Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1125 ( Monday 7 September 2015 )


1) Solomons Archbishop retires

7 September 2015

The Solomon Islands top Anglican Church leader has retired after serving a six-year term.

The Right Reverend Archbishop, David Vunagi, who has headed the Anglican Church of Melanesia since 2009, held his farewell service yesterday in Honiara.

The service was attended by bishops from Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific, politicians and state officials, and thousands of Anglicans from Honiara and nearby villages of Guadalcanal.

Archbishop Vunagi looked after Anglicans of the Province of Melanesia, which includes Vanuatu, New Caledonia and Solomon Islands.

He was a principal of the Anglican Church’s School at Selwyn College on North West Guadalcanal and the bishop of Temotu before he was made Archbishop.RNZI

2) Vanuatu bribery hearing delay

7 September 2015

The trial of 16 Vanuatu MPs on bribery charges being heard in the Supreme Court in Port Vila has been adjourned until this afternoon.

The public prosecution office had asked for the adjournment.

This comes as the police investigate a break in at the office over the weekend.

Sixteen MPs, including four cabinet ministers, are facing accusations under both the penal code and the Leadership Code.

Last week the Minister of Finance, Willie Jimmy, pleaded guilty with the remainder, including acting prime minister Moana Carcasses, choosing to go to trial.

The MPs are accused of having accepted bribes offered to secure their support for a vote of no confidence last year.RNZI

3) Vanuatu Daily News Digest | 7 September 2015

by bobmakin

  • Justice Mary Sey this morning excused Finance Minister Willie Jimmy Tapangararua from the Bribery Case court proceedings. Jimmy, however, chose to stay on as an observer. He is “no longer part of the case” following his decision to appeal “guilty” to his two charges, Radio Vanuatu News said at lunchtime today. He pleaded guilty to counts 52 and 53 alleging he received a million vatu from Acting PM Carcasses, one who is not registered as a legitimate and acceptable loan giver. Jimmy’s new lawyer, Ronald Warsal, was in court today, having accepted to take on Jimmy as a client along with those who have received indemnification. Justice Sey thanked Jimmy who has agreed to assist the court. He would be given a reduction in sentencing as a result after the trial. The case continued this afternoon.
  • The Opposition has called on Prime Minister Sato Kilman to cut short his overseas trips, Radio Vanuatu News reports at lunchtime today. Former PM Natuman told a press conference the country is presently in a very risky situation but the Prime minister seems un-concerned. Natuman said that the trips may be good, but with the allegations against so many of Kilman’s cabinet colleagues, he must come back immediately to the country.
  • Daily Post this morning was stronger, seeing the necessity of a motion of no confidence. The press conference was led by Opposition Leader Lini and former PM Natuman who said they had already advised the Government there was no alternative in this national political crisis. They pointed out that 16 MPs facing bribery charges were giving Vanuatu a very bad image regionally and internationally. Daily Post reported PM Kilman very impressed with China’s victory day parade to mark the 70th anniversary of China’s victory over Japan at the end of World War Two.
  • Daily Post readers were also this morning advised through the AB’s Regional Director Dr Andrea Iffland of the importance of annual maintenance of infrastructure. This was at the launching of the Vanuatu Infrastructure Strategic Investment Plan, and extremely worthwhile project containing 26 high priority projects worth VT 38 billion. Maintenance will cost a further VT 1.8 billion. The projects involve the ADB, Australia, New Zealand, European Union, European Investment Bank, Japan and the World Bank Group.


4) Close watch needed for Cooks employers

7 September 2015

The Cook Islands’ principal immigration officer says poor employers need to be better monitored as foreign workers stream into the country.

In the past six months, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration has received two official complaints from foreign employees.

Reports of abuse towards foreign staff have been reported for over a decade including claims people were forced to surrender their passports, work 14 hour days, or risk future employment if they returned to their home countries.

The Principal immigration officer, Kairangi Samuela, says the number of workers coming in to the Cook Islands has almost tripled over the past ten years and closer observation of workplaces will help.

“We could strengthen our own mechanisms for monitoring, I think that’s something we could do to improve it. Basically check up on the foreign workers who come in, do a private interview and see how things are going.”

