Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1055 ( Monday 7 March 2016 )

MELANESIA

1) PNG’s PM vows to walk if corruption case proved

5 March 2016

Peter O’Neill has declared he will resign immediately as Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister if evidence shows he has corruptly pocketed just one Kina.

Papua New Guinea’s anti-corruption watchdog issued a warrant for Mr O’Neill’s arrest in June 2014.

The outstanding warrant relates to allegations Mr O’Neill personally authorised the illegal payment of about $US30 million to law firm Paul Paraka lawyers.

Mr O’Neill said that the legal case was taking its course.

“Show me where I have received one toea (PNG coin) or one Kina (cash currency) and I will resign tomorrow,” he told the National Press Club in Canberra on Thursday.

He insisted the lawyer concerned was employed by the previous government.

In 2014, Mr O’Neill responded to the arrest warrant by sacking the PNG police commissioner, firing his attorney-general and suspending numerous other justice department and police officials.

He also disbanded the country’s anti-corruption watchdog, Task Force Sweep.

Asked about broader corruption in PNG and the issue of wealthy citizens using Australia as an investment destination like the Cayman Islands, Mr O’Neill said there was a lack of evidence of any wrongdoing.

The PNG Parliament will be debating laws to set up a new anti-corruption body during sittings in March.RNZI

2) Rations ‘mismanaged’

Mere Naleba
Monday, March 07, 2016

THE National Disaster Management Office is aware of relief supplies for those affected by Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston being mismanaged but has not received any formal complaint or notification from its officers on the ground.

NDMO director Akapusi Tuifagalele confirmed during the media briefing yesterday, that his office heard stories of people misusing relief supplies distributed to victims of the Category 5 cyclone.

“We have heard about food rations being mismanaged, but nothing formal has come from our teams on the ground. We are aware this kind of things Government does not condone,” Mr Tuifagalele said.

He said the basic food supplies provided to Fijians living in affected areas is expected to last them a month.

Vanuabalavu in the northern Lau Group is the exception with two months food rations.

This was made possible after the Kingdom of Tonga provided the island food supplies for another month.

“In terms of food rations, NDMO officers, police and military officers are monitoring distribution of relief supplies to all affected areas,” he said.

“We have people on the ground, we have NDMO officials together with the military and police are monitoring and ensuring that not too much is given, not too less is given just to ensure that the communities are OK, and Government wants to provide what is right for the people.”

He said as of day 15 of the state of emergency declaration (yesterday), 80 per cent of affected areas have received the basic necessities.

“The target was by today (yesterday), all affected communities to be provided with basic necessities,” he said.Fijitimes

3) Crop seedlings for affected farmers

Luke Rawalai
Monday, March 07, 2016

THE Agriculture Department in the North has already started distribution of crop seedlings to farmers in areas badly affected by Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston.

North divisional planning officer Alipate Bolalevu said the department was specific about the seedlings of crops being distributed to farmers, adding that these were crops that would mature fast for consumption.

Mr Bolalevu said the supply of seedlings would also cushion the need for food from cyclone-ravaged areas.

“Farmers have been distributed with seedlings of yams and cassava, which matures fast and will be ready for consumption in the next few months,” he said.

“Cash crops can be grown once conditions have stabilised, but at the moment we are just distributing root crop seedlings that can mature faster.

“We are also appealing to those needing these assistance to contact their nearest agricultural office.”

Mr Bolalevu said they were focusing on areas that were badly affected by the cyclone.

Agricultural damage in the provinces of Cakaudrove and Bua stood at $59.1million.

This was revealed by North principal agricultural officer Paula Tuone who said the damage of agricultural products in these two provinces totalled $40m, adding that initial assessment in the first two days after the cyclone was $13million.

Mr Tuone said this excluded Taveuni which was expected to increase to between $70million and $80million.Fijitimes

4) Road to recovery

Ropate Valemei
Saturday, March 05, 2016

SEVERE Tropical Cyclone Winston traced a devastating path across Fiji and unfortunately created new economic headwinds as Fiji rebuilds but ultimately recovers from the impact.

This was highlighted by the ANZ Bank Economic Report on Severe TC Winston.

“Fiji’s economic prospects shall ultimately be determined by how adverse the impact of the cyclone is on tourism,” the report stated.

The report highlighted the tourism industry was the key source of foreign exchange revenue for the domestic economy, accounting for 37 per cent of gross domestic product and 33 per cent of employment.

“We expect damage to be highest in sectors such as agriculture, hospitality and housing,” the report said.

“Reports from the sugar industry have forecast losses of around $US40m ($F84.82m) from the storm. Still, the share of agriculture in the Fijian economy is relatively small at 11 per cent compared with 70 per cent in services. This suggests that the bulk of the Fijian economy is intact and could rebound quickly.”

It says the economic impact will be exacerbated by the existence of a close substitute — Vanuatu.

“Vanuatu is less affected by Severe TC Winston at this juncture and may attract tourism revenue away from Fiji.

“This would purely reflect ‘consumer switching’ behaviour owing to the substitution effect between these two destinations, as both of them compete for the same key source markets: Australia and New Zealand.”

It says the silver lining for Fiji is that its worst affected area, Koro Island, is not among the top 10 travel destinations within Fiji.

“Furthermore, the disaster occurred during the seasonal lull season in tourism, suggesting seasonal employment would not be affected.

“The strong growth momentum that Fiji has been experiencing in recent years is likely to wane, with GDP growth likely to be 4 per cent in 2016.”

Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston, a Category 5 storm which made landfall on February 20, is the largest tropical cyclone ever to devastate Fiji, and also one of the most severe in the Pacific.Fijitimes

POLYNESIA

5) New king on Futuna hoped to appease family tensions

5 March 2016

A new king will be inducted in the kingdom of Sigave on the French Pacific island of Futuna on Saturday after a seven-year vacancy.

The territory’s public broadcaster said Eufenio Takala would be crowned in a custom ceremony amid high tensions between the kingdom’s two families.

That tension last month prompted chiefs to ask the French president, François Hollande, to desist from making his first visit to Sigave as part of his tour around France’s Pacific territories.

In recent weeks there have been scuffles between the families after church services, which prompted police to intervene.

However, it is hoped the enthronement of Mr Takala will appease the families after previous attempts to install a king in recent years failed.

The territory of Wallis and Futuna, to the north of Fiji, has three separate kingdoms that rule alongside the French republic.RNZI

6) More than 2000 suspected cases of Zika virus in Tonga

11:03 pm GMT+12, 03/03/2016, Tonga

More than 2,000 suspected cases of zika viru have been reported in Tonga.
Dr Saia Piukala, the Minister of Health confirmed to Radio Tonga News that of the 2,000 cases, 36 have been confirmed with the virus. 17 pregnant mothers are suspected to have contracted the zika virus.

