Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1139a ( Tuesday 17 November 2015 )

MELANESIA


1) MSG concludes negotiations on new trade agreement
9:11 pm GMT+12, 16/11/2015, New Caledonia

Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) members have concluded negotiations on the legal text of the MSGTA3 trade agreement that will now include trade in services, and new chapters such as labour mobility, investment, e-commerce and telecommunications.

The trade meetings hosted by the pro-independence FLNKS in New Caledonia worked hard to meet the deadline set by MSG leaders for the trade agreement to be concluded in November 2015.

The next technical working group on the MSGTA3 will meet to clarify and finalise the remaining annexes to the trade agreement before adoption and signing by MSG Trade Ministers and Leaders in 2016.

“I congratulate our officials for working to conclude the MSGTA3 legal text and the private sector development strategy,” said meeting chair Madame Caroline Machoro-Rehnier of the FLNKS.

“We have made decisions on how to progress these important initiatives that will reshape and strengthen the way we trade and do business in Melanesia, that will now allow free trade in goods and services, thus contributing to sustained economic growth and improving the livelihoods of our people,” she said.

The Director Programmes of the MSG Secretariat Peni Sikivou praised the trade officials for the manner in which the negotiations were conducted – which reflected true Melanesian solidarity and values.

“Once signed and ratified the new trade agreement will act as a catalyst to stimulate investment, employment and economic growth through deepened economic integration,” Sikivou said.

Key participants at the Trade Ministers Meeting included Ministers, Representative of Ministers, and Senior Trade Officials.

The current MSG trade agreement is the only fully operational trade agreement in the Pacific that has achieved free trade area status for trade in goods.

Following the trade meeting – the stage is now set for the region’s biggest and most exciting annual trade event, the MSG Investment Roadshow and Trade Fair which is being held from Wednesday to Friday this week at the Chambres Du dMetiers in Noumea. Over 60 exhibitors from MSG countries have confirmed their participation at the event.

The trade meetings and events are being supported and funded by MSG members and budgetary support from the European Union, through the Pacific Islands Forum, under the Pacific Integration Technical Assistance Project (PITAP).

SOURCE: MSG SECRETARITA/PACNEWS

2) Tribute paid to outgoing MSG head

17 November 2015

The Solomon Islands Foreign Minister Milner Tozaka has paid tribute to the outgoing Director General of the Melanesian Spearhead Group Secretariat.

Peter Forau, who has held the position since 2011, tendered his resignation with the MSG chair, Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare.

In a letter to Mr Sogavare, Mr Forau said circumstances beyond his control intervened in his desires to keep the job.

Mr Tozaka says that during Mr Forau’s time in charge of the secretariat, the MSG has made significant achievements, such as incorporating West Papuan involvement in the group.

“He has deliberated exactly within his powers but making an environment for us in the MSG to be able to meet and I think we have achieved the objective at this present point of time in our approach with the West Papua issue.”

Mr Tozaka says the recently secured MSG Trade Agreement is another example of Mr Forau’s stewardship.RNZI

3) http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2015-11-17/east-timor-appealing-for-australian-publics-support-in-border-dispute-minister-says/1515596

4) Foreign advisers to leave PNG
5:48 pm GMT+12, 16/11/2015, Papua New Guinea

Heads of departments and provincial administrators have been told to remove employees of foreign governments occupying technical advisory roles in the Papua New Guinea Government.

Department of Personnel Management Secretary John Kali issued the directive to the heads of the departments of Health, Education, Justice and Attorney-General, Finance, Prime Minister and National Executive Council, Provincial and Local Government Affairs, Foreign Affairs and National Planning. It was also sent to provincial administrators and State agencies.

Kali said it would come into effect from January 1 next year, in line with the Government’s decision to change the way aid-funded technical advisers were engaged and contracted.

The regulations were gazetted on November 9 and approved by Cabinet under the Public Employment (Non-Citizens Act) and the Public Service (Management) Act.

The regulations provide that:

* Employees of foreign governments are not to be contracted as technical advisers in Government departments and current arrangements are to be reformed according to the new regulations;

* Technical advisers are to be employed by Government departments through a transparent process under the overall supervision of the Department of Personnel Management;

* Technical advisers must execute a “Work performance and conduct agreement” making them accountable to the State and reporting only to the department heads;

*Department heads will be able to engage technical advisers into line positions and/or delegate to them supervisory roles; and,

*Technical advisers will remain as employees of their departments which will retain responsibility for all employment and remuneration matter under aid arrangements.

But Kali said the new regulations did not cover the arrangements or the aid programmes in the police force, defence force, Correctional Services, judicial and magisterial services, universities and State-owned entities.

A spokesperson for the Australian High Commission said: “We are aware of the new regulations and look forward to continuing our discussions with the Government of PNG on this matter.

“All support provided under the Australian aid programme in PNG is agreed between our two Governments.”

Kali said currently, aid-funded technical advisers had no legal obligation to serve the State under the laws of the country as they were not contracted to the State.

“The new regulations will overcome functional problems that we’ve faced in the past which affected many of our programmes to the State,” Kali said.

“In future, all advisers will no longer be the staff of foreign governments.

“They will now be required to sign and execute contracts with the PNG Government.

“That means they will have lawful obligations to serve our State and they will be able to occupy line positions in the public service.”

Kali said the Government’s decision was to rationalise aid programmes in key areas such as health, education and infrastructure to ensure the best value for aid money.

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

5) PNG says it’s not stopping engagement of foreigners

17 November 2015

Papua New Guinea’s Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato says PNG is not doing away with foreign advisers in government agencies as some media reports have it.

Local media has reported that heads of departments and provincial administrators have been told to remove employees of foreign governments occupying technical advisory roles in government.

Speaking from Manila, where he is attending this week’s APEC summit with the prime minister Peter O’Neill, Mr Pato says there is an ongoing review to ensure the advisors are placed in positions where they are needed most.

“But it’s a realignment of the activities to which some of the foreign advisors will be deployed. But the (media) report is not entirely correct. There’s no intention to permanently stop the engagement of foreign advisers.”

Foreign advisors who are to remain are expected to have to report only to the PNG government.RNZI

6a) ‘Development can stop drift’

Source:
The National, Tuesday November 17th, 2015

STATIONS and districts need to be developed to stimulate economies to stop the urban drift, says Northern Governor Gary Juffa.
Commenting about last week’s riot in Lae, Juffa said the Government’s failure to properly manage land and urban drift had resulted in such issues occurring.
“Lack of basic services such as education, health, commerce and law and order are driving people out of their districts and electorates to urban areas in search of these services and opportunities,” he said.
“Riots in Lae point to a deep-seated problem of land-grabbing, urban drift and regulation of informal sector.”
Juffa said examples were cases in Northern, where foreign companies had illegally claimed land and he had personally intervened to stop it.“
Land-grabbing is now a serious problem that threatens national security and is taking place with foreign entities literally stealing land through fraud, using corrupt public servants and middlemen, and land-grabbing is taking place where state and customary land is being stolen by squatting Papua New Guineans.
“When you look at land-grabbing, it’s not just foreign companies or individuals, Papua New Guineas are involved.  “There will be resentment, there will be bitterness, hostility and tension.
“Added to that is the unregulated informal sector, a great idea but it is merely a platform for the sale of junk coming from Asian countries.
“These junk have no added value. There is no cultural no farming – no significant ownership effort from the people of PNG.
“It is taking place because people are no longer able to access the services that they deserve in their electorates, districts and stations.
“This is due to opportunity and necessity. The Lands Department and the Government have failed to protect the interests of the people.”

6b) Vanuatu Daily News Digest | 17 November 2015

Posted: November 17, 2015 Author:  |The big news today is the Magistrates’ Court setting 27 November at 3 pm, to hear the Public Prosecutor’s preliminary inquiry (PI) into the matters of conspiracy which gave rise to the prosecutions under the Bribery Case, putting eleven MPs into gaol. The Magistrates’ Court has had to delay its hearing of this PI because of counsel for those involved in the bribery defences having to appear before the Court of Appeal. Judgement of the bribery appeals will be heard on Friday.(Radio Vanuatu)

Another judgement to be heard on Friday is that which concerns the controversial pardons of Speaker of Parliament Pipite – pardons issued on 20 October just hours before the President’s return from overseas and declared by Supreme Court Judge Oliver Saksak to be un-constitutional. As well as the bribery appeals and pardons case, all decisions of the Appeal Court will be given on Friday. (Daily Post)

Prime Minister Kilman has rejected the Opposition’s plan for a Government of National Unity (GNU) as serving unfairly the Opposition’s interests. The Opposition has called for a counter offer which has yet to emerge. President Lonsdale has given the Government and Opposition until Sunday 22 November to reach a solution. Parliament has to meet soon. It is required to meet twice a year in ordinary session.