Kairangi Samuela says an internal database of poor employers is already used to safeguard incoming workers.RNZI

5)  Cooks Manihiki payment could set precedent

7 September 2015

The Cook Islands government says a precedent may have been set when it advanced land claimants thousands in compensation before the cases were settled by the Land Court.

In a highly unusual process, 10 Manihiki landowners were given about 26 thousand US dollars from the government’s contingency fund – a reserve of public money meant for emergencies.

This occured after the Manihikans became aware that compensation funds in the Land Court couldn’t be accessed, and they threatened to turn off the islands’ power systems and re-enter their lands.

The prime minister Henry Puna says the government was faced with a situation that needed to be resolved quickly.

He says it is a precedent the government hopes will never be repeated.RNZI

6)  Tri Marine in Washington push over high seas fishing

7 September 2015

Tri Marine International is calling on United States officials to make a decision on a petition to allow American Samoa purse seiners to fish on the high seas.

The petition seeks to exempt US purse seiners that deliver half of their catches to local canneries from limits placed on tuna boats fishing on the high seas.

A Tri Marine spokesperson says the company is urging the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to quicken its review process of the petition and grant immediate relief to the American Samoa purse seiners.

She says the fish supply has sharply decreased since the closure of the high seas, and it is critical to restore access as soon as possible.RNZI


7) Northern Marianas hotel closure raises questions

7 September 2015

The motives behind the closure of a major hotel and casino on the Northern Marianas island of Tinian have been questioned as the island prepares to take a massive economic hit.

The Tinian Dynasty Hotel and Casino will close this month, with its owners, Hong Kong Entertainment, saying a lack of guests and cash flow after Typhoon Soudelor has made it unviable.

Our correspondent in the Northern Marianas, Mark Rabago, says the closure is expected to have a massive impact on an economy that is dependent on the hotel.

He says the island of 3,500 doesn’t have anywhere else that can employ the more than 600 people who will be laid off, and they are likely to leave Tinian.

However, he says some people, including lawmakers, are questioning whether the complex had to close, suggesting it could be a bluff by the owners to get government concessions.

“You don’t invest millions of dollars and just don’t have a plan B if a typhoon strikes this hard, especially if it hasn’t really affected your infrastructure. So I think it’s a bit of game play in regards to Tinian dynasty so it could have its licence approved immediately. I have talked to say people and they say it’s probably a bluff from their side.”

Casino revenues have also been providing funding for 43 positions within the Tinian Casino Gaming Control Commission, the mayor’s office, and at the Tinian Municipal Council and jobs could be lost as a result of the closure.RNZI


8) Survey of Australians’ attitudes to aid yields mixed results

7 September 2015

New research from Australia suggests there’s majority support for most of the country’s aid being spent in the Pacific.

Researchers from the Australian National University surveyed Australians about their opinions of foreign aid and what they expect from their aid programme.

One of the authors, Terence Wood, says in a nutshell, the research found most Australians support the government giving aid, even though many don’t actually know how much Australia gives or where.

However, he says the public is also fairly comfortable with the amount of money given being reduced – but not to the Pacific.

“Both Australians and New Zealanders tend to think of the Pacific as sort of the part of the world where we have our most strongest obligations, and so in a positive sense I suspect that if you would ask Australans whether they wanted aid reduced it wouldn’t be to the Pacific.”

Terence Wood says the survey overwhelmingly showed that most people know little about their country’s aid programme, which he says isn’t good.RNZI


9) PNG Simbu pipal i kisim taem long drought

Updated 7 September 2015, 15:36 AEST
Caroline Tiriman

Deputi Administrator itok maski oli gat heve emi no hamamas tumas long ol midia ripot olsem sampla pipal i dai pinis

Odio: Alphonse Kee, Deputy Administrator long Simbu provins long PNG itoktok wantem Caroline Tiriman

Provinsal gavman blong Simbu long Papua New Guinea itok, oli wok long mekim iet ol wok painimaut long ol stori long midia olsem sampla pipal i dai pinis lonhg provins bihaenim bikpla sot long wara na bikpla kol.

