Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1060 ( Friday 18 March 2016 )
1) Ol MSG yuth i toktok long My Land My Future
Dispela Melanesian Indigenous Land Defence Alliance miting long Solomon Islands last wik bai em i kamap wantaim wanpela declaration we ol i laikim ol lida blong ol Melanesian kantri i bihainim.
Geneva-based Human Rights Council hears about alleged violations
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 16, 2016) – Solomon Islands has raised concern about human rights violations in the Indonesian Province of West Papua at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Its diplomat in Geneva, Barrett Salato, has told the Council that human rights violations in Papua need urgent attention by the world community.
Mr Salato said Solomon Islands remained concerned by arbitrary arrests, summary executions, tortures, ill treatments and limitations of freedom of expression committed by Indonesian security forces.
He encouraged Indonesia to establish a dialogue with West Papuan representatives and to cooperate with the Council by allowing UN special procedures planning to visit Indonesia.
Mr Salato has highlighted the request made by the Pacific Island Forum to allow for a human rights fact-finding mission to be sent to West Papua.
He says access to education and health services for the Papuans has deteriorated, adding to a decline of the indigenous West Papuan population.
Radio New Zealand International
3) West Papuan Diplomat In Running To Head Freeport Mine
Ambassador Manufandu not considered supportive of pro-independence
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 17, 2016) – A West Papuan diplomat has emerged as a contender to be the next head of PT Freeport Indonesia, which operates a major gold and copper mine in Papua province.
The company’s CEO, Maroef Syamsoeding, resigned last month, and Tabloid Jubi reports that calls are growing for the vacancy to be filled by a Papuan.
Michael Manufandu, who is a former mayor of Jayapura, has until recently been Indonesia’s ambassador in Colombia.
He told Tabloid Jubi that if nominated by Jakarta he is ready to become CEO of PT Freeport, whose parent company is American.
Because of its massive Papua mining complex, Freeport has been the largest single source of corporate tax for the Indonesian state for years.
Mr Manufandu said he has the attributes which the job require, including high level managerial abilities, as well as extensive knowledge of the economy.
He has also represented Indonesia at meetings of the Melanesian Spearhead Group, of which the country is now an associate member.
Mr Manufandu is not considered to be supportive of West Papuan pro-independence efforts.
Papuan push for participation in Freeport
A rector at Papua’s Cenderawasih University, Dr Onesimus Sahuleka said it was time for Freeport to give credence to indigenous Papuans by having one selected as the CEO of the company.
He’s the latest of a series of Papuans to call for more involvement of the indigenous people in the management of Freeport’s local operations as well as a greater share of the benefits.
This comes amid protracted negotiations between Jakarta and Freeport over the renewal of its contract to operate in Papua beyond 2021.
Despite the huge revenues generated by the mine complex in their province, Papuans have largely been ignored by the negotiations.
The Papua provincial governor, Lukas Enembe has indicated his administration would push to get a ten percent stake in PT Freeport Indonesia.
Radio New Zealand International
4) West Papua shooting claims at least 3 road builders
Police in Indonesia’s Papua region say at least three construction workers were shot dead by an armed group in Puncak Jaya district on Tuesday.
The employees, with the construction firm Modern, were working on the Jalan Trans Papua – a 4,000 kilometre long road being built across the Papua provinces.
The Jakarta Globe reported the workers were shot during an armed attack that left another in a critical condition, while seven escaped unscathed.
Machinery was also destroyed during the attack.
The Puncak Jaya police chief, senior commander Marcelis, told the Antara news agency he believed the Yambi militant group was behind the attack.17/3/16 RNZI
5) Suspects in social media attack arrested; modern-day ‘Blackbirding’ as Ni-Vanuatu workers defrauded in Queensland
Seven suspects in the matter of the kidnapping and beating of Ms Florence Lengkon have been arrested and detained. Ms Lengkon, a worker in the tourism industry, had complained on Facebook concerning the manner and behaviour of local public transport drivers. Deputy PM Natuman, responsible for tourism, was very critical of the beating on page one of Daily Post today. “Enough is enough,” he told readers and he brought his authority to bear in having the arrests achieved.
It seemed like ‘blackbirding’ days were with us once again. A Queensland company did not properly pay workers recruited from Vanuatu. Twenty-two workers were chosen but they were not paid the applicable rates for their fruit and vegetable picking. Some workers were not paid at all.The Fair Work Ombudsman took legal action against the Maroochy Sunshine company. The court held the company had broken labour laws and the matter is adjourned until June when penalties will be imposed. The case has been widely reported in the Australian, Vanuatu and regional media.
The Leader of the Opposition has questioned the removal of drums of bitumen from Malekula and allegedly sent to Tanna. The Opposition claimed the product was needed for road making on Malekula. However, the Government corrected the information given saying that the drums of road surfacing material are coming to Port Vila for government planned roadworks, the Malekula road project being a personal one of the former PWD minister.
Travellers complain that Banks and Torres services of Air Vanuatu are periodically cancelled, considerably increasing their costs, taxi boats often being needed for travel to the island on which the nearest airport is located. The inconvenience is considered great, Radio Vanuatu News has reported.
The Australian-Pacific Technical College will be holding information sessions on Saturday at the VIT Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure Training Centre in Port Vila. They want interested students to come with educational records, birth certificates and/or passports and employment references. Students will learn quite a lot about APTC technical and vocational courses and assistance funding now available.
A reader writing to Daily Post Letters today congratulates PM Salwai in wanting Radio Vanuatu to ensure its reach is truly national, north to south. He questions an agreement with China allegedly made last year to obtain funding to underwrite this broadcasting objective. He asks VBTC management to confirm this funding from the Chinese Government. The Vanuatu Government was able to fund the shortwave operations of its national broadcaster until recent years. No moa nao.
