Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1062 ( Friday 25 March 2016 )


1) Kanaks A Majority On New Caledonia Roll – Projection

Implications for 2018 independence referendum

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 23, 2016) – A projection of the make-up of New Caledonia’s electorate for the 2018 independence referendum indicates that a majority of voters is likely to be indigenous Kanaks.

The calculation was made by a law professor, Mathias Chauchat, and presented to a conference in Noumea as the territory is finalising the roll of long-term residents eligible to vote in the plebiscite.

The local newspaper reports that the projection is for there being 84,000 Kanaks and 71,000 non-Kanaks who are made up of European settlers and other ethnic groups, including Polynesians.

Kanaks are automatically enrolled as are people born in New Caledonia.

People who arrived by 1994 are allowed to enrol if they can prove continued residence since then.

About 15,000 people have another three weeks to confirm their eligibility.

Kanaks are believed to be mainly for independence but politicians have suggested a majority is likely to vote against independence.

Radio New Zealand International

2) Papua government urges restraint from minister

The Papua Provincial Government has urged Indonesia’s Minister of Political, Legal and Security Affairs to stop making statements that provoke anxiety in Papua.

The minister, Luhut Panjaitan, has signalled increased security forces operations in a move to crush Papuan separatism.

This follows the recent shooting of three construction workers from the big Trans Papua Highway project in Puncak Jaya.

Luhut also recently downplayed human rights violations by security forces in Papua.

Tabloid Jubi reports that the Papua Regional Secretary Hery Dosinaen warned that the minister’s responses run the risk of raising anxiety in Papua.

He said that as a minister Luhut must think before making statements, because it could have a huge impact on the people.

According to Mr Dosinaen, the Central Government should sit together with all stakeholders in Papua before launching more security operations.

Papuan officials are concerned that Indonesian security operations often unfairly target the region’s indigenous communities.

Earlier, Papuan councilor Laurenzus Kadepa reminded Minister Luhut Binsar Panjaitan that perpetrators of shooting deaths in Papua are rarely revealed.

He pointed out that Indonesian officials frequently blame shootings on insurgent groups like the Papua Free Movement or separatists, when there is little evidence backing this up.24/3/16 RNZI

3) Solomon Islands to host 2016 PIDF summit

Solomon Islands is to host the Pacific Islands Development Forum later this year.

It will be the fourth summit of the PIDF and the first to be held outside of Fiji.

Island Sun reports that the Solomon Islands prime minister Manasseh Sogavare accepted a proposal by the PIDF Secretariat to be this year’s host, while he was in Fiji this month on his tour of Melanesia as chairman of the Melanesia Spearhead Group.

The PIDF was established in 2013 by Fiji’s military regime which has repeatedly denied that it was trying to create an alternative to the Pacific Islands Forum as the region’s pre-eminent grouping.

It bills itself as a conduit for sustainable development in the region and meeting the real needs of island states.

The PIDF Director-General, Francois Martel, said the secretariat feels the hosting responsibility should be taken on by other PIDF member countries to reflect their inclusivity and also the growing recognition of the PIDF as an international organisation.24/3/16 RNZI


4) Wallis Airport Employment Deal Struck

Averted new airport blockade

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 23, 2016) – An employment deal has been struck in Wallis and Futuna which has averted a new airport blockade.

The public broadcaster said the companies involved with the running of the airport would now give preference to local residents when job vacancies arose.

This was agreed after last year’s blockade of the international airport when the airport company refused to hire two locals in return for the airport being allowed to operate on customary land.

The 11-day blockade ended when the judicial process against the chiefs involved in the blockade was abandoned and talks were launched to address the locals’s grievances.

The public broadcaster said the arrangement signed by chiefs and the French prefect last week came amid fears of a new blockade.

5) Plea deal ends American Samoa murder trial

The murder trial of Siaumau Siaumau Jr in American Samoa has ended at the High Court after he opted to take a plea deal and not go through a jury trial.

The trial was supposed to start today after more than a week of jury selection.

However, Siaumau decided to plead guilty to three felony charges this morning under a plea agreement with the government.

Siaumau had been charged with first degree murder in connection with the shooting death of police detective Liusila Brown and attempted murders of two other officers in 2010 in front of the temporary High Court building in Malaloa.

He also faced several weapons and assault charges.

Under the plea Siaumau has pleaded guilty to an amended charge of second-degree murder in connection with the death of Lt Brown.

He also pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree assault in connection with the assault against Lt Fuifatu and Lemisio.

Both the prosecution and the defence are making a joint recommendation for a sentence of life imprisonment.

Siaumau, who has been in jail since the shooting on July 22nd, 2010, will be sentenced on April 22nd.14/3/16 RNZI

6) Vandals cut off vital services

Thursday, March 24, 2016

FUTUNA – A police investigation has been opened in Wallis and Futuna into the destruction of technical infrastructure that has cut mobile phone and television services on Futuna.

The territory’s broadcaster says complaints have been lodged by the phone company, the television company and the electricity provider after their installations in the north of Futuna were vandalised.

It says cables were severed and some equipment was shot at with a firearm.

It says the mobile phone service, which was only launched recently, will take some time to be restored.

The vandalism is believed to be linked to the installation of Sigave’s new king earlier this month because of graffiti against a customary minister instrumental in the monarch’s appointment.

The broadcaster says customary leaders have asked for the arrest of the alleged vandals whose identity is believed to be known to Sigave ministers.

One royal family earlier criticised the televised coverage of the king’s installation.


7) CNMI Congressman warns against ‘disastrous’ policies

The Northern Marianas delegate to the US Congress, Gregorio Kilili Sablan, has warned against the disastrous immigration policies touted by the Republican presidential candidates.

Mr Sablan told the Saipan Tribune neither Ted Cruz nor Donald Trump would likely change their positions to accommodate the territory if elected.

Both men called for an end to the US visa waiver programme after the terrorist attacks in Belgium this week.

Mr Trump, who has been endorsed by territory’s governor Ralph Torres, has also called for a temporary ban on Muslims into the US and wants to build a wall along the Mexican border.

Mr Sablan said shutting down borders was not the answer and what the Republican frontrunners had proposed in terms of immigration would be disastrous for the CNMI’s tourism and labour markets.

Mr Sablan, a Democrat, has endorsed Hillary Clinton for the party’s nomination to contest the presidency.25/3/16 RNZI

8) Nauru govt accused of fostering bribery – newsletter

A newsletter now circulating in Nauru is accusing the Baron Waqa government of fostering bribery.

The Nauru Beacon laid out a series of accusations, including that government MPs are being given hundreds of thousands of dollars to use how they want.

This money is being directed towards a housing scheme but the MPs decide who gets the money.

The Beacon said there is no accountability in how this money is spent.

