Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1146a ( Thursday 17 December 2015 )
1) Papuan children’s deaths due to virus and bacteria
16 December 2015
Researchers say respiratory bacteria and a mosquito-borne virus caused the death of dozens of children in Indonesia’s Papua region last month.
The Papua Health Office announced in November that 41 children died in Nduga regency from an unidentified disease.
The Jakarta Post reports tests on samples taken from the victims showed that the respiratory bacteria, pneumococcus, and Japanese encephalitis were spreading in the area.
Health authorities sent teams of doctors, nurses and researchers to investigate the deaths of the children, who were mostly under the age of two.
The researchers say the Japanese encephalitis virus could be transferred from humans to animals or vice versa.
People have been urged to keep their neighbourhoods clean to prevent mosquitos from breeding.RNZI
2) PNG PM imas stopim ol narapla foran logging bisnis
Updated 16 December 2015, 12:01 AEDT
Wanpla communiti lida na papa graon blong Pomio long East New Britain Provins blong Papua New Guinea itok Praim Minista imas stopim tu ol foran logging kampani husat iwok long katim nating diwai long ol graon blong ol pipal.
Nobert Pames i mekim despla toktok bihaen long Mr O’Neill ibin putim wanpela “stop wok oda” long tupela logging kampani blong ol narapla kantri long wanem tupela ibin brukim Enviroment loa blong kantri.
Long wik igo pinis Praim Minister 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.
Ol papa graun ibin wok long tokaut long ol wari olsem dispela tupela kampani ibin mekim arere long boda blong Oro na Morobe Provinsas.
Mr Pames itokim Radio Australia olsem, emi hamamas long despla tingting blong Mr O’Neill, tasol emi mas lukluk tu long ol narapla ples long kantri.ABC
3) PNG records rising HIV/AIDS rates in small children
16 December 2015
The rate of HIV/AIDS among children under five in Papua New Guinea’s Morobe province doubled last year and authorities expect infection rates to be even higher this year.
A regional medical officer Elsie Ryan told the Post-Courier that, in 2014, 24 cases were recorded compared to eleven the previous year.
Dr Ryan described the statistics as disturbing, saying there was a need to re-evaluate a programme aimed at preventing mothers passing on the disease to their unborn babies.
She said health officers had failed to provide the required treatment to mother and child on time.
Dr Ryan said there were countless instances of mothers neglecting their own treatment and others not taking their children in for treatment.
The Post Courier reports the Morobe Provincial AIDS Committee is trying to get assistance from the provincial government and other corporate bodies to deal with the issue.RNZI
4) Solomons’ Gizo now calm after brawl – 18 arrested
16 December 2015
Gizo Police in Solomon Islands say tensions in the provincial capital have been brought under control.
The Solomon Star reports the police commander for Western Province, Fred Satu, saying Gizo township is now calm after a confrontation between two ethnic groups last Saturday had caused public panic.
He told the paper this was an act of retaliation for an earlier incident in which a man was injured in a brawl, and required treatment at the National Referral Hospital in Honiara.
The police commander says three boat loads of relatives of the injured man arrived in Gizo on Saturday and started assaulting the families of those involved in the brawl.
In all 18 people, including six women, were arrested after the rampage.RNZI
5) Auki police raid marijuana garden
Published: 14 December 2015
Auki police uprooted 41 plants when they raided a marijuana garden at Buiano community in west Kwara’ae, Malaita, Friday.
Police said the plants have a street value of $50,000.
Auki Inspector Timothy Apaesi told the Sunday Star the raid was made possible with the help and cooperation of community leaders.
“The owner of the garden escaped when police arrived at his marijuana garden early in the morning,” Apaesi said.
He added police received no resistance when they entered the garden and carried out the raid.
“I wish to commend the community for reporting the matter to police,” he said.
“Their action has led to the raid and destruction of these illegal drugs.”
Apaesi said the raid followed an awareness police staged at the community on the dangers of drugs some two weeks ago.
He urged the Malaitan community to stand against illegal activities in their communities and report them to police.
“Planting and consumption of marijuana is just as illegal as the production and consumption of kwao.
“So the community must work together with the police if they wanted to see their villages free of drugs,” Apaesi said.
Last month Auki police also destroyed 10 marijuana plants at a village in west Kwaio.
Apaesi said police will continue to work around the clock during the festive season to ensure everyone enjoys their holiday.
