Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1147 ( Friday 18 December 2015 )

Bonjour ,
Hope you are all well.
I would like to wish you and your loved ones,

  • A  Merry Christmas and a very Happy and Prosperous New Year 2016!
  • Joyeux Noel et Bonne Annee 2016!
  • Meri Krismas mo Hapi Niu Yia 2016!
  • Vanuatu Shefa /Namakur – Suang emang ,Ni masauni mbetong Meri kirisimas, ane Nasum bahikot ingkitemang takaisi ara tupu nduelek nahiko tua, ane tupu looh Nahiko Vooh 2016! ara kupurong,ane kupu ndoko leng, na leng na Bonan ambana,Kupu mindondo enio o! ( Translation ) Hi everyone , wishing you all a Merry Christmas and the creator of nature be with us , as we wave goodbye to 2016 & Welcome the New Year 2016! whilst listening to or singing the New Year Carols, please do think of me!
  • Vanuatu Shefa/ Nakanamang – Tai manga, amasau noa Meri Krismas  ngo Supe enga wo silae nginda teamamauputi waina tu nga wo noa ito paki natau waia,ngo punusi Natau Vau 2016!

Kind regards, Phil


1) Distrust Between Indonesia, Papua Jeopardizes Peace Prospects

Human rights activist: Papuans ‘not involved in policy making’

By Ryan Dagur in Jakarta

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (Pacific Scoop, Dec. 17, 2015) – A lack of trust between the Indonesian government and the people of Papua has jeopardised hopes for a lasting peace in the restive province, according to a prominent human rights activist.

Persistent human rights abuses, a crackdown by the government on civil liberties and a focus on corporate development, rather than on the people, has left citizens feeling disenfranchised and distrustful, Latifah Anum Siregar said.

“We ask for open space for democracy, freedom of expression, and dialogue as promised by President Joko Widodo several times,” Siregar told during a two-day “Torture and Violence in Asia” workshop held in Jakarta.

Siregar, a human rights lawyer and the chairwoman of the Alliance for Democracy in Papua, received the South Korean Gwangju Human Rights award in May for her role in promoting peace in Papua.

She said government efforts for progress in Papua would always be met by resistance because Papuans were not involved in policy making.

“Many of the government policies to encourage progress in Papua don’t work because they never involve the Papuan people,” she said.

Indonesia has maintained a heavy military presence in Papua, where a low-level insurgency against the central government has simmered for decades.

Accusations of killings

The military has been accused of resorting to extrajudicial killings, torture and abuse to defeat rebel forces.

A crackdown on activists in an attempt to crush the Papuan independence movement, has left local people deeply resentful and suspicious of the national government.

Siregar noted that the government has taken some positive steps this year, such as freeing political prisoners, including pro-independence activist Filep Karma.

“But, it’s useless if freedom of expression remains prohibited. People will be arrested again,” she said.

Siregar urged the government to change its approach to Papua from a pro-investment to a pro-people strategy.

Poengky Indarti, executive director of the Indonesian Human Rights Monitor, or Impartial, said that the government should stop using torture and violence in Papua.

“We witnessed many cases in which security officers in dealing with the Papuans failed to uphold their rights,” Indarti said.

Instead, Indonesia should take persuasive steps in holding accountable human rights abusers, she said.

“Conflict in Papua has lasted for 50 years now. However, we have not seen any efforts that can really solve the problem,” she said.

Pacific Scoop

2) PNG authorities work to future proof country from drought

18 December 2015

The chairman of Papua New Guinea’s National Disaster Management Centre, Dickson Guina, says they are trying to make the country more resistant to drought.

El Nino induced frost and drought have wrought havoc across much of PNG for the past four or five months affecting hundreds of thousands of people.

It is expected to get worse through into the first quarter next year.

Mr Guina says this week his committee has met with provincial co-ordinators, international donors, NGOs and church groups, and he believes they are now ready for the challenges ahead.

And he says they are also working on how to make the country more resilient to future droughts.

“We are looking at drought resistant crops, working with NARI [National Agricultural Research Institute] and of course the Department of Agricultuure and Livestock in terms of nutrition and so we are looking at a holistic approach in addressing the situation, because we understand that drought will always come back.”RNZI

3) New book charts history of PNG Police

Papua New Guinea’s Police Commissioner Gari Baki is today officially launching the first historical documentation of the country’s constabulary.

The 95-page book is called “Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary: A Brief History.”

It covers the history of the RPNGC dating back to its pre-colonial beginnings in 1888 in both territories of Papua and New Guinea, and covers the transition through to the modern day Police Force.

Commissioner Baki calls the book a wonderful compilation of the progression of the Constabulary and highlights the important landmarks in the Constabulary’s prestigious history

He says the Australia-funded book can be a reference point for future generations.

Mr Baki says current police perssonel need to know where the constabulary has come from to appreciate where it is now and to anticipate and plan where it is going from here as an organisation.

A sergeant with the Australian Federal Police, Jamie Loveday, has been central to researching and compiling this history of the constabulary.

As the book is a limited publication, the Commissioner will gift some copies to the PNG National Museum and Art Gallery and the PNG National Library and Archives to keep for future reference and research.RNZI

4) PNG and Japan sign on for Nadzab airport project

17 December 2015

Papua New Guinea and Japan’s foreign aid arm have signed an agreement to begin the US$225 million Nadzab International Airport development project.

The newspaper, The National , reports that the Morobe province project is scheduled to start in March and be completed by August 2020, with the design completion date being February 2017.

PNG wants to develop Nadzab, near the city of Lae, as an alternate international airport to Port Moresby.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency has signed the project agreement with PNG’s National Airports Corporation.

This follows on from Prime Minister Peter O’Neill’s visit to Japan in October where both countries signed a loan agreement for the project, under which Japan will provide US$ 188 million and PNG counterpart funding of $37 million.RNZI

5) Solomon Islands government assures RAMSI support in drawdown process

2:58 pm GMT+12, 16/12/2015, Solomon Islands

The Solomon Islands Government has assured the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) of its cooperation and support as dialogue progresses on the Mission’s drawdown towards a final exit in mid-2017.