A MP suspended for the past two years, Matthew Batsiua, said he believes the newsletter is trying to highlight the excesses of the government and the way its MPs are using the money.

“In other words it seems they are using public funds to fund projects in their districts and in return have people in those districts give them votes, so, in a sense it amounts to some sort of actions of bribery.”

The Nauru government is yet to respond to RNZ International’s requests for comment.23/3/16 RNZI

9) Palau President declares state of emergency due to extreme drought
02:44 am GMT+12, 23/03/2016, Palau

Palau President Tommy Remengesau on Tuesday declared a state of emergency after severe drought continues to affect the island nation.

“The declining water levels caused by this drought seriously threaten the availability and quality of potable water,” Executive Order No. 389 issued by the president which declares a state of emergency due to extreme drought.”

Water shortage in Palau worsens as the Palau Public Utilities Corporation (PPUC) shortened the water supply starting March 19 from 10 hours since it implemented it on March 12 to six hours last March 21 everyday in Koror and Airai States.

The water levels of the Palau reservoir is going down on a critical level due to lack of rain.PPUC said that during a short period of rains on March 16, 2016 water levels gained about 3 feet but then dropped again back to 1.5 feet  Average consumption is about 125,000 gallons per hour or 625,000 gallons every five hours.

Remengesau in his executive order said the drought is also affecting others states of Palau and that the Ministry of Health fears that the water shortage continues to cause health implications to the public through food and water-borne illnesses.

The water shortage has also affected schools and hospitals and the power system, which are dependent on water supply to function.

The president is now awaiting approval from Palau Congress. The president upon approval will have 10 days to assume power and tap into funding to address the crisis.

In an earlier statement Remengesau said Palau would into desalination system as an alternative source of water supply.


TOK PISIN (Papua NiuGini ,Autonoumous Bougainville,Solomon Islands, Vanuatu+ )

10) Solomon Islands Yut lida itok ol Yut imas soim gutpla pasin

Updated 23 March 2016, 15:30 AEDT
Sam Seke

President blong Honiara Youth Council hem se olketa yuth imas soam gudfala fasin long komiuniti an olketa lida.

Harry Olikwilafa hem se olketa yut imas no gohed nomoa fo askask long evri samtinm.

Hem se olketa yuth imas be responsibol an duim samfala samting olketa seleva.

Mr Olikwilafa hemi talem disfala toktok bihaen hemi bin go long disfala Melanesian Indigenous Land Defense Alliance miting we olketa bin holem long Buala long Isabel Provins tufala wik go finis.

Hem se disfala miting long theme blong  “My Land May Future” hem openim ae blong olketa yuth we i atendim long plande samting wea hemi gohet long saet long lidaship and development long Melanesia.

Mr Olikwilafa hem se hem mekem olketa lukim samfala nogut saet long development olsem long Panguna Mine long Bougainville.ABC

BAU ( Fiji )

11) Vanua kei na politiki RATU ISIRELI V. VESIKULA | Monday, March 21, 2016

NA bula ni noda soko voli na i Taukei ena noda Vanua dina ga au rawa ni na vakatautauvatani e na macawa oqo kei na waqa levu ni Peritania ka a tukuni ni sega ni na luvu rawa ka tara e na kaukamea ka vakatokai e na vosa- the unsinkable Titanic.

E a qai lutu dromu vakamalua na unsinkable titanic e na i ka 15 ni April, 1912 mai na North Atlantic ni oti na nona coqa e dua na tiki ni ice-berg ka ra mate kina e lewe levu sara na tamata e na gauna koya.

E tukuni nira a sa tekivu vakila na liliwa na lewe ni waqa qo na Titanic ni vo tiko e vica na aua me coqa na tiki ni ice levu oya na waqa na Titanic ka nanuma o kavetani ni dua walega na veisau ni draki ka sega ni kila ni sa batabata sara ga ni ice-berg sa ciri tiko sa gole tiko mai ya kina Titanic ka ra sa liliwa tiko kina na nona pasidia.

Na noda waqa na i taukei nikua e sa vakila tiko na liliwa tautauvata sara ga e na gauna ni Titanic ka se tiko mai liu qo na tiki ni ice ka me na qai vakalutudromutaka na waqa qo ke sega ni da na qarauna vinaka na veivakatakilakila sa soli tiko mai vei keda ka sa tukuna tiko ni na vakalutudromutaki ka veiveisautaki na veika kece e baleti keda.

12) Tuvatuva ni rakavi e Nadroga VILIAME ODRO | Monday, March 21, 2016

NA vakayacori tiko ena siga Vakarauwai oqo na bose vakayabaki ni unioni ni rakavi e Nadroga ena ciwa na kaloko ena vanua ni vakaukauwa yago mai Lawaqa.

Oqori nai tukutuku nei Tiko Matawalu na peresitedi ni rakavi e Nadroga.

E tukuna ni na veivosakitaki kina nai tuvatuva ni unioni e Nadroga ena yabaki oqo,

�Au sa vakamamasu vei kemuni kece na mata mai na vasagavulu ka walu na kalavo ni rakavi e Nadroga mo ni tiko taucoko ena bose vakayabaki oqo me vaka ni levu sara na ulutaga bibi ena veivosakitaki ka dua oqori na nodra digitaki na vakailesilesi e cake se na Board ni noda unioni.�

BAHASA( West Papua,Timor,Sumba,Flores,Maluku+, )

13) Otoritas Australia Selidiki Kematian Ratusan Hewan Laut di Kimberley

Terbit 25 March 2016, 8:51 AEDT

Otoritas Australia melakukan survey udara di pesisir Kimberley untuk mencari tahu  berapa banyak binatang yang mati di lokasi dan waktu  yang sama dengan kematian misterius ratusan ikan di kawasan itu.

Bangkai ikan dan binatang lain termasuk kura-kura ditemukan tersapu ke pantai di Utara Broome. (Credit: ABC)
Selama 10  hari  terakhir ratusan bangkai ikan ditemukan terhempas di pesisir sepanjang 10 kilometer di Dampier Peninsula,  di sebelah Utara Kota Broome.

Otoritas Taman dan Margasatwa juga memastikan 9 ekor kura-kura, 16 ular laut dan 4 burung juga ditemukan bangkainya di area yang sama.

Petugas margasatwa,  Pete Carstairs mengatakan situasi ini sangat memprihatinkan.

“Kondisi ini sangat mengganggu melihat banyak binatang yang mati adalah hewan asli di kawasan ini dan beberapa diantaranya adalah spesies hewan yang langka, jadi sangat memprihatinkan jika sampai binatang ini tersapu ke pantai dalam keadaan mati,” katanya.