6) International thumbs up for Tonga climate policy
Tonga’s new national climate change policy has been welcomed by the Pacific Community and the European Union.
The SPC said the five-year policy aimed at achieving specific environmental, social and economic targets, and at increasing Tonga’s resilience to the impacts of climate change by 2035.
Over the past year Tonga’s Department of Climate Change has been shaping the policy with technical assistance through the Global Climate Change Alliance: Pacific Small Island States initiative, supported by the EU and implemented by SPC.
The deputy prime minister and climate change minister, Siaosi Sovaleni, said it was not the Tongan way to present themselves as victims, with people usually smiling through adversity.
He said the revised Climate Change Policy didn’t dwell on vulnerabilities but focused on building a resilience.
The SPC said the policy required a ‘whole of Tonga’ level of co-operation and co-ordination.17/3/16 RNZI
7) College in Samoa closed after violent brawl
Samoa’s Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture has closed Avele college temporarily for the protection and security of its students after a brawl which involved students from Avele, Saint Joseph and Faleata colleges.
Our correspondent said police also reported that students with links to the violence used social media sites like Facebook to post videos and pictures of the brawl.
On Wednesday, police arrested three students but more arrests were made yesterday following further brawls at the bus terminal behind the burnt flea market at Savalalo.
Late last year Police in Samoa were called on to intervene after ongoing fights between school students at the Tafusi Markets.
Three years ago an increasing number of brawls and student fights prompted the Ministry of Education to push bible studies in public schools as a measure to counter the violence.18/3/16 RNZI
8) MPs for Samoa’s 16th Parliament to take oath
Samoa’s first time MPs and re-elected politicians for the 16th Parliament will be sworn in today following the recent general election.
The new government of caretaker Prime Minister, Auelua Fatialofa Lupesoli’ai Tuila’epa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, who was re-elected unopposed will also be sworn in today.
Our correspondent said Tuila’epa will also announce his deputy in which the party’s most senior and long serving female MP and cabinet Minister, Fiame Naomi Mataafa, is the new successor.
Fiame was elected by the Caucus after the election to take over the role of deputy leader from Fonotoe Nuafesili Pierre Lauofo, who is the caretaker deputy Prime Minister.
Meanwhile the HRPP caucus on Wednesday unanimously voted Leaupepe Toleafoa Faafisi, the re-elected MP for A’ana Alofi number one west, to be the new Speaker.
Leaupepe Toleafoa was the former Parliamentary speaker in previous Parliaments.
The new deputy Speaker is the newly elected MP for Gaga’emauga number three Constituency and a former assistant police commissioner, Nafo’itoa Talaimanu Keti.
He defeated the former Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Faamoetauloa Faale Tumaalii.
Under the new constitutional amendments the political party that wins a general election should elect a Speaker and a deputy Speaker to be sworn at the first sitting of a new Parliament.18/3/16 RNZI
9) Tokelau calls on NZ for more help in climate change fight
Tokelau is frequently left out of the discussion on climate change, according to a representative of the territory calling on New Zealand to do more to voice their plight.
As a territory of New Zealand, Tokelau is dependent on New Zealand in international climate change talks.
Representatives from Tokelau, Tuvalu and Kiribati have held talks with New Zealand’s Labour Party ahead of its visit to Tuvalu and Kiribati next week.
A senior Tokelau official, Paula Faiva, said Tokelau has been neglected.
‘Why weren’t we the first that New Zealand looks to, especially when it wants to protect the Pacific from climate change?” she asked.
“Even putting New Zealand’s constitutional responsibility to Tokelau aside, we are on the front-line and just as vulnerable to the effects and impacts of climate change as Kiribati and Tuvalu.”
Paula Faiva, who is a climate change manager, said the elders of Tokelau are calling on New Zealand’s government to visit and see for themselves the reality of climate change on the atoll nation.17/3/16 RNZI
10) Passport seizure mix-up
Friday, March 18, 2016
THERE are mixed signals from the American Samoa Attorney-General’s Office and the Immigration Office regarding the confiscation of passports for non-US nationals and citizens visiting the territory.
The Attorney-General, Talauega Eleasalo Ale, said on local television that unless there was a valid reason, Immigration should not be taking people’s passports upon arrival.
He said there was a provision in the law for Immigration agents to act if they suspected a traveller doesn’t have the correct travel documents or authorisation to enter the territory.
But according to Mr Ale, they cannot withhold people’s passports without cause.
This week, a businesswoman from Samoa who travelled regularly to Pago Pago for work was caught by surprise when the Immigration officer on duty held on to her passport.
11) Commonwealth says no invite yet to observe Nauru poll
The Commonwealth Secretariat says it has been asked by the Nauru government to give technical assistance ahead of this year’s election.
But it said it had not been formally asked to send observers to Nauru, where the international agency last monitored voting 12 years ago.
Earlier this week, two former presidents called on the Commonwealth and the Pacific Islands Forum to step in to monitor what they considered controversial changes to the electoral process.
The Nauru election is due mid-year but Sprent Dabwido and Marcus Stephen wanted observers there as soon as possible.
In a statement the Commonwealth said it was committed to supporting free and fair elections in its member countries in accordance with the Commonwealth Charter.
It said technical assistance would be provided in the coming weeks to help deliver a high quality election process.
But the agency said it would only observe an election when invited to do so by the national authorities and it had not yet been invited by Nauru.