The assurance was given to the new RAMSI Special Coordinator, Quinton Devlin, by the Minister of Police, National Security and Correctional Services, Stanley Sofu,during an official welcome function for Devlin in Honiara on 15 December.

In officially welcoming the new Special Coordinator, Minister Sofu said: “I would like to assure the RAMSI Special Coordinator, that the Government will do its utmost to make the Drawdown Strategy and programs, relevant, realistic and affordable for Government … and that they address critical components – of law and order, justice and peace, economic growth and prosperity, which ultimately reflect the underlying purpose for which the entire RAMSI program was agreed on between the Government and Regional Partners.”

“The question of what happens after RAMSI leaves is a question every one of us must find answers to; we should not rely only on government and certain organizations and people … All of us have a responsibility to help RAMSI and the Government and all stakeholders – churches, chiefs, leaders, youths, women, and men and boys – should work towards ensuring our country will continue to prosper and be peaceful and secure, even after RAMSI leaves in 2017,” said Sofu.

Since taking over as RAMSI Special Coordinator  this month, Quinton Devlin said since his arrival in Honiara he has received a very warm welcome from the people of the Solomon Islands – from the Governor-General, Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministers, senior government officials, the diplomatic corps and the many supporters of RAMSI.

“Since my arrival, several clear messages have emerged. These include: the support of RAMSI to the Solomon Islands has been highly appreciated over the past 12 years; the Solomon Islands Government and RAMSI have been working very well, very collaboratively and very closely together; and while much progress has been made, there is still a considerable work to be done,” Devlin said.

“As RAMSI Special Coordinator, I am looking forward to working very closely with the Government, Parliament and the community to support the priorities and plans of Solomon Islanders – particularly as the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) moves towards assuming full responsibility for policing, and as the RSIPF continues on its path towards becoming an independent, modern and accountable force focused on crime prevention and community policing.”

This will entail continued RAMSI support for the rearmament process and ongoing capacity building and mentoring by the RAMSI Participating Police Force.

“Some of RAMSI’s top priorities include supporting the development of strong leadership at all levels of the RSIPF and supporting government efforts to ensure the RSIPF is properly resourced. Leadership and funding will be critical to sustaining the gains made to date,” RAMSI Special Coordinator Devlin said.

He added, “RAMSI will also continue to regularly consult the Solomon Islands Government and the 15 Pacific Islands Forum nations that contribute to the RAMSI Mission on the continued drawdown of RAMSI, which began in 2013, and is scheduled to conclude in mid-2017. A key part of that role will be to support dialogue between the Solomon Islands Government and countries such as Australia and New Zealand on what might follow RAMSI beyond the scheduled mid-2017 exit date.”

“For me, the regional nature of the RAMSI mission is one of its key strengths and one of the main reasons why the Mission has been so successful thus far. Requested by the Solomon Islands and mandated by Pacific Islands Forum, RAMSI has been here from Day One fo helpem fren; and this is exactly what we plan to do until the very last day of the mission,” said Devlin.

The new RAMSI Special Coordinator also paid tribute to the many great women and men that have come before him, especially to the recently departed Special Coordinator, Justine Brathwaite, and the former Commander of the RAMSI Participating Police Force, Commander Greg Harrigan, who left on 15 December.


6) Vanuatu appeal to clarify constitutional issues possible

17 December 2015

The 24 former Vanuatu MPs who unsuccessfully sought to overturn the president’s decision to order new elections may still appeal.

But spokesman Ralph Regenvanu says they have no intention of trying to stop next month’s election from going ahead.

On Wednesday, Justice Dudley Aru ruled that President Baldwin Lonsdale’s decision last month was lawful and that the former MPs did not need to be consulted beforehand.

The judge gave the applicants 48 hours to appeal and Mr Regenvanu says while they will not take this up, they may seek to appeal later – to clarify constitutional issues rather than disrupt the poll.

“Now we have decided that we will not be contesting the fact that there will be an election, we will just, later on, contest some of the legal issues and if we win the appeal on some of those issues there will be no consequences from it, it will just be a precedent for the future.”RNZI

7) Villagers in Vanuatu arrested for arson

17 December 2015

Police in Vanuatu have arrested villagers in North Pentecost after a conflict over marine resources led to the burning down of several houses, a church and a retail shop.

The conflict is understood to be over rights to harvest sea cucumber or bech de mer on island’s east coast.

Following cyclone Pam in March 10 temporary licences were issued by the Department of Fisheries for people in the area to generate some revenue to go towards their efforts to rebuild.

The licences are due to expire at the end of the month.RNZI

8) Vanuatu top cop guilty of dangerous driving

17 December 2015

Taleo was involved in two serious accidents with police trucks.

Taleo will receive his sentence on January the 15th.

Under the Police Act, after his sentencing the Police Service Commission will meet to decide whether to terminate his employment or demote him.

After his latest accident in Port Vila this year, he was suspended but the acting prime minister, Moana Carcasses, re-instated him in October to replace Vake Rakau who was the acting commissioner.RNZI

9) Vanuatu lawyers given immunity

9:49 pm GMT+12, 16/12/2015, Vanuatu

At least two of the lawyers suspected of conspiracy for their involvement in the illegal pardoning of 15 politicians by former Speaker of Parliament, Macellino Pipite, are likely to get immunity from prosecution.

The conspiracy case was filed against 11 of the convicted politicians and three lawyers after Pipite pardoned himself and 13 of his colleagues in his capacity as Acting President while the President was overseas.

A source close to the prosecution confirmed that two of the lawyers, namely Robin Kapapa and Gregory Takau, are likely to be given immunity because of the statements they provided to help the prosecution’s case.

Kapapa and Takau, each of whom represented some of the convicted politicians, were arrested along with their clients after the Head of State, Baldwin Lonsdale revoked Pipite’s pardon order.

The order was subsequently declared unlawful by the Supreme Court Judge, Oliver Saksak, and his decision was upheld on appeal.

It is understood the two lawyers will be the prosecution’s main witnesses.

They were seen leaving the Magistrate Court earlier while the convicted politicians were still waiting inside.

The case was adjourned to Tuesday 22 December.

The case files have reportedly been received by the presiding Magistrate judge, who requires more time to read through before the case commences next week.

