Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1118 ( Monday 17 August )


1) Search underway for crashed plane in Papua

17 August 2015 

Indonesian Search and Rescue teams have been dispatched to find a Trigana aircraft that reportedly crashed in Papua province.

The plane was making the short flight from Jayapura to Oksibil when it lost contact with air traffic control last night, shortly after the pilot asked to descend.

It had 54 people on board.

The area where the turboprop plane is understood to have crashed has been located in the Oktabe district in the remote east of Papua, near the Papua New Guinea border

However a government official has incicated that the search and rescue teams will not be able to reach the wreckage quickly, as the terrain is mountainous and densely forested, with few roads.RNZI

2) Jailed Papuan activist rejects Indonesia’s freedom offer

17 August 2015

The jailed West Papua political activist, Filep Karma, has rejected an offer of remission on Indonesia’s National Independence Day, saying he will only accept an unconditional release.

Mr Karma is serving a 15-year jail sentence for treason after he raising the banned Morning Star flag at a political rally in 2004.

The former public servant was told he could be freed from Abepura prison on Indonesia’s Independence Day, August 17, due to usual remissions in a sentence for good behaviour.

But Mr Karma rejected the package of release on the national holiday.

He said he would be happy to walk free the day after, if his release was “unconditional”.

In an open letter from his cell at Abepura prison, Karma said he did not commit any crime by raising the flag, and will continue to campaign for West Papuan independence.

In 2011, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention said that Filep Karma’s detention was arbitrary because he was imprisoned for the exercise of his rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

Karma has rejected several clemency offers by Indonesia in the past in a defiant stand against Indonesian rule in Papua region.

One of these offers came during a visit to Papua province in May by Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo who presided over a ceremony to formalise the release of five Papuan political prisoners.

However a subsequent plan by the president to pardon up to 90 political prisoners in Papua region was rejected by Indonesia’s House of Representatives.RNZI

3) Vanuatu Daily News Digest | Forum Secretariat prioritizes West Papua

by bobmakin

From the United Liberation Movement for West Papua yesterday …

ULMWP welcomes recommendation to make West Papua top regional Forum leaders agenda

The United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) has today welcomed the recommendation set by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat’s Special Sub-Committee on Regionalism (SSCR) and the Forum Officials Committee for West Papua to be one of the top priority issues of the regional agenda.

ULMWP Secretary General, Octovianus Mote, attributed the increasing awareness on the state of West Papua to growing ground swell of people solidarity movements in the Pacific, reflected by the media coverage of the issue, and the three submissions from various solidarity groups around the region advocating the peaceful resolution of the struggles of the people of West Papua.

“The Forum Officials Committee which considered the issue of West Papua yesterday we understand has taken a decision to endorse West Papua as one of the five top regional issues that will be considered by forum leaders next month in PNG during the leaders’ summit,” said Mote.

“In the words of the current Secretary General, Dame Meg Taylor, the forum has a history and regional role in assisting territories achieve self-determination, and we are certain our leaders will act on our plea to address the growing human rights abuse in West Papua by establishing a fact finding mission, and supporting the call by Vanuatu for the UN to appoint a special envoy to West Papua,” added Mote.

Mr Mote also welcomed the decision by the Solomon Islands Government to appoint a Special Envoy on West Papua and seek West Papua’s admission to the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.

“On behalf of the ULMWP, I extend our deepest gratitude to the Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands, Manasseh Sogavare, and the solidarity movement in the Solomon Islands…I would also like to thank other solidarity movement partners in the Pacific for their continued support for standing up for the people of West Papua.”

He said he is confident in Prime Minister Sogavare as the current chairman of the Melanesian Spearhead Group, and that under his leadership, he will steer a peaceful path for West Papua. ULMWP respectfully urges Pacific Island leaders to join with PM Sogavare to steer a peaceful path for West Papua.

4) Vanuatu Daily News Digest | 15 August 2015

by bobmakin

The big item today is not easily found. It’s on page 8 of Daily Post. As would happen elsewhere in a country using the Westminster System, the Opposition calls on all 17 Government MPs to resign immediately while the Supreme Court deals with the allegations of bribery brought by the Public Prosecutor. Half the ministers in the Council of Ministers are facing such allegations. The resignations should take place asthe most honourable thing for MPs implicated, their release says. It would also allow for “the due process of the courts to proceed un-interrupted,” but also “to allow for a smooth transition of power while the case proceeds into trial. Leaving this decision to the last moment is not only irresponsible of the government, but could be potentially embarrassing, especially for Deputy Prime Minister Carcasses and his 16 colleague MPs.” The Opposition offers no further details because of the pending nature of the case, but points out that some of the MPs implicated were part of the last government[indeed, voted for it when the Carcasses Government was put aside last year]. [The Natuman Government won power with a huge majority. Ed.]