On the government website, Nauru’s president, Baron Waqa, said election observers were welcome at any time.17/3/16 RNZI
TOK PISIN ( PNG,Autonomous Bougainville, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu )
12) Sir Julius Chan i lonsim Playing The Game buk blongen
Postim 17 March 2016, 16:05 AEDT
Tede wanpla papa na Praim Minista bifo blong Papua New Guinea ibin lonchim wanpla buk blong en em oli kolim “Playing the Game ” long Canberra.
Sir Julius ibin wanpla long ol lida wantem Sir Michael Somare, President John Momis na ol narapla lida ibin mekim planti wok tru long mekim Austraklia igivim indipendans long PNG long 1975.
Tasol wanpla bikpla heve emi bin kamap long taem Sir Julius ibin Praim Minista em bikpla fait oa cicil war long Bougainville.
Sandline em wanpla samting em Sir Julius ibin tok oraet long en we emi bin laik salim ol mercenaris oa soljias igo long stopim despla trabal long Bougainville.ABC
BAHASA (West Papua,Timor,Sumba,Flores,Maluku )
13) Penggunaan Bahasa Aborigin di Parlemen Australia Utara Kembali Mencuat
Terbit 17 March 2016, 16:59 AEDT
Isu penggunaan bahasa aborigin di dalam ruang sidang Parlemen negara bagian Australia Utara (Northern Territory) kembali mencuat pekan ini. Seorang anggota Parlemen, Bess Nungarrayi Price kembali mendesak perlunya hal ini diperbolehkan.
Dalam sesi dengar pendapat di Parlemen negara bagian itu, Bess Price yang juga menjabat posisi menteri menyatakan aturan persidangan hendaknya diubah sehingga membolehkan anggota parlemen berbicara bahasa apa saja, sepanjang anggota bersangkutan menyiapkan penerjemah bahasa Inggris.
Menteri Perindustrian Australia Utara Gary Higgins, yang mewakili Dapil Daly yang dihuni komunitas aboriginal terbesar, mengatakan dia tidak keberatan dengan usulan itu sepanjang dipakai keadaan tertentu.
Menurut Higgins, dia tidak mendukung usulan agar bahasa apapun bisa digunakan setiap saat di parlemen. “Harus ada pemberitahuan lebih awal sehingga orang lebih siap. Saya kira itu bisa diterima,” katanya.
Bess Price, yang lahir dari komunitas aborigin Yuendumu berbicara bahasa ibu Warlpiri serta Luritja, Western Arrernte, Anmatyerre dan Inggris.
Tahun lalu, dia mendapat peringatan karena karena merespon seorang anggota parlemen dari oposisi dengan menggunakan bahasa Warlpiri.
Ketua parlemen setempat Kezia Purick saat itu memperingatkan Price bahwa “bahasa persidangan adalah bahasa Inggris”.
Namuan sidang parlemen kemarin, Price menanyai rekannya sesama menteri bagaimana rasanya “tidak mengerti bahasa orang lain”.
Price merujuk kepada PM Malcolm Turnbull dalam salah satu pidatonya di Parlemen Australia yang mengutip salah satu bahasa aborigin.
“Perdana menteri menggunakan bahasa yang kini tidak lagi banyak dipakai dan mendapat pujian,” kata Price.
“Saya bicara dengan bahasa yang masih dipergunakan oleh ribuan orang. Saya dianggap tidak sopan. Saya disalahpahami,” tambahnya.
Namun Purick menegaskan bahwa anggota parlemen bisa saja berbicara dengan bahasa selain Inggris sepanjang mengikuti ketentuan seperti pemberitahuan lebih awal dan ada penerjemah.
“Ini seakan jadi isu nasional bahwa kita tidak membolehkan orang berbicara dengan bahasa ibunya di parlemen ini. Hal itu tidak betul,” ujar Purick.
Parlemen setempat telah menerima usulan perubahan yang diajukan Bess Price untuk dibahas dalam komite terpisah.
FRENCH ( New Caledonia,Vanuatu )
14a ) Brèves du Pacifique – jeudi 17 mars 2016
En Australie, l’opposition estime que la diplomatie du koala coûte trop cher.
14b) L’agriculture bio pour lutter contre le chômage des jeunes
15) Australian dollar hits eight-month high on jobs, Fed; US shares rise
Updated 18 March 2016, 9:15 AEDT
By finance reporter Rebecca Hyam
The Australian dollar surges to a fresh eight-month high overnight, while US stocks also gain after the Fed talks down rate rise prospects.
The Australian dollar is making strong gains against the greenback. (Credit: ABC)
The Australian dollar has surged to a fresh eight-month high overnight, as the US dollar tanked in response to the prospect of fewer interest rate rises by the Federal Reserve this year.
The local currency also gained after jobs figures yesterday showed a lower-than-expected Australian unemployment rate of 5.8 per cent.
The Australian dollar hit 76.56 US cents, to reach a level not seen since July 2015.
At 7:30am (AEDT) it was buying 76.41 US cents.
On the cross-rates, it was worth 67.51 euro cents, 52.77 British pence, 85.15 Japanese yen and $NZ1.117.
While the greenback headed south, markets in the United States added value and crude oil prices strengthened.
“The US dollar capitulation in the wake of the unexpectedly dovish FOMC [Federal Open Market Committee] release yesterday has seen commodity prices surge overnight,” observed IG market analyst Angus Nicholson.
“This dollar weakness has helped the US dollar-denominated pricing of iron ore, which gained 4.7 per cent overnight. WTI [West Texas intermediate] oil is back above $US40 for the first time since 7 December, fuelled by the dovish Fed, but also the positive DOE [Department of Energy] weekly release and expectations for the oil producer meeting in mid-April.”