Newcorp Ltd has purchased Wilco Ltd, Daily Post announces today. Newcorp is a local Vanuatu company and is part of the Chinese National Building Materials Investment Ltd group. The sale follows 5 years of negotiations. The lease agreement between Wilco and the VNPF is not affected by the sale.
POLYNESIA

7) US Presidential candidates send reps to American Samoa

17 November 2015

Representatives of United States Republican presidential candidates are descending on American Samoa after a rule change on the party’s selection process.

The chairman of the Republican Party of American Samoa, Utu Abe Malae, says American Samoa’s nine member delegation is more important than ever this year because national party rules require candidates to have majority support from eight delegations in order to be nominated.

Since there are only 56 delegations, which include the 50 states, Washington DC and five territories, only a maximum of seven candidates can be nominated, which means at least eight of the current 15 candidates will eventually be shut out.

Last month, a representative of the Texas senator Ted Cruz was in Pago Pago and over the weekend, a representative for Dr Ben Carson arrived.

Utu says a representative of Donald Trump will be in Pago Pago the beginning of next month.

US citizens in the territories are not eligible to vote in national elections for the US president, but can cast their vote in local caucus or conventions to elect a party candidate.RNZI

8) American Samoa call to curb junk food

17 November 2015

American Samoa’s Director of Education says there should be a law that prohibits shops from selling junk food close to schools.

Vaitinasa Dr Salu Hunkin-Finau made the suggestion as the two Samoas try to promote healthier eating habits to reduce the incidence of non-communicable diseases.

She says in American Samoa, the only balanced meals that children eat are available at schools through the School Lunch Programme.

But she adds that there is an ingrained addiction for soda, sweet drinks and junk food.

She has suggested that the media show success stories instead of sensationalising incidence rates of obesity.

Vaitinasa has also suggested changing the mentality of sedentary lifestyles being associated with prosperity.RNZI

9) Tahiti’s OPT case may be abandoned

17 November 2015

French Polynesia’s court of appeal is tomorrow due to determine whether the OPT corruption case will be abandoned.

In April, the affair was thrown out over a procedural error, quashing the five-year jail sentences given in 2013 to a former president, Gaston Flosse, and a French advertising executive, Hubert Haddad.

Tahiti-infos reports that according to Flosse’s lawyer, any attempt to mount a fresh case cannot be allowed because more than three years have elapsed since the start of the initial probe.

But the prosecution considers that the appeal court hearing and the subsequent annulment of the entire case have reset the clock.

It is being suggested that if the prosecution accepts the argument of the delay, the matter will be buried for good.

In the criminal court two years ago, Flosse was convicted for taking more than US$2 million in kickbacks for granting public sector contracts to Mr Haddad over a 12-year period until the middle of the last decade.

Flosse had admitted disbursing the money for private expenses.

Last year, he lost office as both president and French senator after he was found guilty of running a massive network of so-called phantom jobs to support his Tahoeraa Huiraatira political party at the height of his power nearly 20 years ago.RNZI

10) Niue’s government removes fuel subsidies

17 November 2015

Niue’s government has removed a fuel subsidy it introduced in 2004 with the aim of helping the island’s fishing industry.

In a statement, the government says the decision to remove the subsidy was made after a policy review last year.

The susbidy has been controversial, with treasury officials in 2008 warning that heavy fuel subsidies were posing a serious threat to the island’s financial viability.

The government says savings made from the subsidy’s removal are likely to be used to mitigate the effects of this summer’s drought on Niue.RNZI

MICRONESIA

11) Postal votes could determine Marshall Islands elections

17 November 2015

Monday’s elections in the Marshall Islands appear to have drawn a large turnout of voters, but it will be two weeks until the results are known because of the high number of postal votes

Our correspondent in Majuro, Giff Johnson, says there were queues leading out the door at many polling stations around the country’s main atoll, and the elections appeared to have gone smoothly.

“The Marshall Islands national election got going with pretty heavy voter turnout in most polling locations. I went around to many of them to see how it was going and it was very organised, things were running smoothly with lots of lines.”

He says there has been tight competition for the seats in the 33-member legislature, with foreign minister Tony de Brum facing a particularly tough battle for re-election in Kwajalein.

But he says despite a large number of candidates and dissatisfaction with government services, the results of the election are far from certain.

“One of the things about voting in the Marshall Islands, as in a lot of small islands in the Pacific, historically it’s gone along family lines, people vote for their relatives no matter what. So the question is whether some of these younger folks who’ve worked very hard, whether they will be successful in actually mobilising across family lines.”

Giff Johnson says the final vote count is expected in two weeks, because of the high number of offshore postal votes that need to be counted, which could have a large influence on the election outcome.

In 2011, offshore voting from the United States overturned the domestic result for three candidates.RNZI

12) Nauru MPs unsure if lawyers will get visas in time for hearings

17 November 2015

Nauru’s opposition MPs, fighting for their day in court, are still waiting to see whether their lawyers will be granted visas to enter the country.

Roland Kun has appealed the government’s decision to cancel his visa, and ongoing procedural delays in the courts for five months have prevented him from visiting his family in New Zealand.

Three other MPs, Squire Jeremiah, Sprent Dabwido and Mathew Batsiua, were charged in connection with a June protest that the government says was a violent riot.

Three lawyers, David Lambourne, Jay Williams and Arthur Moses, have all been admitted to appear for the MPs, however the government has still not granted them visas to enter the country.

Mr Williams and Mr Moses have applied for the $4250 US dollar business visa, while Mr Lambourne, who is acting pro bono, has applied for a much cheaper Special Purpose Visa.

There are no lawyers on the island able to represent the MPs.

The next hearing is November the 23rd.

While Mr Kun’s application for his own visa is in the courts, he has not been formally charged with any offence.RNZI

13) Dry spell hits Majuro

Marianas Variety/Pacnews
Tuesday, November 17, 2015

MAJURO – The El Niño weather “pendulum” appeared to begin its long swing back late last month, plunging Majuro, the capital, and the Marshall Islands into the beginning stages of a drought.

Weather officials say, however, that the Marshall Islands is not yet safely out of the El Niño-inspired cycle that has produced multiple tropical storms and cyclones with resulting damage and seawater inundations in this low-lying country.

Even as the weather system appears to be shifting, the Marshall Islands has one or two months left in the typhoon danger zone, while drought conditions will magnify, Guam-based weather officials predict.

With one exception since October 21, Majuro has seen only “trace” rainfall – a dramatic change from the rain deluge recorded since April. In October, Majuro received 10.44 inches of rain, down from the 30-year normal October rainfall of 13.27. Through earlier this week, Majuro had recorded just .34 inches of rain, compared to the monthly average of 13.23 inches, according to the Majuro Weather Service.

Meantime, Guam-based Pacific El-Niño Southern Oscillation or ENSO Applications Climate Center, is describing this year’s El Niño-inspired weather as “wild,” “extreme,” and “unusual”.

Through mid-July, 12 named tropical cyclones (typhoons) were observed in the western north Pacific, including several that did series damage to different islands including Marshall Islands. “Three separate instances of damaging sea inundation occurred on some of the atolls of the Marshall Islands,” said an ENSO.

“Each of the damaging sea inundations was associated with a tropical cyclone in the region.”

The ENSO Center makes the point that the threat to the Marshall Islands of tropical storms is not yet over, even as the El Niño appears to have peaked. “We anticipate two or three typhoons to form in eastern Micronesia (RMI area) through January 2016,” the report said. “These late-season typhoons could be serious threats to some of the atolls of the Marshall Islands. The chances are estimated at least 50-50 for another tropical cyclone to bring damaging wind, heavy rainfall and/or high surf to one or more of the atolls of the Marshall Islands.”

Next stage of El Niño? A long period with no rain.

“Drought related to El Niño becomes severe early in the year that that follows a strong El Niño (for example, 1983 and 1998),” the ENSO Center said.

14) Tour Company Sues CNMI Authority
Related to suspension of flights in August

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, November 14, 2015) – 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.

Radio New Zealand International

TOK PISIN

15) Ren i pudaon na mekim ol Melanesian pipal i hamamas

Updated 17 November 2015, 12:33 AEDT
Caroline Tiriman

Planti pipal long Melanesia nau i hamamas tru long lukim ren i paudaon bihaenim drought oa nogat ren i pudaon long planti mun nau.

Olsem yumi olgeta isave pinis planti kantri long Pacific rijan, na tripla kantri long Melanesia, olsem PNG, Solomon Islands na Vanuatu ino bin lukim ren long planti mun pinis, tasol nau ren i pudaon na planti pipal i hamamas tru.

Long Highlands rijan, tupla heve ibin hamarim ol pipal, em long bikpla sun na tu bikpla kol oa frost we ibin bagarapim planti gaden kaikai na mekim ol wara i drai. Sampla itok despla drought i winim narapla bikpla drought long 1987.