By WILLIAM EKOTANI
6) Dissolution of Vanuatu parliament confirmed
16 December 2015
The Vanuatu Supreme Court has rejected an opposition bid to overturn the dissolution of parliament.
Former members of the opposition and Kenneth Natapei, who was elected but not sworn in, challenged last month’s decision by President Baldwin Lonsdale to dissolve the parliament and force a snap election.
Today, Justice Dudley Aru ruled that the dissolution was lawful but gave the opposition 48 hours to appeal.
The poll is set for 22 January.
The president’s lawyer, and the lawyer for the Republic of Vanuatu, argued that the president had applied his discretionary power and the former MPs did not need to be consulted.
Father Lonsdale dissolved parliament after weeks of political stalemate triggered by the bribery conviction of 14 government MPs, who are now in jail.
The opposition leader, Joe Natuman, says the opposition is now thinking about next month’s election but may challenge the ruling.
“If we go into the election then that’s it, we’re not going to make any [appeal] because the court has only given 48 hours so there’s no time to do that. We’ll probably concentrate on the election process but we’ll see when we go and have a meeting now where we will decide with our lawyers whether or not to launch an appeal in 48 hours.”RNZI
7) College secures 1050 hectares of farm land
Posted: Thursday, December 17, 2015 12:00 am
By Len Garae |
Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, Forestry, Fisheries and Biosecurity, Christopher Emelee, has appealed to the Chief Executive Officer of Vanuatu Agriculture College (VAC), Joe Timothy, to make sure the first ever 1050 hectares of VAC land the Government has secured with the landowner at Stonehill Village behind Fanafo, does not end up like the mismanaged former Government’s White Bullock Vanuatu Livestock Development Project in South East Efate.
The Minister made the call during a high level MALFB delegation to the village two days ago, to pay the first installment of Vt10 million to the landowner and chief, Romain Sar.
The Minister said, “The (former) Governments had lost a valuable project in VLD worth millions of vatu. But today, CEO, we are behind you in this new purchase and you make sure that you take great care of the land and help it to develop.
“If there are issues with land, act early to resolve them and don’t try to handle an issue on your own until it overwhelms you.”
The Minister praised the landowner for his generosity saying it is going to benefit a new generation of farmers from Torres in the North to Aneityum in the South.
“With the current climate change impact, the traditional growers of rice are not harvesting to their maximum so we at VAC have to train a new generation of farmers to be quipped to farm the land to meet our agricultural foodstock for domestic consumption as well as for export purposes,” he said.
Chief Sar said ‘yes’ to the Government to support the project because he said his Stonehill community is part of the Government’s programme of agriculture rural development.
The chief showed a giant pineapple and said, “This is a tiny sign of what can be grown when the land is cultivated so I appeal to the Government to stand firm to help me develop this garden.
“This garden does not belong to me or the people of Sanma Province alone but it belongs to the children of the whole country”.
In an exclusive interview with VBTC and Daily Post, the CEO spoke of the importance of equipping the graduates from VAC with real life skills and means to know how to turn the soil into cash.
He said while the land has two more installments to make to complete the Vt95 million price tag, already he can see in his mind how the land is going to be utiliised to equip the student farmers. “When our students complete their studies at VAC, we will keep them for a further six months up to one year to farm the land at Stonehill”, he said.
“Whatever crops the student farmers cultivate, will be sold and the revenue kept. When the students prove to VAC they are ready to become farmers, they can then graduate and the money will be used to buy them their first farming tools to equip them to become farmers.”Vanuatu Daily Post
8) Rain in Vanuatu but El Nino concerns until mid next year
16 December 2015
Authorities in Vanuatu say that despite recent rain they anticipate the impact of the drought to last until the middle of next year.
Much of the Pacific, including Vanuatu, has been in the grip of an El Nino induced drought for the past five months.
In Vanuatu there are food and water shortages in areas already struggling with the aftermath of Cyclone Pam which brought devastation to much of the country last March.
The director of the Disaster Management Office, Shadrach Welegtabit, says rain this week has eased some concerns but they still expect the El Nino to continue into next year.
“That is our understanding, El Nino will go right into the first quarter of next year but then it will also coincide with our normal dry season which happens around that time. So we are expecting the impact of El Nino to last well into mid next year.”RNZI
9) Kot i sakemaot aplikesen blong Oposisen;
Snap eleksen i ON
Kot long moning tede i bin sakemaot Urgent Constitutional Application blong ol foma MP blong Oposisen wetem Kenneth Natapei blong jalenjem disolusen blong Palamen.
