Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1135 ( Friday 6 November 2015 )


1) West Papuans’ survival in the balance

It’s believed that West Papuans are now a minority in their homeland, and many feel shut out of the economic expansion and democratic reforms Indonesia has experienced in the past decade.

They see Jakarta’s rule as a threat to the survival of their people and culture.

A separatist conflict has been simmering for decades, and the death toll is put in the hundreds of thousands by some estimates. Speaking out remains a dangerous activity in a place tightly-guarded by Indonesian military and police.

But the new Indonesian government says it’s making real efforts to help Papuans improve their lives, and has begun allowing foreign journalists to visit and see for themselves.

RNZI’s Johnny Blades and Koroi Hawkins took up the rare opportunity to visit the region.RNZI

2) Solomons reiterates West Papua support

5 November 2015

The Solomon Islands prime minister, Manasseh Sogavare, has assured a delegation from West Papua of his commitment to pushing for the region’s freedom from all forms of abuse and repression.

Mr Sogavare met with the eight-member delegation in his capacity as chair of the Melanesian Spearhead Group, which this year admitted the United Liberation Movement for West Papua as an observer.

He says West Papua’s admission as an observer is not the end, and he will continue to advocate for the West Papuans’ struggle.

Pointing to the decision of the Pacific Islands Forum to send a fact-finding mission to Papua, Mr Sogavare says the region must continue peaceful dialogue to find a lasting solution for West Papua.RNZI

3) Jail term sought for New Caledonia’s Martin

5 November 2015

The trial of New Caledonia’s former president, Harold Martin, has ended, with the prosecution demanding he be jailed for three years for favouritism over the awarding of a US$29-million contract.

Mr Martin had been charged four years ago after it transpired that as board chairman of the publicly owned OPT telecommunications company, he defied other board members in favour of a company of a close associate, Jean-Marc Bruel.

The awarding of contract was also challenged by a rival bidder, Societe Generale, whose lawyer says nothing was done normally in this process.

The prosecutor says Mr Martin is guilty of betraying his public mandate and apart from being jailed, he should be deprived of his civic rights fro five years and be fined 80,000 US dollars.

He has requested the same sentence for Mr Bruel.

The OPT lawyer says like in a banana republic, there are mischievous links in New Caledonia where once in power, one profits.

Mr Martin’s defence lawyer has requested his client’s acquittal, saying if doesn’t happen now, it will on appeal, or once the matter is taken to France’s highest court.

The verdict is due on Monday.RNZI

4) Vanuatu opposition considers legal action against speaker

5 November 2015

The opposition group in Vanuatu says it is considering legal action against the acting speaker of parliament for refusing to call a sitting this afternoon to debate the 2016 budget.

An opposition MP Ralph Regenvanu has rejected a statement by Samson Samsen, who said he needed more time to consult the prime minister.

Mr Regenvanu says the pair are just trying to buy more time for the beleaguered government after the jailing of 14 government MPs convicted of bribery last month.

He says he does not see why the Prime Minister is stalling, given the fact that the opposition doesn’t have the numbers to force a motion of no confidence.

“The speaker, the first deputy speaker has already responded saying that he has to consult with the prime minister so we have to decide now whether we are going to go to court and if we are, what we will be asking for in terms of the calling of the parliament. We have to consider the appeal that is ongoing as well before we make any decision in regards to how we are going to approach the court in this matter.”

Mr Regenvanu also says the President Baldwin Lonsdale has withdrawn tomorrow’s deadline for politicians to sort out the impasse, deciding it’s more appropriate to wait for Monday’s appeal hearings of the 14 jailed MPs.RNZI

5) Vanuatu speaker turns down opposition request

5 November 2015

The acting speaker of Vanuatu’s parliament says he will not bow to pressure from the opposition group to call a sitting of parliament this afternoon.

Samson Samsen’s statement is in response to an ultimatum issued by the opposition earlier in the week threatening legal action if parliament was not convened today to pass the 2016 budget.

The parliament remains in a deadlock after the jailing of 14 government MPs convicted of bribery last month.

The opposition doesn’t have enough members to force a motion of no confidence.

One opposition MP Ralph Regenvanu says the budget should be passed as soon as possible to allow government services to continue if the political impasse cannot be resolved and the country’s President, Baldwin Lonsdale, decides to dissolve parliament.

However, the acting speaker of parliament says he will only call parliament after consultations with the Prime Minister’s office and the confirmation of a formal agenda for the sitting.

The president has given the politicians until tomorrow to resolve the crisis.RNZI


6) American Samoa governor decries global politics

5 November 2015

American Samoa’s Governor Lolo Moliga says he believes the territory is a victim of US global politics as its canneries face an uncertain future.

Starkist, which is the top private sector employer, says it may shift its tuna production from American Samoa to counter rising operating costs.

The governor says there have been major changes in the economics of the fishing industry that are beyond the territory’s control.

He says all he can do is try to make those in Washington understand how their policies are impacting American Samoa.

The governor says the canneries, StarKist and Tri Marine, knew when they made their investments in their local plants that an increase in the minimum wage was coming.

Governor Lolo recognises that the canneries are competing with countries where people are paid one US dollar or less an hour.

Starkist says it has stopped hiring new staff as it is considering its options.RNZI

7) Court to issue trial decision

Thursday, November 05, 2015

A DECISION was expected yesterday from Cook Islands Chief Justice Thomas Weston on whether the former cabinet minister Teina Bishop will face a high court trial on bribery.

For the past two years Cook Islands police have been investigating allegations of suspect dealings between Mr Bishop and foreign fishing company Luen Thai.

For the first time in the country’s history the Commissioner of Police Ma’ara Tetava sought leave to prosecute the former minister of marine resources on bribery charges.

Under Cook Islands law, leave to prosecute a Member of Parliament is required from a High Court judge.


8) 120 CNMI Soudelor families still homeless

5 November 2015

About 120 families on Saipan in the Northern Marianas are still homeless three months after Typhoon Soudelor laid waste to the island.

The Department of Public Works says it is considering the use of abandoned homes as a temporary solution for those left homeless.

Many people waitlisted for the construction of their homes have been told the wait will extend into next year because of the dearth of contractors on Saipan.RNZI

9) Rights under scrutiny

Thursday, November 05, 2015

THERE have been calls for Nauru to improve its treatment of asylum seekers at a meeting of the UN.

Nauru is undergoing its second review of human rights by the UN Human Rights Council.

At a meeting in Geneva yesterday several countries made recommendations to Nauru.

Recommendations included an end to the regional resettlement arrangement and the introduction of measures to deal with violence against women.

Concern was raised by several countries about freedom of expression, access for journalists and the treatment of Opposition MPs.

Nauru’s delegation which was led by the Minister of Justice David Adeang said asylum seekers were now free to move around the island and it pledged to submit delayed reports within the month.


10) Braid prais i save kamapim vailans agensim ol meri: Monica Paulus

Postim 5 November 2015, 14:38 AEDT
Caroline Tiriman

Wanpela human raits meri long Papua New Guinea i tok braid prais oa pasin blong baem meri na pasin bikman isave halvim ol man long kamapim vailans egensim ol meri long Papua New Guinea.

Odio: Monica Paulus, wanpla Human rights difender long Simbu Provins i toktok
Monica Paulus, wanpla Human rights difender long Simbu Provins i mekim despla toktok bihaenim wanpla bikpla ripot blong Human Rights Watch em oli bin tokaut long en long Sydney long Trinde.

Emi tok pasin blong kilim nating ol meri bihaenim ol tokwin olsem oli Sanguma meri iwok long kamap bikpla tru nau long kantri.

Ms Paulus itok tu olsem pasin we ol polis na loa ino save givim strongpla mekimsave long ol man husat isave kilim ol narapla bihaenim tok win blong Sanguma i save helpim tu ol man long go hed na bagarapim na kilim ol meri.ABC

11) Crown-of-thorns Starfish i bagarapim ol rif

Updated 5 November 2015, 15:09 AEDT
Caroline Tiriman

Wanpla yangpla meri sumatin blong Papua New Guinea husat iwok long mekim ol painimaut long despla samting em oli kolim crown-of-thorns starfish we emi save kaikaim ol coral long ol reefs i kisim pinis  $US10,000 ikam long World Wildlife Fund oa WWF.

Pamela Kamya husat ikam long Siasi Island na emi skul nau long Southern Cross University long New South Wales long lukluk long wari blong Climate Change na ol heve em bai kamapim long ol pis na ol narapla samting long solwara.

Emi bin statim despla skul long 2012 long kisim bikpla mak na save oa PhD long hau climate change bai kamapim heve long ol samting long solwara na tu long ol komiuniti long PNG, Australia na ol narapla ailan kantri long Pacific rijan.

Pamela i bin statim skul blong en long National Marine Science Centre long Coffs Harbour long 2012 bihaen long en ibin kisim wanpla scholarship ikam long AusAID em nau oli kolim long DFAT.ABC


12) Jutaan Dolar Dana Royalti Pertambangan Masyarakat Aborijin NT Dikorupsi

Terbit 5 November 2015, 4:16 AEDT
Alison McClymont,Kate Wild dan tim

Uang jutaan dolar dari royalti pertambangan yang seharusnya ditujukan untuk memberdayakan komunitas Aborijin di Groote Eylandt dikorupsi pejabat pengelola dana. Dana tersebut dibelikan ratusan mobil dan kapal dan berjudi di kasino.

Alih-alih digunakan untuk meningkatkan kemajuan masyarakat Aborijin di Groot Eylandt, ternyata dana royalty itu digunakan untuk membeli 156 mobil dan kapal, lemari es, tongkang, perjudian di kasino dan menyewa pesawat.

