industrial misunderstanding in this regard,” Kuman said.

“And there is a continuous dialogue on this and we want to explore the opportunity on this by bringing teachers not going to the mainstream teaching in the classrooms but I am particularly concerned with the management.

“The dialogue continues and the Government will make an announcement that we will bring in teachers from Fiji,” he said.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

POLITIC

22) PNG Sovereign Wealth Fund Bill Fails To Pass On Technicality
Measure fails to receive 2/3 majority, will be brought to vote again

By Gorethy Kenneth

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, July 30, 2015) – The Government has failed to pass its major agenda, the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) Bill due to differences in legal opinion between Parliament Speaker and major coalition partner National Alliance Party.

The confusion on the chamber started when Speaker Theo Zurenuoc refused to recognized Bogia and NA Party MP John Hickey because of issues before the courts. This led to Mr Hickey walking out of the Chambers, followed by Maprik MP John Simon and Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare the only MP voting against the Bill.

The SWF Bill was not passed as it required a two thirds majority of 74 votes to pass, but could only manage 73-1 votes from MP’s present including the Opposition.

But Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has another chance to rally all members of Parliament to get this important piece of legislation passed that will save revenue from mineral and petroleum resource for future generations.

Parliament rescinded the vote on a motion by the Leader of Government Business James Marape to have it listed in the Notice Paper, which means the Bill can be reintroduced again for another vote today.

The commotion and confusion started just before the MPs took their votes when Parliament Speaker Theodore Zurenuoc ruled that Bogia MP John Hickey who walked into the Chambers was not eligible to vote because of his current court case and that his Tribunal had begun.

Treasurer and National Alliance Party Leader Patrick Pruaitch interjected with a point of order “Speaker if you have…sapos I gat uncertainty i stap long tingting blo yu (if there are uncertainties in your mind), every member is entitled to attend Parliament,” he said. “Honorable Members before yumi vote mi still like kisim clarification blong status blong Member blong Bogia so mi no feelim comfortable lo vote blong em. I need to be satisfied fully first,” Speaker Zurenuoc said in Pidgin.

“To clear the anxiety, I will remove myself,” Mr Hickey said. “But Mr Speaker, if I had not been suspended I’ll expect a sincere apology from you for doing this,” he said. Attorney General Ano Pala also interjected informing the Speaker that the Member is not yet suspended from office.

“So I think if he is suspended, you will be given a written advice on that matter so I will suggest that the Member remain in the chamber and take part in the proceedings,” Minister Pala said. Speaker Zurenuoc then made a ruling that he will asked the Member to come back and vote but will have to seek advice first.

“I am just being cautious here in case we make a mess out of this very important Bill that we are planning to pass here, but I have been advised by my officers here that he cannot vote.”

There was a long pause and silence and by then Mr Hickey had walked out, and while the vote was still on Maprik MP also walked out the Chamber.

Another point of order by Environment Minister John Pundari to have the proceedings suspended for five minutes to get Mr Simon back as it is not allowed for an MP to walk out while a vote was proceeding.

PNG Post-Courier

BUSINESS

23) Samoa PM puts pressure on Airlines PNG as regional option

29 July 2015

The Samoan Prime Minister has invited the Papua New Guinea carrier Airlines PNG to land at Faleolo Airport, connecting Samoa to Los Angeles and Hong Kong.

Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi not only invited the Director of Airlines PNG, Sir Kostas Constantinou, to start the practice, but pressed him to promise to do so within the next 12 months.

Tuilaepa says that landing PNG planes in Samoa will boost local tourism and will in turn benefit PNG tourism.

Meanwhile, a review of the joint venture between Polynesian and Virgin Blue Group is still underway.

Tuilaepa says the review will be completed by September, when a decision will be made on whether the arrangement between the government and Virgin Airlines will continue.RNZI

24) Kina Securities set to start trading on POMSox

Source:
The National, Thursday July 30th, 2015

KINA Securities Ltd will begin trading on the Port Moresby Stock Exchange today, the company says.
Group chief executive officer Syd Yates said Kina Securities had applied for listing on Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) and POMSoX, with shares expected to commence trading on the POMSoX and the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) today.
The company had announced its initial public offering of ordinary fully paid shares (IPO) has closed.
Yates said, that followed strong support from Australian and international Tier 1 institutional and Australian and PNG retail investors.
He said the company offered approximately 97 million fully paid ordinary shares at a price of K2.08 (A$1.00) and would have a market capitalisation of approximately K341 million (A$164 million) on listing. The book-build for the IPO was significantly oversubscribed, with demand for shares approximately four times target amount.
Yates said the offer was conducted in part to raise capital to fund acquisition of Maybank PNG, which was PNG’s fourth largest bank offering a wide range of consumer and corporate banking and finance products.
Meanwhile, in an announcement yesterday, Kina Asset Management Ltd  advised its shareholders that price at which shares would be issued to participants in the dividend reinvestment plan (DRP) would be 98 toea per share. That was after taking account of a discount of 2.5 per cent.
KAM announced on June 30 this year that the payment of dividend was 2 toea per share and the dividend would be paid next Friday.

25) Fiji backs MRDC hotel project
By Online Editor
00:45 am GMT+12, 29/07/2015, Fiji

Papua New Guinea Mineral Resources Development Company’s investment in Fiji’s property sector has received the support of the country’s government through the granting of a 10-year tax holiday.

MRDC says it has received the tax exemption and fiscal concessions for construction imports for its new project at the Pacific Harbour.

The company acquired The Pearl Resort for a FJD$32 million (US$14.9 million) deal, inclusive of 24 acres freehold beach property 82 room resort and facilities, championship golf course including 200 acres of freehold property in August 2013.

In less than two years, MRDC has embarked on expanding the facilities.

MRDC managing director Augustine Mano had said new developments at the resort in Fiji were nearing completion.

“This is the first ever building and construction for MRDC and its subsidiaries (Mineral Resources Ok Tedi 2 and Petroleum Resources Kutubu) and we had to make sure it is value for money in terms of quality, price and within budget,” Mano said.