Suprim Kot i bin talem se disolusen we Presiden i mekem i stret.
Mifala ol apliken i gat tingting blong apilim kes, be bae yumi no apilim naoia blong stopem snap eleksen – bae yumi lego snap eleksen i go, be maet bae yumi apilim afta, jas blong putum long rekod sipos disisen blong kot tede i stret o no.
So snap jenerol eleksen hemi long 22 Januari.
Plis jekem elektorol kard blong yu se i stret. Sipos kard blong yu i damej o i fulap, yu save karem wan niu riplesmen kard naoia kasem namba 16 Januari.
Ta, MP Ralph Regenvanu-
10 ) New Caledonia to export more nickel ore
16 December 2015
The New Caledonian government has authorised the company MKM to export low-grade nickel ore to Japan and Australia.
Noumea’s daily newspaper says the decision to supply Japan’s Pamco company was approved with a slim majority while a plan to ship ore to Queensland Nickel in Australia had unanimous support.
Two months ago, the government authorised MKM to start exporting low-grade nickel ore to China.
The deal to sell ore to Queensland Nickel comes amid concern that the Australian company may cease operations.
Politicians in Noumea fear that industry-wide losses will this year exceed one billion US dollars, with setbacks affecting not only the territory’s three smelters but also subcontractors.RNZI
11) Climate Change Agreement a huge step forward for humanity in combatting climate change – PM – Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama says the Climate Change Agreement signed in Paris is a deal which represents a huge step forward for humanity in combatting climate change. Bainimarama says as is common for annual climate change negotiations, COP21 in Paris went overtime as Parties wrangled to reach agreement on key elements of the text.
12) iTaukei Affairs Ministry launches conservation handbook
Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Update: 4:00PM A CONSERVATION Handbook was launched by the iTaukei Affairs Ministry in Suva yesterday.
iTaukei Affairs Ministry’s permanent secretary Savenaca Kaunisela said his ministry’s Conservation Unit that was created in 2014 identified the need for the creation of a Conservation Handbook to address the growing concerns at provincial and village level of climate change and loss of resources due to environmental degradation.
Mr Kaunisela said the development of the iTaukei handbook involved consultations with International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), World Wild Life Fund for Nature (WWF) and other non-governmental organisations and relevant government departments to develop a comprehensive manual that could be used as a tool to improve management and ensuring continued sustainability of Natural Resources for Provincial Council staff and also communities that they serve.Fijitimes
13) Opposition MP says Fiji still a dictatorship
17 December 2015
A member of Fiji’s parliamentary opposition says Fiji’s government is still operating like a dictatorship.
Ratu Isoa Tikoca’s comments come after a parliamentary standing committee was stopped from looking into allegations members of the security forces had tortured and threatened colleagues and family members of lawyer Aman Ravindrah-Singh.
The attorney general Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum directed the committe to stop considering the matter.
Ratu Isoa says it is yet another example of Mr Khaiyum claiming authority over institutions when, in a functioning democracy, he would have no jurisdiction.
“He crosses bounds from the executive level parliament into the judiciary. I have tabled in parliament documentary evidence of what he is doing to this nation by not honoring the seperate authorities that should actually assist governance in a democratic manner”
Ratu Isoa Tikoca says Mr Sayed Khaiyum should resign from the attorney general’s post.RNZI
14) Fiji lawyer defends delay in police complaint
16 December 2015
A Fiji lawyer who’s made allegations of torture against the country’s security forces says he’ll report the matter to the police in his own time.
Aman Ravindra-Singh says three of his associates have been attacked in recent months because he’s representing dozens of people accused of sedition.
The Attorney General stopped a parliamentary committee from deliberations on the matter yesterday partly because it hadn’t been reported to the police.
Mr Ravindra-Singh has defended his delay in making a formal police complaint.
“Certain people have criticised me by saying I have not reported this matter and therefore it did not happen. I think it’s a load of nonsense and I’m in talks with the Commissioner of Police. Certain things have stopped me from reporting the matter in the last two weeks but the report will be placed with the police in the next day or two and the police will be given the opportunity to do their work.”
Mr Ravindra-Singh says he is concerned police investigations into many incidents of torture have not been completed in the last few years.