The Fed’s lowering of expectations for the number of interest rate increases was welcomed by investors, who are concerned about the impact rising rates could have on the US economy.
In corporate news, FedEx forecast better-than-expected full-year earnings, sending its share price more than 10 per cent higher.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average pushed back into positive territory for the year, rising 0.9 per cent to 17,481.
The S&P 500 gained 0.7 per cent to 2,040 and the Nasdaq added 0.2 per cent to 4,774.
Several eurozone markets lost value overnight, in response to the Fed’s soft tone on future interest rate hikes.
However, stocks in London rose by 0.4 per cent to 6,201, after the Bank of England kept its key interest rate on hold at 0.5 per cent.
Local shares were expected to rise today, with the ASX SPI 200 up 0.5 per cent to 5,194.
West Texas crude oil had increased to $US40.12 a barrel, a barrel of Tapis was higher at $US41.78 and spot gold had edged lower to $US1,256.77 an ounce.ABC
16) Australia slammed as bad Pacific neighbour
Australia has been called a bad neighbour to Pacific countries vulnerable to climate change and needs to get out of fossil fuel-based growth faster.
Former Irish president and climate change campaigner, Mary Robinson, made the statement in a lecture in Melbourne this week.
The Guardian reports her urging rich nations to contribute to sustainable development in poor countries.
She said she listened to Pacific leaders and they were very critical of Australia.
Ms Robinson said when she attended the 2015 Pacific Islands Development Forum she was struck that the Pacific did not consider Australia or New Zealand, but more Australia, as good leaders.
She said Australia was engaged in a fossil-fuel powering of its economy, which was hurting economies and the future.
The former UN Special envoy for climate change has emphasised the role of climate financing – where rich countries fund low-emissions development in poor countries.
Ms Robinson said it should not be seen as aid but a means of securing a safe world for future generations.17/3/16 RNZI
19) NZ Army Chief Visits Tonga To Prepare For Military Exercise
Tonga, Australia, US, China, Britain, France forces to participate
NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, March 16, 2016) – Major General Peter Kelly, New Zealand Chief of Army, is visiting Tonga this week ahead of a humanitarian and disaster relief exercise ‘Tropic Twilight’ to be led by New Zealand’s Army later this year in Ha’apai, involving defence forces from Tonga, Australia, US, China, Britain, and France.
The New Zealand Navy will also conduct ‘Exercise Calypso’ where fisheries patrols will be coordinated throughout the Pacific including Tongan waters.
Maj. Gen. Kelly is meeting with Tonga’s Chief of Defence Staff, Brigadier Fielakepa, as well as the Minister of Defence Lord Ma’afu, and HMAF senior officers to discuss the exercises.
The Tonga and New Zealand defence forces have a close relationship dating back to the First World War.
“It is great to be able to visit and discuss the ongoing relationship with the Brigadier and his staff.” stated Maj. Gen. Kelly.
“Our forces have served alongside each other in peace time and at war. In fact, our two forces are serving alongside each other right now in Fiji helping with the clean-up following Tropical Cyclone Winston,” he said.
Maj. Gen. Kelly will tour the Masefield Naval Base and the Taliai Camp while in Tonga.
Matangi Tonga Magazine
20) Polyfest a reflection of NZ’s growing diversity: Lotu-Iiga
The ASB Polyfest now underway in Auckland has been described as a wonderful reflection of New Zealand’s growing diversity.
New Zealand’s Pacific Peoples minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga made the comments at the festival which is celebrating its 41st anniversary this week.
Polyfest is expected to attract around 9000 students and up to 100,000 spectators from around New Zealand.
Mr Lotu-Iiga said it was a highlight of the Pacific events calendar.
New Zealand’s Pacific peoples are the country’s fastest growing youth population, with almost half of the population under 20 years of age.17/3/16 RNZI
21) NZ roading contractor aiding Fiji
One of New Zealand’s largest road building companies, Higgins, is giving $US118,000 dollars to the Fiji cyclone recovery effort.
Higgins has been working on key infrastructure projects over the past three years and has a staff of 250 on the ground there.
Chief executive David Geor said most of those were locals and some lost their family homes in the disaster.
He said the entire Higgins team in Fiji was now involved in efforts to clear roads, reinstate bridge approaches and restore amenities.18/3/16 RNZI
23) Obama slaps new sanction
Friday, March 18, 2016
WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama imposed sweeping new sanctions on North Korea yesterday intended to further isolate the country’s leadership after recent actions by Pyongyang that have been seen by Washington and its allies as provocative.
The executive order freezes any property of the North Korean Government in the US and prohibits exportation of goods from the US to North Korea.
It also allows the US Government to blacklist any individuals, whether or not they are US citizens, who deal with major sectors of North Korea’s economy. Experts said the measures vastly expanded the US blockade against Pyongyang.
North Korea conducted a nuclear test on January 6, and a February 7 rocket launch that the US and its allies said employed banned ballistic missile technology. Pyongyang said it was a peaceful satellite launch.
“The US and the global community will not tolerate North Korea’s illicit nuclear and ballistic missile activities, and we will continue to impose costs on North Korea until it comes into compliance with its international obligations,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.
Despite decades of tensions, the US has not had a comprehensive trade ban against North Korea of the kind enacted against Myanmar and Iran. Americans were allowed to make limited sales to North Korea, although in practice such trade was tiny.
24) N Korea sentences US student to hard labour
Friday, March 18, 2016
SEOUL – North Korea’s Supreme Court sentenced American student Otto Warmbier, who was arrested while visiting the country, to 15 years of hard labour yesterday for crimes against the state, a punishment Washington condemned as politically motivated.