Dr Piukala said since the zika outbreak more than 600 locals have been admitted to the hospital with the symptoms. Last week another 100 patients were admitted.

Meantime, the cleaning up of mosquito breeding areas is continuing.

SOURCE: RADIO & TV TONGA/PACNEWS

7) 15 Complete Women’s Business Leadership Program In Tonga
Australia, New Zealand funded training effort

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, March 3, 2016) – Tonga is leading the way in business leadership training for women.

Fifteen professional women in Tonga completed a “Women’s Business Leadership Program” conducted by the Asian Development Bank, and were presented with certificates on Wednesday, 2 March at Davina House by Dr Vijaya Nagarajan of the Pacific Private Sector Development Initiative.

Lynette Mayne, one of the trainers, said they chose Tonga to start a program for the Pacific. Government Ministries and companiessent their key people, and among them the next generation leaders of their companies. “These senior women came together learning leadership skills, which was brilliant,” she said.

“They come from all different positions, levels and companies and they were able to add value to the program by not only creating a network among themselves but enhancing their skills so that our ambition hopefully is they would become the CEOs of our future.”

Participants came from the Ministry of Revenue and Customs, Ministry of Commerce, Tourism and Labour, ANZ, Bank of South Pacific (BSP), Pacific Retail, Tonga Development Bank, Tonga Airports and Tonga Power Ltd.

The program was launched in August last year with funds committed by the Australian and New Zealand Governments.

Lynette comes from Australia where is is Director of the Chief Executive Women Leaders Program, and also an Ambassador for Australian Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Matangi Tonga Magazine

8) Female MP chosen as Samoa deputy PM

Rnzi
Monday, March 07, 2016

FIAME Naomi Mataafa, the daughter of the first prime minister of Samoa, has been picked to be the country’s new deputy prime minister.

It’s the highest executive position that a woman has ever reached in the history of Samoa’s government.

Her selection was made at a meeting of the Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP) after voters went to the polls and gave the ruling party of Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi its biggest landslide victory in a 30-year rule.

Provisional results show that HRPP won 44 of the 49 contested seats, while the opposition Tautua Samoa party won just three seats and independent candidates took two.

Fiame Naomi Mataafa was the minister of justice in the previous government, and has also previously been the minister of youth, women and rural affairs, and the minister of education.

She was educated in New Zealand and was aged 18 when her father, Mataafa Fiame Mulinuu II, passed away,

Her late mother, Laulu Fetauimalemau Mataafa, was also a member of parliament.

She will replace Fonotoe Lauofo Pierre Meredith as deputy prime minister and, according to political observers, would be the most logical choice to succeed Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi as the head of HRPP and the next prime minister of Samoa should he give up the post.

She was one of four women elected to parliament in Friday’s polls, all from the HRPP.

This means that a recent amendment to the constitution reserving five seats for women will be enforced, which will create a 50th seat in parliament for a female MP.

9) Samoa PM still excited by challenge of leading country

7 feb 2016

Samoa’s prime minister has attributed his party’s resounding victory in last Friday’s general election to his government’s ability to deliver on its promises.

The Human Rights Protection Party of Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi won 44 of the 49 seats in parliament.

It was the best ever election performance for the party, which has dominated Samoan politics for most of the time since 1982.

Tuilaepa has been prime minister for almost eighteen years, and admited he’s still excited by the challenge of leading Samoa.

“I have been asked that question many times, and it seems that my party always finds me acceptable to them and so I just carry on.”

Biggest challenge is climate change – Tuilaepa

Tuilaepa said his government’s biggest challenge in the next term in office is to implement climate change adaptation programmes

He pinpointed climate change as a leading issue that his island country is grappling with.

“The biggest challenge for the government would be to put in place adaptation projects that would assist the country cope with climate change, and that means it cuts right across all sectors of the economy.”

Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi said another main challenge is to keep growing Samoa’s economy after the moderate but positive growth of recent years in the face of global financial shocks.

Meanwhile Tuilaepa confirmed the selection of one of four female MPs-elect, Fiame Naomi Mataafa, as the HRPP’s new deputy leader.

He said it is a victory for the women of Samoa. 7 Feb 2016 – RNZI

10) Mental health policy launched in Cook Islands

7 Feb 2016 In an effort to address issues of concern, the Ministry of Health launched the Cook Islands Mental Health Policy and Cook Islands Road Safety Strategy over the weekend.

The ministry’s policy and research manager Valentino Wichman says it took a year to draft the policies and a couple of weeks to organise the event.

Mr Wichman says the new mental health policy aimed to provide care, enhance recovery and reduce disability among those affected by mental disorders.

He says the Cook Islands Mental Health and Well Being policy 2015 was endorsed last year and the Cook Islands road safety strategy 2016-2020 in January this year.

Mr Wichman says the aim was to create a nation where mental well-being was valued, recognised and understood.

He says sufferers need the public’s support to reach their potential and they need to know there is a guideline for mental health and well-being in the country and that mental health is a priority.RNZI

MICRONESIA

11) Cervical Cancer Rates In Micronesia One Of The Highest
Lack of screening, understanding, cultural barriers may be cause

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 3, 2016) – A lack of understanding and geography have been put forward as reasons why the rate of cervical cancer in Micronesia is so high, according to one of the region’s leading cancer research centres.

According to research by the University of Hawaii’s cancer centre, the rate of cervical cancer in Micronesia was one of the highest in the world, at 79.7 per 100,000 women, compared with an average of 9.9 per 100,000 in the United States.

A professor at the centre, Neal Palafox, said a lack of understanding was partially responsible, as cervical cancer screening was fairly invasive from a woman’s standpoint, and cultural issues could be a barrier.

He said talking about a man or woman’s “private parts” could be culturally challenging, on top of language hurdles.

“There is no word for cancer in many of the Pacific languages, so it takes many words to explain that,” he said. “And then because of education achievement, there might not be in these populations the ability to understand many biological terms, or the role of many parts of the body.”

A medical oncologist at the cancer centre of Guam, Dr Sydney Welt, said the vast geographic spread of Micronesia was also a factor in whether patients received timely treatment.

Dr Welt said cancer rates for Micronesian women varied, saying that while there were screening programmes in developed areas like Guam, other islands had virtually none.

“The outer islands don’t have any cancer doctors, so it takes them a long time to eventually get here for treatment,” he said. “In some cases the patients don’t go to the doctor even after they know they have masses or tumours that are growing. So there’s a lot of education that needs to be done.”

The University of Hawaii’s cancer centre recently received a US$6.6 million dollar grant from the United States government for cervical cancer research and to increase cervical cancer screening in Hawaii and Guam.

Radio New Zealand International

12) Betel nut doco hopes to curb use in Micronesia

4 March 2016

A documentary on betel nut use in the Federated States of Micronesia has been filmed in the hope it will help curb high rates in the Pacific nation.

