Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1121 ( Monday 24 August )
1) MSG holds key trade meetings
Monday, August 24, 2015
Update: 12:04PM A SERIES of key trade meetings will be held this week in Nadi by the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG).
The meetings will end with the 3rd MSG Trade Ministers Meeting on August 31.
Senior officials and representatives from Fiji, PNG, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu are attending the first meeting held today at the Tanoa International Hotel where talks on a new and more comprehensive trade agreement – MSGTA3 – will be carried out.
The agreement will now include Trade in Services, and new chapters such as Labour Mobility, Investment, and Telecommunications.Fijitimes
2) PNG, China relations strong
The National, Monday August 24th, 2015
PAPUA New Guinea has become the largest trading partner and the most important investment destination for China in the Pacific region, China’s Ambassador to PNG Li Ruiyou says.
He said this last Friday during a reception at the Chinese Embassy to farewell more than 30 students who will travel to China next month to undertake studies in various fields as part of the Chinese government scholarship programme.
“As this year marks PNG’s 40th independence anniversary, it is also the 39th anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic relations between China and PNG,” Li said. “Over the decades, our diplomatic relations have achieved great progress.”
He said last year, the total trade volume between PNG and China reached US$2 billion (K5.5bn) and this year it should increase as China would spend a huge sum of money to buy 2 million tonnes of PNG LNG.
“As developing countries, China and PNG are at the critical stage of economic and social development thus we have every reason
to join hands for further cooperation of mutual benefits in the years to come,” Li said. He said for
Papua New Guinea to become a powerful and advanced nation in the Pacific, it needed more educated and skilled professionals. Through such programmes as the Chinese Government scholarships, it was achievable.
3) Vanuatu Daily News Digest | 24 August 2015
It has been a weekend without any big news as such, but now we have Yumi Toktok Stret telling us …
- Last week Gov’t Cabinet (COM) discussed options to deport the judge in the Bribery Case, Justice Sey. “Cabinet was divided over the issue. The action was itself contempt of court. If it had been the case, YTS says, 18 MPs would have been arrested then. Now 3 MPs will be witness, many more attempting to switch sides. Looks like the end of the day one or two persons my end up in Jail or be deported.” (YTS)
- Thursday sees finalisation of most submissions. The YTS information sounds realistic and suggests more MPs and possibly ministers will turn to supporting evidence already to hand in the Preliminary Inquiry. Up to now we have had the names of Hosea Nevu and Kalvau Moli. Vila Times today now adds in the name of one more of Cabinet rank, First Deputy Speaker Samson Samsen. Vila Times says that when Nagriamel MP John Lum was given a ministerial post, he, Samsen, defected from the then Carcasses-led Opposition side of the House to the then Natuman-led Government side. All three MPs have signed the witness documentation which will assist their indemnity from prosecution. (Vila Times)
- Vila Times also confirms the burning down of a restaurant at Lakatoro owned by Prime Minister Kilman’s wife as likely arson, a story covered by Daily Post at the weekend.
- Otherwise, print and electronic media have given over a fair mount of space to the PM being in India along with all the Pacific Island leaders for the second summit of the Indian and island Pacific prime ministers. India is opening up visas for cooperation on climate changes issues, renewable energy, education and sustainable development.
- And another matter which has had a good many column inches and hours of radio and TV time recently is the Godzilla El Nino we are to expect. The drier than usual time is bound to continue, and worse than usual: present observations confirm this.
- NUP’s Edwin Aprimen was elected Luganville Mayor last week. Several women councillors boycotted the elections because they knew the electoral issue was decided by men already and without the women participating. Daily Post has the women sayingthe gender equality preached by male politicians in Vanuatu is “lip-service.”
4) Tonga hopes to ratify Anti-Corruption convention by 2019
By Online Editor
11:03 pm GMT+12, 23/08/2015, Tonga
Tonga is one of four Pacific countries that have not ratified the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), along with New Zealand, Samoa and Niue.
During the past months the Tongan government has made a move to ratify UNCAC before 2019. Parliament has formed a Standing Committee on Anti-Corruption, chaired by Lord Fusitu’a.
The Tongan Parliament has been represented at an Anti-Corruption Workshop for Pacific Parliamentarians that was held in Nadi, Fiji in July, hosted by the Global Organization of Parliaments against Corruption GOPAC, attended by Lord Fusitu’a and another member of the committee, Mateni Tapueluelu.
After making an initial move to counter corruption by enacting an Anti-corruption Act in 2007, Tonga has since failed to appoint an Anti-corruption commissioner, and the previous government, 2010-14 was proposing a new structure.
The new structure was to amend the Public Relations Act 2001 and turn it into an Ombudsman Act 2014. The Ombudsman and the Anti-corruption Commissioner then would come under the management of a new Commission to be established, the Good Governance Commission.
However, the amendment to the Public Relations Act has not been enacted by His Majesty in Privy Council and a Good Governance Commission has not been formed, and an Anti-corruption Commissioner has not been appointed.
This means that Tonga does not have a recognised structure in place to counter corruption.
Ratification of international conventions has been an issue for Tonga during the past few months.
After the current Government came into power at the end of 2014 it made a commitment to the United Nations that it would ratify the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). But then on 15 June the King asked the government to annul the move toward ratification.
A decision by His Majesty in Privy Council stated “We remit to our Ministers forthwith to proceed as may be necessary to annul the kingdom of Tonga’s signature or ratification of the CEDAW Treaty.”
