Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1150 ( Wednesday 27 January 2016 )

MELANESIA

1) Solomons PM Shown Samples Of New Electronic Passport
Malaysian company designing e-passport with chip technology

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Jan. 26, 2016) – Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare and the Minister for Commerce, Industries, Labour and Immigration Elijah Doromuala were on Friday shown samples of Solomon Islands electronic passports and given a demo on how electronic passports are produced by the IRIS Group contracted to produce electronic passports for the country.

The IRIS Group is a Malaysian company, which pioneered the world’s first electronic passport and national multi-application smart card, with the implementation of the Malaysian Electronic Passport in March 1998 and MyKAD- the Malaysian Government Multi-purpose Card in April 2001.

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Commerce, Industries, Labour and Immigration, George Kosui who accompanied the IRIS Group team along with relevant officials from the ministry said the demo shows the company’s seriousness about the e-passport project which is now half way towards completion.

“The e-passports will take about two to three months to complete and I’m pleased to say the project is half way towards completion,” Mr Kosui said.

“What we witness today demonstrates the seriousness of the Democratic Coalition for Change Government and the IRIS Group about this project,” he added.

He said e-passports are value for money because they make travelling convenient by allowing automated identity verification and faster immigration inspections.

The IRIS Group demo team said the company in consultation with the Department of Immigration has come up with the artwork for the e-passports and it is basically based on the features from the (Solomon Islands) coat of arms.

The demo team added that all the designs on the passport are unique to Solomon Islands and will therefore not be used in any foreign national e-passport.

E-passports are same as traditional passports except that they are embedded with a small integrated circuit or chip in the back cover.

The chip stores:

The same data visually displayed on the data page of the passport;
A biometric identifier in the form of a digital image of the passport photograph, which will facilitate the use of face recognition technology at ports-of-entry;
The unique chip identification number; and
A digital signature to protect the stored data from alteration.

Prime Minister Sogavare in turn thanked the IRIS Group for showing him and the Minister for Commerce, Industries, Labour and Immigration samples of the Solomon Islands e-passports.

He said he is looking forward for the completion of the e-passport project which is one of the Democratic Coalition for Change Government’s initiative to ease travelling for Solomon Islands passport-holders.

Solomon Star

POLYNESIA

2) Raiatea’s Taputapuatea Marae Put Forward As UNESCO Site
Proposed World Heritage Site approximately 1,000 years old

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Jan. 26, 2017) – France has officially lodged a bid with UNESCO to make a French Polynesia’s Taputapuatea marae a World Heritage site.

The bid was announced by the French culture minister, Fleur Pellerin.

The site on Raiatea island is a marae complex which is about 1,000 years old.

It was a centre for Polynesian seafarers from where they explored islands such as Rapa Nui, Hawaii and New Zealand.

The French application is to be first vetted at a meeting in Turkey in July before a UNESCO World heritage meeting next year.

Radio New Zealand International

MICRONESIA


3) Marshall Islands President Casten Nemra ousted

10:07 pm GMT+12, 25/01/2016, Marshall Islands

Marshall Islands newly elected president Casten Nemra has been toppled in a no confidence vote in Majuro this afternoon.

The 33 senators in the Nitijela voted 21-12 in favour of the motion, ending the shortest presidency in the history of Marshall Islands.

Nemra, who was elected to the legislature in November, was inaugurated a week ago, after winning the presidency by a one-vote margin in the 33-seat parliament earlier this month.

The opposition said the people wanted to see a change of government and that it now had a majority.

The Legislative Counsel for the Nitijela, Divine Waiti, says attention now turns to the election of a new president.

“The article 5 section 7 subsection 4 says now that if the Nitijela is not able to elect a president within 14 days then the president who is now resigned will be in power again if no president is elected within that 14 days.”

The Nitijela resumes tomorrow at 10am with the possibility of presidential nominations and an election taking place.

Reports say a motion has never been filed so soon after an inauguration, and it reflects the lack of a clear majority and shifting coalitions, rather than poor performance by Nemra.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

4) Hilda Heine Becomes First Women President Of The RMI
One week into term, Nemra ousted in no-confidence vote

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Jan. 27, 2017) – The Marshall Islands parliament has elected Hilda Heine as the country’s new president, becoming the first woman in Micronesia to head a government.

She secured 24 votes in the 33-member legislature.

Her election comes a day after a no confidence motion removed Casten Nemra, who had been sworn in last week.

[PIR editor’s note: On Jan. 26, 2016 RNZI reported that ‘The 33 senators in the Nitijela voted 21-12 in favour of the motion, ending the shortest presidency in the history of Marshall Islands. .. Mr Nemra, who was elected to the legislature in November, was inaugurated a week ago, after winning the presidency by a one-vote margin earlier this month. … Our correspondent in Majuro says a motion has never been filed so soon after an inauguration, and it reflects the lack of a clear majority and shifting coalitions, rather than poor performance by Mr Nemra.’]