Bab terakhir dalam kisah korupsi yang luar biasa digelar di Mahkamah Agung Darwin, Senin.

Mantan pegawai publik di Dewan Dana Aborijin Groote Eylandt (GEAT), Rosalie Lalara, sebelumnya telah mengaku bersalah menggelapkan hampir $500.000.

Permohonan jaminannya ditolak dan kini perempuan Aborijin ini mendekam di penjara menungu putusan hakim Mahkamah Agung Darwin.

Total dana senilai $34 juta atau sekitar Rp328 miliar lebih telah menghilang dari rekening GEAT antara tahun 2010 hingga 2012 dan hanya menyisakan uang sebesar $400.000 atau kurang dari Rp4 miliar saja di rekening tersebut.

Meskipun Lalara telah mengaku bersalah atas sebagian kecil dari jutaan dollar dana yang hilanga itu, namun apa yang sebenarnya terjadi dengan sisa dari dana tersebut tetap menjadi misteri.

Sejumlah orang yang terlibat dalam kasus ini mengatakan hanya sedikit dari dana tersebut yang digunakan untuk keperluan membangun perumahan, pendidikan atau kebutuhan masyarakat.

Jacqueline Lahne yang diangkat menjadi manajer operasi interim di GEAT ketika dana tersebut dimasukkan ke dalam administrasi pada tahun 2012.

“Kesan awal saya adalah ada sekelompok warga di Groote Eylandt yang hidup layaknya seperti bintang rock terkenal,” katanya.

“Mereka menyewa pesawat, ada kendaraan yang menjemput di bandaram mereka punya banyak kendaraan dan kapal sendiri. Mereka memiliki akses ke uang yang tidak terbatas untuk membiayai gaya hidup mereka dan juga keluarganya,”

Groote Eylandt, merupakan kawasan terpencil di Pulan Arnhem Land di Northern Territory.

Kawasan ini menghasilkan uang jutaan dollar setiap tahun dari royalty yang diberikan oleh perusahaan tambang mangan di dekat kawasan South32.

Sejak tambang itu beroperasi tahun 1960, badan pengelola dana royalty itu telah menerima lebih dari $200 juta uang pembayaran royalti tersebut.

Pada tanggal 12 Maret 2012 lebih dari 500 orang penduduk setempat menandatangani petisi yang dikirim ke Jaksa Agung Northern Territory dan mengatakan
“Uang royalti jutaan dolar telah terbuang percuma dan marak dikorupsi… dan tidak ada tindakan apapun karena takut dengan ketentuan retribusi “.

Pemerintah kemudian turun tangan dan menunjuk manajer hukum untuk mengelola badan pengurus dana royalty itu.

Lahne bekerja bersama manajer hukum itu dan mengaku sangat terkejut ketika dia tiba di Groote Eylandt.

“Saya kira setelah sekian lama menerima royalty dalam jumlah yang sangat besar maka saya akan menjumpai ada infrastruktur yang lebih baik di pulau itu ada sarana pelayanan kesehatan lokal yang lebih baik, lembaga dukungan yang lebih baik dan mungkin lembaga pengelola dana itu telah berinvestasi tapi ternyata bukti-bukti seperti itu tidak ada,” katanya.

Lahne mengaku hanya ada sedikit bukti yang menunjukan kalau dana royalty itu sudah dialokasikan kepada lebih dari 1800 orang warga Aborijin di Groote Eylandt yang seharusnya menikmati dana royalty tersebut.

Dokumen pengadilan dalam kasus yang berbeda yang melibatkan Lalara menunjukan bahwa ia telah membeli 156 mobil dan kapal dengan total harga mencapai $5 juta.

Sebuah tongkang dan real estate di Cairns juga dibeli dengan uang milik komunitas. Pengadilan juga mendapati bukti berupa dokumen-dokumen uang  cek tunai dengan nilai total sebesar $3,5 juta tertulis dari akun dana royalty itu dan dengan curang dituliskan sebagai biaya pemakaman.

Dalam dokumen pengadilan dalam proses sipil terhadap Darwin Skycity kasino, Lalara juga dituduh berjudi hingga lebih dari $1 juta dengan menggunakan dana royalti tersebut.

Namun bukti-bukti itu hanya sebagian kecil saja dari dana royalty masyarakat Groote Eylandt yang hilang, sisanya sebesar $33 juta masih belum diketahui penggunaannya,

Lahne mengatakan uang jutaan dollar itu tidak dapat dipertanggungjawabkan akibat pencatatan yang buruk oleh GEAT.ABC


13a) Brèves du Pacifique – jeudi 5 novembre 2015

Mis à jour 5 November 2015, 15:54 AEDT

Élodie Largenton

  • La Nouvelle-Zélande pourrait facilement accueillir deux fois plus de réfugiés qu’aujourd’hui, estime le service de l’immigration. 
Wellington s’apprête à ouvrir ses portes à 750 réfugiés syriens en plus des 750 personnes qu’elle accueille chaque année. Une décision ponctuelle qui pourrait être transformée en dispositif pérenne : le pays a la capacité d’héberger plus de 1 500 réfugiés par an dans le centre Mangere, et la population a envie d’aider, déclare Steve McGill, le directeur du service de l’immigration.
  • L’état de catastrophe naturelle est prolongé aux Îles Mariannes du nord, trois mois après le passage du cyclone Soudelor. Certains services publics du territoire ne sont toujours pas accessibles et le courant n’a pas encore été totalement rétabli dans l’île de Saipan, même si c’est en bonne voie. Autre point positif : après s’être consacrés à réparer leurs maisons, les habitants recommencent à aller au travail.
  • Le Robinson Crusoé français arrêté aux Kiribati en mai dernier vient d’être condamné à 22 mois de prison et 4 400 dollars d’amende. Lydéric Morlier a été reconnu coupable de plantation de cannabis, de trafic de drogue et d’avoir vécu sur une île inhabitée de l’archipel sans autorisation. Lorsqu’il a été arrêté par les autorités i-Kiribati sur l’atoll de Millenium, cela faisait environ 10 mois qu’il vivait seul, en autarcie totale. C’est en bateau qu’il était arrivé dans cet atoll situé à 1 500 km au sud des Îles Hawaï.
  • Aux Îles Cook, l’opposition dénonce un accord signé par le gouvernement avec des entreprises de pêche espagnoles. Cet accord permet à quatre thoniers senneurs espagnols de pêcher dans les eaux des Cook pendant quatre ans. La pêche à la senne est destructrice, dénonce le parti démocrate.
  •  Une Française se lance un défi fou en Australie : parcourir 5 300 kilomètres à dos de brumbies, ces chevaux sauvages australiens. Il a fallu un an à Aliénor Le Gouvello pour recueillir les fonds nécessaires, et six mois pour capturer et débourrer les chevaux. Elle est désormais prête à partir pour une aventure qui devrait durer plus d’un an, et la mener à travers 18 parcs nationaux. Le climat, les feux de forêts et les animaux comme les crocodiles sont les principales difficultés qui l’attendent. Elle devra aussi trouver sa route seule, sur un chemin très peu balisé. Seules 35 personnes ont réussi à finir ce parcours immense à travers l’Australie jusqu’à présent, et Aliénor Le Gouvello est la première à tenter l’aventure à cheval.ABC

David Beckham en Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée

Mis à jour 5 November 2015, 16:01 AEDT

Élodie Largenton

Le ministre papou des Sports, Justin Tkatchenko, ne cache pas sa joie : David Beckham a choisi de commencer sa nouvelle aventure à Mount Hagen, dans la province des Hautes-Terres occidentales. L’ancienne star du football réalise une tournée pour l’Unicef, le Fonds des Nations unies pour l’enfance, à travers 7 pays différents.
Plus précisément, le légendaire numéro 7 britannique joue 7 matches en 7 jours dans 7 endroits différents, à commencer donc par la Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée. Deux équipes locales de deux villages ont disputé un match avec l’ancien joueur de Manchester United et du Real Madrid. Et certains ne réalisent pas la chance qu’ils ont, concède le ministre des Sports :
« Beaucoup d’entre eux ne savent pas qui est ce type et à quel point il est célèbre. Mais ceux qui ont accès aux réseaux sociaux et qui jouent au foot, et qui aiment ce sport, sont hyper contents. Il y en a qui attendu devant son hôtel pour avoir des autographes, et il a été très sympa avec tout le monde. »
Justin Tkatchenko le reconnaît, le football n’est pas un sport très populaire en Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée. Il espère que cette visite va contribuer à changer la donne :
« On est très fier que David Beckham soit venu ici, surtout qu’en novembre 2016, on accueillera la Coupe du monde féminine de football des moins de 20 ans, donc ça tombe très bien qu’il soit là pour faire la promotion du football, sa promotion à lui et aussi celle de la Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée. »
Avant de s’envoler pour sa prochaine étape, le Népal, David Beckham a visité l’hôpital de Mount Hagen.
Ce projet fera l’objet d’un documentaire de la BBC, intitulé Pour l’amour du jeu.ABC
Brèves du Pacifique – mercredi 4 novembre 2015
Mis à jour 4 November 2015, 16:49 AEDT

Élodie Largenton

La Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée vient d’annoncer son budget 2016, un budget de crise. 