So for Tonga to ratify UNCAC it has to be an agreement between Cabinet and the Privy Council or else it might end up like Tonga’s stand on CEDAW – lost in no man’s land.
As of 29 August 2013, 169 countries have ratified UNCAC.
SOURCE: MATANGI TONGA/PACNEWS
5) Tuvalu Looks To Buy Land For Climate Change Migration
PM: Impact of rising seas could force move to Australia, NZ
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Aug. 24, 2015) – The leader of Tuvalu says his country is having to consider buying land in New Zealand and Australia to grow food and prepare the population to migrate as the seas slowly claim the islands.
Tuvalu and Kiribati both say upcoming climate talks in Paris are vital as rising sea levels threaten their existence.
Fourteen Pacific Island nations have been meeting in Jaipur in India to discuss rising sea levels.
Enele Sopoaga says failure is not an option.
He says the nation may be able to purchase land in other places, such as New Zealand and Australia if necessary.
However he says that won’t stop climate change and its impact on Tuvalu, whose nine coral atolls are home to about 11,000 people.
Radio New Zealand International
6) Samoa Ready To Host Commonwealth Youth Games
With 2 weeks to go, preparations on track for opening
By Deidre Fanene
APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, Aug. 22, 2015) – Two weeks away from the Commonwealth Youth Games, the man responsible for getting Samoa ready to welcome the Commonwealth is confident.
The Coordinator of the Samoa 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games, Vitolio Lui, has declared that Samoa is ready for the task. “Yes (we are ready),” he told the Weekend Observer.
“The renovation and preparation of facilities are pretty much completed or for completion next week. The funds made available by government is sufficient for our needs in the next four weeks.”
Come the opening of the games, some 994 athletes plus officials and other delegates will be in the country. They will be vying for 107 Gold Medals in nine sports over seven days.
The action takes place across two sporting complexes that will play host to Aquatics (Swimming), Archery, Athletics, Boxing, Lawn Bowls, Rugby Sevens, Squash, Tennis and Weightlifting.
As for preparations for the event, Mr. Lui said there have been some challenges but nothing that cannot be overcome.
“Very well considering the resources available to us and Samoa both human and financial,” he said.
“There’s still lots to do between now and the 3rd Sept when teams start arriving, the Opening on 5 September and when competition starts on the 7th Sept.”
Asked about the programme of the event, he said a detailed programme was made available for all participating countries since April this year.
“The detailed sports programme for each of the 9 sports had been available to all participating countries of the Commonwealth since April this year to help with team’s preparations and the 2nd and latest version of all 9 sports had recently been sent out progressively over the past month.
“A special manual or guide for Team Leaders had also been produced and distributed to members but the programme for the Opening & Closing ceremonies is being finalized.”
The Head of State, His Highness Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi, will open the Games. Sixty eight countries will be taking part.
Mr. Lui said the athletes would be spread out over three different locations, Samoa College, Pesega College and the rest in 26 hotels around the town area.
Mr. Lui also credited positive attitude of his team and the country.
“There were many challenges,” he said. “But all can be surmounted with self-belief (from the) government, business sector and the community at large all working together in the Samoan can-do attitude and lots and lots of hard work.”
7) Grant given to preserve Chamorro tradition
Jerick Sablan, [email protected]:25 p.m. ChST August 24, 2015
A local nonprofit organization received a federal grant to preserve the traditional chanting of Kantan Chamorrita.
Guam Delegate Madeleine Bordallo in a release Friday announced that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has awarded Para I Probechu’n I Taotao-ta Inc. a $267,893 grant.
Para I Probechu’n I Taotao-ta, Inc. is a local non-profit organization committed to preserving and advancing Guam’s unique culture and arts.
The grant will fund the “Na Lala I Kantan Chamorrita Para I Probechu’n I Lenguahi” project to promote the Chamorro language through the revitalization of the traditional chanting of “Kantan Chamorrita.”
According to Guampedia, Kantan Chamorita is the contemporary name given to traditional call-and-response, impromptu verse-making. Practitioners refer to the genre as ayotte’, meaning to throw (verses) back and forth.
The grant is a social services award through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families and Administration for Native Americans. The project period will run from August 2015 to July 2018, the release states.
“This federal grant will support Para I Probechu’n I Taotao-ta Inc.’s efforts to promote and protect Guam’s Chamorro native language,” Bordallo said. “I commend Para I Probechu’n I Taotao-ta, Inc for their efforts to obtain this grant and look forward to their work to continue the revitalization of the Chamorro language through the “Kantan Chamorrita” traditions. Our unique culture and traditions are lived through the Chamorro language and the grant will help local efforts to encourage our community to learn and speak Chamorro and continue to pass it on to our future generations.”
Frank Rabon, the grant’s writer and leader of the cultural non-profit Pa’a Taotao Tano’, said there only four elders who practice Kantan Chamorrita.
Two of them aren’t in great health so it’s important that the unique art form is preserved and revived, he said.
Kantan Chamorrita reinforces the Chamorro language because to participate in the art you have to be fluent in Chamorro, Rabon said.
Pa’a Taotao Tano’s fafa’någue, or teachers, will apprentice under the elders and will then teach their respective houses, Rabon said.
Pa’a Taotao Tano has several guma’, or houses, with a respective fafa’någue who teach Chamorro dance and culture to students.