Meanwhile, a parliamentary committee in Fiji is seeking legal advice on whether it can continue to investigate Mr Ravindra-Singh’s allegations.
A member of the committee, opposition MP Ratu Isoa Tikoca says Mr Sayed-Khaiyum ordered chairman Netani Rika to stop the meeting because it was not legally able to discuss the issue and because the matter had not been reported to police.
But Ratu Isoa says the committee would like to continue its probe before police open their investigations.
“In terms of the legality of having to report it to the police, immediately that will stop the committee from proceeding. Once you report that, the police is given to investigate. And our fear is that investigation can last for a hundred years.”
Ratu Isoa says the Attorney General’s move is yet another example of Mr Sayed-Khaiyum usurping the authority of Fiji’s democratic institutions.RNZI
15) Fiji education laws need reform: UN
16 December 2015
The UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education says Fiji urgently needs new education laws to ensure a stable education system.
Kishore Singh, who’s been visiting Fiji, says he’s impressed with reforms to the system which include better vocational training and the scrapping of school fees but he says there are still areas that need attention.
Mr Singh says a very sound, forward-looking legal framework is needed.
“The new constitution of 2013 is remarkable in providing for this right. But when you look at the Education Act, it is of 1978. I mean this is outdated. So what I then underlined and I pressed upon the government to modernise the national legislation in order to provide for universal access.”
Mr Singh says the government has asked for his help in reforming the law.RNZI
16) Fiji, Thailand sign agreements – FIJI and Thailand have signed two Memoranda of Understanding to boost agriculture and fisheries cooperation between the two countries. The signing took place in Bangkok this week and was hosted by Thailand’s Minister for Agriculture and Cooperatives, General Chatchai Sarikulya who signed the MOUs on behalf of the Thai Government. Fiji’s Agriculture Minister Inia Seruiratu signed the MOU on agricultural cooperation while the Minister for Fisheries and Forests, Osea Naiqamu signed the MOU on fisheries cooperation.
17) Chinese delegation visits Fiji – BILATERAL relations between Fiji and China are a good example of how countries should engage with each other, says a top visiting Chinese Government official. The People’s Republic of China, Ministry of Culture Vice Minister, Ding Wei made these comments during a courtesy visit to Foreign Affairs Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola. During the meeting, Mr Ding expressed his appreciation to Ratu Inoke for his contribution towards developing the relations shared between Fiji and China.
18) All Year 13 students have passed – All students who have sat for the year 13 examinations have passed. This was announced by the Ministry of Education at a press conference today in Suva. Education Minister Dr Mahendra Reddy says this positive result is due to the reforms that his Ministry has been implementing.
19) More access for women next year: Minister Rosy – All women across the country will be provided with support services and access to justice that they currently do not have, come 2016. Minister for Women and Children Rosy Akbar highlighted this while speaking on the Ministry’s achievements this year and plans for the coming year in addressing domestic violence and abuse against women in Fiji. Akbar says in 2016, they will also be looking at maintaining a collaborative approach and strengthening stakeholder relationships.
20) 2016 looking bright for Women in Business Fiji – Women in Business Fiji wrapped up its work for the year by hosting lunch yesterday for its members, associates and friends. Women from all business sectors gathered to reflect and celebrate another successful year. The organization has over 200 members. WIB President Dr Nur Bano Ali says the organization has had a great year and 2016 is looking bright for them.
21) Akbar wants real actions implemented – THE Minister for Women, Rosy Akbar has called on all stakeholders to implement real actions that can help combat violence against women and children. While opening the Elimination of Violence Against Women Taskforce’s final meeting for 2015 at Suvavou House today, Ms Akbar said the ministry would support the stakeholders with all resources possible to make next year a year of action and implementation.
22) Ministry of Women to increase monthly allowance for children in residential homes – Good news for children in residential homes as their monthly allowance will be increased from $100 to $120 per month from next year. Minister for Women, Children & Poverty Alleviation, Rosy Akbar says apart from this, the Ministry gives additional grants ranging from $10,000 to $15,000 to help the homes cater for the children. Akbar also commended the help given by the general public to the homes.
23) Health Ministry reveals plan to increase health workforce – The Ministry of Health has revealed plans to substantially increase the health workforce over the next five years. Acting Permanent Secretary Dr Mecuisela Tuicakau made this statement while speaking at the launch of the Ministry’s National Strategic Plan. Tuicakau says Strategic Plan will implement a strategic needs based approach with an emphasis to increase both patients and employee satisfaction.