Les autorités avaient estimé que le secteur minier rapporterait près de 800 millions de dollars cette année. Une estimation très fortement revue à la baisse : 140 millions de dollars. Des coupes budgétaires sont donc prévues pour compenser ces pertes, mais les secteurs de la santé, de l’éducation et des infrastructures devraient être épargnés.
  • Le changement climatique, c’est une réalité pour les trois quarts des Australiens. C’est le résultat d’une étude réalisée par le CSIRO, l’Institut de recherche scientifique et industrielle. Malgré ce consensus, les Australiens apparaissent très divisés : seules 28% des personnes qui votent pour le parti libéral pensent que l’activité humaine est la cause du changement climatique, contre 58% de sympathisants du parti travailliste.
  • Les Nations unies demandent une nouvelle fois à Nauru de mieux traiter les demandeurs d’asile. Lors d’un examen de la situation par le conseil des droits de l’homme de l’Onu, la nuit dernière, Nauru s’est vu demander de mettre un terme à l’accord de réinstallation des réfugiés qu’elle a passé avec l’Australie. L’île est aussi priée de lutter contre les violences faites aux femmes. Plusieurs pays s’inquiètent, en outre, des mesures prises par le gouvernement nauruan pour restreindre la liberté d’expression, empêcher le travail des journalistes et faire taire l’opposition parlementaire. Le ministre de la Justice de Nauru, David Adeang, répond que les demandeurs d’asile sont libres de se déplacer dans l’île. Il promet de remettre les rapports demandés par l’Onu d’ici un mois.
  • Retour triomphal des All Blacks en Nouvelle-Zélande. Les rugbymen néo-zélandais ont atterri ce matin à l’aéroport d’Auckland, après avoir remporté la coupe du monde en Angleterre. À peine descendus de l’avion, Richie Mc Caw et les siens ont été accueillis par 4 000 supporteurs vêtus de noir. Ils ont ensuite défilé dans les rues de la plus grande ville du pays. Et pour ne pas faire de jaloux, les rugbymen iront présenter la coupe Webb Ellis aux supporteurs de Christchurch demain, et de Wellington vendredi.ABC


14) Coalition MP Andrew Broad not convinced about need for GST change

Updated 5 November 2015, 22:15 AEDT
By political correspondent Sabra Lane and Julia Holman

Victorian Nationals MP Andrew Broad says he is yet to be convinced of the merits of changing the GST, after the PM and Treasurer continued their push for reform.

IA Coalition MP says he is yet to be convinced of the merits of changing the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Treasurer Scott Morrison today continued to push the need for tax reform at the Economic and Social Outlook Conference in Melbourne.

While no details were released, it is expected that any future tax package will include modifications to the GST.

However, Nationals MP Andrew Broad said he was apprehensive about the idea of changing the controversial tax.

“I think the thing you have to focus on is what do you want to achieve [with tax reform],” Mr Broad told 7.30.

“If the focus should be that people have to get a job, and people have got to be able to afford a house, then you frame your taxation around that.

“And I think lifting the GST doesn’t achieve either of those ends.”

Mr Broad, who represents the north-western Victorian seat of Mallee, said any rise to the GST rate or a broadening of its base would have to be offset by compensation to those receiving welfare.

He said higher welfare payments could discourage people from looking for work.

“I look across at my electorate, and I listen to the arguments around the GST,” he said.

“The argument is you can put the GST up and then you could compensate the ‘poor’, so to speak, by giving them more welfare.

“And if you think that a third of our total budget is already being spent on welfare, we are only perpetuating that welfare mentality.

“What we’ve got to do is actually get people working.”

Some of the proposed changes to the GST include raising the rate to 15 per cent or broadening it to include more food, health services and education.

However, Mr Broad said that would not benefit people in his electorate.

“I would be very apprehensive about the broadening of the GST, because in my electorate we have life expectancies that are lower — up to nine years lower than some areas in Sydney,” he said.

“We are a food-producing electorate that is trying to produce fresh food for the Australian people.

“And also our educational aspirations are lower because of the cost of education.

“So, I think we need to be very careful that we don’t broaden [the GST] to a point where we have negative consequences with some of the aspirations for our kids, some of our health outcomes and for some of our fresh food markets.”

While he opposes changes to the GST, he supports the Government’s approach to tax reform.

“I’m actually really comfortable where the debate is flowing at the moment,” Mr Broad said.

“This idea that we’ve all got to think the same is wrong, and I think it shows that the Coalition, which is the Nationals and the Liberals, is very alive to addressing the challenges of everyday Australians and having this discussion in the public domain.”

Put more GST on more food items

Currently the GST does not apply to items determined to be “basic food”.

This includes fresh produce, as well as packaged food such as bread, breakfast cereals, some beverages and dairy products.

However, Nationals senator John Williams has suggested broadening the base on the GST to include more food items.

He said it would be in exchange for the states removing payroll tax, which he described as a “terrible tax” that curbed employment.

“It’s quite strange now the GST on food,” Senator Williams told 7.30.

“My wife went shopping on Monday, we had a look at the invoice. We paid GST on a tub of ice-cream, we didn’t pay GST on a tub of yoghurt.

“So what I’m saying is we need to do the figures, get Treasury to do the figures, and see what the cost would be to the states to abolish payroll tax to see how much money is needed to get rid of that tax.”

Senator Williams has opposed any rise to the GST rate, but was open to the idea of putting it on all food as long as there was adequate compensation for pensioners and low-income earners.

But he acknowledged it would be difficult to convince the electorate to accept taxing all food.

“It’ll be a tough debate, and it could be politically dangerous debate,” he said, “but, I think we need to have the discussion to do what’s right for the future of our country to let businesses grow, employ more people instead of taxing them.”ABC

15) AG meets Ciobo to discuss investment and trade –
Attorney General and Minister for Finance Aiyaz Sayed‑Khaiyum met with Australia’s Minister for International Development Steven Ciobo yesterday to discuss investment and trade opportunities between Fiji and Australia. They also discussed collaboration between the two countries in the areas of seasonal work, human resources and commercial growth.

 16) Australia provides $16.2M to refit Fiji Patrol Boats – Australia has provided a substantial assistance of $16.2 million to refit and support Fiji’s Pacific Class Patrol Boats. This package will cover the next three years and it will include facilitating Fiji’s access to Australian Pacific Patrol Boat parts providers, funding the remaining elements of the refit for the Republic of Fiji Naval Ship Kikau and supporting a slipping and upgrade of the ship Kula. Acting Commander of RFMF, Viliame Naupoto says this package is a significant investment in Fiji’s maritime capability.


17) SWP boosts Pacific economies

Vuniwaqa Bola-Bari
Thursday, November 05, 2015

THE Seasonal Worker Program (SWP) is an employment program which contributes to the economic development of countries across the Pacific by providing access to work opportunities in the Australian agricultural and accommodation industries.

This was the response from a spokesperson from the Australian High Commission in Suva after a report was released by the Australian Online Training stating that “the program which was introduced by the Australian Government to help improve livelihoods of Pacific communities by offering citizens seasonal work in Australia has so much more potential but because it is exclusively ’employer-driven’, it lacks enticement”.

“The Australian Government also has to have a genuine willingness to make it work fairly and that remains one of the core problems,” the report said.

“We have employers ready to recruit from Fiji in two of the four sectors but the costs and benefits of tapping into the SWP are grossly unfavourable for the employers when the program itself is employer-driven.

“Australian Government must provide real benefits like tax concession periods or wages subsidies for participating employers so they can be truly enticed towards using this program for their seasonal demands.

“Currently, most use the Work Holiday Visa program for their labour needs which is around 80,000 workers arriving to Australia with far less restrictions from employer and employee aspects.”

In response, the High Commission spokesperson said more than 50 Fijian workers participated in the program so far, with many more expected to take up opportunities over the coming months.

“The program is demand-driven. Employers seek out workers in collaboration with participating countries,” the spokesperson said.Fijitimes

18) Pacific islands make last-ditch plea to world before Paris climate change talks – Amid the rustling palm trees, blissed newlyweds and colourful attire of a tropical island resort, Pacific leaders have been getting blunt with wealthy nations about the unfolding calamity of climate change that is gradually gnawing away their remote idylls. At a summit in Fiji last week, the last major gathering of Pacific island nations before crunch UN climate talks in Paris next month, islanders thrashed out their collective plea to the world to help address the health impacts of climate change, particularly upon women, infants and adolescents. Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, Fiji’s foreign minister, said the country was dealing with the re-emergence of climate-influenced diseases such as typhoid, dengue fever, leptospirosis and diarrhoeal illnesses. Last year, a dengue outbreak in Fiji infected 20,000 people. But the meeting also showed that Fiji, for one, is not pulling any more punches with large, industrialised nations it sees as culpable for climate change. “We in the Pacific are innocent bystanders in the greatest act of folly of any age,” said Fijian prime minister Frank Bainimarama. “Unless the world acts decisively in the coming weeks to begin addressing the greatest challenge of our age, then the Pacific, as we know it, is doomed.

19) US give climate change aid to Pacific

5 November 2015

The United States says it is providing US$5 million dollars for a Pacific climate change strengthening project.

The US Ambassador to Fiji, Judith Cefkin, made the announcement during the Pacific Community Conference underway in Niue.

Pacnews reports the money, to be allocated over five years, will go to an initiative called the Institutional Strengthening in Pacific Island Countries to Adapt to Climate Change.

Ms Cefkin says it aims to strengthen capacity to help the effective planning, co-ordinatiion and response to climate change.RNZI

20) Fiji pulls China up on coal use

5 November 2015

Fiji’s Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama has appealed to China to stop using coal and use more hydroelectric and solar power.