“Tapi kami sekarang sedang mencari solusi untuk mencari tahu apa penyebab dari masalah ini sehingga kami bisa melakukan penyelidikan lebih lanjut dengan harapan bisa mencegah hal semacam ini terjadi lagi,”

Otoritas Taman dan Margasatwa telah menyewa helikopter untuk mengunjungi kawasan pesisir terpencil itu untuk mencari tahu apakah ada lagi hewan-hewan yang mati.

Warga setempat mendukan kematian binatang-binatang ini terkait dengan ditemukannya ikan mati dalam jumlah banyak di lokasi yang sama sepekan sebelumnya.

Ratusan ikan ditemukan mati di pantai yang populer untuk kemping, berenang dan memancing itu.

Awalnya Departemen Perikanan mengatakan kondisi ini disebabkan oleh kombinasi dari berbagai faktor lingkungan, antara lain karena angin di pesisir, gelombang pasang dan kondisi laut yang semakin menghangat yang menyebabkan arus air panas masuk ke karang di pesisir.

Namun sekarang ada bukti baru kalau ledakan algae bisa jadi penyebab dari kematian binatang-binatang ini.

Manager Perikanan regional, Peter Godfrey mengatakan jaring  algae ditemukan selama survey udara dan laut dilakukan di area Manari selama dua hari terakhir.

“Ledakan algae ini tampaknya terjadi di daerah tertentu seperti di dekat Manari dan Barred Creek,”

“Kami telah membawa sampel beberapa ikan segar mereka tengah diteliti oleh tim kesehatan ikan untuk menentukan apa sebebarnya algae itu dan apa
kaitannya dengan ikan-ikan yang mati dan bagaimana kedua hal ini saling berhubungan,”

Saat ini  ikan dan air di kawasan itu tengah diteliti di laboratorium Perth dan negara bagian timur.

Diharapkan penyelidikan kematian binatang-binatang ini akan membantu memastikan penyebab dari kematian itu.ABC
FRENCH ( New Caledonia, Vanuatu )

14) Brèves du Pacifique – jeudi 24 mars 2016

Mis à jour 24 March 2016, 21:23 AEDT

Élodie Largenton

  • L’annonce avait fait grand bruit, il y a quelques mois : l’Australie veut éliminer deux millions de chats sauvages d’ici 2020.
Brigitte Bardot s’en était émue, poussant le gouvernement australien à s’expliquer : les félins participent à l’extinction de nombreuses espèces menacées, notamment des petits marsupiaux. Ils font même encore plus de dégâts qu’on ne pensait, révèlent des chercheurs australiens, après deux ans d’enquête dans le parc national de Kakadu, dans le nord du pays. Selon eux, les chats, importés au XIXe siècle par des Européens, s’attaquent aussi aux reptiles. Cela va des margouillats aux varans et même aux petits serpents. Les chats sauvages auraient un impact sur 20 à 30 espèces locales de reptiles.
  • L’Australie investit un milliard de dollars dans un fonds dédié à l’innovation dans les énergies propres. Le gouvernement annonce aussi le maintien de deux agences spécialisées dans les énergies renouvelables – deux agences que l’ancien Premier ministre, Tony Abbott, voulait fermer. Alors que des élections générales se tiendront dans quelques semaines, Malcolm Turnbull montre donc qu’il entend mener une politique différente. Mais beaucoup sont sceptiques : les verts, les travaillistes et les militants écologistes se sont gardés de célébrer la nouvelle, préférant attendre de voir si le gouvernement s’engageait réellement à relever « le défi du changement climatique ».
  •  Une entreprise d’Alaska vient chercher des salariés aux Samoa américaines. Silver Bay Seafoods, une usine de transformation de saumon, a envoyé deux émissaires dans l’archipel polynésien, avec pour mission de recruter 200 personnes pour sa saison estivale. Parmi les Samoans américains qui se sont montrés intéressés, il y a des salariés des conserveries de thon de l’archipel. Il y a deux ans, déjà, une trentaine de personnes avaient été embauchées par l’entreprise d’Alaska.
  • Les Îles Salomon accueilleront le prochain sommet du Forum du développement des îles du Pacifique, le concurrent du Forum des îles du Pacifique. Ce sera la quatrième grande réunion de cette institution créée par le Premier ministre fidjien, Frank Bainimarama, et la première qui se tiendra hors des Fidji. On ne connaît pas la date de ce sommet, mais il devrait avoir lieu à la fin de l’année.
  • Nombre record de diplômés à l’université du Pacifique sud, aux Îles Fidji. Plus de 1 600 étudiants de 20 nationalités différentes ont obtenu leur diplôme. 55% d’entre eux sont des femmes. Une grande cérémonie a été organisée sur le campus de Suva pour l’occasion.ABC

15) Campaigner against Australian-owned mine in South Africa found shot dead, reports say

Updated 25 March 2016, 1:05 AEDT
By the National Reporting Team’s Jake Sturmer and Mark Willacy

A prominent environmentalist who campaigned vigorously against an Australian-owned mineral sands mine in South Africa is shot dead in his home, according to local media.

Sikhosiphi Rhadebe was a significant opponent of the Xolobeni mineral sands mine, owned by Perth-based company Mineral Commodities.

Mineral Commodities, through its South African subsidiary Transworld Energy & Minerals, plans to mine 2,900 hectares along South Africa’s east coast.

Mr Rhadebe, nicknamed “Bazooka”, was chairman of the Amadiba Crisis Committee which is opposed to the mine, claiming it is on ancestral land.

Police told South Africa’s Times Media Group that two men claiming to be police officers arrived at Mr Rhadebe’s house in Mbizana to arrest him.

They did not say what they were there to arrest him for.

“As he was preparing to leave with the two men‚ they shot him eight times in the head outside his house,” Police spokesman Captain Mlungisi Matidane reportedly said.

“He died on the spot … and his wife and child have been hospitalised due to shock.”

A statement from the Amadiba Crisis Committee said they would “not be intimidated into submission”.

Mineral Commodities’ executive chairman Mark Caruso said the company was “in no way implicated in any form whatsoever in this incident”.

“Statements to the contrary are simply unfounded,” Mr Caruso said in a statement to the ABC.

“The company is not in a position to comment with any authority on the incident.

“Despite our own internal enquiries, we are no further informed as to any of the specific facts surrounding this incident other than what has been reported.

“This company will not engage in any activity that incites violence … [and] will cooperate fully with any investigations into this incident.”

16) Economy improves

Friday, March 25, 2016

AUSTRALIA’S economy was improving and its financial system sound, a top central banker said on Tuesday, though he called recent evidence on jobs growth more “ambiguous”.

Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) governor Glenn Stevens made no comment on the immediate outlook for further rate cuts, but did note that there would be scope for monetary and fiscal easing should the world face another financial crisis.

“At the turn of the year, the Australian economy seemed to have been picking up,” said Mr Stevens, who was giving a speech on how Australia would fare in the event of another global crisis.