The interaction with the singers will also be documented, Rabon said.
The grant will also help them create a CD and video component that can be used in the education system to teach the art form, Rabon added.
“I’m glad we’re able to work on this. We’re preserving a traditional art,” he said.
Para I Probechu’n I Taotao-ta, Inc. Executive Director Victor Lujan said it was a team effort to get the grant and is thankful for the community partnership it has with the local cultural groups.
Lujan said it’s his hope that more grants will be given to help the cultural groups on Guam continue pushing the local culture.
“I’m very fortunate and humbled to be working with such a dynamic group of cultural practitioners,” he said.http://www.guampdn.com/story/news/2015/08/24/grant-given-preserve-chamorro-tradition/32249585/
11) More than half of students chasing dying careers, report warns
Updated 24 August 2015, 19:45 AEST
By Rachael Brown and staff
Sixty per cent of Australian students are training for jobs that will not exist in the future or will be transformed by automation, according to a new report by the Foundation for Young Australians.
The not-for-profit group, which works with young Australians to create social change, says the national curriculum is stuck in the past and digital literacy, in particular, needs to be boosted.
Foundation chief executive Jan Owen says young people are not prepared for a working life that could include five career changes and an average of 17 different jobs.
She says today’s students will be affected by three key economic drivers: automation, globalisation and collaboration.
“Many jobs and careers are disappearing because of automation,” Ms Owen said.
“The second driver is globalisation – a lot of different jobs that we’re importing and exporting.
“And then thirdly collaboration which is all about this new sharing economy.”
After early career ambitions which included being a lawyer “like Ally McBeal”, a pathologist and and a pharmacist, Jillian Kenny is now the co-founder of a program that inspires young women to take up engineering.
She says an alarming amount of university and TAFE students are studying in the wrong areas.
“Nearly 60 per cent [of students] at university and nearly 70 per cent at TAFE were studying jobs that will be automated,” Ms Kenny said.
“So that’s 44 per cent of jobs that will be automated in the next 10 years.”
The Foundation’s Ms Owen said students should be gearing themselves towards jobs that will open up in the future, including in the health care and aged care sectors.
She said job opportunities in the digital economy and the green economy would also continue to evolve.
“The point is that young people need to be prepared for those jobs, with 50 per cent needing digital capability.”
She is also calling for Australia to adopt a national enterprise learning strategy.
“This is a conversation that everyone needs to have,” she said.ABC
12) PNG Gavman imas iusim K25 milian long helpim pipal
Updated 24 August 2015, 14:34 AEST
Gavman blong Papua New Guinea ino ken iusim K25 million kina long makim 40th Independence Anniversary blong kantri long mun bihaen, na emi mas givim despla moni igo long ol pipal em oli bungim heve long bikpla sot long wara na kaikai na tu bikpla ice long Highlands rijan.
Despla em toktok blong Rosa Kepo, director blong Bible Faith Outreach Charity we emi save lukautim ol pikinini em oli no gat papa-mama oa orphans long Mount Hagen, Western Highlands province.
Despla provins wan kaen olsem ol narapla ples long Highlands iwok long kisim taem long nogat ren na bikpla kol em oli bagarapim planti gaden kaikai na tu mekim ol wara igo liklik tru.
Ol ripot ikam long PNG itok olsem planti Open palaman meba bai kisim K100,000, taem ol governors bai kisim K500,000 na tripla bikp;la taon olsem Mount Hagen, Lae na Kokopo – bai kisim K500,000 for their celebrations.
Mrs Kepo i tokim Radio Australia olsem gavman ibin lusim planti moni pinis long Pacific Games na despla K25 milian kina imas go long ol pipal,ABC
13) Solomon Islands disasta wok
Updated 24 August 2015, 15:48 AEST
Gavman iwokbung wantem ol narapla laen long putim Provincial Emergency Operation Senta long olgeta hap blong kantri
Gavman blong Solomon Islands wantaim halvim blong European Union nau iwok long kamapim ol Provincial Emergency Operation Senta long ol wanwan provins long kantri.
Director blong National Disaster Management Office, Loti Yates i tok dispela em blong mekim isi moa long ol komiuniti long olgeta hap long kantri long kisim halvim hariap long taim blong disasta.
Mr Yates i tok i kam inap nau ol pipol em oli save nidim halvim ol i save weit longpela taim long ol i kisim kuik ol halvim long taim blong disasta.ABC
14a ) Australie : le Premier ministre dirige le pays des îles du détroit de Torrès
14b) Brèves du Pacifique – lundi 24 août 2015
Le Premier ministre indien promet des panneaux solaires et des médicaments génériques aux pays du Pacifique.
15) Antenatal depression twice as likely for Pacific women
24 August 2015
A New Zealand study has found Pacific women in the country are twice as likely to be affected by depression during pregnancy.
The Growing up in New Zealand study surveyed 5,664 women and tracks the development of New Zealand children from before birth till they are young adults.
An investigator for the study, Karen Waldie, says it is difficult to pinpoint why Pacific women are more susceptible to antenatal depression.
“A lot of the factors that came out in analyses had to do with things that you would think would be protective for that group, things like family cohesion and neighbourhood support but for Pacific people that doesn’t hold true”
Karen Waldie says pregnancy and pre-pregnancy health including weight and smoking also have an effect and could be putting Pacific women more at risk of depression.RNZI
16) 1 doctor to 1000 people
Monday, August 24, 2015
THE Ministry of Health and Medical Services is striving to create a ratio of one doctor to 1000 members of the public in the near future.