The US State Department called the sentence “unduly harsh” and White House spokesman Josh Earnest said it was “increasingly clear” that North Korea sought to use US citizens as pawns to pursue a political agenda.
Warmbier, a 21-year-old University of Virginia student, was detained in January for trying to steal an item bearing a propaganda slogan from his hotel in Pyongyang, North Korean media said previously.
“The accused confessed to the serious offence against the DPRK he had committed, pursuant to the US Government’s hostile policy toward it, in a bid to impair the unity of its people after entering it as a tourist,” the state-controlled KCNA news agency reported, using the acronym for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
Japan’s Kyodo news agency published a picture of Warmbier being led from the courtroom by two guards, with his head bowed, but visibly distressed.
25) First case of microcephaly
Friday, March 18, 2016
PRAIA – The Cape Verde archipelago off West Africa has identified its first case of the neurological disorder microcephaly, thought to be linked to the Zika virus, in what would be a first for the continent.
The Ministry of Health said the baby was born at the main hospital in the capital Praia on March 14 to a woman who was not among more than 100 women being monitored for the mosquito-borne virus.
“What we are doing right now is gathering samples from the child’s mother and sending them today to the Pasteur Institute of Dakar (Senegal) for evaluation,” said Minister for Health Cristina Fontes.
“There is a case of microcephaly and we want to investigate to see if there is this link (to Zika),” Ms Fontes said.
26) US data points to firming economy, inflation
Friday, March 18, 2016
UNDERLYING US inflation increased more than expected in February as rents and medical costs maintained their upward trend, which could keep the Federal Reserve on course to gradually raise interest rates this year.
Other data on Wednesday showed the housing market continuing to strengthen last month and manufacturing stabilising. The Fed kept interest rates unchanged on Wednesday, but acknowledged that inflation “picked up in recent months.”
New projections from the US central bank showed policymakers expected two quarter-point rate increases by year-end, half the number seen in December. The combination of stirring inflation, a steady housing sector and tightening labor market have raised the probability of a rate hike in June.
“It looks like the Fed remains really cautious, they are not prepared to move before June at the earliest. Today’s numbers, especially the inflation report, is a warning that the days of no price pressures are behind us,” said Joel Naroff, chief economist at Naroff Economic Advisors in Holland, Pennsylvania.
27) PNG authorities say no Zika outbreak in country
The Papua New Guinea Department of Health is calling on people to take care to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes amid the regional concerns over Zika.
The secretary, Pascoe Kase, also said while there were some Zika cases there was no Zika virus outbreak in PNG.
Mr Kase said there had been several Zika-positive cases from multiple sites dating back to May of last year and all recovered without complications.
The secretary says there have also been some cases of dengue.
He says Zika is generally a mild illness with similarities to other diseases such as malaria and dengue but there is no outbreak in PNG.
The secretary says the increase in mosquito-borne diseases can be attributed to recent rain.17/3/16 RNZI
28) French experts hold New Caledonia talks
Two French experts have been holding discussions in Noumea about New Caledonia’s institutional future as a referendum is due to be held by 2018.
A former minister and high commissioner, Alain Christnacht, and another former high commissioner to New Caledonia, Yves Dassonville, are meeting a broad range of stakeholders.
The Noumea Accord, which is a tri-partite deal signed by pro- and anti-independence parties as well as the French state, runs out in 2018 without an agreed way forward.
The committee of the Accord signatories is due to meet in France in September or October to again discuss their differences.
There is no referendum question ready yet while calls persist that a vote should be forgone and a new accord drawn up to defer the plebiscite.
The French prime minister, Manuel Valls, was due in Noumea this month to progress the discussions, but deferred the trip until next month.17/3/16 RNZI
29) New Caledonia roll nearly finalised
Up to 400 people in New Caledonia are at risk of being removed from the roll for provincial elections.
Commissions vetting just over 1,000 people had been unable to get evidence of all those being challenged that they were registered before 1998.
Voting rights are restricted to long-term residents in line with a French constitutional amendment accompanying the territory’s decolonisation process.
Those who failed to document their right to vote are considered to be struck off the roll, but have another week to appeal against the decision.
Media reports suggest some people may be unaware of the challenge because mail warning them about the issue has not reached them.17/3/16 RNZI
30) Demand for Solomons domestic havens expected to grow
2It’s expected that the demand for safe havens for victims of family violence in Solomon Islands will grow when the Family Protection Act becomes Law.
The Act, which ensures protection for people who experience domestic violence, is due to be gazetted next month.
Seif Pleis is a referral centre and health clinic in Honiara offering care to survivors of sexual and gender based violence.
Its manager, Kim Abbey, said she wants to replicate the Seif Place model across the country.
“It’s very easy to run and it’s perfect for a low resource setting,” she said.
“What I’m advocating with the Ministry of Health here is that we run that model throughout all of the regional health centres so every rural health centre in the Solomon Islands is able to provide assitance to somebody coming forward to them.”
Kim Abbey said about 450 people were assisted at Seif Pleis last year.17/3/16 RNZI
31) PNG clampdown on MP travel unlikely to see big savings
Major savings are unlikely to be achieved as a result of new travel restrictions on civil servants and MPs, says the governor of Papua New Guinea’s capital Port Moresby.
Department heads can no longer authorise international trips without the approval of the chief secretary to government and MPs need permission from the prime minister.
Powes Parkop said the government was making cuts in order to sustain vital projects and services.
He said while some travel in the past may not have been necessary, other government trips will still need to be made.