“That’s a good starting point.”

Recent data showed the economy grew at a 3 per cent pace over 2015, above the RBA’s and most analysts’ forecasts.

“In the case of business surveys, better conditions seem generally to have continued in the early part of 2016, though labour market data have been more ambiguous,” Mr Stevens added.

The Australian Government’s labour data has showed a slowdown in jobs growth over the past three months following a run of very strong gains.

The RBA has in the past noted that a rise in unemployment would have a major effect on whether it chooses to cut rates.

On Tuesday, Mr Stevens said only that there was scope to act if needed.

“Even with interest rates at already low levels, and public debt higher than it was, there would, in the event of a serious economic downturn, be more room to ease both monetary and fiscal policy than in many, indeed most, other countries.”


17) Health scholarships offered to Pacifica students in NZ

More than 160 Pacific tertiary students in New Zealand are this year to benefit from health sector scholarships.

New Zealand’s associate health minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga said the ministry’s Aniva Scholarships aimed to strengthen the Pacific health workforce by providing financial help to students committed to improving the health of their communities.

Mr Lotu-Iiga explained that Pacific peoples were under-represented in the health workforce and Pacific communities often have poorer health status.

He said that boosting the number of Pacific people working across the sector could only benefit the Pacific communities.

The 168 scholarships, worth US$672,000 dollars, were awarded based on academic achievement, community involvement, leadership qualities and commitment to Pacific communities.25/3/16 RNZI

18) Academic says NZ needs robust advice on Pacific

The Auckland University of Technology’s head of Pacific Advancement, Walter Fraser, says it’s important that New Zealand is given robust advice on matters of foreign policy in the Pacific region.

The New Zealand Institute for Pacific Research was launched this week, and is a collaboration between the Universtiy of Auckland, Auckland University of Technology and the University of Otago.

It’s funded with US$5 million over five years by the New Zealand government.

Walter Fraser said the research agenda is being guided by what MFAT wants in terms of advice on issues that are important to New Zealand around economic development.

“Because New Zealand’s policies in the Pacific affect a lot of Pacific Islanders it’s important for them to actually get robust advice and guidance on how they will affect the lives of people in the Pacific. I think having a partnered approach to this where some of the people whose lives it’s going to affect, can feel like they can be part of informing New Zealand is important.”24/3/16 RNZI

19) NZ remains open to Nauru partnership

The New Zealand Foreign Minister, Murray McCully, says the government has not closed its mind in terms of trying to re-establish a partnership with Nauru.

In September 2015, Mr McCully suspended the funding New Zealand provides to Nauru each year for its justice system because of ongoing concerns about civil rights abuses.

At the time, Mr McCully said several incidents had caused him concern, including the removal of senior members of the judiciary.

He said there’ll be an opportunity sometime soon to pick up that conversation.

“People who are interested in this area, the human rights area, are generally I think critical of the fact that we were funding the justice system at a time when some actions didn’t really stack up. We accepted that was the case, and so we I think made the right decision then, but we’ve not closed our minds to ways of trying to re-establish a partnership with them.”

Murray McCully said the government hasn’t spent the funding for the Nauru justice system elsewhere.

Nauru is due to hold its elections mid-year, and Mr McCully said while he hasn’t received a request to observe the elections, it’s also too early for such a request to come through.24/3/16 RNZI


20) 30 killed in blasts

Thursday, March 24, 2016

BRUSSELS – The legs of some of those killed at Brussels airport on Tuesday were shattered, as if the blast came from a piece of luggage nearby, an airport worker who helped carry their bodies said.

Alphonse Youla, 40, who works at Zaventem Airport luggage security said before the first bomb went off, he heard a man shouting something in Arabic.

“Then the tiled ceiling of the airport collapsed. I helped carry out five dead, with their legs destroyed, as if the bomb came from a piece of luggage” he told reporters, his hands covered in blood.

“It’s from the people I carried out.” Public broadcaster VRT said 81 people had been wounded at airport, many in the legs, suggesting a bomb in a bag on the floor.

The federal prosecutor told a news conference one of the two explosions at the airport was likely to have been caused by a suicide bomber.

At least 10 people were killed, before a further blast tore through a rush-hour metro train in the capital shortly afterwards, killing at least 20 people, public transport operator STIB said.

Hundreds of passengers who had not been injured were leaving the airport by a side exit, many in tears, some covered with blankets. Many were being evacuated by bus.

Passenger Paolo Saraca Volpini said an airport announcer’s voice came over the public address system about a quarter of an hour after the blasts, his voice breaking with emotion, and said in several languages “we are experiencing an attack” and asking people in Terminals A and B to stay where they were.

One passenger, who had already cleared the security checks when the bombs went off, said after the explosions, passengers already inside the airport panicked and started running in search of shelter.

“People were taking cover in shops and where they could. We managed to get on the plane, but it did not take off and then we were escorted out to buses to leave,” said Sylwia Czerska, who was on her way to Geneva.

Witnesses said the first explosion took place close to Belfius bank, near the lifts in the left wing of the departures hall. The second was stronger and was closer to the Starbucks cafe which is in the centre of the hall.

21) Obama wants Cuba reforms

Thursday, March 24, 2016

HAVANA – US President Barack Obama challenged Cuba’s Communist government with an impassioned call for democracy and economic reforms on Tuesday, addressing the Cuban people directly in a historic speech broadcast throughout the island.

Taking the stage at Havana’s Grand Theater with President Raul Castro in attendance, Mr Obama said he was in Cuba to extend a hand of friendship and “bury the last remnant” of the Cold War in the Americas.

But he also pressed hard for economic and political reforms and greater openness in a one-party state where the government stifles dissent, Internet access is low and the media is in state hands.

22) Rousseff will ‘never resign’

Thursday, March 24, 2016

BRASILIA – President Dilma Rousseff said on Tuesday she would not resign in Brazil’s worst political crisis in two decades, calling an opposition move to impeach her a “coup d’etat” against democratic rule because she had committed no crime.

Ms Rousseff urged Brazil’s Supreme Court to remain impartial in the crisis that has threatened to topple her government as opponents seek her impeachment in Congress amid a widespread corruption scandal that has reached her inner circle.

“I will never resign under any circumstances,” the embattled president said in a speech to legal experts.

“I have committed no crime that would warrant shortening my term,” she said.

23) Bank takes action

Thursday, March 24, 2016

BANGLADESH’S central bank has hired a US lawyer for a potential lawsuit against the Federal Reserve Bank of New York after hackers stole $US81million ($F167m) from its account with the NY Fed, according to an internal report by the Bangladesh bank.

After the report surfaced on Tuesday in the Bangladesh capital of Dhaka, US Representative Carolyn Maloney called for a probe of last month’s cyber attack on Bangladesh Bank.