“The bottom line is to diversify our portfolios and we wanted to make sure the stakeholders get their return on investment.

“The investment at the Pearl resort meets that expectation.”

The Pearl South Pacific Resort Spa and Champions Golf Course general manager Natalie Marletta said: “The additional development to The Pearl will see it expand from a 80-room hotel to a 210-room hotel, plus new spa and wellness centre, new gymnasium complex, new wedding chapel and beach side restaurant.

“Major infrastructure upgrades, refurbishment of existing facilities and the construction of a riverside marina.

“The Pearl Resort currently averages 75 per cent occupancy with key markets being Australia and New Zealand (54 per cent), growth markets are China, India, Russia and Korea making up around 12 per cent – 15 per cent of current visitors. Wedding is a strong segment for the property together with diving and water sports, which have seen a significant increase of 60 per cent over the past 12 months.”

Mano added that The Pearl project, which was set to open in September, would play a bigger role in Fiji’s growing tourism sector

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

26) Crown Prince opens BSP bank operations in Tonga

By Online Editor
00:20 am GMT+12, 29/07/2015, Tonga

Tonga’s Crown Prince Tupouto’a ‘Ulukalala was chief guest at a ceremony in Nuku’alofa Monday evening to mark the commencement of the operations for the Bank of South Pacific (BSP) in the island kingdom.

Unveiling the plaque to mark the beginning of the Papua New Guinea bank in Tonga, Crown Prince Tupouto’a ‘Ulukalala thanked owners of the bank for setting up BSP in the island kingdom.

“I would like to convey our sincere thanks to the CEO and the board of directors for your willingness to invest in Tonga, and also partnering with us for the development of our country. I’m sure your previous experience in island cultures will be an advantage in your efforts to create value for our communities, and deliver innovative to deliver cost effective financial services.”

BSP’s chief executive officer, Robin Fleming said the bank is committed to supporting the people and businesses in Tonga.

“Everyone that’s been involved in the transaction should be congratulated, particularly the staff and the stakeholders and institutions not only facilitate and intermediate financial transactions but also enable us of economic activity. BSP recognizes that. Recognizes the commitment to banking services across all segments, business, governments and individual. It’s what makes us different, said Fleming.

Westpac Banking Corporation sold four of its operations in the Pacific for AU$125 million to BSP Bank. These include Cook Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Tonga.

BSP, headquartered in Port Moresby, is now present in Cook Islands, Fiji, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Tonga

SOURCE: RADIO TONGA NEWS/. PACNEWS

27) Solomons Authority Assumes Control Of All Businesses At Port
Ports Authority to operate, profit from all interests at port

By Denver Newter

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, July 30, 2015) – The Solomon Islands Ports Authority (SIPA) is taking control over all business operations at the ports area as part of its reform.

The reform program will see changes happening at both the international and domestic ports area.

SIPA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Colin Yeo announced this yesterday during a press conference with the local media at his office on Wednesday afternoon.

Mr Yeo told local journalists that SIPA for the past 59 years since 1956 had no real change of operations.

“Since then, various interests have gained, profited and benefit from the lack of process cohesiveness at the ports.

“During this period, these interests have built up considerable influence and figuratively have their fingers in the pie at SIPA.

“These includes taking over some of the port’s operations which is rightly belongs to SIPA,” Mr Yeo said.

He explained that SIPA will run all business operations within the ports area and that business operating within ports area will be closed.

“After 6 months, the overhaul of SIPA internally is well underway. The management team at SIPA is now reviewing the processes of port operations conducted by external interests.

“It has been identified that revenue which should belong to SIPA and ultimately Solomon Island Government (SIG), have been in the hands of external businesses.

“SIPA now intends to revert all port’s activities to SIPA. Ultimately it is to benefit the people of Solomon Islands and its government,” Mr Yeo said.

He said, since he was appointed as CEO for SIPA he has been mandated to reform the whole of SIPA and return the ports to sustainable profitability as well as ensuring the management of the Ports returns to the sovereignty of the Solomon Islands Government.

“Since I took up CEO post early this year, I was mandated to reform the whole of SIPA and return Ports to sustainable profitability as well as ensuring that the management of the Ports returns to the sovereignty of the Solomon Islands Government.

“This mandate clearly indicates that an overhaul of the way things are done at the ports have to be implemented and a restructure of responsibilities is necessary.”

He said, some port’s operations undertaken by external businesses other than SIPA, have been returned to SIPA recently.

“This has invoked a huge outcry by these external parties. They are clearly resistant to any changes and their responses have included calls to remove the CEO SIPA but I will still continue on with this reform program for this government,” Mr Yeo said yesterday.

The SIPA boss calls on any business operators who are unhappy with the reform program done by SIPA to consult him for further update about reform program.

Solomon Star

28) Businesses to enjoy better link

Source:
The National, Thursday July 30th, 2015

BUSINESS activities in and around the industrial hub of Lae have long been affected with telecommunication woes and bmobile-Vodafone improved services will greatly assist businesses activities.
Lae Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Alan McLay said that when welcoming the improved services, network coverage and competitive edge provided by bmobile-Vodafone during a joint luncheon yesterday.
Bmobile-Vodafone chief executive officer Sundar Ramamurthy told the business community that the company, under its new partnership with Vodafone, was now an improved coverage, services and cheaper network.
McLay said PNG lagged behind in terms of better and cheaper telecommunication rates because of the different tariffs imposed.
However, he said if there was more competition, more businesses would welcome it.
“Lae is PNG’s industrial capital, not the political capital, and is the main driving force of the economy of PNG, all companies are reliant on telecommunications, especially the internet and mobile phones,” he said.
“That has certainly streamlined a lot of businesses in the way they operate.”
“The bread basket of PNG stretches from Madang, Lae, Kainantu, Goroka to Hagen so for us (bmobile-Vodafone) it’s very important that we give excellent coverage and excellent customer service across that area, that has been the focus from us apart from Port Moresby,” Ramamurthy said.
“We need to cover the highlands corridor very well and we’ve just completed that and we are looking forward now to embarking with businesses in Lae hence the meeting with the industry today and to get the message out there that we are a credible alternative and for the people to use us and judge us,” he said.