“I’m not sure it will be a major saving because I’m not sure how many people travel overseas in terms of representing the government. But in terms of international travel, of course there are some travel that’s important for PNG to attend regional and international events or conferences and meetings that we must attend despite the economic down turn or hard economic times we all facing.”
The Prime Minister’s office said international conferences will now be attended by PNG’s overseas missions.
It has been estimated the government spent about $US20 million last year on travel.18/3/16 RNZI
32) Fiji president opposed to calling parliament
Fiji’s president Jioji Konrote has dismissed an opposition call for him to convene parliament to discuss the crisis caused by Cyclone Winston.
Two weeks ago, the opposition leader Ro Teimumu Kepa asked him to order a sitting, adding that he had no discretion in the matter.
In a statement, Mr Konrote said the constitution only allowed for him the call parliament if it is not in session.
Parliament opened its current sitting in September and the president explained that under the circumstances, he considered it inappropriate to summon parliament to meet.
Mr Konrote said he found that the Fijian spirit of resilience as well as faith in both government and the Almighty were very evident because the majority of all Fijians are confident that they will be assisted as promised by the Prime Minister and Government.
Parliament is expected to sit for 20 days this year.17/3/16 RNZI
33) Concern over vegie prices
Friday, March 18, 2016
MUNICIPAL market vendors should report on middlemen who sell overpriced vegies if they want them to be taken to task for artificially increasing prices.
This was the view of West principal agricultural officer Vinesh Kumar.
“We are aware of middlemen engaged in these types of activities but it is extremely difficult to track these perpetrators because of a lack of co-operation from market vendors,” Mr Kumar said.
“When we approach them to obtain the names and contact details of unscrupulous traders, the vendors say they do not have that information with them.
“We want to address this issue because we are aware that these middlemen have been involved in artificially increasing prices long before Severe TC Winston came along.”
Vendors from the Sigatoka and Lautoka municipal markets said they had noted an increase in the price of everyday vegetables such as eggplant before the cyclone.
“A bag of eggplant that used to cost $10 to $15 went right up to $30 and this was before Severe TC Winston,” said Sigatoka Market Vendors Association president Deo Chand.
Similar experiences were shared by vendors in the Sugar City.Fijitimes
34) Illegal transport
Friday, March 18, 2016
THE illegal transport trade in Lautoka is thriving because legitimate taxis are not providing adequate service to the public, says divisional traffic officer West assistant superintendent Mitieli Divuana.
“Contrary to what the Fiji Taxi Association has been saying through the media, police is working very closely with the Land Transport Authority on curbing the illegal transport business,” Mr Divuana said.
“What the association should be doing is telling its members to make sure they are there when the public needs transport.”
Fiji Taxi Association assistant secretary and Lautoka branch president Mohammed Shameem disagreed with Mr Divuana’s views.Fijitimes
35) Trio guilty of money laundering
Friday, March 18, 2016
HIGH Court judge Justice Salesi Temo on Tuesday convicted three men who were charged with money laundering.
This, after the three assessors in the trial unanimously found Josefa Rawalai Saqanavere, Tuimoala Raogo and Savenaca Batibawa guilty of five counts of money laundering.
Saqanavere, a former worker of the iTaukei Land Trust Board, had used his user ID to carry out the unlawful activity in paying about $600,000 trust money to Raogo and Batibawa.
The incident was detected in 2011 and investigations were carried out.
In his judgment, Justice Temo said the three assessors had accepted the prosecution’s version of events and had found the accused persons guilty as charged on the counts that applied to them.
He said he had reviewed the evidence called in the trial and had directed himself in accordance with the summing up he gave the assessors.
“I agree with the assessors’ opinion and I accept their verdict. I accept the evidence of all the prosecution witnesses.
“Their evidence was credible. I accept the prosecution’s circumstantial evidence against all accused persons,” Justice Temo said.
He said on the evidence and on the credibility of the prosecution witnesses’ evidence, he found all accused persons guilty as charged and he convicted them accordingly.
The trio have been remanded and will be sentenced today.Fijitimes
36) Seven arrested for attack on woman in Vanuatu
Police in Vanuatu have arrested seven men over the abduction and beating of a woman who criticised the behaviour of local transport providers on Facebook.
The men were all employed in the public transport sector, including the president of the Vanuatu Land Transport Association.
It was alleged they were involved in the abduction on Sunday after the woman had criticised the transport operators over they way they squabbled while seeking fares among tourists disembarking from cruise ships.
Vanuatu police said the men, who were on bail, could face charges of kidnapping, intentional assault, threatening and unlawful assembly.
According to the Daily Post newspaper the woman, Florence Lengkon was forcibly abducted from her place of employment in downtown Port Vila on Sunday by a group of men believed to be public tranport providers.
She was reportedly taken to a separate location where she was surrounded by more men who demanded she apologise for her post then verbally abused and assaulted her.
Prior to the incident the victim had joined a public Facebook forum discussing the squabbling among public transport providers and tour operators over fares for tourists from cruise liners that frequent Port Vila each week.
Ms Lengkon’s post, which was one of many on the page, had described the behaviour of local drivers, which included the stoning of a tour operator bus, as arrogant and unprofessional.17/3/16 RNZI
37) Women to march against violence in Vanuatu
Women in Vanuatu are planning a protest march next week to call for an end to violence against women in the country.
This comes after a woman was abducted, assaulted and verbally abused for expressing her views in a public forum on Facebook.
Deputy Lord Mayor of Port Vila, Leimara Malachai, said the protest was planned for next Wednesday to coincide with the first sitting of the country’s new parliament for the year.
Mrs Malachai said hundreds of men and women from the private, public and informal sector as well churches in the country will march along the Port Vila seafront to the steps of parliament.
