Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1124 ( Thursday 03 September 2015 )


1) Melanesian Agency Considers Shipping And Air Services
Improved connectivity could foster trade and economic activity

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, September 2, 2015) – The Melanesian Spearhead Group is undertaking a feasibility study on the value of operating its own shipping and airline services.

MSG Trade Ministers say improved connectivity within member countries will foster more trade and economic activity.

Papua New Guinea has been tasked with investigating the potential of the sub-regional body running its own ships and planes.

A report on the study is expected to be presented to the ministers by next year.

Fiji TV reports the director of trade at the MSG Secretariat, Peni Sikivou, saying connectivity remains a challenge in the region.

A meeting last week also agreed to broaden the 3rd MSG Trade Agreement to include trade in services, labor mobility and investment.

Radio New Zealand International

2) Fiji’s trade with MSG increase substantially
By Online Editor
5:03 pm GMT+12, 01/09/2015, Fiji

Fiji has had a 114 percent increase in trade with Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) countries.

Fiji trades with almost all MSG  members, with Papua New Guinea being the major trader.

Fiji is also in the process of appointing a trade commissioner in PNG.

“Fiji has a lot to offer them, they have a lot to offer us, PNG is also a great investor in Fiji and the fact that lot of our people actually go and work there too,” Fijian Minister for Trade, Faiyaz Koya said.

With a number of businesses and workers already applying their trade, the Government of Papua New Guinea is inviting more local companies to set up their operations in PNG.

“For instance there are some Fijians working in mine sites,  and places like that. We would like to invite more Fijians as medical workers, nurses, good teachers. These are the areas that we can look at Fiji to provide,” said PNG’s Head of Delegation, Max Rai.


3) Filep Karma still in jail, says Papua prison head

3 September 2015

The head of Indonesia’s Abepura Prison, says that Papuan activist Filep Karma is still in jail.

Despite recent reports that Karma’s early release was imminent, Bagus Kurniawan told Tabloid Jubi that he remains in the Papua jail.

Karma has served two thirds of a 15-year jail term for treason after he raised the banned Papuan Morning Star flag in 2004.

Last month, he rejected an offer of remission on Indonesia’s Independence Day, saying he would only accept unconditional release.

The Political, Law and Security Minister, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan subsequently said he guaranteed Karma’s security and freedom of speech once he left prison.

However Mr Kurniawan says the prison has not received any decree from Jakarta to the effect of releasing Karma.RNZI

4a ) Indonesian military’s conduct in Papua highlighted

3 September 2015

An Indonesian military commander has warned soldiers against committing abuses in Papua, saying the region is constantly in the spotlight because of conflict.

Tabloid Jubi reports Cenderawasih regional commander Major General Hinsa Sibuarian saying the military’s job is to nurture, protect and guarantee the security of the people.

He says soldiers serving locally must be aware that Papua is being highlighted because it is considered a risk area.

Citing the recent incident in Timika where two people were allegedly shot dead by military, General Sibuarian says it shouldn’t have happened.

Urging soldiers not to drink alcohol, he says they should be down-to-earth and maintain the unity and integrity of the nation.

His comment comes as the Timika Diocese Church Chairman says the actions of the Indonesian security forces have soiled the image of the country.

John Philip Saklil says there is a widespread perception that security forces who transgress routinely enjoy impunity.RNZI

4b) Vanuatu finance minister Willie Jimmy pleads guilty to charges of bribery in trial implicating 18 MPs

Pacific Beat – 3/9/15

A case before Vanuatu’s Supreme Court implicating 18 of the nation’s MPs in bribery has taken a dramatic twist as finance minister Willie Jimmy entered a guilty plea on two counts on Wednesday.

The defendants, 14 of which are on trial, are accused of accepting bribes amounting to 35 million vatu ($447,000) and breaching the parliament’s leadership code. All but Jimmy entered pleas of not guilty.

The high-profile defendants include the deputy prime minister, Moana Carcasses, and five ministers of state.

The editor of the Vanuatu Independent, Tony Wilson, told Pacific Beat there is some doubt that Jimmy was adequately prepared for the appearance.

“It’s fair to say he appeared quite confused, and we also need to have explained why his lawyer was not present in court, which Justice Mary Sey — the presiding judge — was fairly annoyed about,” he said.

“She did give him an opportunity though, she suggested to him that if he didn’t speak at all she would record a not guilty plea. And he said ‘oh, in that case I’ll plead guilty’ to the shock of the entire court.

“Of course, he could well turn up at the next hearing on Monday, with a lawyer present, and say ‘look, I was confused, I didn’t have legal counsel at the time and I’d like the plea changed’.

“And I think the court would look fairly favourably at that.”

The 18 MPs of the 52-seat parliament are alleged to have taken bribes from the now-deputy prime minister a year ago while in opposition.

Carcasses has always stated the money was transferred to the parliamentarians as a loan, into their private accounts, for use in their constituencies.

Vanuatu politics is often paralysed by no-confidence motions and a high turnover of its leadership, and the money is alleged to have been used to procure support before an attempt to remove the then-prime minister Joe Natuman.

A no-confidence motion succeeded in removing Mr Natuman, who oversaw the relief work following Cyclone Pam, on June 11.

Four of the MPs were previously understood to have been given immunity to appear as witnesses of the public prosecutor, including the current internal affairs minister.

But Mr Wilson said even that status was now unclear.

“Two of those are publically stating they don’t know why their charges have been withdrawn and they’ve made no deal with the prosecution,” he said.

The trial is expected to begin on Monday next week.

5) Tonga Strengthens Oversight After Seasonal Workers Abscond
Estimates of 300 workers, suspect overstaying

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, September 2, 2015) – The Tonga Government is changing the way workers are selected for the Australia seasonal work programme after it estimated several hundred have absconded since the scheme began.

The Internal Affair Minister, Fe’ao Vakata says one contractor told him 74 of his workers had disappeared before the contract was up and he estimated that of 1400 Tongans in total across Australia about 300 had gone.