In one of the largest cyber heists in history, the hackers ordered the New York Fed to transfer $US81m ($F167m) from Bangladesh central bank funds to accounts in the Philippines.

“This brazen heist from the Bangladesh central bank’s account at the New York Fed threatens to undermine the confidence that foreign central banks have in the Federal Reserve, and in the safety and soundness of international monetary transactions,” Ms Maloney, a New York Democrat, said.

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation is helping investigate the heist, which led to the ouster of Bangladesh’s central bank governor.

Ms Maloney also sent a letter to New York Fed President William Dudley, requesting a private meeting with bank staff to discuss the cyber fraud.

She said she wanted to ask a series of questions, including whether it was appropriate to rely solely on the SWIFT global bank messaging system to authenticate outgoing payments from foreign central bank accounts.

Her comments are the first sign that the attack could gain political traction in the US.

The New York Fed has faced separate political criticism since the financial crisis for missteps and perceived conflicts of interest in its role as the central bank’s top Wall Street regulator.


Bid to keep TB at bay

Peni Mudunavonu
Friday, March 25, 2016

MINISTRY of Education, Heritage and Arts permanent secretary Iowane Tiko focused the commemoration of World Tuberculosis Day on the message for all Fijians to unite to end TB.

In his address, he said, Fiji stood hand in hand with the rest of the world to commemorate World TB Day.

“In marking this occasion, we echo a resounding urgent call of the World Health Organization and the Ministry of Health, a call for all members of the urban and rural communities in all divisions in Fiji to be one,” Mr Tiko said.

He indicated there were measures that could be taken to combat the disease.

“TB is spread by germs in the air, therefore, as long as we breathe air, we can all be vulnerable.

“TB germs prefer to live in the dark, thus, we need to address our poorly ventilated homes and make them better or well ventilated living spaces.

“A strong and healthy body resists this disease so always strive to be active and healthy by eating nutritious foods in the right amount.”

National TB control officer Dr Frank Underwood said each day, 24,000 new cases of TB were diagnosed and 4000 would die as result of the disease.

“At least a quarter of the world’s population is infected and it remains an important public health problem,” Dr Underwood said.

He said Severe TC Winston had potential negative effects on the health of the population related to food security, stress and people living in congested areas.

“It is important during the recovery to strive to maintain a healthy lifestyle, follow simple preventative measures and ensure homes are rebuilt with good ventilation.”Fijitimes

24) United effort to fight TB

The National,Thursday March 24th, 2016

A COMBINED efffort led by the Health Department and international organisations will tackle tuberculosis in Daru.
Officials from tthe Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), World Health Organisation (WHO), Burnet Institute, World Vision and the Health Department flew into Daru yesterday to demonstrate their support for health offices and communities there to minimise or eradicate TB.
The local authorities fronting the battle are the provincial health office and the Daru General Hospital.
Daru Island is one of the hotspots for multi-drug resistant TB (MDRTB), an advance form of TB that is harder and expensive to treat.
This type requires stronger medication and longer treatment period, around two years, compared with primary TB which requires about six months of treatment.
To mark World TB Day, the officials arrived in Daru where deputy Health Secretary Dr Paison Dakulala addressed about 1000 people.
An Emergency Response Team was formed to ensure access to TB services and identify TB patients.

25) PNG Health Services Says Gov Cuts Will Cost It Staff
Provides up to a third of medical services for PNG

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 23, 2016) – Health services in Papua New Guinea run by the Catholic Church face a major shake up after cuts in their funding from the government.

Catholic Health Services provides up to a third of PNG’s medical services through more than 200 sites around the country – many in remote areas of the Highlands.

It relies on government funding but the Peter O’Neill administration has cut this back, and this will mean staff layoffs and others leaving because salaries will be lower.

The director of Catholic Health Services, Justine McMahon, said the government has reduced its support to the level paid in 2014 and for some staff this will mean 40 percent pay cuts.

She said they will lose staff.

“Staff will have to be put off but other staff will leave because they will not put up with that level of cut.”

Radio New Zealand International

26) Infection on the rise

Nasik Swami
Thursday, March 24, 2016

SINCE last week, the health facilities in Suva have been receiving about 100 cases of conjunctivitis, the Health Ministry has confirmed.

And this has prompted the ministry to caution members of the public to maintain and adhere to good hygiene practices.

Minister Jone Usamate said conjunctivitis was a bacterial or viral infection on the inner eyelid, which caused blood vessels to become inflamed resulting in eyes appearing reddish or pink.

“Conjunctivitis can be highly contagious for as long as two weeks after signs and symptoms. Early diagnosis and treatment can protect people around you from getting pink eye too,” Mr Usamate said.

“The Health Ministry reiterates that people must take on board and practice proper hygiene as this will assist with reducing and preventing the spread of such diseases.”

He said the symptoms included redness of the eyes, itching, gritty feeling, tearing and discard that forms a crust during the night that may prevent the eye or eyes from opening in the morning.Fijitimes

27) Malaria, flu outbreak claim 19

The National,Wednesday March 23rd, 2016

A FLU and malaria outbreak has claimed 19 lives in Morobe and Oro, according to an aid post official.
Morobe Post acting officer in-charge Dado Merire confirmed with The National and MP Ross Seymour that two adults and three infants died in Agotame and Pepeware villages of Sohe district, Northern.
A six-month-old infant died at Kobo village in Morobe.
Morobe provincial programme adviser Micah Yawing confirmed the disease outbreak at Hengati and Tsewi in Menyamya, and the Morobe post in Huon Gulf.
Yawingsaid he was awaiting reports from the outposts.
People from Yema, Tube, Gobe, Agotame and Pepewarein Sohewho normally access health services at the Zaka health centre in Morobe have to walk for two days to be treated at the Ioma station.
Huon Gulf district health manager Pendek Sitong confirmed that three more health officers and medical supplies had been sent to Morobe.
Meanwhile, Lutheran health services general secretary Ulch Tapia denied that Zaka health centre had been closed for three weeks.
“We have three health workers with medical supplies dispatched to Zaka on Saturday,” Tapia said.
“We are yet to verify if the cause of deaths was malaria and flu or other causes.”
Tapia said a similar outbreak had been reported from Mindik, Burum-Kuat in Finschhafen.