Oli tok oli wari olsem midia isave mekim ol ripot na oli no toktok wantem gavman taem oli tokaut long ol despla kaen ripot.

Gavman i wok long askim strong ol pipal long noken mekim paia taem oli redi-im ol gaden, bihaen long paia ibin kukim na bagarapim 18pla haus na mekim ol femili i lusim olgeta samting blong ol.

Simbu i wanpla long sampla provins long Highlands rijan em oli kisim bikpla heve long bikpla sot long wara na tu bikpla kol em despla kaen taem em oli kolim  El Nino i kamapim.

Alphonse Kee, Deputy Administrator long  Simbu i tokim  Radio Australia  olsem oli sot tru long wara we emi kamapim heve long bikpla haus sik long Kundiawa.ABC

10) PNG Gavman ino laikim West Papua Lida long go long kantri

Updated 7 September 2015, 15:12 AEST

Papua New Guinea gavman i stopim ken askim oa application blong lida blong West Papua Benny Wenda long go insaet long kantri long despla wik.

Lida blong United Liberation Movement for West Papua, Benny Wenda
Odio: Caroline Tiriman i ripot long pasin em PNG gavman i mekim long stopim West Papua lida Benny Wenda long go long PNG

Papua New Guinea gavman i stopim ken askim oa application blong lida blong West Papua Benny Wenda long go insaet long kantri long despla wik.

Despla emi namba tu taem insaet long sikispla mun em gavman ino laik larim Mr Wenda long go long PNG.

Mr Wenda ibin laik  go long PNG long wonem ol lida blong Pacific istap nau long Port moresby long bikpla miting blong Pacific Islands Forum.

Long mun March ol immigreisan ofisa blong PNG ibin stopim Mr Wenda long ples balus na salim em igo bek long United Kingdom long wonem oli bin tok olsem emi no bin gat tok oraet oa visa long go long PNG.

Taem  Mr Wenda ibin bungim despla heve long Port Moresby, Pacific beat ibin askim PNG PM Peter O’neill long despla wari blong Mr Wenda long visa blong en na Mr O’neill ibin bekim olsem gavman ino stopim wanpla man or meri long go insaet long kantri.

Tasol long Fraide Mr Wenda ibin tokim Pacific Beat olsem High Commission long London  ibin tokim em pastem tasol long emi bin kisim balus long go long PNG olsem gavman ino bin oraetim visa application blong en.

Despla tingting nolaik blong gavman long givim visa long Mr Wenda i mekim ol West Papua communiti long PNG io wanbel.

Fred Mambrassa wanpla West Papua lida long PNG itok lida blong ol ino kilim wanpla man oa emi no teraris na PNG gavman ino laik larim em igo insaet long PNG.ABC


11a) French overseas minister in region this week

7 September 2015

The French overseas minister, George Pau-Langevin, will be in the region this week to visit New Caledonia, Wallis and Futuna, and to attend the Pacific Islands Forum Summit in Papua New Guinea.

Ms Pau-Langevin will arrive in Wallis and Futuna for the first time on Monday to meet with leaders and discuss the state of the archipelago’s hospital, infrastructure, and employment for its 11,000 residents.

She will then travel to New Caledonia on Wednesday where she will meet those involved in a long-running nickel dispute that has crippled the territory in recent weeks.

Ms Pau-Langevin will also hold talks about progress on plans to revise the territory’s electoral rolls after laws were passed in the French Senate in June.

The law seeks to broaden the terms for automatic inclusion on the electoral roll for those eligible to vote in a referendum on possible independence due by 2018.

Finally, the minister will represent France at the 46th Pacific Islands Forum leaders’ summit in Papua New Guinea.RNZI

11b) Brèves du Pacifique – lundi 7 septembre 2015

Mis à jour 7 September 2015, 16:29 AEST

Élodie Largenton

Nouveaux remous autour du futur drapeau néo-zélandais.

