Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1138a ( Monday 16 November 2015 )

MELANESIA

1) http://dailypost.vu/news/just-show-me-human-rights-violations-in-papua-indonesian-foreign/article_f32f5f0f-8d79-5a99-bb9b-e16f4fff0cfb.html

2) http://www.solomonstarnews.com/news/national/8981-pm-meets-top-australian-indigenous-leader

3) New Caledonians rally after Paris attacks

About 250 people in New Caledonia have gathered in central Noumea to express their solidarity with the victims of the attacks in Paris.

The mayor of Noumea, Sonia Lagarde, says all of France, be it the mainland or the overseas territories, is touched by the events.

A state of heightened alert has been declared in the overseas territories, with security tightened at key points, such as airports and New Caledonia’s nickel plants.

Political parties have issued statements, condemning barbarity and calling for strong action in response.

One party closed its weekend Congress in Noumea early when news broke of the attacks in France.

French Polynesian mayors had flown off for the annual meeting of French mayors when news broke that the bombings prompted the cancellation of this week’s conference.

In Wallis and Futuna, flags are being flown at half mast.16/11/15 RNZI

4) Fijian officials attend conferences in Jakarta

Timoci Vula In Indonesia
Monday, November 16, 2015

THIRTEEN officials from the Government and private sector in Fiji are in Indonesia attending the international workshops and programs on the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the Asian-African conference and the 10th anniversary of the New Asian-African Strategic Partnership (NAASP).

The officials include those in the fisheries sector, automotive engineering, private entrepreneurship and civil society organisations.

This as the Fijian Government, through its mission here in Jakarta, continues to strengthen its government-to-government and people-to-people relations with Indonesia. Fiji’s ambassador to Indonesia Ratu Tui Cavuilati said they were venturing into the business side, particularly in private sector development.

He said Fijian officials would benefit from Indonesian experts who are at the forefront of cutting edge entrepreneurship.

“This is something that will be good for us in the long run in terms of creating jobs and innovation,” Ratu Tui said.

“So for us, we will now have to work very closely with Tourism Fiji, Investment Fiji and the Ministry of Industry and Trade so that we can together utilise the potentials that’s now been made to be realised with the fact that Fiji Airways is now flying to Singapore.”

Indonesia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi said th­rough strengthening South-So­uth co-operation to promote world peace and prosperity, “our leaders renewed their commitment to expand, deepen, and co­nsolidate the long standing co-operation between Asia and Africa”.

She said those programs provided capacity building in economic and socio-cultural sectors such as fisheries, tourism, entrepreneurship, aqua culture, automotive, management, journalism, good governance, and corruption eradication.

“These show our seriousness to implement the decision taken in the summit, in a concrete way. These programs also serve as implementation of New Asia Africa Strategic Partnership,” Ms Marsudi said.

Fiji is among other participants from Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, Tanzania, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, and Madagascar.

Since 1980s, South-South Cooperation has been at the core of Indonesia’s foreign policy. It is now an integral part of Indonesia’s main term of development agenda for 2015-2019. As of today, Indonesia has carried out 448 capacity building programs — based on demand-driven initiatives — for more than 5000 participants from 122 countries.Fijitimes

5) OPT-NC confirms three-yearDWDM deal with Alca-Lu

5 Nov 2015

New Caledonia’s state owned telecoms services provider, Office des Postes et Telecommunications de Nouvelle-Caledonie (OPT-NC), has awarded Alcatel-Lucent a three-year contract to extend its DWDM transport network across the South Pacific islands to support increasing demand for fixed and mobile broadband services. Under the deal, Alca-Lu will supply the PTO with an integrated packet solution based on optical transport technology in all inhabited territories of New Caledonia. The deal also includes an agreement to support OPT-NC via a newly established technical support services office opening in the capital Noumea.

The contract award forms part of the telco’s ongoing ‘2017 Strategic Plan’ which is designed to strengthen the national optical backbone, extend its mobile broadband coverage and migrate some 65,000 customers to fibre broadband over the next eight years. OPT-NC claims to have around 73,000 ADSL customers, and says that theDWDM upgrade will increase resilience and capacity to support anticipated demand and support the government’s digital development programme. As such, Alca-Lu is supplying the operator with a full turnkey solution, including migration of existing transport platforms to the Alcatel-Lucent 1830 Photonic Service Switch (PSSWDM platform, with its service router operating system (SROS)-compatible integrated packet transport technology, allowing the efficient transfer of packet traffic over the new network. OPT-NC Deputy CEO, Auxence Fafin, says that the upgrade will deliver ‘high levels of availability and throughput of up to 10Gbps to meet our future digital strategy directions’.

TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that the new optical fibre backbone will cover the capital Noumea and the towns of Le Mont-Dore, Dumbea and Paita (i.e. Grand Noumea), and will meet the growing transportation needs in the country, and aggregate all telecoms services (e.g. voice, internet, mobile, data) from access providers over a ‘single interface’, as well as offering OPT-NC’s enterprise users point-to-point or multipoint fibre connections at speeds of up to 10Gbps. The tender was launched in February this year, with Alca-Lu being selected following a tenders committee meeting on 26 May. The value of the three-year deal ranges from a minimum XPF200 million (USD1.88 million) to a maximum XPF600 million, and will see the vendor expanding the WDM network across the territory of New Caledonia to provide a reliable, scalable transport solution forming the backbone of the future optical network transport needs. It will also allow OPT-NC to migrate its existing SDH and Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) facilities to the WDM network.

POLYNESIA

6) Credible data vital for NCD control – Samoa PM

A summit on non-communicable diseases between the two Samoas has been told up to date information is vital.

Since 2010 Samoa and American Samoa have met each year to review the rate of NCDs in each country to discuss response plans and to draw up policies to combat the lifestyle diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease.

The summit brings together medical personnel, community leaders and politicians.

Samoa’s prime minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi gave the keynote address and says concrete, accurate and up to date data is most important.

“Information is a cross cutting tool for our development. I see up to date and credible information for better informed policy and decision making [as] an urgent priority.”16/11/15 RNZI

http://www.samoanews.com/content/en/feds-over-3m-refunds-linked-tax-fraudster

http://www.samoanews.com/content/en/winner-named-ascc-samoan-writing-contest

7) Govt money for French Polynesia nuclear workers association

The French Polynesia Nuclear Workers’ Association, or Mururoa e Tatou, has been given 50,000 US dollars by the government to help with its work.

The organisation brings compensation claims for workers who say they experienced health problems after being exposed to radiation from French nuclear weapons testing at Mururoa.

Its head, Roland Oldham, says it has spent many years asking for money from the government and that amount it has finally been given is not enough.

He says the money is not going to provide justice to the victims.

“To me, it’s nothing. It’s five million franc if you want to know. Five million franc will do nothing. For a victim to get a lawyer here in Tahiti to be in court costs us more than one million franc. There’s this big thing about the money but it’s nothing, it really is nothing.”16/11/15 RNZI

8) Cook Islands fishermen wary of new tuna deal

The Cook Islands Fishing Association says there’s worry a new fishing ageement will impact on the sustainability of bigeye tuna.

The Ministry of Marine Resources has entered into a draft agreement with the European Union that will allow Spanish purse seiners into Cook Islands waters.

The president of the Cook Islands Fishing Association, Don Beer, says most members practice subsistence fishing, and have noticed a decline in fish catch over the years.

Mr Beer says members are aware the Spanish purse seiners will be targetting skipjack tuna, which has a healthy population.

But Mr Beer says members are concerned about the impact on bigeye and yellowfin tuna, which local fishermen rely heavily on.

“Obviously with purse seining, the big area we’re worried about is the bycatch of bigeye tuna. It’s a huge, huge, worry. How do we manage that? And of course the latest is the Spaniards want to use fish aggregation devices, in terms of the association, we don’t favour FADs at all.”

Don Beer says members are split over the draft agreement, which does provide some financial benefits to local fishermen.16/11/15 RNZI

9) Niue expands TV services

Niue’s Broadcasting Corporation is to be rebranded and upgraded to provide more channels and pay TV.

The Niue government says Niue will become the first Pacific nation to offer more than four television channels when it switches on 12 UHF channels in February 2016.

The general manager, Trevor Tiakia, says BCN will enhance its services while there will be up to six New Zealand channels, a Niue tourism channel, and international news services from Australia Network and the BBC.

He says viewers will also be able to pay to view movies and sport.

Each household is expected to have a UHF aerial installed along with a set top box.

In addition Radio Sunshine will change its frequency to 88.6FM so it can be picked up on cars imported from Japan.16/11/15 RNZI

10) Cook Islands People Surprised By Purse Seiner Deal With EU

Government accused of lack of transparency in negotiations

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Nov. 13, 2015) – The Cook Islands government is being accused of a lack of transparency surrounding fishing negotiations that could see more purse seiners allowed to fish in Cook Islands waters.

Earlier this year more than 4,000 people, or half the voting population, signed a petition asking the government to ban purse seiners, but a draft deal with the EU that allows in Spanish purse seiners has recently been revealed.

Our correspondent, Florence Syme Buchanan says the fact the government continued to negotiate a purse seine agreement with the EU has come as a surprise, because the public was not properly consulted.

She says there are real concerns about the contents of the agreement, despite assurances made by the Marine Resources Secretary, Ben Ponia, that they will be targetting skipjack tuna, which has a healthy population.

“Well in the agreement, there is no mention of skipjack. What it does say is that purse seiners will be fishing for tuna, and tuna like species. That means they can catch anything.”

Florence Syme Buchanan says Ben Ponia also failed to mention a clause in the agreement that allows purse seiners to exceed their catch, and that the deal allows for experimental fishing.

She says the only reason people in the Cook Islands became aware of this agreement is because the European Union published an article online which mentioned an agreement being made with the Cook Islands.

Radio New Zealand International

MICRONESIA

11) Marshall Islanders go to polls today

Marshall Islanders go to the polls today, with some predicting a huge offshore vote may influence the elections.

In 2011 offshore voting from America overturned the results of the domestic vote for three candidates, with emigration to the US increasing in recent years.

General elections are held every four years for seats in the 33-member legislature.