He says he suspects they are now overstaying.

Mr Vakata says at the moment contractors can come to Tonga and recruit their workers with no government oversight but this will now change.

“We will recruit from the villages and if the contractors come with their own list we still have to take them back to the villages, to the town officers and the council, to confirm that they know the person, he is genuine and reliable, he will not abscond, be a good worker and try and give Tonga workers a good name.”

Radio New Zealand International

6) Tongan Minister Hopeful Women’s Rights Will Be Ratified
Amid reports that the government is dropping the issue

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, September 2, 2015) – Tonga’s Minister for Internal Affairs says he’s still hopeful a controversial women’s rights convention will be ratified despite reports the government is dropping the issue.

Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pohiva has told parliament that the government would not ratify the Convention for the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women or CEDAW.

He expressed concern over how the issue had divided the country.

Earlier church leaders led opposition against CEDAW saying it would open the way for same-sex marriage and abortion.

Fe’ao Vakata says that’s a misunderstanding.

Mr Vakata says the government is now delaying the process in an effort to provide more opportunity for consultation.

“I hope that after the consultations that people will be more understanding about CEDAW but I think we will still pursue the right purpose of the convention.”

Mr Vakata says legislative changes could be looked at next year in order to hold a referendum over the matter.

Radio New Zealand International

7) Samoa general election set for March 2016

By Online Editor
9:02 pm GMT+12, 01/09/2015, Samoa

Samoa is set to go to the polls for the country’s next general election on 04 March next year.

The election date was announced by the Prime Minister, Tuila’epa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, with the current parliament set to be dissolved in three months time.

The Acting Electoral Commissioner, Faimalomatumua Mathew Lemisio, says 10,000 new voters and electors have been registered so far but there is still two more months to go before all electoral rolls are closed in November.

He says the law has also been tightened to ensure voting remains confidential.

“The secrecy of any citizens votes is not taken lightly by the law. We did an amendment to the electoral law increasing the penalties for people that might infringe with other peoples vote.”

Faimalomatumua Mathew Lemisio says the penalty for this been increased from three months, to 12 months imprisonment.



8) Guam passes chemical castration bill

3 September 2015

Legislators in Guam have passed a bill to pilot chemically castrating sex offenders.

The bill today scraped through the legislature by eight votes to seven.

The Chemical Castration for Sex Offenders Act will see the Department of Corrections refer convicted sex offenders to undergo anti-androgen treatment one week before their release.

Androgen Deprivation Therapy involves the injection of anti-hormone drugs to suppress testosterone production and shut down a person’s sex drive.

According to national and local statistics, Guam has one of the highest rates of sexual violence in the United States.

The bill has been forwarded to Guam’s governor Eddie Calvo for approval and if passed will make Guam the only US territory to adopt chemical castration for sex offenders and paedophiles.

California was the first US state to specify chemical castration for child molestation in 1996, and today at least nine states have some form of chemical castration for sex offenders in their legislation.RNZI

9a ) Nauru hits back over NZ aid suspension

3 September 2015

Nauru has issued a hard hitting dismissal of New Zealand’s claims about the state of its judicial sector, saying its suspension of aid funding is misguided.

In a statement it further accuses New Zealand of attempting to undermine the island’s national sovereignty and interfering in its domestic affairs.

The Nauru Justice Minister, David Adeang, claims the move is based on misinformation from Opposition MP Roland Kun and his wife, who he says have been lobbying the New Zealand Government.

He says any suggestion the Nauru justice system is not independent or that the rule of law is not being upheld is completely wrong and offensive to the country’s judges.

Mr Adeang says his government implicitly respects the rule of law and the separation of powers, but stands by its right to uphold the law, which includes the current investigation of Mr Kun for his alleged part in instigating what the government deemed a riot at Parliament House in June.

Mr Adeang says since these investigations are continuing New Zealand is trying to undermine Nauru’s sovereignty and influence a criminal investigation.

But Nauru’s former chief justice, Australian Geoffrey Eames, says the island’s government cannot ignore New Zealand’s decision to suspend aid to its justice sector.

New Zealand pulled the assistance on Thursday, saying it had given Nauru more than a year to restore international confidence after the removal of the resident magistrate, the then chief justice Eames, the police commissioner and others.

But says this had not happened.

New Zealand has also been concerned at human rights abuses and the suspension of most of Nauru’s MPs since the middle of last year.

Mr Eames says all members of the Nauru Government will have to look seriously at this.

“And say ‘are we prepared to be regarded internationally as a government which acted in such breach of the rule of law that a funding body in such good standing as the New Zealand Government – what occurred was so serious that they had to take this step.’ ”

Australia has been called on to take a more responsible role in the Pacific in the wake of New Zealand suspending the Nauru aid..

Australia provides tens of millions of dollars to Nauru to support its controversial asylum seeker camps on the island.

Australian Greens Senator, Sarah Hanson-Young, says Australia has been silent on corruption and the disarray in the justice sector, and it needs to be clearer with Nauru about its expectations for a fairer legal system.

“This is not the type of democracy that we want to see happening in the Pacific region and Australia needs to take a/ some responsibility and b/ do what we can to get Nauru back on track.”RNZI

9b) Kiribati Bill To Keep Children Out Of Adult Prisons

New standards for youth justice system

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, September 1, 2015) – Kiribati has passed a bill to prevent youth offenders as young as 14 ending up in adult prisons.

There are ten young offenders being held in adult prisons in Kiribati for crimes such as stealing bike parts.

The Juvenile Justice Act will set standards for the youth justice system, including a new youth court and a focus on diverting children into community led rehabilitation programmes.

UNICEF’s child protection specialist, Salote Kaimacuata, says surveys conducted in Fiji show separating youth and adult offenders is important to reduce the risk of reoffending.

“They come out linking up and networking with older, more experienced offenders so you really want to prevent any of that networking starting in the first place. But you also want to ensure that they stay on in school and in paid employment if they are working.”