And concerning the Bribery Case, Justice Mary Sey holds the first conference in chambers on Tuesday. Whilst there was the rumour that the trial date had been moved forward, this is not strictly true. Justice Sey meets with the legal counsels for the 19 defendants and with the Public Prosecutor John William Timakata on Tuesday. This news is on page 2 of Post today.

Page 1 has Minister Telukluk and MP Prasad complaining that the Yao in the business of the cigarette scam is not their Yao with whom they are commercially associated. Rather, it is the father of that Yao. And, of course, they say, as minister and MP, they have nothing to do with the ordering for their store. Of course not. They also say, as we’ve been told by others less implicated this week, the media should properly check their facts first of all. Of course.


5) Impeachment push in Tonga Parliament

17 August 2015

Attempts are being made in the Tonga Parliament to impeach the Minister of Infrastructure ‘Etuate Lavulavu.

Radio Tonga reports a letter calling for the Minister to be impeached was read in Parliament today.

Mr Lavulavu has dismissed claims that he has not been following the policies and regulations of parliament, mismanaging government’s properties and actions that could affect Tonga’s international relations.

The Speaker, Lord Tu’ikvakano, directed the MPs behind the impeachment call to refer it to the relevant parliamentary committee for consideration.RNZI

6) Australian woman gets light fine for Samoa fraud

17 August 2015 

The Samoa Supreme Court has fined an Australian woman US$750 after she admitted a charge of defrauding the Customs Office.

Toplagi Ah Yen Lelua, who regularly visits family in Samoa, had admitted the charge for which she could have been fined up to US$150,000 dollars and jailed for six years.

Ms Lelua had shipped personal effects in a container but had evaded duty by failing to declare that two cars were included.RNZI

7) Niue’s isolation attracts email scammers – The police in Niue say email scammers target residents there because of the island’s isolation. The police have received reports of people trying to scam Niueans by emailing them and asking for their personal information, and to send money overseas. Niue’s chief of police, Tony Edwards, says they’re asking residents not to reply to the emails, and to report them to police. He says these types of scams are a common problem in the Pacific. “Because Niue is an isolated place, it’s on its own and its pretty much untouched and so a lot of people would try and use Niue as an access point to doing any criminal activities, and that’s one of them.” Tony Edwards says the police have been undergoing awareness programmes through schools and community meetings. He says to his knowledge, there have not been any reports of anyone on Niue who has lost any money to scam emails.’s-isolation-attracts-email-scammers

8) Experts discuss seabed exploration

By Online Editor
5:08 pm GMT+12, 16/08/2015, Cook Islands

New Zealand experts have given their opinions on the opening up of 120,000 square kilometres of seabed for exploratory surveying of minerals in the Cook Islands.
Over the next three months, the Cook Islands will be receiving tenders from interested parties seeking to undertake exploratory surveying in the Exclusive Economic Zone.

Finance Minister Mark Brown said estimates placed the value of the seabed minerals in the range of billions of dollars.

Professor Jonathan Gardener from Victoria University Wellington said the big concern with this sort of mining is that no-one knows much about the biological community, or perhaps communities, living in this environment.

He said nodules tended to form over a long period of time in an environment that was relatively stable.
Thus, mining of nodules could disrupt what are believed to be old and stable biological communities.

“We don’t know how the biological communities will respond to this mining disturbance. We don’t know if they can recover, and if they do, at what rates.”

Gardener said large scale mining activities have the potential to change, over very long periods of time, biological communities that are part of the marine environment.

“The precautionary principle indicates that until we have a much better understanding of the impact of mining on such communities, then mining should not proceed, or should only proceed at small scales.”

As is often the case, he says scientists need more data to be able to judge the risks before mining activity begins.

Professor Barry Barton of the University of Waikato said the Cook Islands Government had done some good work.

“We have to remember that the technology here is new, the economic resources are little-known, and the environment is little-known too.”

Barton said there could be good progress made in getting important resource and environmental information in place, not only for specific projects, but for the Cook Islands marine areas in general.
“New Zealand’s experience shows that developing sound environmental science is important, and not always easy. Good baseline information should be an early priority.”

Dr Ian Graham from GNS Science commented on specific aspects of the seabed exploration and mining.