Sampla stori iwok long tok tu olsem, despla taem nogut em El Nino i kamapim bai go hed inap long namel blong 2016, tasol ol mansave blong weather olsem Direkta blong National Weather Sevis long PNG, Sam Maiha ibin tokim Radio Australia olsem  sampla ren bai stat long pudaon long mun bihaen.

Long ol despla mun igo pinis mipla isave ripot olgeta taem long drought na frost long Highlands rijan, na southern highlands provins i wanpla long ol ples em drought i hamarim ol gut tru, tasol nau ren i kamap na emi mekim ol pipal, olsem bisnisman Lucas Martin long laf na hamamas tru.

Vanuatu i wanpla ples tu we ren ino pudaon long sampla taem na kamapim heve long ol pipal, tasol ren i pudaon long hap tu, na wanpla lida blong Presbiterian sios long Vanuatu, Pastor Kalorongo Ova itok oli hamamas tu long kisim ren nau.ABC

16) Solomon Islands Makira Ulawa provins i gat heve

Updated 17 November 2015, 12:18 AEDT

Sam Seke

Wanpela premier blong Solomon Islands i tok provinsal gavman long kantri ino bin nap kamapim trutru ol laik blong helpim pipol blong ol.

Premier Thomas Weape blong Makira Ulawa Provins i tok dispela em long wanem ol i nogat moni na wokman-meri  long karim aut ol plan na program blong ol.

Em i tok dispela em ino nupla  samting na nasinal gavman i save gut long en.

Mr Weape i mekim dispela toktok taem Makira Ulawa Provinsal Assembly nau i redi long pinisim wok blong en long Friday dispela wik.

Em i tok maski ol wokas na politikol gavman blongen ibin wok had na kamapim gut  sampela samting, ol iken helpim ol pipol moa  sapos gavman igat inap risosis.ABC

FRENCH

17) Brèves du Pacifique – mardi 17 novembre 2015

Mis à jour 17 November 2015, 17:11 AEDT

Élodie Largenton

Une taxe sur les opérations de change va bien être appliquée aux Îles Tonga.

)
Annulée à deux reprises parce que controversée, la mesure va finalement entrer en vigueur vendredi : les banques devront verser un centime par pa’anga gagné grâce aux opérations de change. Les autorités espèrent pouvoir ainsi financer une partie desJeux du Pacifique, qui se tiendront aux Tonga en 2019. Le budget de cet événement sportif est estimé à 56 millions de dollars.
  •  Une ONG de Guam réclame des indemnisations aux États-Unis pour les victimes des essais nucléaires. Il y a dix ans, le Congrès américain a reconnu de possibles retombées radioactives sur cette île de l’archipel des Mariannes. Mais depuis, rien n’a été mis en place pour permettre aux survivants de demander des dédommagements. L’Association du Pacifique pour les victimes des essais nucléaires a envoyé une lettre au président américain, lui demandant de signer un décret pour autoriser les habitants de Guam à obtenir réparation.
  • Une première famille de réfugiés syriens est arrivée aujourd’hui en Australie, à Perth.Les parents et leurs trois enfants sont originaires de la ville de Homs, mais ils vivaient depuis plusieurs mois dans un camp de réfugiés. Ce sont les premiers des 12 000 réfugiés supplémentaires que l’Australie s’est engagée à accueillir cette année. Leur arrivée dans le pays a été avancée parce que la mère est enceinte de sept mois. La famille recevra un soutien des autorités pour apprendre l’anglais et scolariser les enfants. « Ils n’ont pas beaucoup d’argent, mais sont très instruits et ont l’esprit d’entreprise », rapporte Paul Rafferty, du Centre d’aide pour les migrants. Jugeant que certains pourraient être tentés de faire l’amalgame entre réfugiés et terroristes potentiels, la ministre australienne des Affaires étrangères, Julie Bishop, a précisé que les 12 000 Syriens « ont été sélectionnés par les autorités australiennes ».
  • Le Parti musulman australien : c’est le nom d’une nouvelle formation lancée par Diaa Mohamad, novice en politique. Cet homme originaire de la banlieue ouest de Sydney ambitionne de remporter un siège au Sénat lors des prochaines élections, qui auront lieu d’ici un an. La création de ce parti musulman est aussi une réponse au lancement de « quatre ou cinq partis anti-islam », explique Diaa Mohamad. Le mois dernier, le populiste néerlandais Geert Wilders était, en effet, en Australie pour le lancement du Parti australien pour la liberté, ALA (Australian Liberty Alliance). Et cette semaine, Kim Vuga, originaire du Queensland, a créé le Parti l’Australie, tu l’aimes ou tu la quittes (Love Australia or Leave Party).
  • Bonne nouvelle pour la région : la pluie est arrivée. Quelques gouttes sont tombées hier à Port-Vila, la capitale du Vanuatu, et les Hautes-Terres de Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée sont arrosées par de fortes averses. Ça ne suffit pas à vaincre la sécheresse provoquée par le phénomène El Nino, mais c’est tout de même un soulagement temporaire pour ces deux pays.
  • Les Îles Salomon demandent conseil aux Aborigènes australiens pour mieux gérer les affaires de terres. Ces problèmes fonciers sont « un obstacle au développement économique des Salomon », et pour le moment, le gouvernement n’a pas réussi à « concilier croissance et préoccupations culturelles », reconnaît Manasseh Sogavare. Le Premier ministre salomonais s’est donc tourné vers les Aborigènes pour tenter de trouver une solution : il vient de rencontrer le président de la Chambre de commerce indigène australienne, Warren Mundine.
  • Aux Mariannes du nord, si les dégâts observés après le passage du cyclone Soudelor sont si importants, c’est à cause des termites, affirme un entrepreneur du bâtiment. « Tous les joints, toute la structure des maisons, ont été attaqués par les termites, donc même un vent puissant pouvait suffire à les faire s’écrouler », explique Chang Yoon Suk au micro de la radio nationale néo-zélandaise. Le cyclone Soudelor a causé d’importants dégâts matériels à Saipan, il y a trois mois.ABC
AUSTRALIA

18) PNG to ease visa-on-arrival policy for Australians

17 November 2015

Papua New Guinea’s government will ease its visa-on-arrival policy for Australians next year.

Last year, the government removed visa-on-arrival arrangements for Australian travellers, after Australia refused to grant the same arrangement for visiting Papua New Guineans.

But the Post Courier reports that special allowances will be made for Australians travelling to specially designated tourist zones.

The national planning minister, Charles Abel, says Australians visiting specially designated areas on specific flights will be issued a visa on arrival.

Mr Abel says the government is not stepping down from the visa issue, however, and a range of visa restrictions remain for Australians.RNZI

NEW ZEALAND

19) NZ scholarships encourage more Pasifika into science

17 November 2015

New scholarships are on offer to encourage more of New Zealand’s Pacific people into the fields of science, technology, engineering and maths.

Up to four scholarships worth US$16,200 each over three years will be offered to university students studying the subjects at undergraduate and postgraduate level.

The Toloa scholarships are funded by New Zealand’s Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs.

The Minister for Pacific Peoples Sam Lotu-Iiga says the schoalrships were set up because there aren’t enough Pacific people working in those fields.

He says the workforce needs to reflect the make-up of the general population.

The Toloa Scholarships are open to Pacific peoples who are New Zealand citizens or permanent residents.RNZI

20) Fiji Appoints High Commissioner To New Zealand
Former permanent secretary in the finance ministry

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, November 14, 2015) – Fiji has appointed a High Commissioner to New Zealand. He is the Filimoni Waqabaca , who has been the permanent secretary in the finance ministry. The Foreign Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola says the combination of financial acumen and senior management experience in Mr Waqabaca’s professional background was ideal for his new posting.