“If we are not up to the standards, tell us so we can fix it, but we are a very good network and coverage today and we need people to try it as opposed to thinking ‘should I or shouldn’t I.”

INFRASTRUCTURE

29) Solomons government signs major road project

29 July 2015

A landmark contract has been signed for a road project in the Solomon Islands.

The Ministry of Infrastructure Development signed a $5.4 million US dollar contract with China Harbor Engineering Company, who will work in partnership with Solfish JV to build the Naro-Lambi Road Rehabilitation and Bridge Project.

While most road projects in the country are funded by donors, the permanent secretary of the department, Moses Virivolomo, says this project will be paid entirely by the government.

Chec and Solfish JV’s representative, Ma Jinhua, told the government the company will complete the project within the budget and the time frame.

He says his company’s experience in Papua New Guinea gives them an understanding of Melanesian culture and they are well placed to carry out the job.RNZI

30) New road to help ore transport
Source:
The National, Thursday July 30th, 2015

PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill says a new access road is being built to solve the problem of transporting ore by river at Tabubil, Western, for Ok Tedi Mining Ltd.
“The Government is building a new access road to Aiambak that has much higher level of access in terms of the water levels,” he said.
“Larger boats can take food, fuels and medicine supplies through that area. We will use the new access road in the future to bring ore out of the mine and of course, continue the mine to have a long-term sustainable operation.”
Telefomin MP Solan Mirisim had asked whether the Government had in place a long-term solution to assist OTML. He suggested that the Government build other ports somewhere in Lake Murray or Aiambak or have a road link to the mine.

31) Minister: PNG Power Company ‘In Deep Cash Flow Shortage’

Failure to complete expected projects draws ire of MPs

By Andrew Alphonse

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, July 30, 2015) – The State owned power provider, PNG Power Ltd (PPL) is broke and in deep cash flow shortage, Minister for Public Enterprises and State Investment Ben Micah revealed in Parliament yesterday.

Mr Micah was responding to a Question without Notice from Angoram MP Salio Waipo who asked Mr Micah to explain why PNG Power Ltd after being fully paid K10 million [US$3.5 million] from his district services improvement funds (DSIP) for Angoram rural electrification project by the last government in 2012 has failed to deliver the Wewak to Angoram power project.

Mr Waipo asked about why there was delay in executing the project as there is not one single power pylon nor lines being erected to indicate the implementation of the project.

Mr Micah admitted that PPL was on the verge of collapse with an overdrawn bank account of K40 million [US$14 million] last year. He said under the combine State of Emergency (SOE) operations with members of security forces, PNG Power was able to recoup and save K18 million [US$6.3 million] from outstanding power bills and other cost incurred by PNG Power. Mr Micah admitted that PNG Power is financially broke due to widespread misuse and mismanagement of money including funds given to PNG Power by MPs for their rural electrification projects.

His response drew the ire of East Sepik Governor Sir Michael Somare who interrupted with several points of order to ask Mr Micah to tell the ‘real truth’ to the people of Angoram and East Sepik Province why the K10 million was taken back to Port Moresby after it was parked in the Wewak provincial treasury for the project in 2012.

Sir Michael claimed that the K10 million taken back to Port Moresby while the contract was awarded to company associated with a senior executive of PNG Power Ltd. Mr Micah was caught off guard by Sir Michael’s claim and admitted that PNG Power has no money and is currently in the process of rebuilding the company to be profitable again. Mr Micah said he would prepare a detailed report on the financial status of the company including money paid to PPL by MPs for rural electrification that are yet to be implemented.

Talasea MP Francis Maru also raised concern over a K3.4 million [US$1.2 million] he paid for his rural power project five years ago while PPL has got the job partly done.

PNG Post-Courier

32) State injects $10m into Albert Park redevelopment

By ATASA MOCEITUBA
Thursday, July 30, 2015

Update: 1:00PM GOVERNMENT has contributed $10 million of the Suva City Council’s $16.7m project to upgrade Albert Park.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama made this announcement during the Albert Park re-development ground breaking ceremony in Suva this morning.

“Albert Park has a place in everyone’s heart. So I’m especially delighted to be here this morning to cement its place in our national life even further,” Mr Bainimarama said.

“To conduct the ground-breaking ceremony to begin work on upgrading this great icon of our city – loved by so many – to make it even more worthy of the pride we all share in it.

“This redevelopment includes four rugby or soccer grounds, two cricket fields with artificial pitches and modern lighting. But the biggest improvement includes a new grandstand with a seating capacity for 1,000 people, corporate lounges, VIP rooms, seats for the disabled, a control room and parking for 28 vehicles.”

Mr Bainimarama says the project is expected to be completed next year.

“An area that was once decidedly shabby and something of a national embarrassment will once again shine bright as the jewel in the crown of our capital,” he said.Fijitimes

LAW&ORDER ,CURRUPTION, SELFIE,

33) ‘Selfie’ dept head will not be charged

Source:
The National, Thursday July 30th, 2015

By CLIFFORD FAIPARIK
The head of a Government agency accused of posting a photo of himself naked on social media will not be investigated or charged, the director of crimes division  Donald Yamasombi said yesterday.
“We will investigate this senior bureaucrat only if a complaint is laid against him. Right now we cannot,” he said.
Yamasombi said photo had gone viral on social media.
With his face shown, the government officer allegedly took a “selfie” in a bedroom.
West Sepik Governor Beldan Namah is calling for the Ombudsman Commission to investigate and charge the senior bureaucrat under the Leadership Code Act .
“I now call on the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill to immediately sack the senior bureaucrat for indecent exposure,” Namah said.
“It is a disgrace. I am calling on that officer to resign from the office immediately. He has demeaned the status of that office.
“This senior bureaucrat heads a very important office that deals with international affairs.
“One of the activities that this office manages is the movement of illicit material such as drugs and pornography into this country.”
Namah said the officer was an international embarrassment as he attended international meetings.
“We talk about the increasing sale of pornography material.
“The Government and the churches are doing their best to control the circulation of pornography and here we have a senior government officer promoting it.”
Police Commissioner Gari Baki had said earlier that there should be a strong policy on cyber crimes to prevent and control such circulation of indecent material on social media.