Kapapa had been chosen as interim President of the Vanuatu Republican Party, or VRP. Marcellino Pipite was the previous VRP President.

Meanwhile, the magistrate court in Vanuatu has convicted the acting police commissioner, John Taleo, for dangerous driving.

Taleo was involved in two serious accidents with police trucks.

Taleo will receive his sentence on 15 January.

Under the Police Act, after his sentencing the Police Service Commission will meet to decide whether to terminate his employment or demote him.

After his latest accident in Port Vila this year, he was suspended but the acting Prime Minister, Moana Carcasses, re-instated him in October to replace Vake Rakau who was the acting commissioner.


10) Former Vanuatu PM Natuman foresees a simple majority in the 11th Legislature
3:01 pm GMT+12, 16/12/2015, Vanuatu

Former Vanuatu Prime Minister and deputy opposition leader, Joe Natuman said his side has accepted the decision of the Supreme Court.

Natuman is one of the applicants in the dismissed urgent constitutional case on the dissolution of parliament.

He told supporters and media outside the court house after the ruling Wednesday that he was satisfied that they had the majority of members of parliament when President Baldwin Lonsdale opted to accept the advice of the Council of Ministers to dissolve parliament.

“Half of the government side are now in jail”, Natuman pointed to the correctional facility adjacent to the court house.

He said the former opposition bloc are united and prepared for the snap election and are confident of returning to parliament in a better form.

“The corruption case that went to court and landed government members in jail had tainted a negative image on their side. Our side is united and ready to return after 22nd of January with a clear simple majority”, he said.

He said this same corruption issue will remain an issue during the upcoming political campaign period leading to the snap election on 22 January 2016.

In front of the lawyers, Natuman thanked them for their assistance and deliberation in the courtroom. He also thanked other supporters for their support.

He said his side will be meeting after this to decide whether not to pursue an appeal.

Joe Natuman was the main complainant in the bribery case. He was prime minister when Moana Carcasses (then leader of opposition) opted to bribe members of the opposition and the government in a bid to oust Natuman from office and elect a new prime minister.

The current caretaker prime minister was sacked by Natuman for his alleged involvement with the then opposition plot and succeeded Natuman as prime minister after successfully passing a motion of no-confidence on Natuman.


11)  New Caledonia Authorized More Nickel Exports To Japan, Australia

Industry expected to lose $1 billion this year

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Dec. 17, 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.

Radio New Zealand International

12) Fiji speaker stance disputed

17 December 2015

There are contradictory reports from Fiji on whether a parliamentary committee meeting this week had the approval of the speaker, Jiko Luveni.

A committee member, Ratu Isoa Tikoca, says the speaker had given authority for the committee to deliberate on allegations about human rights abuses raised by a lawyer Aman Ravindra-Singh.

However the Fiji Sun reports that she did not give the go-ahead.

The meeting was stopped at the instigation of the attorney-general, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, who says a complaint about violence must be reported to the police before it is referred to any other institution.

Mr Ravindra-Singh has asked where it says that the committee has to await a complaint to the police.

Ratu Isoa says reporting the matter to the police will stop the committee probing the allegations, adding his concern are that investigations can then last a hundred years.RNZI

13) Torture claim lodged with Fiji police

17 December 2015

A Fiji lawyer Aman Ravindra-Singh has lodged an official complaint about alleged torture involving his colleagues.

FBC News says the complaint was filed with the police in Lautoka.

Two weeks ago, he said in one incident his law clerk was bound and gagged near Nadi and tortured for two hours by what he says were members of the security forces, who were not in uniform.

Mr Ravindra-Singh, who is representing people charged with sedition, also says he was himself threatened on a daily basis.

His decision to make a police complaint comes amid controversy over whether a parliamentary committee is allowed to discuss the alleged human rights abuses.

A committee meeting on the issue was stopped this week at the instigation of the attorney-general, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, who said a complaint must be reported to the police before the matter is referred to any other institution.

A committee member, Ratu Isoa Tikoca, says the speaker approved the meeting but the Fiji Sun says she didn’t.RNZI

14) Methamphetamine parcel intercepted in Suva
9:32 pm GMT+12, 16/12/2015, Fiji

A parcel containing Methamphetamine was intercepted by Fiji Customs officials at the Suva Post Office Tuesday.

The illicit drug was concealed in a shampoo bottle which was sent from the United States and addressed to a local woman.

The suspect fled when questioned by Customs Officers upon collecting the parcel.

She was later identified through her Tax Identification Number (TIN).

The Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority’s intelligence team was informed of the drugs earlier this month.

Acting CEO Visvanath Das says the seizure should be a warning to all unscrupulous traders wanting to bring in illegal drugs that FRCA officers and police are vigilant in their work to ensure borders are safe.

Police are now carrying out further investigations.



15) Tongan police make passport forgery arrest

17 December 2015

Police in Tonga have arrested and charged a 65 year old woman for forgery during an ongoing investigation into forged Tongan passports.

The woman was arrested during a police search of a property in Ngele’ia.

Deputy Police Commissioner Viliami ‘Unga Fa’aoa says four people have been charged so far in relation to the passport investigation and more charges are likely.

Earlier this month Kaniva Pacific reported that police were searching for a Chinese couple who were allegedly involved in forging information in a bid to get passports.

The couple was bailed to appear at the Magistrate Court but they fled.

Four government staff appeared at the court in November charged with forgery and bribery in an attempt to obtain passports for the couple.RNZI

16) Samoa Government Introduces Supplementary Budget
$3.83 million extra called ‘minimal’ by PM

By Lanuola Tupufia

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, Dec. 16, 2015) – The overseas medical treatment scheme will receive an additional $1.5million [US$636,000], thanks to a $9.05million [US$3.83 million] Supplementary Appropriation Bill (no.1) 2015/2016.

The Supplementary Appropriations were tabled in Parliament by Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi when Parliament reconvened yesterday.

Health is one of the many ministries being allocated a portion of the Supplementary budget.

In June this year, the 2015/2016 budget had cut back its assistance on the scheme, approving only $2.5million – a drop of $8.5million from the previous year’s budget.

In delivering his speech, Tuilaepa maintained the theme of living within our means.

“The ‘minimal’ supplement aims at appropriate allocation of money for the welfare of the country,” said the Prime Minister.