“Prospectors are interested in ferromanganese nodules – metal-rich concretions that form by direct precipitation from seawater.”

He said they occur in vast quantities in many parts of the deep ocean, and are sought for their metal content, particularly copper, nickel and cobalt.

Graham said miners are likely to use mainly non-invasive techniques such as sonar and photography to assess surface density and either dredging or piston coring to collect samples for analysis.

“There is no need for seismic or other deeply-penetrating geophysical techniques, since the deposits occur on, rather than beneath, the seafloor.”

Cook Islands Seabed Minerals Commissioner, Paul Lynch, previously told CI News that the Cook Islands would not be approving any tenders for exploration without properly weighing up the risks.

He said the government was committed to ensuring that the marine environment was not harmed in the process of exploration.



9) Work begins to restore Saipan’s power network

17 August 2015

The Northern Marianas’ Governor’s office says work has begun to reconnect electricity on Saipan after Typhoon Soudelor battered the island and destroyed its power grid.

Almost 400 power poles were brought down by the typhoon when it hit on August 2nd, leaving the entire island without power.

Residents have since been relying on generators provided by the United States Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The Governor’s spokesman says power poles are due to arrive on island in about a week’s time while line men from around the region have arrived to help reconstruction.

Ivan Blanco says the power outage is expected to last another 1 to 2 months, but for now, the island will continue to rely on generators.

“The FEMA generators are generating the water wells from the different locations on Saipan. The hospital power feeder to the hospital is on line it’s not on generator anymore. All recovery efforts are in full-force at the moment.”RNZI


10) Hopes New Zealand will back Papua mission plan

17 August 2015

The United Liberation Movement for West Papua is calling on the Pacific Islands Forum leaders to send a human rights fact finding mission to the Indonesian region.

The movement is seen as the body representing the Melanesian people and recently became an observer member at the group which unites the Melanesian countries, the Melanesian Spearhead Group.

The ULMWP’s secretary general, Octo Mote, who is touring New Zealand to rally support, says the backing for West Papua at last week’s Forum officials meeting was a great boost.

He says the meeting got unanimous support to include the West Papua issue on the agenda at the Forum leader’s summit next month in PNG.

“so we presume New Zealand will do the same thing, which is, they will not object about this humanitarian fact-finding mission; more even I am certain that the government, there is no reason for them not to support it.”RNZI


11) Bikpela kol long PNG Highlands

Postim 17 August 2015, 13:48 AEST
Caroline Tiriman

Pipal long sampela hap blong Papua New Guinea Highlands i wok long bungim heve long bikpela kol we dispela El Nino weather sistim i kamapim.

Planti pipal long Highlands rijan blong Papua New Guinea nau i bungim hangre bihaen long ol bikpla kol na ais bagarapim ol gaden kaikai blong ol.
Kantri nau i bungim heve long bikpla sun oa nogat ren iwok long pudaon long planti mun nau, nau despla bikpla kol i kamapim narapla heve ken.
Mono Yauset na Peter Mison, em tupla fama long Wabag long Enga Provins i tok ais na kol ia i bagarapim planti gaden kaikai olsem kaukau, cabbage, brocoli, potato, carrott na ol narapla kumu.
Tupela i tok ol i laik long sampla halvim ikam long gavman.
Sam Maiha, direkta blong National Weather Sevis long PNG i tok dispela bikpela kol na ais em dispela weather sistim ol i kolim El Nino nau i kamapi.ABC

12) ANZ ripot i tok long givim moa laitrik pua long ol PNG rurul eria

Updated 14 August 2015, 16:17 AEST
Wesley Manuai

Wanpela ripot blong ANZ long sait long laitrik paua long Papua New Guinea i lusim olsem kantri i nid long developim moa dispela sait.

Ripot ol i autim long dispela wik i soim olsem, planti long ol laitrik PNG Power i gat nau ia i go tasol long ol bikpela development projek.
Long wankain taim, planti moa pipol blong PNG i stap long ol rural eria, i kisim tasol 8 percent long laitrik paua.
ANZ ripot ia ol i kolim Powering PNG into the Asian Century.
Ripot i tok tu olsem PNG bai nap sevim 5 billion dollar long sait long paua igo inap long 2030, sapos em i yusim ol arapela kain wei blong kisim paua.
Praim Minister Peter O’Neill i stap tu long taim ol i lonsim dispela ripot long Tunde dispela wik.ABC