28) District in need of health workers

The National,Wednesday March 23rd, 2016

HUON Gulf district in Morobe needs 22 health workers to replace staff who have either retired, transferred or died.
The three council areas are Wampar, Salamaua and Morobe.
District health adviser Pendek Sitong said the current staff strength required the creation of new positions, getting recent graduates to fill the 19 aid post vacancies which have existed for almost 20 years.
The vacancies for health workers in Epa-Zinamba, Mubo, Bobodum, Yamu, Sabaya and Popdubi have not been filled for the past 18 years.
The Wampar health centre needs a health worker to replace a staff who had died while a health officer position has been vacant for three years.
Sitong said it was heart-breaking to see patients dying because no one was manning the aid posts.
“The current health performance of each facility is affected,” Sitong said.
She said communities have expressed concern continuously about staffing requirement for each health aid post and health centre in the district.
Sitong said the concern over the lack of staff had been raised with the provincial programme adviser for human resource Miring Sigoling.
Sigoling was not available to comment yesterday.

However, senior health officer Thomas Merire said a circular from the Department of Personnel Management had instructed the department heads to stop taking in any new recruits.

29) Safe water inaccessible to most in PNG: Study

The National,Wednesday March 23rd, 2016

PAPUA New Guinea, where 60 per cent of the population live without a safe water supply, has the poorest access to clean water in the world, according to a study released to mark World Water Day.
A report on the state of the world’s water showed Equatorial Guinea, Angola, Chad and Mozambique joining Papua New Guinea in the bottom five of a table ranking countries according to the percentage of households with access to clean water.
The report said 650 million people were living without an improved source of drinking water, which includes public taps, protected wells, rainwater or water piped into households.
It said when ranking countries by the sheer number of people living without access to safe water, India comes out worst – 75.8 million people have no access to safe water (See story on P31), followed by China, Nigeria and Ethiopia.
Henry Northover, head of policy for WaterAid, the organisation behind the study, said the global water and sanitation crisis was not a problem of limited supplies.
“This is not always an issue of scarcity – by and large we are dealing with a distributional crisis,” Northover said.
“It is fixable with clear and coherent government policies, and with the focused support of international agencies.”
The study also explored the high costs of water access, examining why the poorest communities often foot the largest bill.
“When there is no public access to clean water, people are forced to buy their water from street vendors which charge a premium.”

By Tom Kathoa
ABG Health Secretary, Clement Totavun issue a strong appeal to the people of Haku on Buka Island to take ownership of the redeveloped Lemanmanu Health Centre.
Mr Totavan while asking the people to look after the centre must not also harass hospital staff adding that he has the power to close the facility and relocate staff to another location.
Secretary Totavun says, staff are there to provide service to the community and their safety must be guaranteed by the local community.
The health workers also go through a lot of hard work in attending to the sick and therefore should be respected.21/3/16 New Dawn on Bougainville News.


BY Tom Kathoa
A good number of parents in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville have expressed concern over the delays in dealing with their children’ education by certain secondary schools.
One such parent who asked that her name be withheld said she told by the Provincial Education Board(PEB) to enrol her child at Mabiri Technical High School in Central Bougainville.
But, since then her child is still at home, because the school says there is no space at the school.
The concern mother says it seems there is a break-down of communication between the schools and the education department.
Such action by the education department and those involved in the education of the young should not be allowed to continue, because it is denying the children right to be educated.21/3/16 New Dawn on Bougainville News.

32) Record number of students graduate from USP in Fiji

A record number of students have graduated from the University of the South Pacific in Fiji.

The Pro-Chancellor and Chair of the University Council, Winston Thomson, has conferred the degrees diplomas and certificates to 1606 graduates from 20 nationalities.

Five students graduated with PhDs.

55 percent of graduates were females.

The USP says its enrolment stands at just above 25,000 students which is an increase of five percent compared to the same period last year.24/3/16 RNZI


33) Minister of Finance declares fiscal surplus in 2015

Posted: Friday, March 25, 2016 8:00 am

The Minister of Finance and Economic Management, Gaetan Pikioune has announced that the Government ended 2015 with another fiscal surplus.

According to confirmation from the Department of Finance and Treasury, last year’s fiscal surplus was the third surplus over the three years running. The first surplus was recorded in 2013 with over Vt250 million, followed by the second surplus of over Vt300 million and again last year, the government recorded over Vt500 million in surplus. Over the three years running, the accumulated surplus was in excess of Vt1 billion.

Minister Pikioune was reportedly very pleased with the fiscal turnout of 2015 and thanked the previous government and the Director General of the Ministry of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management for the good turnout though a challenging year it was.

“I am very pleased to start this fiscal year 2016 with a very strong fiscal buffer,” said Minister Pikioune.

I believe this Government will continue to manage public finances very prudently, and in accordance with existing laws including the Public Finance and Economic Management Act, said Minister Pikioune.

Minister Pikioune acknowledges that 2015 was a very challenging year. Vanuatu was hit by Tropical Cyclone Pam around mid-March which destroyed most of the services sector and partly in agriculture. The total wipe out of the agriculture sector in Shefa and Part of Tafea together with the downfall of the services sector in main Efate, was partly offset by increasing public spending on consumption. This increased spending was necessary due to the disruption in the local supply chain, which affected most of the population in the southern region, said Minister Pikioune.

34) Coalition united

The National,Thursday March 24th, 2016

GOVERNMENT coalition parties have vowed to stick together until next year’s general election, according to a statement.
They also called the latest attempt by the Opposition to move a vote of no confidence against Prime Minister Peter O’Neill a “blatant waste of parliamentary time”.
The statement, released following  Government caucus meetings on Tuesday and yesterday, said political stability was key to economic and social development in the country “and we will continue to provide support to the elected Government”.
The caucus meetings were attended by the People’s National Congress Party leader and Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, People’s Progress Party leader Ben Micah, National Alliance Party leader Patrick Pruaitch and United Resource Party leader William Duma.
They agreed to remain in coalition through to the 2017 election.
The statement said: “The Government caucus has committed to supporting Peter O’Neill as the Prime Minister of this nation who will take the Government to the election in 2017.
“Members of the Parliament are fast losing patience with the handful of Opposition (MPs) who are trying to tie up the time of the Parliament on another flippant challenge.
“We have had enough of these pointless disruptions from the Opposition who care so little about legislation, and just want to play their own petty politics.
“The people of this nation want their Members of Parliament to get on with running the economy and delivering services.
“We have policy areas for Parliamentary debate this session that include the most significant change and restructure to our court system in the history of our country, the Independent Commission Against Corruption Bill, the dual citizenship Constitutional Amendment and the Constitutional Amendment on the country’s ownership of our hydrocarbons.
“We are not the Papua New Guinea of decades ago where governments were changing every two years.
“We are a mature and stable Government (which was) formed with a set of sound policies in 2012.
“The Government is delivering on these policies and we are making a big difference for the people of our nation.”
The Opposition on Tuesday filed a notice with Acting Speaker Aide Ganasi to move a motion for a vote of no confidence in Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.
It was delivered to Ganasi just before Parliament was to resume sitting.
The parliament’s Private Members Committee was supposed to meet yesterday to decide whether the motion was correct procedurally and if it was in the national interest.