34) Fiji to be assessed on anti-money laundering compliance – Fiji will be assessed on how well it is complying with the international anti-money laundering standards in October. Some things Fiji will be assessed on include anti-money laundering laws, policies, coordination, powers of the law enforcement authorities, preventative measures for bank and other financial institutions, convictions and confiscation of proceeds of crime. Financial Intelligence Unit Director Razim Buksh says the mutual evaluation will be very intensive and will see the involvement of both the public and private sector agencies.
http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/31610/fiji-to-be-assessed-on-anti-money-laundering-compliance#sthash.cDLQ9zUK.dpuf

35) PNG Anti-corruption gets registered
By Online Editor
11:55 pm GMT+12, 28/07/2015, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea Anti-corruption Movement for Change is now a registered group with the Investment Promotion Authority to fight corruption.

According to Lucas Kiap, the interim chairman of the group, the fight against corruption was not new to Papua New Guinea as corruption was still spreading like HIV and AIDS.

He said the fight against corruption must now take a new direction to focus more on the solutions than the traditional means of only exposing the problems, leaving the solutions unattended.

“Corruption is here because the leadership allows it to become systematic, which then makes the lives of citizens difficult, limiting opportunities, making systems malfunction, setback the progress of the country, creating loopholes for system manipulation, distortion of democratic values, deprivation and denying of basic human rights, and so on.

“The leadership allows corruption because they lack vision, lack patriotism, and lack national pride. A leadership with vision will not misuse public funds and office for personal gain but will do anything to achieve the vision,” Kiap said.

“It is a serious problem that traps millions of our people in poverty poor. Corruption feeds poverty and poverty feeds crime. What has become of PNG is the symptom of corruption,” he said.

Kiap said the PNG Anti-Corruption Movement for Change (PNGACMC) group is a network of like-minded people with visions to change PNG.

He said the group has been in existence back in 2001 at University Of Technology as a discussion group of among like-minded students.

SOURCE:.POST COURIER/.PACNEWS

36) Counterfeit Currency Circulating In Solomon Islands Capital

Public warned to be on lookout for fake $100 notes

By Aatai John

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, July 30, 2015) – The Public has been warned to look out for fake $100 notes said to have been circulating in Honiara.

Various people had already reported being sold the counterfeit not in the past weeks.

One of the victims, who is a betel nut seller at Rove said someone used the counterfeit note this week to buy betel nut and that she could not tell.

“It looked very real especially when we were not alerted of any counterfeit currency note circulation.”

She said the fake currency note can be identified by looking for the silver plastic on the note.

“It is missing and also the paper it is made of is not very rigid and can easily fade.”

The Central Bank of Solomon Islands (CBSI) had issued warnings in the past and also carried out awareness programs about the features of the country’s currency notes.

Solomon Star

37) Fiji Ranked As ‘Tier Two’ Country In Trafficking In Persons Report
US State Department notes Fiji is destination for forced prostitution

By Vuniwaqa Bola-Bari

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, July 30, 2015) – Fiji has been identified as a source country for the trafficking of women and children for sex as well as a destination for Asians who are forced into prostitution.

The 2015 United States Department of State Trafficking in Persons report released this week had recommendations for Fiji, which is currently ranked Tier Two in the report.

A Tier Two ranking means countries whose governments do not fully comply with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards.

The report claimed Fijian women and children were subjected to trafficking abroad or in cities for sexual exploitation or as domestic workers. It further said there were instances where some criminal organisations deceptively recruited women from Asian countries who were then exploited in illegal brothels.

It suggested that our no visa requirement to 132 nations could also be a contributing factor to Fiji being a transit area for human trafficking. A more startling revelation is the alleged involvement of family members, taxidrivers, foreigners, businessmen and foreign fishing vessels crew as participants in the prostitution of Fijian children.

The 2015 report was compiled using information sourced from US embassies, government officials, non governmental organisations and international organisations, news reports, academic studies and research trips to every region. Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said authorities were working to address the issues identified by the report.

“Fijians regard human trafficking as totally abhorrent. We welcome the positive elements of the US report on the steps we have already taken and are progressively working to address the issues that have been identified as requiring further attention,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

The report recommended that Fiji continued its efforts to investigate, prosecute trafficking offences and convict and punish traffickers.

It also recommended that additional trainings for law enforcement and immigration officers on victim identification and protection be instituted.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said “the progress we have made thus far underlines the fact that we have zero tolerance for human trafficking and are systematically tackling the issue within the constraints of our available resources”.

Fiji Times Online.

CLIMATE CHANGE,CONSERVATION,ENVIROMENT 

38) Water an urgent need in Papua province

30 July 2015

The Indonesian Red Cross Society says water is an urgent need for remote communities in the Papua region still suffering from a severe cold snap.

The society is delivering aid to the hard to reach Lanny Jaya district after hail storms and extreme cold weather left nine people dead and killed a large number livestock.

Thousands are in need of food and clean water as local sources are reportedly frozen or have been contaminated, and supplies of bottled water are unavailable in local markets.

Affected villages are nestled in high mountains, and delivering aid is a major challenge, with Red Cross volunteers having to walk for three days to deliver supplies.

So far 500 gallons of drinking water, as well as blankets and food have been delivered.RNZI

39) Meteorologists monitor rare early season cyclone in Pacific

30 July 2015

A tropical depression over the Solomon Islands is being watched closely by meteorologists and climate experts alike in case the deep low pressure system forms into a second rare early season cyclone for the region.

This month, Cyclone Raquel became the first July cyclone in Australia’s eastern region since the satellite era began in the early 1970s.

Jess Carey of Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology says there was only about a one in five chance that the low over the islands would develop into a cyclone.

He says if it enters Australia’s zone, the storm would be the first clear August cyclone in the satellite era in the region.