Minister for Health and Medical Services Jone Usamate said the ministry had a structure which determined the number of staffing needed within the system.
Mr Usamate said for instance, the structure aimed to increase the number of doctors and improve the ratio to one doctor to 1000 members of the public.
“We also have structures for nurses and we are looking at the structures to see if we need to increase the other staffing that we have like those of lab technicians, physiotherapists, and pharmacists to meet the demand from the public,” he said.
“Over the next few years we will continue to invest and review these manpower structures.
“We are also trying to get in more manpower from our local training institutions like FSN, FSM and FNU.”
Mr Usamate said the ministry was struggling at the moment to meet the demand for doctors and pharmacists.
“We have two major doctor schools in the country which is FNU and FSM and we have doctors being trained in Cuba and China which will later enhance the number of doctors in our hospitals.
“The challenge lies in the number of doctors that have been in the system for long time and we are looking at sending them to India and China for further training so that they can become specialists in their fields.”
Mr Usamate said he was aware of the lack of specialists within the ministry and said they would look into these matters.Fijitimes
17) Bread and rice could be making Pacific children overweight.
24 August 2015
A New Zealand study has found that refined carbohydrates, such as white bread, could be to blame for overweight Pacific Island children.
The study, published in the New Zealand Medical Journal, is based on a survey of more than one thousand children born in the year 2000 and their eating habits at ages four and six.
It says despite evidence that about half of the childrens’ food intake was energy-dense food like cereals and bread, it couldn’t prove a link to obesity.
Research officer, Fa’asisila Savila, says it is the type of bread the children are eating that is the problem.
“We need to have a better focus on the types of bread that are being eaten. So heading down the track of wholemeal or wheatmeal bread because most of the bread we found in this study was all white bread.”RNZI
18) More people charged with sedition
Monday, August 24, 2015
Update: 5:18PM FOUR people appeared in the Tavua Magistrates Court today charged with one count of sedition and one count of urging political violence.
Charged are Marika Qalo, Manueli Nadakula, Tevita Damudamu and Jese Vatusumu.
The group has been remanded in custody and will appear in the Rakiraki Magistrates Court on Wednesday.Fijitimes
19) Mai wins again in PNG’s West Sepik
24 August 2015
Amkat Mai has won back the governorship of West Sepik in Papua New Guinea, gaining the seat through the final preference vote count on Saturday.
The seat had been vacant for two years, after the Supreme Court in 2013 ruled out Mr Mai’s election win the previous year.
The Post Courier reports that Mr Mai, who is a member of the National Alliance, finished the preference counting with 55 percent of the vote with Simon Polo in second place.
Meanwhile another embattled governor, Gulf Province’s Havilo Kavo has had his conviction for misappropriation overturned by the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court ruled the trial judge Sir Gibbs Salika had erred in fact and law when determining the case on its merit when sentencing the Gulf leader to jail.RNZI
20) ONOC kick-starts revival of Fijian Sports Journalists’ Association
By Online Editor
11:37 pm GMT+12, 23/08/2015, Fiji
The Oceania National Olympic Committee (ONOC) initiated the revival of the Fijian Sports Journalists’ Association which has been defunct for over a decade.
ONOC President Dr Robin Mitchell assured sports editors and journalists of ONOC’s support to the association.
“I’m pleased for the revival which would greatly enhance and improve networking locally and regionally,” said Dr Mitchell.
He highlighted various upcoming major events such as the Rio Olympics and why its so crucial that the media is organised.
He is delighted that majority of the media for the Rio Olympics would be coming from Fiji and it would be beneficial that the Fijian Sports Journalists’ Association affiliates with the Association of International Sports Press or AIPS.
ONOC Communication and Media Manager Matai Akauola says the idea to revive the association has been discussed many times but things started to materialise when a group of sports journalists came together during the ONOC General Assembly in April.
This was further enhanced at the media workshop for Women and Sport hosted by the International Olympic Committees International Relations Department in Doha, Qatar in May.
“This is part of ‘The Doha Call to Action’ with the theme ‘commitment to lead the change’ and the AIPS is requested to create and revive National Sports Press Associations to foster sports coverage,” said Akauola.
14 professional sports journalists and editors from six media companies- Fiji Sun, Fiji Times, Fiji Television, Fiji Broadcasting Corporation, Teivovo and PACNEWS/PINA attended the meeting which also included the Communications Manager from Fiji Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee (FASANOC).
All the participants agreed that it was time to revive the association.
An interim committee has been selected to organise and facilitate the proper registration of the association locally and internationally.
21) Financial crimes
Monday, August 24, 2015
AWARENESS and training are the keys to combating financial crimes, says Deloitte Forensic partner Jason Weir.
With this in mind, he said, all economies were vulnerable to financial crimes and Fiji was no exception.
Mr Weir was one of a number of high-profile speakers at the 2015 Certified Practising Accountants Congress in Nadi this week.
He specialises in forensic accounting and insolvency and is regularly engaged by lawyers, companies, insurers, public sector organisations, regulators and enforcement agencies to complete complex fraud and financial investigations and to quantify loss for commercial disputes and insurance claims.
“I think the key thing is awareness and accountants are people who trust other people,” he said.