Radio New Zealand International

WORLD

21) Hollande: ‘France is at war’ – President Francois Hollande vowed France would step up the battle against Islamic State in Syria in the wake of the Paris attacks and asked parliament to consider extending a state of emergency by three months. “France is at war,” said President Hollande to MPs at a joint session of both houses of parliament. Mr Holland said the attacks were “decided and planned in Syria, prepared and organised in Belgium and perpetrated on our soil with French complicity”, he said. In response, France would “intensify” operations in Syria, Mr Hollande said. Yesterday French jets pounded IS targets in the group’s Syrian stronghold of Raqa, its first military response to the Paris carnage. “We will continue the strikes in the weeks to come,” Hollande told MPs. In the fight against the extremists, Hollande said he wanted increased international assistance, and would meet with US President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin in coming days. Turning to measures within France, he said he would ask parliament to consider extending a state of emergency by three months. His long and solemn speech culminated in a rendition by MPs of the Marseillaise, the French national anthem.The attacks in the French capital that killed at least 129 people as they enjoyed a Friday night out in bars, restaurants, a concert hall and the national stadium, “were acts of war”.

http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/world/289842/hollande-‘france-is-at-war’

22) http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2015-11-17/paris-attacks-france-launches-fresh-round-of-airstrikes-against-islamic-state-targets-in-syria/1515524
23) http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2015-11-17/paris-attacks-us-states-move-to-shut-door-on-syrian-asylum-seekers/1515542

HEALTH

24) Herbal medicine vital: Doc

Source:
The National, Tuesday November 17th, 2015

By YEVIE KWAISOMBI
TRADITIONAL medicine in rural areas is vital as it plays an important role when western medicines are not available, according to a medical doctor and educator.
Dr Prem Prakash Rai of the University of PNG’s School of Medicine and Health Science said this following an initiative he took to carry out research on traditional medicine after the Government approved the Traditional Health Medicine policy in 2007.
The main focus for the research was the scientific aspect of it and where traditional medicine could  cure forms of diseases.
“We also want traditional medicine information to be documented so that it is kept as the traditional way of passing information from one generation to another which is no longer effective in societies today,” Dr Rai said.
“So far medical students engaged in the research have covered most of the provinces, mainly focusing on rural areas, and students are doing research as part of their course during semester break and the research is ongoing.
“We have done a lot of work in the Bougainville area and have written a book based on traditional medicine used in Bougainville which is also the only province to have a research centre for traditional medicine.’’
He said the selling of herbal medicine on the streets in extreme weather conditions caused medicines to lose their effectiveness. A national policy is being drafted and waiting to be completed, Rai said.
“Next year three students will go for research and so far we have 4600 herbs registered in our database system of the 100 plants found in different areas of PNG.
“Apart from the research we have also conducted a number of workshops to train herbalist on how to prepare traditional medicine in a healthier and safer way,” he said.

25) Medical team provides free check-ups

Tevita Vuibau
Tuesday, November 17, 2015

A MOBILE medical team from Taiwan’s Cathy General Hospital is in the country providing free medical services to people in the four divisions with visits to Nausori Health Centre and Yat Sen Primary School planned for today and tomorrow.

The team includes physicians specialising in cardiology, ear nose throat and infectious diseases (dengue fever, tuberculosis, gastroenteritis, typhoid), family medicine and pediatrics.

“The medical team will bring portable ear and cardiac ultra wave machines which can check the ear for the schools on Levuka and Nausori and Yat Sen schoolchildren and the heart condition for the senior citizens,” the Taiwanese embassy said.

Six Taiwan mobile teams comprising 36 medical staff members from Mackay Memorial Hospital have visited Fiji from 2006 to 2013, and examined 6371 patients.

In 2014, two Taiwan mobile medical teams comprising 16 medical staff members from Cathy General Hospital visited Fiji and examined about 1000 patients in Kadavu, Rikiriki, Ba, Tavua and Lautoka.

In July 2015, the first mobile medical team from Taiwan’s Cathy General Hospital examined and treated students of Marist Brother’s High School and Yat Sen Primary School, Sigatoka, Korolevu, Lomawai, Cuvu area treating more than 1500 people.

“As a development partner of Fiji, Taiwan not only has sent mobile medical teams to Fiji in previous years to help the Fijian physical health but also focus on the mental health area,” the embassy said.

“In this year, the Trade Mission of Republic of China (Taiwan) organised a mental health team to Fiji to conduct the feasibility study and collaborated with the Ministry of Health of Fiji to build the capability framework of mental health for Fiji and possibly Pacific Island countries in the next few years.”

The Taiwanese embassy said through the assistance in various areas of health care, Taiwan hoped to play a role in promoting good health and healthy lifestyles as well as strengthening the friendship between Taiwan and Fiji.Fijitimes

EDUCATION

26) Fourteen graduate

Ropate Valemei
Tuesday, November 17, 2015

THREE years of work, determination and sacrifices finally paid off for 14 graduates at the Assemblies of God of Fiji’s Harvest Vernacular Bible School at Calvary Temple in Suva on Sunday evening.

With different backgrounds, churches and denominations, the graduates were reminded their Diploma in Bible and ministry was just the beginning of their journey.

The Harvest Vernacular Bible School was founded specifically to train men and women in the local vernacular.

Annually, graduates have returned to their homes around the country and have become instrumental in their local churches.

School Principal Pastor Jefeca Kacivakawalu told graduates that their Diploma in Bible and Ministry of the Harvest Vernacular Bible School is the diploma of obedience.

“You have to fully commit yourself to God and his works,” Mr Kacivakawalu said.

“As we all depart from here tonight (Sunday night), the only advice is to love the work of the Lord.Fijitimes

POLITIC

27) Government must be retained in 2017, says PNG foreign minister

5:44 pm GMT+12, 16/11/2015, Papua New Guinea

United Party leader and Wapenamanda MP Rimbink Pato says the current Government and its coalition partners should be retained during the 2017 general election.

He told the party’s fundraising dinner in Port Moresby last Thursday that “we have been seeing lots of great things”.

“Papua New Guinea has never been like this. I’ve only been in Parliament for three years and I’m amazed at the level of development and progress this country is making,” he said.

“It will be a lost opportunity if the level of leadership we have today is in anyway dismantled. If we are not put back into government as a team after the 2017 elections, I have great fears for this country.”

Pato said his party believed that “united we will have stability, development, security”. Pato, the Foreign Affairs Minister, said the nation was now recognised on the “global stage”.

Meanwhile,Prime Minister Peter O’Neill is confident that the Government and its coalition partners will do well in the 2017 general election, given what they have done in the past three years.

He said the country was “heading in the right direction”.

“When you travel the world and you come back home, you will also want your country to be in the same shape,” he said.

“You will also want your country to move forward. That’s what we have to believe in. You have a choice in 2017 and that’s why you are here today. I thank you for supporting United Party in their fundraising dinner.”

O’Neill said he had been president of the People’s National Congress from 1997 and leader from 2002.

“You have a democratic right in 2017. We have laid the foundation. Great things are happening in our country,” he said.

“More and more visitors are coming to our country. More and more prime ministers and presidents are coming to our country. And more world-class events are being hosted in our country.

“Our future is very bright, said PM O Neill.

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

28) Solomons Independents reformed

17 November 2015

Some of the Solomon Islands ministers and MPs who quit the government last month are now in the Parliamentary Independent Group.

They are Dr Derek Sikua, Ishmael Avui, Commins Mewa and Mathew Wale.

The Political Parties Commission has registered them under the National Parliamentary Coalition Opposition Group.

The opposition now consists of the Democratic Alliance Party, the Independents, the Solomon Islands Rural Advancement Party and an MP of the People’s First Party.

The four Independents were members of the United Democratic Party.

The Commission maintains ministers and backbenchers of the Kandere Party who also resigned from the government remain as members of the government as they have not resigned from their party.

The prime minister Manasseh Sogavare says the opposition is continuing with efforts to topple his government despite withdrawing a proposed motion of no confidence recently.RNZI

29) PM Sogavare slams Opposition
9:02 pm GMT+12, 16/11/2015, Solomon Islands

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has slammed the National Parliamentary Opposition group of trying to rekindle the political upheaval.

In his contribution to the Supplementary Bill which Parliament had passed last week, the PM told Parliament government has fully aware of Opposition MPs sending text messages to Ministers trying to lobby them with lucrative amount of money.

“I can reveal names of these MPs now but I’ll live it there.

“We have copies of these text messages from Opposition Members who want to buy Ministers to join the Opposition Group to oust the Democratic Coalition for Change (DCCG) Government.

“It’s time we must act as mature national leaders and stop playing politics that won’t benefit our people in this country.

My government is now at its first quarter of his term in office to implement the billion dollar budget and DCCG is continuing with the national projects that are earmarked for some provinces in the country.

“ I want to assure to this nation that I am not hungry for this position as prime minister I was voted by this parliament so we must work together to serve the national interests.”

He said Christian churches are praying for the government to lead this nation forward and to deliver services to the custodian of the country’s resources.

Sogavare said, MPs need to work together to ensure government implement its policy objectives and intentions to deliver goods and services to the people of Solomon Islands.

The East Choiseul MP pointed out the situation in Vanuatu sets precedence for the country to learn from. He said recently Vanuatu court sentences 14 MPs to jail for corruption.

SOURCE: SOLOMON STAR/PACNEWS

30) PNG Finance Minister’s stay application refused
2:45 pm GMT+12, 16/11/2015, Papua New Guinea

An application by  Papua New Guinea Finance Minister James Marape to disqualify two of the three judges on a three-man Supreme Court bench presiding over his stay application has been refused.

Marape attempted Monday to have Justices Don Sawong and Colin Makail removed from the bench, which also included Justice Derek Hartshorn as chair, on the ground of an apprehension of bias. He made the application on October 5.

The Minister’s stay application, which will be heard today, is to restrain the police from investigating and arresting him in relation to allegations that he facilitated for the payment of monies totalling millions of kina to law firm, Paul Paraka Lawyers.

