Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1134 ( Wednesday 28 October 2015 )

MELANESIA

1) Flag vote stymied in New Caledonia

27 October 2015

The French High Commissioner in Noumea has taken exception with referendum plans in a New Caledonian town to decide whether to fly the Kanak flag next to the French flag.

Traditional leaders hoisted the Kanak flag outside the Bourail town hall this year but the mayor now wants the local public to vote in December on whether to keep it.

The High Commissioner, Vincent Bouvier, says the Bourail council vote to hold the plebsicite was flawed because of a lack of secrecy and furthermore choosing a flag is outside its competence.

Outside most public buildings, the pro-independence Kanak flag was added to the French tricolore five years ago in a compromise approved by Paris.

However, the 1998 Noumea Accord calls for a new flag to be chosen to express New Caledonia’s identity and doesn’t recognise the Kanak flag.

Disputes over what flag should fly led to a series of government collapses four years ago, prompting France to change the electoral law.RNZI

2) PNG advocate:’Climate change is affecting our way of life’

28 October 2015

A youth advocate says climate change is already impacting on basic human rights in Papua New Guinea, including education.

Most of the country’s provinces have been gripped by drought for two months now as a result of the El Nino weather pattern, leading to malnutrition and dehydration.

Arianne Kassman from the NGO – 350 Pacific, told participants at the Strengthening Climate Change Resilience conference in Nadi, that the lack of rain has forced many schools to close.

Ms Kassman, who is the PNG coordinator for the Pacific youth network, says girls tend to be the first to have to forgo their schooling.

“So the girls are now being kept at home to do most of the work, I guess go and look for food, look for water. We don’t know when schools are going to open and when everything will be back to normal, everything now depends on when the rains come.”

Arianne Kassman says it’s a sad situation for a country that has fertile land.RNZI

3a ) Minority government in Vanuatu, Opposition eyes legal avenue to summon Parliament
8:45 pm GMT+12, 27/10/2015, Vanuatu

Vanuatu Opposition bloc claiming 25 MPs endorses a Government of National Unity (GNU) but on the condition that incumbent Prime Minister Sato Kilman, resigns.

This was confirmed at a press conference by the Opposition group on Tuesday at Parliament House.

Previously in an official address via the Vanuatu Broadcasting and Television Corporation (VBTC) Monday evening, PM Kilman said the Government has raised the subject of dissolution with Head of State, President Baldwin Lonsdale.

“With the current situation, on October 15, 2015 the Council of Ministers (COM) met and made a recommendation for the President to dissolve Parliament,” he said.

“At 10am on October 16, I met with the Head of State and  raised this with him. Up until today, it is up to the Head of  State to make a decision but as Head of the Government I believe I did what is right for the country and i believe the  decision by myself and the COM did was a responsible decision, if you look at every options available for us today.

“I am now waiting patiently for the President to get back to me on his decision on the COM’s request to him. I know today there are many people who try to talk and make arrangements about the government and the country. It is good to see that people are concerned.

“But it is also important to  know that political decisions of this country rest with the parliament and the
government.

“If we were to look at how to come out of the situation that we are in today, then it is important that politicians, especially elected politicians and no one else, are involved in this process because that is their role.

“Once institutions, especially  independent institutions come in then in my view it reflects  that they are no longer neutral.

Therefore I am calling on these  institutions to respect the duties  and laws of the MPs and leave  them to deal with this,” sai Kilman.

Meanwhile, Head of State, President Baldwin Lonsdale has postponed a meeting with the Head of Government, Prime Minister Sato Kilman and interim Leader of Opposition Leader, Ham Lini.

The meeting was expected to take place Tuesday but the President’s Private Secretary, Rev. John Sovan informed Daily Post that it has been adjourned because the President feels the two sides should be given more time to negotiate.

Without going into details Sovan said the purpose of the meeting was for the President to find out what progress have been made so far after the country was left in a political stalemate when half the Government MPs were jailed last week.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Kilman is s said to have approached the President for dissolution of Parliament but the President is seen to be reserving his power as a last resort after the opposition claimed to have the required number to form a new government.

Last week the Prime Minister managed to fill in two of the six vacant ministerial portfolios and informed he will be negotiating to fill in the remaining four.

While there are confirmation of meeting between the two sides last week, it is yet to be seen if common sense has prevailed and they have managed to reached a compromise.

SOURCE: VANUATU DAILY POST/PACNEWS

3b) Vanuatu PM Questions Judicial System After MP Convictions

Kilman issues first statement since 25% of parliament sentenced to prison

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Oct. 27, 2015) – Vanuatu’s Prime Minister Sato Kilman has questioned the country’s justice system after the jailing of a quarter of the government MPs last week.

In his first public statement since the MPs were convicted earlier this month he has asked whether justice is being done for everybody.

The statement which was attributed to the Office of the Prime Minister alleges cover-ups and interference by former leaders in cases ranging from an alleged rape, a fatal car accident and mutiny in the police and mobile force.

Mr Kilman’s office has also alleged some opposition members have admitted receiving bribes but have never been investigated.

The statement stresses the convicted MPs were given 14 days to appeal and says they are still Members of Parliament.

Radio New Zealand International

3c ) Vanuatu’s handling of bribery saga a positive signal

27 October 2015

An expert on Melanesia politics says the recent pardoning and bribery saga involving a quarter of Vanuatu’s MPs has sent a strong signal that the rule of law prevails in the country.

14 MPs were jailed last week for giving and accepting bribes as an inducement to change the government last year.

Jenny Hayward Jones of the Australian think tank, the Lowy Institute, says the weaknesses in Vanuatu’s political system have been exposed on a grand scale as have the flaws of many of Vanuatu’s elected politicians.

But she says there are positive signs for the country in the long-term.

“What this saga shows is that the rule of law has prevailed , Vanuatu’s courts are strong, that its judiciary is independent , that its president is strong enough to say no and is above the law, so all of these things, I think send a very positive signal, probably one of the most positive in the region that Vanuatu’s a place where you can do business and where the rule of law will be respected.”RNZI

4) Bulgarian duo held in Vanuatu over alleged ATM theft

27 October 2015

Police in Vanuatu at the weekend arrested two Bulgarians nationals for allegedly stealing from automated money machines.

The police claim they duo had skimmed a total of US$228 from Bred Bank ATMs in Port Vila.

The man and woman were arrested at Bauerfield International Airport where they were on their way to leave Port Vila for New Caledonia.

They are now in police custody.RNZI

5a) Vanuatu Daily News Digest | Another GNU?

by bobmakin

Daily Post reports today that just an hour before yesterday’s Opposition press conference, MP Isaac Hamariliu withdrew his support from the Opposition motion of no confidence in PM Kilman to become the new Minister of Lands. PM Kilman is reported today to be wanting to lead a Government of National Unity (GNU). Older Ni-Vanuatu will still recall the dis-unity which resulted from the Kalsakau and Leymang GNUs in the lead-up to the Santo Rebellion and Independence.

Whilst the Opposition would be happy to have a proper national unity government, MP Ralph Regenvanu said in the Opposition press conference yesterday, it would be on the condition the PM resign and everyone comes together as equals to “decide on how to build a government in the interests of the nation.” He went on to say that a GNU could not be expected to work with Kilman in charge and presently commanding a minority government.

VP Leader Joe Natuman added emphatically “We feel that as head of the Government whose MPs were implicated in the bribery saga in court, tarnishing Vanuatu’s reputation, the the integrity of this nation, Parliament, and the government, he [Kilman] must do the right thing and step down,” Natuman said. “The people of Vanuatu deserve better leaders.”

In an interesting comment to this Digest news service today USP Professor Sue Farran wonders whether offering ministerial posts to relatively inexperienced MPs to induce them to support a minority government is not also a form of bribery. Prof Farran queries whether it is distinguishable, for example, from a cabinet reshuffle among senior members of an existing government. The Penal Code says ‘No person shall corruptly give, or offer, or agree to give any bribe to any person with intent to influence any public officer in respect of any act or omission by him in his official capacity.’ The Oxford dictionary describes a bribe as ‘an offer … Money, etc offered to procure … action or decision in favour of the giver.’ Farran ends “What a tangled web of law and politics in Vanuatu.”

bobmakin | October 28, 2015

5b ) Vanuatu Daily News Digest | PM wants snap election

by bobmakin

Prime Minister Kilman has stated through the national broadcaster that he has met with President Baldwin Lonsdale to give the Government’s view that the Head of State should dissolve Parliament. Elections should be called to resolve the present political crisis. The PM has just lost 5 members of his Cabinet (CoM) and 14 government supporting MPs following the Bribery Case. Kilman said he had met with Ham Lini and Ralph Regenvanu of the Opposition with a view to their strengthening the government side. That possible solution did not work out, Kilman stated. The PM claimed his solution was in the interests of the nation, not of any political grouping.

The Vanuatu Daily News Digest would here remind readers that when a motion of no confidence was voted to remove the Carcasses government, a worthwhile and undisputed 33 MPs supported Joe Natuman as Prime Minister of Vanuatu until he was toppled in June. There has been no indication of diminution of support for his unification moves (VP, NUP, GJP) and the grouping has not suffered any convictions. The present PM accepted a ministry in the Natuman Government. A national snap election at this time would be hugely expensive and the Electoral Office has expressed concern about the loss of voters’ registrations cards along with other personal papers in cyclone Pam.

Police are starting investigations of three further MPs allegedly involved in the Bribery Case. The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) stated an official report has named the MP for Tafea Outer Islands John Tesei, Ambae MP Richard Mera and former Speaker and Maewo MP Philip Boedoro as being those concerned. Further large sums of money are alleged to have been received from jailed MP Moana Carcasses by these MPs. The Prime Minister’s Office says regardless of their immunity under the Prosecutions Act following their testimony, there are still MPs whose cases must go to court. (Radio Vanuatu)

According to national radio this morning, the PMO has also complained about rumours circulating which are simply not true. Apparently rumours have alleged one of the convicted MPs has died in custody.

bobmakin | October 27, 2015

POLYNESIA

6) Breakdown In Samoan Family Values Behind Crime: Former MP
Technology affecting people in negative way: Leota

By Sarafina Sanerivi

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, Oct. 26, 2015) – A former Member of Parliament believes a breakdown in family values is responsible for high levels of crime in Samoa.

“Our family values are broken down and I believe that is the cause of all these troubles,” Leota Su’atele Manusegi said.

“Technology has really affected our people in a very negative way. I’m not saying that it is bad, but it has changed the behaviors of our people in a very bad way.

“I believe that the main cause of these crimes is because our people do not value the special things that our people used to treasure. Things like life, our culture and traditions.

“Nowadays, our people are being manipulated by all these technologies and they value these things more than they value our tradition and fa’a Samoa.

“Life is something that we should treasure and it is the most valuable thing in the world, but what is happening now? Every week there is always someone being killed. By who? Their own relatives, their own husbands and friends.

“It is intolerable and we cannot just sit around and pretend that nothing is wrong. These kinds of things rarely happened back in the day. But what’s happening now, it is rapidly increasing and that breaks my heart. ”

Leota believed there was a simple way to deal with crime.

“Everything starts from our families. That is where our children are first educated and [it is] the solid foundation of any Samoan,” he said.

“I believe that everyone has a part to play. Samoa is known as the most organised community because of its matai system. Again, that is starting to fade away. It is time to rekindle our culture and bring back our values and traditions.

“Our government is wasting a lot of money in bringing in overseas people and in hosting workshops and seminars about ways to reduce the increasing number of crimes we have in Samoa. They can’t just bring in palagis and expect them to solve this issue, as if they are some kind of Jesus Christ.

“Go back to our roots, our basic value systems. I believe that if we have more workshops in the villages involving all the people in the village under the supervision of ali’i and faipule and church leaders, it will help bring our people together and talk about these things.

“I feel that if our youths are taught and are reminded about how valuable life is together, we can help [end] these bad behaviors.

“Evening services is one practice that we seldom see nowadays.