Mr Weir said people should be aware of what financial crimes felt or looked like and a good change would be to report those crimes.
“We should have a culture where people should raise their concerns and there are some organisations where people are scared to report it.”
He said New Zealand offered online training on combating bribery and corruption and Fiji could adopt this where people could access this simple training.
Mr Weir said Fiji was vulnerable to financing of terrorism. His comments followed those made by Financial Intelligence Unit director Razim Buksh, who highlighted recently that financing of terrorism could be a potential financial crime in the Fiji in the future.
He said every country in the world had exposure to money laundering and financing terrorism.Fijitimes
22) Courage in business
Monday, August 24, 2015
THE key theme of courage dominated the launch of the Fiji Development Bank small and medium enterprises awards in Suva last week.
Nafitalai Cakacaka, business risk services general manager at FDB, said the initiative aimed to recognise and reward such courage.
“Starting or running a business is not for the faint of heart,” he said.
Keynote speaker Professor Ian Rouse supported this view, noting that courage was one of the key traits for instigating change.
“Being courageous isn’t about pretending that bad things don’t happen or that real risks are all in our head. It is about choosing to lay our vulnerability on the line for something greater than our pride,” said the acting vice-chancellor for the Fiji National University.
The theme had developed from last year’s theme “SMEs — the drivers of our future growth”.
Prof Rouse urged small and medium enterprises to participate in the awards.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for businesses to summarise their dreams, aspirations, and developments as part of their entry for this set of awards.
“Maybe it needs a small amount of courage to take this step of peer review and evaluation, but can I encourage you to do so.”
Entry for the awards remains open until September 22.Fijitimes
23) New BSP Solomon Islands manager
The National, Monday August 24th, 2015
BANK South Pacific has appointed Nuni Kulu as country manager of BSP Solomon Islands.
The bank in a statement said Kulu was among other women who played significant roles at BSP and is currently on the BSP leadership development programme.
The programme was aimed at developing young Papua New Guineans to take on senior management positions.
Kulu, who recently returned from a secondment programme with the Bank of Philippines, was given this challenge because of her experience in various positions she had held since she joined BSP as a graduate trainee in 1998.
“Nuni is one of our staff that we have high expectations for, and this just adds to a variety of roles that she had already undertaken in her development,” BSP’s deputy general manager retail, Peter Boutcher said.
Among other roles, Kulu had been a foreign exchange dealer, including marketing manager, and her current role is area manager, where she overseas seven branches in the southern region.
24) Less rain predicted
Monday, August 24, 2015
FIJI should expect below average rainfall over the next two months, says the Fiji Meteorological Service (FMS).
Maximum and minimum air temperatures are likely to be below normal over many parts of the country from this month to October.
The FMS says outlook for the November 2015 to January 2016 period are mixed, with some parts likely to experience below normal while others above normal air temperatures.
The sea surface temperature in the Fiji region is predicted to be below normal through the August to October 2015 period.
“Fiji typically experiences drier than normal conditions during an El NiÃ±o event, which can lead to meteorological drought, especially during moderate to strong event. Prolonged dry conditions are often associated with wildfires, water stressed crops, very low stream flows and dried up water wells,” a statemenmt from the FMS states.
It says all international models surveyed indicate the El-Nino will continue to strengthen and persist into early 2016.
“Considering the current ENSO conditions and the model predictions, majority of the country is likely to continue to experience below average rainfall through the coming three months.”Fijitimes
25) El Niño Drought Affecting Nearly A Million In PNG Highlands
Nearly 600,000 in areas designated as ‘severely impacted’
PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Aug. 24, 2015) – Nearly a million people are directly affected by the drought, an official said.
National Disaster Committee chairman Dickson Guina said the population was hard hit and his statistics showed that so far 862,379 people were suffering as a result of the conditions caused by El Nino.
The centre has placed the severity of the drought on lives into four categories, with category four being the worst affected.
Chimbu, Tambul in Western Highlands, Kandap in Enga, Pangia and Ialibu in Southern Highlands and Goilala in Central are in category four as well as Manus and Morobe, Guina said.
“Nearly 593,733 people are in category four which is severe, especially in the Highlands region, but we are now monitoring the situation through the National Disaster Office,” he said.
[PIR editor’s note: The National reported that ‘Teams have been deployed to areas affected by the dry weather to assess the situation on the ground, according to National Disaster Committee chairman Dickson Guina. … “Four teams made up of representatives from the Department of Education, Health, Prime Minister’s Department, Provincial Affairs, Agriculture and Livestock, Foreign Affairs, Treasury and Finance, Defence Force, Police, Correctional Service, Fire Service, National Weather Service Office, National Agriculture Research Institute, Water PNG, Eda Ranu, UN representative, Red Cross and National Disaster Office will be dispatched. … Guina said they would work with provincial teams on details of the disaster affecting the provinces and report to his office.’]
He said about 157,500 people were been placed in category three and 111,106 in category two.
“The main effects of the drought and frost are on staple food and water in remote areas,”Guina said.
Categories two to three pose some inconvenience with food supply.
Category three is when conditions get difficult and category four is when all staple food is gone and gardens dried up.
Guina said category five was the extreme, with no food or water and people were exposed to disease with water being polluted.
Guina said several schools were temporarily closed and others were conducting half-day classes due to shortage of water sanitation difficulties.