“We have three or four petitions to forward to the minister of internal affairs so that the minister of internal affairs will work on it and we will see how it will go.”
Mrs Malachi said the petitions called for among other things a holistic approach to ending violence against women and ensuring the punishment of those involved in the abduction and beating of Florence Lengkon on the weekend.
In the post for which she was targeted, Florence Lengkon criticised the arrogant and unprofessional behaviour of public transport providers who have been squabbling over fares for tourists arriving on cruise ships in Port Vila.18/3/16 RNZI
38) Vanuatu urged to stop attacks on free speech
A Pacific press freedom watchdog is urging police in Vanuatu to crack down on attacks on free speech in the country.
The Chairperson of the Pacific Freedom Forum Titi Gabi made the call after a woman was abducted, assaulted and verbally abused for expressing her views in a public forum on Facebook.
In the post, Florence Lengkon criticised the arrogant and unprofessional behaviour of public transport providers who have been squabbling over fares for tourists arriving on cruise ships in Port Vila.
The vice president of the Port Vila Cruise Tourism Committee John Tonner said the incident had been widely condemned.
“A lot of land transport operators immediately assisted the police in their investigations and apprehensions that have been made,” he said.
“The deputy prime minister released a very firm statement in the Daily Post recently just clearly stating that this is not acceptable and it won’t be tolerated and the full force of the law will be used to prosecute those involved.”17/3/16 RNZI
39) FLP decries lack of Fiji relief plan
The Fiji Labour Party says the government has still not announced a comprehensive relief package for the victims of Cyclone Winston.
It accused the government of dilly-dallying and forcing people to draw on their pensions to cope with the crisis, which has hit about 40 percent of the population.
The FLP said 120,000 people had applied for a fund withdrawal.
It said all the Fiji First government had done so far was to hand out food rations and tarpaulins donated by others.
The FLP said the government had declared a national emergency but refused to heed the opposition’s call for parliament to sit.
It said the prime minister would have a discussion with the Ministry of Finance to see what assistance the government could provide but added that the finance minister was out of the country in India.
Fiji resilience praised
The leader of a group of New Zealand firefighters who have just returned from providing cyclone relief in Fiji said the people there had been resilient.
Cyclone Winston killed 44 people, and left thousands homeless when it devastated large parts of the country last month.
Infrastructure is also heavily affected, and the total damage bill is still being counted.
The Fire Service’s Urban Search and Rescue commander, Nick Pyatt, said a lot of their work was helping with repairs and clearing storm damage.
Mr Pyatt said another priority was to get schools and medical services up and running again.
He said for a lot of residents, being able to have their children go back to school was a great relief.17/3/16 RNZI
40) Deep sea mining report
Thursday, March 17, 2016
DEEP sea mining has been an issue of concern for most Pacific Islands and now a report is being launched on its exploration and exploitation.
The Pacific Network on Globalisation, in conjunction with Blue Ocean Law, will launch An Assessment of the SPC Regional Legislative and Regulatory Framework (RLRF) for Deep Sea Minerals exploration and exploitation today.
According to PANG, the assessment will discuss the need to bolster and supplement the RLRF with discrete comprehensive provisions incorporating FPIC and operationalising the precautionary principle with the aim of safeguarding the human rights of local, indigenous populations.Fijitimes
41) US Tuna boats back at work in the Pacific
After two months of being idle, US fishing boats have this week started moving to their Pacific tuna fishing grounds.
The impact of both the recent increase in world market prices for skipjack tuna and the re-licensing of United States purse seine vessels has prompted the move.
Our Marshall Islands’ correspondent said in mid-January, a record 38 purse seiners were anchored in Majuro Lagoon but with departures this week that number was down to 14.
Majuro has become the busiest tuna transshipment port in the western Pacific over the past two years and the number of vessels there is seen as an indication of the level of purse seine fishing activity.
Earlier this month the US fleet re-entered the market after being idle for two months, following the collapse of the tuna treaty.
With a new deal for a reduced number of fishing days vessels are now heading back to the western and central Pacific.18/3/16 RNZI
42) Cook Islands cabinet backs EU fishing deal
The Cook Islands cabinet has given its support to the Prime Minister to proceed with a fisheries agreement with the European Union.
The prime minister Henry Puna said the Pacific was pursuing the best course for the future of the region’s fisheries, and the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement illustrated how the Cook Islands was cooperating at the broader international level.
Mr Puna said the main element of the agreement, worth 6.5 million US dollars, was access for four EU purse seiners to Cook Islands’ waters to fish up to 7,000 tonnes of tuna a year.
The support from Cabinet follows consultations in the northern island group earlier this month.
The Marine Resources Secretary Ben Ponia said at each public meeting, there had been majority support for government to go ahead with the agreement.
Mr Ponia said the consultations showed a restored confidence in government that the fisheries would be managed well.
He indicated that further consultations would centre on sector support including fuel and outboard motor subsidies for non-commercial fishermen, the strengthening of capacity compliance and enforcement and access to the EU tuna export market.17/3/16 RNZI
43) Call to support Bula Festival
Friday, March 18, 2016
BUSINESS houses in Nadi are being urged to support the 56th Bula Festival Trust in its preparations for the festival, which is scheduled from July 23-30.
Nadi Bula Festival Trust public relations officer Shalendra Prasad said this year the festival trust would work with the Nadi Hospital to carry out upgrade work to its accident and emergency area.
Mr Prasad said they wanted to invite business houses to support the festival because it was for a good cause.
“We are also calling on aspiring young women to be part of the pageant,” he said.
Mr Prasad urged people who wished to be part of the festival to book early for their stalls and rides.