Salote Kaimacuata says proper facilities need to be constructed and training conducted to ensure the youth justice system is effective.

Radio New Zealand International


9c) Bougainville i tingim ol pipol blong ol husait i lus long taim blong crisis

Updated 3 September 2015, 15:22 AEST

Sam Seke

Stat long last wik ol pipol long Autonomous Region blong Bougainville i wok long komemoretim ol pipol blong ol husat ibin lus long taim blong Bougainville Crisis, na ol ino save yet long wanem trutru i kamap long ol.

Moa long 20 tausan pipol blong Bougainville nau ibin dai insait long 10 yia secessionist woa wantaim Papua New Guinea – na ol i no save yet long wanem hap bodi blong sampela long ol i stap longen.
 Manager blong New Dawn FM, Aloysius Laukai i tok narapela stori tu em long ol i painim 4 pela pipol blong Bougainville husat ibin lus long solwara moa long tupela wik igo pinis long Federated States of Micronesia.
 Em i tok ol polis i toksave tu olsem ol bai salim go bek long Solomon Islands tupela man husat ibin lus long solwara na ol i painim tupela long Fead Island we i klostu long New Ireland Province.ABC

9d ) Banana Festival long Makira bai pinis long tumora

Updated 3 September 2015, 16:08 AEST

Caroline Tiriman

Naba tu Banana Festival blong Makira Ulawa Provins long Solomon Islands ol ol i holim long Kirakira bai pinis long tumora, Friday.

Oli bin ol ibin holim nabawan festival long mun June long  2014 blong helpim na apim wok blong turisam long provins.
Makira emi gat nem olsem em i gat moa long 100 kain banana, we emi stap olsem bikpla samting tru long kaikai na kalsa blong ol pipal long despla provins.
 Long festival dispela wik ia ol i soim ol kainkain banana we i stap na ol kainkain we ol i save redim na kukim banana.
 Manager blong Solomon Islands Kastom Gaden association Clement Hadosaia istap long Kirakira blong helpim ol pipal long luksave long ol gutpla samting em banana iken givim long saed blong helt.ABC

10a) Brèves du Pacifique – jeudi 3 septembre2015

Mis à jour 3 September 2015, 16:13 AEST

Élodie Largenton

D’un renversement à l’autre, au Vanuatu. L’opposition est en train de préparer une motion de censure contre le gouvernement de Sato Kilman. 

Une manœuvre qui fait suite à la comparution, hier, de 18 parlementaires, dont 5 ministres, accusés de corruption. L’un d’entre eux, Willie Jimmy, le ministre des Finances, a plaidé coupable, à la surprise générale. Pour Tony Wilson, le rédacteur en chef de l’Indépendant du Vanuatu, cela pourrait signaler que des négociations ont lieu en coulisses. L’opposition a encore besoin de soutiens avant de pouvoir déposer sa motion de censure. Le procès des parlementaires doit reprendre lundi prochain.
Les Australiens sont priés de bien se comporter en Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée. Avertissement du ministre de l’Immigration, Peter Dutton, qui fait suite à plusieurs incidents sur l’île de Manus : deux gardiens du centre de rétention sont impliqués dans un accident de voiture causés par l’abus d’alcool, et trois autres employés du centre sont accusés d’avoir tenté de violer une femme papoue. Ces trois hommes avaient été rapatriés en Australie, déclenchant la colère des autorités papoues. On vient d’apprendre qu’ils pourraient bientôt être renvoyés en Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée pour faire face à la justice.
En Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée, les demandeurs d’asile ne pourront plus faire appel. S’ils ne se voient pas accorder le statut de réfugié après leur premier entretien, ils devront retourner dans leur pays d’origine avec l’aide de l’Organisation internationale pour les migrations ou seront expulsés par les autorités papoues. Une information divulguée par la Coalition d’action pour les réfugiés, la principale ONG australienne de défense des migrants.
Les indépendantistes de Papouasie occidentale veulent se faire entendre. Ils ont prévu plusieurs manifestations la semaine prochaine dans divers villes de Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée, où se tiendra le sommet annuel du Forum des îles du Pacifique. Des « marches vers la liberté » auront ainsi lieu à Port-Moresby, Madang, ou encore Mount Hagen.
L’essence se fait rare en Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée. Le fournisseur de carburant, Puma, explique qu’il y a trop peu de dollars américains sur le marché des changes pour pouvoir approvisionner Port-Moresby. Des négociations sont en cours entre Puma et le gouvernement papou. En attendant, le Premier ministre assure que d’autres compagnies, comme Mobil, prendront le relais. Le monopole dont bénéficie Puma est un héritage du passé, et le gouvernement est en train de réparer les erreurs du passé, a déclaré Peter O’Neill, rapporte le Post-Courier.
Les sportifs de la Sierra Leone ne pourront pas participer aux Jeux de la jeunesse du Commonwealth aux Îles Samoa. Le virus Ébola pourrait s’implanter dans l’archipel, selon le gouvernement samoan, qui ne veut pas prendre ce risque. Une décision qui n’a évidemment pas plu à la Sierra Leone ni au Ghana, qui a demandé à ce que des sanctions soient prises contre les Samoa. Mais la fédération des Jeux du Commonwealth estime que l’archipel polynésien est tout à fait libre de prendre ses propres décisions. Les Jeux de la jeunesse du Commonwealth débutent ce week-end, à Apia.
Un record du monde en Australie : la tonte d’un seul mouton a permis de récupérer plus de 40 kg de laine. Il faut dire que l’animal, découvert hier près de Canberra, n’avait pas été tondu depuis des années. C’est un champion de la tonte de moutons qui s’est chargé de débarrasser l’animal de son lourd manteau, avec l’aide de quatre autres personnes. Les vétérinaires ont décidé d’endormir l’animal pour éviter qu’il n’ait un choc mortel lors de l’opération. Le précédent record de laine récupérée sur un seul mouton était de 27 kg.ABC

10b) L’Australie risque-t-elle d’entrer en récession ?