26) Teams sent to assess disaster areas
The National, Monday August 24th, 2015
TEAMS have been deployed to areas affected by the dry weather to assess the situation on the ground, according to National Disaster Committee chairman Dickson Guina.
“Four teams made up of representatives from the Department of Education, Health, Prime Minister’s Department, Provincial Affairs, Agriculture and Livestock, Foreign Affairs, Treasury and Finance, Defence Force, Police, Correctional Service, Fire Service, National Weather Service Office, National Agriculture Research Institute, Water PNG, Eda Ranu, UN representative, Red Cross and National Disaster Office will be dispatched.
Guina said they would work with provincial teams on details of the disaster affecting the provinces and report to his office.
“We will then advise the Government on a way forward, what actions we can take in the short term, and the long term.” Guina said weather experts predicted that the dry spell disasterwould continue to next year.
“I think in our mitigation strategy, we want to ensure we have a short and a long term strategy to address this issue,” he said.
He said a committee had been formed to meet weekly and a draft response plan had been drawn up.
“We are now developing the draft response plan. We have technical advice on food and security, water security, health issues, logistics planning and security issues,” he said.
“We have activated data collection, we had daily briefings with all the stakeholders, we have provided situational reports to the government, we are monitoring the situation on a daily basis and we are communicating directly with the provincial disaster committees on how we can help victims.”
27a) Ok Tedi Mining confirms wall collapse at massive open-cut mine in PNG, denies link to shutdown
By Papua New Guinea correspondent Liam Cochrane
A section of Papua New Guinea’s Ok Tedi mine collapses, damaging machinery and blocking an access road, but the company insists the fall has nothing to do with the shutdown of operations.
A section of Papua New Guinea’s Ok Tedi mine collapsed in June, damaging machinery and blocking an access road, but the company insists the fall has nothing to do with the shutdown of operations.
- Ok Tedi Mining confirms wall collapsed at huge open-cut mine, damaging equipment and blocking a road
- Critics have blamed PNG’s government for the mine’s recent problems
- Ok Tedi denies claims of government interference, saying it “proudly operates independently”
On August 12, Ok Tedi Mining stopped operations at the open-cut copper and gold mine and stood down almost all staff, citing a lack of rain affecting river access and hydropower generation.
At the time there was no mention of the damage to the mine pit but the company said it reported the incident to the statutory authorities in PNG and has now gone public with the information, in response to a letter to the editor.
“Ok Tedi Mine experienced a failure in a section of the wall of the open pit in early June 2015, resulting in a large amount of debris sliding down into the bottom of the pit,” Ok Tedi Mining Limited (OMTL) managing director and chief executive Peter Graham said.
“The fallen debris damaged one of eight hydraulic shovels and backhoes, which has since been repaired and returned to service.
“The fall has temporarily limited access to some higher grade ore until clean-up is complete, likely several months work once started.”
The company denies the collapse is linked to the recent shutdown of operations, saying the closure was due to weak global commodity prices and low water levels in the Fly River.
“Ok Tedi relies on riverine transport for food and diesel and other operational supplies, and for transport of concentrate to Port Moresby for export,” Mr Graham said.
Critics blame Peter O’Neill for mine’s problems
Critics of the mine have blamed the PNG government for the mine’s problems.
“This is the latest in a long line of disasters at the mine since prime minister Peter O’Neill took over Ok Tedi,” Kata Mono said in a letter to the editor published in the Post Courier newspaper.
That takeover is the latest controversy involving Ok Tedi, which became synonymous with dirty mining during the 1980s and ’90s.
BHP handed over its majority share in 2001 in exchange for legal immunity for decades of environmental damage, creating the PNG Sustainable Development Program (SDP) as a local trust fund for development projects across the country.
There is no cash left in OTML because of inflated contracts being given to cronies, mismanagement of other funds, poor mine planning and administration and a critical lack of repairs and maintenance across all operational areasKata Mono, in the Post Courier
In 2013, the PNG government passed legislation to take over Ok Tedi and the associated $1.4 billion development fund, effectively nationalising the mine and sparking a bitter legal battle for control of the trust.
“There is no cash left in OTML because of inflated contracts being given to cronies, mismanagement of other funds, poor mine planning and administration and a critical lack of repairs and maintenance across all operational areas,” said Mr Mono, who said he was writing from the mining town of Kiunga in Western Province.
Mr O’Neill has previously acknowledged his business interests in at least three companies with contracts at Ok Tedi — IT firm Remington as well as Wild Cat Developments and South West Air, both subsidiaries of Remington Group.
Mr O’Neill has denied having interests in the mine’s security contractor Black Swan or securing contracts since the appropriation of the mine.
Ok Tedi management rejected the allegations of neglect and nepotism.
“Contrary to assertions in the letter [to the editor] of government interference, Ok Tedi proudly operates independently,” Mr Graham said.
Mr Graham said compensation payments to landowners would be honoured next month but dividends would not be paid, due to the shutdown.
He remained upbeat about the mine’s prospects.
“Ok Tedi will continue to be a successful operation once weather conditions allow a restart of operations,” Mr Graham said.ABC
Monday 24 August 2015
The new owner of Solomon Islands Gold Ridge gold mine claims the previous owner left behind a $US29 million dollar environmental disaster.
It says Melbourne’s St Barbara should have been shut down by Australian regulators long before it negotiated the sale for a nominal amount to local landowning company, Gold Ridge Community Investments Ltd.