Les quatre propositions retenues ne plaisent pas à un grand nombre d’internautes, qui militent pour qu’un cinquième drapeau fasse partie de la liste qui sera soumise au vote en novembre prochain : le Pic rouge. Il s’agit d’un triangle rouge, bordé de blanc. Les coins sont noir et bleu. Ce dessin entend représenter le mythe maori Rangi et Papa, couple créateur. Mais cette requête populaire n’a aucune chance d’être entendue : cela impliquerait de « changer la loi, et nous n’irons pas au Parlement pour cela », déclare le Premier ministre néo-zélandais, John Key.
Trente ans après le sabordage du Rainbow Warrior, un agent des services secrets français s’excuse. Le colonel Jean-Luc Kister est celui qui a posé la charge explosive qui a fait couler le bateau de Greenpeace dans le port d’Auckland, en 1985, entraînant la mort d’un photographe. « J’ai la mort d’un innocent sur la conscience, et ça pèse », déclare l’agent français au site Internet Mediapart. Il adresse ses excuses à la famille du photographe, Fernando Pereira, ainsi qu’au peuple néo-zélandais. Le France a présenté des excuses officielles et versé des indemnités en 1986.
Le militant pour l’indépendance de la Papouasie occidentale, Benny Wenda, se voit de nouveau refuser l’entrée en Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée. Il y a six mois, il avait été bloqué à l’aéroport de Port-Moresby, n’ayant pas de visa. Cette fois, Benny Wenda assure avoir fait toutes les démarches nécessaires pour obtenir un visa, mais sa demande a été rejetée. Le fondateur de la campagne « Free West Papua » devait assister au sommet du Forum des îles du Pacifique, ce jeudi. Il n’est pas le seul à rencontrer des difficultés : sept journalistes de la région ont été détenus pendant trois heures à leur arrivée à Port-Moresby. Ils ont dû payer 500 dollars pour être autorisés à entrer dans le pays. Le ministre papou des Affaires étrangères assure qu’il va se pencher sur le sujet.
Six soldats, donc deux fidjiens, ont été blessés par l’explosion d’une bombe artisanale dans le Sinaï. Leurs vies ne sont pas en danger, indique l’Onu. Les Îles Fidji participent à la Force multinationale d’observateurs des Nations unies dans la péninsule égyptienne depuis 1979.
Les Mariannes du nord vont se doter d’un deuxième câble sous-marin. Le territoire veut éviter de se retrouver de nouveau coupé du monde, comme ce fut le cas en juillet dernier : pendant trois semaines, Saipan a vécu sans Internet ni téléphone à cause de la rupture de son câble. Cela a occasionné des millions de dollars de pertes pour les entreprises de l’archipel. Pour le moment, on ne sait pas quand le deuxième câble pourrait être posé, mais on sait que c’est la compagnie de télécommunications Docomo qui est en charge du projet.
L’un des quatre réfugiés envoyés au Cambodge par l’Australie veut quitter le pays. Selon le quotidien The Age, le jeune homme de 24 ans, appartenant à la communauté rohingya, a demandé à retourner dans son pays, la Birmanie. Les trois autres réfugiés, iraniens, se plaignent, eux aussi de leurs conditions de vie. Selon Ian Rintoul, le porte-parole de la Coalition de l’action pour les réfugiés, « ils sont maintenus dans un endroit isolé, sans aucune perspective d’avenir ». C’est un nouveau coup porté à l’accord signé entre l’Australie et le Cambodge : Canberra a déjà déboursé 55 millions de dollars pour pouvoir envoyer seulement quatre réfugiés à Phnom Penh. Et la semaine dernière, le ministère de l’Intérieur cambodgien disait ne pas avoir l’intention d’en accueillir davantage.
L’homme le plus petit du monde est décédé aux Samoa américaines. Le Népalais Chandra Bahadur Dangi a succombé à une pneumonie à l’hôpital de Pago Pago. Mesurant 55 centimètres, il faisait partie de la troupe du Cirque magique des Samoa.ABC


12) Forum SG says small states need special attention

7 September 2015

The Secretary-General of the Pacific Islands Forum says the regional agency must place special attention on Small Island States if it is to reflect and understand the benefits of regionalism.

Dame Meg Taylor made the comments at the opening of the Small Island States (SIS) Leader’s meeting in Port Moresby.

The meeting precedes the full forum leaders’ meeting which kicks off tomorrow.