He explained the additional $1.5million was needed by the overseas scheme to assist those who cannot be locally treated for different diseases.

Also in the budget, the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries will get $350,000, earmarked to develop women in agriculture.

The Ministry of Communication, Information and Technology will receive $1.1m for the Samoa Broadband Highway Project.

On the education side, an additional $2million is allocated for the sector.

About $1million of that sum will go towards teachers’ wages and another amount for the wages of retired teachers who have been called back to serve.

There is also money put aside for students’ scholarships at the National University of Samoa.

With the Commonwealth Youth Games that took place in September; $70,000 has been put aside to pay for bills for hosting the game.

As for the Ministry of Police; $63,000 will go towards paying their debt to works and usage of the warehouse where captured dogs were sheltered.

The supplementary appropriation budget also highlighted government revenue of $4million from S.I.F.A and more than $2million from State-Owned Enterprises dividends.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment also contributed in collecting $217,396 from government land and $1.1million from the Office of the Regulator.

The Ministry of Revenue has only recorded a sum of $432, 802 from tax.

Parliament has been adjourned until January next year.

Samoa Observer

17) MOH in Cook Islands says it doesn’t make abortion referrals

18 December 2015

The Ministry of Health in the Cook Islands says it has never made abortion referrals, and probably never will.

Last month, the country’s only gynaecologist, Doctor May Aung, told the Cook Islands News that the Ministry of Health ordered her to stop making termination appointments for women at the Epsom Day Clinic in Auckland.

She says she was told some people see her actions as an encouragement.

The Secretary of Health, Elizabeth Iro says they don’t make referrals to New Zealand.

“We’ve never done it and we probably, and we will never do it. That’s the position for the Ministry, so we will not be making patient referrals that don’t fall under our policy in terms of patient referrals. That will be the position that the Ministry will continue to take.”

Abortion is illegal in the country, but is permitted to save a woman’s life or preserve her physical or mental health.

Women seeking terminations will have to make their own arrangements.RNZI

18) France to help Tahiti flood victims

17 December 2015

The French overseas minister has announced the release of funds to help the victims of last weekend’s floods in French Polynesia.

Torrential rain in the eastern part of Tahiti left a man dead in Papenoo and caused damage estimated to be more than 10 million US dollars.

About 60 homes were destroyed and another 100 badly damaged, making it necessary to evacuate hundreds of people.

The size of the French aid package is not known.

About 100 military and civilian personnel have been deployed to assist with the clean-up.RNZI


19) Rabi turns 70

6:21 pm GMT+12, 16/12/2015, Fiji

The year was 1900 and the great Western colonial masters were busy carving the Pacific including Banaba, which was placed under British colonial rule.

Being a phosphate-rich island, Banaba was exploited for the mineral to make fertiliser for farms in the Western world.

Recounting the history of the people of Banaba, chief guest at the 70th anniversary celebrations on Rabi, president of the Methodist Church in Fiji, Reverend Tevita Banivanua said families and chiefs on the island of Banaba were rushed into signing contracts they never understood.

Banivanua said when mining ended in 1971, 21 million tonnes of phosphate had been removed from the island with 13 million tonnes scattered in Australia.

“The Banaban people only received 15 per cent of the profit that benefitted the colonial powers the most,” he said. “In an effort to gain full access to the resources on the island the British colonists offered resettlement for the indigenous people for a better future.

“This resettlement effort is the main reason the ancestors of these Banabans are celebrating 70 years down the line on their new home called Rabi in Fiji.”

Banivanua said the impact of the world’s greed and selfishness struck again in the form of the Japanese invasion of Banaba in August 1942.

“Many were displaced and sent to Tarawa, Kosrae and Nauru and out of the 150 men left on Banaba as portrayed in the dances, only one survived the massacre by Japanese soldiers at the end of World War II,” he said. “Today we celebrate the arrival of the SS Triona, carrying 318 children 200 women and 186 men of Banaba to Rabi.

“I remember the stories relayed to me by islanders of how Banaban elders were shown photographs of towns and two-storey buildings being promised that this was Rabi when they were in fact being faked by photographs of Levuka.”

Banivanua said the people on Rabi had come a long way and they had a promising future if they worked together.

Meanwhile, the District Officer (DO) Tukavesi will from next year form a development committee to look into possible government development programmes on Rabi Island.

Speaking at the 70th anniversary celebrations of the Rabi Day, Assistant Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management Joeli Cawaki said Government was committed to working with the people of Rabi.

Cawaki said Government was committed to giving islanders development grants to develop the island and improve the lives of its people.

Lauding the annual celebrations Cawaki said this week’s event a special one for the people on the island.

“I understand that the Rabi Day is also celebrated in Suva, Lautoka and the rest of the world where people of Banaba are residing,” he said.


20) Voter registration closes in Kiribati

17 December 2015

Voter registration has closed in Kiribati for the elections of a new 44-member parliament later this month.

The election will take place in two rounds, with the first one on December the 30th and a second on January the 7th.

The Chief Electoral Officer, Takiakia Benteti, says in the two main urban areas of Betio and South Tarawa, almost 18,000 people have registered to vote.

Photo: RNZ

The officer says they are yet to receive the number of registered voters and candidates from the remaining islands.

In South Tarawa and Betio, there are 34 candidates, including six former parliamentarians, Teburoro Tito, Maere Tekanene, Dr Mareka Puta Tofiga, Martin Puta Tofiga, Ioteba Redfern and Tangariki Reete.

The president, Anote Tong, will bow out of office because he will have completed the maximum three terms as president allowed under the constitution.RNZI

21) Nauru government lawyers branded ‘disgraceful’

17 December 2015

A Nauru opposition MP says the government has a vendetta and has derailed legal attempts for an elected MP to get his passport back.

Mathew Batsiua, who is among four MPs charged in relation to a protest in June, says Roland Kun is the victim of a vindictive attack by the Justice Minister David Adeang.

Last week Mr Kun’s six-month long process in the courts came to an end with the court throwing out his application for being out of time.

Mr Batsiua says the government’s lawyers have used their legal prowess to abuse the system and ensure Mr Kun has no other avenue to leave the country and see his family.