Mis à jour 3 September 2015, 16:21 AEST

Élodie Largenton

Le Premier ministre le reconnaît : l’économie australienne n’est « pas en pleine forme ». La croissance ralentit : elle n’a été que de 0,2% au deuxième trimestre, 2% sur l’ensemble de l’année. 

Et ces mauvais résultats font chuter le dollar australien, passé sous la barre des 70 cents américains.
L’économie australienne dépend très largement de la santé financière de la Chine. L’évanouissement éclair du boom minier et le faible investissement des entreprises freinent la croissance. Et Matt Sherwood, qui est à la tête du département stratégie d’investissement à Perpetual Investments, estime que la situation ne va pas s’améliorer :
« Le problème, c’est que rien ne compense la faiblesse de l’économie pour le moment, ou du moins rien qui pourrait permettre à la croissance de revenir à son niveau d’avant, donc je pense que le taux de croissance australien passera bientôt sous la barre des 2%. Il va falloir stimuler l’économie, mais dans bien des cas, on va juste tirer sur la ficelle et ça ne servira à rien. »
La seule solution, selon les analystes, c’est d’inciter les ménages à consommer encore davantage qu’aujourd’hui. Les dépenses des Australiens représentent plus de 50% de l’activité économique. Annette Beacher, de la banque d’investissement TD Securities :
« Est-ce que je pense, moi aussi, que l’Australie est en récession ? La réponse est non. Pourrions-nous entrer en récession ? Eh bien, il y a un risque, certainement, parce que la hausse du PIB repose très largement sur la consommation. S’il y a beaucoup de titres de presse alarmistes, cela va pousser les gens à arrêter de dépenser, et ça donnera une prophétie auto-réalisatrice, et je pourrais vous donner une réponse différente d’ici six mois. »
Si l’Australie voit rouge alors que sa croissance est de 2% sur l’année, c’est que l’on compare souvent l’économie du pays à l’économie du Canada. Or, le Canada vient d’entrer en récession. Économiste en chef au sein de la banque du Commonwealth, Michael Blythe estime toutefois que l’Australie évitera de connaître le même sort :
« De ce point de vue, je pense que ce qui aide l’Australie, c’est qu’on récolte les bénéfices de l’exploitation minière intensive, d’une hausse des constructions, de l’exportation des ressources. On bénéficie aussi de la chute du dollar australien. Ça nous aide par rapport au Canada. »
Michael Blythe prédit que l’économie australienne aura retrouvé sa pleine santé l’année prochaine. Un optimisme partagé par le ministre des Finances, Joe Hockey :
« De toute évidence, l’économie australienne est résiliente. Une capacité que d’autres économies, qui sont énormément dépendantes des prix des matières premières, peuvent seulement rêver d’avoir. »
La banque centrale australienne table sur une croissance comprise entre 2% et 3%, cette année. En début de semaine, avant l’annonce de la très faible hausse du PIB au deuxième trimestre, elle a décidé de maintenir son taux directeur à 2%.ABC

10c ) Australia says Forum is premier Pacific grouping

3 September 2015

Australia says it regards the Pacific Islands Forum as the premier organisation in the Pacific but it welcomes any contribution the Pacific Islands Development Forum can make to the region.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade was responding to remarks made by Fiji’s Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama who accused Australia of meddling in the Development Forum which was set up by Fiji three years ago.

The PIDF is holding its third annual summit in Suva.

Mr Bainimarama told the grouping yesterday it is time for the Australian government to stop undermining it by actively lobbying regional governments and regional leaders not to attend.

In a statement, DFAT says Australia welcomes any contribution the PIDF can make to the prosperity and inclusive development of the region.

It says other countries will themselves decide whether or not to join the PIDF.

Australia is an observer to the PIDF and its High Commissioner Margaret Twomey is attending the Suva meeting

Australia says it is looking forward to a successful meeting of Pacific Island Forum leaders in Port Moresby next week and says it encourages Mr Bainimarama to attend.

He has refused to attend the summit despite Fiji’s post coup suspension being lifted.RNZI


11)  160 years after their arrival

Mavuku Tokona
Thursday, September 03, 2015

MEMBERS of the Chinese community in Fiji will celebrate their 160th anniversary on Saturday marking 160 years since the arrival of the first Chinese man in Levuka, Moy Ba Ling, in 1855.

President of the Chinese community in Fiji, Jenny Seeto said: “It’s a significant event. 160 goes back three generations of Chinese who have been in Fiji, the last we celebrated in a big way was the 150th anniversary but the 160th will be even bigger.”

Mrs Seeto said a number of Chinese organisations, Chinese community members, Chinese youth dance groups and many others would march from the Suva Flea Market to Ratu Sukuna Park where they would be greeted by the Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, and the Chinese ambassador to Fiji Zhang Ping.

Ms Seeto has also invited the public to partake in the momentous celebration by registering for the march that will be led by the Fiji Police Band.

“The reason for the registration is for more catering because we are providing lunch. Lunch will be held at the Vine Yard and Peking and if there is an overflow, people can have a lunch box at Sukuna Park, that’s why we need registering for the caterers and also for the t-shirts that will be given out to people as well,” Ms Seeto mentioned.

After the formalities are done, 160 balloons will be released to commemorate the event in Fijian history.Fijitimes


12) Largest wildfire

Thursday, September 03, 2015

SEATTLE – Crews battling the largest array of wildfires in Washington state history gained more ground against the flames yesterday, as property assessors reported the deadly conflagration had destroyed about 170 homes and dozens of other structures.

Containment of the sprawling cluster of blazes dubbed the Okanogan Complex, roaring through north-central Washington since mid-August, was estimated at 40 per cent on Tuesday, up from 30 per cent a day earlier, as firefighters capitalised on cooler, damper weather and lighter winds, authorities said.

“We’re making headway,” said Bernie Pineda, a spokesman for the command center managing more than 1,200 firefighters assigned to the blaze.