The first Bula Festival was held in 1960.
44) Warriors in
Friday, March 18, 2016
TELECOM Fiji Warriors were on song against Tonga A winning their third match of the World Rugby Pacific Challenge 2016 56-18 at the ANZ Stadium in Suva last night.
Discipline was the highlight of the match with the referee having to flash two yellow and two red cards in the match.
Tonga’s Bruce Folau and Fiji’s Alivereti Mocelutu were sin-binned while Tonga captain Sione Lolohea and Fiji’s Lepani Raiyala were given the marching orders for off the ball incidents.
Number eight for Fiji Eremasi Radrodro was brutal with his tackles going head to head with his opponents on attack and also touched down twice.
Fiji gave very little room for the Tongans to play their style of rugby while they (Fiji) enjoyed most of the possession and territorial advantage.
With the home crowd backing Fiji, the side managed to run in four tries through Radrodro, scrum half Henry Seniloli and lock Joseva Levula in the first half.
Fiji enjoyed 30-4 lead at half time with the visitors only managing to score through two penalty goals.
Tongans improved their game in the second half and played with more determination and time and again came into Fiji 22-metre line.
Their hard work was rewarded when they scored their first try via their captain Sione Lolohea and wing Tu’ihakavalu Ika.
Coach Senirusi Seruvakula said his players needed to focus more on the game.
“It was a scrappy start but we managed to get back to our game plan and win. The boys after settling into the match scored few tries but the game was very physical,” he said.
“We have to go back and review our performance but I think the referee picked the wrong person. Discipline is one area we need to work on before coming to the final. If we are to win the PRC then we have to cut down those mistakes and focus on the game.”
Tonga captain Sione Lolohea said the standard of refereeing was poor on the day.
“It was a tough game and the boys gave their best,” he said.
“Some of the referee’s decision was not accurate especially when Fiji scored two tries. We have to also work on our discipline as well in the next match.”
Fiji meets Samoa in the final at 6pm on Monday.Fijitimes
45) Fiji to host world paddling event
Friday, March 18, 2016
+ Enlarge this image
President of the ISA Fernando Aguerre (right) with Executive Chairman for the Tourism Fiji Board of Directors, Truman Bradley in Nadi on Wednesday. Picture: SUPPLIED
FIJI will get the opportunity to host the 2016 International Surfing Association World Stand-up Paddle & Paddleboard Championship from November 4-13.
The world championship that features four disciplines —— SUP Surfing, SUP Racing Technical, SUP Racing Distance and Paddleboard Racing Technical and Distance with the last event held from May 10-17 in Mexico.
Speaking at the press conference for the signing of the agreement, ISA president Fernando Aguerre said the championship would best suit the Fijian weather and ocean
“We are very proud to have our championship in Fiji and for that in the whole South Pacific Islands, especially the stand-up board championship which is the fastest growing sport in the world,” he said.
“So it really matches ideally the DNA, the characteristic, the culture of the Fijian people and their love for the ocean and I think as I was telling the chairman (Truman Bradley) we hope it will be a before and after for Fiji.”
Executive Chairman for the Tourism Fiji Board of Directors Truman Bradley said the championship would boost the tourism industry and the Government as a whole.
“I think from government perspective, it’s an opportunity for us to work with the ISA and I think this inaugural event that will be hosted somewhere around November once it is confirmed,” he said.
“It’s going to be an event that’s going to have a large contingent of people and competitors.
“So we are looking at it as a large event hosted across multiple destination where the multiple categories of the stand-up paddle because there will be stand-up paddle, stand-up paddle racing. There’s a lot of different types of event.”
Bradley added this would be a sporting event that Tourism Fiji has successfully managed to secure post Cyclone Winston in its efforts to promote Destination Fiji to the global surfing and stand up paddle community.
46) Steyn to lead South Africa’s T20 campaign
Friday, March 18, 2016
SOUTH Africa fast bowler Dale Steyn has sounded a warning to batsmen at the World Twenty20 in India as he prepares to get his side’s campaign off to a positive start against England in Mumbai today.
Steyn recently returned to the South Africa side after an injury-plagued season that he says has only increase his resolve to help his side to an elusive major one-day trophy. Following a 2-0 home Twenty20 series victory over England last month, the South Africans are brimming with confidence.
“I don’t want to say that we have the upper hand but we have beaten them (England) in the shorter format and they do know it. I’m fit and strong to play,” Steyn told reporters in Mumbai on Wednesday.
Steyn, who returned to action this month against Australia after groin and shoulder problems, has seen an improvement in South Africa’s limited-overs bowling attack which also includes seamers Kagiso Rabada, Kyle Abbott and Chris Morris.
“When I walked into the side for the Australia series I could see the guys were glowing with confidence,” Steyn said.
“I was watching guys who normally sit on the side lines like Kyle Abbott landing their yorkers and slower balls.
“It was great to be out of the side because when I walked back in I realised how much I had missed it and how much these guys have grown as a team, even in that two month gap.”
South Africa play their opening two World Twenty20 matches against England and Afghanistan in the seam-friendly conditions of the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai
They then take on West Indies at the VCA Stadium in Nagpur, which produced a rank turner in the game between India and New Zealand on Tuesday.
“I’ve always said that I can bowl on any track,” Steyn said.
“I prefer the wickets that are slower and turning. The ball stops and makes it tough for batsmen to hit you out of the ground, especially at a ground like Nagpur which is a big ground.
“As a seamer I back myself. I can bowl fast cutters, it’s difficult to hit the ball out of the ground when it’s coming at 140 or 145 and is gripping and stopping.”