With postal votes not counted until two weeks after election day, results won’t be known before the first week of December.16/11/15 RNZI

12) Tour company sues CNMI authority

The Commonwealth Ports Authority in the Northern Marianas is being sued by a tour company for close to $US150,000 in expenses it incurred after the airport on Saipan was closed to wide-body aircraft due to the unavailability of a fire and rescue truck

Century Tours Incorporated is suing the Ports Authority over the suspension of flights on the 21st of August that stranded many tourists on Saipan.

It says the Authority’s negligence and carelessness cost the company over $US149,000 (149,044) in expenses paid on behalf of the stranded tourists.

According to Marianas Visitors Authority and airport officials, 1,600 passengers were stranded that weekend because of the incident.

The airport returned to normal operations four days later, after the Authority expedited the shipment of a steering gear box from a manufacturer out of Wisconsin.

Federal Aviation Administration regulations require commercial airports to be ready to respond to aircraft incidents and accidents, fires, and hazardous materials incidents.

A working fire truck also needs to be on site.14/11/15 RNZI

TOK PISIN

13) PNG West New Britain Provins bai kisim ol medikal saplai

Updated 12 November 2015, 12:59 AEDT
Caroline Tiriman

Ol despla saplai bai helpim ol haus sik long provins long saed blong marasin na ol bed long haus sik.

Gavana blong West New Britain provins long Papua New Guinea itok emi hamamas tru long wetim ol medical container ikam long America long helpim wok blong helt long provins blong en.

Sasindran Muthuvel itok emi wokbung wantem tupla laen, Project CURE na  PNG Tribal Foundation long kisim ol despla medical saplai long ol despla mun ikam.

Narapla ples  long PNG em bai kisim tu ol medical container em long Southern Highlands Provins.

Project CURE i stap olsem bikpla wok we emi save salim ol medical saplai na ol masin blong ol haus sik long ol diveloping kantri long wold, taem PNG Tribal Foundation isave wok blong halvim wok blong helt na edukeisan long Papua New Guinea.ABC

14) Pacific Wokas Scheme i helpim ol Ni-Vanuatu

Updated 13 November 2015, 12:15 AEDT

Caroline Tiriman

Pacific wokas scheme long Australia i helpim gut ol pipal blong Vanuatu husat i bungim tupla bikpla heve blong saiklon Pam na tu long drought we emi hamarim kantri nau.

Despla em toktok blong wanpla Ni-Vanuatu bisnisman husat isave helpim ol pipal blong Vanuatu long kam wok long Australia aninit long desdpla scheme.

John Salong itok klostu eitpla mun bihaen long saiklon ibin bagarapim Vanuatu na planti pipal em oli bin lusim ol haus blong ol ino bildim bek ol nupla haus blong ol iet.

Australia na New Zealand ibin kamapim despla kaen wok blong helpim ol pipal blong Pacific ikam wok long ol farm long despla tupla kantri long helpim ol femili long rijan i kisim moni.

John Salong istap nau wantem sampla Ni-Vanuatu wokas long South Australia we emi tokim Radio Australia olsem Vanuatu i bungim planti heve nau.ABC

FRENCH

15) Brèves du Pacifique – vendredi 13 novembre 2015

Mis à jour 13 November 2015, 19:26 AEDT

Caroline Lafargue

Quand l’Indonésie brûle, la Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée suffoque. Les fumées des incendies indonésiens atteignent l’île de Nouvelle-Guinée. Les habitants riverains de la frontière avec la Papouasie indonésienne se plaignent de crises d’asthme.

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Depuis mai, à Borneo et à Sumatra, les incendies de tourbières se multiplient. Le feu est une façon d’assécher et d’assainir ces zones marécageuses, pour y planter plus vite des palmiers à huile ou des arbres destinés à produire du papier. Ils dégagent aujourd’hui un nuage de fumées acres très toxique, qui touche toute  l’Asie du Sud-Est, mais également la Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée, à la frontière avec la Papouasie indonésienne. « Je dois conduire des gens à l’hôpital trois fois par semaine parce qu’ils font des crises d’asthme », a expliqué Dorothy Tekwie sur la radio néo-zélandaise internationale. En effet, selon cette militante écologiste, l’assèchement des zones marécageuses par le feu se pratique aussi dans la région voisine de Merauke, en Papouasie indonésienne.
  • Indonésie: mission réussie pour Malcolm Turnbull. C’est ce que disent la plupart des observateurs australiens après le séjour express du Premier ministre australien à Jakarta. Cette visite officielle était placée sous le signe de la réconciliation. Les sujets qui fâchent ont donc été écartés d’emblée: l’exécution par Jakarta de deux trafiquants de drogue australiens ; la question épineuse des boat-people renvoyés par la marine australienne dans les eaux indonésiennes ; et bien sûr la revendication indépendantiste des mélanésiens de Papouasie. Joko Widodo, le Président indonésien, et Malcolm Turnbull ont uniquement parlé commerce, investissements et coopération touristique. Les deux hommes d’État ont ensuite fait une balade décontractée dans un marché de Jakarta.
  • Vanuatu: ce n’était pas des pots de vin, mais des prêts, à 11% de taux d’intérêt. C’est la version des 14 députés et/ou ministres corrompus, condamnés à de la prison ferme début octobre. Le verdict est clair: Moana Carcasses, l’ancien Premier ministre du Vanuatu, a versé 452 000 dollars aux autres députés afin d’obtenir leur soutien pour renverser le Premier ministre de l’époque. Mais le procès en appel s’est ouvert hier à Port-Vila. Les avocats des condamnés tentent d’annuler les peines de prison et ils servent une toute autre version des faits, affirmant que l’argent reçu par leurs clients était des prêts pour réaliser des travaux dans leurs circonscriptions respectives.
  • Les Îles Cook bradent leurs thons. Le gouvernement confirme la signature d’un accord avec l’Union européenne. Le pays recevra 13 millions de dollars, en échange d’un permis de pêche quasiment illimité pour les thoniers-senneurs européens, principalement espagnols. Ils pourront pêcher les thons de leur choix, y compris les espèces la plus menacées par la surpêche. Les Européens pourront aussi dépasser leurs quotas de prises, et tester des nouvelles techniques de pêche. Cette annonce surprise provoque la colère des habitants. Il y a quelques mois en effet, 4000 insulaires des Cook – soit la moitié de la population – avaient signé une pétition pour obtenir l’interdiction des thoniers-senneurs dans les eaux territoriales.
  • À Fidji, Ben Groenewald tire à boulets rouges sur le pouvoir des militaires. Il a démissionné de son poste de chef de la police du pays en début de semaine. Et hier il a détaillé les raisons de son geste à la télévision fidjienne. Ben Groenewald ne mâche pas ses mots. Il accuse l’armée fidjienne d’avoir empêché la police d’arrêter Pita Matairavula, un officier de l’armée soupçonné de viol. Quelques heures après la démission de Ben Groenewald, le Premier ministre, Franck Bainimarama, a nommé un nouveau chef de la police, le Colonel Sitiveni Qiliho. Il s’agit donc d’un militaire. Mais Ro Teimumu Kepa, la cheffe de l’opposition, conteste cette nomination, car normalement les partis d’opposition devraient être consultés.
  • La photo du jour en Australie: Conchita Wurst câline Steven. Ce gros câlin entre la drag-queen barbue et ce koala mâle a eu lieu au zoo d’Adelaïde. La chanteuse autrichienne travestie, qui a secoué l’Eurovision en 2014, donnera un concert au festival Feast d’Adelaide ce week-end. Conchita Wurst a donc été accueillie par Steven le koala, mais surtout par Penny Wong, sénatrice d’Australie du Sud, et ancienne ministre, première femme politique travailliste à avoir révélé qu’elle était lesbienne.
PACIFIC

17) Pacific Islands Look To Capitalize On Global And Regional Trade
Regional workshop gets under way in Tonga

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Nov. 12, 2015) – A two-days workshop on Emerging Global and Regional Trade Issues for the Commonwealth Pacific Region began at the Scenic Hotel, Pelehake, Tongatapu this morning 12 November.

It covers complex international and regional trade issues that small and isolated Pacific Islands States have to address.

The Guest of Honour at the opening ceremony was Crown Prince Tupouto’s ‘Ulukalala

Participants at the workshop are Senior Trade Officials from across the Pacific and resource persons from the Region and the wider Commonwealth as well as experts from Trade Policy Institutions/Multilateral organisations based in New York City, Geneva and London, including Dr Jodie Keane, Economic Advisor, Trade Division of the Commonwealth Secretariat.

Tonga’s Acting Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Hon. Siaosi Sovaleni in his opening remarks pointed out that recent global developments has provided “a window of opportunity to improve our trade and development efforts.”

“A question that I want to post to you. How can we ensure that all our Pacific people actually benefit from this window of opportunity?”

He also reminded participants that International Trade and Investment “are the engine for an inclusive economic growth, and poverty reduction.”

Matangi Tonga Magazine

ASIA

18) Plans to boost birthrate in Japan

Reuters
Saturday, November 14, 2015

JAPAN plans to include steps to raise the birth- rate, such as easier access to childcare and tax incentives, in a package of reforms due this month to tackle the biggest bottleneck to economic growth.

Japan’s population began declining four years ago after several years of warnings that the birth rate was too low, prompting some economists to applaud Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s decision to put the issue on the agenda.

“I want to confront the demographic problem head on and place particular emphasis on policies that will contribute to raising the birth rate,” Mr Abe said on Thursday after a Cabinet meeting.

However, others warn the Government has fallen so far behind on the population issue that it will be difficult to raise economic growth without opening up to large-scale immigration.

Most countries would turn to immigration, but this has met with resistance from politicians and the public, who prize the country’s mostly homogenous society.

“There is a lack of childcare facilities and improving this is important,” said Hiroshi Shiraishi, senior economist at BNP Paribas Securities.

“However, this will not boost growth in the next five years. The more direct way is through immigration.”

Mr Abe wants to raise the birth rate to 1.8 per woman from 1.42 currently by loosening regulations on childcare providers and making it easier for women to return to work after their child is born.

Other proposals the government will consider are easing the tax burden for some part-time employees and making interest-free loans available for higher education.

The idea is to prevent the population from falling below 100 million from about 127 million currently. Advanced economies usually require a birthrate around 2.1 children per woman simply to keep the population stable.