“An elected representative of Nauru, his passport has been cancelled for no reason, there are no charges. And the legal team for the government that was against Mr Kun in court over the last few months, have been disgraceful.”

Mathew Batsiua rubbished comments by a recent observer group who said the rule of law in Nauru is intact.RNZI


22) Ol PNG wok divelopman i bagarapim laif blong pipal

Updated 17 December 2015, 13:30 AEDT
Caroline Tiriman

Ol wok divelopman olsem Oil Palm na logging iwok long kamapim planti heve tru namel long ol pipal long Papua New Guinea.

PNG Food Bowl (Credit: ABC Licensed)
Odio: Nobert Pames wanpla papa graon na communiti lida blong Pomio long East New Britain Provins long PNG.

Ol wok divelopman olsem Oil Palm na logging iwok long kamapim planti heve tru namel long ol pipal long Papua New Guinea.

Despla em toktok blong Nobert Pames wanpla papa graon na communiti lida blong Pomio long East New Britain Provins we ol foran kampani iwok long katim daon ol bikbus blong planim Oil Palm.

Emi tok nau planti wari iwok long kamap olsem planti famili iwok long bruk, planti vailans, na tu planti stil pasin iwok long kamap.

Mr Pames itok tu olsem, maski ol kampani isave kliarim graon blong mekim wok agrikalsa, oli no lukim ol gutpla sevis olsem helt, ol rot na tu ol skul.ABC


23) Brèves du Pacifique – jeudi 17 décembre 2015

Mis à jour 17 December 2015, 16:25 AEDT

Élodie Largenton

Le pêcheur salvadorien qui a dérivé pendant plus d’un an dans le Pacifique avant de débarquer sur un atoll des Îles Marshall est aujourd’hui accusé d’avoir mangé son compagnon d’infortune pour survivre.

José Salvador Albarango était parti pêcher le requin au large du Mexique avec un jeune de 22 ans, Ezequiel Cordoba, fin 2012. Après avoir été pris dans une tempête, ils ont commencé à dériver. Ils se nourrissaient d’oiseaux marins et de sang de tortue, rapporte le pêcheur salvadorien. Mais au bout de deux mois, Ezequiel Cordoba est tombé malade et est décédé. José Salvador Albarango affirme avoir jeté le corps à la mer, mais la famille Cordoba ne le croit pas. Elle l’accuse d’avoir mangé son jeune collègue et lui réclame 1,4 million de dollars. « Cela fait partie de la pression exercée par la famille pour obtenir la moitié de l’argent gagné par José Salvador Albarango avec son livre », estime l’avocat du survivant. L’histoire de la dérive en mer du pêcheur salvadorien a été publiée aux États-Unis il y a quelques mois, mais le livre ne s’est vendu qu’à 1 500 exemplaires, selon son avocat.
  • Aux Îles Cook, une pétition contre la pêche à la senne a été déposée devant le Parlement. Plus de 4 000 personnes l’ont signée, dénonçant les accords conclus cette année entre le gouvernement et des entreprises de pêche étrangères. Cette pétition n’a fait l’objet d’aucun débat lors de la très courte session du Parlement – deux jours. La justice a été saisie et doit se prononcer sur la légalité des licences accordées aux senneurs ; les responsables politiques préfèrent donc attendre ses conclusions. Le Premier ministre, Henry Puna, a tout de même évoqué le sujet, en soulignant que ces licences de pêche rapportaient beaucoup d’argent au pays.
  • La Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée rationne l’eau dans la capitale. La sécheresse due à la présence du phénomène El Nino a atteint Port-Moresby : le taux de remplissage du barrage de Sirinumu est tombé à 30%.
  • En Papouasie, c’est une bactérie, le pneumocoque, et un virus transmis par des moustiques qui ont causé la mort d’une quarantaine d’enfants le mois dernier, dans la région de Nduga. Inquiets du nombre de décès recensés dans cette zone reculée d’Indonésie, les autorités ont envoyé une équipe médicale sur place. Elle vient donc de rendre son rapport, et conseille aux habitants de veiller à détruire les nids à moustique.ABC

24) Fijian seasonal workers claim mistreatment, Australian government looks into Fijian workers claims

3:08 pm GMT+12, 16/12/2015, Fiji

The Australian Government’s seasonal workers programme has come under the spotlight.

This is after six Fijian workers claimed mistreatment at the hands of a labour- hire company in Queensland.

These workers are now in the process of being sent back home to Fiji.

The six Fijian workers were among a group of farm workers who walked off the job last month claiming underpayment and mistreatment at a Euston farm in southern New South Wales, near Robinvale

They are Jovesa Maisiri, Losalini Waqa, Eleni Baxter, Fulilagi Malanivosa, Inia Qoli and Marcia Watiri.

The six claim, the scheme has been exploited by Australian government-approved labour-hire companies that are paying workers as little as $1.20 (US$0.87) Australian an hour despite being entitled to AUD $21.61 (US$15.70) an hour under the horticulture award.

This award mandates workers must be paid a minimum hourly rate, regardless of their productivity.

Five of the six are reportedly in Melbourne seeking legal advice. They refused to leave Australia out of fear they would face jail if they returned home.

The workers were at Melbourne Airport when they became aware the “deportation” was being carried out without the knowledge of government departments, despite the -labour-hire company making this claim.

The Fijians were casual employees of Queensland-based labour-hire company Plant Grow Pick, an approved Department of Employment seasonal worker employer.

The alleged mistreatment included being:

– Paid as little as $1.20 Australian an hour under a piece rate system

– Denied medical access

– Underfed by the labour-hire company, which was required to feed them

– Unable to move freely in the community, including visiting family

– Verbally abused by supervisors

– Refused work breaks

– Prohibited from attending church

Last Thursday, the workers were told they had been fired and were given less than 48 hours’ notice that they would be sent back to Fiji.

Flights were booked on their behalf for Saturday night.

Once in Melbourne the workers decided to stay and fight for their rights.

Plant Grow Pick owner Mel Penson denied the workers should receive a minimum hourly rate and said Fair Work Australia had previously investigated the business and found no problems with the pay rate.

Concerned about the claims of mistreatment and exploitation the Fijian Ministry of Labour had sent someone to carry out an inspection of the farm in question.