The forecasters say the system could bring damaging winds and heavy rains to the Solomons or other areas.RNZI

40) ‘We would only have 12 hours to prepare’

News.com.au
Thursday, July 30, 2015

Update:8:55PM MASS power outages, satellite disruptions and failure of transport networks are just some of threats humans would face if there was an explosion of the sun.

What makes this even worse is we would only have 12 hours warning to prepare for such an event.

This is according to the British Government’s Space Weather Preparedness Strategyreport – a plan developed to outline what needs to be done to cope with a massive solar storm.

The report states the worst case scenario of severe space weather would be a coronal mass ejection.

In the case of such an event, the aura of plasma surrounding the Earth would detach, hurling high-energy particles and X-rays toward our planet.

To develop the preparedness strategy, researchers examined the Carrington event of 1859 – the last major coronal mass ejection to hit Earth.

“Generally speaking, the faster the ejection, the greater the potential impacts,” the report reads.

“The Carrington event, for example, travelled to Earth in as little as 18 hours.

“It is therefore likely that our reasonable worst case scenario would only allow us 12 hours from observation to impact.”

The report predicts that the modern day equivalent of such an event would result in major blackouts and a disruption to satellite communications.

Researchers suggest this would cause GPS systems and high frequency radio communication to be affected, which would leave trains, ships and aircraft all disrupted.

The authors believe in order to deal with the phenomenon, countries should design safeguards in infrastructure, develop an ample alert system to warn of space weather and have emergency procedure in place.

“Much more needs to be done to encourage potentially vulnerable sectors to adopt measures to mitigate the likely impacts,” the report reads.

“Communication with the public is an important component in preparing for and responding to an event – not all impacts may happen during every space weather event but pre-agreed messaging is important to allow rapid and effective communication from government, if and when they do happen.

“Preparation is needed to the national level, with the support of local capabilities to deal with the consequences. This all requires international co-ordination.”

41) Meteorologists eye rare early season tropical cyclone in Pacific
By Online Editor
5:50 pm GMT+12, 29/07/2015, Australia

A tropical depression over the Solomon Islands is being watched closely by meteorologists and climate experts alike in case the deep low pressure system forms into a second rare early season cyclone for the region.

This month, Cyclone Raquel became the first July cyclone in Australia’s eastern region since the satellite era began in the early 1970s.

Jess Carey, a spokesman from the Bureau of Meteorology’s Queensland office, said there was only about a one in five chance that the low over the islands would develop into a cyclone.

Conditions were not yet conducive for the low to form into a cyclone-strength storm but they might be “enhanced” over the weekend or early next week, Carey said.

Its direction could be “pretty much any direction on the compass”, although at a distance of 2000 kilometres from the Queensland coast it was unlikely to have an impact on the Australia mainland, he said.

Naming rights for the event, should it become a cyclone, depended on whether it formed in Australia’s eastern zone or Fiji’s area of coverage, he said.

Should it enter Australia’s zone, the storm would be the first clear August cyclone in the satellite era in that region.

That, along with Cyclone Raquel, was of particular interest to climatologists, Carey said.

“It’s certainly something we haven’t seen in the past 40 years,” he said.

Even if winds don’t reach cyclonic strength, the system could still bring damaging winds and heavy rains to the Solomons or other areas.

SOURCE:SMH/PACNEWS

MINING,FORESTRY,AGRICULTURE,FISHERIES

42) Firm optimistic about project

Source:
The National, Monday July 27th, 2015

TWINZA Oil Ltd says it is keen to market and distribute gas within PNG and the Pacific region.
The Philippines-based company will be operating Papua New Guinea’s first offshore oil project in Gulf.
Chief executive officer Huw Evans said: “Hopefully we can make some contribution to some domestic production, and we are certainly looking at getting the energy that we produce back into the PNG domestic economy.”
Eda Oil Ltd, wholly owned subsidiary of Petromin PNG Holdings Ltd, will be the joint venture partner in the project.
Petromin has a 10 per cent equity in the Pasca gas field project.
“The Gulf natural gas liquids project will be wholly developed within the Gulf provincial boundaries,” Evans said. “The Pasca A development will produce gas and natural-gas liquids and the joint venture is actively exploring marketing and distribution opportunities within PNG and the Pacific region.
“We’ll be opening an office here (Port Moresby) shortly. We are in the process of doing recruitment and putting a team together in Papua New.
“PNG has got a challenging environment because the marine services to all the gas services are not readily available here.
“We started our EIA (environmental impact assessment) in July last year.
“We will look to submit our EIS (environmental impact statement) towards end of this year and normal process will have us approvals towards the middle of next year, we hope. We look forward to go and do some offshore drilling, which is phase one of drilling campaign, which will really look at not only the resources that we have already established but we see a lot of upside
in the field as well and we’ll be looking at establishing that through drilling.”
The total project investment would be US$500 million (K1.38bn).

43) PM: Govt scouting for gold mine buyer

Source:
The National, Thursday July 30th, 2015

PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill says a formal announcement will be made soon once the Tolukuma mine operator PNG Petromin Holdings Ltd finds a potential buyer.
“Board chairman Sir Brown Bai and managing director Thomas Abe of Petromin briefed me on Monday that they are at the final stages of concluding the negotiation with a potential buyer,” he said. “They have short-listed buyers and have come down to one and two,” O’Neill said.
Deputy Opposition leader Sam Basil had questioned when the mine would be reopening, saying those who depended on the mine were affected.
O’Neill said: “Tolukuma mine is a very important asset for the people and it is the only source of employment and income for many around the Goilala area.
“That is why it is important we try our best to keep that mine operating.”
He said Petromin had lost more than K100 million and as a company, it could not afford to continue to operate a mine that was not profitable. “I have given instruction to Petromin that they sell down their interest or dispose of the mine. As a result of that, they have shut down the mine temporarily,” he said.
“But they are doing care and maintenance. A crew is there and I had the opportunity to meet them when I went to the mine.”

44) BAUXITE: Demand drops, 70,000 tonnes stockpile

Luke Rawalai
Thursday, July 30, 2015

A TOTAL of 70,000 tonnes of bauxite valued about $1.4million is at the Aurum Exploration (Fiji) Ltd’s stockpile area in Nawailevu, Bua, as the demand for the ore faces a global slump.