13a ) Un avion transportant 54 personnes s’écrase en Papouasie
Mis à jour 17 August 2015, 16:40 AEST

Un avion de ligne de la compagnie indonésienne Trigana Air s’est écrasé hier, dans la région de Papouasie. 54 personnes étaient à bord, dont cinq enfants et cinq membres d’équipage.
Ce devait être un court vol de la capitale Jayapura à la petite ville d’Oksibil, dans la même région indonésienne. L’ATR 42-300 à turbopropulseurs a perdu le contact avec le contrôle aérien juste avant 15 heures, une trentaine de minutes après son décollage. À l’heure d’arrivée prévue à Oksibil, l’avion était introuvable.
Depuis, des villageois auraient repéré l’épave de l’avion, indique le directeur général de l’aviation indonésienne, le général Suprasetyo :
« Selon les informations dont nous disposons, l’avion Trigana Air qui a perdu le contact a été trouvé au Camp 3, dans le discrict Ok Bape, dans les montagnes de Bintang. Les informations fournies par les résidents locaux indiquent que l’avion a heurté le mont Tangok. Nous sommes toujours en train de vérifier ces informations. »
Pour le moment, on ne sait pas s’il y a des survivants. Tous les passagers du vol sont indonésiens, selon les autorités.
Une équipe de secours devait se rendre sur le site du crash aujourd’hui, pour confirmer les rapports des habitants de la région, comme l’annonce le ministre indonésien des Transports, Ignasius Jonan :
« Les recherches vont se poursuivre. Les responsables de l’Agence nationale de recherche et de sauvetage vont s’y rendre avec le directeur général de l’aviation pour faciliter le travail d’évacuation et clarifier les choses pour les familles des passagers de l’avion. »
Oksibil est situé à environ 280 kilomètres de l’aéroport de Jayapura. C’est un endroit très isolé, montagneux, accessible uniquement par avion. Les conditions météo peuvent être délicates à gérer pour les pilotes, et c’est ce qui serait à l’origine du crash, estime la compagnie. « Ce n’est pas un problème de surcharge », assure-t-elle.
Le temps était effectivement très mauvais, hier, dans la région – l’appareil à turbopropulseurs envoyé pour tenter de retrouver l’avion disparu a d’ailleurs dû faire demi-tour après seulement une demi-heure de vol à cause des conditions météo dangereuses.

Trigana Air a déjà connu 14 accidents depuis sa création en 1991. Elle fait partie des compagnies interdites de vol dans l’Union européenne depuis 2007. Selon le réseau sur la sécurité aérienne, l’appareil disparu en Papouasie avait été mis en service il y a 27 ans. ABC

13b ) Brèves du Pacifique – lundi 17 août 2015

Mis à jour 17 August 2015, 16:27 AEST

En Australie, les Aborigènes Gurindji ont célébré, ce week-end, les 40 ans du geste historique de Gough Whitlam. 

Alors Premier ministre, ce dernier avait restitué des terres du Territoire du nord à leurs propriétaires traditionnels. L’image de Gough Whitlam versant la terre du ranch de Wave Hill dans les mains de Vincent Lingiari est restée dans les mémoires australiennes.
Un militant papou rejette une offre de grâce de l’Indonésie. Filep Karma a été condamné à 15 ans de prison pour avoir brandi un drapeau de la Papouasie occidentale lors d’un rassemblement politique en 2004. Il refuse d’être libéré à l’occasion de la fête nationale indonésienne, ce lundi, expliquant qu’il n’acceptera qu’une remise en liberté totale, sans condition. Dans une lettre ouverte, Filep Karma affirme n’avoir commis aucun crime et souligne qu’il continuera à faire campagne pour l’indépendance de la Papouasie occidentale.
La Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée débloque 120 000 dollars pour les victimes de l’éruption du volcan Manam. Les habitants restés sur l’île ont un besoin urgent d’eau potable, de nourriture et de biens de première nécessité. Le gouvernement papou a, au passage, critiqué les autorités locales, accusées de tarder à réagir.
Le gouvernement fidjien « utilisera tous les moyens légaux à sa disposition pour faire face à toute contestation de l’autorité de l’État », déclare le Premier ministre, Frank Bainimarama, quelques jours après le démantèlement d’un mouvement séparatiste. La police a effectué plusieurs arrestations dans la province de Ra, dans le nord de l’île principale et ce sont désormais 50 personnes qui sont accusées d’incitation à l’émeute et à la violence communautaire.
Au Vanuatu, des enseignants attendent d’être payés depuis des années. Certains ne touchent qu’une partie de leur salaire, d’autres ne figurent même pas sur la liste des professeurs à payer. Selon le ministère de l’Éducation, les caisses sont vides, il n’y a pas non plus de quoi payer l’essence des voitures de fonction. Une rallonge budgétaire pourrait être votée prochainement pour pouvoir payer les salaires des enseignants.
Un défi inhabituel attend les parlementaires australiens : supporter des toilettes sales pendant une semaine. Les hommes et femmes de ménage du Parlement font grève pour obtenir une revalorisation de leurs salaires, qui n’ont pas bougé depuis trois ans. Ils touchent actuellement 21$ de l’heure.ABC