The World Health Organisation said betel nut was used by 65 percent of adults in some parts of the Federated States of Micronesia and 54 percent of adults in Palau.

The WHO provided technical and financial support, explaining that the documentary would be used as a tool with communities and policy-makers.

The technical officer for non-communicable diseases in Suva, Ada Moadsiria said it covered a broad range of information.

“The current prevalence rates of betel nut use, to the actual physical impacts that these substances have on health, and also about the advocacy about personal testimonies, how they’ve been affected by betel nut in terms of losing family members to oral cancers and stomach cancers.”

Ada Moadsiria said the use of betel nut and tobacco is growing in the Pacific, and in Micronesia the two substances are chewed simultaneously, further worsening their impact.RNZI

TOK PISIN

13) Gutpela impruvmen long Buka General Hospital

Postim 3 March 2016, 15:06 AEDT
Sam Seke

Chief Executive Ofisa blong Buka General Hospital long Bougainville Dr Cyril Imako, i tok em i hamamas long planti impruvmen ibin kamap long haus sik.

Em i tok long bipo ol ibin kisim taim tru long ol i sot long dokta, ol nes, ol sapot staf, sot long marasin na haus sik ibin nidim planti ripea wok.

Tasol Dr Imako i tok, nau igat impruvmen long ol dispela sait na ol i gat sampela spesel masin tu long helpim wok long tritim ol sik pipol.

Em i tok tu olsem narapela wari i stap yet em olsem Buka i nogat inap spes long stap olsem nabawan ririnol hospitol.

Dr Imako i tok bai gutpela moa sapos ol i divepolim Arawa hospital long Central Bougainville na bildim narapela long Buin long South.ABC

14) Praim Minista Peter O’Neill i toktok long PNG Ikonomi

Postim 4 March 2016, 15:28 AEDT
Sam Seke

Olsem ol i save tok pinis, prioriti long wokbung namel long tupela gavman blong Papua New Guinea na Australia, em long grouim ikonomi blong PNG long em yet iken mekim gut moa sindaun blong ol pipol long kantri.

Long dispela ripot, bai mi lukluk long toktok blong Praim Minista Peter O’Neill long National Press Club blong Australia long Canberra aste.

Wanpela toktok we i kam long  ofis blong Foran Minista blong Australia, Julie Bishop i soim olsem Two-way trade namel long PNG na Australia i stap long mak blong 6.8 billion dollar – na olgeta investment blong Australia long PNG i stap long mak blong 19 billion dollar.

Dispela i bikpela mak, na tupela kantri wantaim igat tingting long apim moa dispela level blong tred na investment blong grouim ikonomi.

Long toktok blongen long ol niuslaen long Canberra aste, Prima Minista O’Neill i haelaitim moa dispela tuwe tred.

Praim Minista O’Neill i tokaut tu long sampela senis long hau tupela gavman i wokbung long sait long ol ofisa.

Em i tok PNG Gavman ino laik long ol ofisa blong Australia long go wok olsem advaisa long gavman tasol – ol imas wok wantaim gavman. Em i tok dispela i gutpela we Australia iken helpim PNG.

Mr O’Neill i tok tu olsem kain we ol prais blong ol export samting olsem oil na gas na ol mineral i go daun insaet long klostu tupela yia – i mekim had tru long gavman.

Em i tokaut tu olsem bikpela lus long revenue moni blong gavman long resos sekta ia i mekim gavman i kamapim wanpela deficit budget.

Mr O’Neill i tok dispela em long wanem gavman i laik long em imas karim aut ol samting we em ibin promisim long ol pipol long kantri.

Em i tok gavman ibin katim moni em i spendim, tasol ol i wokim long wei we em ino bagarapim ol basik sevis.ABC

BAHASA

15) Puluhan Ribu Warga Fiji Masih Tinggal di Pengungsian

Diperbaharui 3 March 2016, 16:14 AEDT
Adam Connors dan staff

Sekitar 55 ribu penduduk Fiji saat ini masih tinggal di pengungsian, dua pekan setelah badai topan Winston menerjang negara kepulauan di Pasifik itu. PBB menyebut sekitar 120 ribu penduduk butuh tempat tinggal setelah rumah mereka hancur akibat badai.

Badai Winston menerjang Fiji pada 20 Februari lalu, disebut-sebut sebagai yang paling buruk yang pernah terjadi di kawasan tersebut. Kekuatan angin tercatat mencapai 330 km/jam.

Jumlah korban jiwa tercatat 43 orang, dan sekitar 90 persen bangunan hancur di daerah yang paling parah.

Kapal Perang Australia HMAS Canberra telah tiba di Fiji awal pekan ini membawa tambahan personil yang kini sudah hampir mencapai seribu orang guna membantu upaya pemulihan.

Direktur Pengelolaan Bencana Nasional Fiji, Akapusi Tuifagalele kepada media setempat menjelaskan tim Australia menggunakan helikopter untuk menyalurkan bantuan ke wilayah terpencil dan pulau-pulau yang sulit dijangkau.

Sementara itu Selandia Baru juga menambah personil medis mereka di Fiji.

Upaya rekonstruksi pasca bencana kini telah dimulai, dan banyak penduduk berupaya memperbaiki rumah masing-masing.

Lembaga bantuan internasional yang terlibat rekonstruksi disarankan untuk menerapkan desain bangunan yang lebih tahan bencana.

Professor David Sanderson dari University of New South Wales misalnya, menekankan perlunya membangun kembali perumahan penduduk dengan menghindari material murah dengan sistem pembangunan cepat.

“Lebih dari 24 bangunan rumah hancur, sehingga tantangannya memang cukup berat,” katanya.

Pemerintah Fiji dilaporkan telah membuka kontrak untuk pembangunan perumahan yang siap pasang untuk dibangun di daerah pedalaman yang paling parah kerusakannya.

UNICEF mengatakan selain ribuan penduduk yang masih mengungsi, banyak warga yang juga terpaksa tidur di jalan-jalan.

Juru bicara UNICEF Alice Clements kepada ABC menjelaskan, pihaknya menyiapkan 60 ruang kelas darurat untuk menampung kebutuhan pendidikan anak sekolah.

Ratusan sekolah hingga kini belum buka baik karena bangunannya hancur atau rusak, dan nilai kerugiannya diperkirakan mencapai 27 juta dollar.

Clements mengatakan pihak berwenang berupaya keras mengembalikan anak-anak ke sekolah.

“Fiji adalah negara yang sangat menghargai pendidikan. Mereka juga mengutamakan kestabilan emosional warganya. Hal ini sangat menggembirakan,” katanya.