Dame Meg offered her commitment and determination to project a more “in touch” secretariat with the SIS.

She says for too long hopes of addressing the vulnerabilities faced by the SIS brought little result.

But the Secretary-General, who has visited each state over the past year, says things are changing.

The SIS has called for a more exclusive focus on them and while Dame Meg says this may seem contrary to the spirit of the Framework for Pacific Regionalism the Forum can’t afford not to place special attention on them.

She says the SIS have an important role to play in elevating concerns and perspectives on the new Sustainable Development Goals and the momentum towards the COP21 climate change meeting in Paris.RNZI

13) PNG minister to investigate visa saga

7 September 2015

Papua New Guinea’s Foreign Minister has told the media he will intervene after a controversial decision by the immigration department to confiscate journalists’ visas.

Seven Pacific journalists arriving in Port Moresby last week were detained for three hours and had to pay a fee of US$350 before being allowed into PNG.

Australian journalists say they have to pay the same amount for a visa, but the official media pack told all others that a special event visa would be granted on arrival.

However, the Pacific journalists were told when they arrived that there was a “migration service fee”.

Rimbink Pato says he will investigate the incident, as more journalists prepare to travel to PNG for the Pacific Islands Forum.RNZI

14) Small island states worry about PIF climate draft

7 September 2015

The leaders of Pacific small island states are worried the region will take a watered down position on climate change after lobbying by Australia and New Zealand.

A statement on climate change is expected from the Pacific Islands Forum summit being held in Papua New Guinea this week.

A senior official at the small island states leaders’ summit has told Islands Business magazine his country is unhappy about the draft statement on climate change.

Islands’ Business reports the document, not officially released but in circulation, supports a 2 degrees temperature rise target, instead of the 1.5 degrees being advocated by small island states.

The official says the small nations prefer the strong wording of the Suva Declaration of the Pacific Islands Development Forum summit that concluded in Fiji last week.

The official says the Pacific Island Forum’s advocacy for a 2 degrees target would be unacceptable and a separate small island states position to take to the COP 21 meeting in Paris could end up being pushed for.

Meanwhile the New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, who departs for the summit tomorrow, says, on the climate issue, his focus will be outlining New Zealand’s achievements.

“I will be more than happy to talk about, from New Zealand’s perspective, what we have done and what we are doing. I think a lot of people understand the makeup and profile of our emissions target but in recent years we have held the Energy Summit in New Zealand, around renewable energy. We have rolled out a lot of those projects around the Pacific, so we will be talking to leaders about how well that’s working, the effectiveness of it.”RNZI

15) Pacific ‘trailblazing’ for the earth

7 September 2015

The outgoing chairman of the Pacific Islands Forum says the small Pacific Island nations that are vulnerable to climate change are the trailblazers returning balance to the earth.

The President of Palau, Tommy Remengesau, made the rallying cry as he opened the meeting of seven small island states in Port Moresby on Monday, ahead of this week’s regional summit.

Climate change is expected to dominate talks in the lead-up to the UN’s major climate change conference in Paris at the end of the year.

Mr Remengesau says the region needs to take a message to Paris that it can be proud of, one that will protect their environments and cultural heritage.

He says the small island states may be perceived as small, but they are in fact pioneers and trailblazers in restoring balance to the earth.

The Forum Secretary-General, Dame Meg Taylor, says the small island states need special attention as they grapple with the devastating impacts of climate change and natural disasters.

The leaders at the summit are also expected to discuss cervical cancer, human rights issues in Indonesia’s West Papua and communications technology.RNZI


16) PNG’s reformationist speaker urged to become a pastor

7 September 2015

The speaker of Papua New Guinea’s parliament is facing mounting criticism over his reformation campaign.

The Catholic Professionals’ Society has announced it will mount a court challenge against Theo Zurenuoc’s ongoing reform and modernisation agenda.

As part of his agenda, the speaker plans to replace all of Parliament House’s traditional cultural objects with christian symbols such as the King James bible.

Mr Zurenuoc, who has already removed various traditional artefacts from the House, considers the cultural objects to be idolatrous.

The Bulolo MP Sam Basil says members of parliament are meant to be legislators, not pastors.

