Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1144 ( Monday 14 December 2015 )


1) Ol Indiginis pipal i wari long ol wok logging na climate change

Updated 11 December 2015, 15:04 AEDT
Caroline Tiriman

Ol laen indiginis pipal husat istap long despla climate change miting long Paris itok olgeta tok oraet em oli kamapim long despla miting imas karamapim tu ol wok blong katim daon ol rain forests na tu ol bikbus em oli stap long ol kol peles.

Ol despla indiginis pipal ikam long ples  olsem long North na South America, Canada, Asia na tu long Pacific.

Olit tok tu olsem oli nambawan pipal long bungim heve long climate change long wonem planti ol bikbus na environment blong ol i bagarap bihaenim ol bikpla wok divelopman.

Long Pacific rijan ol indiginis pipal itok planti wok divelopman, olsem special agrikalsa bisnis leases long PNG isave halvim long bagarapim environment.

Kenn Mondiaii, Direkta blong Partners with Melanesians long PNG istap nau long Paris na emi tok pasin blong katim daon ol bikbus long planti hap long wold iwok long bagarapim environment.ABC

2) Tripla Melanesian kantri igat Balus wokbung

Updated 14 December 2015, 12:14 AEDT
John Papik

Ol balus kampani blong tripla kantri blong Melanesia, olsem Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands na Vanuatu i sainim pinis wanpla tok oraet blong mekim ol wokbung wantem ol ron blong ol balus blong ol oa Codeshare.

Despla i min olsem, Air Niugini, Solomon Airlines na Air Vanuatu bai save baem ol sia na karim ol pasinjia long ol wan wan balus blong ol namel long Port Moresby, Honiara na Port Vila.

Ol despla balus kampani i gat ol wankaen wokbung wantem ol narapla balus kampani blong Pacific olsem Qantas blong Australia na Fiji airways blong Fiji.

Tasol oli tok despla wokbung bai halvim long strongim tu ol wok bung blong Melanesian Spiahed grup.

Gus Kraus emi Operations manager blong Solomon Airlines na emi stori moa wantaim John Papik.ABC

3) PNG Police Set Up New Border Command Along Indonesia Border
Trans-national crimes will be focus

By Frankiy Kapin

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, December 14, 2015) – Undetected crimes along the PNG Indonesia border will be the crucial point of operations under a new border command set up by the Police department.

It will be headed by Assistant Commissioner of Police Donald Yamasombi, who was bestowed his new responsibilities in Lae last Friday at a special parade.

The new office, of which several others will be set up, was a result of reviews and resolutions from the recent commissioners’ conference held in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville. The meeting discussed modernisation and upgrading of border commands and specifically undetected crimes, among others.

The restructure and assignment of Mr Yamasombi is the implementation of the new changes, many of which will be made soon after.

Mr Yamasombi was at hand to receive his new command from the deputy police commissioner Raphael Huaffolo.

Mr Yamasombi said trans-national crimes as well as what police termed as emerging crimes, including money laundering, is happening along the borders. But Mr Yamsombi said the new changes will now take on board the East and West Sepik provinces, which previously fell under the Mamose command overseen by ACP Nema Mondiai, which will also undergo a name change.

Mr Mondiai himself has been appointed ACP Eastern end.

Incoming Mamose ACP Peter Guinness reaffirmed that in a few weeks from now, the changes to the Mamose command will come into effect. Mr Guinness said there are directions in place to see that strategies discussed during the recent conference are implemented under the modernisation program. And that will be undertaken after the festive season.

He said although a lot has been expressed negatively in regards to policing in PNG, he believes changes are coming but at a slow pace.

Mr Huaffolo admitted a decline in policing standards but the objectives of the modernisation program are aimed at making the difference. He said positive results will take time to emerge but it is important that measures are being undertaken as soon as possible.

PNG Post-Courier

4) 3,000 Papuans to get PNG citizenship

14 December 2015

Papua New Guinea’s deputy chief migration officer says processes are underway to grant citizenship to about 3,000 West Papuan refugees.

Esther Gaegamin says there are about 3,000 West Papuan refugees in camps in the Western Province, near the Indonesian border, that have been registered with the government.

She says most of them are qualified for PNG citizenship and her office has commenced a registration and naturalisation project with them.

Ms Gaegamin told the newspaper, The National, that some of the West Papuans have been in PNG for decades and it’s appropriate that they are given a home and legal rights.RNZI

5) PNG’s Abigail Havora crowned Miss Pacific Islands 2015
2:36 pm GMT+12, 13/12/2015, Cook Islands

Papua New Guinea’s Abigail Havora has been crowned Miss Pacific Islands 2015 in a ceremony held in Rarotonga.

The 24-year-old science graduate beat eight other contestants to take home the title for the first time.

The last time PNG won an international or regional crown was in 1975 when Eva Arni won the Miss Asia title, according to local news website PNG Loop.

Havora also picked up the Best Sarong and Best Talent Performance titles.

She is from Gabagaba village in PNG’s Central Province and many Papua New Guineans took to Facebook to congratulate her.

“Abigail Havora we are dying here with so much pride!! You’ve done us your family proud as well as your country! Can’t wait to welcome you home!” Christabella Kolu Amona wrote.

Havora works for PNG’s largest oil and gas company Oil Search and devotes her spare time to volunteering for a number of causes.

“My intent is to bring a message that strengthens the bridge between culture and changing times so young people, especially women, are more aware of what they are contributing to and the type of influence they are exerting,” she said on the Miss Pacific Islands Facebook page when she was first introduced as a contestant.

Miss Samoa, Ariana Taufao, was the first runner-up while Miss Tonga, Brittne Fuimaono, was the second runner-up.

Tonga’s Fuimaono was voted most popular on social media after a poll held on the Miss Pacific Islands Facebook page. Her profile garnered over 14,000 likes.


6) Solomons’ GDP expected to continue to grow

2 December 2015

Moody’s says it expects GDP in the Solomon Islands to grow by three-and-a-half percent next year, backed up by low government debt and strong donor support.

The ratings agency has given the country a B3 issuer rating with a stable outlook.

It says the country’s growth performance has been robust, with average GDP growth of 5.4 percent in the last decade — a strong performance compared to similar small, narrowly diversified economies.

At 11.9 percent of GDP in 2014, it says the government’s debt burden is the lowest in the B-rated category in the Asia-Pacific.

However, the uncertain future of the logging industry, underdeveloped state institutions, and fragile and frequently changing governments present investment risks.

Moody’s says the Solomon Islands is also vulnerable to potential aid cuts by donor countries.RNZI

7) GJP i kontestem Sanma Provinsel Eleksen

Olgeta –

Mi jas kambak long Luganville afta 3 dei we mi stap kampen long Santo rural wetem ol kandidet blong GJP long Sanma provinsel eleksen.

Long Tasde mi bin stap kampen long East Malo wetem kandidet blong GJP, Thomas Vora.

Long Fraede mi bin stap kampen long Saot Santo Eria 2 wetem kandidet John Olo Aru.

Long Satede mi kampen long East Santo (Port Olry, Hog Haba mo Kole) wetem kandidetChristiano Raupepe.

Tumoro Mande bae mi go long West Malo blong kampen wetem kandidet Jacob Nathan, afta Tyusde mi kambak long Vila.

Mi luk se evri kandidet blong yumi i gat gudfala janis blong save winim jea blong olgeta.

Yu save luk ol kandidet blong GJP long Sanma Provinsel Eleksen mo Polisi Platfom blong GJP blong Sanma Provins long websaet naoia.

Urgent Constitutional Application
Long saed blong Urgent Constitutional Application blong ol foma MP blong Oposisen wetem Kenneth Natapei blong jalenjem disolusen blong Palamen, kot i bin sidaon long Tasde las wik, mo disisen blong kot bae i kamaot nekis wik long Wenisde 16 Disemba.

Sipos mifala i winim kes, bae Palamen i mas sidaon blong elektem wan Spika, swerem-in Kenneth Natapei mo (hopefully!) pasem 2016 badjet.

Sipos kot i talem se disolusen i stret, bae yumi go from snap jeneral eleksen long 22 Januari 2016.