14) Arms in the Pacific: the good, the bad and the ugly
By Online Editor
11:12 pm GMT+12, 16/08/2015, Fiji

One world region has avoided, and at times even reversed, the steady flood of illegal guns.

As global leaders gather in Mexico next week to kick start the new Arms Trade Treaty, nearly 20 nations of the Pacific celebrate a largely unnoticed, but startling regional consensus which sets them apart from much of the world.

Next week’s Conference of States Parties is the first since the Arms Trade Treaty came into force in December last year. In Cancun, governments are convening to curb the most harmful aspects of the global arms trade.

Ahead of this meeting, the Pacific Small Arms Action Group (PSAAG) releases a new publication on guns, disarmament and arms control in the Pacific.

The group’s spokesperson, Laura Spano, Arms Control Manager (PSAAG), says the report “details the good, the bad and the ugly in arms control and armed violence reduction in our region.”

Examples of the Pacific’s successes include the collection and destruction of almost all private and state-owned guns in the Solomon Islands. Nauru and Palau also remain gun-free countries, while 12 out of 16 Pacific Islands Forum nations are patrolled by routinely unarmed police. Ten of these countries have no military.

With little or no opposition, and in stark contrast to other world regions, island communities of the south-west Pacific have both resolved in law and been actively encouraged to remain unarmed.

But in some ways we still trail behind. Although Samoa, Australia and New Zealand are among the first states in the world to ratify the Arms Trade Treaty, most Pacific nations have yet to adopt the first legally binding agreement to regulate the global trade in arms and ammunition.

“Although many countries in the Pacific have shown great leadership in arms control and disarmament, serious issues remain,” said Spano.

“Guns have been used to undermine human rights, democracy and human security. They are still commonly used in crime and tribal warfare, and island nations are not immune to conflicts such as those which so badly damaged the Solomon Islands, Bougainville and the Southern Highlands of Papua New Guinea.”

With its new report Arms and Ammunition in Oceania: A Guide for Pacific Governments, PSAAG urges all Pacific states to help prevent the most damaging effects of the global arms trade.

“To avoid our region becoming perhaps the world’s least protected against arms traffickers, we urge our remaining governments to jump aboard the Arms Trade Treaty and continue to show leadership on the global stage,” said Spano.


15) PACER re-entry was vital

By Online Editor
5:24 pm GMT+12, 16/08/2015, Fiji

While Fiji has rejoined the Pacific agreement on closer economic relations (PACER) Plus negotiations after a lapse of more than five years, the road to reaching a mutual agreement has not been easy.

And though some stakeholders in the business community may see Fiji’s re-entry into the negotiations as a danger to economic growth and regional trade, Ministry of Industry and Trade permanent secretary Saheen Ali said the decision to join the negotiations was important for the country.

“PACER Plus negotiations have been difficult, more so for Fiji because we have taken our time to join negotiations but it was important that we join the negotiations,” he said at the 4th annual Fiji Business Forum in Suva.

“It was an important decision to make not because of our access into Australia and New Zealand — as we have South Pacific regional trade and economic co-operation agreement (SPARTECA) and duty free access — but as in textile, clothing and footwear, not all is rosy.

“There are still rules of origin. Our agriculture exporters will tell you there are still quarantine and standard barriers in the Australia and New Zealand markets, which are very tough so just because we have no tariff barriers in Australia and New Zealand doesn’t mean that we immediately have perfect access into the market.”

Ali said the Pacific Islands Country Trade agreement (PICTA), which encapsulated 14 Pacific Island countries, had become Fiji’s largest export destination — much higher than Australia.

“But the trade agreement itself is not being implemented. It is not working. Much of the inroads companies like FMF Foods Ltd have made it on its own. Fiji as a regional hub has a competitive advantage such as our proximity and logistical advantage in those markets,” he said.