“I think the speaker of parliament should go back to the seminary and become a pastor. I think he’s in the wrong place. The people of Fincshafen voted him in to serve the country and make good laws and deliver services back to his district. They’re not voting him in here to chop up our cultural heritage at the parliament. I think he’s done the wrong thing. He should be charged for it.”

PNG’s former prime minister Sir Michael Somare has said Mr Zurenuoc’s actions may breach section 45 by imposing his personal views on religion and faith because Parliamentary approval has not been sought.

Meanwhile, Trade Union Congress general secretary John Paska and others are filing a Supreme Court reference seeking an interpretation of whether the Speaker’s actions have breached PNG’s constitution.RNZI

17) PNG parl secretary defends reformation campaign

Papua New Guinea’s acting parliamentary secretary Danny Puli has defended the reformation of the parliament.

The reformation campaign, driven by Speaker Theo Zurenuoc, plans to replace parliament house’s traditional cultural objects with Christian symbols such as a copy of the King James bible recently donated to PNG.

Mr Zurenuoc has already removed various traditional artefacts which he considers to be idolatrous.

It’s sparked an outcry, with the Catholic church, the Trade Union Congress and MPs warning the speaker is forcing his fundamentalist ideals on national assets without consulting the people.

But Mr Puli says there’s much misunderstanding about the campaign, which he describes as being about forging national unity

“We believe that we need to actually take the message to the nation very clearly that our nation needs to be founded carefully on a sure foundation, united as one nation, rather than focusing on our localised traditions and cultures that we have locally.”

Danny Puli- RNZI/ 7 September 2015

18) PNG Supreme Court overturns grace period extension

7 September 2015

Papua New Guinea’s Supreme Court has ruled that changes to the constitution regarding parliament and motions of no-confidence are unconstitutional, void and of no effect.

The changes, which were introduced by the Peter O’Neill-led government over two years ago, included extending the grace period protecting a government from no-confidence votes from 18 to 30 months after an election.

On top of the existing grace period of 12 months before an election, this amendment meant that government was effectively locked in and largely unaccountable for over two-thirds of PNG’s five year parliamentary term.

The amendments also included increasing the number of MPs’ signatures required to support a vote of no-confidence from 11 to 22, and increasing the period of notice for such a vote from one week to one month.

The other key change that the O’Neill government had made was reducing the number of parliament sitting days in a year from 63 days to 40 days. At the time, the prime minister argued that these changes were necessary in order for PNG to have political stability.

The former Chief Ombudsman Ila Geno initiated the court challenge and was given standing to argue the case. Later, in 2014, the then opposition leader Belden Namah initiated a separate case and the Chief Justice forced the joining of the Geno and Namah cases. They argued that the government’s amendments were undemocratic. In delivering the ruling, the Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia said the amendments prevented accountability and restricted the right of MPs under other provisions of Constitution.

Sir Salamo said the changes “were rushed through in Parliament by the executive government, buoyed by its success after the 2012 general elections that an unprecedented number of MPs supporting the government; in the name of political stability, with the aim of entrenching power in the government at the expense of the Parliament, the MPs and Parliamentary democracy.”

One of the Chief Justice’s three fellow judges on the panel, Nicholas Kirriwom noted about the amendments that government does not seem to have learnt from past mistakes, continuing to “make laws that perpetuate foreign interests and policies that promote and safeguard interests of a few minority while the silent majority watches in silence.”

Another judge, Catherine Davani was of the view that due to the amendments, the whole concept of a representative and responsible government was whittled away.

Meanwhile, Mr Namah welcomed the ruling, saying it was victory for the people and democratic process in PNG.


19) PNG police announce new border command

5 September 2015

Papua New Guinea has announced a new police command to tackle increasing transnational crime on the border between Indonesia and Australia.

The Crimes director Chief Superintendent, Donald Yamasombi, has been tasked with setting up the new command to prevent arms and drug smuggling, and human trafficking on the borders along Western Province, and East and West Sepik.

The newspaper, The National, reports the police commissioner Gary Baki saying that Mr Yamasombi would have to set up his command office in Madang to oversee the operation and administration of the command.