Anda bisa menyalurkan bantuan untuk bencana di Fiji melalui ABC’s Red Cross Fiji Relief Appeal.ABC

FRENCH

16)


AUSTRALIA

17) http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2016-03-06/clive-palmers-queensland-nickel-government-sets-conditions-for-potential-bailout-of-townsville-refin/1555590

18) Australia opens its labour market

Published: 06 March 2016

Solomon Islands and Australia have committed to a new understanding to foster greater cooperation and increase joint efforts in seasonal labour mobility.

The MoU between the Government of Australia and the Government of Solomon Islands in support of the Seasonal Workers Programme was signed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs & External Trade Milner Tozaka and Minister for Tourism and International Education and Assistant Minister of Trade and Employment Senator, Richard Colbeck on 29th February at the margins of the 2nd High Level Pacer Plus Meetings in Brisbane.

Solomon Islands was initially invited to participate in Australia’s labour mobility programme in 2012.

Almost four years on, the seasonal workers programme has evolved corresponding to Australia’s shift in policy towards labour mobility for Pacific Islands countries.

In June 2015, the Australian Government announced removal of caps on recruitment of workers from Pacific Islands countries under the Seasonal Worker Programme in the Horticulture sector.

In addition, in February this year, the Government of Australia further announced the Seasonal Worker Programme’s extension to other areas of  the Agricultural sector to include livestock,  cane, cotton and opening of labour markets for aquaculture and accommodation sectors.

The revised MoU hopes to provide a robust mechanism to effectively manage the Seasonal Worker Programme by implementing authorities of both Governments, moreover allow for Solomon Islands to take advantage of the Programme’s expansion.

Both ministers highlighted that the Pacer Plus negotiations are progressing well and underscored labour mobility as a crucial component of the proposed comprehensive agreement.

The arrangement on labour mobility is premised on genuine partnership and cooperation between Australia and New Zealand and the Pacific Island countries.

In his remarks at the signing ceremony,  Tozaka acknowledged the support of the Government of Australia in maintaining its commitment to promote regional economic development through the seasonal worker programme.

He further expressed sincere gratitude to the Government of Australia for providing ordinary Solomon Islanders the opportunity to undertake seasonal employment in Australia.

Tozaka, the lead spokeperson of the Forum Islands countries is currently chairing the 2nd High Level Pacer Plus Meetings, in which updates on the progress towards the anticipated conclusion of negotiations on Pacer Plus is being provided to Forum Islands countries by the Office of the Chief Trade Advisor, based in Port Vila.

Tozaka was accompanied by Acting Permanent Secretary of Foreign Affairs & External Trade, Joseph Ma’ahanua, and Fiona Indu from the Solomon Islands High Commission,  Canberra.Solomon Star

19) Australia signs new aid partnership with PNG

7 Feb 2016 Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop says her government is signing a new aid partnership with Papua New Guinea to help promote economic growth and reduce poverty.

The partnership will look to advance PNG’s social and economic development, and deliver vital infrastructure including roads to ensure services reach more people and improve access to markets.

Women’s economic empowerment will be a key focus of the partnership which also aims to address PNG’s chronic family and sexual violence issues, enabling more women to break the poverty cycle.

These were central to discussion at last week’s 24th Australia-Papua New Guinea Ministerial Forum in Canberra.

The newspaper, The National, reported that Ms Bishop also outlined shared priorities in the health, education, transport and the justice sector.

Two-way trade between the countries is worth US$5 billion and Australian investment in PNG totals US$14 billion.RNZI

PACIFIC

20) PNG PM Says June Deadline For Pacer Plus Agreement ‘Shaky’
Trade deal not ready for approval; unfavorable for Pacific: O’Neill

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 4, 2016) – Papua New Guinea’s prime minister, Peter O’Neill, has described the June deadline for the Pacer Plus trade deal covering Australia and New Zealand as looking shaky.

Mr O’Neill has met Australia’s prime minister Malcolm Turnbull for bilateral talks, after telling the National Press Club in Canberra that his country has better access to European and American supermarket shelves for its products than those closer to home.

Mr O’Neill said the main thing was accessibility to Australian and New Zealand markets, adding that he thought PNG should be given a fair opportunity to access markets.

PNG declared this week it wasn’t ready to sign the Pacer Plus deal in its current form because the terms were unfavourable to smaller nations in the Pacific.

In January, the Chief Trade Advisor for the Pacific Island countries, Edwini Kessie, said he was confident negotiations over the PACER Plus trade agreement could reach a successful conclusion by mid-year.

He said he believed Australia and New Zealand were flexible enough to allow Pacific countries to retain the right to regulate, and also to protect infant industries.

However, PNG’s government recently said that PACER Plus would reduce employment opportunities in PNG and kill the country’s manufacturing sector.

Radio New Zealand International

21) Pacific countries to benefit more from Australia’s seasonal workers programme
8:19 pm GMT+12, 03/03/2016, Australia

Australia’s seasonal worker programme continues to deliver significant gains to Pacific countries with around 8,500 Pacific Islanders taking advantage of the programme to date.

That’s over and above those who came to Australia under the earlier seasonal worker pilot programme, said Minister for Trade and Investment, Senator Richard Colbeck.

“We are in the process of negotiating an updated seasonal worker programme MOU with participant countries and we will sign an updated MOU with the Solomon Islands, and we’re very pleased to be doing that.

“As you are aware we have also uncapped the seasonal worker programme. The accommodation sector has been folded in and Northern Australian tourism industry has been invited to apply to join the programme on a trial basis,” Senator Colbeck told Pacific Trade Ministers that attended the PACER PLUS meeting in Brisbane this week.

On the 08 February Australia announced the expansion of the programme to cattle, sheep, grain and mixed enterprises.

“And I can say to you that it is very, very popular amongst our agricultural sector.

“We are also progressing the Pacific micro states Northern Australia worker pilot programme that provides two to three year visas for workers from Nauru, Tuvalu, and Kiribati to work in Northern Australia. These changes should provide the opportunity for more Pacific Islanders coming to Australia to work, increasing remittances.

He said PACER Plus will include a commitment to provide assistance to implementation and to enhance broader aid for trade to address constraints and maximise benefits.

“Australia is committed to working with all of you to determine the best future use of PACER Plus develop assistance.

PACER Plus provides them a golden opportunity to work to build a comprehensive, economic integration framework that reflects our close relationships, our strategic priorities and shared economic future, he said.

“The benefits can be significant and great. We should all be working to have PACER Plus enter force as soon as possible.

Pacific Leaders have committed to concluding and signing of the PACER Plus agreement by June this year.

“It is our responsibility now to complete that commitment. This is an important thing that we do for our countries.