Where are our children during these times? They are either at the rugby fields, or they are hanging out with their friends.

“Our people should go back to enforcing these practices.”

Leota felt there was a lack of caring in Samoan culture.

“They say that sharing is caring and we used to care for each other because it was part of our cultural norms.

“I believe that is why there are a lot of disputes nowadays – we don’t care about each other anymore and again, our family values are broken down.

“We have a small police force here in Samoa. But with the help of ali’i and faipule and faifeaus and everyone, we can reduce these crimes.”

Samoa Observer

7) Tonga commits to stamp out illegal fishing
8:43 pm GMT+12, 27/10/2015, Tonga

Tonga is the 7th country to commit to the Niue agreement that aims to stamp out illegal, unlicensed and unregulated fishing in the tuna-rich economic zones of the Pacific Islands.

The directors of the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) Tuesday welcomed Tonga’s ratification.

The fisheries problems remain an ongoing challenge for regional and global fisheries, and Pacific member nations of the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA).

“Combatting illegal, unlicensed and unregulated fishing is central to what our Pacific Forum Leaders have tasked us – to ensure maximum economic returns whilst achieving sustainability of the resource,” said FFA Deputy Director General Wez Norris.

In his opening remarks during a half-day workshop for parties to the multilateral Niue Treaty Subsidiary Agreement (NTSA) on the weekend, he noted its entry into force and congratulated the six countries who have ratified.

FFA as the Treaty Administrator has also just received papers of ratification by Tonga, adding its commitment to the Cook Islands, Nauru, Palau, Samoa, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. Others in the FFA membership are pending signature or accession.

The group of seven are looking at next steps now that the Niue Treaty Information System (NTIS) is operational. This involves countries using the information in this system to take their Monitoring Control and Surveillance efforts to the next level.

“The countries of this region already play a world-leading role in proactive fisheries management ideas. The NTSA provides another regional opt-in initiative where FFA members are saying they are prepared to deepen that cooperation by sharing information and resources as and when required, to help keep IUU fishing out of the Pacific neighbourhood,” Deputy Director General Norris said. He and FFA Director General James Movick today welcomed the newest ratification.

Referring to the Pacific Roadmap for Sustainable Fisheries given the stamp of approval by Pacific Leaders in Port Moresby this year, Norris said the inclusion and affirmation of work against IUU fishing in the Roadmap gives added importance to that commitment from NTSA parties to share Intel, data and national resources to combat IUU fishing.

Funding from Australia has enabled member countries to meet over the year and shape the Niue Treaty Information System’s operational details and procedures.

“We’ve been very encouraged by the feedback and questions around the exact nature of the system and how Parties will now walk the talk on making it work,” said FFA Legal Counsel Dr Manu Tupou-Roosen.

Within the context of the whole Niue Treaty framework, “The Information system is the core which the agreement revolves around. It houses the information and authority which allow Parties to plan and conduct activities, such as what resources can be made available by an individual party and a party’s operational procedures,” said Dr Tupou-Roosen. “At this meeting of the parties to the NTSA, countries have continued to raise great interest in the operationalization of the agreement.”

“We’ve been very clear with members that nothing in the information system forces them into positions they cannot cope with. The NTIS works on an optional basis—parties choose which elements of the agreement will apply in their waters or involve their resources, and what activities to enter into with which Parties.  At the end of the day, the multilateral NTSA provides a legally binding framework to cooperate in enhancing MCS efforts and ensure the sustainability of our shared tuna resource.”..

SOURCE: MATANGI TONGA/PACNEWS

8) Tahiti’s Tahoeraa suffers setback

28 October 2015

French Polynesia’s once dominant Tahoeraa Huiraatira Party has lost another assembly member amid a continued rift within its ranks.

Charles Fong Loi quit the party to join the breakaway Tapura Huiraatira group which is led by the president Edouard Fritch.

The Tapura group now leads a minority government as its backers have been either expelled from the Tahoeraa or resigned from it.

However, Mr Fritch’s support base has grown to now 27 members in the 57-strong assembly.

The rift emerged last year when the Tahoeraa leader, Gaston Flosse, was forced to resign as president because of a corruption conviction and his deputy, Mr Fritch, assumed the top position.

In the last election, the Tahoeraa won twice as many seats as the opposition parties combined, but its strength has dwindled because of the split.

Mr Fritch has failed to challenge his expulsion from the Tahoeraa and may yet form his own party.RNZI

MICRONESIA

9) Northern Marianas to introduce specialised drug court

27 October 2015

There are plans in the Northern Marianas to establish a specialised drug court to deal with what a superior court judge says is the scourge of methamphetamine in the territory.

Judge David Wiseman says the proposed court will be a specialised, problem-solving court that incorporates drug dependency treatment with intensive court supervision.

It will focus on people with a history of drug abuse and drug-related crime offienders who have serious criminal records and addictions.RNZI

10a) Nauru ponders own shipping service

28 October 2015

The government of Nauru says it is considering restarting its own shipping service because of high charges levied by the only company linking the island with Fiji.

The Maritime Affairs Minister Valdon Dowiyogo says freight costs are out of control and this adversely affects prices for consumers.

Since the withdrawal of Matson, Neptune Pacific has been the only company carrying freight to and from Fiji.

The minister says the company has displayed greed in taking advantage of the monopoly while ignoring complaints.

Mr Doqiyogo says negotiations with Neptune Pacific will continue but Nauru is considering restarting its own shipping venture to ensure Nauruans are no longer ripped off by blatant price gouging.RNZI

10b) Nauru govt launches attack on foreign media

28 October 2015

Nauru’s justice minister has rejected foreign journalists’ calls for greater access, saying the country’s government has no obligation to answer to foreign media.

In a statement, David Adeang accused Australian media of approaching Nauru with great arrogance and an air of racial superiority.

Last year, Nauru hiked its non-refundable visa application fee by 4,000 percent to $5,000 US dollars as a revenue gathering move.

For more than 18 months, Mr Adeang and the country’s president, Baron Waqa, have refused to answer requests for comment or interviews and have recruited a Brisbane-based PR firm.

Mr Adeang says the reason the government refuses to answer many of the ‘ridiculous’ questions posed to it by journalists is because it has no obligation to answer to foreign media

He says journalists don’t show Nauru the respect of a sovereign nation and in return, the government has little respect for journalists who will never accept the facts.

Mr Adeang says if the country allowed journalists to visit, refugees who are living peacefully would be asked by refugee advocates to start rioting for the cameras.

Last week, Nauru admitted a reporter from The Australian but his employer has declined to say whether he was charged the visa application fee.RNZI

11) Marshalls’ de Brum to be honoured in US

28 October 2015

The Marshall Islands Foreign Minister Tony de Brum is one of several winners of this year’s Nuclear-Free Future Award.

He will be honoured at a ceremony in Washington DC later this week.

Mr de Brum is being recognised for leading global initiatives to eliminate nuclear weapons and to reverse climate change.

Last year, at the direction of Mr de Brum, the Marshalls government, backed by U.S.-based anti-nuclear groups, filed lawsuits against nine nuclear powers at the International Court of Justice and against the US government.

They were seeking court orders to force nuclear nations to speed up the process of nuclear disarmament.

The lawsuit was dismissed earlier this year, but an appeal is planned.RNZI

12) http://www.islandtimes.us/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2217:tr-to-sign-pnms-bill-into-law-on-wednesday&catid=8:latest-news&Itemid=1

13) http://www.islandtimes.us/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2212:resolution-that-authorizes-president-to-get-adb-loans-introduced&catid=8:latest-news&Itemid=1

TOK PISIN ( For Papua NiuGini, Autonomous Bougainville, Solomon Islands & Vanuatu+ ) 

14) PNG Suprim Kot i rausim askim blong Jastis Minista

Updated 28 October 2015, 15:18 AEDT
Sam Seke

Emi bin askim long Polis ino ken pulim kalabusim em

Supreme Kot blong Papua New Guinea tede i rausim aplikesen oa askim blong Minista blong Justice na Attorney General Ano Pala long Stay of Arrest oa ol polis i noken pulim kalabusim em yet.

Dispela warrant blong arestim Ano Pala em i kamap long wanem we ibin gohet long oda blong arestim Praim Minista Peter O’Neill long 2014.

Bihain long tingting blong kot tede moning, ol lain long fraud squad na polis iken gohet nau long pulim kalabusim Mr Pala.ABC

15 ) PNG drought halvim igo long ol Provinsal Gavman

Updated 27 October 2015, 13:16 AEDT
Caroline Tiriman

Ol provinsal na lokal gavman long Papua New Guinea nau imas lukautim wok blong helpim ol pipal blong ol long despla taem blong bikpla sun oa drought.

Dixon Guina, chairman blong  National Disaster Committee long PNG i mekim despla toktok taem ol planti ripot iwok long kamap olsem planti pipal long kantri idai pinis long hangre.

Despla drought oa nogat ren i pudaon long longpla taem em El Nino i kamapim igo hed nau long faifpla na sikispla mun i kamapim bikpla heve long kanrtri.

Ol ripot ikam long PNG itok olsem gavman nau bai surikim $60 million US dollars, or 175 million long District Service Improvement Programme na putim igo long helpim ol pipal.ABC

Maski despla bikpla Sun na bikpl Kol long sampla ples long Highlands rijan igo hed long fopla oa faifpla mun nau, sampla Non Gavman laen long Australia itok, PNG gavman ino askim ol iet long givim sampla halvim long despla taem nogut.ABC:

16) Solomon Islands na Politikal wari

Updated 28 October 2015, 15:25 AEDT
Sam Seke

Hai Kot blong Solomon Islands bai sindaon tumora long harim  kuik wanpla challenge agensim wei wea Spika i tok oraet long larim mosin blong no-konfidens blong Lida blong Oposisan agensim Praim Minista Manasseh Sogavare.

Olgeta politikal pati insaet long Democratic Coalition for Change or DCC Government i laik go hed wantem despla tingting long wonem oli tok pasin em oposisan i mekim ino stret i no stret aninit long Political Parties Integrity Act.

Secretary blong People’s Progressive Party  husat i memba blong despla grup,  Charles Ashley itok olsem, Spika ino lukluk long despla mosan taem emi bin tok oraet long despla mosan long Fraide long wik igo pinis.

Narapla heve we emi kamap long wok politik long kantri em Iaen blong  Malaita Ma’asina Forum i toktok strong long Lida blong Oposisin long noken wokbung wantem  sevenpla minista blong gavman husat ibin lusim oa risain long gavman long wik igo pinis.

President blong MMF we emi politikol presa grup blong Malaita Provins, Charles Dausabea itok olsem olgeta minista ibin lusim gavman bihaenim laik blong ol iet.

Me Dausabea itok olsem  sapos Oposisin Lida Jeremiah Manele i kisim ol despla minista bifo na sapotim mosan ov no konfidans, ol bai ronowei lusim em tu.ABC

17) Vanuatu Suprim Kot i rausim beil askim blong ol MP kalabusman

Updated 28 October 2015, 14:25 AEDT

Sam Seke

Long Vanuatu, Supreme Kot ibin rausim beil aplikesen blong ol 14 memba blong palamen we ol i stap nau long kalabus long tripla igo inap long 4 pela yia.

Niusman long Port Vila Hilaire Bule i tok, kot i tokim ol loia blong ol tu long ol imas redim apil blong ol Friday dispela wik.

Em i tok kot i odarim prosekiusan tu long em imas redim ansa long defens long naba 6 long Novemba.

Chief Justice blong Vanuatu i tok kot bai sindaun long naba 9 long Novemba long harim apil keis blong ol.

Long Fonde long wik igo pinis, Supreme kot ibin  kalabusim ol despla Palaman memba  bihaen long emi bin painim olsem oli bin gilti long ol briberi na korapsan sas.

Speaker blong palamen husat  ibin givim marimari long em yet na ol 13 arapela taim em ibin Acting President em i bai kalabus long tripela yia.