Fiji’s Labour Minister Semi Koroilavesau said the investigation does not support the claims made.

“One has returned last night and there are five still in Australia,one of our Executives went across to Australia to check out with the labour standards,and the Ministry of Labour in Australia had inspected the site where they worked and the Australian Government is quite happy with the conditions and all the details of their working conditions is quite similar to how they work in Australia.”

He states that there are 116 more Fijians are working in farms across Australia.

No complaints have been filed from others working there.

“If we have 116 who work are enjoying and working now for 2 months and only 6 workers have decided to go out. They had decided to go out sometime ago and stayed with relatives.To me it looks like they wanted to go to Australia this was an opportunity for them to go Australia.Everyone understood this was going to be a hard effort on their part to go and work for 6 months and have enough money to come back and establish themselves back at home.”

The Minister confirms that Qoli’s airfare along with the remaining five in Australia is being  paid for by the company they worked for.

Koroilavesau also confirms that none of the six will be sent to jail as they had stated in their interview.

“The company has obliged to pay the airfare back.Once they arrive here one is here now he has been briefed yesterday and he will be coming back on Monday.Following this he returns to Vanua Levu.There is no intention by Government to carry out any in-disciplinary action,this is a learning curve for the Ministry we need to re-look at our selection criteria and make sure that people we select are willing to go and do physical work this is not working in the office,but in the plantation picking apples and working on the farm”.

The remaining five will be returning home shortly and will also meet with the Director of the National Employment Center.

Meanwhile, the  Australian Government says an investigation is now underway.

A spokesperson told Fiji One News that the allegations will be taken seriously.

Measures have now been taken to ensure a thorough investigation of all allegations raised is carried out.

The Australian Department of Employment has referred the case to the Fair Work Ombudsman which has commenced its formal investigation.

All parties to the matter will be notified of the Ombudsman’s findings.

The Spokesperson said there are strong protections and monitoring arrangements under the Seasonal Worker Programme and the Australian Government vets employers who are seeking to recruit seasonal workers.

Prospective approved employers must meet a range of eligibility criteria before they are approved to recruit seasonal workers.


25) Potential seen for thousands of IT jobs in the Pacific

17 December 2015

A new World Bank report says more jobs could be created in the Pacific through IT-enabled outsourcing industries

The ICT for Jobs in the Pacific study released today found that 10 to 20 thousand jobs could be created across Fiji, Samoa and Tonga which represents about 3 percent of GDP in these countries.

All three countries, which represent the first phase in a broader Pacific review, have been found to have significant competitive advantages, including a young qualified labour market, rapidly improving internet infrastructure and strong political support.

Of the three Fiji is already showing signs of realising its potential with over 1,000 jobs created in offshoring operations, along with winning an award that noted its service to its clients in Europe.

More and more international companies are outsourcing their IT and business processes and taking them offshore, including customer and accounting services, data entry, programming and web design.

Outsourcing services represent an estimated US$952 billion per year globally, with ICT for Jobs in the Pacific highlighting Australia and New Zealand as two potential ‘nearshoring’ markets for the Pacific; worth an estimated US$31 billion per year.RNZI


26) Indonesia corruption scandal: Speaker Setya Novanto resigns after extortion allegations

Updated 17 December 2015, 11:10 AEDT
By Indonesia correspondent Adam Harvey

The speaker of Indonesia’s Parliament, Setya Novanto, resigns after allegedly demanding a $4 billion stake in the country’s biggest mine.

Embattled Indonesian MP Setya Novanto resigned from his role as speaker after extortion allegations surfaced. (Credit: AFP)

The speaker of Indonesia’s Parliament, Setya Novanto, has resigned after allegedly demanding a $4 billion stake in the country’s biggest mine.

Key points:

Novanto remains an MP and is unlikely to face criminal investigation
Government more critical of Freeport’s environmental record than corruption claims

Mr Novanto quit late on Wednesday night while a parliamentary ethics committee was delivering a scathing verdict on his actions.

The corruption scandal — one of the biggest in Indonesia’s history — has centred on a barely audible recording of a top-secret negotiation.

“I am sure because the President has given that signal,” the recorded voice said, referring to a new contract for the biggest mine in Indonesia — Freeport’s gold and copper operation in West Papua.

Mr Novanto, was recorded allegedly trying to extort a 20 per cent stake from the mine’s owners.

In the recording Mr Novanto boasted of his power and closeness with President Joko Widodo and senior minister Luhut Pandjaitan: “So many times when it comes to matters of the Parliament, we’re always a triangle, Luhut, the President and I.”

The implication appears to be: if Freeport signs over its shares to Mr Novanto, it will get its new contract.

Mr Novanto agreed that it was his voice in the recording, but said he was “just joking” about Freeport signing the stake over to him.

A parliamentary ethics committee has been holding public hearings into the scandal and for two weeks Indonesia’s main television networks have dropped normal programming to show the hearings live.

The ethics committee sat late into Wednesday night to deliver a scathing verdict on Mr Novanto.

After several hours of listening to his colleagues criticise him the speaker handed in his resignation letter.

Mr Novanto remains an MP, and in a country that is notoriously tolerant of corruption, he is unlikely to face a criminal investigation.

Mining company bears brunt of attack

The Indonesian Government has reserved its strongest criticism not for Mr Novanto — but for the mining company Freeport. The recording was made by one of its executives.

Government minister Rizal Ramli attacked the company.

“Freeport is not very responsible to respect of processing of tailing,” Dr Ramli said.

“They just dump the waste in the river.”

The ABC approached a Government spokesman who said the Attorney-General was yet to launch formal legal proceedings against Mr Novanto, but there was an ongoing investigation.

Demonstrating how touchy this subject is, the spokesman cited the recent scandal of Bronwyn Bishop’s extravagant taxpayer-funded helicopter flights.

“If you want to talk about corruption, there is also corruption in Australia,” he said.

“Recently there was a case where your member of Parliament was accused and proven to be using official funds unofficially. So this not just for Indonesia.

“Whether it’s $1, $1,000 or $1 million, it’s the mechanism that’s important.”ABC


27) US Federal Reserve raises interest rates for first time in 9 years

Updated 17 December 2015, 15:50 AEDT
By AM business editor Peter Ryan and staff

The US Federal Reserve delivers on expectations by raising interest rates for the first time in almost a decade.