The money was paid to the law firm for services rendered to the State.

The Prime Minister Peter O’Neill is also a subject of the same investigation.

Marape told the court that the apprehension of bias is drawn from a statement made by the judges when ruling on joining National Fraud Squad director Mathew Damaru and his deputy Timothy Gitua as parties in his stay application and other proceedings that are currently before the courts.

The statement in part is that the judges said “…the true purpose of the appellant (Marape) to institute this proceeding in the National Court was to restrain police from arresting him…”

Marape and PM O’Neill had instituted a National Court proceeding against Paul Paraka Lawyers for not taxing monies it was paid.

It was from this proceeding that the leaders had obtained stay orders preventing their arrests and further investigations by police on the Paul Paraka Lawyers matter.

All other court matters, which includes the current matter and the joinder of Damaru and GItua, stem from this taxation proceeding. In their ruling Justices Sawong and Makail said the evidence supporting Mr Marape’s application came from himself.

The judges said the evidence contains opinions and not facts.

“Quite clearly, the appellant’s (Marape’s) assertions (claims) are based on the lawyer’s advice and opinion. A lawyer’s advice or opinions is not a fact,” they said.

The judges said the evidence must be based on facts which show that there is reasonable proof of an apprehension of bias.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

31) Fiji Opposition criticizes 2016 budget

8:30 pm GMT+12, 15/11/2015, Fiji

Fiji Opposition criticizes 2016 budget

Fiji Opposition MP Professor Biman Prasad has called the 2016 Budget ‘A Deceptive Budget of a confused government’.

Professor Biman was given 2 hours – as shadow Finance Minister to speak on the 2016 Budget in parliament today.

Attacking the various incentives, Prasad says the 2016 Budget is consistently inconsistent with government’s proposals, promises, objectives and targeted outputs.

“VAT is reduced for the rich, but the poorest people will pay more VAT. Last year the Government increased tax incentives for the tourism industry, now it has taken them away. Last year the Government increased duties on luxury items, now it has reduced them again. One year after vehicle imports were relaxed, they are now to be tightened.”

Prasad claims 5% economic growth is a very ordinary performance and that the government has been borrowing and spending to keep up economic growth.

Meanwhile, the Income Tax Bill has been tabled in Parliament.

Ashneel Sudhakar, the chair of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Justice, Law and Human Rights, presented the bill before the House.

“It addresses some of the many different aspects of taxation such as income tax social responsibly tax, presumption income tax, withholding tax, shipping income tax, company and business tax, capital gains tax, fringe benefit tax, mining tax, etc, touches the lives of each and every one individual in one way or the other.”

The bill will be debated on in Parliament at a later date.

SOURCE: FBC NEWS/PACNEWS

LAND

32) Solomons talks land rights with indigenous Australians

17 November 2015

The Prime Minister of Solomon Islands says his country can learn a lot from the experiences of Australian Indigenous peoples about land reform, economic development and growth.

Manasseh Sogavare met with the chairperson of the Australian Indigenous Chamber of Commerce Warren Mundine on Friday ahead of the Solomon Islands Business Excellence Awards held over the weekend.

Mr Mundine says his talks in the country centred on the concept of doing business within the framework of communal land and traditional cultures, and how Solomon Islands can work through any issues to ensure economic growth.

Mr Sogavare acknowledged that land issues are a major challenge to development in Solomon Islands, and governments have yet to find the appropriate framework which balances development with cultural concerns.

The Solomon Islands Women In Business Association= were recipients of this years Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce business excellence award, presented over the weekend.RNZI

MEDIA

33) TVWAN to screen NRL matches for free

Source:
The National, Tuesday November 17th, 2015

TVWAN plans to screen the National Rugby League matches in 2016 and 2017 for free as it expands its programmes after its first year in service.
Digicel Play chief executive officer Ralph Siebenaler said the station had covered the 2015 Rugby World Cup for its viewers.
“Digicel Play is the pioneer in building the future of television in PNG. Our offer is unmatched in terms of choice, with a particular focus on local news and sports,” he said. “The construction and roll-out of digital terrestrial TV transmitters in seven cities is perfectly in line with the guidelines adopted by the Government for switching the country completely to digital television by the end of 2017.”
The station celebrated its first anniversary yesterday. In the past year, it had offered viewers channels including its in-house produced Business Plus PNG, TVWAN News Review and Profile PNG current affairs shows and a selection of new movie series and lifestyle programmes.
It can be accessed in all parts ofPNG via the direct-to-home satellite.

34) Media firm launches news app

Source:
The National, Tuesday November 17th, 2015

Trend Media Pacific has launched the region’s first free-to-browse news application (app), Loop Pacific.
The latest version of the app grants free access to the best local, regional and international news without using data or WiFi.
The company in a statement said when the Loop app was first launched, its success was based on the fact that the stories featured were relevant to the people of PNG – bringing breaking news to life in an easy to access way via mobile.
Building on this widespread success, Trend Media has made this news resource free to browse for Digicel customers.
This means that anyone with a Digicel SIM would be able to visit the Loop Pacific app or website (www.LoopPng.com) from their Apple or Android smartphone without using any credit on their account.

35) Survivor thanks media

Felix Chaudhary
Tuesday, November 17, 2015

A LAUTOKA cancer survivor acknowledged the media for playing a major role in encouraging women to come forward and seek screening and medical assistance.

Speaking at the Go Bald Give Hope fundraiser at Shirley Park last Saturday, Mereoni Taginadavui, 54, said the media was making a difference by giving women such as her a chance to share their experiences.

“And this leads to a lot of sharing of information from someone who has been through the experience,” she said.

“Women are scared to seek treatment because they feel that apart from the ordeal they will have to endure through chemotherapy and medical treatment, they will lose their womanhood if one breast is removed and they fear losing their husbands or partners in the process.

“I am here to tell them that if they have faith, seek treatment and follow the advice given by doctors then they have the opportunity to live a full and productive life.”

Mrs Taginadavui also urged women who had been diagnosed with breast cancer to seek medical advice instead of turning to herbal remedy.Fijitimes

BUSINESS

36) Bank on K20m plan

Source:
The National, Monday November 16th, 2015

THE National Development Bank under its Stret Pasin business development incubation programme is to implement five programmes in 2016 at a cost of K20 million.
NDB Investment chief executive officer Des Yaninen said the five programmes were the establishment of Stret Pasin Stores, the expansion of the young enterprise scheme, expansion of the young entrepreneur start-up loans, establishment of the Urban SME incubation centres and the establishment of portable shops.
He said the first programme of the Stret Pasin store which had a funding allocation of K8 million would see the bank fully finance the establishment of rental stores where locals would be invited to apply to operate them.
Successful applicants would be trained.

37) Air Niugini increases flights to Japan

9:17 pm GMT+12, 16/11/2015, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea’s Flag carrier AIR Niugini will increase its flight frequency between Papua New Guinea and Japan to, two per week starting July 2016.

The flights will be every Wednesday, departing Port Moresby at 2:10 pm arriving Narita-7:55 pm (local time) while the return flight will arrive in Port Moresby 4:55 am.

The increased service was announced by Planning Minister Charles Abel in Port Moresby during the presentation of a dummy cheque for K5 million (US$1.6 million) as the National Government’s support towards this cause.

Present for this auspicious event was Air Niugini’s chief executive officer Simon Foo and Japanese consultant Hideo Kamioka.

Abel said the Government was committed to growing the tourism sector and as such had initiated the special tourism zone.

He said the increased service between PNG and Japan would greatly assist in this regard.

He said that Japan remained the third largest source for PNG in terms of visitor numbers to the country, adding that the increased service from one to two per week would enable PNG to capture its share of the market.

“Japan remains an important trading partner for PNG and the additional flights should enhance the business relationship and increase business opportunities between the two countries. The additional flights will also have flow on benefits for Papua New Guineans increasing opportunities for education and travel by ordinary citizens who might be interested in travelling to Japan.

Foo in receiving the cheque had stated that Air Niugini had and would continue to support the National Government with its drive to promote the tourism industry.

“The funding is to share the risks,” he said.

He had stated that the second service between Port Moresby and Narita would be introduced in July 6, 2016, with plans for a third as soon as necessary amendments are made to the bilateral Air Service Agreements between the two countries. He said the rationale in introducing the flight in July next year was that it would give tour operators and tourists time to market the service while the latter to plan their travel.

He had explained that unlike tourists from other countries, those from Japan were more after short stays, adding the current schedule was not condusive.

Kamioka had stated that PNG remained an ideal tourist destination for the Japanese market, but had reiterated the flight frequencies had been an impediment.

He said the increased services between the two countries would greatly boost Japanese arrival numbers.