“As I said before, developing that strategic trade framework between our nations provides the framework and the toolkit for us to continue to develop and grow our economies to the benefit of our citizens,” said Senator Colbeck …. PACNEWS

SOURCE: PACNEWS

ASIA

22) PNG, Japan with big group for forum

Source:
The National, Thursday March 3rd, 2016

PAPUA New Guinea and Japan will form the biggest group at the upcoming 11th LNG for Asian Supplies Conference 2016 in Singapore this month, according to the Conference Connection Group.
The Conference Connection Group organises high profile international events, covering the industries including oil, gas, energy, maritime, aviation, healthcare and other leading commercial sectors.
The group said the conference would be officially opened by Singapore’s Trade and Industry minister S Iswaran, followed by ministerial addresses by Petroleum and Energy minister Ben Micah, and Singapore’s Ministry of Economy Petroleum and Natural Gas Division Director Yuki Sadamitsu.
Kumul Petroleum Holdings managing director Wapu Sonk will be a guest speaker at the conference to be held from 15th -17th.
The conference theme is, “Many Sellers, Few Buyers: Lower Oil Prices and the Future Investment Dilemma”, and is expected to attract nearly 200 delegates from 20 countries.
Japanese companies are among top two groups every year at the event to be joined this year by a large delegation from PNG.
LNGA 2016 would feature LNG veterans panel comprising of key veterans in the LNG industry.
The LNG community could expect to meet a distinguished panel of speakers which included senior executives from global oil and gas producers, buyers, sellers, advisers, policy makers, and end users.
Conference co-chairman Dr Fereidun Fesharaki, said: “The LNG markets are driven by expectations of surplus LNG,  and the need for buyers to tie up supplies as LNG demand grows in certain key consuming nations and as the supply contracts expire.”

WORLD

23) http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2016-03-07/eu-summit-spotlights-greeces-twin-peaks-of-pressure-refugees-and-debt/1555678
24) http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2016-03-07/europe-migrant-crisis-greece-says-fortress-europe-needs-to-share-burden-at-least-25-drown-crossing-f/1555662

HEALTH

25) http://dailypost.vu/news/red-eye-outbreak-in-port-vila/article_f9e5ee6c-dc37-5d8e-8947-0e49931bc115.html

EDUCATION

26) Connecting remote students to internet

The Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF) will be delivering internet access to some schools in Vanuatu that are facing difficulties in accessing the digital and online world.

These four remote schools are : Arep on Vanua Lava, Saint Anne School at Port Olry (Santo), Orap School(Malekula) and Tafea College on Tanna.

By mid of this year, students at these schools would be using computers with access to internet to do their studies just like colleagues in urban schools.

AUF, the association of French-speaking universities based in Port Vila, has won the Telecommunications and Radiocommunications Regulator’s (TRR) tender for installing and maintaining the government’s Universal and Access Policy (UAP) Computer Lab Projects for these schools.

The UAP government’s policy aims to expand telecommunication services reach all people in the islands, particularly rural communities.

TRR, which is designated by the government as the implementing agency, put pen to paper with AUF earlier this week to roll out the project.

AUF Technical Manager, Boscoe Boukone, who will be installing the computers assured that work is expected to be complete before September.

The Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Program Manager at the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (OGCIO), Jackson Miake, said “the implementation of the computer lab projects will support the national policy target of a 98% broadband coverage by January 2018.

“The current broadband coverage of the whole country is approximately 92%,” Miake said.

This project is considered an achievement that will positively stimulate impact in education and other areas as health, tourism, trade, and agriculture.

Vanuatu Daily Post/Posted: Saturday, March 5, 2016 9:00 am/By Anita Roberts
 
POLITIC

27) Tozaka defeats election petition

Published: 06 March 2016

Foreign Affairs minister Milner Tozaka has all the reasons to smile after the High Court rejected last Wednesday an election petition brought against him by a losing candidate.

High Court judge Rex Faukona dismissed the petition filed  Jenning Movobule, who contested against Tozaka in the 2014 national general election for the North Vella La Vella Constituency.

Foukona ruled in favour of Tozaka on a technical ground basing on the fact that the petition was signed by another person other than Movobule, who lodged the case.

Tozaka was represented by Sol-Law, while Light Lawyers stood in for Movobule.

Speaking to the Sunday Star, Tozaka said he was relieved that the election petition case has been decided.

“The case has bothered me a bit from doing what I am supposed to do for my people and country,” he said.

“The decision gave me a sense of relief and confidence to now concentrate on what I was elected and tasked to do.”

Meanwhile, another election petition filed by former prime minister Gordon Darcy Lilo is being heard in the High Court.

Lilo surprisingly lost the Gizo-Kolombangara seat in the last election to Jimson Tanangada.

He alleged Tanangada, who is currently the Minister for Rural Development, won because he bribed voters.

Tanangada has staunchly refuted the allegation and is defending his victory.

The case returns to court tomorrow when Lilo is expected to appear in the witness box to give his statement.

By AATAI JOHN/Solomon Star

MEDIA

28) http://dailypost.vu/news/radio-vanuatu-must-cover-whole-country-pm/article_74db9ccb-c30b-5bf7-8ce8-1213deb1fde8.html

BUSINESS


29) PX appoints Solomon Is manager

Source:
The National, Friday March 4th, 2016

A FEMALE staff from Air Niugini, Leona Kilo, has been appointed to manage the company’s operations in Honiara, Solomon Islands.
Kilo from Hagus village, North Bougainville, who served the airline for 32 years, departs Port Moresby today for Honiara and will be there for the next two years.
She had spent most of her time in sales and marketing.
Air Niugini’s general manager customers and markets, Dominic Kaumu , in congratulating Kilo, said the appointment was made on merit.
He said while international exposure was important to grooming national managers, it was more encouraging to see a PNG woman taking up a managerial role overseas.
“Leona is not new to Air Niugini and we look forward to seeing her contribution and expertise in her new role, which is primarily, to focus on product development and building network within the region,” Kaumu said.
“She will also be working in close partnership with the Air Niugini general sales agents in Vanuatu and Fiji.
“Kilo will be managing ANG’s sales office, located on the second floor of Antony Saru building, opposite the PNG High Commission office in Honiara.
“This office will be responsible for Air Niugini’s business operations and interests in Solomon Islands, Fiji and Vanuatu.”
Kilo acknowledged Air Niugini for the trust and opportunity provided.
“I thank Air Niugini for the trust it has in me,” Kilo said.
“With many years of experience in sales, marketing and the strong network, I have with our general sales agents and customers, I hope I can make some improvement to the way we do business in the region.”
Kilo started work with Air Niugini as a domestic ticketing officer just before Independence in 1975. She was only 20 then.
Most of her work was within sales and marketing where she went from a ticketing officer to international travel adviser, sales supervisor, sales trainer and  coordinator, a job she had prior to her appointment to Honiara.
She did online courses over the years obtaining several diplomas in the area of travel tourism, fares and ticketing and had the opportunity to provide sales training to Air Niugini staff and general sales agents in Singapore, Rome, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka and Tokyo with countless hours of training for local staff.
Kilo replaces Apisalom Kaili who has been relocated to the head office to manage special projects.