Mr Baki has also announced new police commanders for the restructured commands of the Highlands, Southern and National Capital District/Central Division.RNZI

20) Solomons govt urged to reveal parties in 60 million scandal

7 September 2015

Transparency Solomon Islands says the government should reveal those behind more than $US60 million worth of unpaid levies and taxes from the forestry sector.

The missing millions were last month revealed by the outgoing Forestry Minister, Bodo Dettke, after he was moved to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism over concerns about his well established logging interests.

Acting executive officer Edward Ronia says Transparency is concerned the issue will be swept under the rug by government.

“If it has connections to different people then this is a very good case to identify people who are actually involved in corruption in the country. But since that revelation nothing has happened so we are calling on the government don’t just ignore it. The public needs to be well informed about the outcome of those revelations.”

Edward Ronia says Transparency may also ask the new Forestry Minister, Bartholomew Parapolo, to look into the issue.RNZI

21) Fiji peacekeepers likely in Haiti

7 September 2015

Fiji’s police force is awaiting cabinet approval to send officers to Haiti as part of a United Nations peacekeeping operation.

The commissioner, Ben Groenewald, says the UN requested a deployment to the Caribbean country last month, and 23 of his officers have been selected to go.

Fijian UN Peacekeepers have served all over the world. Here, one of fifty Fijian troops posted on the Mediterranean coast looks through binoculars at an Israeli post.

The UN mission to Haiti was first deployed in 2004 after the country’s president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, was forced out of office by an armed rebellion.

The mission was extended following a massive earthquake in 2010 than killed well over 100,000 people.

Mr Groenewald says he isn’t yet clear on what exactly his officers will be doing in Haiti.

“I cannot say correctly what the need for the deployment is, but as I understand there are upcoming elections and they might be deployed for pre-election and post-election periods.”

Fijian peacekeepers injured in Sinai

Meanwhile Two Fijian peacekeepers remain in an Israeli hospital after being injured by a roadside bomb on northern Sinai.

The pair who are members of the Multinational Force were injured with four other US soldiers in two separate roadside bombing incidents on Thursday.

FBC news reports they were conducting supply and recovery convoys in Northern Sinai, where the multinational force’s North Camp is located.

The six soldiers were medically evacuated by air to hospital in Israel with non-life threatening injuries, and they are reported to be in a stable condition.

Fiji’s Land Force Commander Colonel Sitiveni Qiliho says the security situation in parts of the Sinai Peninsula is evolving and they are monitoring it closely.RNZI


22) Drought emergency call from PNG’s Madang

5 September 2015

There’s been an urgent call for help from the Papua New Guinea province of Madang which reports say has been badly affected by drought and frost.

The National newspaper reports the local disaster authorities are calling for immediate help from the National Disaster Centre.

They have received reports showing 75 to 80 percent of the province has been affected with food gardens burnt by frost and streams running dry.

The Madang disaster office director Rudolf Mongali says the province is looking at needing about US$400,000 in relief assistance.RNZI

23) Climate forecast offers no relief for El Niño-hit areas

7 September 2015

New Zealand’s Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research predicts that much of the region will continue to experience below normal rainfall for the rest of the year.

The Island Climate Update says a severe El Niño is likely to strengthen its grip which is bad news for many areas already struggling with droughts and frost.

Tonga, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and Fiji are already reeling from months of below-normal rainfall, while in Papua New Guinea, disaster authorities in the Highlands fear there could a major humanitarian emergency as droughts and frosts continue to wipe out food gardens.

NIWA’s latest Island Climate Update offers no relief, with forecasters predicting below to well-below normal rainfall patterns to continue for Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Tonga, Vanuatu, Niue and New Caledonia for at least the next three months.

It also says sea surface temperatures are likely to continue to increase, which will add to the severity of an El Niño already forecast to be one of the worst in 20 years.

Meanwhile, above normal rainfall is forecast for Tuvalu, Kiribati, Pitcairn Island and Tuvalu.RNZI


24) Youth look to entrepreneurship for improvement

7 September 2015

More than 40 youth leaders from around the Pacific have met in Auckland to discuss how social entrepreneurship can improve their communities.