© 2015 Thomson Reuters. Click for restrictions

WORLD

19) COP21 to go ahead

Reuters
Monday, November 16, 2015

PARIS – France plans to go ahead with a global climate change summit (COP21) in Paris at the end of the month, the prime minister said on Saturday, despite a wave of deadly attacks on Friday night that killed 127 people in the capital.

The conference “will be held because it’s an essential meeting for humanity,” Prime Minister Manuel Valls told TF1 television on Saturday night.

He said the summit would also be an opportunity for world leaders to show their solidarity with France after the attacks.

As many as 118 world leaders are expected to attend the opening day of the November 30 — December 11 conference, which is due to nail down a global deal to limit rising greenhouse gas emissions. In Washington, officials confirmed that both US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry still planned to attend.

Overall, between 20,000 and 40,000 delegates are expected to attend.

“Security at UN climate conferences is always tight but understandably it will be even tighter for Paris,” said Nick Nuttall, spokesman of the UN Climate Change Secretariat in Bonn.

The United Nations has the main responsibility for security inside the conference venue at Le Bourget, to the north of the capital.

On Saturday, an angry President Francois Hollande promised a “merciless” response to the wave of attacks by gunmen and bombers that killed 127 people across Paris, describing the assault, claimed by Islamic State, as an act of war.

Organisers of a march to press for climate action planned for Paris on November 29, the eve of the summit, said they would meet on Monday “to discuss ways forward”, said Alice Jay, director of the citizens’ campaign group Avaaz and one of the organisers.

20) Act of war

Reuters
Monday, November 16, 2015

LONDON – World leaders responded to deadly attacks in Paris with defiant pledges of solidarity and Europe tightened security after Islamic State said it was behind an assault by gunmen and bombers that left at least 129 dead in the French capital.

From Barack Obama to Vladimir Putin and across Europe and the Middle East, leaders expressed their condolences to French President Francois Hollande who said the attacks amounted to an act of war against France.

After the worst bloodshed in France since the end of WWII, European neighbours including Britain, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany and Italy increased security. France temporarily imposed border controls.

British Prime Minister David Cameron used French to express his solidarity after calling Hollande.

“Shocked, but resolute. In sorrow, but unbowed. My message to the French people is simple: Nous sommes solidaires avec vous. Nous sommes tous ensemble. We stand with you. United,” Mr Cameron said.

London monuments including the London Eye and Tower Bridge were lit up in the red, white and blue of the French tricolour, as were Sydney’s Opera House, the Taipei 101 skyscraper in Taiwan, the Senate building in Mexico City, One World Trade Center in New York and several other global landmarks.

The deadliest attack on Europe since the 2004 Madrid bombings laid bare Islamic State’s capability to strike at the heart of Europe and the difficulty of monitoring the movements of militants intent on killing. It also triggered a debate on Europe’s refugee policies and the failures of Western policy in Syria.

“This is an attack not just on Paris, it’s an attack not just on the people of France, but this is an attack on all of humanity and the universal values that we share,” Mr Obama said.

HEALTH

21) Port Vila Urban Development Project targets health and hygiene improvement for communities

A visiting team from VPMU including key partners in the project – ADB and DFAT were delighted to be

informed that women at Seaside are taking the lead role in the health and sanitation project.

One of the outputs of PVUDP is to improve hygiene facilities in the central and the surrounding areas, including Seaside Futuna Community, selected as one of seven out of 31 to be among project beneficiaries.

The final selected communities had a series of consultations with men and women —targeting suitable sites and features of communal facilities particularly relevant to women’s needs and the willingness of the community to operate and manage the facility in a sustainable manner.

After the selection of the seven beneficiaries of the project, two local prominent NGOs — World Vision; in partnership with Wan Smolbag, were engaged over the past eight months or so to work more closely with the communities by providing the project with a Knowledge and Attitude (KAP) study survey report, as well as undertaking sanitation awareness and education training and financial management training on operation and maintenance of the facilities.

Since then, communities have been presented with three different designs of communal facilities in consultation meetings where presentations were made on a selection of choices on which design would be desirable for their community.

Particular attention was paid closely to the needs of people with disabilities, including women and children in the communities.

Tenders were released recently and works on the five community sanitation facilities will commence in early 2016.

In the meantime, World Vision Vanuatu are continuing their good work in the seven selected communities on hygiene awareness, with assistance from Wan Smolbag, who have also contributed much to the cause of elevating hygiene in communities with their theatrical stage plays on solid waste management.

There will be update reports on the works being carried out in the communities.14/11/15- http://dailypost.vu/news/

22) State reaffirms help for cancer patients

Atasa Moceituba
Monday, November 16, 2015

WOMEN should take ownership and have tests to detect if they have cancer so as to not put financial burden on Government.

The Health Ministry has over the years spent millions of dollars to assist patients in the treatment of cancer.

Health Minister Jone Usamate said the ministry spent $1.6million and $ 0.9million respectively in 2011 and 2012 to treat breast cancer patients.

He said the cost of medication to treat breast cancer for four cycles was about $2500.

“The medical expenses incurred are not only restricted to surgery and chemotherapy, but also for investigations (radiological, laboratory, specialised biopsy and bone marrow), follow up in clinics, counselling and palliative care in hospital and at home,” Mr Usamate said.

He said the ministry was committed to assisting patients diagnosed with breast cancer.

At the same time it advised members of the public to be proactive and get detected early for cancer.

“I must remind our people that cancer is a serious matter as it does not only affect the quality of life but also places a financial burden on the health system,” Mr Usamate said.

In 2014, he said, the ministry used $402,625.83 from its budget on those who were sent abroad for overseas treatment.

“The Health Ministry and Government continue to assist patients with breast cancer,” Mr Usamate said.

“From 2009 to 2014 a total of 164 cancer cases were referred overseas. In 2014 alone, 22 cases were sent for treatment abroad costing the Health Ministry $402,625.83.”

To those who go for overseas treatment, in particular India, he said Government paid about $20,000 for breast radiation, therapy and chemotherapy per case.

He said the best way to help manage the burden of breast cancer was to know how to detect suspicious cancers.

“Early detection of any cancer is important as it can be life saving,” Mr Usamate said.

“The Health Ministry and Fiji Government remain committed to addressing and assisting patients in their fight against cancer.”Fijitimes

EDUCATION

23) College closed

Rnzi
Monday, November 16, 2015

BALOB Teachers College in Lae in Papua New Guinea’s Morobe Province has shut down early for the 2015 academic year because of unrest on the city’s streets.

Hundreds of unemployed youths rioted in Lae earlier this week.

The college’s principal, Jerry Hendingao, says the decision was made to shut down early because of fear for the lives of the students.

The Post Courier reports that 75 per cent of the college’s population are day students living off the campus.

Mr Hendingao says students were returning from study break to commence the final week of their examinations for the academic year, but classes had been disrupted by the protests.

He says students dependent on public transport were caught out when the PMV bus services were scaled back.

Mr Hendingao says there will be no graduation ceremony for the final year students.

24) Teachers discuss issues

Source:
The National, Friday November 13th, 2015

CURRENT issues such as climate change, child protection, drugs, alcohol and corruption are discussed among teachers so that they can impart the knowledge to their students, an official says.
National Catholic Education secretary Joseph Direkoro said skills-training in schools was an important component of development.
He was chairing a week-long Technical Vocational Education Training conference in Port Moresby. The conference was funded by Caritas Australia and the Government of Australia.
“The purpose of this is to bring all managers of Catholic Agency TVET schools together to work with our agency principles. “Skill is one but we are also looking at the spiritual, social, physical components.
“We bring them together so we will be able to work together in trying to produce a full person.”
Some of the items discussed during the conference were child protection, drugs and alcohol.
“We don’t want corruption to gain roots in our education system. So in such a conference, we discuss this kinds of issues so they (managers) can take these things on board and impart to the students.”
It was the second Catholic TVET managers conference attended by 46 of the 50 centres country-wide.

POLITIC

25) Vanuatu women push for reserved seats in parliament

The chief executive of Vanuatu’s National Council of Women says the country’s male politicians must recognise the rights of women to be in parliament.

The NGO staged a forum last week to help women planning to stand in the next election, due next year.

Leas Cullwick says they want to make women aware of what they need to do to be eeffective candidates.

She says they will need reserved seats to be set up as laid out in the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, or CEDAW.

Ms Cullwick says the current system of political parties forces women to contest as independents.

“The men and the political parties – there is no accountability and transparency in their actions, so the only way forward, the women see it, is to apply the CEDAW Convention Article 4 of the special temporary measure, to be enforced.”16/11/15 RNZI

26) PNG electoral commissioner retires

The Papua New Guinea Electoral Commissioner for the past 14 years, Sir Andrew Trawen, stepped down at the end of last week.

Sir Andrew successfully conducted two national elections – in 2007 and 2012.

The bipartisan electoral appointment committee is now in the process of appointing a new commissioner.

The Post Courier reports Sir Andrew is encouraging staff at the commission to remain focussed on preparations for the 2017 National Election.16/15/15 RNZI

27) PNG Election Commissioner Steps Down After 14 Years
Government yet to find replacement for Trawen

By Gorethy Kenneth

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Nov. 13, 2015) –Longest serving Papua New Guinea Electoral Commissioner Sir Andrew Trawen officially leaves the chair this afternoon after 14 years at the helm.

He successfully conducted two national elections – the 2007 National Election and the 2012 National Election.

And the bipartisan electoral appointment committee made up of Prime Minister Peter O’Neill as chairman is now in the process of appointing a new Electoral Commissioner.

It is expected to meet at 10am today to make the appointment from a shortlist of candidates.

Sir Andrew leaves office after being honoured by the Queen and the Government with the highest awarded, the Knighthood, in June for his services to the Electoral Commission (PNGEC).

The PNGEC staff said farewell to him at a dinner last night at Laguna Hotel.

Early this week in one of his addresses Sir Andrew said despite his exit, his biggest achievement was two focused elections and urged the PNGEC employees to stay focused in the next election.

“Despite my exit from the Commission, I encourage you all to remain focus on your planning and preparations for the 2017 National Election which I will be observing from the sidelines to see if what you are discussing now would be implemented accordingly.

“We must now encourage the people through awareness to take ownership of the elections and make it their business to come to us get enrolled or registered in order to participate in the 2017 National General Election.

“Be reminded that the National Identity Card Program has received full funding of K81 million in the 2016 National Budget and will be registering citizens at the same time as we go about updating the Electoral Roll.