24) Usamate wants all Fijians treated equally – HEALTH and Medical Services Minister Jone Usamate has called on his staff members to treat every Fijian equally when they seek the ministry’s services. While launching the ministry’s National Strategic Plan 2016-2020 in Suva today, Mr Usamate said it was important to follow the strategic direction that Government had set for the ministry. “Government has a vision to see that every Fijian has access to health and also receive fair and equitable health services that is affordable,” he said.
25) Election ruled invalid
Wednesday, December 16, 2015
NUKU’ALOFA – Tonga’s Supreme Court has ruled that the 2014 election of Mateni Tapueluelu as a member of Parliament was unconstitutional and is invalid.
The case was brought by the Acting Attorney-General Aminiasi Kefu.
Mr Kefu brought the case after he discovered Mr Tapueluelu had possibly breached electoral laws by failing to pay court fines.
Mr Kefu says the constitution stipulates that MPs can only qualify if they have no outstanding fines.
Mr Tapueluelu said he had gone through the government’s election registration procedures and was cleared to run.
He argued because the case was being appealed the fines weren’t outstanding.
In 2011, Mr Tapuelelu was fined just over $US6500 ($F13,856) after a defamation case brought by a former Minister of Justice Clive Edwards over an article published in the Kele’a newspaper.
For three years, Mr Tapueluelu unsuccessfully took appeals to the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals. What happens to his Tongatapu constituency is expected to be addressed when parliament sits in the new year.
Meanwhile, the trial to hear an election petition filed against ‘Etuate Lavulavu for illegal campaigning and corruption continued this week when the Supreme Court in Neiafu heard some of the remaining witnesses for the defendant.
The trial before Chief Justice O. G. Paulsen was adjourned from last week heard 11 out of a total of 18 witnesses for Lavulavu. The trial is now expected to end this week.
26) France due to return Tahiti bases next year
Talks have been held in French Polynesia to advance the reconversion of former French military bases on Tahiti which were closed in the last decade.
The process was to be completed four years ago but legal issues pertaining to the territory’s status delayed it, with a possible signing of a final document now expected next year.
The latest meeting at the French High Commission involved the local military commander and a range of stakeholders, including the territory’s president and a number of mayors.
The French defence ministry had said Paris would be selling the land back for one euro.
France also promised to compensate the townships affected by the departure of the land forces.
First defence cuts began after 1996 when France completed its nuclear weapons testing regime in the South Pacific. 16 December 2015 – RNZI
27) Cooks Opposition says helmet laws need enforcing
16 December 2015
The Leader of the Opposition in the Cook Islands says enforcement is the key to a call for compulsory motorcycle helmets there.
The Internal Affairs Minister has called for a select committee to look into the issue after a spate of motorcycle deaths.
William Heather says the opposition supports the call.
However Mr Heather says there are already laws in place but enforcement is lax.
“If you go above 40 kilometres you are compulsory to wear helmets but the police just didn’t monitor it properly so this thing just dropped out of sight and people are just driving like crazy.”
In 2008, legislation was passed to make helmets compulsory but it was later turned back, following a public protest.RNZI
28) Another Nauru MP slams fact-finding mission
17 December 2015
The Commonwealth Secretariat’s fact-finding mission to Nauru has been slammed as offensive by another opposition MP.
Mathew Batsiua is a former Minister of Justice and says he is ashamed that the Government continues to abuse the rule of law.
He is one of four MPs charged for his role in a protest outside parliament in June.
Mr Batsiua says it’s offensive that the two observers who recently visited the island never sought out the charged MPs.
“It was supposed to be a fact-finding mission on the claims that there are breaches of the rule of law in Nauru, and you would think that the common sense thing to do would be go straight to the source who are making those claims. But they didn’t bother to include us in the programme. Maybe they were discouraged by the government not to meet with us, I’m not sure.”
Mathew Batsiua says there’s solid evidence of the breakdown of the rule of law, starting with the deportation of a magistrate and the cancellation of the previous chief justice’s visa.RNZI
29) COP 21 lacks substance – solar company
A New Zealand based solar power company says COP 21 lacks substance and will not be enough to keep global temperature rises below two degrees by the end of the century.
The chief executive of Solarcity, Andrew Booth, says if the agreement is not built into government legislation, there is nothing that legally binds nations to meet emission targets.