30) SI second expensive in internet service

Published: 06 March 2016

Solomon Islands has the second most expensive internet service in the Pacific region.

Papua New Guinea tops the list of 12 Pacific countries in a study carried out by Network Strategies of New Zealand on internet access affordability published on its website.

According to them, the last updated report on internet access affordability on Pacific Islands was three years ago.

“Technological progress in Internet access is slowly but surely being felt in the Pacific.”

It states that ADSL and/or fixed wireless broadband is available in all the countries they have included in their analysis including newcomer Nauru.

“The die-off of dial-up services that was noted back in 2012 is continuing, to the point that we have not included this in our analysis, and have instead replaced it with a new category – mobile broadband, that is now available for laptops in some countries,” it added.

It noted that fixed broadband affordability has improved a lot in all countries, but even a low-level use of 2GB per month requires more than 100 percent of average monthly income in both Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.

At the other end of the scale, in five countries the same usage level takes less than 10 percent of monthly income, with star performer the Cook Islands taking just 1.5 percent.

Affordability of the new mobile broadband services varies widely, with a very low usage of 500MB per month being equivalent to 2.7 percent of average monthly income in Fiji up to 35 percent of monthly income in Kiribati.

It adds that the affordability of fixed broadband services has also been improving in the Pacific for both low and high-levels of usage.

“However, in the two least affordable countries Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands, even the significant improvements shown still do not bring the monthly cost of fixed broadband services down below 100 percent of annual income.

“Five of the 12 countries analysed now require less than 10 percent of average annual income for a low-level of fixed broadband usage, including newcomer Nauru.

“For a high-level use of fixed broadband only three countries break the 10 percent barrier.”

Despite improvement in some of the pacific island countries on mobile Internet available for handsets, it is not yet included in the report, it noted.

“These services are not considered here, but will be included in our upcoming analysis of mobile services in the Pacific Islands.”

By BRADFORD THEONOMI/ Solomon Star

INFRATRUCTURE

31) Rain washes away bridge

Source:
The National, Friday March 4th, 2016

By PETER  WARI
The only foot bridge that links people from  Bush Karintz and Highway Karintz in the Karintz local level government of Mendi-Munihu district, Southern Highlands, has been washed away.
A combine community service work was organised to build the bridge and 15m long logs were put across the bridge but everything was swept away by the heavy rain last Tuesday.
Youth leader Frank Paki Huk said their hard work to save students from missing classes was all a waste and now  intervention of elected leaders was needed. Huk said students attending Topa Primary School and other elementary schools had missed classes for days.
He said the old foot bridge linked Tulum, Olea, Posulim, Bela, Pembi and other villages in  Bush Karintz and Hum, Topa, Humbra and Melant in the Hghway Karintz and even other villages in the Lai Valley LLG.
Huk said it was a said story for farmers and villagers because they rely on the bridge to access basic servic

LAW&ORDER

32) New Caledonia police shot at in two separate incidents

4 March 2016

Police in New Caledonia have been shot at and had stones thrown at them in two separate incidents on the outskirts of Noumea.

Noumea municipal police facade Photo: RNZ

A police spokesman says a vehicle was deployed to the suburb of St Louis, in the Le Mont-Dore area, on Wednesday morning to recover a stolen car when two shots were fired at the armoured vehicle, one striking the door.

Then, in a separate incident on Thursday night, policemen went to the scene of a burning car in the same area where gunfire and rocks were fired in their direction from nearby bushes.

The incidents are the latest in a series of cases of police being violently targetted in New Caledonia, with the territory recording 35 cases of officers being injured in attacks in 2015.RNZI

33) Second parole request refused

The second round of submissions by seven of the jailed politicians for parole has been rejected.

The Parole Board convened on Monday this week and re-considered the applications of the seven detained former MPs who re-applied.

They include: Serge Vohor, Moana Carcasses, Silas Yatan, Paul Telukluk, Tony Nari and John Amos.

Previously, the first four urgent applications came from Mr. Anthony Wright, Mr. Yatan, Mr. Amos and Mr. Telukluk, followed by the remaining 10.

The Board in its meeting on February 12, deferred their requests for early release on compassionate grounds with the understanding that the health is at a manageable stage.

The majority of the 14 politicians, who were sentenced on October 22, 2015 for corruption and bribery are not only seasoned politicians but middle-aged parents/grandparents (with the exception of the youngest who was 29 when sentenced, the rest ranged between 40-70 years old), with heavy financial and family responsibilities.

In sentencing the 14, Justice Mary Sey did note the age factor, the absence of past convictions and that six of them have health problems as some provided medical reports and the names of their doctors.

At that time Moana Carcasses, Silas Yatan, Paul Telukluk, Amos, Arnold Prasad, Steven Kalsakau, Thomas Laken and Willie Jimmy complied with the Court’s Order for pre-sentence reports but the Correctional Services did not get any cooperation on this matter from Serge Vohor, Tony Wright, Jean-Yves Chabod, Jonas James, Sebastien Harry, Tony Nari and Marcellino Pipite.

A pre-sentence report assists the judge to make a fully informed and appropriate decision about a sentence an offender should receive and what support should be provided to them.

The functions of the Parole Board include the decision to release any offender eligible for parole under section 51 of the Correctional Services Act; decide as to the remission, suspension or variation of any parole condition or as to the imposition of any additional condition of parole; hear applications for release on compassionate grounds and if appropriate direct the release of a detainee on compassionate grounds subject to any condition the Board imposes; and also review its decision not to release detainees or a offender on parole or a condition it has imposed.

Vanuatu daily post.vu/ By Jane Joshua/ Posted: Saturday, March 5, 2016 12:00 am

34) Suspected Methamphetamine Lab Discovered In Vanuatu

Two foreigners arrested for drug operation

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 4, 2016) – In Vanuatu, three Australian police, two of them forensic experts, have helped local police arrest two foreigners suspected of operating a methamphetamine laboratory.

The drug lab was found on a property 15 kilometres north of Port Vila.

The Daily Post newspaper says the first suspect has appeared in court and is on bail while the second suspect remains in custody as investigations continue.

Police says investigation may extend to other islands in Vanuatu.

Radio New Zealand International

35) PNG Tackles Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing
Laws address World Bank concerns about vulnerability

By Rosalyn Albaniel

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, March 4, 2016) – Papua New Guinea has moved to eradicate domestic and external money laundering and terrorist financing under new harsher laws and tougher penalties.

This is through the final gazettal of five pieces of legislation that were previously lacking and now specifically deal with these two international crimes.

The laws were recently gazetted and yesterday officially announced by the co-chair of the national coordinating committee who is also Bank of PNG Governor Loi Bakani in Port Moresby.