“So far there has not been any good collaboration of the roll out of the NID implemented by National Planning, NSO and Civil Registry Office with the Commission.

“Therefore, I strongly urge Awareness Branch to develop new and effective messages to inform the people on the difference between NID registration and Electoral Roll registration.

“I must make it absolutely crystal clear that the Electoral Commission is established under the National Constitutional and has the constitutional duty to register all eligible voters and deliver free, fair, safe, accessible and inclusive elections to the people of PNG and no other entity can speak election language apart from the Commission!”

PNG Post-Courier

28) Ministry in need of engineer

Vuniwaqa Bola-Bari
Monday, November 16, 2015

THE Ministry of Local Government, Urban Development and Environment needs an engineer to provide them with the expertise in the field of civil engineering, project inception, management and development.

This is something the ministry has highlighted in the 2014 Auditor General’s report as was lacking and which they needed to allow them to achieve Pillar 5 of the People’s Charter on achieving higher economic growth while ensuring sustainability.

They also acknowledged the recommendation of the Office of the Auditor General to ensure that a qualified engineer was appointed to monitor, supervise and review progress claims for the construction of projects in the future.

The OAG highlighted that phase 2 of the Naboro landfill works might have not been supervised and monitored properly as the ministry only had an environment officer to oversee the implementation of the project instead of an engineer.

The OAG also stated that the permanent secretary needs to ensure that the contractor complies with all aspects of the contract and to also consider assisting the contractor in collecting debts owed by the municipal councils which totalled $448,726.28.

The audit of the ministry also resulted in the issuance of a qualified report against them which was based on an unreconciled variance of $593,940 which existed in their main trust fund account between the bank statement balance and the general ledger balance.Fijitimes

29) Maelanga: Stop use of God’s name

Published: 12 November 2015

DEPUTY Prime Minister Manasseh Maelanga had warned the Member of Parliament for Aoke Langalanga, Mathew Wale to refrain from using God’s name in his speeches during debates on the floor of Parliament.

Mr Maelanga said the use of God’s name during debates amounts to abuse of the divine ruler in the form of a joke and must be rebuked by professed Christians.

The Deputy Prime Minister lashed out against Mr Wale for complementing God’s name during the second reading debate on the supplementary Appropriation B ill 2015 in Parliament.

Mr Maelanga raised a point of order asking Mr Wale to refrain from quoting Bible Scriptures while giving speeches in Parliament.

Speaker of Parliament Ajilon Jasper Nasiu had allowed Mr Maelanga to intervene by raising a point of order objecting to the use of God’s holy name during parliamentary debates.

Mr Maelanga cautioned Mr Wale to avoid quoting Bible scriptures and direct his debates strictly focused on the contents of the Supplementary Appropriation Bill 2015 under debate in the House.

Mr Maelanga said he felt embarrassed at  seeing Mr Wale laughing while he was using quotes from the Bible during his debate speech in Parliament.

He warned Mr Wale to be fearful pointing out that God’s word is a double edge sword, thus it must not be used in vain during parliamentary debates.

However, Mr Wale insisted, the Deputy Prime Minister had misunderstood the point he was trying to hammer home in his speech.

“My starting of the debate was not meant to use God’s name as a joke. In actual fact I was trying to relate the Budget under discussion to what the Bible had to say about such monetary wealth,” he said.

Mr Wale said it has been a trend over time that every budget brought into Parliament had seen the same scenario of continued repetitions about Government failures.

Mr Wale pointed out that the use of the contingency warrant for example was unconstitutional because the activities and functions for which government spent money on were not unforeseen.

“They were events focused in advance thus any budgetary shortfalls can only amount to poor management of the budget.”

But in his wind up debate speech on the second reading of the Bill Minister of Finance and Treasury Snyder Rini  rejected as totally incorrect the norm held by some parliamentarians that the use of a contingency warrant as unconstitutional.

He explained why government had to use contingency warrant to fund the Melanesian Spearhead Group meeting in Honiara and contingents to the recent Pacific games held in Port Moresby PNG.

He said Government had resorted to a contingency warrant fund the important events since no budgetary provisions were formulated and allocated to meet costs of the events in the 2015 National Budget.

By ELLIOT DAWEA/ Solomon Star

 30) Ministry to review SME’s framework – Minister for Industry and Trade Faiyaz Koya has revealed that the government will review the current Small and Medium Enterprise framework. Koya says this will be done to strengthen links between small and medium enterprises and to ensure a sustained domestic value chain. “And improving its functional capability to meet the demands of the sector and its stakeholders, most important for the micro finance sector is the development of the micro finance regulatory framework.”

http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/34878/ministry-to-review-sme%E2%80%99s-framework#sthash.PN6Ne1W4.dpuf

 31) Fiji’s Qiliho appointment prompts Naidu resignation – A member of Fiji’s Constitutional Offices Commission has resigned following the appointment of the land force commander as the Acting Police Commissioner. Richard Naidu, a Suva lawyer, says the Prime Minister, Frank Bainimarama, should consult the Commission before appointments are made, but has not done so. He says any effective democracy is underpinned by independent public institutions, and he will not act as a rubber stamp.

http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/289773/fiji’s-qiliho-appointment-prompts-naidu-resignation

LAND

32) Customary land laws need review: Marat

Source:
The National, Friday November 13th, 2015

PAST governments have been blamed for not prioritising land matters, particularly in revisiting legislations governing special agriculture business leases (SABL), the Land Dispute Settlement Act and Land Titles Commission Act.
Rabaul MP Dr Allan Marat yesterday said current policies and legislations did not give clear indications on how customary land could be converted to freehold for the benefit of Papua New Guineans.
“Integrated land group certificates do not provide the guarantee needed by commercial banks to assist our local landowners, both the Bainings and Tolais,” Marat said to the applause of the crowd.
“An ILG certificate is not a land title, it must also follow due processes to be converted into a land title.
“Past and present governments have failed us miserably and this is not politics but a reality.
“The SABL, Land Dispute Settlement Act and the Land Titles Commission Act have not been reviewed.
“The SABL was drafted into a piece of legislation to the whim and benefit of a few greedy politicians and we are now feeling the pinch of it,” Marat said.
He was speaking at yesterday’s launch of the East New Britain customary land database in Vunapope.
Marat said land is an important commodity throughout the country but had not received the attention and support by all levels of the bureaucracy.
“The Government has been so good in providing lip service, yet it fails miserably when it comes to doing follow-ups,” Marat said.
He said in East New Britain, it was evident that a few corrupt politicians had adopted the SABL concept under the pretext of developing the oil palm industry.

MEDIA

33) VBTC staff back on duty

By Len Garae

Vanuatu Broadcasting Staff have returned to work at midday yesterday after they got paid.

VBTC General Manager Fred Vurobaravu confirms their return to work saying the Management and Office of the Prime Minister are examining the procedure followed to organise the sit-in all of before yesterday and yesterday morning, until they got paid at midday, if the action was in line with industrial dispute process.

The GM says the Prime Minister’s Office has expressed concern over the incident and ordered that it be investigated fully to confirm whether or not established procedures were observed.

The Prime Minister’s Office wants to see appropriate action taken to ensure such action is not repeated.

Asked if the GM received a notice of a planned sit-in prior to the industrial action, he answers that he did not receive a notice of an imminent sit-in.

Furthermore he says when an employer fails to pay its employees, a maximum of eight days is allowed for the employer to pay its employees.

After eight days if the employer still fails to pay its employees, only then can they resort to an industrial action.

The GM says his management team was not given eight days.

He says the management and board of VBTC won’t take the action by the employees lightly.

Staff on duty have declined to comment. 14/11/15 – http://dailypost.vu/news/

34) Police warn against rumours on social media

Source:
The National, Friday November 13th, 2015

POLICE have warned social media users not to spread false and misleading information to the public regarding the protest in Lae.
Lae police commander Anthony Wagambie Jr issued the warning on Wednesday after being informed that onliners were trying to scare and confuse people on Facebook, Whatsapp, Skype and GooglePlus.
“Don’t listen to these people and what they post on social media,” Wagambie said.
“The situation in Lae has returned to normal,” he said.
“Shops have reopened for business and buses are on the road again,” Wagambie said.
“People who posted that truckloads of Highlanders will come down to Lae and attack Morobeans is not true,” Wagambie said.

BUSINESS

35) Banking sector expects to grow
– The banking sector expects growth in business next year. With economic policies showing results, HFC Bank and Westpac say the reforms announced in the 2016 Budget are significant. HFC Bank Chief Executive Officer – Isikeli Tikoduadua says the banking and finance sector is seeing more activity than it has in many years, lending for investment and consumer spending is at an all-time high.

http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/34877/banking-sector-expects-to-grow#sthash.znx8hNAY.dpuf

36) Business giants take up airport space

Repeka Nasiko
Monday, November 16, 2015

NINE business giants have set up shop in the arrivals and departure sections of the Nadi International Airport.

Setting up tenancies in the modernised Nadi International Airport are Prouds, Burger King, Gloria Jean’s, Westpac, Digicel Fiji, Tourist Transport Fiji (TTF), Tour Managers, Pacific Destinations and Tappoo.

Airports Fiji Ltd chairman Faiz Khan said the outlets would open to the travelling public on Monday.

“This is a significant step forward for the Nadi airport terminal modernization project,” he said.

“Outlets that will open to the Fijian people and the travelling public on Monday are Tappoo and Prouds duty free in departures and arrivals, Burger King and Gloria Jean’s in departures, Westpac’s foreign exchange in departures and arrivals, Westpac’s main branch in arrivals concourse landside, Digicel, TTF, Rosie, Tour Managers and Pacific Destinations.”

He said with the opening of the new outlets, ground floor shops would be closed for further renovation works.

“Simultaneous to the release of these tenancies in their newly upgraded spaces, the tenancies currently operating on the ground floor of departures lounge will close to allow construction works to proceed on the ground floor.

“However, the airline lounges will continue operations on the departures ground floor and be upgraded in stages.

“We are calling the release of these tenancies to our customers as a significant step forward rather than a launch because the NATMP project has still got a little less than 50 per cent of works pending to complete.

“We have a fair way to go. Building at an operational airport, NATMP was always planned to be delivered in stages. Nevertheless, these releases signify a significant milestone achieved.