Company executive Derek Qiu said there had been a global decrease in the demand of aluminium.

Mr Qiu said 50 per cent of mining operations around the world would close down if the slump persisted.

“This year, we are only having two shipments of bauxite due to the situations brought about by the global market,” he said.

“Compared with past years when we used to have a total of six to seven shipments of bauxite to China.

“We are slowly feeling the effects of the global economic recession in the prices of bauxite and other ores too whose market prices have really fallen this year.”

According to a report from Thestar.com, global prices of aluminium had indeed slumped as a glut emerged with China exporting more aluminium in the first quarter of 2015.

According to the report, exports of unwrought aluminium and aluminium products from China surged 43 per cent in the first quarter of this year to 1.2 million tonnes.

“This worsened a glut situation in the commodity where aluminium global giant Alcoa reversed earlier estimates of a deficit to a big surplus of the metal in the global market,” the report stated.

“Earlier this month, Alcoa projected that the global aluminium market will see an oversupply of 326,000 tonnes in 2015 compared with a forecast of a deficit of 38,000 tonnes it estimated in January.

“The main reason for that differing view is China’s output and with China set to end export taxes on certain types of aluminium products, the glut is pressuring the global market.”

Meanwhile, Aurum Explorations Fiji Ltd’s business adviser Michael Nesbitt said a slump in global demand for aluminium meant a decrease in the demand for bauxite, which was an ore of aluminium.Fijitimes

 45) Land Title Claims By Solomons Bauxite Miners Declared Legal

Rennel and Bellona Province landowners questioned validity of claims

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, July 29, 2015) – The land title claims by two bauxite mining companies in Rennel and Bellona Province in Solomon Islands have been declared legal by the attorney general.

Bintan Company Ltd and Asia Pacific Investment Development have been embroiled in complicated battles for land and mining rights which have resulted in the sackings of at least one minister and several staff from the Ministry of Mines.

James Apaniai’s declaration comes after the Renbell provincial government and the West Rennell council of chiefs and landowners questioned the validity of both companies land title claims.

Mr Apaniai says both companies have legally acquired the titles for their respective holdings.

Radio New Zealand International

46) US, Pacific Islands To Negotiate Tuna Treaty In Brisbane

26-year partnership set for renewal after one year interim agreement

By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (The Samoa News, July 29, 2015) – Fresh negotiations will be underway next week in Brisbane, Australia to hopefully reach a new agreement on the South Pacific Tuna Treaty, which was first implemented in 1987 between the U.S. government and Pacific island countries.

As previously reported by Samoa News, an interim agreement was signed last October between the U.S. government and 17 Pacific Island nations — as members of the Pacific Island Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) — which allowed the US purse seiner fleet to fish in the exclusive economic zones of FFA members.

The interim agreement, which is only valid for 2015, links US aid to access to Pacific Island Parties (PIP) fishing grounds. Currently the U.S. pays $90 million in aid and rent. The federal government pays $21 million and the industry — mainly boat owners — pay $69 million, according to an ASG report in April this year.

In a statement Monday night, San Diego-based South Pacific Tuna Corporation says the Treaty meeting is set for Aug. 3-5 and it will be historic as members of the U.S. distant water tuna fleet, and representatives from the U.S. Departments of State and Commerce will meet with fishery officials from the 17 member Pacific Island Parties (PIP’s), and representatives of the FFA in an effort to work towards solutions to extending the 26-year partnership.

Although the financial challenge continues to escalate for all fishing vessels in the global fishery community, South Pacific Tuna Corp executives say it is critical that the industry continue to address and support the U.S. government in these efforts.

“In providing economic assistance to all participating PIP’s, the Treaty is a visible demonstration of the ongoing commitment to the region,” said J. Douglas Hines, executive director of South Pacific Tuna Corp., which represents 14 purse seine vessels under the Treaty.

Hines says the company has considered comments of the parties; including those of Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) along with many members of the PIP’s, the US government and Industry after the latest round of meetings in Fiji and “will work towards maintaining our decades long commitment.”

“We are not ready to give it up as some would hope, and as the largest member of the US fleet we retain our dedication to long term fishery conservation and partnership with our Island partners,” Hines said, adding that it’s critical to solidify a 2016 agreement. “Now is not the time to be short sighted; it is the time to commit to the Treaty and to our Island partners in the Pacific.”

San Diego-based American Tunaboat Association executive director Brian Hallman confirmed to Samoa News that he will be attending the Brisbane meeting, along with 8- 10 other boat owner representatives — including those from the South Pacific Tuna Corporation.

“The highest priority for ATA will be negotiating 2016 access arrangements for the U.S fleet for waters of the Pacific island countries that are parties to the tuna Treaty,” he said yesterday.

Responding to Samoa News inquiries, Tri Marine International said they usually attend these meetings as part of the American Tunaboat Owners Association, which represents all US flagged purse seiners fishing in the Western and Central Pacific under the Treaty.

“We don’t have any specific message to share at this time or any details about who, if anyone, may be attending on our behalf,” said Tri Marine, which operates a locally based US flagged purse seiner fleet and the Samoa Tuna Processors Inc., cannery.

Perhaps the biggest concern for Tri Marine pertaining to the Treaty, as cited in its petition to the federal government requesting an exemption to allow the US purse seiner fleet to fish in high seas, is that the South Pacific nation of Kiribati — whose EEZ contains prime fishing grounds north of American Samoa — has refused to allow US vessels access to its waters for more than 300 fishing days for 2015, after allowing 4,313 fishing days the year before (60 percent of all US flag fishing days in the region).

“US purse seine vessels based in American Samoa are now denied access to much of their traditional fishing grounds because of this breakdown in prior Treaty arrangements,” says Tri Marine.

At the conclusion of its meeting last month in Honolulu, the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council says it recognized that the combination of the US high seas purse-seine effort limits by the international Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) and the removal of historic levels of fishing days in Kiribati waters available under the Treaty may result in a reduced supply of tuna offloaded directly to the Pago Pago canneries by US purse-seine vessels.