Deputy Praim Minista Moana Carcasses Kalosil bai kalabus long 4 yia na memba blong Petnecost Toni Nari bai kalabus long tripela yia na sikispela mun.ABC

 BAHASA ( For Melanesian – West Papua, Timor, Sumba, Maluku,Flores+ ) 

18) Mendengar Suara Dari Hutan Papua Nugini

Diperbaharui 28 October 2015, 11:55 AEDT
Michael Walsh

Untuk menghitung jumlah spesies liar di hutan tropis di kawasan Provinsi Madang, Papua Nugini, para ilmuwan menggunakan peralatan canggih yang dipasang di pohon untuk merekam suara dari hutan. Berikut penjelasan Eddie Game dari The Nature Conservancy.ABC

19) 3 Dekade Dikelola Pribumi, Uluru Belum Sejahterakan Aborijin Setempat

Diperbaharui 27 October 2015, 8:40 AEDT

Rosa Ellen with Sheila Pham

Penjaga tradisional dari situs suci yang menjadi ikon pariwisata di Australia Tengah – Uluru – memperingati 30 tahun diserahkannya kawasan gunung batu raksasa itu dalam pengawasan mereka.  Sebelum tahun 1985 kawasan itu dikelola oleh Pemerintah Australia.

Uluru adalah inselberg atau ‘pulau gunung’ yang memiliki diameter lebih dari 9km, ketinggian 350meter dan mencakup areal seluas 3.3.km persegi.

Milyika Carroll, 57, masih kecil ketika ayahnya – ayah kandung dan kakaknya membawa Ia dan saudara-saudaranya ke Uluru, ketika mereka harus menghadiri pertemuan.

“Ini adalah negara dari kakek saya,” katanya.

Dia adalah salah satu dari banyak orang Anangu yang berkunjung dari seluruh kawasan itu. Anangu adalah penduduk asli dan penjaga tradisional Uluru.

“Pada tahun 1985 tidak ada sama sekali infrastruktur atau masyarakat disini,” katanya tentang apa yang kemudian disebut ‘Ayers Rock’ oleh pendatang kulit putih.

“Ini bukan tempat di mana warga suku Anangu bisa tinggal. Karena Uluru merupakan tempat di mana para piranpa [orang kulit putih] akan datang dan tinggal di sini dan mereka membawa sendiri barang-barang mereka.

“ketika Anda melihat kembali dari  masa penyerahan kawasan ini hingga sekarang, maka sudah terjadi banyak sekali perubahan signifikan di kawasan Uluru.
Sekarang warga Anangu bisa tinggal di sini.”

Untuk menandai 30 tahun peringatan penyerahan kawasan ini ke penjaga tradisional kawasan Uluru, diselenggarakan upacara (inma) khusus, yang diikuti oleh sambutan dan pembacaaan cerita.

Vincent Nipper, 35, masih kecil ketika dia tampil didalam foto terkenal, dibahu Reggie Uluru, dan disebelan kakeknya Nipper Winmati pda 26 Oktober 1985.
Kakek Nipper, Barbara Tjikatu dan Winmati, berperan penting dalam kesepakatan penyerahan kawasan Uluru tersebut, namun baru ketika dia dewasa dia baru memahami betapa perjanjian penyerahan kawasan Uluru pada warga Anangu didapat dengan perjuangan panjang.

“Ketika saya sudah besar saya mulai menyadari pentingnya upaya yang sudah dilakukan oleh kakek saya, karena nenek saya Barbara juga masih terlibat juga
dalam pengelolaan taman ini dan juga melakukan peran yang penting juga,”

“Saya memutuskan kalau ini merupakan waktu bagi saya untuk bergabung juga dan mengikuti jejaknya,”

Nipper saat ini menjabat sebagai Badan Pengelola Uluru dan berkerja di pengelolaan lahan diseluruh kawasan adat Katiti-Peterman, yang baru-baru ini resmi dinobatkan sebagai kawasan tradisional yang dilindungi,

Menteri Urusan tradisional, Nigel Scullion masyarakat Anangu di daerah Mutitjulu tidak mendapatkan cukup banyak manfaat sebagaimana diharapkan pada tahun 1985 serah terima dan bahwa lebih banyak pekerjaan yang harus dilakukan.

“Pada umumnya batu terlihat sama dan, tragisnya, begitu juga Mutitjulu,” katanya kepada kerumunan warga yang  berkumpul untuk mendengarkan pidato, tarian tradisional, dan musik dari Dan Sultan dan Shane Howard.

“Karena tidak ada keraguan tentang hal itu, bagian implisit dari perjanjian adalah bahwa orang-orang Anangu akan melakukan lebih baik terhadap hal-hal yang akan datang ke sini.

“Mereka akan memiliki pekerjaan, mereka akan memiliki kehidupan yang lebih baik, mereka akan memiliki lebih banyak pilihan

Pemilik tradisional Sammy Wilson mengarakan pariwisata tidak terlalu difokuskan pada kawasan warisan kebudayaan Uluru.

30 tahun lalu, masih ada sedikit perusahaan pengangkut wisatawan dan hanya ada satu perusahaan wisata yang dikelola oleh warga Aborigin di kawasan pariwisata itu yakni, Uluru Aboriginal Tours
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Sammy Wilson, penjaga kawasan tradisional dan menduduki kepala Dewan Pengelola Usaha Warga Aborigin  mengatakan mendorong  bisnis Aborijin akan menjadi agenda pada “pertemuan besar” yang akan berlangsung dalam waktu dekat.

Dia menekankan kalau dia berbicara atas nama dirinya pribadi, dan pemilik lahan tradisional lainnya bisa jadi memiliki pandangan yang berbeda dengan dirinya,”

Kisah ini disadur dari dua artikel:  Handback of Uluru to traditional custodians commemorated in Central Australia dan Uluru handback 30th anniversary bittersweet, traditional owner says…ABC

FRENCH ( For Melanesian – New Caledonia, Vanuatu + )

 

20a) Brèves du Pacifique – mercredi 28 octobre 2015

Mis à jour 28 October 2015, 16:25 AEDT

Élodie Largenton

Au Vanuatu, l’opposition appelle le Premier ministre à démissionner.

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Joe Natuman, le chef de file de l’opposition et ancien Premier ministre, accuse Sato Kilman de « s’accrocher sans complexe au pouvoir, au mépris de l’opinion publique et des normes et principes de la démocratie ». Sato Kilam a perdu la moitié de son gouvernement, condamnée pour corruption. Plusieurs jours après l’énoncé du jugement, 4 des 13 portefeuilles ministériels ne sont toujours pas attribués. Le président de l’archipel souhaite que l’équipe de Sato Kilman et l’opposition s’entendent pour former un gouvernement d’union nationale. Une option approuvée par l’opposition, mais rejetée par le Premier ministre, qui demande la tenue d’élections anticipées.
  • Les Philippines veulent bien accueillir des réfugiés pour le compte de l’Australie, mais à condition que ce soit temporaire. Précision du président philippin, Benigno Aquino, qui ajoute avoir déjà « des difficultés à répondre aux besoins de sa population ». Il dit, malgré tout, « étudier sérieusement » la proposition australienne. Selon le Daily Telegraph, Manille aurait demandé 150 millions de dollars au gouvernement australien en échange de l’accueil des réfugiés. Il y a un plus d’un an, Canberra a passé un accord avec un autre pays asiatique, le Cambodge. Mais seuls quatre réfugiés ont accepté de s’y rendre, pour le moment.
  • Le centre de détention australien de Nauru a dû être évacué, hier, après la découverte d’une bombe non explosée.L’île a été occupée par le Japon lors de la seconde guerre mondiale et plusieurs bombes non explosées ont été retrouvées au cours des 70 dernières années. Cette fois, c’est donc dans l’enceinte du centre de rétention que l’engin a été découvert par des ouvriers, qui sont en train de construire de nouveaux bâtiments pour les réfugiés. En 2014, déjà, un obus d’artillerie avait été trouvé dans le centre.
  • L’Onu appelle l’Australie à aider « Abyan », une jeune réfugiée somalienne tombée enceinte après avoir, dit-elle, été victime d’un viol à Nauru. Abyan est « traumatisée et très fragile psychologiquement », rapporte le Haut-commissaire des Nations unies pour les droits de l’homme, qui est en contact avec la jeune femme. Elle ne porte pas plainte contre son agresseur présumé par crainte de représailles dans cette petite île de 10 000 habitants où tout se sait, explique l’agence onusienne.
  • Un monorail aux Mariannes du nord ? Un groupe d’investissement de Macau propose à l’archipel de construire une sorte de train aérien entre l’île de Saipan et son futur complexe touristique à Tinian. Alter City Group assure que le gouvernement n’aurait rien à débourser. Aucune fourchette de prix n’a été indiquée, la faisabilité du projet reste hypothétique.
  •  Le dictionnaire de la langue des Îles Cook est désormais consultable sur téléphone portable. Depuis cette semaine, on peut télécharger une application et accéder à 17 000 mots du maori des Îles Cook, mais aussi à des enregistrements pour savoir comment prononcer les mots. Cette application a été lancée en Nouvelle-Zélande avec pour but de préserver la langue des Cook.ABC

20b ) Brèves du Pacifique – mardi 27 octobre 2015

Mis à jour 27 October 2015, 16:39 AEDT

Élodie Largenton

L’Église catholique contre la chasse aux sorcières en Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée. 

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Plusieurs hauts responsables de l’Église dans la région, mais aussi une chercheuse australienne, un sociologue et l’ambassadeur américain à Port-Moresby, vont participer, cette semaine, à un forum contre la violence perpétrée contre des pseudos-sorciers. Pour l’évêque Donald Lippert, interrogé par la radio nationale néo-zélandaise, « il est très difficile de faire en sorte que quelqu’un arrête de croire en la magie noire, mais les gens doivent savoir que s’ils s’en prennent à des innocents au nom de cette croyance, ils en seront tenus responsables ».
  • Un bateau de pêche papou a été secouru par la Nouvelle-Zélandealors qu’il était en train de couler au large de Tokelau. Les 36 membres d’équipage étaient montés à bord d’un canot de sauvetage après que le moteur du bateau avait pris feu. Selon l’un des sauveteurs néo-zélandais, le propriétaire de ce bateau, le Glory Pacific Number 8, a attendu plusieurs heures avant de demander de l’aide, alors qu’il savait que l’équipage était en danger.
  • Le Pacific Freedom Forum et Reporters sans frontières appellent le président indonésien, Joko Widodo, à tenir ses promesses et à se « convertir à la liberté de l’information »« L’ouverture de la province de Papouasie aux journalistes étrangers – une promesse de campagne de Jokowi – n’est qu’un leurre. Si les journalistes peuvent s’y rendre – sous certaines conditions – ils sont étroitement surveillés sur place, exposant ainsi leurs sources à des représailles de la part des autorités », regrettent les ONG de défense de la liberté de la presse.ABC

20c) Le président du Vanuatu veut un gouvernement d’union nationale d’ici 10 jours