Ms Heine has been the education minister and is the founder of Women United Together Marshall Islands.

The Marshall Islands had a general election in November, which saw a series of veteran politicians lose office.

Radio New Zealand International

TOK PISIN

5) Sampla Australian Advaisa istap iet long PNG

Updated 27 January 2016, 14:20 AEDT
Caroline Tiriman

Liklik laen tasol i lusim pinis PNG bihaen long gavman ibin tokaut olsem ol foran advaisa bai no nap moa wok long kantri

Ol Gavman blong Australia na Papua New Guinea nau iwok long lukluk gut ken ol wok blong ol Australian advaisa long PNG bihaen long sampla i lusim pinis kantri na kam bek long Australia.

PNG Gavman ibin tokaut long mun November 2015 olsem ol foran advaisa bai lusim wok na sopos oli laikim bai oli nap wok olsem ol Public Servants long ol gavman dipatman.

Despla progrem ibin stat long January 1 long despla yiar, tasol sampla Advaisa  istap wok iet long PNG we Gavman blong Australia na PNG iwok long traem painim gutpla wei long wokbung long despla samting.

PNG itok despla loa i no karamapim ol wokbung wantem Australia long polis fos, difens fos, Correctional Services, judiciary na  magisterial services.

Paul Barker, executive Direkta blong Institute of National Afeas long PNG itok sampla Advaisa blong Australia istap iet long PNG.ABC

6) PNG Gavman imas putim skul long Setelment

Updated 27 January 2016, 14:27 AEDT
Caroline Tiriman

Despla blong helpim ol pikinini igo skul na noken raon nating long ol streets

General Secretary blong Teachers association long Papua New Guinea i askim strong National Gavman long putim ol skul long ol settlements long helpim ol pikinini em oli save raon nating long street long kisim edukeisan.

Ugwalubu Mowana i mekim despla askim taem ol sumatin  long kantri bai go bek long skul long wik bihaen.

Toktok blong en i bihaenim tu wari blong sampla lida long communiti husat itok planti pikinini isave raon long street long ol bikpla taon olsem Port Moresby, Lae, Mount Hagaen na Goroka na ino save go skul.

Planti long ol despla pikinini isave raon na salim ol botol, ol slippers, noodles na ol kaen kaen samting blong kisim liklik moni long lukautim ol iet.

Mr Mowana itokim Radio Australia  olsem olgeta pikinini igat right long go long skul na gavman imas lukim olsem despla sevis imas stap.ABC

FRENCH

7) Brèves du Pacifique – mercredi 27 janvier 2016

Mis à jour 27 January 2016, 16:15 AEDT

Élodie Largenton

En Australie, Clive Palmer n’a pas l’intention de payer les indemnités de licenciement des 237 salariés de la raffinerie de nickel de Yabulu renvoyés, il y a dix jours.

)
Le magnat australien considère qu’il n’est pas responsable de leur sort, il n’est plus le directeur de Queensland Nickel depuis son entrée en politique en 2013, souligne-t-il. Il refuse aussi l’idée que son parti politique, le PUP, rembourse l’argent qu’il a reçu de la société ces derniers mois. Mais Clive Palmer pourrait en fait être considéré comme responsable : s’il est prouvé que le magnat minier a dirigé Queensland Nickel en coulisses, il sera alors tenu de payer les indemnités de licenciement et autres compensations. Le syndicat des travailleurs australiens a demandé à l’office de régulation des entreprises de se pencher sur la question.
Un feu de forêts menace la Tasmanie, en Australie. Une alerte a été déclenchée dans le nord-ouest de l’île. Plusieurs villages ont été évacués ; les habitants ont trouvé refuge sur la plage, pour le moment. Selon les autorités, l’incendie est hors de contrôle, et se dirige vers le sud de l’île, attisé par des vents violents. Quarante pompiers néo-zélandais sont en route vers la Tasmanie ; spécialistes des luttes anti-incendies dans les régions isolées, ils sont très attendus par leurs collègues australiens.
« Tony Abbott peut parler à qui il veut » : c’est la réponse du Premier ministre australien, Malcolm Turnbull, interrogé sur la dernière annonce qui agite le milieu politique à Canberra. L’ancien Premier ministre s’apprête à prononcer un discours aux États-Unis, dans le cadre d’une soirée organisée par l’Alliance pour la défense de la liberté, un lobby chrétien anti-avortement et anti-homosexualité. « Tony Abbott doit penser qu’il s’adressera à des gens qui ont des opinions similaires aux siennes », estime Malcolm Turnbull. C’est « décevant », se désole la sœur de Tony Abbott, Christine Forster, conseillère municipale à Sydney et militante des droits des homosexuels.
Une petite semaine et puis s’en va : le président des Îles Marshall, Casten Nemra, a été renversé hier, une semaine seulement après son investiture. C’est la présidence la plus courte de l’histoire de l’archipel micronésien. Et le Parlement marshallais continue d’écrire l’histoire : pour remplacer Casten Nemra, il a élu ce matin Hilda Heine. C’est la première femme à diriger un pays micronésien.
Controverse en Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée : le gouverneur de la province d’Oro, Gary Juffa, fait campagne contre les commerçants étrangers. Dans des vidéos qu’il publie sur les réseaux sociaux, on le voit se rendre dans des petits magasins et vérifier les visas et passeports des employés. Il se renseigne aussi sur la qualité des produits et le respect des règles d’hygiène. Une campagne fustigée par le député de la région, David Arore : « Si les gens voient le gouverneur s’en prendre aux commerçants, ils peuvent penser qu’eux aussi en ont le droit, et ils risquent ensuite d’attaquer les commerces. » Mais Gary Juffa assure que sa « priorité, c’est de protéger la population et qu’il ne va pas s’excuser pour la manière dont il remplit ce rôle ».
La sécheresse a des conséquences terribles dans les régions reculées de Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée, rapporte un spécialiste de l’agriculture papoue, Mike Bourke. Il vient de se rendre dans le pays, et raconte à la radio nationale néo-zélandaise que « des adultes meurent, des gens qui ont une vingtaine, une trentaine d’années, et qu’il y a clairement une augmentation du nombre de décès des jeunes enfants. On n’a pas de données précises, mais on a des photos terribles… C’est une immense tragédie. »L’aide a du mal à parvenir dans des villages parfois très isolés, que ce soit dans la Province ouest, à Milne Bay et dans les Hautes-Terres, explique-t-il.
Les Nations unies lancent une campagne à Nauru pour inciter les femmes à se présenter aux prochaines élections, qui doivent se tenir d’ici six mois. L’Onu a fait les comptes, et en l’espace de 36 ans, seules 31 femmes se sont portées candidates à des élections, contre 860 hommes. On retrouve cette situation dans de nombreux pays du Pacifique, mais c’est encore pire à Nauru, car l’île est petite, souligne Andrey Manu, du programme onusien pour l’égalité entre les sexes. Alors, pour changer les mentalités et pousser les femmes à s’impliquer dans la vie politique, l’Onu organise des ateliers et des sessions fictives au Parlement de Nauru.ABC

ASIA

8) Asians shiver

Abc
Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Snow, sleet and icy winds across Asia have caused deaths, flight cancellations and chaos as areas used to basking in balmier climates struggled with record-low temperatures.

Ninety weather-related deaths were reported in Taiwan and five in Japan, with tens of thousands of holidaymakers stranded in South Korea and freezing conditions in sub-tropical Hong Kong causing mayhem on its tallest peak.

While the cold snap is by no means on the scale of the weather now affecting the snow-bound eastern US, such temperatures are a novelty for many residents of the region.

Snow has been recorded in Okinawa, Japan’s southern sub-tropical island chain, as it dropped to a record low of 4 degrees Celsius, as well as the Taiwan capital, Taipei, as it dropped to near freezing.

Rare snowfall drew enthusiastic crowds to Yangmingshan National Park in its coldest snap in 44 years.

In Vietnam, temperatures in Hanoi dropped to six degrees at night over the weekend, which state-run media said was the coldest weather the country has experienced for two decades.

Mountainous areas in the country’s north, including the popular tourist town of Sapa, experienced light snow.

Some primary schools were closed in the capital on Monday, officials said.

In Bangkok, a city that rarely sees the thermometer dip below 20-25 degrees Celsius, temperatures dropped to about 16 degrees late on Sunday.

It left Thais, whose normal attire generally includes flip-flops and shorts, digging through their closets for jackets and jumpers.

Twenty-four weather stations in China recorded all-time low temperatures between Friday and Sunday.

WORLD


9) http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2016-01-27/british-eu-exit-debate-heats-up-as-new-grassroots-out-group-launches-to-push-split-before-referendum/1540579

10) http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2016-01-27/french-justice-minister-christiane-taubira-quits-over-plans-to-strip-dualnationals-citizenship/1540615

11) 1600 flights cancelled after US storm

Ap
Wednesday, January 27, 2016

NEW YORK – Airlines have cancelled 1600 flights, and another 1200 experienced delays, in the aftermath of a massive weekend blizzard that slammed into the eastern US.

Even as the airlines resumed operations, the remnants of the storm posed problems. For instance, Delta said snow continued to hamper operations at LaGuardia and Newark airports.

On Monday, airports in the New York City area and Washington DC metro areas suffered the highest number of cancellations. For some travellers in those locations, getting home continued to be an adventure.

Newark Liberty International listed 260 cancelled flights and 48 delays as of Monday afternoon, the most of any US airport, according to the flight tracking service FlightAware.

Meanwhile, LaGuardia listed 177 cancelled flights and 30 delays with John F. Kennedy airport listing 46 cancellations and 40 delays.

In Washington DC, Washington Dulles International listed 128 cancellations and five delays. Reagan National had 124 cancellations. Baltimore/Washington International listed 74 cancellations.

John Escobar, 27, finished a three-month work contract surgical technician at New York Presbyterian/Lawrence Hospital in Brooklyn on Friday and has been trying to get home to Fort Lauderdale ever since.

Mr Escobar had flights cancelled on Saturday and Sunday. He booked a flight on Monday on American Airlines, but there were no direct flights for under $US1000 ($F2180), “so I’m flying to Boston, then Charlotte, then home”.

Among the major airlines, United Airlines, which is owned by United Continental Holdings, suffered the brunt of cancellations as it has key hubs at both Newark Liberty and Washington Dulles.

There are already more than 200 flight cancellations for Tuesday, with the bulk from United Airlines’ regional carrier United Express at Washington Dulles.

Overall, airlines cancelled about 13,000 flights for the five-day period from Friday through Tuesday.

EDUCATION

12a) DEDLAEN BLONG APLAE FROM SKOLASHIP HEMI LONG FRAEDE LONG WIK IA
USP Foundation Program

**  Port Vila Scholarship Scheme  **

APPLICATION FORMS FOR
SEMESTER 1 (2016) ARE NOW AVAILABLE

The scholarships are open to all Ni-Vanuatu students enrolling in Foundation courses at USP Emalus Campus in Semester 1, 2016, who are residents of Port Vila.

Scholarships will only cover tuition fees for 1 unit per student per semester.

Scholarships will be awarded based on academic performance:
➢ on Secondary School results for students beginning Foundation-level studies
➢ on GPA for continuing Foundation-level students.

Additional criteria, to be applied at the discretion of the Selection Committee, are gender and financial circumstances of the applicant.

Application Forms are available now from the Student Academic Services Office, Emalus Campus, Port Vila, or by emailing me.

Closing date for applications: Friday 29th January 2016

Announcement of successful applicants: Friday 18th February 2016

These scholarships will be awarded from the “Port Vila Scholarship Scheme”, which has been established with funding provided by the Hon. Ralph Regenvanu, MP for Port Vila, out of his Constituency Allocation fund.

Ta, MP Ralph Regenvanu

12b) Focus now on pronunciation

Source:
The National, Wednesday January 27th, 2016

CHILDREN need to learn proper pronunciation of words before getting into elementary schools, trainer Roslyn Manas says.
Manas, who volunteers at the Numbohu Seventh Day Adventist Early Childhood in the Yangoru-Saussia district of East Sepik,said if young children could not pronounce words correctly, it would be difficult when it comes to writing.
Manas is a former banker who undertook workshops conducted by the provincial education department in Wewak for early child development and adult literacy programmes.
She stressed that many children, especially from the Numbo local level government(LLG),had difficulty pronouncing in English.
“We (SDA) started the school (Early Childhood) last year so we could help the children speak English and help them grow up in the church,” she said.
“We are also running literacy programmes for adults and will recommence in April after completing a classroom for the children.”
“Our challenge is school materials like slates, chalks, dusters, pencils and etc for the children and classroom space.”
“But we are pushing through with the programme with help from the church and our LLG (Numbo),” she said.

POLITIC

13) Don’t expect much from gov’t, says Kwaiga

Published: 26 January 2016

MALAITA Province should not expect the national government to deliver any of the big projects it promised the province, this year.

That’s according to Malaita Provincial Assembly ward seven member Leslie Kwaiga.

“The budgetary provisions under the national budget did not make any remarkable changes at all,” Mr Kwaiga said.

“The provisions remained the same as it were in the previous budgets,” he added.

Mr Kwaiga called on the National Government to honestly explain the purposes of its budgetary provisions for the National Projects on Malaita as it does not cater for establishment of the required infrastructures and establishment such the Tuna loin factory at Suava Bay or the duty free port at Bina Harbour.

“Seemingly budgetary mechanism of the DCC government for this financial year does not state projects earmarked for the province.”

Mr Kwaiga explained that the allocation of between $5million to $10 million to these National Projects are merely annual estimates for costs of consultation and scoping studies normally undertaken by the public servants or their appointed agents.

“There was never an allocation for the establishment of these national infrastructures intended for the nominated sites.”

“Obviously the National Government does not have resources to build these national projects and it is an evitable fact that in order for these national projects to kick off the ground and come to fruition, foreign assistance and funds is required.

“And this is where foreign investors play a pivotal role in developing our national infrastructures and establishing economic activities at earmarked locations for the so-called national projects.” Mr Kwaiga said.

The lawyer and Provincial member suggested an alternative to the DCCG to remove the nearly $100 million allocated to the 14 National Members of Parliament representing Malaita to commence one of those national projects.

“Pull all those funds allocated and let’s start one project given all processes are set.”

By TEDDY KAFO/Solomon Star.

14) UN To Observe Vetting Of New Caledonia’s Electoral Roll
Kanak leaders insist 3,000 people should be removed

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Jan. 27, 2017) – France has invited United Nations observers to assist in the vetting of New Caledonia’s electoral roll, which Kanak leaders have said is rigged.

The territory is on track for an independence referendum by 2018, which is open to long-term residents only.

Kanak leaders insist there are still more than 3,000 people on the roll who are ineligible to vote because they fail to meet the residency requirements.

The issue has been contentious and prompted the French prime minister Manuel Valls to convene New Caledonia’s leaders last June to change the make-up of the commissions vetting the rolls.

The High Commissioner in Noumea has told the public broadcaster that 13 UN observers are invited in March to be with the 13 French magistrates checking the roll.

2018 will be the last year of the 20-year Noumea Accord to decolonise the territory.

15) Kanak party opposed to third New Caledonia accord
9:59 pm GMT+12, 25/01/2016, New Caledonia

A key party within New Caledonia’s pro-independence umbrella group says it is against another deal to succeed the 1998 Noumea Accord which expires in two years.

The Accord was signed by the pro- and anti-independence sides and the French state, setting out a phased and irreversible decolonisation plan which is to culminate and expire with an referendum on independence.

The head of the Melanesian Progressive Union, Victor Tutugoro, says he still wants to adhere to the Noumea Accord amid indications from parties across the political spectrum that they lean towards seeking a new accord.

Last year, the anti-independence politician Pierre Frogier called for a new accord to avoid rekindling tension because it is widely believed that a majority is against independence, which would quash separatists’ aspirations.

The unrest of the 1980s was contained when the 1988 Matignon Accords were signed for a ten-year period, and they were then followed by the Noumea Accord.

Paris has insisted that it will organise a referendum in 2018 as set out in the accord.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWSRadio New Zealand International

16) Lawyer: Climate Of Fear Prevents Overseas Fijians From Returning
Eight people granted refugee status in New Zealand last year

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Jan. 26, 2017) – A lawyer in Fiji says dozens of Fijians in New Zealand are afraid of returning home because of a climate of fear.

Immigration figures show the number of Fijians seeking asylum in New Zealand topped all other groups for the fifth time in ten years.

Last year, 28 Fijians in New Zealand applied for refugee status, and eight were approved, the highest number since the prime minister Frank Bainimarama’s coup in 2006.

A lawyer working in Fiji, Aman Ravindra-Singh, says despite elections in 2014, the government has only consolidated its power.

“The climate of fear which has existed since the military takeover in 2006 is still the same. People face charges simply if they show opposition. There have been some deaths, numerous amounts of people who are badly beaten, brutalised, tortured. And this is what a regime does to gain full control over its population and at the same time surpress any opposition.”

Mr Ravindra-Singh says asylum-seekers who are forced to return to Fiji have to keep a low profile.

Radio New Zealand International

17) http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2016-01-27/transparency-international-vanuatu-says-election-was-not-clean-in-some-outer-islands/1540583

18) Political instability

Rnzi
Wednesday, January 27, 2016

DESPITE widespread hopes that this election would bring an end to decades of political instability, a leading Vanuatu politician says the next parliament is likely to be unsettled as well.

While final results from Friday’s snap election are yet to be confirmed, preliminary results suggest there will be a record ten independent MPs in the 52-seat house, and 17 political parties — although eight of these have just one MP.

Joe Natuman, whose Vanua’aku Pati is part of the United Front for Change bloc that hopes to form the government, says no party will be able to form a solid majority on current results.

He says whoever forms the next government will have to work with a large number of independents, and again deal with instability.

LAND

19) Firm acquires land for LNG

Source:
The National, Wednesday January 27th, 2016

LANDOWNER company Laba Holdings Limited has acquired 388.89 hectares of land at Boera in Central in anticipation of the second liquefied natural gas.
It took over the land Portion 2747 (now known as Laba land) during a land title presentation from the Government yesterday.
Company chairman Raho Kevau said Laba had shown what could be achieved by landowner companies on almost any scale.
“The land we stand on is in many ways the heart of economic development in PNG for the current and future generations,” he said.
“We expect billions of kina to be invested in this area in developing projects.
“The title acquisition is a great step for Laba and the landowners as it represents development, opportunity, growth and long term sustainability.”

 20) Fiji Landowners Claim Property Leased Without Permission

Allegedly no consent given to iTaukei Land Trust Board

By Serafina Silaitoga

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Jan. 27, 2016) – A landowning unit is baffled about a decision made by the iTaukei Land Trust Board (TLTB) to allegedly renew a lease without their consent.

The mataqali Korolevu of Nabukadogo Village in Macuata have expressed disappointment over the alleged decision labelling it “unnecessary”.

Mataqali spokesman Tevita Manamana said they only found out about the renewal of lease after the new lessee arrived to clear their land.

“One of our members lives on the land. So imagine having a landowner sitting on his own land and a visitor or the lessee, without our consent, walks in to do as he pleases on our land,” he said.

“How would any landowner feel? When you have no say on your own land and TLTB renews a lease without our consent is unacceptable.

“Majority of our members have not given consent and we have also complained to the Prime Minister’s office about this issue.”

Questions sent to TLTB headquarters last year and last week have remained unanswered despite several reminders via e-mail.

Mr Manamana said their land contained 37 acres of native forest and hardwood trees of market value.

“As a mataqali, land has been distributed for settlement and utilisation among members and most family members are in Viti Levu for education and work purposes.

He claimed this practice had become a habit of the TLTB on the mataqali land.

Several clan members he claimed had been relocated.

“The TLTB, as custodian of native land should protect its interest ensure due diligent process and decisions should be based on sound and effective judgement.”

Fiji Times Online.

BUSINESS


21) Ramu NiCo staff told to resume work

Source:
The National, Wednesday January 27th, 2016

THE Department of Labour and Industrial Relations has advised all Ramu NiCo employees to resume work immediately because they failed to follow industrial relations processes and procedures.
In a letter to Ramu Nico dated January 22, 2016, senior inspector Paul Wartovo said: “All members of the Union are to resume work immediately and allow the union executives and the management of Ramu NiCo to seek the department’s intervention on the matter.”
The instruction was issued following a protest last Friday.
Ramu NiCo Management (MCC) Ltd also instructed its employees to return to work immediately as the industrial action failed to comply with Ramu Nickel Project Operations Industrial Award 2014 and “betrays the trust established between the union and the company”

22) Four Pacific cultural businesses to exhibit in New York trade show

10:16 pm GMT+12, 25/01/2016, Fiji

For the first time ever, four small businesses from the Pacific will join 500 companies from around the globe in showcasing their products at the Winter 2016 Artisan Resources @ NYNOW Tradeshow in the United States of America, when it opens at the end of this month.

Plantation House (Samoa), Nautilus Books & Gifts (Solomon Islands), Sigavou Studios (Fiji) and Rise Beyond The Reef (Fiji) have been selected to participate at the event, following a competitive process involving over 50 applications from Fiji, Samoa and Solomon Islands.

Plantation House is a home décor, accessories and fashion business using hand printed elei fabric infused with Pacific inspired designs. The designer and owner behind Plantation House is Marita Wendt.

Nautilus Books & Gifts is a retail and wholesale business in Solomon Islands that specialises in high quality Solomon Islands carving, buka ware baskets and shell money jewellery. Nautilus is owned and managed by husband and wife team, Naomi Tozaka and Richard Majchrzak.

Sigavou Studios, run by Fijian artist Maria Rova, creates original, hand-painted artwork on Fijian masi (barkcloth) made by women from Ekubu village on the remote island of Vatulele in Southern Fiji. Maria works with a team of young emerging artists and studio technicians who assist with the design and production of hand-painted limited edition art on barkcloth and silk.

Rise Beyond the Reef, a Fijian non-profit, works with rural women through their Traditional Contemporary Arts & Crafts Income Generating Program. The programme provides rural remote women with an opportunity to practice their traditional skills and earn a sustainable income to support their families.

The opportunity to showcase Pacific-made creative art in a new market is made possible with the financial support of the European Union and the assistance of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States through the “Enhancing the Pacific Cultural Industries: Fiji, Samoa and Solomon Islands” project.

The project is managed by the Pacific Community (SPC) in collaboration with the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS), the Fiji Ministry of Education, Heritage and Arts, Samoa Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture and Solomon Islands Ministry of Culture and Tourism along with the Fiji Arts Council, Samoa Arts Council and Solomon Islands Arts Alliance.

The trade mission aims to develop the profile of Pacific cultural producers in the international market while exposing selected enterprises to international market trends, buyer demands and export distribution expectations.

The Pacific trade mission to New York is being implemented in partnership with ByHand Consulting, a US-based consulting firm that is a key advisor to Artisan Resource.

ByHand supported SPC and PIFS in the selection process and have provided critical guidance to the selected businesses in preparation for the show. The company will also run a pre-show e-marketing campaign and assist with buyer meetings during the event.

The Artisan Resources @ NYNOW Tradeshow will take place in New York from 31 January to 3 February, 2016. The popular tradeshow is held twice a year in New York City and attracts over 30,000 buyers from over 80 countries.

SOURCE: SPC/PACNEWS

INFRASTRUCTURE

23) Solomon Airlines to maintain Port Vila services
9:21 pm GMT+12, 26/01/2016, Solomon Islands

Solomon Airlines has announced it will continue to operate its services into and out of Bauerfield International Airport, Port Vila, as normal.

In a statement released by the airline, General Manager Operations & Commercial, Gus Kraus said Solomon Airlines had conducted an immediate review of the airport’s runway and concluded conditions were safe from a flight operational perspective.

“Passengers and crew safety remain an absolute priority for Solomon Airlines and if there was ever any doubt, we would act accordingly,” Kraus said.

“Hence our decision to immediately carry out our own review of the runway which in part was done in consultation with our Airbus A320 Manager International Flight Operations and  Flight Examiner when they flew through Port Vila to Nadi on Saturday afternoon and again by senior pilots returning on Sunday.

“Our conclusion is that the runway is safe and we will continue to maintain operations with our flagship Airbus A320 into and out of the airport on its normal weekly schedule.

“We are working very closely with our Melanesian aviation colleagues and codeshare partner Air Vanuatu in Port Vila and have also received information from the Director of Civil Aviation in Vila that gives us some comfort in our decision although we will continue to monitor the situation and act on any changed circumstances.

“If for any reason the situation changes, we will take appropriate action at that time.

“We urge the authorities in Port Vila to also take the necessary steps of upgrading the runway conditions to ensure all airlines resume operations for the benefit of the Vanuatu people and industry and its future tourism development, said Kraus.

SOURCE: SOLOMON STAR/PACNEWS

24) Firm signs K87m Komo road project

Source:
The National, Wednesday January 27th, 2016

By CHARLES MOI
KOMO-Margarima MP Francis Potape says that the Nogoli-Komo  road upgrading and sealing project is a miracle for his people in Hela.
Potape made this remarks at Government House in Port Moresby yesterday after Hela Roads Joint Venture Limited signed a contract with the state for the 45km road project worth K87.4 million.
Acting Governor-General and Parliament Speaker Theo Zurenouc officiated the signing ceremony with Works Secretary David Wereh and heads of the Hela Roads JV Limited.
“This will be the first sealed road that the landowners will ever touch,” Potape told reporters.
He said he believed the road project would help improve health, education, law and order in the area.
He thanked the Government for honouring its commitment to fund the road project.
“We got more roads to be sealed, but at least this is a good beginning,” Potape said.
Works Minister Francis Awesa who was also present at the signing ceremony said the road project would begin as soon as the contractor received the mobilisation funds.
Awesa said it was the intention of the Government to build reliable road infrastructure in Hela, adding major project were in the province including the Hides gas.

LAW&ORDER

25) Focus on worst affected drought areas: Coordinator

Source:
The National, Wednesday January 27th, 2016

THE focus of the drought should now be on the worst-affected areas or hot spots, says church partnership programme drought coordinator Mathew Kanua.
Kanua, a former Department of Agriculture and Livestock secretary, was commenting on the Government’s relief effort to date.
“These really remote areas are the worst-affected,” he said.
“They (Government) really need to start at the back and think of these rural people in the communities in the bush.”
Kanua said a case in point was Nomad in Western which was reported in The National last week as being affected by famine and starvation.
“These places are really remote,” he said.
“Some high altitude areas that I visited are very remote.”
“These are people who are badly affected and need help which is not getting to them.”
“Government agencies really need to go out and visit them.”
Kanua called on the department and its agencies, as well as National Agriculture Research Institute, to be “proactive”.
“They’ve got to act quickly to mitigate the problems of the frost, drought and agriculture-related problems,” he said.
Kanua said this included planting material and insect infestation of garden crops after the rain.
“If we don’t do those, we will needlessly prolong the suffering and the hunger of those people, probably by another six to 12 months.
“That’s really urgent.”

Therefore, an immediate action should be taken to stop more people from starving and eventually die,” he said.

CLIMATE CHANGE

26) Sea wall plea from villagers

Repeka Nasiko
Wednesday, January 27, 2016

TWO villages along the Co­ral Coast have asked Government to assist in the construction of sea walls.

Votua and Komave villagers encounter the eroding shorelines and rising tides daily, which they attribute to climate change.

Komave Village headman Josaia Totonavosa said the problem of sand erosion was becoming evident each passing year.

“We have the impact of climate change and we are one village that is being affected by sand erosion,” he said.

“The waves are coming closer and a few of our homes are very close to the beach.”

Komave villager Sokoveti Vukenagauna said the issue of sand erosion faced had already been raised in the media.

“Our story came out in The Fiji Times last year and after that we were approached by some Government officials to make a formal request for a sea wall,” she said.

Votua villager Epeli Varara made a similar plea to Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.Fijitimes

MINING

27) PM: Mining will take Fiji forward

AVINESH GOPAL
Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Update: 5:38PM PRIME Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says mining is one of the areas that will take Fiji forward.

Mr Bainimarama made the comment while handing over the lease to Tuvatu Gold Mine in Sabeto, Nadi this afternoon.

“We will be revising our policy and institutional framework for mining and quarrying to update antiquated legislation so that responsible mining and mineral exploration and mining companies will work with us,” he said.

“I hope Tuvatu can be a model of what we can achieve economically, socially and environmentally.”Fijitimes

SPORT

28) PNG Women’s Soccer Team Misses Olympic Qualifying Match In NZ
FIFA may fine team after visas were not secured to make trip

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Jan. 27, 2016) –The world soccer body, FIFA, has opened a disciplinary case against the Papua New Guinea Football Association whose women’s team failed to travel to New Zealand for the Olympic qualifying playoff scheduled on Tuesday.

The incident is embarrassing for FIFA vice-president David Chung, who leads the Papua New Guinea Football Association and the Oceania Confederation, the Associated Press news service reported from Zurich yesterday.

Chung, who is also PNG Football Association president, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Sports Minister Justin Tkatchenko said it was disappointing to see the women’s team miss out on the second leg of the Oceania Football Confederation’s Olympic qualifying match.

Papua New Guinea lost 7-1 in the first leg in Lae last Saturday.

New Zealand media reported that visa issues were blamed for the visiting team not travelling for the return match in Auckland.

FIFA did not give a reason on Monday when confirming in a statement that the playoff second leg was cancelled.

New Zealand now advances to represent Oceania at the 12-team Rio de Janeiro Olympics tournament in August.

Papua New Guinea faces being fined and suspended from future FIFA competitions.

Port Moresby is also due to host the Women’s Under-20 World Cup for FIFA from November 13 to December 3.

It qualifies automatically to play in that tournament as the home team.

PNGFA technical director Taku Niebo said most of the players’ visas were not processed in time for them to travel to New Zealand on Monday.

Niebo said the visa applications was launched last week Monday, five days prior to travel but were not approved in time.

“Five girls had to get passports and this also delayed the process as we wanted to launch all visa applications together. Unfortunately the visa was not ready in time for the team to travel,” he said.

PNG Post-Courier

29) Fiji 7s focus in Wellington

9:35 pm GMT+12, 26/01/2016, New Zealand

Winning the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series Wellington 7s title will put the national Vodafone Fiji 7s team on the right track to create history of winning the 7s Series title for two consecutive years.

While the target is to get the maximum points at the coming Wellington and Sydney tournaments, head coach Ben Ryan said winning the 7s series would set a good platform for the Rio Olympics.

“I would not say the Wellington 7s is crucial as we got a long road in front of us,” said Ryan.

“We have eight more tournaments on the world series and then we have the Olympics.

“Everything to me is towards Rio obviously we want to defend the world sevens series title and the plan is to go to Rio as the number one team in the world.

“And to do that we got to be consistent in these two tournaments for at least 35 series points in the next two tournaments.

“We are six points the way were last year and I don’t want to lose more than one game.

“My priority is improvement.”

Ryan said selecting his starting line-up would be a challenge because of the abundance of 7s talents in the side.

“It is a challenge in trying to get the line-up.”

“I look at combination as well when you look at what scenario you are in.

“If someone gets injured in the first game who is coming in and what the teams looks like.

“Also I look at what happens when we play a more physical team like New Zealand or a quicker team like the USA or South Africa and how do we deal with it with what we have in the group.

“There are some technical thoughts around it and on top of that some of our young guns such as Sevu (Sevuloni Mocenawai) if he continues like for the next eight tournaments to give him two minutes here and two minutes there I am not gonna know coming to Rio if he is good enough to give some good results.

“We need to use him more likewise the other new boys and the risks is, we may not have the performance we need if we put in more of these young boys at the same time but the bigger picture is Rio, that is where my thoughts are,” he added.

Fiji is pooled with Argentina, Wales and Japan in the Wellington tournament this weekend.

SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

30) Serena in semis

Aap
Wednesday, January 27, 2016

MELBOURNE – Six-times champion Serena Williams has stormed into the Australian Open semi-finals, extending her run of dominance over Maria Sharapova to 18 matches.

Williams wasn’t always at her best yesterday and spoke with the doctor and trainer during a lopsided second set.

But the world No.1 did more than enough to silence Sharapova 6-4 6-1 in one hour and 32 minutes on Rod Laver Arena.

Williams will step up her bid for an open-era record-equalling 22nd grand slam title tomorrow when she faces Agnieszka Radwanska for a place in Saturday’s decider.

Sharapova hadn’t beaten Williams since 2004 but started the 2015 Open final rematch in fine style.

Williams dropped four straight points to be broken in the opening game, with Sharapova holding for a 2-0 lead.

The response was as powerful as it was predictable.

The animated top seed broke back and sent down a 202km/h serve, the fastest of the tournament, as things started to get interesting with Williams leading 4-3.

Sharapova twice double-faulted en route to 0-40 but won the next five points to make it 4-4.

For the first time in the tournament, it was Williams’ turn to sweat.

The 34-year-old stared down two break points in a 14-point service game, finally edging ahead for 5-4.

Williams broke for a second time to take the first set in 55 minutes but it was clear something wasn’t quite right with the powerful American.

She mucked up three set points, twice thundering a return into the net.

w: www.voiceofmelanesia.com

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