His appeal came in a speech marking 40 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Mr Bainimarama says Fiji is looking to China to support Pacific island countries in their stand at next month’s climate talks in Paris

The countries are calling for emissions to be lowered to the point where global temperatures would not increase more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Mr Bainimarama says Fiji looks to China as a global leader and has asked it to side with Fiji in its struggle to persuade industrialised nations to drastically cut carbon emissions.

His remarks came at the end of a speech which praised China as a “steadfast ally” when traditional partners ‘turned their backs” on Fiji.RNZI


21) Justin Trudeau sworn in as new Canadian PM, reveals diverse, gender-equal cabinet

Updated 5 November 2015, 11:25 AEDT

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau names a young, ethnically diverse and gender-equal cabinet as he is sworn into office as Canada’s 23rd prime minister.

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau speaks to the crowds outside Rideau Hall after the Cabinet’s swearing-in ceremony in Ottawa. (Credit: Reuters)

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau named a young, ethnically diverse and gender-equal cabinet as he was sworn into office as Canada’s 23rd prime minister, marking the end of nearly a decade of Conservative rule.

Mr Trudeau, 43, kicked off his majority government with some controversy with his decision to name an equal number of men and women to a slimmed-down cabinet, the first time gender parity has been achieved in Canada’s team of ministers.

The cabinet, 30 ministers plus Mr Trudeau himself, included rookie politician and corporate executive Bill Morneau as finance minister and former Liberal leader Stephane Dion as foreign minister, a split between the old and the new reflected in the rest of the team.

“It’s an incredible pleasure for me to be before you here today to present to Canada a cabinet that looks like Canada,” Mr Trudeau said after he was sworn in with his team, which includes immigrants, aboriginals, religious minorities, a quadriplegic and 15 women.

Trudeau steps into his father’s shoes

Justin Trudeau reaches the pinnacle of a career that guarantees he will be measured against his late father.

Mr Trudeau, the first son of a prime minister to take office in Canada and the second-youngest in the country’s history, has grabbed international attention for his good looks and retail approach to politics.

Asked why he felt gender equality in the Cabinet was important, Mr Trudeau said simply: “Because it is 2015.”

Mr Trudeau has already laid out the major planks of his economic plan, which includes running three years of budget deficits and boosting infrastructure spending in a bid to stimulate Canada’s flagging economy.

The new government has also pledged to raise taxes for the richest Canadians and cut taxes for the middle class.

The ceremony officially ended nearly a decade of Conservative rule under Stephen Harper.

hoto: Canada’s new Veterans Affairs, and Associate Minister of National Defence Minister Kent Hehr is congratulated by prime minister Justin Trudeau. (Reuters: Chris Wattie)

Preference for ‘youth as opposed to grizzled veterans’

Cheering crowds lined the approach to the governor-general’s residence where the swearing-in ceremony took place as Mr Trudeau threw the venue open to the public. Organisers estimated about 4,000 people attended.

He was accompanied by his wife and their three young children as well as his mother, Margaret Trudeau, who gave birth to Mr Trudeau and his two brothers while his father Pierre Trudeau was prime minister.

oto: Canada’s new national defence minister Harjit Sajjan gestures after being sworn-in. (Reuters: Blair Gable)

The somewhat unexpected appointments of Mr Morneau and Mr Dion to two top portfolios was seen as reassuring corporate Canada and international partners, given Mr Dion’s deep experience and Mr Morneau’s business background.

Mr Morneau, 53, is a former corporate executive who also headed a major public policy think tank. He was elected to parliament for the first time in the October 19 election that brought Mr Trudeau’s Liberals to power.

The Cabinet also included defence minister Harjit Sajjan, a Sikh immigrant from India, military veteran and former police officer.

But with much of the Cabinet new to politics, some said Mr Trudeau risks opening the government up to rookie mistakes that could detract from his agenda.

“It seems as though the balance is tipped towards youth as opposed to grizzled veterans, but to have a few there I think is important and helpful,” said Gerald Baier, a political science professor at the University of British Columbia.ABC

22) UK growth slows

Thursday, November 05, 2015

BRITAIN’S economy is likely to grow slower than previously expected this year and next, after posting the fastest expansion among major advanced economies last year, a think tank predicted.

Gross domestic product should expand by 2.4 per cent in 2015 and 2.3 per cent in 2016, down slightly from August forecasts of 2.5 per cent growth this year and 2.4 per cent growth in 2016, the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) said.

NIESR’s forecasts are a shade weaker than those of economists polled by Reuters last month, while a more recent poll shows that investors expect the Bank of England to trim its growth forecasts too when it publishes new ones.

“Domestic demand will continue to be the main driver of growth this year and next as households take advantage of purchasing power improvements from the low inflationary environment and firms continue to invest,” NIESR said.

NIESR said growth remained solid and that it still expected the BoE to raise rates for the first time since 2007 in the first quarter of next year. But it saw an increased chance of the rate rise being delayed until in the second quarter — in line with a recent Reuters poll where economists delayed their rate rise bets to that same period.

After that, rates were likely to rise by just half a percentage point a year, reaching 2 per cent by 2018.

Britons are currently benefiting from zero inflation, low interest rates and a pick-up in wage growth, after they saw their disposable incomes dwindle during the financial crisis.

British economic growth slowed more than economists expected to 0.5 per cent in the three months to September, against a backdrop of financial market turmoil in China and a sharp fall in construction.

But NIESR said the slowdown was “temporary” and that the economy would rebound in the fourth quarter — a view supported by a manufacturing survey, which showed factory activity hitting a 16-month high in October.

NIESR said it expected inflation to average close to zero for 2015 as a whole, before rising to 1.1 per cent in 2016.

23) UK unveils powers to spy on web use, raising privacy fears

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Update: 11:03AM Britain’s government has published proposals for new internet spying laws to keep pace with the digital age, including allowing the intelligence services partial access to a suspect’s internet browsing history.

Home Secretary Theresa May hailed the draft legislation as a “world-leading oversight regime”, but a leading rights group described the proposals as a “breath-taking attack” on Britain’s online security.

May sought to assuage fears that the new powers would be intrusive, and rejected reports that the bill would ban encryption or force British companies to capture and retain internet traffic from abroad.

Crucially for companies such as Google and Facebook, the proposals would not force foreign-based companies to meet “domestic retention obligations” for communications data.

However, the security services would be able to access internet communication records, which show which online services were accessed by a suspect and when.

This would show that a messaging service such as Facebook or WhatsApp had been used, but not the content of messages or their recipient.

The bill also allows security officials to see which websites a suspect had accessed, but not which pages were viewed within those sites.

“Some have characterised this power as law enforcement having access to people’s full web browsing histories. Let me be clear: this is simply wrong,” May said.

“An internet connection record is a record of a communications service that a person has used, not a record of every webpage they have accessed.”

These records would have to be held by service providers for 12 months.

Currently, warrants for such data requests are issued by May, but in future these must also be approved by a judge.

In the case that access to the internet data of a British parliamentarian is sought, Prime Minister David Cameron must also be consulted.

Civil liberties groups worry that the bill’s powers will lack sufficient oversight and be used unnecessarily, and could lead to the kind of blanket surveillance revealed by US whistleblower Edward Snowden.

“After all the talk of climbdowns and safeguards, this long-awaited bill constitutes a breath-taking attack on the internet security of every man, woman and child in our country,” said Shami Chakrabarti, director of civil rights group Liberty.

“We must now look to parliament to step in where ministers have failed and strike a better balance between privacy and surveillance.”

The proposals will be scrutinised by a committee of MPs, allowing changes to be made before it is formally debated by parliament.


24) Juffa queries K15m funding

The National, Thursday November 5th, 2015

The K15 million funding for the rehabilitation of Saiho Health Centre in Northern may be exposed to misuse and abuse if proper channels are not followed,  Governor Gary Juffa says.
Juffa, commenting on the recent visit by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill to the province where he gave the funding, said if proper processes were not followed in disbursing these funds then the money was likely to be diverted and misapplied for purposes other than providing health facilities.
He said the funds should be channelled through the provincial health authority that managed such projects.  Juffa  said O’Neill was on an official visit to Northern without the knowledge of the provincial government and the governor.
Juffa, who was in the province during the PM’s visit, was attending to matters in his tribe and  said he was not informed and was unable to meet him.
He said that this act by O’Neill was an insult to the people of Oro who had mandated him to represent them in Parliament.
He said him being in the Opposition should not stop the Prime Minister from according him courtesy and protocol when visiting his province.

25) Burden of health

Ropate Valemei
Thursday, November 05, 2015

THE Consumer Council of Fiji has noted that the burden of health and medical services is increasingly shifting from being purely state-funded towards private health care where more consumers are encouraged to pay for care through insurance or out-of-pocket

The council says consumers who can afford to seek private health care out of choice and with the knowledge that their hard-earned money will get them out of long queues at public hospitals or health centres, and into prioritised and quality care.

This is part of the council’s submission to the 2016 National Budget which will be announced tomorrow by the Attorney-General and Minister for Finance Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

“This trend can benefit poorer consumers who access public hospitals/health centres as it can reduce hospital queues, increase in efficient service delivery, ease medicine shortages and increase doctor-per-patient ratios,” the council said.

It said the Ministry of Health and Medical Services could also benefit with less stress put on its resources and personnel.

However, the council noted private medical insurance was using the public health system for its own gain which must be stopped.

“The Government can also reduce Fiji’s non-communicable diseases (NCDs) burden by making unhealthy diets and lifestyles more expensive for consumers and at the same time reducing the cost of healthier foods and beverages.