Ta, MP Ralph Regenvanu –


8) Tahiti Assembly Majority Forms New Group29 seats of 57 member assembly


WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, December 12, 2015) – French Polynesia’s president, Edouard Fritch, has presented his newly formed assembly majority under a new label in an apparent merger of two of the main parties.

The new group is to be known as RMA which is made up of his Tapura Huiraatira group and the Atia Porinetia Party as well as Joelle Frebault of the pro-independence Union For Democracy who joined Mr Fritch’s camp yesterday.

Her defection gives the RMA group 29 seats in the 57-member assembly.

The RMA has not been established as a formal party but it is poised to be able to pass the budget.

The opposition is now made up of the Union For Democracy and the Tahoeraa Huiraatira whose president, Gaston Flosse, is barred from office because of a corruption conviction.

The Tahoeraa had won 38 seats in the election two years ago but after months of rancour has shrunk to less than half its size.

Radio New Zealand International

9) American Samoa to get education funding boost

14 December 2015

American Samoa stands to receive millions more in federal funding for education under a bill just signed into law by President Barack Obama.

The new law replaces the 2001 “No Child Left Behind” law and would boost territory education funding by almost a third, and possibly as much as two-thirds for American Samoa, according to Congressional Research Service estimates.

The new formula for education funding came after a year-long effort, led by the Northern Marianas’ CNMI Congressman Greg Kilili Sablan on the Education Committee, and American Samoa’s Aumua Amata Radewagen.

“I couldn’t be more pleased with the change in the funding formula for title one of the East Elementary Education Act. So with this increased funding the new formula will provide an extreme, and much needed, enhancement to our education system in American Samoa.”

There is just under $11 million for American Samoa under the current funding formula, but Congresswoman Radewagen’s office estimates a hike of at least about US$4-million dollars, in federal school aid.RNZI



11) Marshalls’ new senators the kingmakers of new government

14 December 2015

A bloc of at least six new senators-elect in the Marshall Islands is positioning to control the outcome of the presidential election, scheduled to be carried out in parliament next month.

Last month’s election saw the most significant change in parliament in decades, with 14 out of 33 seats changing hands.

This means that neither the current government of President Christopher Loeak, nor the opposition KEA group, commands a majority needed to elect a president and form a government.

The bloc of six young first-time senators-elect calling itself the “Solid Six” is positioning itself to be kingmakers to form a coalition government.

One of the senators-elect, Alfred Alfred Junior says reform is the centrepiece of the group’s agenda, and this will drive their choice for who it sides with to form a new government.RNZI


12) PNG Gavman i mekim gutpla wok : Oro Gavana itok

Updated 14 December 2015, 12:28 AEDT
Caroline Tiriman

Gary Jufa itok ol narapla papa graon imas sanap strong na kotim na rausim ol Foran Logging kampani

Gavana blong Oro provins long Papua New Guinea itok emi hamamas tru long gavman long putim wanpela “stop wok oda” long tupela logging kampani blong ol narapla kantri long  wanem tupela ibin brukim Enviroment loa blong kantri.

Gary Juffa itok, Oro provins i nambawan ples long kantri long kisim despla kaen gutpla nius.

Long wik igo pinis Praim Minister Peter O’Neill ibin putim aut despla  oda bihaenim ol wok painimaut olsem  dispela tupela kampani, Yema Gaiapa Developers na Viva Success Limited  ino bin kisim tok orait na igo katim ol diwai.

Emi tok ol papa graun ibin ripot long sampela wari blong ol long dispela tupela kampani ibin mekim  arere long boda blong Oro na Morobe Provinsas.ABC


13a ) Brèves du Pacifique – vendredi 11 décembre 2015

Mis à jour 11 December 2015, 16:04 AEDT

Élodie Largenton

Traiter les terroristes comme des pédophiles : c’est la proposition du Premier ministre australien.

En d’autres termes, Malcolm Turnbull veut pouvoir emprisonner à vie les personnes considérées comme dangereuses pour la société. Une proposition qu’il a présentée aujourd’hui aux dirigeants des différents États australiens.
  • Au Vanuatu, la dissolution du Parlement par le président est-elle constitutionnelle ? La justice donnera sa réponse mercredi prochain, après avoir entendu Baldwin Lonsdale, hier. C’est à la suite de la condamnation de 14 députés pour corruption que le président vanuatais a décidé de dissoudre le Parlement et de provoquer des élections anticipées. Mais ce choix est contesté par 24 anciens députés de l’opposition. Les prochaines élections doivent avoir lieu le 22 janvier.
  • La Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée sanctionne deux entreprises d’exploitation forestière, qui ne respectent pas la loi sur l’environnement, selon les autorités. Ces sociétés doivent arrêter leurs activités, et les autorités ont l’intention de les poursuivre en justice pour obtenir des dédommagements après « des années d’exploitation illégale ».
  • La lutte contre le moustique tigre se poursuit aux Îles Cook. Après une année marquée par de nombreux cas de chikungunya, les autorités sanitaires appellent la population à rester vigilante. Le principal problème, ce sont les maisons et jardins abandonnées, où les moustiques peuvent se reproduire facilement. Quand les propriétaires ont quitté l’île de Rarotonga, les autorités doivent se tourner vers leurs proches pour les pousser à détruire les nids à moustique. Le ministère de la Santé dit aussi suivre de près la situation aux Samoa, où des centaines de cas de dengue ont été recensés, cette année.
DÉCRYPTAGE : Y a-t-il plus de cyclones à cause du changement climatique ?
Mis à jour 11 December 2015, 16:55 AEDT

Élodie Largenton

Dans le Pacifique, cette année 2015 a notamment été marquée par le violent cyclone qui s’est abattu sur le Vanuatu. Avec des rafales de vent à 300 km/h, Pam a fait des ravages : onze personnes ont été tuées, des dizaines d’autres blessées, des infrastructures ont été infrastructures sévèrement endommagées et de nombreuses cultures ont été détruites.
Très rapidement, cette catastrophe a été érigée en symbole de l’urgence climatique. Mais qu’en sait-on vraiment ? Le changement climatique a-t-il un impact sur la formation de cyclones tropicaux ? Entretien avec Kevin Walsh, professeur associé à l’Université de Melbourne. Il concentre ses recherches sur les effets du changement climatique sur les systèmes météorologiques tropicaux.
Y aura-t-il plus de cyclones dans le Pacifique à l’avenir ?
« Les prévisions climatiques futures nous laissent penser que, dans le Pacifique sud, il y aura moins de cyclones tropicaux dans l’ensemble, mais que les cyclones seront plus puissants, en règle générale. C’est cohérent avec ce que l’on observe aujourd’hui, mais le problème, c’est de savoir à quel point on peut affirmer que ces tendances sont déjà la conséquence du changement climatique. Il y a des moyens de faire ces estimations, mais nos simulations de cyclones tropicaux et de modèles climatiques ne sont pas suffisamment bonnes pour le moment. »
Un cyclone baptisé Raquel a frappé les Îles Salomon en juillet dernier, en dehors de la période habituelle (entre novembre et fin avril). Sait-on si le changement climatique a une influence sur les saisons cycloniques ?
« C’est vraiment très rare qu’un cyclone se produise à ce moment-là, mais c’est difficile de dire si c’est lié au changement climatique. »
« On a besoin de plus de données »
Est-ce que l’on observe des changements concernant l’endroit où les cyclones se produisent ?
« Il y a quelques éléments qui suggèrent que les cyclones se déplaceraient un peu au sud. Il faut surtout souligner que dans le Pacifique sud, il y a une relation étroite entre les cyclones tropicaux et le phénomène El Nino. Donc les zones frappées par les cyclones varient beaucoup d’une année à l’autre. Par exemple, quand El Nino est là, on peut avoir des cyclones jusque dans les Îles de la Société, en Polynésie française, alors qu’en général, ils ne se produisent pas là-bas.
En présence d’El Nino, les températures à la surface de l’océan augmentent fortement dans le centre et l’est du Pacifique. Avec la convection atmosphérique, cela facilite grandement le déplacement des cyclones vers l’est. »
La question, alors, ce ne serait pas plutôt : le changement climatique a-t-il un impact sur le phénomène El Nino ?
« L’effet potentiel du changement climatique sur El Nino est une question difficile. Il y a deux ans, quand on a fait des recherches sur les cyclones dans la région des Fidji, on n’a émis aucune hypothèse sur le sujet tout simplement parce que nos données ne sont pas suffisantes pour le moment. »
On ne sait donc encore pas grand-chose sur les liens éventuels entre changements climatiques et les cyclones ?
« De nombreux possibles effets du changement climatique, en  particulier sur les cyclones tropicaux, sont difficiles à démontrer avec nos données. Il n’y a pas tant de cyclones que ça et ils sont très différents d’un endroit à l’autre, donc c’est difficile d’établir des tendances, et après ça devient plus difficile de les associer au changement climatique.
On a besoin de plus de données, mais on est sur la bonne voie. Notre capacité à établir un lien entre le changement climatique et des événements climatiques extrêmes est en constante amélioration, et dans le futur, on pourrait pouvoir émettre un avis similaire sur les cyclones. »
Si ce n’est pas le changement climatique, qu’est-ce qui pourrait expliquer que les cyclones soient moins fréquents mais plus puissants ?
« Il y a d’autres explications possibles. Dans le Pacifique, on a ce qu’on appelle l’oscillation décennale, ce qui veut dire qu’on observe des variations sur des décennies. C’est bien connu en Australie, où on a de longues périodes de sécheresse et de longues périodes de conditions humides qui sont associées à cette oscillation décennale du Pacifique. Donc ça peut être l’une des explications pour les hauts et les bas que l’on observe sur des périodes de 10 à 20 ans. Et c’est un processus naturel, ce n’est pas attribué au changement climatique. »ABC
14) New Zealand Government Responds to FIC Demands in the PACER Plus Negotiations
2:57 pm GMT+12, 13/12/2015, Fiji