The Chairperson of GCIL, Walter Naezon, says the sale transferred all liability for the mine to the new company and the full extent of this has just been quantified.
“Because they got away from the government that is the previous government who failed to pin them according to their regulations. And since it is an Australian company and it was listed in the stock exchange in Australia we think that the Australian stock exchange needs to know about it.”
Walton Naezon says Gold Ridge Community Investments Ltd has a 3 year plan to get the mine back on its feet and says talks are being held with companies in Australia and China to take on the mine operation.RNZI
28) Seabed Mining In PNG Will Not Discharge Waste: Nautilus
Mining company hopes to begin operating by 2018
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Aug. 24, 2015) – The seabed mining company, Nautilus Minerals, says its world first operation to mine in Papua New Guinea’s Bismarck Sea will not discharge any waste into the ocean.
The company hopes to start mining on the sea floor by 2018, despite strong opposition from environmental activists and calls for caution from the scientific community.
But Nautilus’ chief executive Mike Johnston says his company has been conducting environmental impact studies since 2006.
He says the results have consistently shown the effects of the operation on the marine environment will be minimal.
“The total area directly impacted by mining is less than point one of a square kilometre. Impacts that are expected from the mining projects do not extend outside the mining lease. There are no tailings associated with our seafloor mining project which is pretty much unheard of for mining.”
Radio New Zealand International
29) Timber Industry Consultations Between Solomons, NZ Questioned
No local environmental organizations were included in talks
By Bradford Theonomi
HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Aug. 23, 2015) – The Solomon Islands Sawn Timber Industry’s recent consultation with New Zealand Timber Industry has come under question from former Greenpeace forest campaigner Lawrence Makili.
Mr Makili queried the process to establish a third party for certification of sawn timbers by farmers to overseas buyers, this must be done transparently.
“The way I see it, the non-inclusion of local environmental organisations on the ground in the consultations is just not right,” Mr Makili, who is currently the Pacific Islands regional director of US-based Earth Island Institute, said.
“I understand all parties involved including the New Zealand Imported Tropical Timber (NZ ITTG) are concern about sustainable and better management of timber harvesting.
“Those of us working for environmental organisations on the ground are also equally concerned,” he said.
He added that Malcolm Scott of ITTG and Grant Rosoman of Green Peace knew this very well but they have failed to call for the involvement of environmental organisations on the ground.
“Their negligence, together with the Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access (PHAMA) program, is a cover-up.
“I can only see clearly now that sawn timber consumers in New Zealand are going to be fooled.”
Mr Makili urged responsible authorities to include local environment organisations in future consultations.
“On this matter we will be grateful if the third party establishment be open and transparent.”
[PIR editor’s note: Solomon Star reported that ‘REGIONAL Director Pacific Islands for US-based Earth Island Institute, Lawrence Makili, claims there is a bigger and hidden issue behind the government’s ministerial reshuffling this week. … And he urged the government to quickly reduce the number of logging companies currently operating in the country and stop further applications. … He also claimed the reshuffling exercise was a perfect move by some big players within the logging industry. … “It’s not only conflict of interest, it’s more than that,” Mr Makili said, referring to the removal of Bodo Dettke from the Ministry of Forestry and Research. … Mr Makili said there were logging companies connected with some cabinet ministers that were behind the exercise.]
30) Fiji Opposition To Grill PM On Sugar Industry
Prasad wants to know about cane crushing, sugar production
By Atasa Moceituba
SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Aug. 24, 2015) – National Federation Party leader and Opposition MP Professor Biman Prasad will question the Prime Minister and Minister for Sugar Industry, Voreqe Bainimarama in Parliament today on issues related to cane crushing and sugar production.
According to the Order Paper for today’s sitting, Prof Prasad will ask the Prime Minister to inform the House on the total cane crushed and sugar produced by each of the four mills since the 2015 harvesting and crushing season began and the tonnes of cane to tonnes of sugar (TCTS) recorded by each mill.
Prof Prasad will ask for the weekly throughput average of each of the four mills and the weekly crushing capacity of each of the mills for the 2015 season.
He will also ask the Prime Minister to tell the Parliament the hours of mill stoppages caused by breakdowns or mechanical problems at each of the four mills so far this season.
The Prime Minister is expected to be asked as well on the hours of stoppage caused by outside stoppage or lack of cane supply because of bad weather or other causes and the losses incurred by breakdowns at each mill.
Also appearing on the Order Paper is Opposition MP Semesa Karavaki, who will ask Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum to inform the House how many of the appointed judges of the High Court are presently sitting.
Mr Karavaki will ask about the number of decisions pending for each of the judges and the period lapsed since the conclusion of the hearing in regards to each case.
Apart from questions from other MPs, some motions will be moved by Opposition member Tupou Draunidalo for debate.
Fiji Times Online
31) Pacific missing gravity of youth unemployment issues: SPC
24 August 2015
The Secretariat of the Pacific Community says countries in the region must improve their collection of youth data.
A social development advisor for youth at the SPC, Mereia Carling, says the lack of data hides the gravity of many issues facing Pacific youth.
Ms Carling says high youth unemployment rates are particularly concerning.
“What we can see is that we are vastly underestimating the situation of youth unemployment in the region. So we really need to get the data behind those kinds of things so we can start to say actually you know the situation is not what we think it is. Its a lot worse.”