SOURCE: PNG TODAY/PACNEWS

38) Fiji Airways to add third direct Auckland-Suva service
9:21 pm GMT+12, 16/11/2015, Fiji

Fiji Airways has announced it will be making adjustments to its direct services from the Fijian capital Suva to Auckland and Sydney.

From 27 November, 2015, flights from Suva to Sydney and Suva to Auckland are being advanced by 2 and a half hours, with further schedule and frequency changes post January 2016.

From 01 April 2016, the airline will introduce a third service between Auckland and Suva, operating on Wednesdays, in addition to the Monday and Friday services.

In a further change, Fiji Airways is decreasing frequency between Suva and Sydney from February 2016. The Suva-Sydney and Sydney-Suva flights will operate on Fridays only with a 7.35am departure from Suva and a 12.30pm departure from Sydney.

Andre Viljoen, Fiji Airways Managing Director and CEO stated: “These adjustments are necessary for us to optimise our aircraft resources. The new schedules best fit the demand on the flights. Our customers to Auckland enjoy added frequency and our Sydney customers can still enjoy the most convenient connections over our Nadi hub. The Suva market remains critical to Fiji Airways. As and when we acquire more aircraft, we will be looking to further invest in both these markets.”

Fiji Airways will be contacting booked customers to advise them of the changes. Customers booked to travel on Suva-Auckland and Suva-Sydney, are requested to contact our Reservations Centre on 6720 888 or 3304 388 to reconfirm their flight times.

SOURCE: FIJI AIRWAYS/PACNEWS

39) Fiji Opposition questions Environmental Levy
5:52 pm GMT+12, 16/11/2015, Fiji

Fiji’s Shadow Minister of Finance Dr Biman Prasad says government is threatening the stability of the tourism industry with the Environment Levy or STT.

“Tourists are not paying to support environmental protection programmes. They are paying to make up for the gap in VAT. This so-called environmental levy is not going to the environment or the most direct custodians of our environment. It is going straight into the gaping hole in the Minister’s budget,” highlighted Dr. Prasad.

Dr. Prasad says tourism investors are hit harder than any other businesses and the environmental levy is not the same as VAT.

“It is not a “small additional charge.” Together with the increase in STT, tourists who come to Fiji must now pay 11% more for their holidays. How can Fiji stay competitive when our own Government is adding these costs to our biggest industry? How can tourists enjoy their chill-out time in Fiji when they know they’re being strong-armed into coughing up for the Government’s fiscal inadequacies that has nothing to do with their holiday expenses?” highlighted the shadow Minister for Finance.

SOURCE: FIJI TV/PACNEWS

40) More Fiji dollars to repay debt in US dollars’

2:49 pm GMT+12, 16/11/2015, Fiji

The Opposition has raised concerns over Fiji’s steady increase in overseas borrowing with State having paid $200 million (US$92 million) interest on global bonds in the last five years.

This was revealed by Opposition member and Shadow Minister for Finance Professor Biman Prasad during his address in the National Budget debate that began in Parliament Monday.

“Another concerning trend is the steady increase in Fiji’s overseas borrowings. We borrow in US dollars, meaning we have to pay the debt back in US dollars. In the next five years it is almost certain that our currency will fall against the US dollar. So we will have to find even more Fiji dollars to repay the same debt.

“In 2006, under the SDL Government, the global bond of $US150m ($F326m) was raised at a 6.8 per cent interest rate. The military government used all of it.

“When it was time to pay it back in 2011, they went and borrowed more money — $US250m ($F543m). But on the new borrowing we paid a 9 per cent interest rate.

“Everybody in the finance sector knows that other institutions offered loans at lower interest rates. But these loans were offered on conditions requiring the Government to manage the economy prudently.

“The Government would not accept these conditions.

“Government has now refinanced its US$250m global bond through another international bond with a coupon rate of 6.625 per cent. The Government has made a big deal of its reduced coupon rate, but this interest rate is payable in rising US dollars. It is more expensive than borrowing in Fiji.

“Government has not told us that it paid close to $200m interest on this bond in the last 5 years. That interest could have gone towards state services such as education and health, or welfare payments. We did not get these services because we had to pay interest. This is why when Government borrows every Fiji citizen pays by sacrificing the services we cannot afford.

“Meanwhile, our interest bill is growing. Interest must be paid from higher taxes or reduced spending. So it is Fiji’s people who will be shackled by the burden of this debt, the largest that Fiji has ever had.”

Prof Biman labelled the sale of Government assets as shocking.

“But the most shocking thing about the sale of Government assets — the FEA, Airports Fiji, Fiji Ports Company Ltd — is that the money we will collect will not be used to reduce debt. It will be used to fund ordinary Government annual spending. It is like selling your house so you can pay for your groceries. When we are left with no assets, what will we do then?

“This is akin to selling one’s soul for 30 pieces of silver,”.

SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

41) Vanuatu seafood company takes top prize at Fish 2.0 competition
6:27 pm GMT+12, 15/11/2015, Vanuatu

Alfa Fishing received an award in the growth-stage category at the 2015 Fish 2.0 Competition Finals and Sustainable Seafood Innovation Forum in the US.

The Forum honors companies that demonstrate sustainability, innovation and support for local communities.

Based on the island nation of Vanuatu, the company generates income for rural youth and urban women through supplying fresh seafood to both high-end restaurants and low-income households.

CEO Alfred Kalontas said, “Coming around the world was more than worth it. I founded my business with a mission. I was trying to build up a brand, to build up a team, create transparency and build an ethical business. I was on my own. This helped me mold it, as if in the palm of my hand.” –

Alfa Fishing was one of six winners that came from 170 initial applicants, which were winnowed down to 18 finalists and 19 runners-up.

Each winner received a US$5,000 cash prize. They and the other 31 businesses competing at the finals are also eligible for Professional Service Awards (US$150,000 total, plus an additional US$45,000 for Pacific Islands businesses) and Open Door Prizes, which provide unparalleled access to top-level industry buyers and analysts, training and other connections. These prizes will be announced by mid-December..

SOURCE: VANUATU LOOP/PACNEWS

INFRASTRUCTURE

42) $6.5m to develop the North

Serafina Silaitoga
Tuesday, November 17, 2015

GOVERNMENT’S $6.5m budget allocated for infrastructural development in the North will surely bring brighter days, says Commissioner Northern Jovesa Vocea.

He added it was time for the people of Vanua Levu to look ahead and work with Government in creating a sustainable environment for growth.

“I know that we are excited about the budget and the future economical outlook for the North looks bright,” he said.

“We are here to look ahead to a prosperous future and not the past.

“The budget has also been given to improve health facilities in the North and improve the ones in the rural areas.”

Mr Vocea said upgrading roadworks would continue in Koroinasolo, Kadavu Niurua, Sevaci Korotasere and Dakuniba Vunikura areas.

He added Government was committed to developing rural areas and road development was part of it.

In an earlier interview, he told this newspaper that other projects included the completion of two government quarters at the newly established station in Kubulau, Bua.

This, he added, included the construction of the district officer’s quarters and one duplex quarters for two personnel — both worth $790,000.

The project on Rabi Island includes the construction of a duplex grade six nursing quarters for the personnel serving at the health centre.”Fijitimes

LAW&ORDER

43) Govt welcomes help line against violence

Source:
The National, Tuesday November 17th, 2015

THE Government has acknowledged the hotline service provided by the 1 Tok Kaunsel Helpim Lain in combating family and sexual violence.
Minister for Religion,Youth and Community Development Delilah Gore said the hotline was a progressive initiative and a positive step in the fight against family and sexual violence.
“The impact it has made since the launching on August 20 reflects the importance of providing assistance to men, women and children who are affected,” she said.
The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women will be on November 25.
Taina Gebai, a church elder and chairman of the council of chief  of Pari village, admitted that he was a violent man in his young days.
“I did not inherit this sort of lifestyle from my parents.”
“My parents were good people,” he said.
“It was in my young days when I got into peer group situations. I was a leader and I thought a leader had to be an aggressive one. That made me turn into this violent type of person.” Taina said the problem escalated over the years.
His children were terrified of him while his wife continued to pray for him.
“As time went on, I came to realise that what I was doing was not the right thing to do getting drunk,coming home and having my family waste their precious time with me while I’m sitting there drinking.”
“It was not fair to them and I thought I must stop,” he said.
Taina was assisted by church members in his community.

44) Two Indonesian soldiers convicted for Papuan deaths

17 November 2015

Two Indonesian soldiers have been convicted and imprisoned for their role in the deaths of two Papuans in Mimika in August.

The Jakarta Post reports that the court sentenced Makher Rehatta and Gregorius R. Geta to prison terms of 12 years and three years respectively for murder and aggravated assault.

Two other soldiers are still on trial for their role in the incident in which the four soldiers, who were allegedly drunk, opened fire with assault rifles on a group of Papuans who were holding a local Thanksgiving ceremony in front of a church in Mimika regency.

Human Rights Watch has welcomed the conviction as a rare example of accountability over military abuses in Papua.