35) Global outlook on Vanuatu’s economy from Government budget standpoint

Posted: Wednesday, March 23, 2016 8:00 am

By Jonas Cullwick | 0 comments

Vanuatu’s economy continues to record positive growth as the global economy continues to improve and recover, the Minister of Finance and Economic Management, Gaetan Pikioune has said.

He admitted though that Vanuatu is vulnerable to what is happening outside the country, especially within the region.

“When the economic growth of our partners in the region drop or improve they affect Vanuatu, mainly in the export services such as tourism, investment and aid which could have a big impact on our economy,” the Minister said in his budget speech to Parliament Monday morning.

“When the prices of commodities fluctuate, they have a direct impact on our agriculture sector and they affect the lives of many of our people,” he added.

“Now that the price of fuel has dropped this will benefit Vanuatu because it will mean reduction in the cost of production in the industry and transport services,” he continued.

Minister Pikioune added that the economy of Vanuatu recorded a positive growth of 2.3% in 2014.

“We understand that we were faced with big challenges last year including from Tropical Cyclone Pam, the political crisis and the effects of El Nino, which affected the growth performance of the country. Despite of these, we expect the growth performance of the country to reach 3.5 over 2016 to 2018.”

In the medium term, Minister Pikioune continued, infrastructure projects will drive the economic growth of the country, which will be valued at over Vt30 billion.

“It is expected that implementation of these projects will increase growth in the industry sector by 37.8% in 2015, 35.6% in 2016 and continue to grow over the medium term.”

He said strong activity in this sector will mean employment will increase in the country and he added that it is important for the country to look carefully at phasing out the implementation of these projects to ensure there is sustainable growth over the medium to long term.

“Additionally, the Tropical Cyclone reconstruction program will support the growth in this sector over the medium term,” he added.

36) Move to oust PM

The National,Wednesday March 23rd, 2016

THE Opposition has filed a notice to move a motion of a no confidence vote against Prime Minister Peter O’Neill in Parliament.
The motion, received yesterday by Acting Speaker Aide Ganasi, was moved by Deputy Opposition Leader Sam Basil, and seconded by East Sepik Governor Sir Michael Somare, a member of the National Alliance Party in the Government coalition.
It was delivered to Ganasi just before Parliament resumed sitting at 2pm.
According to procedures, Ganasi will hand it to the Private Members Committee of Parliament which will decide if it is correct procedurally, and whether the motion is in the national interest.
If the committee, which meets every Wednesday, approves it, it can then be tabled in Parliament, through the Office of the Speaker, after seven days.
Basil said the Government should allow it to proceed after it foiled the two previous attempts by the Opposition last October and November to move the motion.
Opposition Leader Don Polye called for the support of all Papua New Guineans, saying the motion had the support of MPs from both sides of the House.
Basil said the motion, unlike the past two unsuccessful attempts, was “flawless”.
“I believe that all the flaws have been minimised. The delivery of the motion of no-confidence today (yesterday) is flawless and we expect that the committee will entertain that.”
He said the Opposition MPs were looking forward to Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and the Government testing their numbers on the floor (of Parliament) soon.
“The matter is now in the hands of the Speaker and the committee to deliberate on,” he said.
Polye also accused the Government of “breaking every rule” and should be removed.
“We’ve got a Government that is breaking every rule and doing all things necessary for them to cling on to power, despite the suffering of the people,” he said.
“We need the support of Papua New Guinea people to stand with the Opposition because this Government has destroyed this country’s future.”

37) PM’s Office, PS ‘disrespectful’ of Speaker

Published: 23 March 2016


THE Parliamentary Opposition Group has described the statement made by the Office of the Prime Minister &Cabinet (OPMC) regarding the Red House as disrespectful and belittling to the Speaker of Parliament.

The Opposition Group was referring to the OPMC statement which quoted the Ministry of Infrastructure Permanent Secretary Henry Murray stating that the Red House is run-down and unfit for occupation by any top leader.

“So why force the Speaker to reside there if it is unfit for occupation? Isn’t the Speaker a top leader in our country? The statement made by the OPMC and PS MID is disrespectful and belittling of the Speaker of the National Parliament.

“The Speaker is also the chairman of the electoral commission the highest democratic body in this country and also the deputy Governor General apart from his position as the Speaker of Parliament. So why did OPMC and MID allow him to reside there in the first place if that was the case. This is a dishonorable statement from OPMC and MID” it said.

The Opposition Group said the attempt by OPMC and PS MID to explain themselves only makes them look foolish.

The statement said the previous Prime Minister has left the house in very good condition and the current Speaker could have not survived the past 15 months if the state of the residence was truly unfit for occupation.

“Enough of excuses and do the right thing. The current Prime Minister was very vocal about former Prime Ministers living at their own residences at the expense of taxpayers when he was the Opposition Leader; but never practiced what he preached” it said.

The Opposition Group says all the talks of demolition and building of new official residence for the Prime Minister are long term plans which at the end of the day was only to allow the Prime Minister to reside in his private residence at the expense of taxpayers for the duration of his 4 year term.

The statement also recommended that an independent contractor be hired to give the true condition of the house and not only bias reports from OPMC and MID.Solomon Star


38) Former Lands Minister’s unlawful action costs State Vt45 million

Posted: Friday, March 25, 2016 8:00 am

by Thompson

A Supreme Court Judge has ordered the Republic of Vanuatu to pay a Vt45 million worth of damages to the lessor of a land title that was transferred in 2009 by former Lands Minister, Raphael Worwor without the consent of the lessor.

Justice Steven Harrop’s reserved judgment found the former Lands Minister who had no right to purport to consent to the transfer, made a false statement to a document that was registered making himself lessor of the leasehold title.

Hence in 2009 the then Director of Lands registered the transfer of the lease without the consent of the lessor.

Ricky Toro and Tony Toro representing Family Toro were the lessors of the leasehold title 12/0633/059 and Kalchili Kiri was the lessee.

The Toro family are the claimants of the case.

When the former Minister made himself lessor, the then Director of Lands registered a transfer in 2009 of the lease from Mr Kiri to Medici Investment Ltd who is the third defendant of the case.

According to section 36 of the Land Leases Act [Cap 163], “any disposition of land or interest comprised therein shall not be registered until the written consent of the lessor for such disposition verified in accordance within section 78 has been produced by the Director”.

Justice Harrop stated in his judgment that the registration of transfer by the Director of Lands breaches section 36 of the Land Lease Act.

“This case demonstrates how badly matters can go wrong when both a Minister of Lands and the Director of Lands act unlawfully in relation to the registration of dealings on a leasehold title,” Justice Harrop stated.