16) Group in court for alleged sedition

Monday, August 17, 2015

Update: 5:53PM SIXTEEN people from Nadroga appeared in the Nadi Magistrates Court this afternoon charged with one count of sedition and one count of inciting communal antagonism.

Among the accused persons were Ratu Tevita Makutu, Adi Cuvu Gavidi Atama, Adi Vasemaca Gonewai and Ratu Inoke Tasere of Cuvu Village.

Represented by Lautoka lawyer, Aman Ravindra Singh, the group’s application for bail was refused by the magistrates court this afternoon.

The group was remanded in custody and will reappear in the Lautoka High Court on August 26.Fijitimes

17) West Sepik vote count goes to preferences

17 August 2015

Papua New Guinea’s Electoral Commissioner Sir Andrew Trawen says the result of the West Sepik regional by-election should be announced before the end of the week.

Counting of the vote for West Sepik’s Governor has completed the first stage and now enters a process of elimination through preference votes.

Sir Andrew says Amkat Mai, the National Alliance candidate, has a big lead but not an absolute majority.

“He’s on 37 percent: 26,669 votes. His nearest rival is (former Governor) Simon Solo of the People’s Progress Party who is on 11329 votes which is the equivalent of 15.84 percent. So the absolute majority required now is 35, 736 votes.”

The West Sepik Governor’s position has been vacant for around two years after Amkat Mai’s victory in the 2012 general election was ruled invalid.

This was because the court of electoral disputes found various instances of voter fraud including instances of underage voters.

Sir Andrew Trawen says a petition alleging similar problems this time has already been filed.

“It’s been raised again by some candidates in the by-election that some underage people have voted again, but I don’t believe that. But if it did happen then people will have to come forward with the evidence because right now, the returning officer has decided to continue with the count and he has completed the primary count already.”

Sir Andrew Trawen says the by-election cost around 3.5 million US dollars.RNZI


18) Concerns raised on tax evasion in Fiji
By Online Editor
11:07 pm GMT+12, 16/08/2015, Fiji

The Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority has come under scrutiny in relation to tax anomalies.

Acting Prime Minister Aiyaz Sayed – Khaiyum said there are anomalies in the taxation system which needs to be addressed.

These anomalies he said leads to some retailers, particularly grocery and supermarket outlets rigging the system.

“ The anomaly also ladies and gentleman leaves the room open for leakages and I’m being very polite when I say that because by having this anomaly, we know and this is perhaps one area where FRCA needs to improve is capacity that there are people stealing from the system. There is fundamentally a culture of dishonesty ” said Sayed –Khaiyum.

The Acting Prime Minister further raised concern that about $2.5 billion (US$1.7 billion) are unaccounted for in the economy.

“You also as a group need to be able to, if we are concerned about the future need to be able to identify people within your sector who are rigging the system. I’m saying this again and again because there is a huge amount of income leakage. There was a survey that was done that said one third of the value of our GDP is in the black economy. If you take today’s figure of $8 billion (US$4 billion), one third of that is about $2.5 billion unaccounted for. Not coming through FRCA , not coming through mainstream, RBF, banks, its below us.” said Sayed-Khaiyum

Meanwhile, the Companies Act is expected to come into effect next year.

Sayed-Khaiyum revealed this at the Fiji Business Forum on the weekend.

The legislation should come into effect by 01 January 2016.

“We’re in the process of finalizing the regulation because you need the regulations in place. One of the issues that have been identified is that some of the forms that are part of the registrations is not necessarily digital friendly so we’re working at the moment with ADB together with the drafters to be able to ensure that those forms become digital friendly so you can then lodge those forms online. We don’t want the situation where we for example have the commencement of the Companies Act but we don’t have any of those documents lined up, they all need to be lined up” said Sayed-Khaiyum.


19) Bainimarama calls on Fijians overseas to return home and invest
 – Fijians residing overseas have been encouraged to return to their homeland, build a house and invest in the country. The call has been made by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama while opening a new multipurpose court in Nasinu, Suva yesterday.


20) Vanuatu bribery-accused MPs in court next month

12 August 2015

Eighteen Vanuatu MPs, facing allegations of bribery, are to appear in the Supreme Court on the 1st of September.

That is the decision of the Port Vila Magistrate Court today which found there is a case to answer by the 19 defendants, who also include Vanuatu offshore banker, Tom Bayer.

As well as bribery the 18 MPs will face charges of breaching the leadership code.

The correspondent says the Ombudsman has prepared a report on possible breaches of the code by the 18 MPs and that is now before the Public Prosecutor, John William Timakata.