“We thank all our tenants for their immense efforts in creating world-class tenancy fit outs.”Fijitimes

37) Call for ICT sector to raise the bar

Siteri Sauvakacolo
Monday, November 16, 2015

IF our pricing models and internet connection speeds remain uncompetitive, Fiji will fall behind and Fijians will miss out on future opportunities.

This was outlined by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama at the launch of the Telecom Fiji Ltd’s wireless broadband service last Friday at Suva’s Grand Pacific Hotel.

“We risk losing out on new international investment if we can’t offer affordable service, have better bandwidth and make a determined and practical approach to create ourselves as a technological hub,” Mr Bainimarama said.Fijitimes

38) Potential in microfinance

Ropate Valemei
Monday, November 16, 2015

MICROFINANCE is a sector that has a lot of potential for creating jobs and boosting economic activity and, in turn, contributing to economic growth in the country.

These were the words of the central bank’s governor Barry Whiteside at the National Microfinance Awards on Friday night.

“It involves among other things, extending loans, some of them as low as fifty dollars, so that people can start their own small businesses and generate income for their families,” he said.

Microfinance, when done well, he said had the ability to empower people.

“When our most vulnerable are empowered with financial support to take care of their family, they can pay for the basic needs of food, water and shelter, health care services, a good education for their children and enjoy a better living standard.

“When this happens, there is of course less pressure on the State, but it also surely must bring a sense of pride to our people.

“I mentioned that it is important that microfinance needs to be done well.

“It is not just about giving out small loans and leaving the recipients to get on with whatever it is they are doing.

“It is about also providing the necessary support structures and skills development so that the people are able to sustain their businesses.”Fijitimes

39) $62m loan value

Ropate Valemei
Monday, November 16, 2015

MORE than 1040 loans valued at just more than $62million have been registered under the Reserve Bank of Fiji (RBF) Credit Guarantee Scheme so far.

RBF governor Barry Whiteside said it was encouraging to note the growing support by Government for the country’s micro, small and medium enterprises sector of the economy.

“Several years ago the State set aside funds with the central bank to establish a credit guarantee scheme covering loans by financial institutions to eligible small and medium businesses.

“Interest charged on these loans must not exceed 10 per cent per annum.”

He said there had been only two calls on the guarantee in the past three years.

“This year Government also initiated a micro and small business grant facility to provide financial and capital assistance to not only existing businesses but also to those wanting to start a business.

“The intention is to help micro-businesses with seed capital or additional capital to grow and succeed.

“Since the set-up of the facility, we understand that more than 2100 micro-entrepreneurs have benefited, with grants up to a maximum of $1000 each.”

Mr Whiteside said this was a huge show of support for the micro, small and medium enterprises sector which must be applauded

Clearly, he said it was important that the level of backup be managed well.Fijitmes

40) Why we sacked 4

SIPA boss clarifies latest termination

FOUR officers from the  Solomon Islands Ports Authority (SIPA) terminated on Thursday failed to comply with their job descriptions.

That was according to SIPA’s chief executive officer Colin Yow.

“…yes the four served SIPA for many years, but their failure to comply with simple instructions had cost the authority $347, 000,” Mr Yow told the media yesterday.

He said the four have been instructed during their shifts over the course of two days and nights to unload containers of their contents before sending the empty ones on board the waiting vessel for shipment to the next overseas port.

“They all chose not to do this according to instructions given to them, resulting in SIPA being penalized.”

Mr Yow said these officers do this sort of thing all the time but on this occasion, they did not allow the containers to be unloaded, but instead allowed the containers to be shipped with cargo inside.

“It’s unacceptable to have people who know how to do their job but deliberately chose not to do it on this occasion.

“They have no excuses to offer because the documents and those particular containers were there at the port for two days and nights.

“Obviously, all four of them were on separate shifts and for those two days and nights, they still cannot comply with a simple instruction.

“These are the same people who have been warned and suspended before; but this time I have decided to terminate them for this very serious reason.”

Mr Yow also revealed one of those terminated officers went to one of SIPA’s senior manager’s residence on Thursday night and threatened him and his family, while demanding compensation.

“This officer knocked on the door of the senior manager at 2: 35am and demanded to see him and basically threatened him and his family.

“He came with someone else to do the dirty job. This is again wrong, it is wrong to threaten children and wives of employees.”

He said the terminated employee then demanded money and if not given threaten to do something bad and worse.

“My staff called the police four times; they said they will send a patrol but failed to attend. The police are not doing their job.

“This is again unacceptable; the police have a duty to take care of citizens.

“This is not different to the death threats that I’ve been receiving,” he said.

He said at 6am yesterday, the group returned again to the same house and demanded money, while making threats again.

“This is totally unacceptable and we have to stop this,” Mr Yow said.

Chairman of SIPA’s in-house union Michael Faitea earlier criticized the terminations, it may be related to leakage of information regarding the renewal of contracts of senior managers.

He said the sacking was unfair and not right.

By BRADFORD THEONOMI/Solomon Star 14/11/15

41) Airline plans to buy more planes

Source:
The National, Thursday November 12th, 2015

By SAMSON JOHN
Director of PNG Air Watt Kiddie says more ATR 72-600 aircraft  will be brought to the country next year.
He was on board the aircraft’s maiden flight from Port Moresby to Kagamuga airport in Mount Hagen then to Boram.
“This new aircraft is the first one. By next year around June, we will bring in around five to six similar aircraft to serve the people,” Kiddie said. “This is an affordable aircraft to service the simple people.”
Mineral Resources Development Corporation general manager Clifford Kasi said the rebranded company was PNG-owned because its shareholders were local companies and individuals.
MRDC owns more than 40 per cent shares.
“We have a wealth of experienced staff in the company and this is why we invested in this company.
We know our investment won’t be wasted,” Kasi said.
Kiddie said the rebranding exercise would not affect services.
“We got the same staff who have being serving your for years.”
He assured the people that the airfares would not change.
“The fares be the same  as you’ve been enjoying over the years.”

PNG Air plans to replace its fleet of Dash-8 aircraft with the ATR 72-600.

42) Group praises PNG economy
Source:
The National, Friday November 13th, 2015

THE PNG economy is expected to be the fastest growing in the world this year, according to a Oxford Business Group report.
In its PNG 2015 report, the group said this would come about with the country’s growth predictions ranging between 6.9 per cent and 21 per cent.
The growth is the result of LNG production plus exports.
Growth estimates in 2015 have varied widely, with the decline resulting from lower commodity prices.
The group said despite fluctuations in the prices, Papua New Guinea was likely to avoid the major crisis predicted by some observers and was expected to enjoy relatively high rate of growth and some stability.
Economist and general manager of BSP Capital Richard Borysiewicz who was present during the launching of the report on Wednesday, said current growth numbers for Papua Newa Guinea were sustainable.
“We have actually gone full circle,” Borysiewicz said
“We’ve actually reached a new norm where you’ve got more reasonable, more sustainable growth numbers which are healthy.”
The report said cash flow from the project would help in the repayment of debts and other obligations, and funds would begin to build and counter losses.

43) Workers are shareholders in Kina Bank, says Yates

Source:
The National, Friday November 13th, 2015

ALMOST all employees in the country’s public and private sectors are shareholders of the Kina Bank, according to Kina Group chief executive officer Syd Yates.
He said the group had a new website which all shareholders could use to access information on their shares.
“Our website is pretty dynamic.Shareholders and stakeholders can monitor Kina Securities Limited (KSL) announcements, share price and other key corporate information at investor kina.com.pg,” Yates said.
Yesterday, the Kina Securities Group launched its new brand to mark its transformation as the fourth commercial bank in the country.
This followed the completion of the acquisition of Maybank by the Kina Group in September for a purchase price of K353 million (A$173 million).
“Being the first PNG financial services company to list on the stock exchange in Papua New Guinea and Australia, Kina has emerged as a home-grown success story,” he said.
“The addition of banking to its existing lending and wealth management services creates a strong, diversified banking organisation and gives customers the opportunity to access a broad range of financial services through one provider.”
When asked how much Kina invested in the rebranding exercise, Yates said: “We haven’t got a final estimate but we will continue rolling out rebranding to all our branches.
“Kina has a number of its branches to be fully rebranded as well overtime. It’s about bringing the new branding, bringing the new modernisation and services in our new branches.”
Kina has more than 11,000 clients in seven branches, plus an expanding electronic network.

44) Bank of PNG extends services to Lae

Source:
The National, Thursday November 12th, 2015

By JUNIOR UKAHA
THE Bank of Papua New Guinea is branching to Lae to take services closer to its clients.
The bank’s management was in Lae on Monday for the ground-breaking ceremony for its new Currency Distribution Facility to be built on Third Street.
Bank Governor Loi Bakani said the decision to come to Lae was to bring the bank’s services to clients in the region.
“This is the first time for BPNG to come outside of Port Moresby,” Bakani said.
“We did come to Lae four years ago when we held the Financial Inclusion Expo at the Sir Ignatius Kilage Stadium.
“We have chosen Lae to build our CDF office as it is a strategic location where we can reach out to other areas as well.”
Bakani said the facility would provide financial awareness, research, financial inclusion programmes and opening of accounts.
Morobe Governor Kelly Naru thanked  the Bank of Papua New Guinea for having the confidence in the province by setting up an office there.

 INFRASTRUCTURE

45) Councillors praise ancestors for linking Lolowai with sea

By Len Garae

“Councillors from Pentecost spoke with pride of their ancestors’ achievement saying commercial activity is alive at Lolowai today only because their people dug away the land to allow ships to enter the bay to provide service delivery to the people”.

Former secretary General of Penama Province and current Planner Augustine Garae made the statement yesterday saying the issue was raised during the Province’s Budget Session last week.

The Planner said on the other hand councillors from Ambae said had people from Pentecost not dug up the land, it would still be freshwater today and the public would not be thirsty for water in the current El-Nino season.

The planner also said the same people tried to dig away the land to allow the sea to enter the Wailembutaga Swamp on the road to St. Patrick’s College at Vureas but stopped short after they were intercepted and driven away by the once upon a time fierce tribes from Lolovinue in the North East, whose descendants still own the land today.

It is not clear if they were also chased from linking Waimemea Lake with the sea but reliable sources from Maewo also confirmed a similar failed project at Narovorovo in central Maewo.