He says adequate financing will not be made available for those who want to invest in renewable energy, and as long as fossil fuels appear to be the cheapest option, they will continue to be burned.
Mr Booth would like to see punitive measures put in place to ensure nations rapidly reduce carbon.
“I think the clearest way to reduce emissions globally is to start to put punitive pricing on any form of carbon. So to introduce a carbon tax. Which effectively means it is not cheaper any more to continue burning what is a relatively cheap fuel and that we drive that shift towards renewables as quickly as we can, so we can put in place the right measures to deliver on the promises that have been made.”RNZI
30a ) http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2015-12-16/star-wars-the-force-awakens-plot-revealed-as-fans-across-the-globe-attend-premiere-screenings/1526976
30b) Brèves du Pacifique – mercredi 16 décembre 2015
Cela fait plus de six mois maintenant que des feux de forêt sévissent en Indonésie, avec des conséquences désastreuses sur l’environnement et sur la santé des habitants de la région.
- La dissolution du Parlement du Vanuatu est confirmée. La cour suprême vient de rejeter la demande de plusieurs membres de l’opposition d’annuler la décision du président de l’archipel, Baldwin Lonsdale. La dissolution du Parlement entraîne la tenue d’élections anticipées. Elles doivent avoir lieu le 22 janvier prochain.
- La compagnie aérienne samoane Polynesian Airlines a signé un mémorandum d’entente avec Air Tahiti Nui pour des vols au départ et à destination d’Apia. Un accord « historique », se félicite le Premier ministre des Samoa, Tuilaepa Sailele. « Ce partenariat s’inscrit dans l’esprit de coopération et de fraternité polynésiennes », poursuit-il dans une interview au Samoa Observer.
- Une délégation australienne a fait mauvaise impression en Cisjordanie occupée, au Proche-Orient. Christopher Pyne, ministre de l’Industrie, s’est rendu à Ramallah pour une rencontre annuelle Australie – Royaume-Uni – Israël. L’ancienne présidente du Parlement, Bronwyn Bishop et un membre de la Commission des droits de l’homme, Tim Wilson, l’accompagnaient. Au cours de leur visite, ils se sont notamment entretenus avec le ministre palestinien de l’Éducation, Sabri Saidam. Ce dernier qualifie la rencontre de « très explosive et très difficile ». La délégation australienne « était mal renseignée » et a posé des questions « brutales et déplacées », selon lui. Interrogé sur le sujet, Christopher Pyne estime avoir été diplomate, mais le ministre australien reconnaît que d’autres membres de la délégation se sont montrés plus « robustes ».
- La Nouvelle-Zélande veut aider la famille de Jonah Lomu. Le légendaire rugbyman est décédé le mois dernier, à l’âge de 40 ans. On découvre aujourd’hui que malgré sa brillante carrière et ses contrats publicitaires, Jonah Lomu était quasiment ruiné. Une fondation a été créée par des hommes d’affaires pour venir en aide à sa femme et à ses deux fils. Et le Premier ministre néo-zélandais, John Key, propose qu’un match soit organisé à l’Eden Park d’Auckland pour lever des fonds.ABC
31) Fiji faces New Caledonia in opening match
Wednesday, December 16, 2015
FIJI faces New Caledonia in the opening round of the 2016 Oceania Football Confederation Futsal Championship on February 8.
The championship draws were released by Fiji Football Association yesterday.
The Intiaz Khan-coached national futsal squad is on a tour to New Zealand, preparing for a good outing in the championship.
Fiji plays Vanuatu in its second game, followed by Tahiti, New Zealand and Solomon Islands.
Solomon Islands are four-time winners of the OFC Futsal Championship.
Nicknamed the Kurukuru, Solomon Islands have appointed Brazilian Juliano Schmeling as the new head coach.
Schmeling believes Tahiti is the title favourite this time.
“I think at the moment Tahiti is a little bit ahead of everyone,” he said in an interview with OFC.com
“I can see Tahiti have had the best preparation.
“Following them it’s New Zealand, because technically and tactically New Zealand and Tahiti are very close.
“In the past two or three years New Caledonia has grown as well. I know all of the coaches and players from those nations very well and they will present a big challenge.
“The Solomon Islands have very good players, technically gifted players, but these days those other countries have that too,” Schmeling said.