The US Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee unanimously agreed to raise interest rates by 25 basis points. (Credit: AFP)

The US Federal Reserve has delivered on expectations by raising interest rates for the first time in almost a decade.

The new target for the main US benchmark rate has edged up to between 0.25 per cent and 0.5 per cent — up from the crisis level of zero to 0.25 per cent.

The central bank signalled future rate rises would be “gradual”, in line with previous guidance and today’s forecast implies four gradual increases over the next year, taking the main rate to 1.37 per cent.

The Fed’s confidence America’s economic emergency is over was bolstered by a recovery in the US jobs market and signs inflation would gradually move higher from the current low level.

“The committee judges that there has been considerable improvement in labour market conditions this year, and it is reasonably confident that inflation will rise, over the medium term, to its 2 per cent objective,” the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) said in a statement released after a two-day meeting in Washington.

“The committee expects that economic conditions will evolve in a manner that will warrant only gradual increases in the federal funds rate.

Fed promises to take it slowly

US Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen says further rate rises will be ‘gradual’ and ‘prudent’.

“The actual path of the federal funds rate will depend on the economic outlook as informed by incoming data.”

The decision is the culmination of a seven-year period of near-zero level rates to stimulate the US economy in the wake of the 2008 Lehman Brothers collapse which pushed the US into its worst downturn since the Great Depression.

The crisis was sparked by the subprime mortgage meltdown, which saw the US housing market crash.

The US government was forced to step in with a controversial $US700 billion rescue package and the Fed’s quantitative easing program — or money printing — which peaked at $US85 billion a month wound down a year ago.

Positive market response to rate rise

Financial markets and analysts gave the Fed a tick of approval for today’s rate decision and accompanying statement, which held no big surprises.

The blue chip Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.3 per cent and the broader S&P 500 was up 1.5 per cent by the close of trade.

Showing the degree of expectation ahead of the decision, the US dollar actually weakened a little shortly after the announcement, before bouncing back – rate rises should generally push a currency higher, unless they have already been factored into trade.

By 8:37am (AEDT) the Australian dollar was worth 72.25 US cents.

CommSec economist Savanth Sebastian said the rate rise is a positive event for the US economy and “signals that the crisis is finally over”, with unemployment back at a seven-year low of 5.5 per cent.

“Over the past year US stock markets had been addicted to cheap money and essentially held the Federal Reserve to ransom every time there was a discussion on the possibility of a lift in US rates,” he wrote in a note on the Fed’s move.

“It is encouraging that now investors have finally accepted and embraced the lift in interest rates from emergency levels.”ABC

28) UN formally kicks off race for next secretary-general

Thursday, December 17, 2015

UNITED NATIONS – The United Nations formally kicked off the race for the next secretary-general on Tuesday and the world body’s 193 members were encouraged to consider putting forward a woman for the top job that has been held by men for the past 70 years.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, a former South Korean foreign minister, is due to step down at the end of 2016 after serving two five-year terms. The job customarily rotates between regions, with Eastern Europe next on the list.

The 15-member Security Council, including veto powers China, Russia, the US, Britain and France, traditionally considers an undisclosed list behind closed doors and recommends a candidate to be elected by the General Assembly.

In a bid to boost transparency, the presidents of the Security Council and the General Assembly ? US Ambassador Samantha Power and Mogens Lykketoft of Denmark ? sent a letter on Tuesday to UN member states to begin the search for Mr Ban’s replacement by outlining the process and soliciting candidates.

“Convinced of the need to guarantee equal opportunities for women and men in gaining access to senior decision-making positions, Member States are encouraged to consider presenting women, as well as men, as candidates,” they wrote.

The General Assembly requested such a letter be sent when it adopted a resolution on the issue in September.

“This fires the starting gun for the race to be the next secretary-general,” said British UN Ambassador Matthew Rycroft, who helped draft the letter, adding that it brought gender equality, transparency and clarity to the process.

The letter simply notes “the regional diversity in the selection of previous Secretaries-General.”

UN officials say they hope a list of candidates will be completed by March.

29) EU ambassador says follow through needed on climate agreement

17 December 2015

The European Union’s ambassador to the Pacific says now clear ambitions on climate change have been set, the world is duty bound to follow through.

At the COP 21 climate summit, the EU signed an alliance with Pacific, African and Carribbean countries in a final push for an agreement.

Andrew Jacobs says the groups saw eye to eye on what needed to be achieved, such as the agreement needing to be legally binding and reviewed every five years.

He says by working together, it made more of an impact in the negotiations.

Mr Jacobs says the agreement makes 100 billion US dollars available in climate finance every year for developing countries.

He says the EU will contribute more than half of that money.

“The European Union will continue to provide considerable sums of money. And in the Pacific the countries for which I am accredited, we have around 250 million euros in ongoing projects targeting climate change – issues such as mitigation, adaptation, focussing on renewable energy and so on. And we have a lot more support on the way.”RNZI


30) PNG Netball Team i winim planti game long Singapore

Updated 17 December 2015, 13:18 AEDT
Caroline Tiriman

Long Nations Cup Netball tournament long  Singapore, Papua New Guinea National team, Pepes iwok long winim ol narapla team.

Blue bird of Paradise blong PNG
Odio: Lua Rikis kaptain blong PNG National tim, Pepes na ibin toktok wantaim Caroline Tiriman

Long Nations Cup Netball tournament long  Singapore, Papua New Guinea National team, Pepes iwok long winim ol narapla team.

Astem oli bin winim  Singapore Invitational team wantem wanpla Goal.. 37-36.

Tumora ol pepes bai pilai agensim   Northern Ireland tomorrow, na i luk olsem despla tupla saed bai pilai ken long Final long Sarere.

Netball emi wanpla pilai em planti meri isave pilai long en long Papua New Guinea na tu long ol narapla kantri long Pacific rijan.

Lua Rikis emi kaptain blong PNG National tim, Pepes na Caroline Tiriman i askim em sopos strongpla laik long winim ol games i mekim ol i sanap strong agensim ol narapla team long despla resis long Singapore.ABC

31) Vanuatu bai iusim boxing long strongim Helt

Updated 17 December 2015, 13:11 AEDT

John Papik

Igat wanpela gutpela tingting i kamap nau long Vanautu long iusim pilai boxing long strongim oa promotim gutpela healthy living namel long ol pipol.