Present at the joint news conference were other representatives of the NCC including Public Prosecutor Kaluwin Pondros, Internal Revenue Commissioner Betty Palaso and Deputy Secretary of Justice and Attorney-General Nicodemus Mosoro.

Effective this year these laws are the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorist Financing Act 2015, Criminal Code (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) (Amendment) Act 2015, Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters (Amendment) Act 2015, Proceeds of Crime (Amendment) Act 2015 and United Nations Financial Sanctions Act 2015.

With these laws in effect, cash handlers found to be non-compliant will be fined K500,000 or jailed for five years or both while corporate entities can be fined K1 million.

PNG had been ranked highly susceptible by a World Bank review in 2010 and 2011 to both crimes as there were significant deficiencies in its monitoring system.

This had resulted in PNG being referred to the financial action taskforce international co-operation review group for a targeted review of its deficiencies in October 2013 and eventually in 2014 placed on its “grey list”.

Mr Bakani said efforts were progressing in PNG’s removal from the grey list.

This is following a high-level commitment by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill to reform this process.

Mr Bakani said the reforms to the laws were a major part while other measures included the establishment of the NCC – the other co-chair being the Justice and Attorney-General Secretary Lawrence Kalinoe, the establishment also of the new financial analysis and supervision unit.

He said the next step would be awareness drive to educate cash handlers of their responsibilities and the consequences should they fail to comply.

Public Prosecutor Kaluwin Pondros had confirmed reports of cases that had been dealt by his office going back to 2014 and funds more than K1 million.

PNG Post-Courier

36) Sir Salamo wants more judges in judiciary

Source:
The National, Friday March 4th, 2016

By CHARLES MOI
Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia says he would like to see 60 to 80 judges in the judiciary to dispose of the growing number of cases in the National and Supreme courts.
Sir Salamo made this known at Government House yesterday during the swearing-in ceremony of Robert Lee Lindsay as judge of the National and Supreme courts.
“The judiciary is embarking on a very ambitious programme to bring (legal) services closer to the people in the rural areas and in the provinces,” Sir Salamo said.
He said the current ceiling of judges in the country is 40, excluding the chief justice and deputy chief justice.
“At the moment we have 36 permanent judges, including the chief justice and the deputy chief justice,” Sir Salamo said.
“That means we have another six more permanent appointments.
“In increasing appointment of judicial officers, the judges are in fact being posted to the provinces where they are most needed.”
He said of the 40 judges, including the acting judges, only 14 were based in Waigani.
Sir Salamo also announced that William Neil, who was appointed by the Judicial and Legal Services Commission to serve a three-year term as a judge, would be sworn into office in April.
Neil, from New South Wales, Australia, was admitted to practice law in PNG in 1970. He was a senior lawyer with Ashurst law firm. He will serve in Goroka.

37) PNG concedes it can’t resettle Manus asylum seekers

7 feb 2016 Comments from the Papua New Guinea prime minister that Australia’s asylum seeker detention centre on Manus Island has hurt the country’s reputation have come as no surprise to some.

During a visit to Canberra, Peter O’Neill said the facility must eventually close.

Comments from the Papua New Guinea prime minister that Australia’s asylum seeker detention centre on Manus Island has hurt the country’s reputation have come as no surprise to some.

The newspaper, The Age, reported him as saying his government couldn’t afford to resettle those found to be refugees.

It was Mr O’Neill who signed a 2012 agreement with then-Prime Minister Julia Gillard to reopen it.

The Detention Rights Advocate at the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre in Australia, Pamela Curr, said the PNG government, to its credit, had not pushed the people out into the community because they were afraid of what would happen to them.

“Papua New Guinea is a dangerous country even for the local people; it’s made up of many languages and many cultures. It is an emerging nation, it is in no fit condition to take in over 1000 young men from many different cultures and expect them to be able to settle there.”

Pamela Curr said Australia was destroying its relationships with its neighbours.

Since 2013 Manus has been hosting hundreds of asylum seekers who attempted to reach Australia before being intercepted by its naval forces and transferred to Manus for processing.RNZI

38) Rear Admiral Naupoto confirmed as Fiji’s military commander

11:08 pm GMT+12, 03/03/2016, Fiji

The Fiji Government has confirmed three key appointments to its defence services.

Acting Commander Rear Admiral Viliame Naupoto has been confirmed to the position of military commander. He was acting in the position after the resignation of Brigadier General Mosese Tikoitoga last year.

Senior military officer, Brigadier General Sitiveni Qiliho has been confirmed as Fiji Police Commissioner. He was acting on the position since the resignation of Fiji police Chief Ben Groenewald.

Former Permanent permanent secretary for Ministry of Works, Francis Kean is the new Fiji Corrections Commissioner.

A government statement Friday said the appointments were made in accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of Fiji on the advice of the Constitutional Offices Commission.

All the appointments are with effect from today, Friday 4 March 2016.

SOURCE: PACNEWS/DINFO

CLIMATE CHANGE,CONSERVATION

39) Fiji ‘Flash Appeal’ For $38.5 Million In Humanitarian Assistance
350,000 people impacted by Cyclone Winston

By Nasik Swami

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, March 4, 2016) – Fiji needs $US38.6million ($F81.78m) in the next 90 days in humanitarian emergency assistance.

The Fijian Government and the United Nations jointly launched a humanitarian emergency flash appeal today for 350,000 people affected by Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston.

UN Humanitarian Coordinator to Fiji, Osnat Lubrani said the humanitarian emergency assistance had been developed covering urgent lifesaving projects that require $US38.6m in support from the international donor community.

[PIR editor’s note: On March 4, 2016 Fiji Times reported that ‘About 106 tonnes of relief supplies reached Fijian shores yesterday on board New Zealand’s flagship multi-role naval vessel HMNZS Canterbury.’]

“The United Nations stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the people of Fiji and its government as it responds to the catastrophic impacts of TC Winston,” Ms Lubrani said.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said Fijians were stronger than Winston.

“We will recover and we will rebuild. And we will do so with our many friends in the community of nations with whom we stand so proudly, and especially at this time,” Mr Bainimarama said.

Fiji Times Online.

MINING,FISHERIES,FORESTRY

40) PNG could see US$80m benefits from seabed mining

3 March 2016

A new report says seabed mining could see Papua New Guinea reap economic benefits of US$80 million over two years.

The cost benefit analysis report, commissioned by the Pacific Community (formerly the Secretariat of the Pacific Community) and the European Union, aimed to provide information to Pacific countries about the impacts of seabed mining.

The report looked into mining in three counties – seafloor massive sulphides in PNG, maganese nodules in the Cook Islands and cobalt-rich crusts in the Marshall Islands.