13) Melanesia may have an undiagnosed oral cancer epidemic

3 September 2015

An Australian surgeon says the high levels of smoking, alcohol abuse and betel nut chewing in Melanesia have elevated oral cancer rates to epidemic levels.

Associate Professor Carsten Palme from the University of Sydney is an ear, nose and throat surgeon who has studied the disease in Papua New Guinea.

He says Melanesia has the highest rates of oral cancer in the world, and he believes there are many more who haven’t been diagnosed.

“I think there is already an epidemic and we need to sort of gather a little bit more data to quantify exactly the number of cases. But it appears from all reports and anecdotal evidence that the numbers are massive when compared to the Western World.”

Casten Palme says high levels of substance abuse among Melanesia’s young people could mean rising rates of oral cancer for many years to come.RNZI

14) Bigger HIV Testing Plan for Fiji
By Online Editor
4:52 pm GMT+12, 02/09/2015, Fiji

Fiji’s Ministry of Health wants 90 per cent of Fijians tested for HIV, as part of comprehensive screening plans after 2015. The plans were discussed during the National Strategic Planning Meeting for health stakeholders at the Holiday Inn in Suva this week.

The Ministry’s director hospital services Dr Meciusela Tuicakau was confident they could build on the work done over the past two years by President and HIV/AIDS awareness advocate Ratu Epeli Nailatikau.

“The fight against HIV doesn’t stop here, with the end of Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) and now envisioning post 2015.

“The vision seems more clearer and closer than ever before, on achieving the bold declaration of UNAIDs, zero new infections, zero AIDS-related deaths, and zero stigma, discrimination and moving towards the goals of 90, 90, 90,” he said.

“This is where we anticipate that 90 per cent people are tested for HIV in Fiji, 90 per cent of those tested positive are on treatment, and 90 per cent of persons have suppressed viral load,” he said.

There were 625 cases of people living with HIV in Fiji, according to Ministry of Health’s Rachel Devi.

“It is cumulative from 1989 until today, and Fiji has the highest compared to other Pacific Island countries because it’s heavily populated,” she said.

Fiji UNAIDS country director Roberto Luiz Brant Campos said more young people should get tested for HIV.

“Young people have to get a HIV test as Aids is no longer a death sentence like in the past where everybody has fear of having Aids,” he said.

“Youths are very vulnerable as their level of HIV is low but their level of sexual transmitted infection is high on both boys and girls including young pregnant women,” he said.

“There is no cure for   but we have treatment and if the person is treated; he or she can leave more than six years.

“There’s no difference between people living with HIV and receiving treatment than the general public and so people do not have to live in fear anymore,” he said.


15) Majority of women miss cancer treatment

The National, Thursday September 3rd, 2015

About 75 per cent of women around the world missed out on cancer treatment and most of these cases are from developing nations like Papua New Guinea.
That means only 25 per cent of cancer patients receive adequate treatment involving surgery and other relevant modalities.
In developed nations like Australia 50-60 per cent of cases are treated whereas in Papua New Guinea that cannot be achieved especially with breast cancer unless there is radiotherapy and other necessary equipment.
Common in women in Papua New Guinea are cancers of the breasts, cervix, ovary, head and neck (oral), oesophagus, stomach and lung.
In Papua New Guinea where incomes are generally low it is an added financial problem faced by a cancer patients and families to get treatment.
These include the direct expenses due to accessing care, food and transport and associated costs.
Speaking at the 51st medical symposium, guest speaker Prof David Watters stated that from surgery undertaken so far, 31 per cent of cancer patients in South Asia Pacific Region have faced financial problems in getting treatment
He said, “Cancer has higher possibility of increasing in 2030; by then we would have 21.6 million new cancer cases annually, 17.3 million will need surgery while 10 million of those will have a chance to live and 59 per cent in the need of surgery.
‘’We need more pathology in order to treat breast cancer as, from my experience, patients wait for about a month to get their results.
“Therefore if only we have the technology in place we will be able to save breast and other cancer problems at an affordable cost in developing nations like Papua New Guinea,’’ said Prof Watters.
He said to lower the arte of women not being getting medical tretament on cancers, it needed a collective effort in putting the relevant resources together to realise that.
“We cannot get it done without oputting more effort by public and private stakeholders in realising this,” he said.
“All stakeholders have to come together for this.”

16) Lack of funding forces PNG Ambulance service to close

3 September 2015

The St John Ambulance service in Papua New Guinea will shut down its operations today after chronic delays in Government funding crippled its operations and left its fleet without fuel.

St John provides a public ambulance and health support service to millions of Papua New Guineans and the disruption has created an uproar with calls from health workers for the service to continue.

The chief commissioner of St John PNG, Andrew Kalai, says a US$1.2 million budget was submitted to run the service in 2015, but it has only received 35 percent of that which it has stretched over nine months.

He says running out of fuel is the last straw.

“For the sake of the services we provide to ordinary PNG citizens I hope the government will come good soon so that we can continue providing services. Because a lot of people in this country, they don’t own cars. They depend on St John ambulance services to get to hospitals.”

St John says ceasing operations is a last option after over a year of failed negotiations with the Department of Health.

It says it will continue to put pressure on the government so it can resume operations as early as possible, and is calling on the minister, Michael Malabag, to find a prompt resolution.RNZI


17) PNG’s opposition leader warns of tough economic times

3 September 2015

Papua New Guinea’s opposition leader has warned the country to brace for tougher economic times ahead as the government releases more foreign exchange reserves.

The newspaper The National reports Don Polye saying it was inevitable that more foreign exchange reserves would be released and the effects would be very damaging.

This comes as PNG faces petrol shortages after its main supplier Puma Energy started winding down its supply as it experiences foreign exchange problems in buying overseas fuel products.

Mr Polye says the government needs to release some 350 million US dollars from PNG’s current US$2 billion foreign reserves into liquidity.

He says when that happens, there will be a big shock to the economy, with inflation set to soar.