However the NGO says it’s only a start, since there are many other military abuses which have not been investigated.

In the rare cases where soldiers have been convicted by a military court, the sentences have been extremely lenient.RNZI

45) Vanuatu court to deliver MP ruling on Friday

17 November 2015

Vanuatu’s Court of Appeal will on Friday deliver its ruling on an appeal by 14 convicted MPs against a decision to revoke their self-imposed pardons.

After being convicted of bribery last month, the speaker of parliament Marcellino Pipite pardoned himself and 13 other MPs while he was acting president.

That move was overturned by the president, Baldwin Lonsdale, and ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Courtafter the opposition sought the court’s ruling.

Three of the convicted MPs, Serge Vohor, Tony Wright, and Jonas James tried to challenge Mr Lonsdale’s decision in the Supreme Court, but their application was dismissed.

In the Court of Appeal on Monday, the trio’s lawyer argued that the constitution only gives the president the power to pardon, but not to revoke the pardon.

But the attorney general’s office, which is representing the president, argued that if the president has the power to pardon, he has the power to revoke and the fact Pipite pardoned himself was a conflict of interest.RNZI

46) Fraud lands man in jail

Shayal Devi
Tuesday, November 17, 2015

THE High Court in Lautoka has jailed for four years a 38-year-old involved in money laundering.

Chris Ronil Singh, charged with one count of money laundering, was accused of obtaining $47,734.58 from a Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority cheque.

“The facts adduced in evidence was that a cheque drawn by FRCA as an income tax return was altered fraudulently,” judge Justice Aruna Aluthge said.

“For the purpose of depositing that cheque, a bank account was opened under a fake name using a fraudulently obtained learner’s permit bearing a photograph of Mr Singh.

“The fraudulently altered cheque was deposited in the bank account under the fake name. It was established at the trial the owner of the bank account was none other than Mr Singh.”

He said some of the mitigating factors in the case included Singh’s role as the breadwinner of his family and his first offender status.

“However, to carry out this sophisticated ‘white collar’ crime, considerable degree of pre-planning and premeditation had been done.

“To achieve the main target, a number of fraudulent activities had taken place. Subtle alteration of the cheque, ostensibly with the participation of FRCA officers, activities such as obtaining a fraudulent learner’s permit under a fake name, opening a bank account under a fake name are all associated with the main offence although Mr Singh has not been charged or convicted for them.”

A non-parole period of one year has been imposed.

Singh has 30 days to appeal.Fijitimes

47) NZ offers help in Fiji police shake-up

17 November 2015

New Zealand prime minister John Key says his country is willing to support the Fiji police force transition between commissioners – if it wants the help.

Police commissioner Ben Groenewald resigned last week, citing interference by the military.

The government then appointed land force commander Colonel Sitiveni Qiliho as the acting commissioner.

John Key said he would have preferred if the outgoing police commissioner was not replaced with a military commander.

“Fiji’s a country that’s been beset by coups over the last two decades and we’d hate to see a situation where it starts moving back away from democracy and those independence pillars that any decent society relies on, including independence for the judiciary and the police.”

Mr Key said after recent elections Fiji’s democracy was still in a fragile state and he would hate for it to be eroded.RNZI

CLIMATE CHANGE,CONSERVATION,ENVIROMENT

48) Drought victims up 3 million

The National/Pacnews
Tuesday, November 17, 2015

PORT MORESBY – The Papua New Guinea 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 ($F36.7 million) for drought and disaster relief programs in the 2016 budget. On top of that, Treasurer Patrick Pruaitch said provinces had also been asked to allocate K2 million ($F1.4m) per district, “giving a total of K220 million ($F161.6m) for drought and disaster relief — an unprecedented amount of funding”.

49) Solution to Vanuatu drought related food shortages
5:41 pm GMT+12, 16/11/2015, Vanuatu

The Vanuatu Agriculture Research Center says it has a solution to the drought-related food shortages being caused by an El Nino event in the country.

The centre’s Vincent Lebot says it has come up with about 50 improved varieties of sweet potatoes that can be cultivated during the dry season and in poor soil condition.

Dr Lebot says the varieties will allow farmers to yield 20 to 30 tonnes of sweet potatoes per hectare in just three to four months.

“We are generating genetically improved varieties of sweet potato. Why sweet potato? Because compared to other root crops they are fairly drought tolerant and they have a very short cycle,” he said.

Lebot says the centre will supply the plants to farmers in early March.

SOURCE: VANUATU LOOP/PACNEWS

LAND /MINING,FORESTRY,AGRICULTURE,FISHERIES

50) Group praises govt policies

Source:
The National, Tuesday November 17th, 2015

A LANDOWNER group from Enga has praised the Government for putting in place legislations and policies allowing landowners can take part in activities such as alluvial mines.
The  Lepyok-Saii Landowners Association from the gold-rich area of Kweokam  in Kompaim met last week in Wabag to discuss alluvial mining. Chairman Pon Kewaip said they wanted alluvial mining to get off the ground without any trouble.
He said the landowners company would incorporate all the landowner groups.
Kewaip said the people could not continue to depend on the Government for economic opportunities when mineral resources were available on their land.
He said landowners had to use their resources.
One of the association directors representing the Poreyalin-Kombrau clan David Pyaki said the Kweokam gold deposit was discovered by Europeans in the early 1950s even before the giant Porgera gold mine in the same province.
But landowners then did not have the capital and the technical expertise.
Association secretary Peter Tambalo thanked the Mineral Resource Authority for setting up the new alluvia mining legislation. He said it would solve land disputes faced by landowner groups in holding up many mining activities in the Highlands region.
Kambalo said if everything went to plan, Kweokam would be the first alluvial mining area in Enga.

It will benenfit the locals.

51) Hession: Great interest in PNG

Source:
The National, Monday November 16th, 2015

THERE has been great interest shown in Papua New Guinea’s LNG (liquefied natural gas) industry, according to InterOil chief executive officer Dr Michael Hession.
Hession said interest came from LNG investors and customers over the past six months, with Papua New Guinea being recognised as one of the low-cost LNG producers to Asian markets.
“Analysts acknowledge that the Papua LNG Project is one of the world’s lowest-cost, highest-return LNG opportunities,” he said.
“And following prime ministerial meetings between Japan and Papua New Guinea, Japan is considering placing PNG on its priority list as a supplier of LNG.”
Hession said corporate activity in companies with interests in PNG also highlighted the attractiveness of LNG assets.
He said InterOil was committed to developing the Papua LNG project.
“With strategic Asian buyers seeking LNG contracts in the 2020s, we are fully committed to developing the Papua LNG project to meet this window, where demand is forecast to exceed contracted supply,” he said.
Hession said the country was emerging as a premier LNG supplier.
“We have seen considerable commercial activity around companies with interests in PNG, with Repsol’s acquisition of Talisman, Woodside’s approach to Oil Search and Scepter’s bid for Santos,” he said.
“No other LNG-producing country presents such low cost, high value growth opportunities like those available today in Papua New Guinea,” he said.
“It is understandable, in our view, that corporate interest in PNG is so strong.”

52) Firm: Plan underway to combine fisheries, agriculture
Source:
The National, Tuesday November 17th, 2015

Urban Farmers director Dickson Ermot says a plan is underway to integrate fisheries with agriculture through technology.
He said this would allow people to benefit from both (agriculture and fisheries). Urban farmers is an agricultural company based at 9-Mile outside Port Moresby.
Ermot said agriculture was a very important sector which more than 80 per cent of the population depended on and should complement fisheries.
He urged the Government through the National Fisheries Authority to direct more people into fish farming.
More than 50,000 had already been engaged in it.
Ermot said it was sad that the market for fish produced locally especially from the Highlands was small.
He said the Government should come up with the aid package for farmers to make sure that whatever the farmers produced was translated into cash as that would encourage them to produce more.

WOMAN,YOUTH,CHILD

53) Children at risk, report says

Source:
The National, Tuesday November 17th, 2015

By TONY PALME KIP
A REPORT from a survey conducted on street children in Port Moresby city shows that over 90 per cent of those interviewed were boys and less than 5 per cent were girls.
It further revealed that over 50 per cent of the 101 interviewees’ parents originated from the Southern region, 29 per cent from Central and 25 per cent from Gulf.
The parents of the other 46 per cent were from the Highlands provinces of Chimbu, Enga, Southern Highlands and Eastern Highlands, followed by a few from Mamose and New Guinea Islands.
The survey was carried out by the NCD Urban Children Empowerment Programme Working Committee of 2015 from June 8-19 in six targeted sites.
According to the report findings, 16 per cent were categorised as most vulnerable children; their quality of life and ability to fulfil their potential was most affected by extreme deprivation and violations of their lives and often they lived in catastrophic situations and relationships.
The second category were neglected children (17 per cent)  who were deprived of their basic needs by adult caretakers that had the means to provide for needs such as health, education and safe living conditions.
The third category was children from poor households (43 per cent) whose parents or caregivers cannot afford to give their children their basic needs.
The fourth group was those that faced a combination of unique social economic situations (24 per cent). Over 60 per cent of the street children come from 6 Mile, Konedobu and Gabutu/Sabama settlement areas.
The children were found mainly selling items on the streets, begging and conducting traffic.
Among children identified were those with special needs as well as those with sores and cuts to their bodies and needed medical help.
NCDC Youth Desk, World Vision PNG, Department of Community Development – Lukautim Pikinini Office, City Mission, Juvenile Justice, Doctors without Borders (MSF), Correctional Services and community child protection volunteers from the Moresby South areas of Talai and Gorobe carried out the survey.
Children were interviewed to obtain their profiles and make referrals by restoring them back to their parents and caretakers and the most vulnerable ones were to be sent to City Mission for temporary safe home care.