The New Zealand Government has announced an increase of the cap under the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) Scheme from 9000 workers to 9500 Pacific island workers.

This responds positively to the demands of the Pacific Island Countries in the PACER Plus negotiations, which seek to enhance their participation in international trade.

In June 2015, Australia took the unprecedented step in lifting the cap under the Seasonal Workers Program and extended it to the entire agriculture sector and to the accommodation sector in selected locations in the country.

With this step and the launching of pilot initiatives in the construction and fisheries sectors for the benefit of Pacific Island Countries earlier this year, New Zealand has demonstrated its commitment to the PACER Plus negotiations as a tool for the economic development of the Pacific Island Countries. Studies by reputable organisations including the World Bank and academics indicate that labour mobility represents a triple win for the sending country, host country and the workers who participate in the programs.

Apart from enhancing access of Pacific workers to their labour markets, Australia and New Zealand have committed to providing technical and financial support to the Pacific Island Countries to enable them to address the supply-side constraints which have prevented them from taking advantage of market access opportunities under previous trade agreements.

The PACER Plus Parties aim at completing the negotiations, which were launched in August 2009, by June 2016.  They met last week in Nadi, Fiji and are expected to meet in Brisbane in early March 2016 to progress the negotiations.



15) Australia, Japan, US Drop Food, Toys on Pacific Islands
5:31 pm GMT+12, 13/12/2015, United States

Australian, Japanese and U.S. air force planes are dropping food and toys on remote atolls in the Pacific as part of the U.S. military’s longest-running humanitarian relief mission.

The packages will support 20,000 people across 56 islands in Micronesia, the Mariana Islands and Palau.

The U.S. Air Force began the annual Operation Christmas Drop in 1952 when a Guam-based air crew noticed residents on the island of Kapingamarangi waving at them as they flew overhead. The crew gathered items they had on the plane, attached a parachute and dropped them to the islanders.

It’s a feel-good mission that also helps the U.S. achieve political aims, namely deepening three-way cooperation with close allies Australia and Japan, who are first-time participants. Analysts say the U.S. has been boosting the trilateral relationship in recent years as it keeps an eye on China’s growing military.

The boxes include books, canned food and items like fishing nets that will help islanders maintain their largely subsistence lifestyle. This year, each package will also include a soccer ball.

Many islands are tiny. Fais Island, for example, has just 300 inhabitants. It’s less than 2 miles long and a mile wide.

The planes fly low, look for a safe spot to drop the bundles then release them from the back of the C-130s.

“It’s from 300 feet and 130 knots, but you feel a kinship with these folks when you see them on the ground waving”” said Col. Douglas C. DeLaMater, the commander of the U.S. Air Force’s 374th Airlift Wing.

University of Guam distance education staff use ham radios to talk to the islanders throughout the year and relay their needs. Most recipient islands are the same each year.

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Gregory Guillot, who is the director of strategic plans at Pacific Air Forces, said the Christmas Drop offers a good trilateral training opportunity, particularly in a time of budget constraints and busy units.

Japan and Australia each sent one C-130 to join three from the U.S.

Guillot said the three air forces have been increasing their cooperation, noting they also come together for the annual Cope North exercise on Guam and Red Flag drill in Alaska. Inviting Australia and Japan to Christmas Drop was a logical extension of other work the countries have been doing, Guillot said.

“Partnerships here in the Pacific are the key cornerstone in our strategy to maintain regional stability and prosperity. Japan and Australia share a common interest in that goal,” Guillot said.

Brad Glosserman, executive director of Pacific Forum think tank in Honolulu, said the three-way relationship is the “gold standard” for the U.S. military’s strategy toward allies in the Pacific. The U.S. wants to break out of “hub and spoke” system of bilateral alliances it has with five Asian countries and link multiple allies together, he said.

The U.S. has tried something similar with South Korea and Japan, but this grouping has struggled amid tensions in Tokyo and Seoul over Japan’s past colonial rule of Korea.

The improved military capabilities of U.S. allies are a factor driving the increased cooperation, as is China’s rise as a military power, Glosserman said.

Trilateral links can bring together like-minded U.S. allies in support of freedom of navigation, the peaceful resolution of disputes and other principles, Glosserman said. The U.S. and China have disagreed at times, for example, on matters like which waters U.S. Navy ships may pass through.

“The argument is that we’re not taking sides against that country, but we are defending very, very powerful and important international principles,” Glosserman said. “The larger the coalition of forces that are behind that, the more effective that position.”.


16) Pacific Nations Demand Easier Access To Climate Funding
Tuvalu project ‘too small’ can’t satisfy technical requirements

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Dec. 10, 2015) – Pacific Island nations are demanding easier access to money already committed to the region by industrialised nations to fight climate change.

The foreign minister of Tuvalu made the call today in Paris, saying they cannot wait any longer for funds to be allocated.

Taukelina Finikaso says the region is not asking for more money but simply for easier access to already existing resources such as the Green Climate Fund.

Created in 2011 during the climate conference in Durban in South Africa the fund aims to raise US $100 billion by 2020 starting with US$15 billion for the next three years.

But Mr Finikaso says not only are Tuvalu’s projects too small for the existing financial mechanisms but the country also lacks the scientific expertise to satisfy the conditions for accessing the money.

He says this includes the requirement that countries prove the challenges they are facing are directly linked to climate change.

Radio New Zealand International


17) Gambia an Islamic state

Monday, December 14, 2015

BANJUL, Gambia – President Yahya Jammeh has declared the Gambia “an Islamic state”, but stressed that the rights of the Christian minority in the small west African country would be respected and that women would not be held to a dress code.

The announcement came as the president addressed supporters in the coastal town of Brufut on Thursday, and the comments were later broadcast on state television and repeated on his website.

“Gambia’s destiny is in the hands of the Almighty Allah. As from today, Gambia is an Islamic state. We will be an Islamic state that will respect the rights of the citizens,” he was quoted as saying on the presidential website.

In television footage of the address on GRTV, seen by AFP on Saturday, the president did not go into detail about what the change would mean for the country, but he reassured Christians and followers of other faiths they would be able to worship freely.

“Christians will be given their due respect. The way of celebrating Christmas will continue,” he said, adding that no one had the right to interfere with others’ “way of life”.