Mereia Carling says collecting better statistics on young people is one of the new focus areas proposed in a new framework released earlier this month.RNZI
32) PNG down Tahiti
The National, Monday August 24th, 2015
By FRANCIS RODNEY PULU
FORMER Agmark Gurias back and Pukpuk debutant Jacky Marcus scored twice as Papua New Guinea beat Tahiti, 32-10 in the opening round of the Oceania Rugby Cup at the Sir Hubert Murray Stadium on Saturday.
In a game that lacked fluidity but plenty of intent, the home side did well to repel a big Tahitian pack and get a step closer to winning the cup after finishing runners-up to the Cook Islands in the FORU Cup two years ago.
An elated Pukpuks coach, Sydney Wesley said with the first assignment out of the way the goal of claiming the Oceania title saw only American Samoa and the Solomon Islands in the way.
Wesley was satisfied with the result but maintained there were two matches to go and there was no room for complacency.
“I’m happy with the result but I was expecting a better performance than what we did today,” Wesley said.
“We’ll go back to training and work on those areas that need improving and get ready for the game against American Samoa.”
With the Samoans winning their game, the second round clash of winners looms as the title-deciding match.
Tahiti coach Charles Tauziet said his side failed to make better use of their possession and field position and allowed the Pukpuks into the game with poor defence on the edges.
“We started off strongly but could not score any points and they made better use of their opportunities,” Tauziet said.
Tahiti started off strongly and dominated all facets of play for most of the first half but could not turn that territory and possession into points – the best they could come up with was a penalty to fly-half Anthony Tesquet late in the half.
Tries to Marcus and centre James Lumaris and a penalty by Nigel Genia take a 13-3 haltime lead.
Tahiti’s defence close to the line was found wanting 10 minutes into the second half with Pukpuks blindside flanker Butler Morris scoring a try.
The visitors were finally rewarded in the 58th minute when No. 8 Lorris Peytavit crashed over from a dominant scrum 10m out.
Prop Derek Paraka and Marcus completed the win with tries to get the home side’s campaign off to a positive start with a 32-10 win.
Pukpuks 32 (Jacky Marcus 2, James Lumaris, Butler Morris, Derek Paraka tries; Nigel Genia 2 con, pen) Tahiti 10 (Lorris Peytavit try; Anthony Tesquet con, pen) Halftime: PNG 13-3 at the Sir Hubert Murray Stadium, Port Moresby. Crowd: 500
33) Wallabies squad for Rugby World Cup 2015
Monday, August 24, 2015
James Horwill was the big omission from the Wallabies squad to compete in this year’s Rugby World Cup that was announced in Sydney on Friday morning.
After leading the Wallabies as captain in the 2011 Rugby World Cup, the Queensland second rower now finds himself left at home with Wallabies coach Michael Cheika naming Kane Douglas, Dean Mumm, Rob Simmons, and Will Skelton as his selected locks in his 31-player squad.
The Wallabies begin their the Rugby World Cup in which they have been drawn in the ‘pool of death’ against Fiji in Cardiff on September 23.
They then play Uruguay in Birmingham on September 27, followed by England on October 3 and then Wales on October 10 — with the last two tests to be played at Twickenham.
The Wallabies must finish in the top two of their pool to qualify for the quarterfinals.
Forwards: David Pocock, Scott Fardy, Michael Hooper, Rob Simmons, James Slipper, Sekope Kepu, Greg Holmes, Stephen Moore (captain), Tatafu Polota-Nau, Scott Sio, Will Skelton, Ben McCalman, Wycliff Palu, Sean McMahon, Kane Douglas, Toby Smith, Dean Mumm. Backs: Israel Folau, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Drew Mitchell, Tevita Kuridrani, Matt Giteau, Bernard Foley, Quade Cooper, Matt Toomua, Kurtley Beale, Will Genia, Nick Phipps, Rob Horne, Henry Speight, Joe Tomane.
34) Australia on course in fifth Ashes Test
Monday, August 24, 2015
LONDON – Australia are perfectly placed to win the fifth Ashes Test, a result likely to gladden and grate retiring captain Michael Clarke.
Clarke and Chris Rogers look set to end their internationals careers on a bittersweet note at The Oval after Australia snared eight wickets on day three.
Clarke enforced the follow-on for the first time in his Test career, emboldened by a first-innings lead of 332 runs.
England were 6-203 at stumps on Saturday, requiring a further 129 runs to make the tourists bat again.
Rain is predicted for day four but it’s not expected to impact the morning session.
Steve Smith’s late dismissal of an otherwise obstinate Alastair Cook for 85 further shortened the odds of Australia finishing 3-2 losers in the five-Test series.
The squad could have ended the nation’s 14-year away Ashes drought had they produced their best in Cardiff, Birmingham and Nottingham.
Instead they ceded the urn after being skittled for 60 in the fourth Test.
Playing for pride in the dead rubber, it was recalled paceman Peter Siddle who shined the brightest on the hottest day of the series.
Cook soaked up 234 balls and five-and-a-half hours, forcing the tourists to toil.
Siddle responded with great control in his comeback game after almost nine months in the Test wilderness.
The Victorian finished with 10 maidens and figures of 1-14 from 16 overs, his teammates benefiting from the build up of pressure.
The 30-year-old sent down a remarkable 34 dot balls before conceding the first and only run of his opening spell.