The Council has recommended that U.S. National Marine Fishery Services and the State Department improve the current terms of the Treaty with regards to Pago Pago-based US purse seine vessels.

U.S. State Department official Judith G. Garber told the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs in May that their department leads U.S. efforts to revise and extend the terms of the Treaty and explore other ways to ensure economically viable fishing access to waters under the jurisdiction of Pacific Island parties.

She says the parties met most recently in March 2015 to discuss renegotiation of the Treaty, as well as fishing access opportunities for the U.S. purse seine fleet in 2016. “We remain committed to working with the Pacific Island parties to achieve an outcome that meets the economic objectives of both sides and contributes to an effective and transparent conservation and management regime,” she said, according to a copy of her testimony on the U.S. Senate website.

The March meeting was led by the State Department and American Samoa was included as part of the federal delegation. Representing American Samoa were Commerce director Keniseli Lafaele and Attorney General Talauega Eleasalo Ale – and the trio provided the governor with a report in April this year from the renegotiation meeting.

Samoa News wasn’t able to confirm at press time if ASG will again join the federal delegation at the Brisbane meeting.

In its fiscal year 2016 budget submission to the U.S. Congress, the State Department says it will use $21 million to meet an annual commitment under the Treaty and the associated Economic Assistance Agreement (EAA).

The Treaty is an important regional agreement in the Pacific, where the US is working to continue to strengthen relationships, according to the State Department’s budget justification document, which also says that the U.S. commitment under the Treaty and EAA is fulfilled through funding support to the South Pacific Forum Fisheries Agency, which distributes the assistance to countries in the South Pacific.

This assistance supports sustainable use of fisheries’ resources, increased food security, and enhanced relations with Pacific Island states. It also benefits the U.S. economy by promoting access for U.S. vessels to some of the most lucrative fishing grounds in the world, which in turn support employment opportunities for Americans.

“Failure to make this payment could remove the primary source of U.S. economic assistance to most of these small island states and result in Pacific Island nations denying fishing licenses to U.S. vessels,” it says.

The Samoa News

WOMAN,YOUTH,CHILD

47) 37 child abuse cases recorded from early this year – 37 child abuse cases have been recorded from January to June this year. According to the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre, 21 cases have been recorded in Suva, 5 in Ba, 6 in Nadi ,4 in Labasa and 1 in Rakiraki. Coordinator Shamima Ali says that out of these 37 cases, 14 were sexual abuse, 4 physical abuse and 3 were emotional or verbal abuse.
http://fijivillage.com/news/37-child-abuse-cases-recorded-from-early-this-year–k9s2r5/

SPORT

48) PNG PM League Challenge confirmed

30 July 2015

The annual Prime Ministers Rugby League Challenge between Papua New Guinea and Australia has been confirmed for the September 26.

The match will be played at the Sir John Guise Stadium under lights.

PNGRFL chairman Sandis Tsaka says national selectors will be busy over the next few weeks as they pick teams for the various representative games that will also coincide with the Prime Ministers 13 game.

The games include a Under 16 match against New South Wales and a women’s representative fixture between two teams selected from the National Confederates championships that will be staged in early September.

But Tsaka says PNG Hunters players will not be considered for selection as the month of September is a busy period

when the Intrust Super Cup finals would be in progress and our boys are likely to be involved in that.RNZI

49) Oceania represented at 128th IOC Session
By Online Editor
01:12 am GMT+12, 29/07/2015, Fiji

Seven top officials from Oceania are in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for the 128th International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session.

The officials are: John Coates- IOC Vice President (Australia), Dr Robin Mitchell- IOC Member (Fiji), Barry Maister- IOC Member (New Zealand), Barbara Kendall- IOC Member (New Zealand), James Tomkins- IOC Member (Australia), Kevan Gosper- IOC Honorary Member (Australia) and Phil Coles- IOC Honorary Member (Australia).

The crucial decision at this session will be made on Friday July 31 on the election of the host city for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games and for the 2020 Youth Olympic Winter Games.

The two Candidate Cities bidding for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games are Almaty (Kazakhstan) and Beijing (China.

The two Candidate Cities bidding for the 2020 Youth Olympic Winter Games are Brasov (Romania) and Lausanne (Switzerland).

In June, the IOC released the report by the Evaluation Commission for the Olympic Winter Games 2022 highlighting the opportunities and challengers associated with hosting these Games in both candidate cities.

The report by the Evaluation Commission is the first of its kind following the unanimous approval of the Olympic Agenda 2020 last December by the IOC.

The Commission has also sought assurances from bid cities on matters relating to non-discrimination and other principles contained contained in the Olympic Charter and the Host City Contract.

The report published by the Commission also addresses issues including freedom of the press and workers’ rights.

The Bid Cities will make final presentations on Friday at the 128 Session before IOC Members vote on the host cities for the 2020 Youth Olympic Winter Games and the 2022 Olympic Winter Games.

The 128th IOC Session concludes on Monday 3 August.

SOURCE: ONOC/PACNEWS

50) Fiji hangs on to edge Japan in rugby thriller at Pacific Nations Cup tournament
By Online Editor
00:26 am GMT+12, 30/07/2015, Canada

Fiji used its trademark running flair and some bone-jarring defence to defeat Japan 27-22 Wednesday and move into the final of the Pacific Nations Cup rugby tournament.

Down two men, Fiji had to fight off a prolonged Japanese assault on its goalline in a tense final sequence.

The game turned midway through the first half when the Fijians, showing their offensive skills, reeled off three converted tries to turn a 9-3 deficit into a 24-9 lead.

But Japan made it close with a 13-point second half and Fiji was forced to spend a lot of time in its own end. Japan used the rolling maul to great effect during a late charge with Fiji lock Leone Nakarawa sin-binned with four minutes remaining for bringing the maul down near the goalline.

Fijian prop Campese Maafu was sent to the sideline for another indiscretion with no time remaining as Japan continued its onslaught.

The Japanese sent one runner after another at the Fijians but their one-dimensional attack could not break the defence down and they eventually gave up a penalty that ended the game.