Sacked as treasurer by prime minister Peter O’Neill last year, Mr Polye has linked the fuel crisis with what he calls the government’s ill-advised practice of fixing the rate of the kina.RNZI

18) PNG Government Plans Significant Spending Cuts

$463M in expenditure cuts amidst negative revenue forecast

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, September 1, 2015) – Papua New Guinea’s government is planning significant cuts to the national budget as a volatile global economy and plunging oil and gas prices take their toll on forecast government revenues.

The Treasury minister, Patrick Pruaitch, says the government plans to cut 463 million US dollars from expenditure this year, and is considering further measures to ensure the deficit will be lower than that projected in the Treasury’s Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook.

Mr Pruaitch says the government’s fiscal strategy has been endorsed by the International Monetary Fund, which concluded that large spending cuts were needed to keep public debt at a sustainable level.

The IMF says a comprehensive policy response to reduced commodity prices and the temporary suspension of mining at Ok Tedi had substantially lowered Government revenue prospects to the point where it was no longer feasible to aim for a balanced budget in 2017.

He told the Post Courier that taking prudent action now will safeguard PNG’s economic performance in the next few years when key commodity exports are expected to remain low.

Radio New Zealand International

19) More Reshuffled Solomons Ministers Take Oaths
Reports of discontent among reshuffled ministers

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, September 1, 2015) – Two more reshuffled government ministers in Solomon Islands are sworn in at government house in Honiara.

This comes after reports of discontent among some of the reshuffled ministers, including the former forestry minister Bodo Dettke.

Officials at Government House say five of the six reshuffled ministers have now taken their oaths – the latest being Bodo Dettke who now becomes the Minister of Culture and Tourism and Freda Tuki taking the portfolio for Youth, Women and Children’s Affairs.

Ms Tuki says she was swayed to take the new post after talking with her constituents.

Only Bartholomew Parapolo remains to be sworn in as the Minister of Forestry and Research, a portfolio undergoing sweeping reforms that have seen the recent revocation of 30 agro-forestry licenses across the country.

The other reshuffled ministers who have taken their oaths are Jimson Tanangada Rural Development, Dudley Kopu Agriculture and Augustine Auga Provincial Government.

Radio New Zealand International


20) Health sector must partner media: Reporter

The National, Thursday September 3rd, 2015

THE health sector in the country should partner the media industry as a platform to carry out awareness and disseminate news and information about health, says a journalist.
Leah Omae, a journalist with The National, made this remark on behalf of the print, television and social media at the 51st Medical Symposium yesterday in Port Moresby.
“Media exposes the health issues in the country,” she said.
“Through reports from the media, statistics of all types of illnesses, diseases or viruses are made known to the people.
“We expose health issues when we report on the status of health facilities, distribution of medical supplies or whether there are enough health professionals or manpower in the country.”
Omae said media was a useful tool for the good and advancement of the health sector because it had the power to inform the people on how to avoid illnesses and diseases and to live healthy lifestyles.
“Through reporting and creating awareness on health issues, we can correct misconceptions on diseases or illnesses,” she said.
“Moreover, media has a wide coverage thus information and news on health can be disseminated effectively and efficiently to the majority of the people at a minimal cost.
“Thus if we (media organisations) can partner with the health sector and its professionals, we can be able to improve and advance our country’s health systems.”

21) Rugby League rights holds-up EMTV sale
By Online Editor
5:00 pm GMT+12, 01/09/2015, Fiji

Rugby League rights are the only thing standing in the way of selling Fiji TV’s Papua New Guinea company, EM TV.

Telecom PNG has been in negotiations to buy out EMTV for some months.

Fijian Holdings Limited chair Nouzab Fareed says they have left Telecom PNG to negotiate with Rugby League and come back to them.

Fareed says the hold-up is that the Rugby League rights was only given to Fiji TV and if there is a change in ownership – those rights are lost.

“But as at this stage it is interact – so one sporting right is what is causing the problem – both parties are aware on what’s happening – so I am sure soon we will make an announcement on where we are going – on the right or wrong.”

Digicel Play has announced  that they have secured the exclusive rights of the NRL to be broadcast in PNG.



22) Internet rates too high

The National, Thursday September 3rd, 2015

AN internet expert says internet rates in Papua New Guinea are still too high, as charged by internet service providers.
Former Telikom acting chief executive officer Noel Mobiha (pictured) said there was still room for improvement in terms of provision of internet services. Speaking during launching of internet exchange point (IXP) by Telikom PNG Ltd on Tuesday, he said: “We were the 67th country to register on the country code top level domain (CCTLD).
“We still here and everybody is gone. Our costs are too high.
“When you talk about IXP, I will smile because I will be interested to see if ICCC can price this thing in to make it work, a little bit more meaningful for the people. I think the ISPs (internet service providers) that came in brought economics of this issue, in terms of the project.
“I think we need to do it a little bit better. At the end of the day, what we all want to do is bring the cost down. So if you remember some years ago, the cost of internet per megabyte is 50 toea per megabyte.
“That link into Melbourne in 1991/1993, it would take about 10 minutes to download one megabyte file. It takes less than five seconds now. Those are the comparative download speeds that we are looking at.
“You will see that the costs have gone down from that value to 25 toea and now it is sitting at 2-3 toes per megabyte, depending on which plan you will get, which company you will look at. So we are still going down but I still know the cost can be much lower than that. The margins that are put on this cost are much higher.”