Mis à jour 27 October 2015, 16:54 AEDT

Élodie Largenton

Baldwin Lonsdale donne 10 jours à la majorité et à l’opposition pour s’entendre et former un nouveau gouvernement. Un gouvernement d’union nationale, qui serait chargé de diriger l’archipel jusqu’aux prochaines élections, prévues dans un an.
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Ce message de fermeté du président vanuatais semble ne pas avoir été entendu par le Premier ministre. Sato Kilman se fait discret, alors que la moitié de son gouvernement est en prison. Il vient seulement de s’exprimer pour la première fois depuis le début de cette affaire. Il n’avait pas réagi à la condamnation de 14 députés pour corruption ni à la tentative de certains d’entre eux d’obtenir une grâce présidentielle. Sato Kilman a finalement décidé de livrer son sentiment ce midi, à la télévision, critiquant la justice. Il estime que tous les élus ne sont pas traités de la même manière. Le Premier ministre pense aussi qu’il faudrait dissoudre le Parlement et organiser des élections anticipées.
Sato Kilman s’oppose donc ouvertement à la manière dont le président vanuatais entend résoudre la crise. Il l’a bien montré dès hier, comme le rapporte Tony Wilson, le directeur du quotidien L’Indépendant du Vanuatu :
« Il y a eu une rencontre organisée, hier, entre les deux camps, mais le Premier ministre n’y a pas assisté. Il semble qu’à ce stade, il ne prenne pas au sérieux l’ultimatum de Baldwin Lonsdale, mais quand la date approchera, je suis sûr que les hommes politiques vont penser sérieusement à leur survie parce que sans cela, ils vont laisser passer leur chance de rester au Parlement. »
Le président de l’archipel semble en effet déterminé à régler cette crise politique au plus vite. Peut-être un trop vite, souligne Tony Wilson :
« La date fixée est le vendredi 6 novembre, avant que la cour d’appel ne siège. Il pourrait donc y avoir un cas de figure incroyable s’il choisit finalement de dissoudre le Parlement et que la semaine suivante, les élus sont jugés non coupables… Ils sortiront alors de prison pour aller faire campagne ! »
Huit élus ont déjà fait appel. Ils seront donc de nouveau entendus par la justice à partir du lundi 9 novembre. En attendant, les 14 députés ont été placés en détention. Une incarcération difficile pour plusieurs d’entre eux, raconte Tony Wilson :
« Tony Wright (ex-ministre de la Jeunesse et des Sports, NDLR) n’a pas tenu une nuit en prison. Il a tout de suite été emmené à l’hôpital de Port-Vila et le lendemain, il a été évasané à Nouméa. Il a de graves problèmes cardiaques. La juge Mary Sey a pris en compte les problèmes de santé de plusieurs des élus accusés, et leur a donné des peines légèrement inférieures pour ces raisons. »
Pour rappel, Tony Wright a été condamné à 3 ans de prison.ABC
AUSTRALIA

21) Transfield given $1.5bn over three years to manage Nauru and Manus centres
10:50 pm GMT+12, 27/10/2015, AustraliaTransfield Services has received $1.5bn from the Ausstralian federal government since being contracted in October 2012 to manage Australia’s detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru, a report has found.

There have been 47 violations of international law at the centres since Transfield took on the contract three years ago, according to the report by not-for-profit group No Business in Abuse.

By examining individual contracts with Transfield for services including operational, maintenance and welfare support, and staff accommodation and management services, No Business in Abuse also found Transfield had been paid an average of $1.4m (US$968,000) per day over the course of the contract, amounting to $1.5bn over three years.

The not-for-profit coalition of unions, lawyers, human rights groups and faith-based organisations, called No Business in Abuse, analysed existing evidence and reports on the Nauru and Manus Island offshore processing centres.

This included evidence from the Moss Review, established in October by the then immigration minister, Scott Morrison, to investigate allegations of sexual and physical assault of asylum seekers, as well as evidence from the Senate inquiry report, Hansard transcripts and reports from human rights organisations, including Amnesty International and the United Nations.

Transfield is considering whether to extend its contract with the government for a further five years, after being named in August as the sole preferred tender for the lucrative contract. Neither it nor the Department of Immigration and Border Protection has disclosed how much the contract is worth.

“Significantly, many of Transfield’s stakeholders, including clients, investors and financiers, have publicly and explicitly committed themselves to the human rights standards set out in the UN’s guiding principles,” the report found.

“Even presuming that the provisions of international rights law were not considered at all, it is difficult to imagine how, in modern Australia, any company would enter an association with child abuse, let alone profit from the systematic infliction of it.”

No Business in Abuse alleges that because Transfield makes decisions about asylum seeker and refugee welfare, accommodation, food, clothing, water and security, it had an obligation to ensure those services were provided safely and humanely.

Earlier this month, Nauru police closed an investigation into the alleged rape of a 26-year-old Somali refugee on Nauru, citing a lack of evidence. In a separate case, a Somali refugee was raped on Nauru and subsequently became pregnant. A number of police investigations are under way into allegations of assault at the centre.

Shen Narayanasamy, the executive director of No Business in Abuse, said the group had taken a “conservative approach” in compiling the report, only using evidence that had been independently and credibly assessed.

“We didn’t rely on the many excellent media reports that are out there establishing abuse,” she said.

“Nonetheless, we came up with a whopping 47 violations of international law. I think that indicates to us the importance of this report.”

Guardian Australia has contacted Transfield and the office of the immigration minister, Peter Dutton, for its response to the findings.

No Business in Abuse also met with Transfield executives three times to get responses to their findings for inclusion in the report, which said: “Transfield attempted to put the argument that if Transfield wasn’t complicit in abuse, then a (hypothetically) worse company could be.”

Cindy Briscoe, a deputy commissioner with the Australian Border Force, told a Senate estimates hearing in Canberra earlier this month that between 15 January and 15 August, there were 74 self-harm incidents and 23 threats of self-harm at the Nauru offshore processing centre. In the same period, there were 34 cases of self-harm and two threats of self-harm at the Manus Island processing centre.

The No Business in Abuse report said that, according to Transfield’s own major or critical incident reports, someone tried to self-harm every four days, an assault occurred every five days and a sexual assault every three-and-a-half months between the centres.

“That’s the reality we’ve been able to piece together, in a situation where the United Nations is not allowed to visit, Amnesty International has been unable to visit, and since Transfield took over the Manus Island detention centre there has not [been] one single independent, credible third party allowed to see the detention centre,” Narayanasamy said. She later clarified that any inspection that might have been carried out had not been made public.

“This company is trying to argue that, in this point of time, that it is not complicit in any abuse. We ask if they are not complicit in any abuse, then what is there to hide?”

“The argument often put forward is that if the Australian government thinks it’s OK, then its legitimate. But history is littered with examples of gross human rights abuses sanctioned by the state.”

Last week the immigration minister, Peter Dutton, said independent monitoring of conditions for asylum seekers and refugees in offshore processing facilities was unnecessary.

SOURCE: THE GUARDINA AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS

NEW ZEALAND

22) Greater shift hoped for in NZ Pacific achievement rates

28 October 2015

A Pacific academic at Auckland University says achievement rates for Pacific students in the country are not increasing as hoped for at tertiary level despite a 15 year old government initiative.

Government figures show a higher proportion of Pacific people studying at tertiary level compared to the general population.

Around 15 years ago, New Zealand’s education ministry released the Pasifika Education Plan which aimed to increase participation, retention and achievement for Pacific students from early childhood through to tertiary level.

Professor Damon Salesa says the plan has failed to lift Pacific achievement rates.

“We have to acknowledge that the education system in New Zealand has been far more responsive to Pacific needs in the last 10 to15 years. And I think that’s what’s most disappointing. We would’ve thought that there would’ve been a greater shift in achievement rates.”RNZI

PACIFIC

23) Fiji conference regional foundation for COP21

28 October 2015

It’s hoped the outcomes of a climate resilience conference in Fiji will give the region a good platform before next month’s global climate change conference in Paris.

Pacific health ministers are developing an outcome document in Nadi today, on climate change implications on the health and wellbeing of women, adolescents and children.

The document will support Pacific Islands Country’s positioning at key international forums – the first being the COP21 meeting in Paris.

The United Nations Population Fund Deputy Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific, Lubna Baqi, says the Pacific has a very united voice when it comes to the climate.

“They have come together on many issues but the importance of this particular conference is that it brings all of those technical areas together and integrates them in a more wholistic manner so it really looks at the importance of having resilient health systems to counteract the impact of climate change.”

Lubna Baqi says this week’s conference is the first to take place since world leaders formally adopted the sustainable development goals at the UN General Assembly last month.RNZI

24) Pacific Region hosts some of the most business-friendly economies in the World
8:48 pm GMT+12, 27/10/2015, United States

For the 10th consecutive year, Singapore ranks number one in the world on the World Bank Group’s annual ease of doing business measurement. Also among the top 20 economies are New Zealand (ranked 2), the Republic of Korea (4), Hong Kong SAR, China (5), Taiwan, China (11), Australia (13) and Malaysia (18), with Tonga (78), Fiji (88) and Vanuatu (94) the highest ranked Pacific Island economies.

Released today, Doing Business 2016: Measuring Regulatory Quality and Efficiency finds that a majority of economies in East Asia and the Pacific are undertaking reforms to further improve the regulatory environment for small and medium-sized enterprises. During the past year, 52 percent of the region’s 25 economies  implemented 27 reforms to make it easier to do business.

Measuring economies in both absolute and relative terms, Doing Business 2016 finds developing countries in the Pacific region had no significant change in their absolute measurement, known as the ‘distance to frontier’, with Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Samoa and Fiji seeing marginal improvements.

The relative measurement, ranking 189 economies around the world, sees a drop for most countries in the Pacific region – both as a result of methodological changes and because other countries around the world undertook reforms that enhanced their business environments and improved their ranking more quickly.

Vanuatu was the only Pacific Island economy to introduce reforms measured by the Doing Business report between June 2, 2014 and June 1, 2015, one of which was investing in infrastructure at the Lepatasi Port in Port Vila – increasing the port’s efficiency and reducing the time to import – a significant obstacle for the vastly-dispersed Pacific Islands region.

“We know that Pacific Island countries are conscious of the need to improve the business environment and there are reform processes under way in a number of countries,” said Franz Drees-Gross, World Bank Country Director for Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste and the Pacific Islands. “However, the message of the Doing Business report is that creating a strong and competitive environment for businesses of all sizes requires sustained reform.”

New Zealand, again ranked number 2 in the world overall, topped the table for getting credit, registering property, protecting minority investors and starting a business, with entrepreneurs able to complete the entire process of forming a company in less than one day through a single online procedure. One major reform over the past year was for businesses getting electricity, with the local distribution utility cutting connection times by six days.

Australia (ranked 13 out of 189) sets some of the best practices in enforcing contracts (indicator rank of 4), dealing with construction permits (4) and getting credit (5). No reforms were recorded in any of the Doing Business indicators over the past 12 months.

Elsewhere in the East Asia Pacific region, economies that carried out the highest number of reforms were Vietnam (5 reforms), Hong Kong SAR, China (4), and Indonesia (3). In Indonesia, for instance, an online system was introduced for paying social security contributions, facilitating tax payments, and reforms in Vietnam included guaranteeing borrowers’ right to inspect their credit data and the newly-established credit bureau expanded borrower coverage.

“Entrepreneurs in East Asia and Pacific are seeing reforms that cut across multiple sectors, from reducing barriers for opening a new business and making tax compliance easier, to improving regulations in the credit market and getting access to electricity,” said Rita Ramalho, Manager of the Doing Business project.

However, even as East Asia and the Pacific economies are gradually moving closer to regulatory best practices, a number of challenges remain, particularly in the areas of Resolving Insolvency, Enforcing Contracts and Registering Property. On Registering Property, it takes on average 74 days for an entrepreneur in East Asia and the Pacific to complete a property transfer, compared to the global average of 48 days.

This year’s Doing Business report completes a two-year effort to expand benchmarks that measure the quality of regulation, as well as efficiency of the business regulatory framework, in order to better capture realities on the ground. On the five indicators that saw changes in this report – Dealing with Construction Permits, Getting Electricity, Enforcing Contracts, Registering Property and Trading Across Borders – East Asia and the Pacific economies have room for improvement.

SOURCE: WORLD BANK/PACNEWS

25) France Extends Overseas Tax Concessions To Invest In Territories

French Polynesia, New Caledonia have slumping economies

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Oct. 28, 2015) – The French government says it will extend tax concessions to companies investing in overseas departments to the end of 2020.

The assurance was given by the overseas minister, George Pau-Langevin, who says a decision has been reached now to give certainty to those who doubted the government’s determination to help.

The scheme had only been guaranteed for another two years and prompted calls by businesspeople and politicians in overseas territories to confirm it for longer.

The French Pacific territories have been hit by hard economic times, with French Polynesia in a prolonged slump while New Caledonia is being hit by the drop of the nickel price.