The youth delegates attended the third ‘Future Leaders of the Pacific’ conference which was organised by the US State Department and the East-West Center in Hawaii.

Delegates discussed issues such as social entrepreneurship in an indigenous context, public-private partnerships, identifying needs, and putting social entrepreneurship into practice.

The East-West Center’s Jerry Finin says the event brought together people working in areas like climate change, non-communicable disease and tradition and culture.

“Each of the individuals is involved in a social entrepreneur project addressing the challenges and issues that are of greatest priority to their individual areas and we wanted to bring them together with others so that they could learn new approaches, new ideas and over time be supportive of each other.”RNZI


25) Vanuatu and Fiji begin bid for World Cricket League success

7 September 2015

Vanuatu is hoping to go one step better during World Cricket League Six, which begins in Essex this evening.

The Melanesian side came up short at the same stage two years ago, finishing third behind hosts Jersey and Nigeria.

They rounded off preparations with a seven wicket win over Botswana at the weekend and face the Cayman Islands in today’s opening round of pool matches, before games against Norway and Saudi Arabia.

The President of Vanuatu Cricket, Mark Stafford, says they won’t be holding back in their approach.

“Fast and furious. Our boys will be out there to play positive cricket with an eye on building big scores and restricting our opponents. Our bowlers are well practiced at containment as well as breakthroughs. There is some lack of clarity about where the World Cricket League goes through the eyes of the ICC but the top two will certainly be promoted through this round”.

Fiji last competed in the Cricket Leagues two years ago, finishing fourth in division seven, which has since been scrapped.

They take on Guernsey first up, before facing Suriname and Botswana, and coach Shane Jurgensen is hoping his players can continue their recent momentum.

“We want to finish in the top two to go up. We need to get up those rankings to ensure that we continue with our finding. We also need to do it for the game in Fiji. There’s certainly a lot of talented cricketers here and they pick up with the game very quickly and if we can provide another sporting option for the kids here, it’s another great option for them. With the success of our under 19s we’re developing a nice bank of players that’s creating depth so success is going to help us continue that road”.RNZI

26) Flying Fijians thrash Canada

7 September 2015

The Flying Fijians completed their Rugby World Cup build-up with a 47-18 thrashing of Canada in London.

Nikola Matawalu and Waisea Nayacalevu both dotted down twice as Fiji ran in five tries to three.

Nemani Nadolo added 22 points off the boot, while Netani Talei was yellow carded during the second half.

Flying Fijians coach John McKee says it was good to get 80 minutes under their belts and blow out some cobwebs.

“We really needed that game today. It’s a month since the end of the Pacific Nations Cup so you can do a lot of things in training and you can do a lot of fitness work but it doesn’t really replicate what actually happens in a game so today was very good for us”.

John McKee says there are no injury concerns from the Canada game, which is pleasing.

The Flying Fijians open their World Cup campaign against hosts England at Twickenham in just under two weeks time.

Meanwhile Samoa and Tonga also had victories against Wasps and Romania at the weekend.RNZI

27) Commonwealth Youth Games to open in Samoa

5 September 2015

The Commonwealth Youth Games will officially open in Apia this evening.

Preparations for the week-long event have been praised by organisers, who also backed the Samoan government’s decision to deny entry for athletes from Sierra Leone.

The delegation from Sierra Leone was denied entry visas over Ebola virus fears.

Samoa’s Prime Minister, Tuila’epa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, says it’s the responsibility of his government to put safety first for the up to 2,000 athletes participating in the Youth Games.

Commonwealth Games Federation CEO David Grevemberg is confident Samoa will host a memorable Games with a lasting legacy.

“From an event standpoint, there’s no question that there are infrastructure aspects of venues that have been enhanced – in terms of new stadia, the swimming pool and so forth – that will be used for world class competition. The fact that you’re going to have this realisation among Samoans that we can pull these types of events off, so I think people have a much much greater appreciation for Polynesian culture, Samoan culture but also the fact that Samoa’s going to be a fantastic world class host.”

The 67 competing nations will be welcomed at tonight’s opening ceremony at Apia Park.

Seven of the nine sports then begin competition on Monday.RNZI



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