If they had successfully dug a passage through the flat stretch of land to the other side, the people from Pentecost would have created a third island between Maewo and Pentecost.

Penama Provincial Authorities have confirmed our article on Lolowai Bay which said the thin stretch of land was dug by people from Pentecost to allow their canoes and the sea to enter the freshwater lake to turn it into Lolowai Harbour. 14/11/15 – http://dailypost.vu/news/

46) Airport upgrading starts

Source:
The National, Friday November 13th, 2015

By HELEN TARAWA

THE National Airports Corporation recognises the importance of tourism and is improving airports, says chief executive Joseph Tupiri (pictured).
“We are doing our bit because we believe that we are the first point of contact for any traveller into PNG and throughout the various provinces,” he told The National.
“We are now raising the bar for newlook airport facilities for our travellers, including the Port Moresby international terminals, Mt Hagen terminal, Hoskins terminal, and Girua terminal.
“And very soon (it will be) the new Goroka terminal, new Momote terminal, new Vanimo terminal and  new Nadzab terminal.”
Tupiri said that the Kokoda Track in Northern was one of the major drivers in determining the scope of the Girua Airport project.
“We are providing the following airport infrastructure among others – improving the image of the province, proper new toilet facilities, new comfortable departure lounge, spacious check-in area, spacious car parking, new proper water supply and new airport market and a secure airport environment,” he said.
“There will indeed be significant improvements in the level of service both for aircraft and passenger movement through Girua Airport.
“A lot of the facilities that were not in place then are now going to be provided under this project.  These new facilities include new power supply (through generators and solar power) and water supply (through bore water),” he said.
Tupiri said as a means to main the new facilities, NAC charged for runways, taxiway and apron, provision of security of the airport and provision of passenger service facilities.

LAW&ORDER


47) Magistrate unhappy with lawyers’ absence

A MAGISTRATE has expressed disappointment at the absence of Public Solicitor lawyers in relation to a criminal case, Friday.

Principal Magistrate Jim Seuika said it is the duty of the lawyers to turn up in court or to give instructions to their colleagues to appear so that cases can progress to the next stage.

This was after Police Prosecutor Moses Reani told the court he is still waiting for the return of pre-trial conference documents that were sent to one of the lawyers representing one of the accused men.

Mr Reani said he went to the Public Solicitor’s Office but was told the lawyer is also engaged in a High Court trial.

The court heard that another lawyer in this same case was also on leave.

Private lawyer Lesley Kwaiga, who represented Frank Firimolea, was the only lawyer present in court yesterday.

He however, would need to see the pre-trial conference documents that were sent to one of the PSO lawyers in order to sign it.

Mr Seuika said counsels in this matter have not done their duty in most mentions in this case.

He said the counsels are not doing their duty to the court and to the accused in custody.

“If counsels cannot come to court, they should have given written instructions or give instructions through another colleague rather than making no appearance at all without instructions,” a disappointed Mr Seuika said.

“The court needs some instructions,” he added.

“The continuous adjournment of this case is due to the absence of lawyers and this is very unprofessional.”

He said he cannot just proceed jumping over procedures.

All accused have already taken their pleas and are waiting for trial, pending the pre-trial conference.

Mr Seuika said non-appearance of the lawyers is not a good excuse for an adjournment.

Mr Kwaiga agreed with the court and said there are a number of lawyers with the PSO and they should have showed some courtesy.

He said failing to appear in court and without instructions is just not acceptable.

“That should be sum up to the PSO so the office can carry out its duty to this court.”

The matter was adjourned to November 23 for the court to set a trial date.

Mr Seuika asked prosecution to talk with the PSO lawyers and inform them the court needs instructions from them on the next court date.

Firimolea, Fred Taebo Dara, and Lawrence Liliva, a 15-year-old juvenile, and Alex Niumalefo are facing various charges in relation to the armed robbery on different dates in May and June this year.

Prosecution alleged that during those months, there were a number of armed robbery and break-ins cases reported to police from the Ngosi area, west Honiara; to Ranadi, east Honiara.

The incidents involved a group of armed masked men between the ages of 15 to 30.

It was alleged this group invaded homes of expatriates, businesses people, as well as those of Solomon Islanders and removed valuable properties and money.

A number of home owners sustained injuries during the robbery incidents and some have to be flown overseas for medical treatment.

Firimolea, Dara and Liliva are in custody while the rest are on bail.

By ASSUMPTA BUCHANAN/ 14 /11/15 – Solomon Star.

48) PNG Anti-Corruption Taskforce Defunded For 2016
Taskforce Sweep unable to spend appropriated funds for past 2 years

By Adam Mera

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Nov. 13, 2015) –With the fight against corruption at its peak, the country’s leading anti-corruption watchdog will not be funded by the National Government next year.

Investigation Taskforce Sweep Team chairman Sam Koim also revealed yesterday that they (ITFS) have also been operating without a budget for the past two years despite funding being appropriated for the agency. Mr Koim said despite these extreme drawbacks, the sweep team continues to function.

“ITFS was allocated K7 million in 2014 followed by K5 million in 2015 through the annual budget. Although the Government approved those funds, our attempt in draw-down (the funds) were ignored.

“In the 2016 Budget which was passed by Parliament on November 3, ITFS was allocated no funds,” said Koim. He said he has written to the Chief Secretary, Treasury Secretary and the Finance Secretary but has not received a favorable reply.

PNG Post-Courier

49) Solomons PM Remains Committed To Anti-Corruption Legislation
Opposition calls bill ‘propaganda’ as little progress has been made

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Nov. 13, 2015) – An NGO in Fiji is appalled the Republic of Fiji Military Forces decided to recruit three suspended police officers charged with the alleged sexual assault of an escaped prisoner three years ago.

The officers are Sanita Laqenasici, Jona Davonu and Semesa Nadukam. A Fiji military officer and a soldier also face the same charges.

Coalition on Human Rights’ Chair, Shamima Ali, says the announcement by Colonel Sitiveni Qiliho on the recruitment of these police officers is a major concern because it sets a worrying precedent that members of the security forces are allowed to carry out violent acts with impunity and protection provided by the Fiji Military Forces.

Colonel Qiliho stated in a recent media report that the RFMF recruited the officers as they were being “left on their own”.

The Commissioner of Fiji Police Force, Ben Groenewald had suspended the three officers pending investigations into the allegations against them.

Mr Groenewald has since resigned citing interference of the military in the work of the judiciary and police in cases that involve soldiers accused of torture and rape.

[PIR editor’s note: RNZI reported that ‘A youth leader in Fiji is concerned that cases against military soldiers and police could be shelved after the resignation of Police Commissioner, Ben Groenewald. … Peter Waqavonovono understands Mr Groenewald’s resignation is to do with interference of the military in the work of the judiciary and police in cases that involve soldiers accused of torture and rape. … Mr Waqavonovono says people are worried there’ll be a repeat of what happened after Australian Andrew Hughes was sacked by the military in 2006. … “The last time a police commissioner was asked to leave, the cases were actually dropped and these were cases against the current prime minister Frank Bainimarama on his alleged involvement during the 2000 mutiny.” … Peter Waqavonovono says there’s unease over the appointment of Mr Qiliho as the acting police commissioner, given he’s said the military will stand by the accused men.’]

Shamima Ali says by recruiting the officers, the RFMF has arbitrarily undermined the decision by the Police Commissioner, who acted appropriately according to his Constitutional powers under the Police Act.

Ms Ali says the decision also contradicts the police and military forces’ commitment to implement the United Nations Convention against Torture, and the Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama’s proclamation that the Fijian Government is determined to not only adhere to the highest standards of justice, fairness, transparency and accountability in Fiji’s laws but also subscribe to the highest international codes of behaviour embodied in the United Nations conventions.

She says we need to ensure that these officers, including those who are alleged to have been involved in other acts of brutality perpetrated by the security forces are held accountable under the law.

Shamima Ali also added that investigations are to continue without any threat of intimidation or interference from other state institutions.

Radio New Zealand International

50a ) Vanuatu conspiracy inquiry put back two weeks

The preliminary inquiry into conspiracy charges against 11 Vanuatu MPs has been adjourned until 27th November by the Port Vila Magistrates Court.

If the magistrate decides the MPs have a case to answer it will go to trial in the Supreme Court.

11 of the 14 MPs currently serving jail terms for corruption and bribery, along with three lawyers, had also been charged with conspiracy to defeat the course of justice.

The charges had followed the pardoning of the MPs on the bribery convictions, by the speaker of parliament, Marcelino Pepite, in his role as acting president.

Mr Pepite pardoned himself and 13 other MPs while President Baldwin Lonsdale was in Samoa.

After his return to Vanuatu Fr Lonsdale revoked the Pepite pardons and almost immediately police arrested 11 of the MPs on the conspiracy charge.

The 3 MPs not facing the conspiracy charge are Moana Carcasses, Serge Vohor and Steven Kalsakau.

Meanwhile, decisions on appeals on the MPs’ bribery convictions are due on Friday next week.14/11/15 RNZI

50b) Vanuatu Daily News Digest | Judgement November 20

by bobmakin

Nothing new has emerged in the Bribery Appeals case. When one counsel took the line yesterday morning that both Police and Prosecutions investigating made them complicitous in the bribery – because they had assumed it was bribery they were investigating and not just a loan – it was amusingly observed from the Bench that no evidence would therefore ever be admitted in any bribery trial. Another submission was was that evidence submitted by MPs after or before the change of government, it wasn’t made clear which, should not have been relied on if the MP giving the evidence was seeking immunity or indemnity. The implication here was that such evidence was simply manufactured for political reasons. The various counsels picked away Thursday and Friday at the evidence before the judges of the Appeal Court bench and at Justice Mary Sey’s original judgement in the matter, which, of course, is something one must expect in an appeal hearing. The convicted did not appear. However, this reporter’s opinion is that nothing new emerged. No evidence came to light which could in any way interfere with Justice Sey’s original adjudication of the matter. There is no likelihood, in this reporter’s view, of cases being shortened (or lengthened, as so many bus drivers would wish) as there was nothing at all new emerging in the two costly days of Appeal Court hearing.

Judgement will be on November 20.

51) Demand in Fiji for UN to pay up for peacekeeping

The Fiji opposition says the United Nations owes Fiji tens of millions of dollars and should pay up.