Radio New Zealand International

26) Pacific Trade Ministers Meet In Cook Islands
Building Public-Private partnerships for growth discussed

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Oct. 27, 2015) – A complex four-days Pacific regional meeting to discuss a theme of “Building Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) as a Catalyst for economic growth”, began in Avarua, Cook islands today, 27 October.

The regional meeting is attended by economic ministers, trade ministers, government officials, and private sector representatives from Pacific Islands Forum countries.

Forum Economic and Trade Ministers will also have a session to discuss the Framework for Pacific Regionalism, and their role in the implementation of the regional priorities agreed to by the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders at their annual meeting last month, September.

There will also be a joint Economic and Trade Ministers Meeting with the Private Sector “Addressing Economic Development in the Pacific Islands through the Private Sector.”

A Private Sector Dialogue Workshop with representatives of national private sector organisations and industry representatives from Forum Island Countries will deliberate on issues which affect micro, small and medium enterprises in the region.

A public seminar will be held on Building Economic Resilience and Enhancing Private Sector Development in the Pacific.

A dialogue with Development Partners on the implementation of the Ministers’ decision will be held on the final day of the meeting 30 October.

Pacific Trade Ministers

In a separate session Pacific Trade Ministers will have discussions, focusing on “Supporting Private Sector for increased Trade, Investment and Development” for the Pacific Islands starting today.

The objective of the four-days meeting, 27-30 October is to increase the engagement of the Private Sector in the Pacific Island economies, and to identified regional approaches for Private Sector to address its economic concerns.

Tonga is represented at the Cook Islands’ meeting by Hon. Dr Pohiva Tu’i’onetoa, the Minister of Labour, commerce, Police, Prison and Fire Brigade. Accompanying Dr Tu’I’onetoa are Kalotia Fotu from the Ministry of Labour and Commerce; Eljie Fukofuka from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade; ‘Ainisi Bloomfield for the Ministry of Revenue Collection and Custom; and Kesomi Siale, from Tonga Chamber of Commerce.

Matangi Tonga Magazine

ASIA

27) Indonesia haze: Philippines issues health warnings as deadly haze from forest fires reaches Manila

Updated 28 October 2015, 18:05 AEDT
By Indonesia correspondent Adam Harvey in Kalimantan, wires

The Philippine government issues health warnings and ordered its hospitals to prepare for patients with breathing problems, as haze from Indonesian forest fires spreads to the capital, Manila.

The worsening haze from forest fires in Indonesia has forced president Jokowi Widodo to cut short his visit to the United States, as Jakarta steps up efforts to combat the blazes. (Credit: ABC)
Image: Thick haze from Indonesia’s forest fires blankets the city of Davao, southern Philippines

The Philippine government has issued health warnings and ordered its hospitals to prepare for patients with breathing problems, as haze from Indonesian forest fires spreads to the capital, Manila.

The department of health said the haze, caused by land-clearing fires on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo, could trigger respiratory tract infections and heart ailments.

Authorities confirmed that several provinces in Mindanao had a high-level of air pollution due to the haze, the Philippine Star said.

For nearly two months, vast plumes of smoke have drifted over large expanses of South-East Asia, disrupting transport, schools and business, and drawing outrage from neighbouring governments.

Indonesian authorities have confirmed more than 10 deaths from lung infections, local media reported, while more than half a million people have been treated for haze-related illnesses.

Nineteen people have died fighting the fires.

Indonesia’s lack of success in tackling the fires has provoked furious reactions in Malaysia and Singapore.

Earlier this month, Jakarta asked several countries, including Australia and Russia, for aid, equipment and personnel to help combat the fires.

Philippine president Benigno Aquino said Asian countries needed to give more assistance — not condemnation — to bring the thousands of fires under control.

Indonesia ‘failed to predict El Nino’s severity’

Indonesian security chief Luhut Panjaitan has been tasked by president Joko Widodo to handle Jakarta’s response to the disaster.

Mr Panjaitan said the country’s weather agency (BMKG) had failed to predict the extent of this year’s El Nino weather phenomenon.

What’s behind the haze?

Find out what is behind the choking smoke covering Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.

“I must admit there was a mistake in the BMKG forecast that didn’t predict El Nino this year would be worse than 1997. Our forecast was wrong,” he said.

On Monday, Mr Widodo cut short his trip to the United States to return home to deal with the crisis.

The government has deployed tens of thousands of troops and about 30 aircraft to extinguish the fires.

It has also begun sending warships to the worst-affected regions to prepare for large-scale evacuations if needed.

Fires are deliberately lit every year by farmers seeking to clear their land to plant crops, particularly palm oil and pulp and paper plantations, but this year’s blazes are on track to become the worst on record.

The first rains of the season are expected this week in Kalimantan and Sumatra, the two worst-hit regions, but they will not be enough to extinguish the fires.ABC

HEALTH


28) Cancer data in Fiji alarming
8:33 pm GMT+12, 27/10/2015, FijiCancer is responsible for 11 per cent of deaths in Fiji.

But of all cancers recorded by the Ministry of Health, Obstetrics and Gynaecology head of Department Dr James Fong said breast and cervical cancer accounted for 66 per cent. Dr Fong said the tragic part to those statistics was that the most prevalent cancers in Fiji were the ones that could be prevented.

Countrymeters.info records that Fiji has an average of 14 deaths per day — equivalent to about 5110 deaths in a year.

Of those 5110 deaths in a year, about 562 Fijians lose their lives to the sickness.

“Eleven per cent of deaths in Fiji are due to cancer and out of all the cancers that are registered, the two common cancers are breast and cervical. The tragedy is that these are the two cancers that have the most well defined prevention and early diagnosis strategy.”

He said those strategies were well written and proven to work.

Dr Fong said that was why it was so tragic to see they were still recorded as the majority because when compared with other cancers, the others were harder to prevent.

“These are the most preventable and prominent ones — that’s why we try all sorts of programs for awareness.”

He said the sad part was that some who got screened did not return for treatment.

SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

EDUCATION

29) University of Fiji joins UNAI

Shayal Devi
Wednesday, October 28, 2015

THE University of Fiji has joined higher learning institutes from across the world to become a member of the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI).

UNAI was established in 2010 by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

University vice-chancellor Prem Misir said to become a member of UNAI, universities had to be involved with certain academic research projects.

He said the research projects were based on issues the UN focused on for the millennium development goals.

Mr Misir said they would work to organise about two seminars on climate change, aimed at providing more awareness on the issue.

“We want to work with the UN to bring awareness to such issues and we want to help them in whatever way we can,” he said.

By becoming a UNAI member, the university is required to complete about one activity per year in support of 10 principles.

These include commitment to human rights, focusing on freedom of inquiry, opinion and speech.

Member organisations are also required to have a commitment towards equal educational opportunity, encouraging global citizenship through education and advancing peace and conflict resolution through education.Fijitimes

30) Fiji National University Vice Chancellor Steps Down

Two candidates shortlisted to replace Professor Rouse

By Losalini Rasoqosoqo

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Oct. 28, 2015) – The office of the Fiji National University vice-chancellor is vacant and two applicants have already been shortlisted for the post.

This follows the announcement made by Professor Ian Rouse yesterday that he was stepping down after acting in the post for 10 months.

While he is expected to return to his substantive position as dean of the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, FNU chancellor and chairman of the council Ikbal Jannif said an appointment was expected to be made by late November or early December.

Although Prof Rouse did not give a direct reason for leaving, he said acting in the position was rewarding but tiring as well.

“I have made a number of key changes this year — but there is a lot more to be done if we are to improve the quality and relevance of our teaching and learning programs, to develop our nascent research and development activities and to ensure that all students value the qualification and learning experience at Fiji’s national university,” Prof Rouse said in a statement.

He stressed that he had agreed to take on the role to help FNU progress through a difficult period.

He did not apply for the position nor had an intention to apply for it.

“My belief in this institution, the great potential it has and lovely people associated with this institution prompted me to take up this challenging role when I was approached by the former chancellor,” Prof Rouse said.

Meanwhile, Mr Jannif said the FNU council was grateful to Prof Rouse for acceding to the request of the then chancellor, Dr Mahendra Reddy.

He revealed the first round of interviews were held last Friday and the two shortlisted applicants would be invited to speak to the university community before their second round of interviews.

The new vice-chancellor will take up office early next year.

Fiji Times Online.

POLITIC

31) Papua New Guinea’s opposition files motion of no confidence against PM Peter O’Neill

Updated 28 October 2015, 20:20 AEDT
By Eric Tlozek in Port Moresby

Papua New Guinea’s opposition has formally given notice it will move a motion of no confidence in the government of prime minister Peter O’Neill.

A parliamentary committee will decide if and when the motion will be debated in parliament, but it is likely to be next week.

“Though small in number, the opposition believes in the values of quality leadership, so this notice is one of the primary duties of the opposition,” opposition leader Don Polye said

The prime minister, who is subject to an arrest warrant for official corruption, called the move “desperate and ambitious”.

“The country today faces huge challenges with El Nino and global economic conditions which require our parliament’s attention,” Mr O’Neill said.

“The 2016 budget will be presented next week and we should focus on that, not Somare and Polye’s ambition to crawl their way back into government.”

PNG’s parliamentarians sit for five-year terms, but several governments have fallen due to votes of no confidence.

The next election in PNG is not due until 2017.ABC

32) Five Independent MPs Join Solomon Islands Government
New ministers pledge support to PM Sogavare


By Charles Kadamana

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Oct. 28, 2015) – Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare last night welcomed members of the Independent Group into his fold in a ceremony held at Honiara Hotel.

The six Independent MPs joined the government following last week’s mass resignation of government ministers and backbenchers.

“I want to welcome and acknowledge members of the Independent Group for standing tall and putting the interest of the people first,” Mr Sogavare said when welcoming the six MPs.

“Their decision to join the government will ensure services continued to be delivered to our people,” he added.

“Tonight, we come together to make a commitment to each other in order to serve our people.”

The five newly appointed ministers will take their oaths in Government House at 10am today.

The Independent MPs are:

East Malaita MP Manasseh Maelanga; Deputy Prime Minister and Ministry for Home Affairs
Shortland MP Chris Laore; Minister for Forestry and Research,
Baegu-Asifola MP David Tome; Minister for Provincial Government and Institutional Strengthening
South Choiseul MP Elijah Doromuala; Minister for Commerce, Industries, Employment and Immigration,
North Malaita MP Jimmy Lusibaea; Minister for Infrastructure Development
West Honiara MP Namson Tran; Government backbencher

Mr Sogavare said the turbulence that rocked the nation in the last week was just part of the country’s journey that was punctuated by political instability.

He encouraged members of the Independent Group who are now part of the government to move the nation forward.

All members of the Independent, except West Honiara MP Namson Tran, have been given ministerial portfolios.

Their leader Manasseh Maelanga is the new deputy prime minister, replacing Douglas Ete.

Mr Maelanga said last night their decision to join the government was a collective one and was not influence by any financial inducements.

He said his group looked forward to serving the nation and its people.

Solomon Star

33) Vanuatu Opposition renews plea for PM to go

28 October 2015

The Vanuatu Opposition Deputy Leader, Ham Lini, is maintaining his call for the Prime Minister Sato Kilman to step down.

Mr Lini wants to form a Government of National Unity after the jailing of 14 MPs.

Mr Kilman’s is now a minority government and he has managed to fill just nine of the 13 cabinet portfolios.

In a statement, he says the President Baldwin Lonsdale, should dissolve Parliament and call a new election.

The opposition grouping is against an early election, citing the cost to the country.

President Lonsdale earlier set November 6th as the deadline to resolve the political crisis.

War of words heats up between Vanuatu parties

Mr Lini’s statement comes a day after his opposition leader Joe Natuman repeated an earlier call for Sato Kilman to resign.

Mr Natuman said Mr Kilman was to blame for any constitutional crisis that emerges.

A court has refused their application for bail while they wait for an appeal, meaning that half of Mr Kilman’s government remains in jail.

Mr Kilman has refused to step down, stressing that the convicted MPs have 14 days to appeal during which they remain Members of Parliament.