“The reduction in the costs of healthier foods and beverages will ensure more consumer choices.

“The level of fees charged by the Ministry of Health & Medical Services at public hospitals/health centres for medical reports and certificates are quite high.

“The exorbitant fees do not help consumers or patients who need these reports for insurance, disability assessments, Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF) withdrawals, overseas treatment, social welfare assistance and so on.

“Patients have to pay fees ranging from $57 to more than $280.

“People who are already sick or injured and making an effort to seek assistance in relation to Workmen’s Compensation or their own FNPF savings have to fork out $172.50 and $115 respectively.”

The council noted that consumers who opted for private health insurance were slapped with a $287.50 fee which was unreasonable.

“These fees are a disincentive to people who are trying honestly to seek ways of paying for their own health care and who by doing so will put less pressure on public health facilities.”

The reduction of these fees, the council said, was necessary to help eligible consumers seek insurance cover, overseas treatment, FNPF support and so on.Fijitimes

26) Ministry concerned over mortality rates – Improving maternal and infant mortality rates in Fiji has been one of the proprieties of the Ministry of Health and Medical Services. Health Minister Jone Usamate says while maternal mortality rates in Fiji are decreasing the Ministry has not reached their target of a 75 percent reduction.

27) More health workers to be recruited next year – The Ministry of Health has revealed that more health workers will be recruited and retained next year. Minister Jone Usamate is hoping that there will be an increase in the health budget.


28) Solomons students face exams without allowances

5 November 2015

The Solomon Islands ministry of education is promising to sort out problems that have left students studying abroad without their allowances being paid.

Around 200 Solomons’ students on government scholarships at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji are affected by lack of payment.

There are reports some student having been served eviction notices and others unable to attend class because of their financial difficulties.

In a statement the director of the National Training Unit says affected students will get their allowances tomorrow.

Clement Tito says steps are being taken to rectify the problem within the ministry’s student information management system.

Late payment of allowances is a chronic problem for the Solomons” government students.RNZI

29) Students get hands-on experience in science

The National, Thursday November 5th, 2015

MORE than 950 primary school students in Central and Hela have experienced the wonders of science through a science ambassadors programme in 2015.
The programme, which is an initiative of ExxonMobil PNG Limited (EMPNG), is aimed at promoting the importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics to students as well as encouraging them to consider a career in these fields.
Each year EMPNG staff members volunteer to be science ambassadors and undergo training to be qualified to visit and teach lessons covering geology and the origins of oil and gas using specially prepared science kits.
As part of the programme, students receive a fun hands-on experience being able to touch minerals and rock samples including fossils, some millions of years old, and learn how they form into petroleum products.
This programme was originally developed by ExxonMobil in 1990 in Houston, Texas and was launched in primary schools around Port Moresby in 2013.
Since then it has expanded to primary schools near the PNG LNG plant in Central and in Hides, Hela.
So far EMPNG has visited 17 primary and high schools including those in Central and Hela.
EMPNG managing director, Andrew Barry said as a science and technology company, they understaood the importance science, technology, engineering and math play in providing students with a wide range of career options later in life.
“Through this programme we hope to inspire a passion for science and encourage students to consider career paths that may one day result in them helping to manage PNG’s vast natural resources,” Barry said.


30) Woman MP sacked from PNG ruling party

5 November 2015

Papua New Guinea’s ruling People’s National Congress Party has sacked one of its women members, the Lae MP Loujaya Kouza.

The Post Courier says the party sacked her because she made outrageous accusations and had distasteful manners outside the conventions of decency, respect and common sense.

The move to sack Ms Kouza was announced by the PNC deputy leader Mao Zeming, who is the Fisheries and Marine Resources Minister.

He says Ms Kouza was lucky to gain enough votes to be elected in 2012, and her behaviour since the election has lost her the little local support she had in Lae.

Mr Zeming says the party will formalise her removal.

Meanwhile, the opposition released a short statement welcoming Ms Kouza.

Her sacking ended a week of political speculation when she sided with Morobe Governor Kelly Naru, leading up to the proposed motion of no-confidence in the Prime Minister, which was thrown out.RNZI

31) Sufficient funds in reserves: Minister

The National, Thursday November 5th, 2015

FINANCE Minister James Marape says there are sufficient foreign reserves of K1.8 billion to keep Papua New Guinea going and there is no need to panic.
He said this in response to a series of questions from Opposition Leader Don Polye relating to the level of foreign reserves in the country.
Marape said these problems were experienced when the economy contracted. “If Opposition leader cared to look in the Budget books that were delivered yesterday, I made reference to the fact that by the end of this year, we are forecasting to have K5.7 billion in our foreign reserves,” he said.
“Much has been talked about by our prophets of doom and it saddens me that many of us have become agents of those prophets of doom.
“They’ve been saying since January that we’re going broke, they’ve been saying since February that we’re going bust.
“Today, as I speak, we have seven to nine months of coverage in our foreign reserves – about US$1.8 billion.
That is money sufficient to cover us for about eight to nine months in terms of our import requirements.
“Let us give confidence to the economy, let us give confidence to our business partners.”

 32) Public servants not insured, Sir Puka says
The National, Thursday November 5th, 2015

ALL categories of public servants except for political leaders and leaders within the civil service do not have insurance cover for health or life, Minister for Public Service Sir Puka Temu told Parliament.
“Below the departmental heads, we do not have a national policy for health cover for a civil servant,” he said. But Sir Puka said public servants may secure insurance cover through membership with union groups which have negotiated insurance for members.
“We may now, through the Health Ministry, look at health insurance programmes as a national policy which many countries throughout the world have.”
Sir Puka said it was unfortunate that public servants were urged to pay out of their pockets.
He urged public servants to negotiate affordable insurance packages with insurance companies until such a national policy was in place.
Anglimp-South Waghi MP Joe Koim Komun had asked if a national policy that provided insurance for long serving senior public servants existed.
“Most of our public servants are serving this nation with pride and dignity and they are faithful in their job, that’s why this country is moving forward.
“Do we have any insurance plans for the upper hierarchy of our public servants in terms of illnesses who are serving this country faithfully?”
He related his question to a senior auditor with the Auditor General’s Office who had been employed for over 20 years and who urgently needed assistance for a kidney-related problem.
“He’s been asking around for assistance and it is surprising to find out the Ombudsman Commission or the public service machinery cannot assist these sorts of people,” Komun said.

33) Essential services ‘safe’

Thursday, November 05, 2015

HEALTH, education and infrastructure spending appear to be safe from funding cuts after Papua New Guinea’s Government yesterday announced a massive drop in revenue and major cuts in its 2016 budget.

The treasurer, Patrick Pruaitch, says a collapse in global commodity prices has seen the government’s mining and petroleum revenue fall from an estimate of $US579m ($F1.2m) to just $US100m ($F214.4m).

Overall, the government has suffered a 12 per cent drop in revenue, and Mr Pruaitch says the government expects economic growth to fall from 9.9 per cent to 4.3 per cent.

Our correspondent in PNG, Todagia Kelola, says the government is hoping to cut about 470 million dollars of expenditure.

“There will be major cuts in many, many areas, but priority areas like health and education remain the same.”

35) PM inks legal agreement to divest shares

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Update: 7:04PM GOVERNMENT has today announced the divestment of 59 per cent of its shares in Fiji Ports Corporation Limited (FPCL) at a value of more than $100 million to a consortium – the Fiji National Provident Fund and Sri Lankan corporation Aitken Spence PLC.

The legal agreements were signed today by the Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, and the consortium comprising representatives of FNPF and for the partial divestiture.

Mr Bainimarama said the transaction was a great step forward in the Government’s asset sale divestment.

Government will maintain 41 per cent of the shares in FPCL, while FNPF will own 39 per cent and Aitken Spence 20 per cent.

Following the divestment, 80 per cent of the shares in FPCL will remain Fijian owned.

Under the agreements, Government will receive more than $100 million for 59 per cent of the shares in FPCL. The consortium of FNPF and Aitken Spence will pay $99,112,330, and the Government will also receive approximately $3.3 million from the sale of land to Fiji Roads Authority for the realignment of the road and bridge at Stinson Parade, Suva and $2.38 million from the repayment of an inter-company loan.

Minister for Public Enterprises Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said the Government’s objective for the divestiture is to secure the partnership of a long term investor in FPCL that would contribute to the development and growth of FPCL’s asset base and continue the improvement of Fiji’s sea ports, including their expansion, modernisation and development of specialised facilities.

As part of the agreements, FPCL will transfer all real estate to a government holding company, which in turn will lease the assets necessary for port operations back to FPCL. Ownership of all land interests will remain with the Fijian Government.Fijitimes

36) Vanuatu opposition prepared to support 2016 budget – Vanuatu’s opposition says it is prepared to support the prime minister Sato Kilman to pass a budget for 2016. The country’s parliament is currently in a deadlock following the jailing last month of 14 MPs after they were convicted of bribery. Mr Kilman, who now leads a minority government, refuses to stand down, but the opposition doesn’t have the numbers to force a motion of no confidence. An opposition MP, Ralph Regenvanu, says a session of parliament needs to be convened so a budget can be passed but the speaker, Marcellino Pipite, is one of the jailed MPs. However, Mr Regenvanu says the acting speaker, Samson Samsen, is able to convene parliament in his absence. “It’s essential that we pass the budget. The government has not called the second ordinary session but the opposition has informed the prime minister that the opposition will support the budget on the floor of parliament, even though the government doesn’t have the majority, we will back the government up to make sure the budget goes through to meet all the various requirements to allow the country to function.” Ralph Regenvanu says if Mr Samsen doesn’t summon parliament by Thursday afternoon, the opposition will take legal action.