Last year, the MPs were alleged to have received approximately $US10,000 dollars each in loans from the then leader of the opposition, Moana Carcasses, who is now the Deputy Prime Minister.

They were suspended from Parliament but successfully challenged that, claiming their suspensions were unconstitutional.RNZI


21) Earthquake in PNG region

Monday, August 17, 2015

Update: 1:39PM AN earthquake was recorded in the Papua New Guinea region earlier today.

The 5.5 magnitude earthquake at 9:05am was at a depth of 10 kilometres and 190 kilometres west of Arawa in PNG.

According to the Mineral Resources Department, the earthquake was 2997 kilometres northwest of Suva.

The earthquake did not pose any tsunami threat to the region.Fijitimes

22) Droughts affect Western Highlands Province

By Online Editor
5:12 pm GMT+12, 16/08/2015, Papua New Guinea

More than 50,000 people in three local level governments of Tambul district, Western Highlands Province, are affected by drought and frost, accompanied by strong winds and bush fire.

People are starting to move out from the affected areas, which is a total of 52 council wards – from Lower Kagul LLG with 22 council wards, Upper Kagul LLG with 17 council wards and Upper Nebilyer with 13 council wards.

The National Agriculture Research Institute (NARI) based in Tambul district said the district is experiencing the El Nino induced drought frost, a disaster the district has not experienced before.

Head scientist at the National Agriculture Research Institute station Kud Sitango said that the district is facing a disaster.

Briefing a visiting Western Highlands provincial government team executives, he said the district is a disaster zone because the two staple food crop in the area, sweet potato and potato, have been severely affected and poisoned.

“We will go into the severe part of this disaster after two weeks when all the food will be uneatable and touchable by both humans and animals.”

The five NARI scientists looking after the research station said they have been monitoring the change in weather patterns, particularly monitoring the frost for the last three months.

“Tambul has been affected by three hazardous frosts within a month,” Sitango said, adding that this was something the not experienced in the past.

The NARI report said the frost struck on July 25, August 10 and August 11, damaging cabbages and broccoli and plants like ferns (pamba) and hardy plants that normally withstand very cold weather.

Sitango said Ialibu district in Southern Highlands, Kandep district in Enga and several other places in Chimbu and Eastern Highlands were also hit by frost and strong wind.

Meanwhile, the Kandep Development Authority has released K2 million (approx. US$722,000) to assist thousands of victims affected by the frost.

This follows a devastating effect by the frost affecting more than 72,000 people.

Kandep MP, Opposition Leader Don Polye held an urgent District Development Authority meeting during the weekend and released the funds which will go towards assisting the affected people.

Polye instructed officers from the district during the meeting to immediately make available food supplies to the affected people.

The funds released will be used to buy mainly rice, flour and cooking oil among other store goods to be distributed to the affected people.

The Kandep District Development Authority under the leadership of Polye then endorsed the formation of a frost relief committee which will raise funds to assist the affected people.

The committee, headed by a priest, will have a bank account where donor agencies and those willing to assist will deposit straight onto the account.

Polye visited the affected district at the weekend and expressed concern over the plight of the people.

He urged the National Government to dispatch its officers to conduct study on the extent of the damage so to provide assistance.



23) Sponsors contribute almost K1m for regional tuna forum
By Online Editor
11:20 pm GMT+12, 16/08/2015, Fiji

Sponsors from within the fishing industry and government agencies throughout the country have given about K1 million (US$361,499) towards hosting of 5th Pacific Tuna Forum to be held in Fiji next month.

National Fisheries Authority (NFA) managing director John Kasu said the forum would see speakers from different areas within the sector and all aspects of fishing gather to talk about development and management of especially tuna and fishing industry right throughout the Pacific.

He said it was important because 50 per cent of the catches came from waters within Pacific region.

“The response from the industry, the Government entities through various stakeholders, responses that have come through for this year have been enormous,” Kasu said.

“The contribution so far has reached about K1 million.

“This is an important forum where we have speakers from various walks within the sector in trade, or market and all aspects of fishing who gathered to talk about the development and management of especially the tuna fishing industry right throughout the Pacific.”

Provincial and deputy administrators, provincial fisheries advisors and industry representatives were in Port Moresby last Friday to receive token of appreciation from NFA for their organisations’ contributions.
The biannual event would be co-hosted by PNG and Fiji in Nadi on Sept 22-23.

Kasu said a result from one of the previous forums was the establishment of majestic processing plant in Lae, adding the next forum would be held in PNG.