23) Work begins on plaza

The National, Thursday September 3rd, 2015

THE first stage of the Star Mountain Plaza will cost K1.1 billion and involves a funding partnership between ANZ Bank and the State, Mineral Resources Development Company (MRDC) managing director Augustine Mano says.
Mano said the next stage would be more challenging as MRDC only had less than three years to construct three world class facilities for the APEC Leaders summit in 2018.
He said MRDC was confident in delivering the hotel project before APEC 2018, unlike the failed 4-Mile Casino in which it had only a small interest.
Speaking at the launching of the hotel in Port Moresby last night, Mano said early work started for the first stage which consisted of the 15 storey 212 room Hilton Hotel and a five-storey car park.
He said at year’s end, foundations would have been laid for the four level Kutubu Convention Centre and the residential tower with 160 apartments.
“With the signing of the management agreement with Hilton Group two weeks ago, I’m hoping this will be a catalyst for other international brands to enter and unlock the country’s tourism potential.
“Star Mountain Plaza will not only transform the Port Moresby landscape but set a new benchmark for high-rise building in PNG.
“Projects of such magnitude in the property sector have never been done before by a PNG company, and more so challenging given the current economic condition, but it takes sheer courage and confidence to undertake such a project.”
Mano praised owners of Star Mountain Plaza which come under MRDC.
These companies include the Mineral Resource Star Mountain, Mineral Resource OK Tedi and Petroleum Resource Kutubu.
“The main contractor of the project will be announced before Sept 16,” Mano said.
“We hope that Star Mountain Plaza will change the mind-set, attitude and improve the quality of lifestyle of many Papua New Guineans.
“Star Mountain Plaza will be the five star address where you eat, drink, shop or do business – you may feel you are in Australia or Singapore.”


24) Workshop highlights transnational crimes

The National, Thursday September 3rd, 2015

ORGANISED crime syndicates from around the world are pooling their resources together to gain entry into countries, an Australian police detective says.
AFP Detective Sergeant Elias Petropoulos said that during a drug awareness workshop with local stakeholders in Lae on Tuesday.
Petropoulos said the production of drugs had shifted away from the high quality mass production in labs to the street levels.
He said producers were changing the structures of chemical compounds by mixing a cocktail of existing drugs with other chemicals to produce new drugs not covered under a country’s criminal laws.
The awareness was attended by the officers from the Royal Papua New Guinea Police Constabulary and Correctional Services and senior representatives of government and private sector agencies.
Petropoulos said their main message was that AFP and Australian agencies alone handled this war against rich international organised crime syndicates, and all countries, especially neighbours, must work together.
“While cannabis is a big problem in Australia, there is more money being made by other drugs,” he said.
“They are making large amounts of money from importation of drugs into our country, they will make large amounts of money using your place here (PNG), if it’s not happening now, it will happen soon,” Petropoulos said.
“They will pool their resources and expertise together and facilitate large shipments of drugs into countries, they are highly professional and well funded.
“Organised criminals do not care about the end user; they make billions of dollars and kina
“We need partnership, we need to talk to each other, and we (AFP) can’t do it alone but collectively with you,” he said.

25) Bougainville locals are bringing guns to Solomon Islands: Western Province premier
By Online Editor
8:57 pm GMT+12, 01/09/2015, Solomon Islands

The Premier of Solomon Islands’ Western Province is calling on the Prime Ministers of both the Solomons and Papua New Guinea to tighten border controls, in an effort to prevent guns being trafficked to the Shortland Islands from Bougainville.

George Solingi Lilo says there have been violent standoffs between landowners and logging companies in recent times leading to at least one death.

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, who is also his government’s acting Forestry Minister says the ongoing tensions between landowners and logging companies have led to armed conflict and divided communities.

As a result, the Solomon Islands government has cancelled the licences of 30 logging companies in the midst of what Sogavare says is a national security crisis.

26) Vanuatu opposition prepares motion amid bribery case
By Online Editor
4:59 pm GMT+12, 02/09/2015, Vanuatu

Vanuatu opposition prepares motion amid bribery case

Vanuatu’s parliamentary opposition has confirmed hat it is gathering signatures for a motion of no confidence against prime minister Sato Kilman.

This comes as 18 mainly government MPs, including five ministers, are facing charges of bribery under both the leadership code and the country’s penal code.

The Minister of Finance, Willie Jimmy pleaded guilty on Wednesday to the charge of bribery under the leadership code.

The opposition said that the main reason it is preparing the motion is due to the seriousness of the current criminal case, the trial for which has been adjourned to next week.

The opposition office said that involvement of state ministers in the bribery cases could tarnish the reputation of Vanuatu regionally and internationally.

All 18 opposition MPs have already signed the motion and are seeking support of government MPs.

The opposition needs to have 27 signatures in order to request an extra-ordinary session of parliament to debate the motion


27) Lawyer blasts Bainimarama’s sedition comments

3 September 2015

The lawyer working for most of those accused of sedition in Fiji says recent comments by Frank Bainimarama are out of order because the matter is before the courts.

In a speech last weekend the Prime Minister said any insurrection would be crushed and he warned of severe punishment for anyone joining attempts to form a breakaway state.

Aman Ravindra Singh says Mr Bainimarama is getting poor legal advice.

“For the Prime Minister to come out lately on national news and continue to say that we will crush you, he’s unfortunately usurping the role of the courts and why people are being charged and placed before the courts. In fact his statement says that people have already been found guilty.”

Ravindra Singh says his own comments on the case which have been directed at the state prosecutors and the police have not tried to usurp the role of the courts.RNZI


28) PNG may ask Australian Government for aid
By Online Editor
4:32 pm GMT+12, 01/09/2015, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea may ask Australia for military help and satellite technology but only after the final reports are obtained, National Disaster chairman Dixon Guina says in his update on the frost and drought.

Guina, flanked by his executive Martin Mose, also said that they may also ask other donor countries for specific assistance. He said there was a PNG team on the ground to assess the situation headed by all officers from PNGDF, Works, Health, Agriculture and Livestock, among many others.

“We may be asking the Australian Government to help us on military air support if the need arises to deploy supplies to those worse affected areas,” Guina said.

And of course on satellite technology too; we want to zoom down to where the areas are and see how the effects are developing. They have the technology so we will be asking them,” he said.

“And we are also asking other donor agencies to support us but it will come after we analyse our reports,” Guina said.


29) Energy mix and resilience key to sustainable island economies: SPC Director-General

By Online Editor
11:23 pm GMT+12, 02/09/2015, Fiji

Greater uptake of renewable energy and stronger financial and technical support from wealthier nations are central to building climate-resilient, green blue island economies, according to the Director-General of the Pacific Community, Dr Colin Tukuitonga.