37) Federation hopes for consistency of policies – Hazelman – The Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation is hoping that the government will focus on consistency of policies when it announces the 2016 National Budget tomorrow.  Chief Executive Officer, Nesbitt Hazelman said some good policies have been brought in by the government over the past few years and this should continue.—Hazelman-k59sr2/


38) Assurance that PNG media bill will not limit freedoms

5 November 2015

The head of the Papua New Guinea communications authority has issued an assurance planned tighter controls on social media will not limit media freedom.

The legislation governing the National Information Communciation and Technology Authority, or NICTA, is to be amended next year.

There has been strong criticism of the move in PNG, including from former prime minister, Sir Mekere Morauta.

He calls it an attack on freedom of speech and an attempt to regulate mainstream media by stealth.

But NICTA’s chief executive Charles Punaha says the changes are about combatting cyber crime and there are measures to stop abuses.

“The processes will be in place [and] in the event that an offence has been committed, the victim needs to go through this process – to go through the courts, get warrants and go through the courts and the courts will make a determination. It is not for any one person or anyone to utilise for suppressing an individual’s right to freedom of expression or freedom of speech.”RNZI

39) Cooks publisher defends defying court injunction

5 November 2015

The Cook Islands Herald publisher is defending his right to freedom of speech after publishing information on government spending, which the High Court ordered him not to.

On Friday, George Pitt was ordered not to publish the contents of a draft legal opinion commissioned by the Financial Intelligence Unit, after Crown Law successfully argued it was confidential.

Mr Pitt defied the injunction on Monday by discussing it on local radio.

He says the police then came to his house, where he refused arrest.

Mr Pitt says it is his constitutional right to report what the government is doing.

“I have constitutional rights to the freedom of speech. They say I have broken the law – I have broken no law. I have ignored a court injunction because I base my defence on my rights in the constitution on the freedom of speech.”

George Pitt says no matter how many summons he receives, he will not go to court over the matter.RNZI

40) ‘Taliban killing’

Thursday, November 05, 2015

DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan – A gunman on a motorbike shot dead a Pakistani journalist in the country’s restive northwest on Tuesday and hours later the Taliban claimed the killing, bringing to 71 the number of journalists and media workers killed in Pakistan since 2002.

Zaman Mehsud, 38, was a journalist working for the Pakistani Urdu newspaper Daily Umet and SANA news agency, and also worked for the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. Taliban commander Qari Saif Ullah Saif told Reuters: “We killed him because he was writing against us … we have some other journalists on our hit list in the region, soon we will target them.”

The journalist’s brother, Muhammed Aslam, wept as he collected the body. The shooting occurred near the northern town of Tank, said police officer Mir Salam.

Mehsud was killed with four bullets to the chest, doctors said. “Our initial information is that Zaman was killed by a man who was riding on a bike near an army check post,” Mr Salam said.


41) Micro Bank to open four new branches

The National, Thursday November 5th, 2015

THE People’s Micro Bank Ltd, a subsidiary of the National Development Bank, will open four new branches around the country, NDB managing director Moses Liu says.
He thanked the Government for a separate allocation of K6.5 million for the micro-bank in the 2016 budget.
“We have been given K6.5 million for the People’s Micro Bank so that’s good,” Liu said.
“We have already received funding from the Government to build four more micro-banks.
“I think that is understandable under the circumstances.
“It’s a situation that we need to adapt to basically, because of the reduced revenues coming to the Government.” According to the 2016 budget paper, PMBL in 2014 was allocated K15 million
Liu said the National Development Bank was satisfied with the budget allocation for the bank for next year.
The National Development Bank has been allocated K61.5 million in next year’s budget.

 42) Director wants policies underpinned by facts
The National, Thursday November 5th, 2015

POLICY making in the economic and business sectors must be underpinned by facts elicited through research, National Research Institute director Dr Charles Yala says.
He thanked Bank of Papua New Guinea for engaging in research since 2006 to form the basis for its traditional role of formulating monetary policy.
Yala said it was very important that police be in line with researched facts so that policies based on research could be seen to be working in the economy.
The BPNG launched two working papers “Demand for money in PNG” by BPNG staff Tanu Irau, and “Estimating an aggregate import demand function for PNG” by Gail Sabok and BPNG staff Boniface Aipi.
Irau said the study of money demand “seeks to establish whether the function is stable for the concerned economy”.
If the function is stable, then its application in monetary policy can exert a predictable influence on the real economy because the quantity of money is predictably related to a set of variables linking money to the real sector of the economy,” Irau said
Aipi, the manager of the research projects unit at the BPNG,  said the paper was intended to provide the results of research undertaken with the bank to its staff, interested institutions and the general public.

43) Yala: Respect bank

The National, Thursday November 5th, 2015

THE independence of the Bank of Papua New Guinea in discharging its traditional mandate of formulating monetary policy must be respected by all, including the Government, National Research Institute director Dr Charles Yala says.
He was at the launch of two research papers by the bank in Port Moresby. They are the “Demand for money in Papua New Guinea” by BPNG staff Tanu Irau, and the “Estimating an aggregate import demand function for PNG” by Gail Sabok and  BPNG staff Boniface Aipi.
Yala said NRI which was a link between policy makers and academics recognised and respected the Central Bank as the institution responsible for formulating monetary policy.
He said the bank’s aim was to make sure that there was price stability.
Yala said the bank must not be influenced by the Government in ways that contravened laws governing it. He said in a similar manner, the NRI recognised the department of Treasury as the formulator of fiscal or budgetary policy for the country.
Meanwhile on the state of the economy, Yala said NRI would carry out its assessment and give its view on the economy by next month.

44) Local kava demand high – Kava is becoming an expensive commodity as the local demand continues to increase. Permanent Secretary for Agriculture Uraia Waibuta says at the current rate, there won’t be enough kava to go around, when the exporting of kava to the EU starts.

45) Fiji Airways wants 70% local pilots – National airline Fiji Airways says it’s putting huge efforts into localising its pool of pilots. Newly appointed Chief Executive Andre Viljoen says this is being done urgently as he wants 70% locals flying the Fiji Airways fleet.


46) Distant Vanuatu region finally gets a post office

5 November 2015

In Vanuatu, the people of the Torres group of islands are to finally get a Post Office branch and Western Union link.

The facilities are being established on Hiu Island, the biggest island in the most northern group of islands in Torba province.

The minister of agriculture, Christopher Emelee, who was born in Torres, has signed an agreement with Vanuatu Post for the two important facilities to be set up in Hiu Island.

The minister says they will link Torres to the rest of Vanuatu and the outside world, and he says not having had the facilities is one of the reasons government employees didn’t want to work there.

In the past there have been campaigns for the Torres islands to be part of Solomon Islands because it is closer thann distant Port Vila.RNZI

47) Bridge to link remote, people

The National, Thursday November 5th, 2015

A bridge to link the remote mountainous people along the famous Kokoda Track in Central to Port Moresby has been completed.
The 40– metre bridge built over  Brown River along the Port Moresby -Efogi village road will link about 10,000 people in the Mt Koiari area of the Kairuku-Hiri electorate. This road is still under construction at Edevu will avoid destroying the 96km Kokoda track to prevent the environment and heritage for the vibrant ecotourism industry.
PNG Hydro Development Limited built this road and bridge as part of its work in the construction of the main Edevu hydro dam.
Kairuku-Hiri MP Peter Isoaimo yesterday thanked the PNGHDL  for constructing the road and said that the people in the area had been cut off from Port Moresby and their  only access was by air service.
“They also have to float on make -shift rafts down the river to the Hiritano highway to go to Port Moresby.”
State Enterprise and Public Investments Minister Ben Micah in opening the bridge thanked the people for allowing foreign investors to come to their area to develop their natural resources.

48) PM reopens $2.6M Yawawa-I-Rara jetty – Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has reopened the Yasawa-I-Rara jetty worth $2.6 million. Bainimarama says that with courage and determination plus assistance from outside, the people of the Yasawas have rebuilt their lives and their infrastructure after the destruction of Cyclone Evan in 2012.


49) Four acting judges sworn in

The National, Thursday November 5th, 2015

DEPUTY Chief Justice Sir Gibbs Salika says the judiciary is making justice accessible to the people in the provinces.
Sir Gibbs made the remarks after four new acting judges were sworn into office at Government House by Acting Governor-General Theo Zurenouc in Port Moresby this week.
Thomas Anis, Danajo Douglas Salee Koeget, Daniel Yale Liosi and Ravunama Auka were appointed acting judges for a year.
Mark Marai Pupaka will be sworn in as acting judge in January.
“We are trying to expand so that people can have easy access to the courts wherever they are,” Sir Gibbs said.
“That’s why we are taking the courts to the people for the people to have access to us (judicial services).”
Sir Gibbs said that in the past people went to Waigani to file their cases but this time they could do that in their own provinces.
Sir Gibbs said the appointment of the new judges would certainly help with decreasing the backlog of 21,000 cases in the criminal and civil courts.
He said Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia and the other judges had agreed to a fast-track.
Sir Gibbs said Sir Salamo would identify pending cases that needed urgent attention and assigned them to judges to deal with.
Liosi will serve as judge in Kundiawa in Chimbu, Auka in Wabag (Enga), Koeget in Daru (Western) and Anis in Kimbe (West New Britain).
The appointments bring the total number of acting and permanent judges in the country to 43.