He even went as far as questioning the country’s justice system, asking whether justice was being done for everybody.

In his first public statement since the saga erupted earlier this month, Mr Kilman alleged cover-ups and interference by former leaders in cases ranging from an alleged rape, a fatal car accident and mutiny in the police and mobile force.

Mr Kilman’s office has also alleged some opposition members have admitted receiving bribes but have never been investigated.

But the opposition leader, Joe Natuman, says Mr Kilman is unashamedly holding on to power in defiance of public opinion and international norms.

This past week, he has appointed three new MPs as cabinet ministers.

However, Mr Natuman says the government remains a minority one, and Mr Kilman has two options.

“One is to work with the prime minister providing he step down, and we form a new government, and the other one is if he continues to refuse then we will come up with the numbers to remove him as prime minister.”

The president, Baldwin Lonsdale, has the power to dissolve parliament and call a snap election.

Mr Lonsdale is expected to chair a meeting with Mr Kilman and Mr Natuman to try and reach a solution later this week.

Probe closed

The police say there are no more investigations underway into MPs over alleged bribery.

Radio Vanuatu has reported police are starting investigations into three MPs who were given immunity from prosecution for their testimony in the recent bribery case.

A spokesman for the police Chief of Staff Kalshem Bongran says this is not the true and the reports are speculation.

The broadcaster reports the Prime Minister’s Office as saying there are still MPs whose cases must go to court despite their immunity under the Prosecutions Act for giving testimony in the recent bribery case.RNZI

34) Fiji Opposition Party Ironing Out Difference, Grievances
SODELPA General Secretary disputes reports of party in ‘disarray’

By Sikeli Qounadovu

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Oct. 28, 2015) – The Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) says it is slowly working on solving all differences and grievances within the party.

Party general secretary Pio Tabaiwalu said making public statements to the media about grievances within the party contradicted the party’s constitution.

He said they hoped to have all differences and grievances ironed out before the end of the year.

“If you make a media statement and it contradicts the policy of the party, it will need to be proven and if proven, then the party constitution comes into operation. So I cannot comment on whether it is right or wrong.”

When asked what were some of the grievances and differences they were looking at, Mr Tabaiwalu said: “Like every other party I know, there are some people who have some grievances whether it’s working conditions, whether it’s the boss, whether it’s the structure and they have the right to voice those grievances and those grievances should be taken care of within the parameters of the party.”

Mr Tabaiwalu apologised to its supporters for not solving their differences earlier as they had to wait for the management board to sit.

“I would really disagree with the report there is a disarray. There are disagreements and we are taking it within the party constitution and that’s what’s strong about the party.”

Fiji Times Online.

LAND

35) Lease, don’t sell says one of Vanuatu’s biggest farmers

28 October 2015

A wealthy businessman on Vanuatu’s Santo, Kuvu Noel, has called on landowners there not to sell their land but to lease it instead.

Mr Noel, who runs a 4,500 hectare cattle farm on the country’s largest island, says it pains him to see people selling their land so they can buy a car.

He has advised landowners to negotiate a partnership with potential investors to allow both parties to benefit from the deal.

Mr Noel says he asked his relatives to lease him his land and think of their children and their future generations.RNZI

36) Yala: Dept to sort land matters

Source:
The National, Wednesday October 28th, 2015

By HELEN TARAWA
THE Department of Lands and Physical Planning is the only legal authority that deals with both customary and state land matters, says National Research Institute director Dr Charles Yala.
He said therefore, there was no legal basis for compulsory customary land registration proposed by Communal Land Development Company.
“There is a state entity that’s dealing with all the land issues. We all are working with the Lands department,” he said in response to calls made by Communal Land Development Company.
Dr Yala said an Australian team had tried to do land registration and create boundaries without going through proper processes.
“We are all working with the Magisterial Services, State Solicitor’s Office and the Lands Department,” he said.
“We are a research body so once we do our findings, we advocate for change and the agent of changes is by the departments responsible. In this case, the Lands Department.
“Nobody has right over land administration in this country other than the Lands Department.
“So it’s important that customary land is still a sensitive issues and any form of misleading and misguiding is not good for everyone.
“We are critical of what we say and how we address issues. The last thing we want is to create disharmony and confusion.”
The Communal Land Development Company is incorporated under the Investment Promotion Authority to drive the interest of customary land law for the development of natural resources which should not be their job.

37) Illegal leases

Siteri Sauvakacolo
Wednesday, October 28, 2015

ILLEGAL subdivision of agricultural leases continues to be a major challenge for the Ministry of Lands.

As such, the ministry has set up Operation Savatia to address this issue.

Ministry of Lands deputy secretary Malakai Nalawa said the clean-up operation began early this year with the regularisation of informal settlements, mainly in the Western Division.

“There was a project that we initiated called the Harmonisation Project and it started in 2003, which entails the reconciliation of our records and database for each individual State lease and the information to be checked against what is there on the ground,” Mr Nalawa said.

“It was through that exercise that we found out that there were many agricultural leases within the peri-urban areas just immediately outside municipality boundaries and this is prevalent in Nadi areas where a lot of leasers are illegally subdividing their land and selling it out to prospective buyers without the knowledge of the Lands department.

“This is when we came back and we started to work on this last year to try and establish this Operation Savatia — meaning to clean up. This year, there was this Government policy on the regularisation of illegal squatter settlements and informal settlements to give them this security of tenure for 99-year leases.”

Mr Nalawa said some of those people had regarded those informal settlements as their villages and they even had their own colonies.Fijitimes

38) State land rent to meet market standards: Fiji’s Ministry of Lands

7:51 pm GMT+12, 26/10/2015, Fiji

Fiji’s Ministry of Lands is now in the process of reviewing current legislation to meet market standards.

This change will also see an increase in their annual revenue.

The Ministry of Lands admits it has outdated legislation that needs to be reviewed.

First up on their list are the state land leases and licenses regulation.

Deputy Permanent Secretary, Malakai Nalawa says that this has not been done for the past few years although the market price has changed a lot.

“If we can include in that regulation or authority to just conduct the land rent reassessment when we have missed out cabinet has directed us to come back and ask the views of the public,” Nalawa said.

At the moment the Ministry of Lands received more than 3 million dollars from the lease of state land and that figure will increase after this review.

“More than 4,000 leases we have missed out so we would like to re-assess it will pop up the annual revenue for government to 4 point something million so 1 point something million we are missing out so this is the purpose of our consultation.”

Nalawa says to be fair with what the market has in store this review needs to be done.

“If you put yourself in our shoes you being enjoying a lease re-assessment some 10 to 15 years they have been paying the same amount of rent and we have never been able to re-assess that rent which is in line with the market.”

Similar state land rent consultations will also be held throughout Fiji

SOURCED: FIJI TV/PACNEWS

BUSINESS

39) Bank gets 11,000 clients

Source:
The National, Tuesday October 27th, 2015

THE Kina Bank has more than 11,000 clients following its acquisition of Maybank in July, the bank says.
The bank revealed this in a report following its listing on the Port Moresby Stock Market, and the Australia Stock Market, in July.
It is in accordance with the timetable in the prospectus for Kina’s A$97 million (K200.3m) initial public offering.
“Kina is the emerging force in the rapidly growing PNG financial services sector,” the bank said. After the acquisition, Kina Group now operates:

The fourth largest bank in PNG – the largest wealth management business in PNG, with K5.3 billion in funds under  management;
one of the largest fund administrators in PNG, with more than 159,000 clients; and
The leading stockbroking  company in PNG.

The statement says the Maybank acquisition was completed for a purchase price of K353 million. As part of the completion process, the original purchase price was adjusted by an additional K12 million, with the variation due to changes in settlement arrangements, whereby Kina paid the purchase price to Maybank Group denominated partly in Papua New Guinea Kina and partly in US dollars.
The vendor therefore would assume currency risk, and Kina has agreed to progressively exchange the PNG Kina for the United States dollars at market rates over the next 12 months.
The adjustment to the terms of the acquisition would result in a slight increase in goodwill on the balance sheet of the merged entity, but would have no impact on earnings.
Kina remains confident of achieving the forecasts set out in the prospectus, including this year’s pro forma profit after tax of K45.3 million, and the anticipated dividend of K0.066 per share for the year ended December 31.

40) PNG has no trade policy
4:57 pm GMT+12, 26/10/2015, Papua New Guinea

For forty years, Papua New Guinea has not had a policy to govern its domestic and international trade.

This has, in return, affected most of the trade deals the country has, especially in terms of exporting our local products and produce.

This was revealed by Director – Trade Division of Department of Trade, commerce and Industry, Raphael Uranguai during the information session on the 11th European Development Fund Pacific Regional indicative program last Friday.

After concerns were raised on the high cost and low quality of local products, affected usually by the long processes and many a middle-man consultants, the country’s lack of drawing up a trade policy was much to be blamed.

He said top priorities under the trade related assistance project which are institutional realignment for a central facilitator and the other was the development of a trade policy to govern it.

“I’m sad to say that even though we are hosting the APEC 2018, we do not have a trade policy and our agenda is all over the place while all the other country which will be coming have their agendas which they are pursuing.”

He said that economy is the concept where trade is the tool for its development and the other was development of trade.

“Our Trade for the last forty years is not up to standard,” Uranguai said..

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

41) S&P ratings put Bank South Pacific in the negative
5:13 pm GMT+12, 27/10/2015, Papua New Guinea

The revised ratings issued by Standard & Poor’s on Papua New Guinea’s largest commercial bank, Bank South Pacific (BSP) has dropped from stable to negative.

However, economist and executive director of the Institute of National Affairs Paul Barker has clarified the rating is not an assessment of BSP’s own performance, which remains positive, but more an assessment of the market condition in which the bank operates.

Just weeks ago, Papua New Guinea’s rating had taken a tumble with S&P revising the economic outlook to negative on possible prolonged fiscal and external imbalances.

In releasing its ratings on the bank Tuesday, S&P said it would readily revise the BSP’s ratings back to stable if it is confident that anticipated budget measures would successfully allow the Government to gradually reduce fiscal imbalances and maintain lower debt levels and that PNG’s external position also improves.

It said from the outset that PNG’s financial institution face increasing risks stemming from increasing credit pressures on both the sovereign and broader operating environment as a result of lower global energy prices.

“We note that the rating action does not reflect important credit factors specific to BSP, which remain broadly unchanged in our view. Instead, the rating reflects our view that PNG’s resilience is under pressure from lower global energy prices, which in turn increases the risk within PNG’s banking system.

“We consider it unlikely BSP would be immune to increasing credit pressures on both the sovereign and broader operating environment. In the event that lower global prices lead to a lower rating for PNG’s sovereign rating, we would expect to lower our issuer credit rating on BSP to B from B+.

BSP chairman Sir Kostas Constantinou said: “S&P, in its report released on October 26 continued to affirm its ‘B+’ long-term and ‘B’ short term ratings outlook on the bank. At the same time, it had revised its long-term issuer credit rating outlook for Bank of South Pacific Ltd from stable to negative.”

He said the rating does not reflect any changes to credit factors specific to BSP, which remain broadly unchanged. However, S&P took into consideration similar issues which recently saw a revision of the outlook for PNG.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

42) World Class Resort, Casino To Open In Solomons Next Month

Coral Sea Resort and Casino coming to Honiara

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Oct. 28, 2015) – The Coral Sea Resort and Casino (CSRC) will open its doors for business in November and will officially launch in style at an exclusive VIP, invite only event on Saturday 5th December, followed by a public outdoor concert on the casino grounds on Sunday 6th December 2015, from 12pm – 5pm.

Set to be completed in three stages, the Coral Sea Resort and Casino has been architecturally designed to encapsulate the exotic surroundings and boosts spectacular views of the Pacific seaside.

Phase one consists of two state-of-the-art gaming floors which include 64 slot machines, Baccarat, Blackjack, Roulette and Pacific Poker tables on the main gaming floor, the Red Koi VIP room, a high-end restaurant and bar, and a deluxe swimming pool with breathtaking ocean views.