He also warned against trying to impose a dress code on women.

“I have not appointed anyone as an Islamic policeman. The way women dress is not your business.”

An impoverished former British colony nestled within Senegal, and famed for its white-sand beaches, the Gambia has a population of nearly two million, 90 per cent of whom are Muslim. Of the remainder, eight per cent are Christian and two per cent are defined as having indigenous beliefs.

Mr Jammeh, 50, a military officer and former wrestler from a rural background, has ruled the country with an iron fist since he seized power in a coup in 1994.

18) US jobless claims up

Saturday, December 12, 2015

THE number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits rose to a five-month high last week, but this likely does not signal a deterioration in the labour market as the underlying trend remained consistent with tightening conditions.

Other data on Thursday showed cheaper crude oil and a strong dollar keeping imported inflation pressures subdued in November. The reports did not change views that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates next Wednesday for the first time in nearly a decade.

“As we approach the end of the year, jobless claims have a tendency to be more volatile due to seasonal adjustment issues around the holidays. The message remains that the pace of layoffs is very low,” said John Ryding, chief economist at RDQ Economics in New York.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 13,000 to a seasonally adjusted 282,000 for the week ending December 5, the highest level since early July, the US Labour Department said. The four-week moving average of claims, considered a better measure of labour market trends as it strips out week-to-week volatility, rose only 1500 to 270,750 last week.

Claims have been below the 300,000 threshold, which is normally associated with healthy labour market conditions, for 40 straight weeks. This is the longest stretch since the early 1970s. As the labour market approaches full employment there is probably little room for further declines.

The labour market remains resilient, despite slowing consumer spending and housing market activity.

US financial markets were little moved by the data. In another report, the US Labour Department said import prices fell 0.4 per cent past month after decreasing 0.3 per cent in October. Import prices have dropped in 15 of the past 17 months, and were down 9.4 per cent in the 12 months through November. Dollar strength and a sharp decline in oil prices have dampened inflation, leaving it running well below the Federal Reserve’s 2 per cent target.

But there are hopes that labour market tightness will spur faster wage growth and gradually push inflation toward its target.

The government reported last week that the economy added 211,000 jobs last month, keeping the unemployment rate at a 7-1/2-year low of 5.0 per cent.

Last month, imported petroleum prices fell 2.5 per cent after rising 0.4 per cent in October.

© 2015 Thomson Reuters. Click for restrictions


19) Vanuatu/ Anglican Diocese takes over 16 schools

Posted: Saturday, December 12, 2015 12:00 am

By Godwin Ligo |

Sixteen government-run schools in Vanuatu have been transferred from the government’s management responsibility to the Anglican Diocese of Vanuatu.

This was sealed in an agreement signed by Bishop of the Anglican Dioceses of Vanuatu and New Caledonia, Bishop James Ligo, and the caretaker Minister of Education, Toara Daniel, last Friday marking the historical event.

The transfer of the 16 government-run schools to the Anglican Diocese of Vanuatu became effective on the day of the signing agreement between the Church and the Government.

Of the 16 schools, six are in the Torba Province that include; Robin school in Torres islands, Sanlang on Vanuala, Vaget on Gaua, Telhei on Motalava, Pasalele on Mota and Shem Rolly on Ureparapara. All six schools are primary from Year 1 to Year 6.

In Penama Province, the schools transferred to the Anglican Diocese include; Belmotri, Enkul, Gamalmaua, Tanbok, Limi Memorial and Bwatnapne, Ala Memorial on Ambae and Vuigalato also on Ambae.

Two schools on Maewo transferred from the Government to the Anglican Diocese of Vanuatu are Sulua and Naviso. Some of these schools are primary and others Secondary schools.

The 16 primary and secondary schools were administered by the Vanuatu Government through the Provincial Education Board until last Friday when the signing agreement was completed for the Anglican Diocese of Vanuatu to take over the management of the schools.

Speaking after sealing the agreement, the caretaker Minister of Education, Toara Daniel, said the handing over of the 16 schools by the Ministry of Education to the Anglican Diocese of Vanuatu, is in fact in line with the Vanuatu national government policy and the Ministry of Education Act to transfer the schools to the churches in Vanuatu.

The caretaker minister, Toara Daniel, confirmed that the schools will still be supported by the national government through the Ministry of Education financially and with teachers and staffing, but the schools’ management will be organized and run by the churches.

The schools will continue to adhere to the national educational curriculum also.

He said he was pleased with the agreement reached with the Anglican Diocese of Vanuatu because he has been to some of the Anglican-run schools in Vanuatu and was pleased with the management, the behaviors and disciplines in the way the church schools are run and managed.

He gave examples of some of the government schools where students consume alcohol and end up in jail and some either suspended or sacked for social issues that have tarnished the reputation of those schools.

He also said not only the students that have been involved in such unwanted social issues but also the teachers who were supposed to be setting good examples to the students.

Mr Daniel said he believes the church will improve the management and the atmosphere that will provide better and healthier learning place for the students and the teachers issues will also be seriously addressed by the church.

In his response, Bishop James Ligo assured the caretaker minister and the Vanuatu Government that the Anglican Diocese will do all it can to ensure improvement and upgrading of the overall managements of the schools that have now been transferred.

“The church will apply management techniques that will ensure ethics and values become centerfold through molding of the students and also the teachers.

“There will be resolutions that will help re-shape teachers’ life and habits.

“As for the students and teachers as well, we want to see the balance of physical and spiritual developments that will produce a ‘whole person’ to be respectful, dedicated and loyal leaders of this country in whatever jobs they hold whether in the government, private sector, NGOs, or the Churches in the future,” said Bishop Ligo.

He said this is one of the major focus of the Church on training the students both in academic as well as social behaviour to be future men and women of integrity, trustworthy and with right vision for the good spiritual and circular development of the country.

“The church always upholds the principles of students leaving the school with both high academic and moral standard that will equip them to be trusted by the community of Vanuatu at large in whatever undertaking they do in contributing to the running and the development of our nation now and in future,” said Bishop James Ligo.

He concluded by stating that students from different Christian faith and background will continue to remain in those 16 schools and the future students alike.

He gave the example that the SDA students for example, will keep the Sabbath and Worship on Sabbath and do their homework on Sundays and this will apply to all students from different Christian faith background.


20) Gege is new Malaita PS

Published: 09 December 2015

MALAITA Premier Peter Ramohia yesterday announced that Jackson Gege is the province’s new Provincial Secretary.

Premier Ramohia says the appointment will be formalised soon.

“I am informed by the Permanent Secretary of Provincial Government and Strengthening, Dick Pirione earlier on about the post,” Mr Ramohia said.

“He will work with my executive to ensure formal documents, records, events and administering of the public servants is carried out in a way that the MART government dreams of accomplishing,” Mr Ramohia added.

Mr Gege, from West Kwaio, holds two qualification- Master of Business Administration and Master of Arts from the Westminster Business University, United Kingdom from 2008-2013.

He has a wide extensive knowledge and experience when working with International Organizations, Government Statutory Organizations and the Provincial Government.

He is the head of consultant group that formulate and draft the MART (Malaita Alliance for Reform and Transformation) early this year.

At the National level Mr Gege is part of the eight consultants who formulated and drafted the DCCG Policies in December 2014.

He also used to be a teacher at King George Sixth National Secondary School and Saint Nicholas in from 2003-2005.

Currently Mr Gege is working on the project to review the Human Resource and overhauling the Malaita Provincial Government Organizational Structures.

Outgoing Malaita PS is Patrick Taloboe and the acting – Rodney Fono.

Formal letter of appointment and the signing of contract from the Ministry of Public Service are expected soon.

in Auki/Solomon Star.

21) Solomons public service too politicised: Transparency

14 December 2015

The chairperson of Transparency Solomon Islands says an over-politicised public service is holding back development in the country.

Ruth Liloqula says she is encourged by government’s promises to deliver new anti-corruption policies and legislation.

But she says this will not translate to meaningful change if politicians continue interfering in the everyday functions of the public service.

“At the moment most of those who are sitting in key positions they are just not confident to do the right thing because they are frightened that they might lose their job. And if you don’t know your way around the public service instruments and etc then you can not stand up for what is right.”