50) Court transfers drug suspects’ files for consolidation of charges

Talebula Kate
Thursday, November 05, 2015

TWO men facing charges of attempted importation of illicit drugs have had their files transferred to the High Court in Lautoka by Justice Priyantha Fernando. Sosiceni Toa and Praneel Chandra Reddy appeared before Justice Fernando in the High Court in Suva yesterday.

The duo and others are alleged to have attempted to import amphetamine weighing about 79.3 kilograms between May 17 and July 25 this year into Fiji without lawful authority.

The transfer was requested by the State which intended to consolidate the file with a similar case in which Mr Toa was charged with another in Lautoka.

He was represented by Kevueli Tunidau, while Babu Indrashekhar Singh represented Mr Reddy.

Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions Michael Delaney appeared for the State.

Meanwhile, bail was refused for Mr Reddy.

Mr Tunidau informed the court they would file a fresh bail application when the matter is called in Lautoka on Friday, November 13.Fijitimes

51) Sedition case: Nadroga 13 bail application hearing tomorrow

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Update: 2:02PM BAIL applications made by the 15 people from Nadroga charged with one count of sedition and one count of inciting communal antagonism will be heard in Lautoka today and tomorrow.

Justice Paul Madigan said it was the concern of the court to hear the group’s application because of the time they have spent in remand.

The group has been in remand since August.

The first application heard today was made by Adi Vasemaca Goneiwai and Ratu Osea Bolawaqatabu who are seeking bail based on medical grounds.

The remaining 13 – Ratu Inoke Tasere, Jimi Koroibete, Seru Kunalagi, Ulaiyasi Rabua, Peniasi Naqau, Semi Tanikili, Ratu Tevita Makutu, Mosese Nacavi, Eroni Rikoriko, Alifereti Nukunivou, Alifereti Gonewai, Raicula Rokovou, Jocama Ratulevu and Adi Cuvu Gavidi Atama’s applications will be heard tomorrow.

Adi Cuvu is represented by Filimoni Vosarogo while the rest are represented by Aman Ravindra Singh.Fijitimes

52) Ra group in court, deny sedition charges

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Update: 2:00PM THE first group of people from Ra charged with sedition and inciting communal antagonism have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

While appearing before Justice Paul Madigan in the High Court in Lautoka yesterday, Ratu Epeli Niudamu, Sereima Adivave Rokoadi, Sailasa Malani, Samuela Ligabalavu, Nikola Gonerara, Emosi Toga, Waisake Racaca, Josefa Natau, Isikeli Kabakoro, Sulueti Waqalala, Laisiasa Mocevakaca, Ulaiasi Tunivono, Apolosi Qalilawa and Ilisapeci Natau all pleaded not guilty to two charges while Waisea Dualima and Nanise Nagusuca denied four charges laid against them.

A total of 36 charges were laid by the Director of Public Prosecutions on the accused group.Fijitimes

53) Call to end Fiji police brutality – There is a call in Fiji for the state to reinforce its commitment to end Fiji’s culture of torture and brutality by police and military personnel. The Citizens Constitutional Forum says it is up to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the court system to end the practice of impunity. It says there is a strong national public interest for the Office to explain its decision last week to drop manslaughter charges against eight policemen and a military officer over the death of Vilikesa Soko. He died in hospital of severe injuries after being detained on suspicion of a robbery in Nadi. The CCF notes that the prosecution has upheld the rape charges but it says it is now unlikely that the perpetrators of gruesome acts of torture will be given a sentence proportionate to the gravity of the offence. It calls on the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions to hold security personnel to account for acts of cruel and degrading treatment. In a separate case last month, the Office charged three police officers and two members of the military with sexual assault of a prison escapee. Two of the men are also among the nine suspects charged over the alleged rape of Vilikesa Soko.


54) Confirmaton widespread Pacific dry continuing

5 November 2015

The November regional advisory on the potential for drought in the Pacific confirms much of the region will get less than normal rainfall over the next three months.

The Island Climate Update bulletin is produced by New Zealand’s NIWA in association with the meteorological services in the island countries and supporting weather advisory bodies.

Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu, which have been experiencing well below normal rainfall since the middle of the year, can expect below normal rain through to the end of January.

Parts of Fiji, Tonga and New Caledonia have been in drought for up to six months and below normal rain is likely to continue for the next three months.

It is also expected to be dry until the end of January in Solomon Islands, Samoa and the southern Cook Islands.

In the Marquesas, in French Polynesia, dry conditions are expected to return to normal or above normal in the next three months.RNZI

55) Office forecasts rain across the country

The National, Thursday November 5th, 2015

National Weather Service saw some indications of light rain across the country from satellite information but wants stakeholders in provinces to help validate it.
Assistant director Kasis Inape said the information was from the National Institute for Water and Atmospheric monitoring satellite.
“As part of the ongoing El Nino induced drought monitoring by PNG National Weather Service, I have been working closely with National Institute for Water and Atmospheric monitoring satellite and measured rainfall over PNG,” Inape said.
“For the past week, we have seen slight improvements in rainfall across the country. Because this monitoring is still in its experimental stage, I will require ground observations to validate the satellite information.
“To support me conduct this validation, I would require observations of rainfall events happening across the country (from the stakeholders).
“This may not be actual data but observations of actual rain events or stories about rain events in the country that may be of assistance to me and the team to use as evidence-based validation against the satellite observed data.”

56) Dry spell calls for awareness

Thursday, November 05, 2015

DROUGHT — Affected communities in the east, west, and south of Solomon Islands are being urged to take steps to adapt to continuing dry conditions.

The director of the disaster management office says teams are yet to be deployed to the worst hit areas to carry out a full assessment, but initial reports indicate severe water shortages and the beginnings of crop failure.

Loti Yates says the El Niño system is predicted to continue well into 2016 so his office is also working on a nation-wide awareness campaign to teach people to conserve water for the difficult months ahead.

“For that alone we will be needing support in as far as media awareness. So if our partners in country are able to do that we would be really appreciating their support.

“Awareness is key to ensuring people are prepared for possible severe impacts of the drought.”


57) Mine supplies 8000 litres of waste oil

The National, Monday November 2nd, 2015

RAMU NiCo Management Ltd says its Kurumbukari mine is supplying around 8000 litres of waste oil generated from the mine plant to Ramu Agri Industries Ltd (RAIL) every week.
The company said this was made possible by an agreement between the parties on January 20.
The agreement which was effected on August 3, so far as seen more than 60,000 litres of waste oil transported to RAIL.
The supply of waste oil provides Ramu NiCo the opportunity to manage the hazardous material as required under the Operational Environment Management Plan approved by the Conservation Environment and Protection Authority on September 7.
“Waste oil management falls within the hazardous materials that formed part of 20 sub-plans to minimise potential environment impacts,” the company said.
Th company said they use ISO trucks to transport waste oil.
“Ramu NiCo uses a truck to transport six ISO containers of 6000 litres and a three-ton truck transporting two ISO containers of 2000 litres totalling up to 8000 litres per week.  “ISO containers are required under the agreement.
“The vehicles are escorted by the site Emergency Response Team equipped with all necessary safety gears and equipment in-case of spillage or accident.
“Most of the waste oils are generated by the diesel power plant generators, pumps, heavy machineries and other installations.

“Before the agreement, various waste lubricants were put in the drums and stored in the safety warehouse on site.”

58) Petromin works with Central on mine sale
The National, Thursday November 5th, 2015

PETROMIN PNG Holdings Ltd board chairman Sir Brown Bai says its management has been working with the Central provincial government regarding the sale of the Tolukuma Gold Mine.
Sir Brown said the divestment of the gold mine was entirely driven by the management and boards of Tolukuma Gold Mine and Petromin from the start.
“Our management worked closely with the Central provincial government from day one when we announced that the mine would be closed and divested because it was the only means of support to their people,” he said.
“We can provide evidence that the management  of Petromin and Tolukuma gold mine had a series of consultations with the provincial government before and after the shortlisted bids were considered.”
Sir Brown said executives of the new owner Asidokona met with Governor Kila Haoda during his recent travel to Singapore.
“Asidokona is a special purpose vehicle created and registered in Singapore by UOBKayHian and its shareholders for the purpose of acquiring the mine,” he said.
“The company has offered a10 per cent free carry equity for the provincial government and landowners and offered to build the Tolukuma road that will link to the Hiritano Highway.”
He said although the share sales agreement had already been signed between the parties, it was not a done-deal yet.
Thus, the decision to sell the mine was not an individual decision by any minister or manager but a collective board decision.
He said any queries regarding the sale should be fowarded to the Central provincial government because “we are working closely for better understanding”.

59a ) MRA: No landowner body for Mt Kare

The National, Thursday November 5th, 2015

THE Mineral Resources Authority says there is no recognised body to represent landowners on the development of the Mt Kare gold in Enga.
A MRA official said acourt-sanctioned mediation on July 24 and August 17 this year confirmed 19 major landowning clans with Justice Ambeng Kandakasi and Deputy Chief Magistrate Mark Pupaka.
“Currently the Exploration License (EL 1093) is with Summit Development Limited and waiting for its renewal which is before the Minister for Mining ( Byron Chan),” the official said.
“There is no free license that the landowners can claim ownership and look for investors on their own.”
But according to landowners who met last week in Wabag, the Mount Kare Gold Development Corporation was declared their sole legitimate landowner umbrella company.
Twenty one clans declared that the company would be the only legitimate landowner company responsible for all business deals and negotiations between the developers, the Government and the provincial government and developers regarding the Mt Kare gold project.