 EVENT


54) http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2015-11-17/miss-pacific-islands-png-abigail-havora-to-showcase-countrys-diverse-culture-at-pageant-final/1515566

55) Fashion show event a ‘sell-out’

Shayal Devi
Tuesday, November 17, 2015

THIS year’s Project Bula Mai Trust-managed Style Fiji show is a sell-out.

Organisation member Zelda Thomas said people had reserved seats for the night.

“This is the last week for those who have reserved to pick the tickets,” she said.

Ms Thomas credited the fast ticket sales of the fete to the roaring success of the event last year.

“There has been great support for the event in the past years and we have a great response because of the show last year.

“All the models and entertainers at the show have been confirmed and we want to thank everyone for their support.”Fijitimes

SPORT

56) Old rivalries to be renewed in Oceania Champions League

17 November 2015

Defending champions Auckland City will resume their rivalry with Vanuatu’s Amicale FC for the third straight year after being drawn in the same pool for next year’s Oceania Champions League.

The teams contested the 2011 and 2014 O-League finals, and it was Auckland who again had the edge during the group stage in Fiji earlier this year, winning 3-0.

Joining them in Group A will be newcomers Lae City Dwellers from Papua New Guinea and the winners of the Solomon Islands S-League, likely to again be Solomon Warriors.

2015 runners up Team Wellington have been drawn alongside 2010 champions Hekari United from PNG for the second year running, with Fiji’s Suva FC and AS Lossi from New Caledonia completing Group B.

Fijian champions Nadi FC and AS Magenta of New Caledonia return in Group C after missing this year’s competition, and have been drawn alongside Tahiti’s AS Tefana and the winner of the OFC Preliminary tournament, which features the club champions from Cook Islands, Tonga, American Samoa and Samoa.

The 2016 Oceania Champions League is being held in New Zealand for the first time under its current format, with the preliminary stage in the Cook Islands.RNZI

57) Assad Vala leads PNG cricketers to historic win

17 November 2015

Assad Vala starred with bat and ball as Papua New Guinea beat Nepal in Abu Dhabi to record their first ever win in the World Cricket League Championship.

Nepal lost a wicket on the opening ball of the match, but recovered to post a competitive 232 for 8 from 50 overs.

Assad Vala was the pick of the bowlers, claiming 3 for 32 from seven overs.

He then anchored the Barramundi’s run-chase with an match high 87 as PNG reached their target with two wickets and three balls to spare.

The results lifts PNG off the bottom of the World Cricket League table after three rounds, with the two teams to meet again tomorrow.RNZI

58) PNG books HK 7s spot

Source:
The National, Tuesday November 17th, 2015

PAPUA New Guinea has booked a spot in the HSBC Hong Kong 7s tournament in April after beating Cook Islands 19-7 in the quarter-finals of the Oceania 7s in Auckland, New Zealand.
The team, led by skipper Tisa Kautu, featured debutants Robin Loma, Paul Nelson and Desmond Korpok, who played their first international matches for PNG at the tournament.
The InterOil-sponsored outfit beat American Samoa 47-0, Solomon Islands 52-0 to make the cup semi-finals and a possible berth at the Rio 2016 Olympics but lost 36-0 to Australia before slumping to Samoa 54-0 in the third-place playoff.
Australia clinched the Rio ticket with a 50-0 hiding of Tonga in the cup final.
“Our focus was to qualify for the Hong Kong 7s tournament,” coach Douglas Guise said.
“This is the first time PNG is playing back-to-back years at the HSBC Hong Kong 7s. Considering the top tier teams we were up against in Tonga, Samoa and Australia, the men did exceptionally well despite the fact that we only had eight players to use on the second day.”
Guise said though the result against Australia was disappointing, he was satisfied with the effort the players put in after a setback with injuries to Billy Torea, Manu Guise, Arthur Clement and the suspension of Wesley Vali. The team returned home yesterday.

59) Fiji bowlers to compete in Asia Pacific Cup

MACIU MALO
Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Update: 7:45PM INSPIRED by the success of the TFL Fijiana 7s team, the Bowls Fiji team departed the country for New Zealand today with the aim to do the nation proud.

Team manager Curtis Mar said the side wanted to finish in the top eight of next week’s Asia Pacific Cup in Christchurch to earn a spot in next year’s World Cup championship.

“The rugby teams have qualified for Rio and to us – our Rio is the World Cup Championship next year,” said Mar.

The team has the services of Aisea Turaga – the first disabled athlete to play in the national team and experienced bowlers like Semesa Naiseruvati,  Arun Kumar, David Aitcheson, Waisea Senibici, Litia Tikoisuva, Sai Walker, Sheeyl Mar and Elizabeth Mocewai.

The side will be joined by their coach Robbie Dobbins in New Zealand.Fijitimes

60) Aussies impress at UFC as Rousey floored

Aap
Tuesday, November 17, 2015

MELBOURNE – UFC 193 at Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium was a huge success, as the organisation hit a gate record at the venue and set a new benchmark for the number of fans at an event.

Some 56,214 raucous fans turned up, breaking the promotion’s previous attendance record of 55,724, set at UFC 129 on April 30, 2011.

They also witnessed history as a brutal head kick allowed former boxing world champion Holly Holm to knock out pin-up girl Ronda Rousey.

Rousy was brazen, bordering on arrogant, in her attack, as 34-year-old Holm let the fight come to her, keeping her opponent at a controlled distance at Etihad Stadium.

The kick, set up by some heavy left hands from Holm, sent an unconscious Rousey with a badly split lip crashing to the canvas then straight into hospital for the night.

Her representatives denied she had a concussion, despite UFC President Dana White saying as much in a press conference.

The irony was thick as White’s golden girl suffered her first loss inside the Octagon, after she had entered, as usual, to the soaring vocals of Joan Jett screaming “I don’t give a damn about my reputation”.

But while it might have been the fall of a champion, the rematch is already being talked about.

61) Hungary qualifies for Euro 2016

Ap
Tuesday, November 17, 2015

BUDAPEST – Hungary secured a spot at next year’s European Championship by beating Norway 2-1 on Sunday, ending a 30-year absence from major football tournaments.

Tamas Priskin scored early and Norway’s Ole Selnes netted an own-goal in the 84th minute as Hungary reached their first major competition since the 1986 World Cup with a 3-1 aggregate victory.

Priskin scored in the 14th minute, deftly controlling a long pass from Tamas Kadar before eluding a pair of defenders and shooting into the upper left corner, out of reach of Norway goalkeeper Orjan Nyland.

Markus Henriksen pulled one back in the 87th but it was a mere consolation for Norway, who lost 1-0 in Oslo on Thursday.

62) Zimbabwe stuns Bangladesh

Afp
Tuesday, November 17, 2015

DHAKA – Neville Madziva hit 18 runs in the last over as Zimbabwe pulled off a nail-biting three-wicket victory against Bangladesh in the second Twenty20 international to level a two-match series 1-1 in Dhaka.

Madziva first starred with his pace bowling and then made the most of a reprieve to score an unbeaten 28 runs to steer Zimbabwe to 136-7 in 19.5 overs, after the visitors restricted Bangladesh to 135-9 at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium yesterday.

Bangladesh, who won the preceding one-day series 3-0, almost sealed off another clean-sweep when Nasir Hossain dismissed Malcolm Waller in the first ball of the last over, but Madziva hit the off-spinner 6, 2, 4, 6 off the next four balls to stun the home crowd.

Madziva was caught behind for 10 in the previous over off Mustafizur Rahman, but the right-hander was called back after TV replay showed Rahman had overstepped.

Waller made 40 off 27 balls with two fours and three sixes and shared 55 runs in the sixth wicket stand with Luke Jongwe (34) as Zimbabwe recovered from a wobbly 5-39 to win the game.

The victory ended Zimbabwe’s 13-match losing streak against Bangladesh in all formats of the game.

w: www.voiceofmelanesia.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *