Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1053 ( Monday 8 February )

MELANESIA

1) Juffa urges landowners to help in rebuilding

Source:
The National, Monday February 8th, 2016

NORTHERN Governor Gary Juffa has called on landowners in the disaster affected areas to help the provincial government restore normalcy.
Juffa, who made a short visit last Friday to assess the situation, said damage to roads and bridges was quite enormous and would take a while for services to return to normal.
To date, there are no wet crossings built for the damaged bridges. The Girua Airport remains closed as the provincial authorities continue their negotiations with the landowners in the disaster-affected areas of Girua and Haijo.
It is understood that landowners of Girua and Haijo did not allow the  building of the wet crossings for motorists to reach the Oro Bay-Popondetta highway.
Juffa had visited the province starting from Kokoda, stopped at Kumusi bridge, then continued on to Oro Bay and into Popondetta.
Juffa asked the landowners to let work begin on restoring services to the province. According to a situation report released by the Northern provincial disaster committee, major road infrastructure connecting the sea port of Oro Bay, the airport of Girua into Popondetta town and other satellites have been damaged.
The temporary Girua Bailey Bridge has collapsed, isolating the town from the port of Oro Bay and the Girua Airport.
Haijo, a permanent structure bridge linking the airport of Girua and surrounding areas to the township of Popondetta, has also been damaged.
The report said movement of traffic from the township of Popondetta to these vital ports had been disrupted.
The Saiho culvert along the Kokoda highway was washed away, leaving a wide impassable trench.
Reports from Kokoda Highway revealed that Kumusi Bridge was on the verge of collapsing, while Eiwo and Ilimo Bridges had their foundations eroded by flood waters.
Small creeks along both highways burst their banks, leaving debris along the national highways.

2) Jakarta accused of staging Papua arms find – The Free Papua Movement has denied that hundreds of rounds of ammunition, firearms and explosives confiscated by police during a raid on Wednesday night belonged to the organisation, accused instead the authorities of staging the arms find. In the raids police seized 241 rounds of ammunition, two firearms and a replica gun, four pipe-bombs, a flag of the West Papua National Committee, a laptop and a mobile phone. The Free Papua Movement, or OPM, spokesman, Saul Bomay, says the group does not have the funds to purchase such an amount of weaponry, and the raid was set up by the security forces to increase tension in Papua.
http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/295985/jakarta-accused-of-staging-papua-arms-find

 3) Two weeks remain for flag submissions –  Only two weeks remain before the submissions for the new flag entry comes to an end. Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says the deadline for flag submissions has been extended until February 29th. The final five flag designs will be announced in March before the public will be consulted on their preferences.
http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/37276/two-weeks-remain-for-flag-submissions#sthash.ZVd9utFp.dpuf

 POLYNESIA

4) Tongan teenage bride links to ISIS terrorists in Australia revealed

3:51 pm GMT+12, 07/02/2016, Australia

Tongan teenage bride links to ISIS terrorists in Australia revealed

SYDNEY, 08 FEBRUARY 2016  (KANIVA NEWS) —- A Tongan teenage woman Alo-Bridget Namoa the wife of a western Sydney man charged with terror-related offences has been arrested.

A Sydney teenage bride who allegedly boasted of wanting to “do an Islamic Bonnie and Clyde” has been refused bail.

Alo-Bridget Namoa, from Guildford in Sydney’s west, appeared at Parramatta Local Court via videolink on Saturday facing 31 charges of refusing to answer questions at a Crime Commission hearing.

The 18-year-old was hauled before the commission on Friday after her husband Sameh Bayda was charged with three counts of collecting documents likely to facilitate terrorist acts in January.

The court heard Namoa refused to answer dozens of questions about Bayda’s alleged plans to sacrifice himself and “leave this dunya”, downloading Islamic State propaganda and planning to commit a terrorist act.

Senior police prosecutor Clint Nasr said Namoa had allegedly earlier been caught with a knife wrapped in a Shahada flag in her handbag and graphic images of beheadings, explosions and executions stored on her mobile phone.

According to court documents, among the questions Namoa was asked by the commission were, “What do you mean by ‘I want to do an Islamic Bonnie and Clyde on the kaffir’?” and “Were you planning to sacrifice your life alongside your husband?”

The court heard Namoa was bound by law to answer all questions, given multiple chances and warned of the consequences if she failed to do so.

Sergeant Nasr said underlying the 31 charges was a disturbing pattern of extreme behaviour.

“The court needs to look behind the charges,” he said.

“There is a concern she is a supporter of ISIS.

“The accused was up to her eyeballs in what her husband was up to.”

The 18-year old married Bayda in December after converting from Christianity to Islam.

Namoa’s legal aid representative, who did not want to be named, said that if released her client would live with her Catholic mother in Auburn, not contact any Muslim people or visit any mosques, and report to police.

The court heard Namoa was a fragile teen who suffered from anxiety and would be closely monitored if granted conditional bail.

“This is a woman that’s going to be more watched in the community than the usual habitual thief,” her lawyer said.

But Magistrate George Zdenkowski said Namoa faced serious charges and described the potential threat to the public through terrorist acts as extreme.

“It’s an unusual situation, a young woman, with no prior record would normally be released on conditional bail,” Zdenkowski said.

“Because of the danger, the alleged danger, to the public and her links to her partner and references to acts of violence, I shall refuse bail.”

Namoa is expected to face Central Local Court on Thursday, February 11.

SOURCE: KANIVA NEWS/PACNEWS

5) Nominations for Samoa general elections open today as Opposition secures 79 candidates
9:30 pm GMT+12, 07/02/2016, Samoa

Nominations for next month’s general elections in Samoa opened today.

The ruling Human Rights Protection Party is fielding more than 100 candidates for the 49 seat parliament.

The Opposition party, Tautua Samoa has secured 79 candidates who filled their nominations forms and sworn in for their party allegiance last Friday.

Tautua Samoa Party Secretary, Ken Lameta said they are expecting more candidates this week.

The Opposition Party held 12 seats in the last Parliament and the government 37.

Lameta told Talamua that after filling the nomination forms, nominees are then sworn on the Bible by the party lawyer Papali’i Li’o Masepa’u.

The Secretary also confirmed that the party will officially launch their manifesto and announce their candidates on the 16th February 2016.

Meanwhile, after months of denials, Tautua party whip Lealailepule Rimoni Aiafi finally crossed to the ruling party camp last Friday.

Lealailepule attended the HRPP party meeting last Friday and the  timing of his move follows the dissolution of parliament. He had not been seen at Tautua party media briefings for several months..

SOURCE: TALAMUA ONLINE/PACNEWS

6) Samoa’s Talofa Airways expected to launch by April

8 Feb 2015

A new airline based in Samoa’s capital, Talofa Airways, is expected to begin operating by April.

Our correspondent in Apia, Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia, said the airline was expected to fly domestically, and to American Samoa, Tonga and Niue.

He said it had been reported a company representative was in the United States to negotiate the use of two small aircraft.

Autagavaia said a new airline would be very beneficial for the country’s tourism industry.

“Having another airline to operate from here, not only between the two Samoas but other Pacific islands will be of benefit to travellers. The more airlines we have the good competition, and the more benefits for the travellers – they will compete and put their fares as low as they can.”

Our correspondent in American Samoa, Fili Sagapolutele, said the new airline had approached officials in Pago Pago for office space at the international airport there.RNZI

MICRONESIA


7) Kiribati seeks change in next presidential elections

9:26 pm GMT+12, 07/02/2016, Kiribati

A former Kiribati President says people in the country want a change in leadership.

MP Teburoro Tito, who will now serve his last term in parliament, said the opposition’s presidential candidate, Taaneti Mamau was the most suitable to lead Kiribati.

Tito acknowledged the efforts of the outgoing President Anote Tong who, he said, put Kiribati on the world map with his efforts to fight climate change.

However, he said although Tong made a big difference internationally, domestic matters suffered.

“That’s the mood of the day, I mean, people want a change. The change is overdue, 12 years is rather too long. And of course, people have seen many things going down – the economy, the employment, the standard of education and the quality of health. So people are very in the mood for change,” he said.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

8) Nobel Peace Prize nomination for former Marshall Islands foreign minister Tony de Brum – The former Foreign Minister of Marshall Islands has been nominated for the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize for his role in bringing lawsuits against nine nuclear-armed countries. The Marshall Islands filed the landmark cases at the International Court of Justice in April 2014, arguing that all nine countries had breached their obligations under international law by failing to pursue negotiations on nuclear disarmament. Nominated by the International Peace Bureau, its secretary general Colin Archer says his organisation has been impressed by the courage shown by Tony de Brum and his team of lawyers.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-08/nobel-peace-prize-nomination-for-former-marshall/7147896

 9) U.S. Customs Prepares For Festival Of Pacific Arts In Guam
Thousands of visitors expected to May event

By Jerick Sablan

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Feb. 8, 2016) – U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Guam said it is preparing for the increase in passengers for the Festival of the Pacific Arts in May.

Mark Pablo, supervisory CPB officer and public affairs liaison, said U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Guam has reached out to stakeholders.

The discussion centered on documentary requirements for travelers that could cause delays upon arrival due to the inspection process.

Guam Del. Madeleine Bordallo has expressed concerns in a letter Wednesday to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection commissioner about long wait times at the island’s airport. She asked for additional support for the upcoming Festival of Pacific Arts.

Bordallo requested CBP add officers to Guam to accommodate the thousands of additional visitors who are anticipated to take part in FestPac, which runs from May 22 to June 4.

The cultural festival is held every four years and brings together nations from around the Pacific region.

In her letter to Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske, Bordallo raised concerns that the current CBP force in Guam might not have the resources and personnel to adequately manage visitor arrivals.

Adding officers to Guam would be consistent with CBP practice for other locations in the U.S. mainland and Hawaii to accommodate large sporting and civic events, she wrote.

FestPac will bring 27 Pacific island nations and territories to Guam with 2,500 cultural practitioners, performers and artists, officials estimate an additional 10,000 supporters also will come to the event, she wrote.

Bordallo also requested CBP address long wait times at the airport by providing automated kiosks that could expedite foreign visitors who have registered with traveler programs, such as Guam’s ESTA program. ESTA, or Electronic System for Travel Authorization, is a system that helps determine whether a person is eligible to travel to the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program, according to Homeland Security.

Bordallo noted that similar technologies have been deployed to other international airports, such as Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C. and O’Hare International Airport in Chicago.

Pablo said CBP officers work in conjunction with Discover Guam employees and airline staff in assisting travelers upon their arrival.

“CBP communicates with the airlines officials to provide appropriate staffing,” he said.

Global Entry

In addition to the staffing of CBP officers, CBP Guam has in operation four Global Entry kiosks.

Global Entry is a voluntary expedited clearance program for preapproved, low-risk international travelers coming into the U.S., he said.

CBP opened its Global Entry enrollment center in Guam in May 2014, providing a very convenient location for frequent international travelers to complete their Global Entry application.

He said in general, CPB Guam does ensure the appropriate number of officers are available during peak and non-peak hours.

He said Bordallo’s inquiry has been forwarded to CBP headquarters’ for response.

ON THE NET

More information about Global Entry can be found at http://www.cbp.gov/travel/trusted-traveler-programs/global-entry.

Pablo said people have the opportunity to see what wait times are at various airports including Guam athttp://awt.cbp.gov.

Pacific Daily News

TOK PISIN

10) PNG Famili idai bihaenim Sanguma tokwin

Updated 8 February 2016, 14:36 AEDT
Caroline Tiriman

Igat askim olsem Gavman imas wokbung wantem communiti long daonim despla pasin blong kilim nating ol pipal

Memba blong Parliament  Member blong  Sinasina- Yonggamugl long  Papua New Guine  Simbu Province  i askim strong  National Gavman na olgeta laen long kantri imas wok strong long tsopim pasin blong kilim nating ol narapla bihaenim tokwin blong Sanguma.

Former Minister blong Justice, Kerenga Kua i mekim despla toktok tede bihaen long sampla ibin kilim wanpla femili em oli sutim tok long ol long mekim Sanguma long wanpla man husat ibin drown long Lae Morobe province long last weekend.

Oli bin kamapim Death Penalty loa taem Mr Kua ibin wok olsem  Justice Minister long  2013 blong traem stopim ol pipal isave kmapim ol bikpla crime olsem, Wilfull Murder, Rape na ol narapla samting ken.

Mr Kua husat i kam tu long  Simbu province itokim  Radio Australia olsem despla pasin blong kilim nating ol narapla bihaenim tokwin blong sorcery igo bikpla long wonem ol pipal i lus tingting long luksave long wanpla narpla.ABC

FRENCH

11) Brèves du Pacifique – lundi 8 février 2016

Mis à jour 8 February 2016, 16:38 AEDT

Élodie Largenton

  • En Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée, le travail va reprendre dans la mine Ok Tedi.
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La production avait été suspendue en juillet dernierà cause de la sécheresse causée par la présence d’El Nino : le niveau du fleuve Fly était trop bas pour permettre aux bateaux de transporter les métaux. Ces dernières semaines, de fortes pluies se sont abattues sur la région, ce qui devrait permettre de relancer la production le mois prochain. Les propriétaires de la mine affirment avoir profité de la fermeture du site pour entretenir et améliorer les installations.
  • Au Vanuatu, une association de l’industrie touristique menace de porter plainte contre les compagnies aériennes néo-zélandaise et australiennes qui refusent de desservir l’archipel tant que la piste de l’aéroport de Port-Vila n’est pas réparée. « Tout le monde perd de l’argent. Il y en a un qui a déjà perdu un million de dollars », affirme Alan Elvidge, secrétaire et trésorier de cette association regroupant des hôtels, des resorts, des tours-opérateurs et des restaurants. Pour ces entreprises très dépendantes du tourisme, la décision des compagnies aériennes est infondée : Alan Elvidge brandit « l’enquête indépendante » menée par l’entreprise australienne Airport Consultancy Group, selon laquelle la sécurité des passagers est garantie, même si des travaux sont effectivement nécessaires.
  • Le Premier ministre des Îles Tonga a reçu des menaces de mort par téléphone. Mais ces appels ne semblent pas inquiéter Akilisi Pohiva, qui refuse d’embaucher des gardes pour assurer sa sécurité 24h sur 24. En 2011, le Premier ministre tongien avait dû quitter sa maison avec sa famille après avoir reçu des menaces de mort, rapportent les médias locaux.
  • L’Australie étend son programme de travailleurs saisonniers : les îliens du Pacifique pourront désormais travailler dans des élevages, des fermes céréalières et des exploitations mixtes. Autre changement : ils pourront revenir chaque année. Les travailleurs des Tuvalu, des Kiribati et de Nauru seront autorisés à rester neuf mois en Australie, le transport étant compliqué et cher. Les Fidjiens, Papous, Samoans, Salomonais, Tongiens et Vanuatais peuvent, eux, travailler six mois. L’an dernier, la Banque mondiale avait pointé du doigt le système australien : bien souvent, les fermiers préfèrent embaucher à moindre coût de jeunes voyageurs européens et asiatiques au détriment des travailleurs du Pacifique. L’institution avait recommandé au gouvernement australien de rendre l’obtention de visa plus compliquée pour les backpakers, ce qui a été fait. Les autorités ont, en outre, fortement augmenté les impôts des routards, ce qui devrait en dissuader certains de travailler dans les fermes.
  • L’Australie propose son aide à Julian Assange. Au cours d’un déplacement en Angleterre, la ministre des Affaires étrangères, Julie Bishop, a rencontré les avocats du cofondateur australien de WikiLeaks. « Arbitrairement détenu par le Royaume-Uni et la Suède », selon un groupe de travail des Nations unies, Julian Assange pourra bénéficier de l’aide du consulat australien de Londres s’il le souhaite, annonce Julie Bishop. Mais en Australie, Julian Assange ne fait pas l’unanimité : « Il n’est pas un héros », ont ainsi déclaré le ministre Christopher Pyne et le député travailliste Richard Marles sur Sky News, samedi. Selon eux, Julian Assange a mis des gens en danger, y compris des fonctionnaires australiens.
  • Quelle réponse donner aux États-Unis, qui ont mis fin au traité sur le thon du Pacifique sud, le mois dernier ? Neuf pays de la région se réunissent, cette semaine, aux Fidji, pour en discuter. Le conflit porte sur les licences de pêche et, pour le moment, l’agence des pêcheries du Forum des îles du Pacifique s’est montrée intransigeante, refusant de revenir sur les accords signés il y a six mois. Le départ des États-Unis l’oblige à réévaluer sa position et surtout, à faire avancer ses réflexions sur une modification du traité sur le thon. Car s’il y a un point sur lequel les îles du Pacifique et les États-Unis sont d’accord, c’est sur la nécessité de revoir le texte, d’y apporter plus de souplesse.
  • Victoire éclatante des West Papua Warriors en Australie.Cette équipe de rugby à XIII a été créée en Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée en soutien aux indépendantistes papous en Indonésie. Pour la première fois, elle a disputé un match officiel, le week-end dernier, à Sydney. Avec le drapeau de l’Étoile du matin imprimé sur leur maillots, les joueurs des West Papua Warriors ont facilement dominé les Philippins de Tamaraws 54-8. L’équipe entend continuer à disputer des matches à l’étranger, notamment aux États-Unis.ABC
AUSTRALIA


12)
http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2016-02-08/this-could-be-australias-next-financial-scandal/1545104

13) http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2016-02-08/liberals-risk-expulsion-to-slam-corrupt-preselection-process-in-new-south-wales/1545130

14) http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2016-02-08/wa-fire-wokalup-under-threat-as-emergency-warning-expanded-for-harvey-blaze/1544738

15) http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2016-02-08/person-behind-leak-of-government-refugee-document-could-be-jailed-immigration-official-says/1544854

16) Australia Pledges To Assist Tonga Deal With Zika Virus
Minister commits to help control mosquito population, increase testing

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Feb. 8, 2016) – Australia has pledged up to $500,000 [US$353,000] in aid to Tonga to help combat the spread of the Zika virus after an outbreak was declared last week raised concerns in the region.

The initial focus on strengthening the fight against the mosquito-borne virus would be in Tonga, Pacific Minister Steven Ciobo said in a statement.

He said Australia would work with World Health Organisation (WHO) officials and the Tongan government to control the mosquito population and increase access to testing.

The tiny South Pacific island nation last week declared an outbreak of the Zika virus after five cases were confirmed and 259 suspected.

“Stopping the spread of Zika in the Pacific is essential to protecting Australia from the virus, which has seen a resurgence in our region,” Mr Ciobo said.

The WHO declared Zika an international health emergency last week, citing a “strongly suspected” relationship between the virus in pregnancy and microcephaly, a condition in which infants are born with abnormally small heads and can suffer developmental problems.

There is no vaccine available to combat the virus.

Some of Australia’s aid would go to the WHO’s Zika Virus Action Plan for the Pacific to ensure a coordinated response, Mr Ciobo added.

Until last week, Tonga had never had any confirmed cases of the Zika virus, according to chief medical officer Dr Reynold Ofanoa, so it was likely brought into the country by an infected person and then spread by mosquitoes.

On Saturday, health authorities in the Australian state of Queensland confirmed that a child had contracted the virus after a family trip to the Pacific island of Samoa.

Queensland’s chief medical officer Jeanette Young said it was no surprise that the child contracted Zika in Samoa because it has existed in the Pacific “for decades”.

At the same time, Australia announced the expansion of its testing capabilities in northern Queensland where the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which can transmit the virus, are present.

Radio Australia

PACIFIC


17) Seasonal Worker Programme expanded to take more Pacific Islander and East Timorese workers

9:23 pm GMT+12, 07/02/2016, Australia

Despite issues with exploitation and suspect labour hire practices for foreign workers, the Federal Government is expanding its Seasonal Worker Programme to help deal with farm labour shortages.

Previously restricted to horticulture, aquaculture and cane farms, guest workers will now be allowed to work on cattle, sheep, grain and mixed enterprises farms.

Pacific Islanders and East Timorese can apply to work for either six or nine months, pay a flat 15 per cent tax rate and can return each year for the seasonal work.

Workers from Tuvalu, Kiribati and Nauru will be able to work for nine months, because of the high cost of transport home.

Other Pacific Islanders from Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Vanuatu and those from Timor-Leste can work for six months.

“What we encourage with this programme is that you do return to Australia, so you get that relationship with your approved employer, you understand the work, and then it contributes to the aid focus of the program to build your own community and support your own family,” Minister for Employment Senator Michaelia Cash said.

The change in the programme comes after a survey by the World Bank last year found cheap and irregular backpacker labourers were taking jobs away from Pacific Islanders.

The report recommended the Australian Government consider tightening visa rules for backpackers, which it has done.

The Government is also set to increase the tax rate for backpackers to 32.5 per cent for every cent they earn from July 2016.

That has caused serious consternation for the horticulture sector which is claiming a backpacker shortage is leaving fruit unpicked.

But Senator Cash said backpacker workers needed to pay more tax.

“The Working Holiday Maker Programme has very different purpose than Seasonal Worker Programme, it’s a cultural exchange programme, the backpackers don’t necessarily just come here to work.

“That’s about earning money for their holiday, going off and spending in the Australian economy,” Senator Cash said.

She would not be drawn on a National Farmers Federation campaign to limit the tax increase for backpacker workers to 19 percent.

Senator Cash said the expansion of the Seasonal Worker Programme for Pacific Islanders came from a push from livestock and grain farmers.

“We want to help farmers substantially lift output during what we know are critical times of the year.”

Senator Cash said the Government would continue to crackdown on cases of worker exploitation.

The Fair Work Ombudsman is taking a Sunshine Coast labour hire company to court accusing it of underpaying 22 fruit pickers from Vanuatu.

The matter is set down for a directions hearing in a Brisbane court on March 1, 2016.

“This Government does not tolerate exploitation with Seasonal worker, 457 visas or domestically,” Senator Cash said.

“We ensure that only approved employers enter into legally enforceable agreements with the Commonwealth Government, represented by the Department of Employment.

“This is important. All workers employed under the Seasonal Worker program are protected by Australian workplace laws in the same manner as an Australian worker.

“We have the power to terminate agreements with employers if they don’t meet their obligations.

“That means you will no longer be able to recruit seasonal workers, you don’t get access to this labour and we know the labour is critical.”

Since July 2012, 8600 visas have been issued to seasonal workers under the program, with 70 approved employers.

An employer is required to test the local labour market first, and if they cannot find workers they can then apply to the Federal Department of Employment to prove they can take on the seasonal workers.

They then enter into a contract with the Department of Employment, via the department’s website.

SOURCE: ABC RURAL/PACNEWS

18) FFA seeks solutions to American withdrawal

9:20 pm GMT+12, 07/02/2016, Fiji

The Forum Fisheries Agency says a series of meetings in Fiji this week will attempt to find solutions for Pacific nations reeling from the withdrawal of America from their tuna fisheries.

The United States pulled out of the US Pacific islands fisheries treaty last month which could deprive Pacific nations of $US 89 million of income this year.

The FFA Director General, James Movick, said the meetings in Nadi would focus on other countries able to take the fishing days that America refused to buy.

“That would enable countries to sell those days at a price probably not as high as we had expected to receive from the US, but nevertheless to be able to sell some of the days they now have available in order to have some income this year for the days the US can not, or says it can not, purchase at this time.”

Movick said FFA members might also discuss renegotiating terms with the US to resume fishing this year.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS

19) Fisheries group chief: US fishing treaty a ‘distraction’
4:00 pm GMT+12, 07/02/2016, Fiji

As Pacific fisheries officials gather in Nadi, Fiji from today for a three-day series of meeting focused on the future of a tuna treaty with the United States, the head of a powerful island fisheries bloc says the U.S. treaty is a “distraction” taking valuable time away from managing the fishing industry.

Dr Transform Aqorau, CEO of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement or PNA, said the recent collapse of the nearly 30-year-old treaty with the U.S. government and its tuna industry opens “a huge opportunity for PNA to re-assert control over the fishery.”

The Forum Fisheries Agency called the three-day meeting this week in Fiji so the islands can respond to the U.S. State Department’s formal announcement last month that it is withdrawing from the treaty that has governed the U.S. tuna industry since the late 1980s. U.S government and industry were to pay the Pacific islands $89 million in 2016 for licenses for about 40 tuna boats. But, after agreeing last August to this amount for buying 6,200 fishing days, a portion of the U.S. industry said it couldn’t pay. As of January 1, the U.S. fleet is no longer licensed to fish in the region following its default.

Some islands that reserved large numbers of days for the U.S. fleet or where fishing revenue from the U.S. makes up a high percentage of the government budget have been hit hard by the U.S. default, Aqorau acknowledged. “The lesson for those putting all their eggs in the U.S. treaty basket is diversify in the future,” he said.

He said all of the meetings and communications that have developed around the U.S. treaty collapse are “distractions from the good work and time needed to improve the vessel day scheme and sustainability in the fishery.”

Aqorau sees opportunity for the islands in the default of the U.S. industry. “The issue is the extent to which countries can minimize their loss,” Aqorau said. “If PNA closes the eastern high seas (an area to the east of Kiribati that has seen heavy and unregulated fishing) and reduce the allocation of days for the U.S. to sell to others, it will minimize the loss.”

PNA officials have pointed to unregulated fishing escalating in the eastern high seas area just outside PNA jurisdictions over the past two years. Aqorau has proposed to PNA members that they make closure of the eastern high seas a condition of licensing to fish in PNA zones in order to limit what he describes as unsustainable fishing.

In Aqorau’s view, what PNA has done over the past six years by implementing the vessel day scheme to regulate purse seine fishing in PNA waters is to “re-assert island control over fishing and drive fishing (management).” Now, the uncertainty of the U.S. treaty should be viewed as an opportunity, he said. “We shouldn’t pander to an unsustainable agreement,” Aqorau said.

The huge rise in revenue accruing to the eight PNA members since 2010 — from US$60 million to over US$350 million last year — is all because of the vessel day scheme PNA uses to manage the purse seine fishery, he said. This increase in revenue “tells us we’ve been being robbed all these years (by distant water fishing nations),” he said. “Now, we’ve shown the VDS to be successful. For PNA, it’s about creating a sustainable fishery for self-reliance (of the islands) and to reduce dependency on donors.”

Officials from the eight PNA nations will join with the nine other Forum Fishery Agency island members at the meeting from Monday through Wednesday in Fiji.

SOURCE: MARIANAS VARIETY/PACNEWS

ASIA

20) UN Security Council vows new sanctions after N Korea’s rocket launch – The UN Security Council has strongly condemned North Korea’s launch of a long-range rocket. After an urgent meeting in New York, the council said it would soon adopt a new sanctions resolution in response. Pyongyang said it fired the rocket to place a satellite in orbit – but critics believe the real purpose was to test a ballistic missile. Sunday’s launch comes weeks after North Korea held a fourth nuclear test – both acts violate UN resolutions. Speaking after the closed-door talks, Venezuela’s UN envoy Rafael Ramirez, the current council president, said: “The members of the Security Council strongly condemn this launch.” He called it “a serious violation of the Security Council resolution”.
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-35518058

 21) China’s currency reserves plunged in January – China’s foreign currency reserves plunged by $99.5bn in January, the People’s Bank of China reported. China has been running down its vast foreign currency reserves in an attempt to boost the value of its own currency and stem a flow of funds overseas. At $3.23 trillion, China still has the world’s biggest reserve of foreign currency holdings. But that has declined by $420bn over six months and stands at the lowest level since May 2012. “While the remaining reserves still represent a substantial war chest, the mathematics around this rapid pace of depletion in recent months is simply unsustainable for any length of time,” said Rajiv Biswas, Asia Pacific Chief Economist, IHS Global Insight.
http://www.bbc.com/news/business-35516054

WORLD

22) Lambeth Bridge bus explosion stunt for Jackie Chan film The Foreigner sparks panic in London

Updated 8 February 2016, 7:15 AEDT

Londoners were left terrified and furious after an iconic red double-decker bus exploded on a bridge in the centre of the city, only to find out it was all a stunt.

The bus was travelling over the Lambeth Bridge before it burst into flames, sparking panic and anger on social media.

Authorities were quick to take to Twitter to provide reassurance, with local MP Nigel Huddleston tweeting: “Anyone worried about the exploding bus on Lambeth Bridge just now? It was for a movie.”

The explosion was a stunt for a Jackie Chan film named The Foreigner, which is currently in production in London.

The Port of London Authority confirmed the bridge had been closed for filming, and according to Sky News, the film’s producers posted a warning on Twitter beforehand which said: “The explosion is controlled and operated by our special effects team.”

“Every precaution will be taken to ensure the safety of the people in the area,” it added.

The Marine Policing Unit took to Twitter, saying: “Don’t be concerned if you hear or see explosions on Lambeth Bridge today, filming is taking place including loud special effects.”

Road signs were also in place, and a notice of the controlled explosion was distributed in the area.

But many have questioned the filming as reminiscent of the London Bombings in 2005, when terrorists attacked the public transport system and killed 52 people.

Despite the warnings before the stunt, many tweeted their anger and confusion.

“Was far enough away from Lambeth Bridge to see bus blow up but not why, genuinely felt it in pit of my stomach,” one user said.

“Hey film types next time you blow up a bus on Lambeth Bridge maybe tell us first so children in park aren’t freaked?” tweeted another.

The Foreigner, which also stars former James Bond actor Pierce Brosnan, is set to hit cinemas later this year.ABC

23) Anti-Islam movement protests against migrants

Reuters
Monday, February 08, 2016

DRESDEN, Germany – Germany’s anti-Islam PEGIDA movement staged rallies in several cities across Europe on Saturday to protest against the arrival of hundreds of thousands of migrants from the Middle East and Africa.

The movement, whose name stands for Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West, originated in the eastern German city of Dresden in 2014, with supporters seizing on a surge in asylum seekers to warn that Germany risks being overrun by Muslims.

After almost fizzling out early last year, the movement has regained momentum amid deepening public unease over whether Germany can cope with the 1.1 million migrants who arrived in the country during 2015.

The alleged involvement of migrants in assaults on women in Cologne on New Year’s Eve has also spurred PEGIDA, which says it is proof that German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s welcoming stance to refugees is flawed.

“We must succeed in guarding and controlling Europe’s external borders as well as its internal borders once again,” PEGIDA member Siegfried Daebritz told a crowd on the banks of the River Elbe who chanted “Merkel must go!”.

Police in Dresden declined to estimate the number of protesters. German media put the number at up to 8000, well below the 15,000 originally expected by police.

Hundreds of counter-demonstrators also marched through Dresden under the motto “Solidarity instead of exclusion”, holding up placards saying “No place for Nazis”.

Far-right groups see Europe’s refugee crisis as an opportunity to broadcast their anti-immigrant message. There were 208 rallies in Germany in the past quarter of 2015, up from 95 a year earlier, Interior Ministry data showed.

HEALTH

24) http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2016-02-08/life-aboard-hospital-ship-providing-medical-aid-to-remote-areas-of-papua-new-guinea/1544938

25) Hospital boss unaware of planned nurses’ boycott

Source:
The National, Monday February 8th, 2016

PORT Moresby General Hospital chief executive officer Grant Muddle says he is unaware of any boycott organised by nurses today.
Muddle was responding to a threat by members of the PNG Nurses Association at the hospital to boycott work today if Muddle did not approve their studies at the University of PNG.
“It’s disappointing that we would like to send everybody to school. However, the Government of the day can’t. We just don’t have the money,” Muddle told The National.
Hospital Incentive Care Unit manager Wendy Dane said the nurses training had been budgeted by the Department of Health and their applications were endorsed by the hospital management. Dane claimed that Muddle did not approve them.
“We know that the Government has budgets for training and this should be in the budget for our training. “He (Muddle) says he has not planned that for this year. We feel that this is very unfair,” Dane said.
“PMGH is a training hospital for nurses around the country and we have always had a year’s training at UPNG. It’s just this year that we are hearing from our CEO that there is a budget deficit.”
She said the nurses had approached their union to take up the matter with Muddle.
If he maintains his stand, they will boycott work, Dane said.
“We already got our acceptance letters from UPNG and we were in the process of paying our school fees to go for studies. We only found out that PMGH cannot sponsor students and they’ve asked us to pay our own tuition fees and also to go on leave without pay,” she said.
“We had a meeting with the chief executive officer on Tuesday and he stood by his decision.”

26) About $30M needed for full cancer unit
– The Fiji Cancer Society will need close to $30 million for the next five years to have a full cancer unit in Fiji. Fiji Cancer Society’s Vice President Phillip Low says Fiji does not have cancer experts, radiotherapy system and modern medicines which can increase the number of cure in cancer patients. Low says Fiji currently uses chemotherapy which is not very advanced.
http://fijivillage.com/news/About-30M-needed-for-full-cancer-unit-9k5s2r/

POLITIC

27) PNG PM Appoints New Chief Secretary To Government
Isaac Lupari replaces retiring Sir Manasupe Zurenuoc

By Gorethy Kenneth

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Feb. 8, 2016) – Prime Minister’s chief of staff Isaac Lupari has been appointed Chief Secretary to Government.

He replaces Sir Manasupe Zurenuoc who has retired on medical grounds.

The announcement was made by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill. Mr Lupari accepted the appointment saying; “I will serve the Government to the best of my ability but one of the biggest challenges for me is getting the public service to work together.

He will remain chief of staff until a replacement is found.

Mr Lupari is no stranger to his new post.

He was Chief Secretary to Government for two terms under the National Alliance-led Government of Sir Michael Somare.

He later became a diplomat before joining the People’s National Congress-led Government as chief of staff.

Mr O’Neill said Cabinet made the decision saying Mr Lupari had the experience and capability that were needed to guide Government in the face of a challenging global environment, and to advance reforms implemented by Sir Manasupe.

“The Chief Secretary to Government is the most important position in our public service and Ambassador Lupari will be instrumental in taking the Government to the next level in a changing global economy.

“Ambassador Lupari has served diligently as the Chief of Staff of the Office of Prime Minister and is a previous Chief Secretary.

“Our country, like many other commodity exporting nations, has to deal with a number of challengers and we need ongoing strong leadership in the Government bureaucracy.

“We need strong and capable management in our public service and Ambassador Lupari will lead by example.

“There is a lot of work that needs to be done to ensure the ongoing delivery of services to our people, and Ambassador Lupari’s appointment will serve the nation in that capacity.”

The Prime Minister thanked Sir Manasupe for his leadership of the public service and for the people of Morobe.

“Leaders of the calibre of Sir Manasupe are rare and it has been an honour to work with this outstanding Papua New Guinean.

“Sir Manasupe has been both a strong leader and also a role-model for the men and women of the public service who work under his direction.

“In particular, strengthening service delivery at the local level through district development authorities has been an outstanding achievement of Sir Manasupe as Chief Secretary.

“Sir Manasupe embraced the vision of district development authorities and his work has changed lives as decision-making has been returned to the people.”

PNG Post-Courier

28) Suspended NFP MPs told to contact Solicitor General directly – As the first parliament sitting for 2016 gets underway this morning, the suspended National Federation Party is trying to get some answers on the Speaker’s decision before deciding on further steps. Speaker of Parliament Dr Jiko Luveni has advised the MPs of the suspended NFP to contact the Solicitor General directly if they want more details on the legal advice of their suspension. This follows a joint letter from Biman Prasad, Tupou Draunidalo and Prem Singh to Dr Luveni requesting an explanation on the legal reasoning of their suspension.
http://fijivillage.com/news-feature/Suspended-NFP-MPs-told-to-contact-Solicitor-General-directly-ks295r/

29) Government to reduce poverty level –
The government is focusing on reducing poverty level by creating more jobs. Attorney General Aiayaz Sayed-Khaiyum says in order to achieve this the government has to ensure that there is stability in labour relations. “We have an environment where industries feel comfortable, employees feel comfortable and where workers feel comfortable and also they don’t use this for political reasons at the end of the day like I said we have to look after the people who not well looked after.
http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/37274/government-to-reduce-poverty-level#sthash.AYMlqSVE.dpuf

MEDIA


30) http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2016-02-08/what-will-media-reforms-mean-for-regional-australia/1544828

BUSINESS

31) Fiji union unhappy with ILO compromise

8 feb 2016 A Fiji union body says recent efforts to resolve a dispute over workers rights have failed to deal with a number of crucial issues.

Last month, the International Labour Organisation sent a mission to Fiji to meet the government, employers and unions in an effort to resolve their issues and avoid more investigatons.

The government, employers and the Fiji Trades Union Congress have since reached an agreement.

But the general secretary of the Fiji Islands Council of Trade Unions, Attar Singh, says the agreement does not address important issues like freedom of association, which the ILO has said could restrict worker rights in the future.

“We do not wish to endorse an agreement that in our view is likely to enslave Fiji’s workers for yet another generation. These are issues of rights, and on issues of rights there can be no half way house. We need to continue to make the demands, to make sure that Fiji’s labour laws are compliant with the ILO standards and until that time it is done, one cannot rest.

Attar Singh.

Meanwhile, the government said the ILO would now be asked to cease its work into contraventions of their standards.RNZI

32) Selection criteria for Seasonal Worker Scheme revamped – The Ministry of Employment has revamped their selection criteria in order to minimize the abuse of the Seasonal Worker Scheme. This comes after seven Fijians who went to Australia under the seasonal worker scheme walked off the farm after complaining they were underpaid and mistreated. The Ministry of Employment says one of the workers returned home while six are still in Australia.
http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/37274/government-to-reduce-poverty-level

LAW&ORDER

33) Polye slams foreign investors

Source:
The National, Monday February 8th, 2016

OPPOSITION leader Don Polye says foreign investors overlooking the country’s laws only worsen law and order issues.
Polye backed former Opposition leader and Vanimo Green MP Belden Namah, Northern Governor Gary Juffa and Chief Secretary Sir Manasupe Zurenouc’s call to revive the Special Immigration Task Force.
Polye added that most investors did not comply with the laws of the country, in this case making special mention of the very low wages below the minimum wage paid to PNG citizens they employed. He stated that some of these foreigners were in the country on tourist visas and do not have sufficient knowledge to communicate in English, Tok Pisin or Motu.
Polye said public office holders in the country were colluding with the foreigners in handling the screening process.
He called on the responsible authorities to carry out regular inspections and standard checks to ensure laws were followed well.

MINING,FORESTRY,FISHERIES

34) Mining Act under review

Source:
The National, Monday February 8th, 2016

THE review of the Mining Act of 1992 is still undergoing a Government approval process before it can be passed as law, an official says.
Department of Mineral Policy and Geo Hazard secretary Shadrach Himata was responding to a question from The National on a provision on the revised legislation where the time span of a mineral exploration licence was said to have been extended.
The question arose from a comment in the media by Minister for Mining Byron Chan that one of the highlights of the changes to the amend legislation (Mining Act 1992) was the extension of time frame of a mineral exploration licence.
Himata said:”These documents are currently going through the Government’s approval process.
“I will only comment once Cabinet approves the amendments to be tabled in Parliament.
“Until then, these are still confidential documents of the State.”
In a media conference last October, Himata said six mining policies plus the revised Mining Act were awaiting Government approval.
They include the Offshore Mining Policy, Involuntary  Resettlement Policy, Rehabilitation and Mines Closure Policy, Sustainable Development Policy, Geothermal Policy and the overall Mining Policy.

35) OK Tedi to resume operation in March

9:35 pm GMT+12, 07/02/2016, Papua New Guinea

OK Tedi Mining Limited in Papua New Guinea will resume progressive operations next month, according to chief executive officer Peter Graham.

He said in a statement it was subject to the statutory safety approval of the Mineral Resources Authority.

“We are excited to be returning to work but must now ensure we do so safely and that we capture the efficiency improvements introduced during the temporary suspension of operations,” he said.

“While the recent heavy rain events have been encouraging and allowed the re-stocking of critical materials and supplies, the latest forecast is for El Nino conditions to peak in February   before declining to neutral conditions in May-June 2016.

“Hydro-power availability and river access for shipping are both expected to be sufficient to sustain operations.” During the temporary suspension of operations, employees completed a number of important projects at the mine, mill and the Ok Menga hydro-power station which would enhance operational reliability and remove major planned maintenance shutdowns in 2016 and 2017.

Chairman Sir Moi Avei said: “While the temporary suspension of operations created difficulties for OTML’s many stakeholders, we have made good use of the opportunity presented by the outage to reposition OTML as a stronger, more competitive and resilient company for the long haul.”

OTML suspended operations last August due to dry weather conditions which impacted hydro-power and restricted transport of supplies and copper concentrate on the Fly River.

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

36) France To Prop Up New Caledonia Nickel Industry
SLN Plant to continue to operate despite losses

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Feb. 8, 2016) – The French government has agreed to help New Caledonia’s nickel sector which has been hit by a sharp drop in the price of nickel.

The undertaking was made in Paris at a meeting of the signatories of the Noumea Accord as they were perparing a referendum on possible independence by 2018.

The French prime minister, Manuel Valls, said the state would guarantee that the SLN plant in Noumea could continue to operate as producers in the territory recorded losses last year amounting to about one billion US dollars.

The SLN plant’s viability also hinges on it getting a new power plant – plans for which have been on hold in the face of the huge losses.

Support is also to be given to the Koniambo plant as it is a pillar of the French policy to rebalance the territory’s economy by developing the poorer mainly Kanak northern province.

The three-day Paris talks will be followed by another such summit later this year.

Mr Valls will also visit New Caledonia next month. New Zealand International

37) Tuna conference set for May in Bangkok
4:01 pm GMT+12, 07/02/2016, Thailand

The 14th series of the World Tuna Conference and Exhibition, InfoFish Tuna 2016, will be held at the Shangri-la Hotel, Bangkok on May 23-25.

With the theme “Social Responsibility towards Global Sustainability”, the biennial event will address issues on challenges, developments, innovations, regulations in various disciplines on the tuna industry.

PNG was part of the previous conference in 2014 and will likely attend again this year.

Some 30 renowned international specialists, heads of international and regional organisations, eco-label certifiers and related non-governmental organisations are scheduled to speak at the conference.

Technological innovations, market updates and market access issues, tuna farming experiences, sustainable tuna efforts, eco-labelling and certification and their credibility towards sustainability are among the topics that will be deliberated including the possible impacts of the Trans-Pacific Partnership on the tuna industry.

The organisers have announced that Adolfo Valsecchi, the chief executive of Generale Conserve, Italy, will be the Chairman of Tuna 2016.

The early bird registration for the conference is still open until March 25 while the exhibition held concurrently with the conference have nearly 70 per cent of the booths taken up as of to date.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

38) NZ Govt finances repairs for Solomons’ fisheries centre

8 Feb 2015
New Zealand has paid for the refurbishment of a fisheries centre in Lata, in Solomon Islands Temotu Province.

Wellington has provided more than $US200,000 to refurbish the Lata Fisheries Centre which was originally built with Japanese aid in 1982.

The condition of the fisheries centre has deteriorated due to wear and tear.RNZI

39) Kava Bill to support industry – Agriculture Minister Inia Seruiratu is hoping that the draft Kava Bill will be ready soon. Seruiratu says kava is a key commodity involving many stakeholers. The demand for Kava has increased in local and overseas markets, and the minister says it’s time to regularise the industry with a proper legal framework. The Minister says the Bill will help maintain standards at all levels.
http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/37273/kava-bill-to-support-industry#sthash.MXMO5sCO.dpuf

WOMAN,YOUTH,CHILD

40) Official: Report violence case

Source:
The National, Monday February 8th, 2016

MANY abused women are ashamed to report their perpetrators, usually husbands, a social worker in Madang says.
Modilon General Hospital social worker Robin Borausiki said women saw their husbands as heads of families so men often took advantage of this to do whatever they wanted.
“I believe violence against women is high because of our culture in PNG,” Borausiki said.
“Women just do ‘women’s jobs’ like cooking, taking care of children, doing the laundry and so on.
“Boys get sent to school instead of girls.
“As a woman, you must just look, listen and accept.
“Men feel like they have a higher status than women which is an imbalance.” She said most of the women that went to them for counselling had experienced physical violence, emotional abuse, rape and sexual assault.
“Some don’t speak because of their children,” she said.
“If they leave what would happen to them?”
Borausiki said growing up in PNG she saw a lot of violence.

SPORT

41) West Papua Warriors win on and off the field

The West Papua Warriors rugby league team made a statement both on and off the field after running out resounding winners 54-8 against a Philippines development side in Sydney.

The team was made up of players from Papua New Guinea and West Papua and formed to raise awareness about the on-going human rights abuses in the Indonesian province.

There was a big turnout of both rugby league supporters and political activists in the crowd and team captain Tala Kami said the day and game couldn’t have gone any better.

“That was actually the first 13-a-side match this group of boys played together. We were a bit nervous before going onto the field, because we hadn’t had a proper 13-a-side trial match before but all the boys are experienced players so it came together on the day. It was a tough game – I think the scoreline doesn’t reflect the quality of opposition the Philippines was but the boys really did dig deep and they played with a lot of passion. We managed to get on the scoreboard pretty early, which kind of helped us eventually get the win.”

Tala Kami said the team plans to continue playing nine-a-side tourmaments in the coming months and have also been invited to compete in the USA.8/2/16 RNZI

42) Ireland claim T20 series against PNG

8 Feb 2015

Ireland have taken an unassailable 2-0 lead in their Twenty20 cricket series against Papua New Guinea after winning a rain-affected second match by seven runs in Townsville.

William Porterfield struck a four off the opening ball of the match before players were forced from the field because of rain.