Transparency International chair in Solomon Islands Ruth Liloqula.

The current government under the leadership of Manasseh Sogavare has promised to introduce stronger anti-corruption legislation and establish the country’s first independent commission against corruption in 2016.RNZI

22) Vanuatu Reliant On Donor Help For 2016 Snap Poll

Follows dissolution of parliament

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, December 11, 2015) – Vanuatu’s electoral commission says the country will need help from donor countries to conduct its snap election in January.

The country has a snap election scheduled for January the 22nd after the president, Baldwin Lonsdale, dissolved parliament following the jailing of 14 MPs for corruption last month.

The principal electoral officer, Charles Vatu, says the country has suffered financially from cyclone Pam and donor help would come in handy.

However, he says the office should be able to get enough money for the election to go ahead.

“We will need donor assistance, but we have budgeted enough funds and we have [been] given an indication from the government that additional funds will be swiftly released upon request if we need additional funds. But we are open to donors who are willing to assist in funding some of the election material.”

Charles Vatu says there are currently about 200,000 people registered to vote.

Radio New Zealand International

23) Fiji PMs comments ‘chilling’

14 December 2015

In August Frank Bainimarama warned of severe punishment for anyone joining attempts to form a breakaway state.

Listen to interview with Austin Forbes QC on Dateline Pacific ( 3 min 40 sec )

The New Zealand Law Society is also concerned about complaints by a Fijian lawyer that he’s been threatened by security forces over his involvement in high profile sedition cases.

Aman Ravindra-Singh is representing dozens of people, some accused of trying to set up a sovereign Christian state in Fiji and others alleged to have taken part in a para-military style group.

The New Zealand Law Society’s, Austin Forbes QC, says Mr Bainimarama’s comments were unhelpful when matters are before the courts.

“Terms that may have be used [by Frank Bainimarama] in this regard is that these people will be ‘crushed’ – that’s a bit of a chilling comment. People should be entitled to exercise in a proper and lawful way their rights in terms of protest, in terms of seeking whatever they are looking for as to the political or social make-up of the country.”RNZI


24) PNG Government Includes Landowners In Major Developments
Provincial government, landowners to get 30% of dividends

By Helen Tarawa

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Dec. 10, 2015) – The Government plans to involve landowners and provincial governments in major projects so that they benefit from them, a Cabinet minister says.

Public Enterprises and State Investments Minister Ben Micah revealed that while launching the K2 billion [US$658 million] Ramu Two hydro-power project in Kainantu, Eastern Highlands.

“At the moment we’ve already set a benchmark in Ok Tedi by giving the provincial government and landowners 30 per cent dividend of the project,” he said.

“The same will now apply to all other resource projects and I believe Cabinet will see no difference (with Ramu Two).”

Micah said a policy on the participation of landowners and provincial governments in projects had been approved by Cabinet. He will table it in Parliament in March.

The 30 per cent landowner share is “free carrier” – meaning it will be transferred to them free so that they can start making dividends.

“We will work out the split between the provincial government and the landowners.

“That 30 per cent is for Morobe and Eastern Highlands – all the landowners of the impacted areas,” he said.

“For a project of this scale (300 megawatts), you are talking about a big dividend, big revenue flow.”

Micah said the announcement for the tender process for the project would be made soon by Kumul Consolidated Holdings.

“Those who tender must be able to prove their capability to construct, finance and operate it and transfer it after a certain period of time,” he said.

“It may take four to five years to commission it or it could be earlier depends on the construction.It’s not building another dam. It’s a spillway from the existing flow of the dam and constructing the generating facilities.”

The National


25) Vanuatu/ USP calls for more Ni-Van in its journalism programme

Posted: Saturday, December 12, 2015 12:00 am

By Harrison Selmen

Head of Journalism studies at the University of the South Pacific (USP), Dr. Shailendra Singh, said the institution wants to see more Ni-Vanuatu students enrolled in the journalism programme in the future.

Dr. Singh made this comment during a one-hour seminar at USP on Thursday this week.

“The reason why we decided to conduct this seminar here in Vanuatu is because we hardly see students from Vanuatu studying our programmes at USP’s main Campus in Suva, Fiji,” Singh told the participants.

He told the Participants that their mission to Vanuatu is to identify the factors that contribute to the low Ni-Vanuatu enrollment numbers in the USP Journalism Programmes.

He is hopeful that after the seminar they should be able to really know for sure the constraints hindering Vanuatu students from undertaking journalism programmes at USP.

Vanuatu’s Senior Journalist and Current PINA President, Moses Stevens, in response said one of the major setbacks is the lack of information made available to Ni-Vanuatu about the journalism programmes offered by USP. He added that journalists and students interested in pursuing further studies and a career in Journalism are disadvantaged by the fact that it is not a priority field, which the government promotes.

These difficulties are a stumbling block, that hinder Ni-Vanuatu students from securing scholarships in the Journalism field compared to other fields of study.

Dr. Singh and Eliki Drugunailevu showed two power point presentations during the seminar, one outlining their academic programmes and the other showing former students that have successfully graduated from USP and what they are currently doing in the media industry.

Many of the journalism alumni are now working in media companies, Non Government Organizations (NGO) and other major institutions around the region and the World.

The journalism courses offered by USP are only available at the Laucala Campus in Suva, Fiji, which means students interested in pursuing further studies in Journalism must enroll and do the courses at the main campus in Fiji. This is another discouragement to students interested in Journalism, as they cannot take any Journalism courses at the Vanuatu Campus.

Meanwhile, the two USP journalism staff after having seen the need of Ni-Vanuatu students who are interested but are not on scholarship and for those who would like to be part-time students at USP, Dr. Singh has indicated that one or two Journalism courses should be offered online by next year.

USP offers Diploma in Pacific Journalism where students will need to complete a total of 12 courses for the programme.

For those who would like to enrol for a Degree they will need to do a double major in Journalism and another subject area and complete a total of 24 courses altogether.

26) Fiji TV names board rep

Ropate Valemei
Saturday, December 12, 2015

THE Fiji Television Ltd board announced the appointment of Naveen Lakshmaiya as an independent director to the board.

The company, in a statement, says the appointm­e­nt satisfies the compl­i­ance requirements for independent directors as per Listing Rule of the South Pacific Stock Exchange.

Mr Lakshmaiya brings a wealth of experience in corporate business.

He holds the position of general manager human resources at the Fiji Electricity Authority.

Mr Lakshmaiya has been on boards of Government statutory bodies for decades. His accomplished management career reflects 22 years of experience in operational leadership, human resources management, quality management, and organisational development in highly centralised and decentralised organisations with extensive experience and consummate achievements building multiple best-in-class organisations.

Prior to joining FEA, he was with the Reddy Group as its group human resources and training manager from 2007 to 2012.

He is recipient of local and international awards in quality management, human resources management and training and development. His major awards have been: Outst­a­n­ding Quality Circles Ma­nager Award in 2008 at TPAF’s 14th National Convention on Quality; Winner of the Pride of HR Profession Award at the World HRD Congress, India in 2010; and Human Resources Gold Practitioner Award 2011 at the Fiji Human Resources Institute (FHRI) Convention in 2011. He is a Certified Professional Me­mber of the Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI) and a Member of the Fiji Human Resources Institute (FHRI).Fijitimes

27) Distrust surrounding media and Tongan govt relations

14 December 2015

The Chair of Tonga’s Media Council says there is distrust surrounding the government’s dealings with the media.

The Prime Minister’s Office and Chief Secretary have come under fire for supposedly lacking transparency and good governance.

A number of media outlets have officially expressed concern about the lack of cooperation they receive from the office.

Pesi Fonua, who also runs the Matangi Tonga website, says although media relations have improved slightly compared to previous governments there are still issues.

“…but still the problem now is that they answer it but you can’t rely on their answers. Whereas before there was just nothing coming out. Now there is something coming out from the office but you can’t trust it.”

Pesi Fonua says there have been a number of conflicting statements released by the Office and the Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pohiva himself over the past year.