Tevita Cavubati, Joshua Matavesi and Metuisela Talebula scored for the 10th-ranked Fijians (2-0-1). Matavesi, named man of the match, kicked two penalties and three conversions.

Akihito Yamada and Hendrik Tui scored tries for No. 13 Japan (1-2-0). Ayumu Goromaru booted four penalties.

Tonga defeated the U.S. 33-19 in the opening game of the tournament tripleheader at BMO Field.

The Fijians laid down the challenge before the game via the Cibi, their version of the Haka. The Japanese, in a line, watched impassively from centre field.

The game was played in 30-degree conditions, with the referee allowing time for water breaks.

Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” played during one such break before a Japanese penalty, with the small crowd continuing to sing after the song was ended prematurely in deference to the kicker’s concentration.

Earlier the anthems had been all but drowned out by performers at Edgefest 2 at nearby Echo Beach. The concert was an unwelcome soundtrack throughout the game.

Fiji spent the first 20 minutes on the backfoot and trailed 9-3 before the six-foot-seven, 265-pound Cavubati broke a tackle and ran 35 metres for a try to put the Pacific Islanders ahead 10-9.

An offload by Napolioni Nalaga after a run down the line set up Matavesi for a try in the 26th minute. Less than two minutes later, Talebula went down the other side for a try.

Japan laid siege on the Fijian goalline late in the half but, despite the beneficiary of several penalties, was unable to crack the Fiji defence and eventually yielded a penalty of its own.

The Fiji defenders finally broke early in the second half with Yamada darting over in the corner after a series of scrums near the goalline. That narrowed the deficit to 24-14.

Despite the breach, the Fiji defence continue to impress. Minutes after the try, Talebula sent Kotaro Matsushima into reverse with a driving tackle. But another Goromaru penalty cut the lead to 24-17.

A 61st-minute Matavesi penalty restored the Fiji lead to 10. Centre Lepani Botia then stopped a Japanese runner in his tracks.

Tui clawed his way over the line in the 69th minute to bring Japan to within a try at 27-22.

Fiji beat No. 12 Tonga 30-22 and tied No. 9 Samoa 30-30 previously. Japan defeated No. 18 Canada 20-6 and lost 23-18 to the 16th-ranked U.S.

SOURCE: CANADA PRESS/PACNEWS

51) ONOC President believes Agenda 2020 will help future Games organisers

By Online Editor
01:06 am GMT+12, 29/07/2015, Fiji

Oceania National Olympic Committee (ONOC) President Dr Robin Mitchell believes the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Agenda 2020 will greatly assist organisers of future regional games.

Dr Mitchell, an IOC member himself says the recently approved Agenda 2020 has been adopted by 2020 Olympic Games hosts Japan.

“I was recently in Tokyo for the Coordination Committee meeting and Tokyo has very quickly taken on board the recommendations of the IOC which resulted in them saving 1.3 billion dollars already in venue preparation.”

He spoke at the recent Pacific Games Council General Assembly in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea whereby he advised organising committees of the 2017 Pacific Mini Games in Vanuatu, 2019 Pacific Games in Tonga and the 2021 Pacific Mini Games to work closely with International Federations.

The assembly heard of problems faced at the recent Pacific Games in Papua New Guinea between the Games Organising Committee and International Federations regarding technical matters.

“I think the important message is to send out is the involvement of the International Federations (IF) from the beginning of your preparations for the games rather than them coming in just to sign off.

“IFs usually have experts that come to you free, there’s also regional IF people who will deal with the same so for Vanuatu, Tonga and Northern Marianas perhaps you might want to go back to the old system of involving the Ifs very early in your planning,” said Dr Mitchell.

Meanwhile, ONOC is making arrangements for a visit to Ashgabat, Turkmenistan by officials of the 17 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and the seven Associate Members in September.

ONOC signed a Memorandum of Undetstanding (MOU) with the Olympic Committee of Asia (OCA) and hosts of the 2017 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games- Turkmenistan last November for the involvement of Oceania countries.

The trip to Turkmenistan in a months time coincides with Ashgabat hosting the OCA General Assembly.

ONOC Secretary General Ricardo Blas is finalising details for Oceania delegates trip to Turkmenistan in September.

SOURCE: ONOC/.PACNEWS

52) England to face Scotland in qualifiers

Afp
Thursday, July 30, 2015

SAINT PETERSBURG – England will face old enemies Scotland in qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia after being paired together at a lavish draw ceremony in Saint Petersburg.

Both sides will also face Slovakia, Slovenia, Lithuania and Malta in Group F.

World champions Germany have been drawn alongside Czech Republic, Northern Ireland, Norway, Azerbaijan and San Marino.

Arguably the toughest group sees 1998 champions France alongside three-time World Cup runners-up the Netherlands and a Sweden side captained by Paris Saint-Germain star Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

There is also a meeting of two former winners in Group G with Spain and Italy paired with Albania, Israel, Macedonia and Liechtenstein.

Group D sees another local clash as top seeds Wales meet the Republic of Ireland as well as Austria, Serbia, Moldova and Georgia.

The winners of all nine European groups will qualify automatically for the World Cup with the eight best runners-up facing off in two-legged play-offs for the remaining four spots.

Copa America champions Chile will entertain Brazil in their opening qualifier with the most keenly anticipated South American encounters between Argentina and Brazil on match-days three and 11.

The United States will have to finish top two of a group also including Trinidad and Tobago to make it to the final round of CONCACAF qualifying.

The first two rounds for the African stage of qualifying were also drawn on Saturday with the 20 victors from round two progressing to a final group stage where the five group winners will qualify for the World Cup.

The standout tie from the second round sees four-time finalists Morocco take on African Nations Cup semi-finalists Equatorial Guinea.

Meanwhile, there was a blow for Oceania favourites New Zealand as they will have to beat the fifth-best side in South America if they come through regional qualifying in the inter-continental play-offs.

In the other inter-continental tie the fourth-placed side in the North and Central American confederation face the fifth-best side from the Asian qualifying stage.

voiceofmelanesia.com

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