Fiji’s shadow foreign minister, Ratu Isoa Tikoca, says the UN owes Fiji US$138 million dollars for peace keeping duties, going back a decade.

He says Fiji has outlayed US$194 million dollars for the peacekeeping operations but has been repaid less than a third of that.

Ratu Isoa says more than 40 percent of the Fiji population is living below the poverty and if the UN paid up it could cut unemployment levels in half.

Ratu Isoa says Fiji has always ‘punched above’ its weight when it comes to war and peacekeeping and the least the UN can do is pay for the services rendered by their troops.16/11/15 RNZI

52) Domestic Violence Helpline to assist women, says Minister

AVINESH GOPAL
Sunday, November 15, 2015

Update: 6:18PM THE Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Rosy Akbar says the Domestic Violence Helpline is a much-awaited initiative for the country’s women.

In the 2016 Budget, the Government has allocated $170,000 for the establishment of a Domestic Violence Helpline.

“This is a much-needed platform to enable women to easily report cases and seek assistance when faced with cases of domestic violence,” she said.

“The helpline would be similar to that of National Child Helpline and the new platform will provide counselling services for women victims and survivors of domestic violence.

“This is a much-awaited initiative for the women of Fiji and it will come to reality through the allocations provided in the 2016 Budget.”

Ms Akbar said the initiative emphasised the Government’s commitment to support the victims of gender-based violence through the setting of a dedicated helpline that would act as an effective referral mechanism.Fijitimes

53) AG refutes Naidu’s assertion that COC is politicized – Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has refuted claims made by former Constitutional Office Commission Member Richard Naidu who resigned over the weekend amidst his concerns that the commission is politicized. The AG says the Commission is not politicized, as wrongly claimed by Naidu. Under the Constitution, the Commission has representatives from Government as well as from the Opposition.

http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/34880/ag-refutes-naidu%E2%80%99s-assertion-that-coc-is-politicized#sthash.jLGVchks.dpuf

http://fijivillage.com/news-feature/Richard-Naidu-resigns–29r5sk/

 CLIMATE CHANGE,CONSERVATUON,ENVIROMENT

54) Drought victims up to 3m

Source:
The National, Friday November 13th, 2015

By HENRY PAMBUAI

THE Government has revised the number of drought victims to three million – around 42 per cent of the country’s population.
National Disaster Committee chairman Dickson Guina said the Government was working on short-term and long-term plans “because we want to see their sustainability as the prediction is that El Nino may come every five years”.
The previous figure released on drought and frost victims was 2.3 million.
The Government had allocated K50 million for drought and disaster relief programmes in the 2016 budget.
On top of that, Treasurer Patrick Pruaitch said provinces had also been asked to allocate K2 million per district, “giving a total of K220 million for drought and disaster relief – an unprecedented amount of funding”.
Guina said yesterday – when receiving a  K18,000 cheque from the Chinese Enterprises Association of PNG for relief assistance – donations would complement the Government’s relief operations.
“We have churches that are coming in to support us in term of relief supplies. For example, we had an SDA church in Port Moresby donating K70,000 worth of relief supplies.”

MININIG,FORESTRY,AGRICULTURE,FISHERIES,GAS,OIL +

55) Woodchip exports affected says Khan – China’s downturn period of economic activities is having an effect on all commodities that China used to import like steel and wood chips from Fiji. Executive chairman of Fiji Pine Group Faiz Khan says eight vessel loads of woodchips is scheduled to be exported this year. “We are facing a few bumps at the moment with the Chinese demand and a few bumps generally in terms of our ability to export however we are working to make sure we mitigate those risks as much as possible.”

http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/34875/woodchip-exports-affected-says-khan#sthash.DioOHLBA.dpuf

56) ‘Manage fisheries’

Serafina Silaitoga
Monday, November 16, 2015

A MARINE biological survey carried out last year in Macuata has recommended for a fisheries management plan in marine protected areas.

Initiated by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the survey, conducted in the qoliqoli Cokovata areas from Mali island to Dreketi also suggested for management rules and best practices.

WWF-Pacific policy officer Alfred Ralifo said Mali island has become the first district to formulate a fisheries plan.

He added discussions on the fisheries plan started following the marine biological survey and a marine protected area perception and socioeconomic.

“The survey recommended a district fisheries management plan be developed to enhance and strengthen the sustainable use and management of their fisheries as well as complement their established network of marine protected areas,” he said.

“When finalised the plan will provide guidelines to improve fisheries resource governance and use, community endorsed sustainable fishing practices and MPA management rules that is in tandem with the Fiji Fisheries Act.”

Mali district representative Seru Moce said the plan would help them combat the challenges of monitoring and managing their fishing grounds.

“It’s a long time in the making because ideally as soon as MPAs are set up, a management plan should also have been formulated at the same time to ensure adherence to the MPA rules,” he said.

He said working on the plan highlighted many weaknesses in how they were trying to manage marine resources and helped them identify actions to remedy the gaps.

“Now that Mali is finalising their plan, I am confident that within three to five years time we will be seeing a vast improvement in the health and management of our qoliqoli,” Mr Moce said.

The Mali fisheries management plan will be finalised early next year.Fijitimes.

57) Concern over virgin forest

Luke Rawalai
Monday, November 16, 2015

THE option for farmers to move inland for farming purposes on Taveuni continues to stir concern among stakeholders.

And the Ministry of Forests will soon dispatch a team to the island to assess the farms that sit in virgin forest.

Divisional forestry oficer Asaeli Mata said they were aware of the concerns raised by stakeholders including Teitei Taveuni. He said he was on the island two months ago and was informed that majority of these farmers were farming on freehold land.

“There have been concerns raised about farms that have begun overlapping on blue line land,” he said.

“We will soon dispatch a team to the island to carry out an assessment of the farms that sit along these blue lines.

“This would be a hard to topic to address because it involves the livelihood of a people and the need to conserve forests as they both hang in the balance.”

Mr Mata said they would also conduct a consultation forum with farmers on the island to determine how they could best address the issue.

“We would like to involve the office of the Cakaudrove Provincial Council that will be of great help in addressing this issue,” he said.

Roko tui Cakaudrove Filimoni Naiqumu said he was not aware of the matter.

Last month, Teitei Taveuni executive Robin Powel raised his concern with this newspaper about improper farming practices on the environment and the island’s virgin forests.

Mr Powel had said they were concerned about farming trends of moving further inland because they wanted to preserve the land.Fijitimes

58) PNG In No Rush To Crack Down On Asian Logging Companies
Despite concerns Special Agricultural Business Leases continue

By By Papua New Guinea correspondent Eric Tlozek

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Nov. 12, 2015) – Papua New Guinea’s government has indicated it will allow intensive logging under the pretext of agricultural development to continue.

Logging to clear land for agricultural use has allowed Asian companies to seize vast reserves of customary land under 99-year Special Agricultural Business Leases, or SABLs.

Landholders and civil society groups have strongly criticised the leases, and the government has been promising to act on them for more than two years.

But Rick Jacobsen from environmental monitoring group Global Witness said export data showed that this type of logging has expanded.

“PNG’s log exports have greatly increased over the last few years because of logging under SABLs,” Mr Jacobsen said.

“PNG is the largest tropical log exporter in the world, that trade is estimated to be worth $400 million a year and the country has, to date, demonstrated little capacity to oversee its forestry sector.”

The SABLs sidestep the lengthy process to obtain a Forestry Management Agreement, which is normally needed to log an area, and instead allow land to be cleared for agricultural development.

The companies are then able to sell the timber, which is usually far more lucrative than the proceeds of an agricultural venture.

“The loggers, they come in the guise of saying they are genuine agricultural companies,” said activist Eddie Tanago, from the charity group Act Now PNG.

“They come in the excuse of agriculture, they come in to do logging. So we see that SABL has been abused in that process.”

The PNG government commission of inquiry into SABLs recommended at least 29 be shut down and 11 suspended.

But one of the commissioners did not issue his final report, and the status of more than 30 other SABLs is unclear.

Cancelling SABLs ‘would be a waste’

PNG forestry minister Douglas Tomuriesa said the government did not wish to penalise those operators who had invested heavily in SABLs.

“Some of the SABLs have already advanced their programs, and so to cancel all the SABLs would be like saying all the money that was spent to develop some of the SABL areas would be a waste,” Mr Tomuriesa said.

The government, he said, was waiting on a final report from a special taskforce investigating the leases.

He said it would then work with the companies to ensure they were operating legally and with the consent of landowners.

“You have to deal with each one of them based on their status, and when I say status you’re talking about how much development has been done there and if it’s illegal, it will be cancelled,” Mr Tomuriesa said.

But Rick Jacobsen of Global Witness said he believed international intervention was needed to ensure the PNG government acted against the leases.

“Now we’re in late 2015 and yet not a single one of those logging operations has stopped,” Mr Jacobsen said.

“So we’re talking two-and-half years later and the government hasn’t done anything to stop what’s happening on the ground, which is really resulting in irreversible harm to PNG’s landowners and their forests.”

‘You are killing us’

Landholders opposed to the leases are tired of waiting for the government to act, especially because logging appears to be intensifying.

“You are killing all of us. What we had before, or what God has created for us, it will be all gone,” said Peter Wuni, whose land is in the Bewani SABL in Sandaun Province.

“We want development, but the development is not being fully delivered to the people.

“Only a small minority of people are benefitting from this project.”

Other landholders lamented the loss of native rainforest and the pollution of streams and rivers, key sources of food for the people who live on SABLs.

“We have no way to go and hunt, fish and collect all our needs and wants in the forest like in the past our ancestors and our parents normally do,” said landholder Joel Esei.

Radio Australia

59) Minister: Changes to oil, gas act vital
Source:
The National, Thursday November 12th, 2015

NECESSARY changes to the current Oil and Gas Act may have to be done to cater for the country’s offshore oil drilling projects to benefit the people, according to Petroleum and Energy Minister Nixon Duban.
He announced the development of the country’s first offshore oil drilling project in Gulf, yesterday.
“We should have the clause or provisions to cater for that,” Duban said.
“I don’t think the (current) Oil and Gas Act (1998) covers extensively in that regard.
“We will have to raise that matter again with the department.
“We have made a commitment to the Gulf provincial government that we will work closely with them to address those issues.
“If there is need to have some amendments done to the Oil and Gas Act (1998), I am prepared to talk with the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, to ensure that the project must have maximum benefit.
“This is one province that must be given special attention as it houses the pipeline that runs through.
“Now we’ve got Total  interested in Gulf, with Twinza coming on board.
“The onus is really on the Government to ensure that the legislations and even the project agreement must be tailored in a way that people must benefit from their resources.
“I have appealed to the people in Gulf to commercially align their mindset at the time when this particular project will require.