When play resumed, the game was reduced to 11 overs per side, with the Irish piling on 96 for 5.

Pipi Raho was the pick of the Barramundis bowlers with 3 for 11 from his two overs.

In reply, Assad Vala compiled a quick-fire 25 from 15 balls, including two sixes but was unable to find any support.

Norman Vanua added 26 not out down the order but PNG eventually came up short on 89 for 9.

The three match series ends tomorrow.RNZI

43) Ragomo ready for futsal

Pravin Narain
Monday, February 08, 2016

STYLISH Solomon Islander Elliot Ragomo is ready for the 2016 Oceania Football Confederation futsal championship starting today at the Vodafone Arena in Suva.

Ragomo was familiar with the atmosphere having played in the competition in the past years helping his team reach the futsal world cup. The utility player has proved to be a lethal weapon when he featured for Navua in 2010.

He said he looked forward to the competition expected to be of high intensity.

“I’m very excited to be back again,” Ragomo said.

“It will be interesting to see how the standard of futsal is improving in the Pacific and see how the competition brings out the best.

“We will give our best in the tournament as we have been preparing for sometime now. It is always the same coming here.”

Ragomo said they would give their best to improve the standard of futsal in the country.

“I am here to help my team win. For Solomon Islands all other teams participating in the competition are our biggest opponent. We will continue to play our style of game,” he added. Every other teams also want to win but our aim is to qualify for the futsal World Cup.

“We are the current champions and the experience from playing here is also very good. “Hopefully we can qualify for the World Cup.”

Solomon Islands will play Tahiti at 8pm tonight.Fijitimes

44) Fiji trails New Caledonia in Futsal Oceania championship

By AMIT RAJ
Monday, February 08, 2016

Update: 4:27PM THE Vodafone Fiji futsal side is currently trailing New Caledonia in the Oceania Futsal Championship at the Vodafone Arena in Suva.

Altaaf Sahib scored for Fiji while Ludovic Voit scored both goals for New Caledonia.

Up for stake is a spot in the Futsal World Cup. For Fiji this is also a chance to prove that they are a formidable futsal side.

In this game, pressure has been equal with both sides getting ample opportunities to score.

Up next is New Zealand taking on Vanuatu.Fijitimes

45) Solomons want Fiji’s expertise

Vuniwaqa Bola-Bari
Monday, February 08, 2016

THE Solomon Islands Government is looking at strengthening their sporting capabilities via Fiji’s sports expertise.

Fiji’s Youth and Sports Minister, Laisenia Tuitubou was informed of this during a visit from the Solomon Islands Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Sports Honourable Manasseh Maelanga.

The meet on Saturday is set to allow the Solomon Islands utilise the Fiji Volunteer Scheme via sports.

Maelanga made the courtesy visit to the Ministry of Sports where he met minister Tuitubou informing him of the idea.

Information sent from the Information Department of Government noted Maelanga having said that the utilisation of Fiji’s expertise in sports was also targeted at bolstering their efforts in the bid to host the 2023 Pacific Games as the Solomon Islands has yet to host the regional sporting competition.

Minister Tuitubou thanked the Solomon Deputy Prime Minister for the visit and ensured his support for the motion to assist the Solomon Islands through the utilization of the Fiji Volunteer Scheme.

Tuitubou advised his Solomon Islands counterpart that it would be best for both Governments to sign a memorandum of understanding in order to realise the fruition of this sporting collaboration as Melanesian friends.Fijitimes

46) All Blacks Sevens go back to back after success in Sydney

5:01 pm GMT+12, 07/02/2016, Australia

The All Blacks Sevens won the fourth round of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in Sydney, beating hosts Australia 27-24 in a breathtaking final.

Having never led in the final, Rieko Ioane scored his hat-trick try with the last play of the match to give New Zealand the victory in front of a sold-out Allianz Stadium crowd of 37,095.

In a repeat of the 17-17 draw in the final pool match of day one, it was only Australia’s second Cup final on home soil having won the 2002 Brisbane Sevens. But they came up against an inspired Sir Gordon Tietjens’ side that never gave up despite Henry Hutchison twice giving Australia the lead in the first half, and Sam Myers and Greg Jeloudev doing the same in the second half.

New Zealand remain in third with the win but move to the same points as leaders Fiji (69), who reclaimed top spot by beating South Africa 26-12 to finish third in Sydney, and the second-place Blitzboks with points difference separating the three teams at the top.

New Zealand captain Tim Mikkelson said: “I just want to thank Aussie, for an awesome two games over the weekend, you guys played awesome and this is an awesome tournament that will just grow from year to year.

“To the fans, all the New Zealanders, thanks for coming out and supporting us. And to our boys, another awesome effort, we said it would take 20 minutes to win and we just kept on going and we got the victory in the end.”

In the semi-finals New Zealand beat Fiji 14-12, with Akira Ioane scoring one of the tries of the tournament, while Australia defeated South Africa 12-7.

In the quarters New Zealand beat USA 24-7, with Andy Friend’s side coming from 12-7 behind to beat England 17-12 in sudden death extra time. Having come off the bench 18-year-old Henry Hutchison scored in the corner to level the scores, before securing a turnover and dotting down for the winning try to send the crowds wild.

ARGENTINA CRUISE TO PLATE VICTORY

Argentina proved themselves to be worthy winners of the Plate at the HSBC Sydney Sevens after a solid team performance against Kenya gave them a 24-0 win.

Nicolas Menendez opened the scoring for Santiago Gomez Cora’s side as Argentina played with fluidity in the first half. A sin bin for Nelson Oyoo in the second half put even more pressure on Kenya when he took down Franco Sabato in a foot race to give Argentina a penalty try. Sabato bagged his own try shortly after, with Axel Muller also joining in the fun with his own score.

HIRAYAMA AT THE DOUBLE IN THE BOWL

Canada’s Nathan Hirayama scored twice in the Bowl final as his side won all three of their matches on day two to win the Bowl. Following wins over Scotland and Wales, Canada beat Samoa 17-12 to claim eight points for their overall series tally.

Canada captain John Moonlight said: “We had a rough first day, probably didin’t put the performances in we wanted to, so better to come out today and get three wins and leave here happy.”

MORGAN HELPS WALES END ON A HIGH

Wales beat Russia 26-19 to lift the Shield after a tough weekend in Sydney. Welsh flyer Luke Morgan scored a hat-trick in the win and despite the Russians tying things up in the second half after German Davydov spun his way through the Welsh defence, they ended up disappointed when Ethan Davies got his name on the scoreboard after Morgan had earlier completed his hat-trick.

SOURCE: WORLD RUGBY/PACNEWS

w: www.voiceofmelanesia.com

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