OFC was contacted at its Auckland, NZ headquarters yesterday for finer details of the championship. No response could be obtained. OFC is expected to respond soon.
The OFC Futsal Championship will be played at the Vodafone Arena in Laucala Bay from February 8-13.
Match Day 1 – Monday, February 8, 2016
Solomon Islands – Tahiti, Vanuatu – New Zealand, New Caledonia – Fiji
Match Day 2 – Tuesday, February 9, 2016
Vanuatu – Fiji, New Zealand – Tahiti, New Caledonia – Solomon Islands
Match Day 3 – Wednesday, February 10, 2016
Fiji – Tahiti, Solomon Islands – New Zealand, New Caledonia – Vanuatu
Match Day 4 – Friday, February 12, 2016
Tahiti – New Caledonia, Fiji – New Zealand, Solomon Islands – Vanuatu
Match Day 5 – Saturday, February 13, 2016
Tahiti – Vanuatu, Fiji – Solomon Islands, New Zealand – New Caledonia
32) PNG Rugby League thank departing Meninga
16 December 2015
The Papua New Guinea Rugby Football League has thanked departing Kumuls coach Mal Meninga for his work over the past two years.
Meninga was appointed coach of the Australian national team earlier this month, despite still being employed by PNG at the time.
The termination of his contract with the PNGRFL was finally confirmed last week.
PNG Rugby League chair Sandis Tsaka says the value, profile and integrity Mal Meninga brought to the game in PNG with his involvement with rugby league has been highly appreciated and they wish him the best of luck.
He says the national body is working on a comprehensive plan and program to develop and prepare a strong PNG team for the 2017 World Cup and will begin the process of recruiting a suitable coaching replacement at their next board meeting in January.RNZI
33) Williams wins SI Sportsperson of the Year
Wednesday, December 16, 2015
NEW YORK – Serena Williams, who held all four of tennis’s grand slam titles for the second time in her career and won 53 of 56 matches in 2015, was named Sportsperson of the Year by Sports Illustrated magazine on Monday.
The 34-year-old accomplished her second ‘Serena Slam’ while battling a string of injuries, producing one of the greatest late-career runs in the history of any sport, the magazine said, hailing her a “global icon”.
“Serena has made a very strong case as not only the greatest tennis player of her generation but of all time, and after the string of performances she put together in 2015, she is one of the most dominant athletes playing today,” said Sports Illustrated (SI) Group Editor Paul Fichtenbaum.
Williams was ranked No.1 every week for the second consecutive year, and her three successive grand slam wins to start 2015 lifted her within one of Steffi Graf’s record 22 singles titles in the professional era.
“This year was spectacular,” Williams said in a statement.
“For Sports Illustrated to recognise my hard work, dedication and sheer determination with this award gives me hope to continue on and do better.”
Williams is the first woman to be recognised with the honour as an individual since Mary Decker in 1983, and the magazine took the opportunity to rename its award from Sportsman of the Year to Sportsperson of the Year.
The magazine also cited Williams as a force off the court, using her broad platform to advocate for racial justice, gender equality and equal access to education around the world.
It noted that Williams made a powerful statement by returning to play a tournament at Indian Wells for the first time since 2001 when she was jeered by the crowd and, according to her family, suffered racist slurs.
Williams called her decision to play her “greatest moment in tennis.”
“Everyone always asked, ‘What was your greatest moment in tennis?’ and I always said it hasn’t happened.
34) Daunting Barca test for Arsenal
Wednesday, December 16, 2015
NYON, Switzerland – Holders and Spanish league leaders Barcelona will play Premier League leaders Arsenal in the last 16 of the Champions League, 10 years after the sides faced each other in the final, following yesterday’s draw for the first knockout stage.
Spanish league leaders Barcelona, chasing a sixth title, prevailed 2-1 in the 2006 final at the Stade de France in Paris and also triumphed in the knockout phase in 2010 and 2011.
Chelsea, who are enduring a torrid time in the Premier League, will face French league leaders Paris St Germain in the knockout stages for the third year in succession after the French champions triumphed at the same stage last season and the London club had the upper hand in the quarter-finals the previous year.
Another clash between big guns will feature former winners Juventus and Bayern Munich, while 10-times champions Real Madrid were drawn against AS Roma.
It is the game between the pacesetters in Spain and Arsenal which most catches the eye, however.
“We are certain to see a sporting spectacular,” said Barca director Albert Soler.