Flag blong Vanuatu
Odio: Jack Manuel Chillia mausman blong Universal Health Program long Vanuatu itoktok wantem John Papik

Igat wanpela gutpela tingting i kamap nau long Vanautu long iusim pilai boxing long strongim oa promotim gutpela healthy living namel long ol pipol.

Jack Manuel Chillia emi mausman blong dispela program na emi tok bikpela tingting long dispela program em long mekim  ol yangpela pipol blong ol
narapela sport  na ol pipol nating long kam insait na lainim ol  wei blong stap  strong na healthy long life blong ol.

Kaikaim ol gutpela na raitpela kaikai em narapela bikpela tingting long dispela program.

Jack Manuel  Chillia i stori  long  hau dispela tingting ibin kamap.ABC

32) No easy game: Fiji 7s captain
10:15 pm GMT+12, 16/12/2015, Fiji

Vodafone Fiji 7s team captain Osea Kolinisau says defence is a key area that needs more improvement.

According Kolinisau, the team had made a better start in series but they could have done better in South Africa.

He said they gave too many chances to France during the cup quarter-final.

“We had a successful outing and it is a better start compared with last year where we lost in the semi-final in Dubai and quarter-final in Port Elizabeth,” Kolinisau said.

“This year we won the cup in Dubai and the plate in Cape Town. We are five points better than last year.

“We have a break now then the players have their individual training programs. We need to get our combinations right especially with the defensive structure.”

Fiji is pooled with Argentina, Wales and Japan at the Wellington 7s which will be played from January 30-31.

Kolinisau said there are no weak teams in the World Rugby HSBC Sevens World Series and the upsets in Cape Town was a testament.

“The bigger nations lost to the minor nations,” he said.

“In the series you have to take each game at a time. In South Africa we could have performed better.

“It was a bit disappointing because we had set the standard getting there. We know that the way we played against France, we gave away chances. We gave them possession and never took our chances.

“But after the game we bounced back. It is not easy to play at the level but we have got the consistency. When we lose, we learn from it,” Kolinisau said.

Meanwhile, Vodafone presented the Fiji 7s team a total of $24,000 as bonus payments for its outing in Dubai and South Africa.

$20,000 was given for winning the cup title in Dubai and $4000 was given for winning the plate title in Cape Town. Minister for Youth and Sports Laisenia Tuitubou greeted the players upon their arrival at the Nadi Airport

Tuitubou thanked the players for their efforts on behalf of the Government.

“It was good to read Ben’s note, we win together and we lose together,” he said.

“Government will support the team throughout next year. Hopefully you prepare well for Wellington and Sydney,” Tuitubou added.


33) Meninga facing court action

10:09 pm GMT+12, 16/12/2015, Papua New Guinea

Rugby league legend Mal Meninga is facing legal action after the CEO of a Papua New Guinea league promised to launch a lawsuit against the new Kangaroos coach.

The 55-year-old Queensland State of Origin great is set to be sued by Coca Cola Ipatas Cup chief executive Timothy Lepa for breaching his five-year contract with the PNGRFL, reportedly worth more than $2.5 million.

It comes after Meninga was revealed by the ARLC as the new Kangaroos head coach three days before officially tendering his resignation as Test coach and performance director of the Papua New Guinea Kumuls national team.

He was less than three years through the contract, which was originally agreed to expire at the end of the 2017 Rugby League World Cup to be held in Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.

Lepa issued a statement to declare his intent to sue Meninga and the officials at the PNGRFL involved in the rich contract.

He has indicated Meninga will be first defendant while PNGRFL chairman Sandis Tsaka is also listed as second defendant along with outgoing PNGRFL chief Brad Tassel as third defendant.

It has been reported Meninga’s contract was paid for with public money through a government fund, with Lepa indicating he is taking his legal action on behalf of the people of Papua New Guinea. “This is the first step to uncover the gross mismanagement and corruption at the PNG Rugby League,” Lepa said in a statement.

“Where tax payers money is being used to pay consultants and officials in the PNG Rugby League who have been benefiting of this money, and thus hindering the progress and development of rugby league at the Junior and grass roots level.

“Once the Court uncovers the breach in Meninga’s contract then all contracts of technical advisers and board directors in the PNG Rugby League will be tabled in court so the court can review the legality of these contracts and decide if they are legal or illegal contracts.

“Many of the PNG Rugby League business ventures are currently operational, however the profits derived from these business ventures are not being felt at the rural and grassroots level where rugby league is struggling and slowly dying.

“Most of the profits are being used by the board members and technical advisors who benefit of this thus ignoring the plight of rugby league in PNG.

“As an advocate of rugby league development in the rural leagues, rural associations are still suffering even though the National Government has pledged funding to help support and grow League in rural areas.

“This only highlights that all funding allocated is being used and mismanaged at the national level by administrators and technical advisors.”

The Papua New Guinea Rugby League is in no hurry to find a replacement for Meninga as national coach.

Meanwhile, Papua New Guinea Rugby Football League chairman Sandis Tsaka yesterday announced and confirmed that their Annual General Meeting (AGM) for this year will be held on February 27, 2016 in Port Moresby.

In a statement, Tsaka said: “The PNGRFL AGM is a very important forum where all the affiliated leagues of the PNGRFL convene to discuss the business of the PNGRFL and address important rugby league issues and programs in PNG.”

Tsaka said the PNGRFL Board would present the 2015 Annual Report highlighting all the activities and programs of the season as well as the audited financials for the year. “The PNGRFL would also present the 2016 calendar and advise the AGM and its affiliates and stakeholders on implementation of its strategic plan and importantly on the plans for the 2017 World Cup to be jointly hosted by PNG, Australia and New Zealand,” said Tsaka.

All PNGRFL affiliates are further requested to consult and to work with their respective confederates to ensure their requirements and reports are prepared and finalised and in order for them to attend the AGM, added Tsaka.

Formal notices in line with the PNGRFL Constitution will be released in due course to advise of the AGM and its business.




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