Mr Fonua says Mr Pohiva has promised to address the situation.RNZI


28) Air Vanuatu’s codeshare arrangements in doubt

Posted: Saturday, December 12, 2015 12:00 am

By Jonas Cullwick

The codeshare arrangements Air Vanuatu shares with three international carriers are likely to be affected now that the national carrier of the Republic of Vanuatu has lost its membership of the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

The airlines are Australia’s Qantas, Air New Zealand and Fiji Airways.

Air Vanuatu’s Chief Executive Officer, Joseph Laloyer, has confirmed this situation and explained that when an airline loses its International Air Transport Association Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) certification process, this automatically affects its membership of IATA, the trade association representing and serving the airline industry world-wide.

Losing membership of IATA means an airline also loses its codeshare arrangements with airlines that are members of the international air transport association.

Laloyer had announced in a news release Friday that Air Vanuatu had temporally suspended its IOSA certification process. He explained that the Government had supported the decision to temporarily suspend the company’s IOSA certification process, which is part of a major restructuring of the national carrier that will go ahead in 2016 with the assistance of international aviation experts.

CEO Laloyer said they had notified the three airlines of Air Vanuatu’s position and that it was now up to Qantas and Air New Zealand to decide to when and whether to cease their codeshare arrangements with Air Vanuatu.

He explained that the loss of IATA membership only affected codeshares on outbound flights which Air Vanuatu shared with Qantas and Air New Zealand.

“Air Fiji is not affected because the codeshare with the airline is only on inbound flights.”

The Air Vanuatu CEO added that the codeshares with Air New Guinea is also not affected.

“We have appointed the world’s leading IATA-accredited IOSA audit organization, Aviation Quality Services GmbH (AQS) to lead the restructuring program,” Laloyer said.

The company restructure will focus on international operations, strengthening the airline and enabling it to be capable of achieving IOSA re-registration.

Laloyer promised the restructure would have minimal effect on passenger numbers in 2016 as the airline is committed to working with industry partners including Vanuatu Tourism Office (VTO) and hotel partners to increase visitor numbers to Vanuatu.

By – Jonas Cullwick, a former General Manager of VBTC is now a Senior Journalist with the Vanuatu Daily Post


29) Vanuatu/ Norsup to Vao road to be tar sealed

Posted: Saturday, December 12, 2015 12:00 am

By Anita Roberts

Communities in northeast Malekula have been assured by the caretaker Minister of Infrastructure and Public Utilities (MIPU), Don Ken, that their gravel road starting from Norsup to Vao will be tar sealed.

This was part of the six projects launched by the caretaker minister on his trip to the island of Malekula in Malampa Province last week.

He made the launching for each projects at his residence of Worlep Village.

He announced in the presence of each villages , the Malampa Provincial Government Council (MPGC) and a delegation from Port Vila led by the Acting Director General of the MIPU that the government, through the ministry responsible for roads, will supply a quantity of 80 tar drums for road sealing.

These tar drums will be shipped to Malekula from Santo, he conveyed.

He told the Daily Post that part of the project will divert the main road to connect villages. Currently, all villages in northeast are not connected by road.

Daily Post was part of the delegation on tour that witnessed some of the sections of the road from Norsup to Vao have been paved.

Workers on scene operating tractors and huge grinding machines are mostly locals.

Apart from the tar sealing road extension, the caretaker minister has also launched another project for the rehabilitation of feeder roads, still in northeast area.

He told the people this project will expand feeder roads to bring connectivity to agricultural products such as cocoa and copra.

He said the project will bring significant economic benefit making life easier for small rural farmers.

Both a chief representative, Jimmy Simbola, and the President of the MPGC said better roads have been a cry for people on northeast Malekula, especially communities in the middle bush are struggling.

The caretaker minister assured the communities funding is forth coming and the project will be implemented.

He declared construction works will be done by the China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) who are currently doing road repairs around the island.Vanuatu Daily Post

30) Upgraded airport opens in PNG

12 December 2015

An upgraded airport in Papua New Guinea’s West New Britain province has been officially opened, the first of an Asian Development Bank project to upgrade 21 airports around the country.

The improvements to Hoskins aiport include a modernised terminal, an extended runway, strengthened pavements, a perimeter security fence, an eco-friendly sewerage system, and solar-powered lights.

The country director for the ADB’s mission in PNG, Marcelo Minc, says the improved airport will boost connectivity between West New Britain and the rest of PNG and stimulate the local economy.

The bank’s Civil Aviation Development Investment Programme plans to upgrade 21 airports in Papua New Guinea by 2018.RNZI


31) PNG’s task force on corruption back in court with PM

14 December 201

The chair of the Papua New Guinea anti-corruption unit Taskforce Sweep, Sam Koim, has applied for the National Court to dismiss a government attempt to have him charged with contempt.

The Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, filed the motion last month, asking Mr Koim to explain to the court why he should not be charged for allegedly breaching court orders by taking out an advertisement in a newspaper.

But the newspaper, The National, reports that Mr Koim’s lawyers have asked the court to dismiss the motion for Mr Koim to show cause, and also withdraw summons for two people to produce documents to the court.

The two are lawyer Bill Frizzel, and The National’s editor-in-chief, Pama Anio.

His lawyer, Greg Egan, says Mr O’Neill’s motion is inaccurate, erroneous and extraordinary, and that it should be dismissed for being an abuse of process.

Sam Koim and Task Force Sweep have been at loggerheads with the Prime Minister since its failed attempt in 2014 to arrest for Mr O’Neill on allegations of illegal payments from the government to a law firm.RNZI

32) Solomons Police Will Be Ready For RAMSI’s Departure: Commissioner
Drawdown strategy in place for end of mission in 2 years

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Dec. 10, 2015) – The Solomon Islands police commissioner says his organisation will be ready for the likely end of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands in two years.

Frank Prendergast says the implementation of the RAMSI drawdown strategy, including steps towards rearming special units within the force, is progressing well.

Mr Prendergast says already the police force has switched to a more community focused, preventative form of policing which he believes will play a big part in maintaining law and order after RAMSI is gone.

“It doesn’t mean that we won’t need some form of ongoing support. I think the police force will be in a good state but it will still require some form of support from donors like Australia and New Zealand but I am pretty confident that we will be well positioned to manage policing in the Solomons going forward.”

The latest round of funding for the Australia and New Zealand led regional intervention mission comes to an end in 2017 and while it has yet to be confirmed, there are talks that this 14th year of the mission in Solomon Islands will be its last.

Radio New Zealand International

33) Locals victims of cybercrime

Felix Chaudhary
Monday, December 14, 2015

MORE than $720,000 has been stolen from locals by cyber criminals over the past three years, says Financial Intelligence Unit director Razim Buksh.

He disclosed this information while speaking during a panel discussion at the 17th Attorney General’s Conference in Natadola on Saturday.

The victims included a housewife from Nausori and businesses from Suva and Savusavu.

“The 13 cases of stolen funds through cyber laundering and email spoofing have amounted to $724,000,” he said.

“This is a loss to the Fijian economy, loss to businesses, loss to employment, loss to cash flow and loss to foreign reserves.”

Mr Buksh said visitors to the country had also fallen victim to cybercrime.

“In June this year, 254 credit cards were swiped at an EFTPOS terminal on Waimanu Rd in Suva and $711,000 was stolen from international credit card holders.”

The FIU head said as cybercrimes increased and cyber criminals became more sophisticated in how they conducted the transactions, there was an urgent need for the general public and business community to be made aware of the issue.

“We at FIU and the Police Cyber Unit deal with cases every day that include a Nigerian scheme, lottery scam, investment scams, credit card fraud, Facebook violations, email spoofing and other issues involving the misuse of the internet.”Fijitimes

34) Half Of Fiji Sedition Accused Granted Bail With Conditions

20 must not leave island, can’t meet with more than 3 people

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Dec. 11, 2015) – Almost half of the 44 people charged with sedition in Fiji for allegedly forming a para-military style traning group in the hills of Viti Levu have been granted bail.

20 of the accused appeared in the High Court at Lautoka today for a bail hearing.