PNG Fishing Industry Association president Pete Celso said: “Landscape of tuna industry has changed and developed in so many ways.

“The biggest concern of which is sustainability of the resource.

“Moreover, there have been varying degrees of development subject to continuing debates and discussions as regards to various issues.

“I hope the forthcoming Pacific Tuna Forum will achieve the objectives for which it is being held to address many of the questions and issues relevant to the tuna development.”

Meanwhile, the PNG Government has recognised tuna as an asset for the country and aims to attain 100 per cent in the country for processing, a senior officer says.

National Planning Department’s first assistant secretary for macro planning Alfred Mokae said the fisheries sector had been a source of revenue through export of processed and unprocessed fish and other marine products, particularly tuna.

“Tuna is a strategic asset and therefore government’s long term objective is to attain 100 per cent in country processing of the tuna catch from within its EEZ (exclusive economic zone),” Mokae said last
Friday when acknowledging the sponsors of the 2015 Pacific Tuna Forum to be held in Fiji next month.

It had been estimated that the country loses about K1.7 billion (US$614 million) annually when tuna caught in Papua New Guinea waters was being sold and processed overseas.

Mokae said under National Strategy for Responsible Sustainable Development (StaRS), the fisheries sector had been classified as a strategic asset and was expected to be one of the drivers of growth in the new economy going forward.

He said sustainable management of the sector was needed so there is regeneration capacity of the resources and its ongoing contribution to economic growth is maintained.

“However, it would be thoughtless of me not to commend the National Fisheries Authority for adequately managing our marine and fisheries resources for the benefit of our country,” Mokae said.

He added that National Planning had given K40, 000 (US$14,459) towards hosting of the forum.

“I have confidence that the assistance provided by the Government agencies together with other industry players and private sectors in the form of sponsorship for the 2015 Pacific Tuna forum will go a long in integrating and promoting the principles of responsible sustainable development and ensure that we maximise 100 per cent of the value of our strategic tuna resources,” Mokae said.



24) PNG Hunters extend unbeaten run to 15 matches

17 August 2015

The Papua New Guinea Hunters extended their unbeaten run in the Queensland Cup to 15 matches with a come from behind 36-13 victory over Wynnum Manly in Port Moresby.

The visitors scored the opening try and led 13-6 at half time, but 30 unanswered points in the second half ensured the Hunters kept their impressive streak alive.

It wasn’t until the 59th minute that the Hunters went in front through a try to Stargroth Amean.

Kato Ottio dotted down twice for the home side, who played in front of a packed crowd at Sir John Guise Stadium.

League leaders Townsville also won against fourth-placed Ipswich, which means the Blackhawks and Hunters are now guaranteed a top-two finish in the regular season, and get a week off in the first round of the playoffs.RNZI

25) Fiji Pearls lament lack of consistency at Netball World Cup

17 August 2015

Fiji netball coach Kate Carpenter says a slow start proved costly to their final placing at the Netball World Cup.

The Pearls lost to Wales and Uganda in their first two matches of the tournament before stringing together five wins in their final six matches to end up in eleventh place, four below their current world ranking.

A shock defeat by Pacific rivals Samoa provided further disappointment before the team ended on a positive note with a 51-41 victory over Scotland.

Kate Carpenter says Fiji’s tournament was very up and down.

“Some of the teams that would have finished higher [than us in the World Cup] – seventh and eighth – really haven’t had a win since the pool matches. I think the learning from this for us is sure [we are] disappointed that we are outside our target [of a top eight finish] and then again outside the top ten but also some very positive things: the ability to close out close matches, the development within the side, the realisation that we have to be more consistent in internationalm games and how different playing styles and different umpiring interpretations all have a part to play”.RNZI

26) League players train as Pasifika ambassadors

17 August 2015

Australian and New Zealand rugby league players are tapping into their star power to spread positive messages about health and education throughout the Pacific.

Youth unemployment, obesity, and climate change are among some of the issues discussed at the three day workshop for NRL Pasifika Ambassadors held in New Caledonia. (last week)

Warriors’ player Ben Henry, says almost half of the NRL players have Pacific Islands’ heritage and can use their influence to make a difference.

“We want to get as many players as possible that are passionate about this sort of thing behind this message because it’s a lot more powerful coming from a player that kids can see that play, but off the field they’re studying or they’re actually putting in the effort to practice what they preach in other words.”

Ben Henry says the challenge now is to implement the strategies learned.RNZI


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