Delivering a unique and unforgettable dining experience, Haydn’s Steakhouse, will offer guests a superior service, dishing out premium beef cuts, as well as authentic local and international cuisine.

Food and Beverage Manager, Steve Cameron and Executive Head Chef, Richard Marshall describe Haydn’s Steakhouse as a “ground breaking” concept, saying “guests can expect nothing but excellence in service, quality produce and professional staff, perfect for intimate occasions or corporate events”.

Haydn’s Bar shall introduce and serve a delightful mix of cocktails, from James Bonds famous “Vesper Martini” to classic fresh mixes using local fresh fruits also offering guests a choice of premium spirits and an extensive international wine list.

Coral Sea Resort and Casino is an extraordinary new addition to Honiara and with the completion of phase two expected at the end of 2016, it will become the pinnacle tourism destination in the Pacific.

Proprietors will be flying in International multi-platinum artist and UK R & B Sensation Craig David to headline both launch events performing his world-re-owned TS5 show.

Plus crowd favorite, Conkarah will be flown in from Jamaica to deliver all his reggae hits and on the decks DJ Tuff Tumas from Vanuatu.

Concertgoers will of course be treated to a diverse range of local entertainment including performances from JAHBOY, OutKast and Unique dance crews, rapper Jeeno and more.

Everyone is invited to come along and become a part of Solomon Islands history celebrating the biggest and greatest launch event to take place in Honiara.

VIP tickets for the public launch are on sale now.

To view the concert from Haydn’s Restaurant purchase your ticket for $1,250.00 which includes a three course set menu with a two hour drink package, plus a bottle of house red and white wine on the table.

$725 buys you access to the pool and includes canapés and a two-hour drink package, $500 gives you access to Haydn’s Bar area and includes canapés and a two-hour drink package.

All VIP ticket holders will be given access to the Red Koi VIP Room for the duration of the event.

General Admission pre-sold tickets are just $125.00 for adults and $50.00 for kids and $150 at the door for adults.

GA Tickets will give you access to the public concert on the CSRC grounds and adults can access the main gaming floor.

To purchase your tickets to the event of the year, head to PAOA FM or contact Melanie on 7341147 or James on 7449273.

This will be sellout event, so get in early.

Solomon Star

43) Investors show interest in Fiji

Ropate Valemei
Tuesday, October 27, 2015

ILE

FIJI’S marketing arm has registered 228 foreign investment registration certificates (FIRC) from the 238 applications received in the past eight months.

Those, according to Investment Fiji, were valued at $722.56million with proposed employment of 2903.

The figures were highlighted by Investment Fiji acting investment manager Talica Ratulevu at the Nadi Chamber of Commerce and Industry business forum on Sunday.

Ms Ratulevu said they noted an increase of 39 per cent in applications being registered compared with the same period last year.

The services sector registered the highest with 110 projects, however, the electricity, gas and water supply sectors recorded the highest proposed value at $119.6m.

Investment Fiji facilitates big local investors in terms of business expansion and diversification of Fiji’s local businesses apart from the promotion of opportunities, exports and trade.

In the past eight months applications for FIRC, Investment Fiji noted an increase from 164 last year to 228 this year.

Ms Ratulevu said Investment Fiji recorded 29 projects, which were captured as “implemented” with a total value of $167.23m and 232 employment opportunities were expected to be created from those projects.

In addition to this, Investment Fiji noted 21 projects had reinvestments with a total value of $47.5m where implementation of foreign projects was either 12 or 18 months.

“The electricity, gas and water sectors recorded the highest proposed investment value at $199.6m followed by real estate at $173.7m, tourism third at $115.5m and fourth is manufacturing with $111.9m.”

From January to August, Ms Ratulevu said, they recorded the highest number of investors for China totaling 188 projects with a total proposed value of $177.1m.

“Local investors showed a marked increase from 50 projects last year to 88 this year with a proposed value of $7.4m last year to $75.4m this year for the same period.”

Those projects, she said, were normally given a timeframe of 12 months for implementation.Fijitimes

LAW&ORDER


44) PNG Attorney General’s application to restrain Police arrest fails
11:03 pm GMT+12, 27/10/2015, Papua New GuineaThe Supreme Court  today dismissed  Papua New Guinea’s Attorney General Ano Pala’s application to restrain the Police Commissioner and his agents arresting him.

Justice George Manuhu sitting as a single Supreme Court judge dismissed the ex-parte application saying the power of police to investigate and arrest should not be interfered with.

He said criminal matters do not recognize the status of a person in the community and being a minister and the Chief Legal advisor to the government is irrelevant.

In dismissing the application that went before him on Oct 19, Justice Manuhu said if the charge, Pala is facing is without merit, he can seek for remedy on damages in the civil court.

He added that criminal proceedings should not be stayed using civil proceedings as criminal proceedings have a higher standard.

Senior Committal Court Magistrate Cosmos Bidar issued the warrant of arrest against Pala at the District Court on July 11 last year.

Pala was charged with conspiring with others to defeat the course of justice in relation to the Paul Paraka Lawyers legal bills payments case last year.

In Nov 2014, Pala obtained stay orders at the National Court to temporarily stop that warrant of arrest that was issued against him however that stay was lifted on Aug 14.

On Aug 26, his lawyers filed a notice of motion before the Supreme Court seeking to restrain the police from arresting him.

The application was heard in court on Oct 19 and dismissed today.

Meanwhile, Assistant Police Commissioner (Crimes) Thomas Eluh has called on the Minister for Justice and Attorney General Ano Pala to hand himself in for questioning at the National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate office.

Eluh said Pala is the custodian of the law and the country’s principal legal advisor and should go in for questioning himself.

He also advised Pala’s lawyer after the Court’s decision to advise his client to hand himself in for questioning.

“He’s a national leader; he should lead by example and hand himself in.

“We cannot be going around looking to arrest a national leader,” Eluh said outside the Waigani Court house.

SOURCE: PNG LOOP/ PACNEWS

45) 3-year jail term for attack

Shayal Devi
Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A 26-YEAR-OLD Yasawa man has been handed a three-year jail term by the High Court in Lautoka for assaulting his 17-year-old de facto partner for smoking and drinking yaqona against his wishes.

The victim died in March this year, several days after being assaulted by the accused.

She died from bilateral bronchopneumonia and meningitis, which was caused by infected wounds.

The accused, Vilive Miramira, appeared before Justice Aruna Aluthge yesterday charged with one count of manslaughter.

While sentencing him, Justice Aluthge said the accused hit his partner using a coconut stem.

“Drinking grog and smoking are habits common in Fijian women and breach of rules imposed to control such habits in a male-dominated domestic environment should never pave way for unfortunate incidents like this,” he said.

“If the accused found those habits intolerable, he could have chosen other alternatives open to him without resorting to violence.”

Meanwhile, Justice Aluthge also reiterated the seriousness of spousal abuse.

“Spousal abuse is a major social problem in Fiji,” he said.

“It has economic consequences.

“Due to the importance and sanctity of the family in the social and cultural milieu in Fiji, there is still considerable under reporting of spousal abuse.”

A non-parole period of two years has been imposed.

He has 30 days to appeal against his sentence.Fijitimes

CLIMATE CHANGE,CONSERVATION,ENVIROMENT

46) UN Agencies Increase Response To PNG Drought
Public awareness campaign, assessments, logistical support

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Oct. 28, 2015) – As the effects of the widespread drought in Papua New Guinea deepen the United Nations Development Programme is increasing its support to the PNG Government.

The UNDP Country Director, Roy Trivedy, says they recognise that many communities are now becoming very distressed with the shortages of food and water.

He says his organisation is running public awareness campaigns to help people help themselves, assisting the government in assessments and logistics planning involving the World Food Program.

Mr Trivedy says another UN agency the Food and Agriculture Organisation has also been brought in.

“Who are working with Government to plan for the possibility, that even if we get rainfall sooner in some parts of the country, of course people are not naturally going to have seeds to plant, so how much support will people require for their longer term food security, even after the rains come.”

Radio New Zealand International

47) Australia’s Opposition To Visit Pacific, Highlight Climate Change

Party leader, deputy try to pressure government to do more

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Oct., 27, 2015) – The plight of Pacific island countries will move to the centre of political debate in Australia next week, with Australia’s opposition leader and senior shadow ministers visiting island nations at the frontline of climate change.

Opposition leader Bill Shorten, joined by his deputy Tanya Plibersek and shadow immigration minister Richard Marles, will undertake a four-day visit to Papua New Guinea, Kiribati and the Marshall Islands.

Oxfam’s regional director for the Pacific Raijeli Nicole said she was encouraged senior Australian politicians were visiting the Pacific to learn firsthand about the impacts of climate change.

“We hope they will use this opportunity to challenge the current Australian government to dramatically lift its game,” said Nicole.

“But Shorten also needs to commit his own party to taking far stronger action, should they form government.”

Despite having contributed almost nothing to global greenhouse emissions, many Pacific islanders face serious threats to their way of life.

Already, with warming of less than a degree, island communities are dealing with an increase in extreme weather events, changing rainfall patterns, sea-level rise, coastal erosion, coral bleaching and ocean acidification.

Nicole said that, for many island nations, climate change was increasingly a matter of survival.

“Australia must listen to Pacific voices in lead up to global climate talks in Paris,” said Nicole.

“We are telling you, unless Australia does more to tackle climate change, some of our island nations have no future. ‘We need to see a more ambitious plan for reducing carbon emissions. We need Australia to lead by example”.

Australia has the highest per capita emissions in the developed world.

The Australian government has faced sharp criticism from island leaders since announcing it planned to reduce emissions by 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2030. Even if achieved, this target would still place Australia as the highest per capita emitter in the developed world.

Marshall Islands Foreign Minister Tony de Brum said, if other nations followed Australia’s lead in global climate talks, the Marshall Islands and other vulnerable low-lying atoll nations would disappear.

“We also need to see a commitment to provide new and additional finance to help island nations adapt to the effects of climate change,” said Nicole.

“Germany, France and the UK have all made new commitments on climate finance in the lead up to the Paris negotiations, and Australia must do its share.”

At a high level meeting on climate induced migration held in the Kiribati earlier this month, Kiribati President Anote Tong emphasised that actions agreed in Paris would come too late to save his homeland.

He said the time had come to create new pathways for Pacific islanders to migrate abroad with dignity.

Nicole said it was in Australia’s interests to develop a policy framework as soon as possible that would allow for a well-managed outward-migration of people living in the most vulnerable island nations.

“People should not wait until there is a humanitarian emergency on Australia’s doorstep,” said Nicole.

‘The time to act is now.’

PNG Post-Courier

MNING,FORESTRY,AGRICULTURE,FISHERIES,TOURISM

48) Council grants tourism funds

Source:
The National, Wednesday October 28th, 2015

By ELIZABETH VUVU
THE East New Britain executive council has approved K38 million for tourism projects over the next two years.
Governor Ereman ToBaining Jnr said it was from the K58 million committed by the Government to Kokopo to become the country’s tourism hub.
The first K20 million, of which K3 million is left, was released in late 2014 and spent on tourism infrastructure development.
A report on the roll–out of the K30 million funds was presented to the executive council.
A council meeting last Saturday in Kokopo heard that the K38 million would be spent on tourism projects in the four districts of the province.
Projects include the improvement to wharves in Rabaul, Duke of York Islands, and Palmalmal in Pomio to cater for cruise ships.
The funding will also cover the Tokua Airport upgrading, supporting Air Niugini’s direct flights, support for the ENB Tourism Authority Board, the Baining cultural centre, ENB tourism master plan, Tourism Lodge on Pidgeon Island,Nakanai Ranges Track, support for the Kokopo-Tokua four-lane road and indoor sports stadium.

 49) New Caledonia Approves Export Of Nickel Ore To China

Single company allowed to export 300,000 tonnes in next 18 months

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Oct. 27, 2015) – The New Caledonian government has approved a single company’s bid to start exporting low-grade nickel ore to China.