59b) Calls for inquiry into Fiji sugar industry – The leader of an opposition party in Fiji says the low final payment to sugar cane farmers this year is another nail in the coffin of the sugar industry. National Federation Party leader Professor Biman Prasad has appealed to the government to initiate a bipartisan inquiry into sugar to ensure that the economically vital industry continues. He says with the final payment to farmers of 71 cents per tonne announced last week, it’s clear farmers cannot make a living. Professor Prasad says Fiji Sugar Corporation Executive Chairman Abdul Khan is wrong when he says it it not the lowest payment to cane farmers in history.


60a) Star visits Hagen

The National, Thursday November 5th, 2015

SPORTS Minister Justin Tkatchenko says Papua New Guinea is humbled to host the world’s most famous football player, David Beckham.
Speaking from Mt Hagen last night, Tkatchencko, who met the Manchester United and England legend when he touched down in a private jet in Mt Hagen yesterday, said he was privileged on behalf of Prime Minister Peter O’Neill to welcome the 40-year-old at Kagamunga Airport in the Western Highlands capital.
“Prime Minister O’Neill asked me to welcome Beckham so I am in Mt Hagen to do the formal welcome at the Highlander Hotel,” Tkatchenko said.
He said Beckham, who is in the country as the first stop on a world tour as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador to highlight the plight of children in communities, has agreed to meet members of the PNG Under-20 squad for the FIFA Women’s U20 World Cup next year in Port Moresby, and hopefully that will promote the game.
Tkatchenko said Beckham was in the country to kick off his seven-continents in 10-days tour and PNG was the first country he wanted to visit.
“It is a great timing, especially when we have the U20 Women’s FIFA World Cup here in PNG next year.”
Beckham, who has been a campaigner for the United Nation’s Children’s Fund since 2005, aims to harness his global celebrity and personal influence to secure support for seven development schemes in seven countries.
“This is a way of being a part of UNICEF and helping children around the world,” Beckham said.
Countries Beckham will visit are PNG, El Savador, Swaziland, Bangldesh, Serbia, Nepal and South Africa.

60b) Black Orchids aiming to take the next step in finals

The National, Thursday November 5th, 2015

THE Black Orchids from the Autonomous Region of Bougainville are in training for the Madang 7s which takes place on November 14-15.
Coach Kelly Havara, who is also the Bougainville rugby development manager, said he had retained the same players who took part in the recent national championship last month at the Sir Hubert Murray Stadium in Port Moresby where they were the runners-up to eventual cup winners, the Morobe Hammerheads.
Havara said the experience of making the cup final for the first time at a national championship had given his players a lot of confidence and self-belief that they were as good as any in the country.
“When we returned to Bougainville the guys were still on a high from the national titles and I think we took many good things from the loss to the Hammerheads and we know what to do next time we are in the same situation,” Havara said.
“We’re treating it like a stepping stone to better things in the next tournament.”
Havara said the Black Orchids squad had been training well since the national championship in Port Moresby and a 12-man team for Madang would be finalised by the end of the week.

60c) Oceania readjusts women’s draw

The National, Thursday November 5th, 2015

THE match schedule for the 2016 Oceania Under-17 Women’s Soccer Championships in the Cook Islands has been readjusted following the withdrawal of the Solomon Islands.
That sees Group A — which was originally set to include Solomon Islands and four other sides — starting with the four remaining teams of New Caledonia, Tonga, Samoa and defending champions New Zealand.
The match schedule for Group A was redrawn at the OFC headquarters in Auckland, New Zealand.
The change means the competition will now start four days later and run from January 13-23.
Group B is unaffected and will be contested by Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Fiji and the Cook Islands.
The structure for the knockout stage of the competition remains unchanged, with the top two teams from each group progressing to the semifinals.

The winner of the 2016 OFC U17 Women’s Championship qualifies for the FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup in Jordan next year.

 60d) Fijians to face PNG boxers

Pravin Narain
Thursday, November 05, 2015

THE Fiji Amateur Boxing Association is planning to organise fights with the Papua New Guinea boxers for the Fijian boxers.

The association hosted Tahitians boxers last weekend in Suva.

The FABA head Manasa Baravilala said it would be a good fight for the two countries.

“The new FABA Board is very proactive and working to a strategic plan with some ambitious goals moving forward,” he said.

“Next up is Papua New Guinea who won most boxing gold medals at the 2015 Pacific Games,” he said.

“The strategy to invite the best two sides in PNG is very simply aimed at achieving two simple outcomes.

“If Fiji is to improve and be competitive regionally and internationally we have to “rumble” with the best in the business.”

He said the boxers would be able to gauge their potential against the best in the region.

” It also gives our local boxers the opportunity to box with the best in the region because Oceania (championship), Pacific Games, Mini Games limits our scope and athlete representation.

“It is also to showcase our boys against overseas fighters and gauge where we stand. All these activities are designed to revive boxing by the new FABA Board as we have fallen quite dramatically in regional rankings and output over the years.”Fijitimes

60e) Fijiana players aim to perform their best

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Update: 6:03PM THE Telecom Fijiana 7s team are determined to perform to their level best next week in a bid to qualify for the Rio Olympics.

Head coach Chris Cracknell said they had the team is in top shape heading into the competition with the final team to be announced tomorrow.

The national team will be up against Samoa, Papua New Guinea and the Cook Islands in the Oceania sevens championships next week in Auckland, New Zealand.Fijitimes

60f) Fiji to host U20 Oceania rugby qualifiers

5 November 2015

Fiji will host the U20 Oceania Rugby Qualifying Championship later this month.

The tournament is scheduled to run from November 27 to December 5.

Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Tonga and Fiji will compete to get a spot in the second-tier World Trophy Championship.

Next year’s Trophy Competition will be held in Zimbabwe in April.

World Rugby has granted the Fiji Union 93-thousand US dollars for the event.RNZI

60g) Wallabies seven join Barbarians

Thursday, November 05, 2015

WELLINGTON – Seven Australians, including skipper Stephen Moore, have been included in a strong Barbarians squad to meet Argentina at Twickenham.

Backs Joe Tomane and Tevita Kuridrani join forwards Stephen Hoiles, Scott Fardy, Toby Smith, James Hanson and Moore, in a 24-man squad for games against English club Gloucester on November 17 and the Pumas four days later.

The Barbarians, who are celebrating their 125th anniversary, features eight South Africans, eight New Zealanders, seven Australians and lone Fijian winger Nemani Nadolo.

The team will be coached by Wallabies mentor Michael Cheika, the reigning Coach of the Year.


Backs: Nehe Milner-Skudder (NZ), Waisake Naholo (NZ), Nemani Nadolo (Fiji), Joe Tomane (Australia), Tevita Kuridrani (Australia), Francois Venter (South Africa), Ryan Crotty (NZ), Lima Sopoaga (NZ), Pat Lambie (South Africa), Tawera Kerr-Barlow (NZ), Cobus Reinach (South Africa).

Forwards: Warren Whitely (South Africa), Stephen Hoiles (Australia), Ardie Savea (NZ), Scott Fardy (Australia), Victor Matfield (South Africa), Bakkies Botha (South Africa), Lood de Jager (South Africa), Charlie Faumuina (NZ), Jamie Mackintosh (NZ), Toby Smith (Australia), Tendai Mtawarira (South Africa), Stephen Moore (Australia), James Hanson (Australia).

60h) New coach ushers in new era for Samoa Sevens

5 November 2015

The Samoa Rugby Sevens coach Damian McGrath says he knows all too well the pressure to succeed in rebuilding the national programme.

The Englishman has been in the job two months now after working with the English and Welsh sevens programmes.

McGrath has been preparing his first 12 man squad for the upcoming Oceania tournament in Auckland later this month.

He says since being in Samoa he has experienced the passion the nation has for rugby.

“Wherever I go, going shopping. People want to know how the team are, are we going to win. I can imagine if things don’t go too well, the reverse will happen, having seen how the public received the Manu after the World Cup. They weren’t happy, so I understand how important rugby and rugby success is to the people of Samoa.”

McGrath says as a foreigner he will bring a fresh perspective to the national programme.

He says his experience will help the rebuilding process.

“I’m coming in with a fresh pair of eyes. I have no preconceived ideas about who are the best players and who aren’t. I think from listening from what’s happened previously is that favourites have been picked and the team hasn’t always been picked on merit and if I can bring anything, I will be picking on merit. I think I have proved this by the squad we’ve brought here. There are one or two big names who have not made the squad because they are not quite ready yet. I think in times past, teams have been picked on names and names alone.”

McGrath has named the following squad for next week’s Oceania Sevens in Auckland:

Faalemiga Selesele, Lio Lolo, Fetufou Setu Laga, Tofatuimoana Solia, Francis Ieremia, Jay Saena, Phoenix Hunapo, Danny Tusitala, Tila Mealoi, Fale Sooialo, Siaosi Asofolau, Samoa Toloa.

Former captain Lolo Lui has not made the traveling squad because of injury but is part of the non-traveling reserves.RNZI

60i) Tahitians win on the beach

5 November 2015

The Tahiti beach soccer team has continued on their winning ways with a 4-3 victory over Mexico at the Samsung Intercontinental Cup in Dubai.

The game see-sawed with Tahiti starting fast and grabbing a 2-0 thanks to a Naea Bennett double.

However, Mexico stormed back to equalise before defender Taiarui Heimanu and forward Heiarii Tavanae scored to give the islanders a lead they would never relinquish.

The win gives Tahiti six points through two games after earlier defeating Iran and they are favourites to top their group although they will need to defeat world number two Portugal today if they wish to advance to the semi-finals as top seed.RNZI


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