“We don’t want too much politics. We want more commitment from the province.”

60) Demand outgrows hydroponics farms

Source:
The National, Friday November 13th, 2015

MANAGERS of two supermarkets in Port Moresby say hydroponics farms are unable to meet the demand for fresh vegetables in the city.
The hydroponics farms at 9-Mile and Sogeri supply fresh vegetables to the supermarkets.
Stop N Shop Waigani Central assistant manager Julius Kouoru said the farms helped to ease the vegetable shortage brought about by the ban on imported vegetables and drought, but it was not enough.
“The 9-Mile farm is supporting us now, especially lettuce, tomatoes, capsicum and other vegetables,” Kouoru said.
Boroko Foodworld store manager Dave Jamieson said the hydroponics farms were a fall-back until the fresh vegetable supply returned to normal.
“We’re trying to speak to as many suppliers as we can. We’re trying to source as much as we can locally. We can only do so much, though,” he said.
“We’re pretty limited in our communication with people from the Highlands and other areas which grow vegetables. But we speak to a number of different suppliers.
“There are a number of different middlemen who do the best they can to supply us. But still, on some occasions, it’s not enough.”

61) Wealth in coconuts

Monika Singh
Saturday, November 14, 2015

A NEW program expected to start in January next year will seek to examine and develop new coconut industries as a way to help tackle the issue of poverty in the rural and coconut-producing areas throughout the country.

The project will be developed by Australia-based community organisation Project Everest, which runs similar projects around the world, and aims to empower communities and create social impact through the development of social enterprises that can create wealth and employment opportunities for all stakeholders.

Project Everest founder Sonia Lipski said beginning on Viti Levu, the project would initially examine the opportunities in creating a community-based value chain for coconut products.

Ms Lipski said developing social enterprises was a sustainable way to create business opportunities that could help poor communities access the knowledge, tools and training necessary to produce products such as cold-pressed, virgin coconut oil, which could be sold at a higher price point and help bring prosperity to the entire community.

“Without a social enterprise that create shared values, poor communities can be precluded from higher value markets because they are simply unable to access the tools, financing or supply chains necessary to play in more profitable international markets,” she said.

She said engagement would be sought from all levels of the community and other vested stakeholders, such as the Government, in the best way to develop localised infrastructure such as training, manufacturing, logistics and international export markets. It will begin in Viti Levu, but is hoped to scale throughout Fiji, including other coconut producing regions such as the Northern Districts.

Project Everest consultant and Taveuni Adventures founder Tobi Nagy said coconut played an important cultural role within Fiji.

“So the re-emergence of a grassroots coconut industry represents a significant opportunity to impact poverty,” said Mr Nagy.

“Despite the availability of coconuts in many villages throughout Fiji, coconut-based products like coconut milk and desiccated coconut, continue to be imported, so we need to examine how to best maintain existing sources of coconuts, and develop new resources for growing, processing and value-creation that benefit communities,” Mr Nagy said.

Meanwhile CocoFiji founder Anthony Harb said developing quality standards and certification infrastructure, such as organic, were the key components to a sustainable market and new export opportunity for producers.

“Without that, there is no point of producing products in a market that is already saturated with coconut products primarily from the Philippines, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. So, having a broad and niche range of coconut products is essential if Fiji is too compete in this highly competitive and sophisticated international market with well-informed consumers.Fijitimes

EVENT

62) Big group to attend Guam arts festival

Source:
The National, Friday November 13th, 2015

THE National Cultural Commission is confident of sending a big contingent to the Festival of Pacific Arts in Guam, from May 24 to June 4 next year.
Acting executive director Dr Jacob Simet said the commission planned to take at least 170 people, including officials to Guam.
“To oversee the preparation, we have established the FPA Papua New Guinea organising committee,” Simet said.
“The committees are selected officers from NCC, who have experience in a festival of such magnitude.”
Simet said the committee had been communicating with the festival organisers in Guam.
He said provinces to represent the regions at the festival are Hela for the Highlands, West Sepik for Momase, Bougainville for Niugini Islands and Oro for Southern.
“But all of these are yet to confirm and the committee will work to get this confirmed,” he said.
Simet said the preparation would be launched on Friday during a corporate dinner at the Dynasty Restaurant at Vision City.

63) Baha’i Faith celebrates birthdays of prophets

Atasa Moceituba
Monday, November 16, 2015

MEMBERS of the Baha’i Faith turned up in numbers to celebrate the birthday of Baha’u’llah, the two prophets and founder of the Baha’í Faith.

More than 200 people attended the event at Marine Studies lecture theatre, lower campus at the University of the South Pacific on Saturday.

The celebration, also known as Twin Holy Days, is an event that Baha’i Faith all over the country look forward to every year.

The lecture theatre was filled with laughter, excitement and happiness as the members of the faith celebrate the special day.

Assembly of the Baha’is of Fiji national spiritual secretary Faga Kotoitubou said the faith’s main mission was to build a better world and bring about unity to mankind.

“Baha’is are actively engaged in community building activities and here in Fiji, local Fijian Baha’is are working tirelessly to enhance the moral and spiritual development of children, youths and adults in their respective neighbourhoods,” she said.

Ms Kotoitubou said the celebration was also an exciting one for those here in Fiji since they were the first people to celebrate the founders’ birthday.

She said the celebration usually consisted sharing the Holy writings of the Bab and Baha’u’llah, narratives of their lives, prayers, music and other artistic expressions.

“In the Baha’i writings, these two central figures, the Bab and Baha’u’llah are often referred to as the Twin Manifestations of God since they both enjoy the station of the Manifestation of God and their dispensations were only nine years apart.”Fijitimes

SPORT

64) Fiji opposition wants Bainimarama out of Fiji Rugby

The shadow minister for youth and sports in Fiji says the country’s prime minister Frank Bainimarama should leave the affairs of Fiji Rugby to the FRU.

The opposition Sodelpa Party’s Ratu Suliano Matanitobua was reacting to the resignation last week of the union’s chief executive and says Fiji Rugby is not the play-ground of the Fiji First Party and its financial backers.

The outgoing CEO, Radrodro Tabulevu has said he was not forced out.

Ratu Suliano says the FRU had been under the de facto control of Mr Bainimarama since 2011 when he forced the independently elected board to step down by threatening to withhold government funds.

Ratu Suliano also says the level of nepotism practised by the prime minister at the union is unprecedented.

He says with Mr Bainimarama’s close relatives at the FRU and on the Fiji Sports Council things can only get worse for Fiji rugby.16/11/15 RNZI

65) Fijiana thrash PNG in Oceania 7s

KALESI MELE
Sunday, November 15, 2015

Update: 11:15AM LAVENIA Tinai scored a hat-trick of tries as the Telecom Fijiana side defeated Papua New Guinea 43-0 in the Oceania 7s Championship in New Zealand this morning.

The win places them as the top team to qualify for the semifinals of the championship in Auckland.

Fijiana led 26-0 at half time with Tinai scoring two of her three tries and with a try each to Rusila Nagasau and Tima Tamoe.

Nagasau was the first to score in the second spell, winning possession from the restart.

Viniana Riwai and Tinai added to the tally while Luisa Tisolo successfully converted four tries in the match.Fijitimes

66) England reigns

Pa
Monday, November 16, 2015

WIGAN – Two tries from second-rower Elliott Whitehead helped England to a tense 20-14 victory over New Zealand in Wigan to complete a 2-1 series win.

England were forced to withstand a late onslaught by the Kiwis, who scored two tries in the last seven minutes, before they could celebrate a first series triumph since the 2007 New Zealanders were thrashed 3-0 by Great Britain.

Steve McNamara was assistant coach in that series eight years ago and Saturday’s victory looks sure to keep him in the role as part-time national boss up to and including the 2017 World Cup.

Defeat against a New Zealand side robbed of the experience of a host of regulars, including half-backs Shaun Johnson and Kieran Foran, might have cost McNamara his job but, without being at their fluent best, his England side demonstrated enough courage and tenacity to see the job through.

McNamara responded to the 9-2 second-Test defeat by giving a debut to winger Jermaine McGillvary and a recall to scrum-half Matty Smith and both selections proved justified.

Smith, on the receiving end of England’s heart-breaking defeats by the Kiwis in both the 2013 World Cup and last year’s Four Nations Series, was named man of the match on his return while skipper Sean O’Loughlin also impressed on his home ground to take the man-of-the-series award.

O’Loughlin put the finishing touches to the victory with England’s third try, which meant the backs went through the series without scoring but that merely demonstrated the current strength of the side.

For the second successive week Gareth Widdop opened the scoring with an early penalty and the Kiwis’ defence was subjected to a pummelling as England began brightly.

67) Saracens thrash Toulouse

Afp
Monday, November 16, 2015

PARIS – Saracens made a statement of intent as they thumped record four-time champions Toulouse 32-7 in the European Champions Cup on Saturday.

The 2014 runners-up ran in three tries as they put the French Top 14 giants to the sword in a stunning first half performance in north-west London. A day after the terrifying Paris attacks, the Pool 1 match begun with a rendition of the French national anthem the Marseillaise but there was precious little goodwill offered by the English Premiership leaders thereafter.

Saracens dominated from the off and strangled the life out of their overawed opponents, negating Toulouse’s power at the scrum and overwhelming them with swift attacking through the three-quarter line.

Two early penalties from England fly-half Owen Farrell set the stage for the opening try of the game as Sarries made their superiority pay off when Mako Vunipola was shoved over by his fellow forwards, including brother Billy Vunipola on 14 minutes.

Farrell, who had made the initial break for that score thanks to Mako Vunipola’s delightful inside pass, added the conversion and a penalty before Sarries blew a clear scoring opportunity when they failed to make a three-on-two situation count.

68) http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2015-11-15/australia-v-new-zealand-ross-taylor-guides-black-caps-through-day-three-with-record-score/1514584

w: www.voiceofmelanesia.com

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