The SPC’s deep sea minerals project manager, Akuila Tawake, said the benefits of seabed mining in PNG and the Cooks would outweigh the costs, but not in the Marshall Islands.

“Based on the report – the main net social benefit for mining in PNG for two years, around US$80 million, and for mining maganese nodules in the Cook Islands for 20 years will bring a mean social benefit of around US$500 million for the govenment,” Mr Tawake said.

The report said if proper steps were taken to manage environmental risk, there would be a higher possibility of social benefits outweighing social costs in all three countries.RNZI

41) OK Tedi operations resume

Source:
The National, Wednesday March 2nd, 2016

THE giant OK Tedi mine in Western resumed operations yesterday after a seven-month stoppage.
The state owned Ok Tedi Mining Ltd suspended operations on August 22 last year due to the draught conditions which made ships carrying critical supplies impassable up Fly River coupled with the depressed copper price.
OTML managing director and chief executive officer Peter Graham said said the company was pleased to welcome employees back to site for the progressive restart.
“We are very pleased to be welcoming our employees back to site as operations progressively restart,” Graham said.
“We currently have about 800 employees on site and numbers will ramp up to full complement by mid – March.”
He said this figure would increase to 1300 employees after the ramp up.
“Our immediate focus is to make sure we operate safely. Returning employees attend a general site induction on arrival followed by a comprehensive workplace-specific induction on the day they return to their work place.
Specific work competencies are also being validated,” he said. Graham said recommencement of operations followed statutory safety approval from Mineral Resources Authority.
MRA managing director Philip Samar said they were pleased at the outcome of the statutory inspections at Ok Tedi and confirmed that MRA had provided necessary approvals as sought by OTML for the mine to resume commercial production.
“We commend OTML for ensuring that its safety management systems are in place to meet the MRAs safety inspections rigorous requirements,” Samar said.
“As the operator of the mine, OTML is now directly responsible for ensuring the continued maintenance of the mines safety management system going forward.”
Inspectors from MRA were in Tabubil from February 22-26 visiting the Mine, Mill, Bige, and Kiunga Port sites confirming safety requirements in preparation for restart.

Meanwhile, Graham said full production was expected toward end this month after installation and commissioning of replacement the part of a mill known as SAG2 shell.

SPORT

42) Vanuatu qualify for Under 21 Beach Volleyball World Championships

Vanuatu’s new junior pairing of Loti Joe and Sherysyn Toko have qualified for the Beach Volleyball World U21 Championships to be held in Lucernne, Switzerland from May 11-16.

The girls started the competition with a come from behind 3 set win over Hong Kong. They narrowly lost to a strong Thailand 2 team to finish 2nd in their pool. In the quarter final, they played China. The girls started strongly, however China prevailed in the first set 21-19 and won the second 21-10.

In the most important match for them so far, Loti and Sherysyn had to defeat New Zealand to achieve their goal of qualifying for the World Championships. Losing the first set 23-21, the girls bounced back with some strong defensive play to take the second 21-18. They continued their strong play in the 3rd set, taking an early lead and finishing off the set 15-8 to cement their spot in Switzerland.

The top 5 teams qualify for the World Championships but only one team per country can qualify. As Thailand 2 would finish a guaranteed 4th, the match between Vanuatu and Thailand 1 for 5th place became a dead rubber, since regardless of the result, Vanuatu would qualify. The girls fought bravely for bragging rights and to finish the competition off with a win but narrowly lost 9-21, 21-18, 13-15.

With the goal of qualifying for the World Championships complete, Loti and Sherysyn will now work towards preparing for the World Championships. ‘I am very glad that we have been able to qualify for the World Championships. We played well but we know that there is much work for us to do if we are to get a good result in Switzerland’, said Loti. ‘Been the first Pacific team to qualify for an age group World Championship makes me feel very proud’, Sherysyn said, ‘but we know we need to improve to be competitive in Switzerland’. Loti and Sherysyn return to Port Vila this Saturday. They will play in the Asian Volleyball Championships in Manly, Australia over Easter as their last lead up event before the World Championships.

Raymond Nasse –  Vanuatu Daily Post- Posted: Saturday, March 5,

43) Ryan happy with his boys

Elenoa Masi-Baselala
Monday, March 07, 2016

THERE was one thing Vodafone Fiji 7s coach Ben Ryan was thankful for at the end of Fiji’s quarter-final match against Japan.

His players were not overconfident.

“There’s a danger sometimes of our players taking teams for granted. What was really refreshing that before the start of our preparations against Japan the boys were already talking of not underestimating Japan. To give Japan some respect by playing well. That’s what they did and they put in a good display.”

Fiji defeated Japan 43-7 to advance to the semi-finals. In their last pool match, Fiji had a narrow 15-12 win over Argentina to become pool winners.

Ryan was worried his players would be overconfident against Japan.

“That’s something that happens with our boys. You look at a team that you think you’re going to beat and you have beaten them before…..we can’t underestimate any team,” Ryan said.

However, the coach was happy with the team’s performance against Argentina.

“It was a close game but I thought we played well there. We have played against Argentina in the past five or six tournaments and every time they are getting closer and closer on us. They are one of the favourites of this tournament and they deserve the good result,” Ryan said.

Hours before the quarter-final, the national team has special instructions from Ryan- “switch off, have some kana and do your recovery.”

“We can win this if we get through to the semis. We have recovered well from our opening loss against Samoa,” Ryan said.Fijitimes

44) Rashford ‘in the race’ for Euro 2016

Bbc
Monday, March 07, 2016

England manager Roy Hodgson has left the door open for Marcus Rashford to make his Euro 2016 squad.

The Manchester United striker, 18, scored twice on his debut against FC Midtjylland and then two more in the win over Arsenal on Sunday.

Rashford, who did not score against Watford on Wednesday, has only been capped at under-18 level for England.

“I would neither rule him in or rule him out, I just hope he can do well,” Hodgson said.

“I have been watching Rashford for two years, so I have known about him for a long time. He is in our system.”

He added he was delighted that an England Under-18 player was getting chances in Manchester United’s first team.

“Most of all, I hope he is allowed to develop as an 18-year-old should and people don’t try to put him under enormous pressure,” he said.

“Scoring four goals in three games is a great achievement and if he can keep that up, it is great for Manchester United and England.”

Rashford came into Louis van Gaal’s side with fellow strikers Wayne Rooney and Anthony Martial injured but looks set to remain a part of the first-team picture at Old Trafford for the remainder of the season.

45) http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2016-03-06/perth-wildcats-crush-new-zealand-breakers-7552-at-perth-arena-to-seal-record-seventh-nbl-title/1555614

46) http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2016-03-06/south-sydney-hammers-sydney-roosters-4210-to-start-the-season-but-injuries-to-adam-reynolds-john-sut/1555606

w: www.voiceofmelanesia.com

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