Dr Tukuitonga delivered a plenary address at the Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF) Leaders’ Summit, as world dignitaries gathered in Suva to consider the Pacific region’s climate challenge.

“If the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris fails to deliver meaningful emissions reductions, it will only exacerbate the climate crisis here in the Pacific, and this is a fundamental message the world needs to hear,” Dr Tukuitonga said.

“To be realistic, keeping average temperature rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius will be difficult unless the world goes on a ‘war footing’ of sorts, and dedicates large sums of money to mitigation efforts.

“The ongoing financial and technical support of wealthier nations will be essential if small island nations, in particular low-lying atolls, are to have the means to respond urgently and sufficiently to the social, economic and security impacts of climate change,” he said.

Pacific leaders had shown strong leadership in advocating for global action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and must continue to push for the global community to “do the right thing”, he explained.

However, Dr Tukuitonga said there were romantic notions of green blue economies becoming the predominant model, given the Pacific region’s current reliance on fossil fuels.

Seventeen of the region’s 22 power utilities still rely on fossil fuel to meet 98% of electricity demand.

“We are the most oil-dependent region in the world, with imports totalling more than USD 800 million per year. What would happen if we spent that amount annually on renewables?

“The Pacific has huge potential to embrace clean energy alternatives, arguably more so than any other region, given our abundance of sunshine, sufficient rainfall to support hydropower, plus wind, wave, tidal and geothermal potential,” he said.

A new Pacific Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, to be hosted by SPC, will promote the uptake of renewable energy and energy-efficiency technologies as part of a network of centres of excellence instigated by the UN Industrial Development Organization.

Small islands everywhere are on the front lines of having to adapt and become climate resilient, Dr Tukuitonga said. As the region’s principal scientific and technical development organisation, SPC has the largest portfolio of climate change and disaster risk management projects in the region.

SPC’s Centre for Pacific Crops and Trees in Suva has a climate-ready collection of crop species, set up with funding from the Australian Government. For example, it includes three salt-tolerant species of taro found in Palau that are now available to other atolls facing salt intrusion issues.


30) Dozens Of Deaths From Drought In PNG Province
Lack of capacity to distribute aid for remote areas

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, September 2, 2015) – There are unconfirmed reports from Chimbu Province in Papua New Guinea that 24 people have died as a result of the severe drought hitting the Highlands.

The Chimbu provincial disaster co-ordinator, Michael Ire Appa, says he understands the deaths, which are yet to be confirmed, are due to a lack of food and poisoned water.

He says the figures could go higher.

“It’s a bit hard to confirm but I think it’s positive because the drought has been here for almost three months now and in areas that were affected by the drought, there’s a serious food shortage, including water, and some of the districts have not report, so there my be more than that.”

Michael Ire Appa says up to 80,000 people are in immediate need in his province with thousands also threatened by the drought.

He says about five tons of rice and other food aid is sitting in Kundiawa because the province lacks the logistical support to move it to the remote areas where the problems are most severe.

Meanwhile, National Disaster teams are assessing which areas are the worst-affected by the drought.

The National Disaster Office says Australia may be asked to provide military air support and if the need arises to deploy supplies to these areas.

United Nations agencies are also preparing to respond to the impact of the extreme weather which disaster officials say is affecting one quarter of PNG’s population.

Radio New Zealand International


31) World Rugby ranks Flying Fijians in 9th spot

Shalveen Chand
Thursday, September 03, 2015

AFTER wins in the Pacific Nations Cup, the Vodafone Flying Fijians find themselves ranked inside the top of World Rugby after almost four years.

The ranking can further improve if they manage to beat Canada this weekend in their warm-up before the Rugby World Cup.

Fiji are ranked ninth with Tonga and Samoa ranked 11th and 12th respectively.

This is Fiji’s best ranking since 2011 as they move up two spots from the 11th position.

In other movements, the Wallabies are up to second in the World Rugby rankings as sides put in their last preparations before the 2015 Rugby World Cup begins.

Michael Cheika’s side have leap-frogged Ireland after Joe Schmidt’s side fell 16-10 to Wales on the weekend, putting them behind the All Blacks.

Australia has 86.67 world ranking points, barely ahead of Ireland (85.19) and South Africa (85.15).

The win over Ireland has jumped Warren Gatland’s Welsh troops into fifth place in the world with 84.63 points, overtaking England who have dropped into sixth with 84.24.

All of the sides pale in comparison to the All Blacks who remain on top with a hefty advantage, at 92.89 points, having been atop the world rankings since 2010.

World Rugby Rankings:

1. New Zealand 92.89

2. Australia 86.67

3. Ireland 85.19

4. South Africa 85.15

5. Wales 84.63

6. England 84.24

7. France 80.90

8. Argentina 78.39

9. Fiji 77.04

10. Scotland 76.10

11. Tonga 75.25

12. Samoa 75.14

13. Georgia 72.16

14. Japan 71.15

15. Italy 70.53


32) Guam footballers ready for daunting clash in Iran

3 September 2015

Guam’s Football World Cup qualifying campaign faces its biggest test yet with a daunting clash in Iran tonight.

The US Territory won home matches against Turkmenistan and India in June to be the surprise leaders in Group D in the second round of Asian qualifying.

The Mateo spent the past week at a training camp in Japan ahead of the clash at Tehran’s Azadi Stadium, which is expected to draw a crowd close to 100,000.

Head coach Gary White says taking on the four-time World Cup finalists will be a true measuring stick for his players.

“The approach has always been, since I took over nearly three years ago, is to go out to win the game or what’s the point in playing? The players have really taken that on and that’s the spirit within the team, but also we’ve got to be strategically and tactically smart. We’re playing against the giants of Asia and our mindset is to really try to frustrate them and see if we can get a result out of this game and put us in a better position to qualify. This is something that excites my team and we’re going to take full advantage of it”.RNZI



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