Justice Rajasinghe granted bail on the strict condition that they not meet with any more than three people at any time, and not leave Viti Levu until the end of their trial.

They must also reside at an address registered with the court and report to the nearest police station twice a week.

The other 24 accused remain in custody.

Radio New Zealand International


35) Solomon Islands imas mekim moa Human Rights Awenes

Updated 10 December 2015, 15:09 AEDT
Caroline Tiriman

Despla askim i kamap taem kantri i makim International Human Rights Day

Planti taem yumi save toktok long Human rights blong ol pipal long Pacific rijan, tasol planti pipal ino save gut long wonem samting tru i karamapim Humna Rights blong ol.

Despla askim i kamap ken tede taem ol kantri long wold i makim International Human Rights Day.

Tede tu emi lastpla day blong 16 Days of Activisim em United Nations ibin kamapim blong mekim awenes na tok skul blong stopim Gender base violence.

Long Solomon Islands ol pipal bai holim wanpla bung tede nait long Honiara we bai oli laitim ol Candle na tu bai gat wanpla concert blong pinisim despla 16 days blong Activism.ABC

36) 52 to settle in PNG

Monday, December 14, 2015

FIFTY-TWO refugees previously detained by Australia on Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island are now looking for employment, having agreed to settle in PNG.

PNG Loop reports that 178 people are still to decide whether to accept resettlement.

PNG’s deputy chief migration officer, Esther Gaegaming, says that under the country’s refugee resettlement policy, refugees have to find employment elsewhere in the country before they can leave Manus.

Under an agreement signed between PNG and Australia, asylum seekers who try to reach Australia by boat will be detained on Manus, and those found to be refugees will be resettled in PNG.

But the program has been controversial; two people have died at the detention centre in conditions that have been condemned by rights groups and the United Nations, with long delays for refugee determinations.

Those found to be refugees have been languishing at a transit centre on Manus for months while the government created the resettlement policy, which was only approved in October.

37) EU, UN Happy With Fiji’s Progress On Human Rights
Ambassador notes ‘a work in progress’

By Nasik Swami

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Dec. 11, 2015) – Following Fiji’s Universal Periodic Review in 2014, many of the country’s commitment to uphold human rights yielded successful results.

That was the sentiment of European Union’s ambassador to the Pacific, Andrew Jacobs during Human Rights Day celebration at Suva’s Grand Pacific Hotel yesterday.

Mr Jacobs said he was happy with the progress Fiji had made in the field of human rights over the past year.

“But though we are here to celebrate and to reiterate our commitments to universal values, we must not forget that the protection of human rights is still a work in progress everywhere,” he said.

Mr Jacobs said in some parts of the world, complex crises and widespread violations and abuses of human rights and fundamental freedoms constituted major challenges.

[PIR editor’s note: Fiji Times reported that ‘The State’s progress towards promoting and protecting human rights in the world has been recognised. … This progress was commended by the United Nation Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights for the Pacific Resident Co-ordinator Osnat Lubrani in Suva yesterday. … He was among speakers at the event to mark World Human Rights Day at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva.’]

“Racial and sexual discrimination, hatred or violence directed at persons due to their gender, ethnicity, religious or political group, social class, or sexual identity strike at the very heart of universal human rights and fundamental freedoms and should never be tolerated,” he said.

Mr Jacobs said human rights must never be taken for granted, but must always be fought for and nurtured as they were the basis of democracy and peace.

“The European Union constantly promotes democracy and human rights in countries around the world through political dialogue with partner governments, the mainstreaming of democratic values in all development co-operation initiatives, and specific financial and technical assistance programs such as the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights.”

“In this context I would like to mention that we had a very successful high level political dialogue with Fiji in June this year — the first since Fiji’s return to parliamentary democracy — that covered a wide range of issues including human rights.”

He said the EU looked forward to seeing many more encouraging developments in the years to come.

Fiji Times Online.


38) Drought worries

Shahenoor Ali
Monday, December 14, 2015

A MAJORITY of the farming population in the Western Division are trying to find solace and strength in prayer as they face the worsening effects of the El Nino cycle, which is predicted to continue into next year.

Scorched earth and dry fields have become a common sight in the division, with vegetable and livestock farmers struggling to meet agricultural demands with the meagre amount of water available.

Two areas where this major problem prevails are Nakabita and Namatolu in Ba.

Farmer Deo Datt Singh said bush fires were his major concern.

“I do not reckon I will have any cane in the coming year as the weather matters a lot here,” the 55-year-old said.

“Since we do not have access to drinking water, the Government provides us with it.”

Another farmer, Deo Prasad, said he was contemplating his family’s future as their sugarcane farm provided the sole source of income.

“I am in a dilemma now thinking about catering for our expenses next year as all my crops have dried out,” the 53-year-old said.

Similar sentiments were echoed by Umandra Prasad, who relies on sugarcane farming to meet his daily needs.

For Subhagwati, 49, the biggest challenge was on how to use the four drums of water provided by Government every week.

“This is only for drinking and cooking and for other activities like bathing and washing dishes, we go to the river which is about two to three kilometres away from my house,” she said.

Government, however, says they are doing their part in providing water to all affected areas.

Provincial administrator Ba Laitia Raisua said there were two phases to the process of supplying water.

“We are in phase one of it in Nakabita which includes supplying water for cooking and drinking only,” he said.

“This is because there are rivers in the area which people can use for bathing. The second phase is providing water for all areas where rivers and lakes have dried up and people do not have any access to water in any form. Some of those areas are Qerelevu and parts of Veisaru in Ba.”

More areas will be monitored in the coming weeks.

“Please use water wisely and if you experience rain in your areas, collect it to do some chores in this time of the drought.”Fijitimes

39) Pacific already losers in climate change

11 December 2015

UN rights experts say Pacific Islanders losing their homelands to encroaching seas show that human rights are already being violated by climate change.

At climate talks in Paris, experts called for strong language on respecting human rights and the rights of indigenous people to be included in the agreement.

Craig Mokhiber of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights says the climate crisis is a human rights crisis and it needs to be addressed as such.

The U.N. Environment Programme said the far-reaching environmental impacts of climate change pose a threat to human rights, including the rights to health, food, water and adequate housing.

Experts told journalists in Paris that an outcome that would protect human rights should include a binding obligation to respect human rights in climate action, and a commitment to keep global temperature rise to below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

It says delivery of $100 billion a year in funding to help developing states deal with the effects of climate change should also be included.RNZI

40) UN warns current El Niño event is strongest since 1998 and will continue into early 2016
12:20 pm GMT+12, 10/12/2015, Thailand

The third Advisory Note on El Nino for Asia-Pacific countries, issued jointly by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System for Africa and Asia (RIMES), warns that the current El Nino event is likely to be one of the strongest since 1997-1998 and will persist into the second quarter of 2016.

The current 2015-2016 El Niño began with mild and localised conditions in the Pacific in late 2014 and has now intensified to cover a large swath of Asia and the Pacific.  The result is that the impact of the current El Niño is likely to become even more severe in certain locations, such as central and southern India, central and northeast Thailand, the central and southern Philippines, the uplands of Cambodia, eastern Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and many other Pacific island countries.

The Advisory Note highlights that the reduced rainfall is already impacting agriculture in several countries, causing a loss of income and reducing the coping capacity of those affected– especially in Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Fiji.  Papua New Guinea, among many other Pacific island countries, has been experiencing a serious drought over the past several months affecting 2.4 million people alone.  The Advisory Note warns that as the El Nino intensifies over December 2015 to early 2016, continued drought conditions and water shortages may loom over an estimated 4.7 million people in the Pacific islands.

As El Nino is a complex phenomenon, it is also likely to be linked with severe flooding in southern India and northern Sri Lanka.  This follows previous Advisory Note forecasts of excessive El Nino induced rainfall in
this region, which is also expected to continue into early 2016.

Some countries are already responding or adapting to El Nino conditions, and preparing for further impacts in the coming months. The current discussions at COP21 in Paris have furthermore noted the possibility of
climate change induced El Nino risks.