The collegial government considered four applications but only authorised the company MKM to sell 300,000 tonnes of ore in the next 18 months.

The MKM bid was successful because of the support of the ministers of the pro-independence Caledonian Union, who abstained from endorsing the other three bids.

The head of MKM is close to the party.

Two weeks ago, the territory’s Congress narrowly backed calls to extend nickel ore exports to China – an issue at the centre of a three-week industrial conflict in August.

The nickel price has more than halved since early 2011, prompting calls to find new markets while others want to limit sales to hike the price.

Politicians in Noumea fear that industry-wide losses will this year exceed one billion US dollars, with setbacks affecting not only the territory’s three smelters but also subcontractors.

Radio New Zealand International

WOMAN,YOUTH,CHILD


50) Fijian among finalist of Commonwealth Youth Worker Awards 2015
4:58 pm GMT+12, 27/10/2015, United KingdomA Fijian national, Ioane Tupou Nawaikula – is among the National Finalists of the Commonwealth Youth Worker Awards 2015.

The awards celebrate outstanding youth workers from the 53 countries of the Commonwealth who have had a positive impact on young people.

Nawaikula is a youth development activist with the National Youth Council of Fiji who has worked to promote young people’s peaceful civic participation during elections.

Nauru Youth worker, Alpha Gwein Jose is the second finalist from the Pacific.

Jose is National Youth Co-ordinator for the Directorate of Youth Affairs in Nauru. He has worked to give vulnerable young people a sense of purpose and contributed to the social cohesion of the island.

The Commonwealth Youth Worker of the Year 2015 will be announced next week, during international Youth Work Week from 02 – 08 November.

The theme for Youth Work Week 2015 is Youth Workers Creating Paths to Peace, which acknowledges the exceptional contribution of youth workers in peacebuilding and social cohesion.

Katherine Ellis, Youth Director at the Commonwealth Secretariat, said: “Now in its fourth year as a global event, Youth Work Week puts the spotlight on youth workers whose contribution to society is often overlooked. These dedicated professionals help to foster connections and a sense of belonging among young people, which helps to build peace and prevent conflict, crime and violence.

SOURCE: COMSEC/PACNEWS

EVENT

51a ) PASIFIKA Film Fest 2015

Nov. 4th – Nov. 8th @ Fox Studios, Moore Park; Hoyts Blacktown & other nominated venues.

This dynamic newcomer on the Film Festival Circuit is spearheading a new wave of interest in all things Pasifika. In a few short years, a passionate determination to broaden the depth of understanding of our Island neighbours has taken the festival from the back-blocks of Marrickville to Fox Studios. Beyond the coconuts and kava lie the challenges of rising sea-levels, the fight for a free West Papua, gender issues and a rich tradition of story-telling based in timeless myth and ritual.

Don’t miss out on 5 days of features, shorts & documentaries, a 1953 classic with a play reading, Q&A’s, pre-screening entertainment, Pasifika refreshments, special guests and category awards.

For the program, previews, venue information, tickets, events & more, go to: Website: http://www.pasifikafilmfest.com/

51b) Where can you see TANNA in Australia? Here’s the current list.


NSW:

Sydney – Dendy Newtown – from 5 November
Casula – Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre – 6 November
Sydney – Moore Park @Pacifika Film Festival – 7 November
Blue Mountains – Mount Vic Flicks – 19-21 November
Orange – Odeon Cinema Orange – November 29 & December 3
Tamworth – Forum 6 Cinemas – December 13 & 16

VIC:
Melbourne – Cinema Nova & Sun Theatre – from 5 November
Bendigo – Star Cinema – from 5 November
Belgrave – Cameo Cinemas – from 5 November

QLD:
Brisbane – Regal Twin Boutique Art-House Cinema, Graceville – from 5 November
Cairns – Centre of Contemporary Arts Cairns – 22 November

WA:
Busselton – Orana Cinemas Busselton – 18 November
Geraldton – Orana Cinemas Geraldton – 18 November
Albany – Orana Cinemas Albany – 18 November
Kalgoorlie – Orana Cinemas Kalgoorlie – 18 November

TAS:
Hobart – State Cinema – 5 November
Launceston – Tramsheds Tasmanian Breath of Fresh Air Film Festival – 7 November

We’ll update this post as new events & cinemas are confirmed in Australia. See our Upcoming Events page for tickets and times.

Can’t see a cinema in your area playing TANNA? Ask them! It helps when cinemas know people want to see it, and we’d love to screen at your local cinema.

( Phil’s note:  Yes mi go watchem Tanna, lo Sydney Quay Dendy last sunday & mi enjoyem tumas, Mi meetim olgeta actors too…..Good promotion blo Melanesia….untouched Paradise blo yumi  / Translation – I when to see Tanna , the movie last sunday and enjoyed it very much, also met the Tannese film actors……for me the movie, bring back memories of my childhood in rural  Vanuatu in the 70’s! The audience 99% Caucasian, BUT it is a good promotion for our beautiful Melanesia the untouched Paradise.If you have a chance? Go and see Tanna …TEWIR !

SPORT
52) Fiji hockey is looking long-term post Oceania Cup28 October 2015

Fiji hockey believes it can continue to close the gap on Australia and New Zealand with better funding and more regular matches against the top teams.

The Pacific champions finished behind the Trans Tasman rivals at last week’s Oceania Cup, beating Samoa 11-1 in the bronze playoff.

Despite conceding a combined 29 goals against the Trans-Tasman big guns, men’s coach Shaun Corrie says the scorelines were a vast improvement on the last time the teams met and says his players learned a lot during the course of the week.

“It’s something that we want to come to and compete against the top teams – something that our country needs, our hockey needs – and we need to really get stuck into preparing for these now. We definitely need finances which are hard to get here in Fiji. We need to ensure that we build our development league – the juniors – and ensure that we have a strong base from which to feed into the national team. I think if we can do that over a period of time we will have stronger teams”.

Shaun Corrie says funding is an on-going struggle but he’s confident Fiji won’t have to wait another ten years to play against Australia and New Zealand.RNZI

53) $2.122m for Rio Olympics: Fiji FA
10:40 pm GMT+12, 26/10/2015, Fiji

The Fiji Football Association needs $2.122 million (US$1 million) to take the Vodafone Fiji Under 23 side to the Olympic Games next year.

Fiji FA Chief Executive, Bob Kumar says they have a tough task ahead to look for the money but the facilities handover by FIFA last week will help them to some extent.

“We will knock FIFA’s door and maybe Oceania’s door as well but we will do it as we go along.”

Fiji qualified for the Olympics after defeating Vanuatu 3-2 on penalty kicks in the final of the Oceania qualifier in July in Papua New Guinea.

The Olympics will be held in Rio, Brazil in August next year.

Meanwhile, Fiji Football President, Rajesh Patel says the inclusion of former Samoa international, Shaun Easthope as development officer is a boost for the association.

Easthope was appointed last week.

Patel says this will enable Fiji FA to further develop local players in the sport.

“Shaun is now the new development officer and is very well versed with it and it was an excellent choice as far as OFC is concerned and I think so Shaun will do a great job.”

Easthope plays as a midfielder and represented Samoa at 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

SOURCE: FBC SPORTS/PACNEWS

54) Fresh Fifa Oceania corruption claims: Bribes taken
8:54 pm GMT+12, 27/10/2015, New Zealand

A former Fifa official has thrown his weight behind claims that a bribe was paid to former Oceania football boss Charles Dempsey to help Germany win the 2006 World Cup.

The Scottish-born New Zealander, who died in 2008, was a central figure in the controversial vote in 2000 which awarded the tournament to Germany.

Former German football federation president Theo Zwanziger has provided German newspaper Bild with a Swiss court document, which he believes shows US$250,000 (NZ$398,000) was paid to Dempsey on the eve of the vote.

Zwanziger headed the German Football Association from 2006 to 2012, and was a member of Fifa’s executive committee from 2011 until leaving earlier this year.

The document came from the trial of executives from collapsed Swiss sports marketing company ISL, German news outlet Deutsche Welle reported.

Dempsey was not named on the document, which showed the money was transferred to an anonymous person referred to as “E16”.

Zwanziger is adamant “E16” was Dempsey – but didn’t give evidence to back up his claim.

The reports follow last month’s release of a book by investigative journalist Andrew Jennings, The Dirty Game: Uncovering the Scandal at FIFA, which alleged Dempsey was paid US$250,000 not to vote for South Africa, thereby awarding the tournament to Germany.

Dempsey declined to take part in the final round of the voting process. He had voted for England in the first two rounds but was under instruction to back the South African bid once England were eliminated from contention.

Instead, he abstained and left the vote at 12-11 in favour of Germany. Had the vote been tied, Fifa president Sepp Blatter, who had previously expressed his desire for football’s biggest tournament to be held on the African continent, would have held the deciding vote.

Dempsey denied accepting a bribe, telling journalists at the time he had been threatened by “influential European interests” that if he voted for South Africa there would be “adverse effects” for Oceania.

He denied accepting a bribe.

Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) secretary general Tai Nicholas and former All Whites coach Kevin Fallon both defended Dempsey, saying the book’s allegations were unfounded.

“Charlie was a millionaire. He bought new Jaguars and he travelled first-class, even when he wasn’t on Fifa business. He had no reason at all to sully his reputation by taking 400 grand.

“It’s very easy for people to make these allegations about someone who’s not here to defend himself.”

Fallon, who worked with Dempsey at New Zealand Football and the OFC, said the 2006 World Cup finals vote impasse was “a convoluted story” and he felt “someone has put two and two together and got five”.

The Swiss investigation revealed former Fifa officials received millions of dollars from ISL in exchange for marketing deals.

The German Football Association denies there was a slush fund behind its 2006 World Cup hosting bid.

The claim, which hit headlines earlier this month, is now under investigation by Frankfurt’s state prosecutor.

SOURCE: STUFF NZ/PACNEWS

55) Tonga’s Fetu’u Vainikolo up for award

28 October 2015

Tongan winger Fetu’u Vainikolo is a finalist for the International Rugby Players’ Association Try of the Year award.

The 30 year old is the ‘Ikale Tahi’s all time leading try scorer.

His effort against the USA during the Pacific Nations Cup started inside the Tongan 22, with Vainikolo collecting a Kurt Morath cross-kick and shrugging off four players to help his team to victory.

All Blacks winger Julian Savea has two tries on the shortlist, with French prop Vincent Debaty, Welsh flanker Justin Tipuric and Japan full-back Ayumu Goromaru also in contention.

The winner will be determined by guests at the World Rugby Awards in London this weekend.RNZI

56) Local players miss out in Samoa women’s sevens team

28 October 2015

Local players have missed out on the new-look Samoa women’s sevens team that will take the field this weekend.

The Manusina finished a dismal 11th of 12 teams at a World Series qualifying tournament in Dublin in August, including defeats to rugby minnows Brazil and Columbia.

All but three of that squad was based in Samoa.

Former Cook Islands men’s sevens coach Ramsey Tomokino has since taken charge on an interim basis in the lead-up to next month’s Olympic qualifying tournament in Auckland.

He says he had little choice but to select an entirely New Zealand-based squad to compete in this weekend’s New Zealand Women’s Sevens Series event in Taupo.

“We want to develop players in Samoa, and there are a couple of gems up in Samoa that could foot it quite easily with the girls that are based here, but they need local competition up there and until those structures are in place, which I know is on the radar and there’s going to be local competition for sevens and fifteens, then they’re always going to be behind the eight ball. There is capacity to have flown the girls down from Samoa, as part of the Oceania programme but they just haven’t fronted to training in Samoa so that’s the issue. Probably all of the will be New Zealand based – there are a couple of girls on the radar from Australia but logistics doesn’t really allow us to get a chance [as] they would have needed to get themselves over here to be seen to play”.

This weekend’s hit-out is being used as preparation for next month’s Olympic qualifiers, from which the winner goes to Rio and the next two best teams advance to a global repechage. RNZI

w: www.voiceofmelanesia.com

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