Given the cross border nature of El Nino risks, regional cooperation is critical in supporting national efforts. Climate hazards like El Nino cannot be viewed as discrete, occasional events, the Note indicates, but
rather they need to be addressed as long term climate risks which undo development gains, and which can be prepared for, adapted to, and addressed in a collective manner.

Although no two El Niño events are the same, the risk patterns observed during the past can be used as a guide to take appropriate preventive risk reduction measures to address shared vulnerabilities and risks.
Early warning systems and multi-stakeholder platforms need to be strengthened to facilitate user understanding of long-term risks, and harmonization of risk management strategies and sustainable development plans is urgently needed.



41) WWF deplores Tuna Commission’s shark finning stance

14 December 2015 The conservation group WWF says it’s disappointing that the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission has failed to adopt a stronger ban on shark finning.

Currently, shark fins are allowed to be separated at sea, but the rest of the carcass must be kept on the same vessel and the total volume of fins has to be five percent of the weight of bodies.

But the manager of WWF’s global shark and ray initiative, Ian Campbell, says this system can be easily gamed, as it’s difficult to enforce.

At of the commission’s meeting last week, the European Union, with the support of many Pacific nations and the United States, proposed a rule that would have required all fins to remain attached to bodies until a vessel docked.

But Mr Campbell says that proposal was knocked back by several countries including Japan, South Korea, and New Zealand, which was disappointing.

“There were a few other shark measures that kind of passed that we were happy with, but the main one – the fins have to attached – which really would have made sure that the western and central Pacific was a shark finning-free zone, that one failed.”RNZI

42) Two Logging Companies In PNG Ordered To Stop Work

Loggers alleged to have breached Environment Act

By Gorethy Kenneth

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Dec. 11, 2015) – Two major logging companies operating at the border of Northern and Morobe provinces have been issued stop work notices for breaching the Environment Act.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill announced yesterday that the Environment and Conservation Authority had issued the orders for loggers Yema Gaiapa Developers Limited and Viva Success Limited.

The two operators have been the target of Oro Governor Gary Juffa’s unrelenting push for the Government to take positive steps into investigating their activities there.

Mr Juffa on hearing of the announcement was quick to say: “Justice prevails finally and I now have faith in the Dept of Environment and thank the Minister for his actions.

“We now wish to pursue a civil case to recover damages. The firms have been trespassing and unlawfully logging for decades and I have been adamant that they must stop.

“In fact, if they were not dealt with by the National Government we had earmarked them for removal early next year by force.

“I thank the various agencies involved in particular Environment, Customs, Police and Prime Minister’s Department as well the Oro administration,” Mr Juffa said.

Meanwhile, in a statement yesterday Mr O’Neill said: “No ifs, and buts, if there are valid claims that a company is involved in illegal logging, we will shut down their operation and investigate.

“While the Government is doing all it can to improve governance within the forestry sector, there are others who have no respect for the laws of this country, or for the rights of the resource owners.”

Mr O’Neill said the Government was determined and will continue to provide leadership to nurture better and improved governance in all resource sectors, including forestry, which has been mismanaged over many years.

“Our Government has placed a moratorium on new licences for round log exports.

“We are also working with key stakeholders and development partners to improve the capacity, operations and effectiveness of the National Forest Authority.

“The NFA is mandated with the responsibility of ensuring effective governance of our forestry sector,” he said.

Mr O’Neill said the country had some of the most significant forest coverage in the world and PNG was working closely with developmental partners and international organisations to enhance forestry management.

“We recently hosted the APEC forestry ministers’ meeting in Port Moresby that advanced mechanisms for regional leaders to work together to enhance governance within the forestry sector.

“We have furthered these initiatives at the recent Philippines APEC leaders meeting, and these issues were also discussed at the Paris Climate Change conference.

“Papua New Guinea is determined to implement good governance and sustainability in our forestry sector and move beyond the mismanagement of the past,” he said.

“We need to all strive to improve governance within this very important sector, and protect the interests of our people and the country,” the PM said.

PNG Post-Courier

43) Fiji chief says bauxite mining hurting environment

14 december 2015

A Fiji chief says the government is pushing companies to mine in the country, with little regard for the environmental impacts on people’s land.

Listen to full interview with Adi Filomena Tagivetaua on Dateline Pacific ( 3 min 43 sec )

The Chinese company Aurum Exploration Limited recently completed mining at a site in Nawailevu, in the Bua province, and has commenced mining at two others sites in Fiji.

Bua chief Adi Filomena Tagivetaua was part of a team that undertook a survey in Nawailevu village in 2012 and says the Nawailevu Mining Project was a disaster.

“They usually fish prawns and eels from the nearby creeks near the village, they didn’t want to do that anymore because the eels had turned a different colour so they were afraid to feed their families and there were places where they [usually] got their vegetables that grew wildly, they were not allowed to pass points there. They had soldiers standing there to keep them away.”

Adi Filomena Tagivetaua says the government is doing nothing to protect people’s land from companies that come in with a lot of money and promises.

She says landowners were blinded by cash payouts.RNZI


44)  ‘Protect our women’

Talebula Kate
Monday, December 14, 2015

IT’S time we start taking more preventive measures to protect our women and children.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama who was a guest at the Fiji Corrections Service combined church service yesterday highlighted this while addressing the officers at the ANZ Stadium in Suva.

Mr Bainimarama specifically stated that this was the message for everyone this festive season.

He said every day there was a case of an assault on a child or a woman and it kept on increasing by the day.

He said we must come together to protect our most vulnerable groups — women and children — from violence.

Mr Bainimarama reminded everyone to take seriously the need to end domestic violence and sexual assaults.

He said this was an issue that was important to him personally because it got to the very heart of what kind of people we were and what kind of people we were expected to be.

He said we could not be talking about creating a better future for families without talking about something that was tearing our families apart and creating so much suffering where there should be love and support.

Mr Bainimarama said there was zero tolerance in our legal system for sexual assault and domestic violence, however, we needed to create a culture that condemned these crimes.

Meanwhile, more than 300 people including families of officers and inmates were part of the last combined service of the year.Fijitimes


45) 2017 Pacific Mini Games long Vanuatu i bungim heve

Updated 11 December 2015, 15:19 AEDT
John Papik

Oli tok Pacific Games Council i wari olsem Vanuatu iwok long slow long redi-im despla bikpla pilai

Long 2011 long taim blong namba 14 Pacific Games long Noumea long New Caledonia ,Vanuatu ibin kisim tok orait ikam long Pacific Games Council long askim blong em olsem em bai lukautim 2017 Pacific Mini Games long Port Vila.

Tasol ikam inap nau lukim dispela las tripela yar na hap blong dispela yar inogat wanpela wok i kamap long rereim ol samting blong 2017 Pacific Mini Games.

Na dispela i kamapim  wari nau long Pacific Games Kaunsel taim oli bin go raun long Vanuatu las wik long lukim ol samting na toktok wantaim Vanuatu Games Komiti na Vanuatu gavaman.

Siaman blong Vanuatu Pacific Mini Games Organising Komiti, Antoine Boudier itokim Radio Australia olsem oli gat sampla plan istap pinis blong statim wok long redi-im despla Mini Games.AB

46) Fiji NRL fly to Australia to meet with Storm officials

14 December 2015 and train in the country.

Storm officials announced a deal with the Fiji Government in June to play an exhibition match in Suva this month, hold coaching clinics and open trials for local players, and to bring an NRL match to the country from 2017.

But the FNRL was kept in the dark over the initial deal and the nine-a-side match proposed for this month has now been postponed at the organisation’s request, after a major upheaval in their administration.

FNRL CEO Timoci Naleba flies to Melbourne today to meet with Storm officials and determine how the the two parties can work together.

“I’ve already spoken with the Minister of Youth and Sports and the Permanent Secretary and I’ve confirmed the discussion with the Fiji Sports Commission on rugby league and some individuals from overseas coming over to Fiji without going through FNRL and made announcements. That’s the big problem right now. I’m not saying that these things here are not good but they need to have some respect for the Fiji National Rugby League – we are mandated by government to look after the game so I just think we need to have some clarification on that and we will move forward”.

Timoci Naleba will also meet with other NRL staff in Sydney and Brisbane later in the week.RNZI


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