Read More:

39) Allan unveils shady dealing

The National,Wednesday March 23rd, 2016

LANDS Minister Benny Allan says a local businessman had colluded with Lands Department officers to obtain land titles on undeveloped urban leases.
“Some people have become overnight millionaires because they sell these UBLs which they are not supposed do,” he said.
“And I know of a man who has land titles in almost all parts of PNG. From Western to West Sepik and up to the Highlands. He has a strong connection with the Lands officers.”
Allan said the department had blacklisted him from obtaining UBL titles.
“But he is a clever person and is still obtaining UBL under different companies,” he said.
He said such matters would be taken care of in a land review.
Allan was responding to questions from Rabaul MP Dr Allan Marat and Southern Highlands Governor William Powi on illegal land grabbing in urban centres.

40) Hike in demand for land compo bugs PM

The National,Thursday March 24th, 2016

PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill is concerned about the increase in demand for land compensation where Government institutions are established around the country.
“It has become a national concern (that) where Government institutions are established, we are finding more and more claims coming through for land compensations,” he said. We all know that it doesn’t matter which Government is in power, they will still be faced with land compensation demands.”
O’Neill said in some remote areas such as his electorate of Ialibu-Pangia, people were demanding millions of kina in compensation.
“We know that if you utilise that land, you will not make such money,” he said. “But because Government is now putting a school or hospital or some sort of Government service there, people think that Government has got unlimited amount of money, so we should be just able to settle.
“We know that some of these lands around the country were acquired in a legal manner. And as a result of that, there were titles established. Titles were not given because Government went and did a compulsory land acquisition on all those lands.
“Some of our ancestors voluntarily gave land away for Government services so that their children can benefit.” O’Neill said leaders must discourage people from demanding compensation on land where schools were built.
Morobe Governor Kelly Naru had raised a concern about the original Lae city landowners, who recently won a court case on their demand for compensation for the land where Lae city is now located.


41) Date set for Sky Pacific transition to Digicel

7:53 pm GMT+12, 21/03/2016, Fiji

Digicel Fiji expects to take control of Sky Pacific, the Pacific’s leading Pay TV service provider from Friday, 01 April, 2016.

The transition of the ownership of Sky Pacific to the Digicel business follows last year’s announcement of the agreement to acquire the Sky Pacific operations.

“Digicel always looks to deliver the best of the best for our customers and we plan to raise the bar for Pay TV through Sky Pacific.  The start of this is the introduction of two new channels soon after Digicel takes over operations on April 1st – TVWAN and TVWAN Sports.

The inclusion of TVWAN Sports means that viewers will now be able to enjoy high quality sports events 24 hours a day. The other channel, TVWAN will have a range of regional and international news, some popular TV soap operas and drama serials and plenty of other great programs. This channel will also include lifestyle and business stories from the Pacific,” said Darren McLean, Chief Executive Officer of Digicel Fiji.

“Improvements to the channel lineup are being planned and Digicel is in discussions with various international content providers to acquire high quality TV shows and channels to boost the service and add value for our Sky Pacific customers. Only Sky Pacific will broadcast every Super Rugby match and the SANZAR Rugby Championship live on the Sky Pacific platform. All games on the popular HSBC World Rugby 7s Series, including the 7s events in Hong Kong, Singapore, London and Paris will be screened live on the Super Channel on Sky Pacific.’’

Existing Sky Pacific customers will enjoy the new content without any action required.  Additionally, Digicel has plans to improve customer service with a centralised Customer Care center which will soon be operational and equipped to handle Sky Pacific enquiries. Payment processes will also be improved with additional payment options and locations being planned.  These improvements will be announced over the coming weeks.  In the meantime Sky customers don’t need to do anything different and payments should continue to be made to Sky as normal.

Another important change relates to Section 42A of the Media Industry Development Decree (2010), which restricts any local content from being carried on Sky Pacific after Digicel takes control.

In order to comply with the Decree, Digicel is required to remove Fiji One and the Pacific Channel from the Sky Pacific line up effective from April 1st, 2016.



42) Local firms to manage Lae Port, says Duma

The National,Thursday March 24th, 2016

LANDOWNER-owned stevedoring companies will be involved in the Lae Port management with an international stevedoring company, according to Public Enterprise and State Investment Minister William Duma.
“The O’Neill Government is still sticking to the original agreement (done 30 years ago by the Chan Government) that local stevedoring companies must manage the Lae Port,” he said.
“What we are doing is to increase the efficiency of the port operations, which are distinct and different from stevedoring.
“Another thing is to ensure that once we allow the Government to be involved in joint ventures with foreign corporations, it is always our duty to ensure that local companies are treated fairly by their international partners.
“I do not want local companies to be cheated by their foreign partners. And it is my duty to check the review of the landowners stevedoring companies to ensure that they are given a good deal, particularly the Lae people.”
Bulolo MP Sam Basil said landowner-owned stevedoring companies had been overlooked in the management of Lae port despite having strong financial and management record in the managing of the port in the past 30 years.
Duma said the Government had not excluded landowners from participating.
“It is the requirement of this Government that in the event that it allows world class international operators to manage our ports, there is real and genuine landowner company participating in those joint ventures,” he said.
“So, I can assure you even in the event that the Government goes ahead and allows    outside operators to manage the port, our nationals would be allowed in those joint ventures.
“Our people will not be kicked out.”

43) Bank introduces chip

Ropate Valemei
Wednesday, March 23, 2016

IN Fiji, card skimming will always be a risk area and hence a French commercial bank has introduced the first chip-based card for added protection to its customers.

BRED Bank, since its coming into Fiji in 2012, has brought in the latest in technological advancement issuing and processing chip cards on ATMs and EFTPOS terminals.

The chip is a small metallic square on BRED Bank VISA debit cards.

“That’s an electronic chip, and it’s what sets apart our BRED Bank VISA debit cards,” said BRED Bank Fiji CEO Frederic Reynaud.

“The magnetic stripes on traditional credit and debit cards contain unchanging data.

“Whoever accesses that data gains the sensitive card and cardholder information necessary to make purchases.

“That makes traditional cards prime targets for counterfeiters, who convert stolen card data to cash. BRED Bank maintains the need to be proactive and not reactive when combating fraud.”

He assures that it is safe to use BRED Bank Visa debit card because it is a resilient chip card available to Fiji customers against fraud.

“An embedded microchip contains dynamic values that are verified by a chip-enabled point of sales (POS) reader to ensure the authenticity of the card through PIN (personal identification number).

“This makes payment data transfer more secure at POS than with a magnetic stripe (magstripe) card. In addition, it makes counterfeiting cards much more costly and difficult.”

He adds ATMs are safe in the way it was made.

“To clarify, the information gathered illegally from the ATM is one of the causes of the problem.

“Using the latest Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV)) solution for cardholders there is higher level of protection when using the BRED Bank ATM because the information is more secure.

“EMV itself raises the protection of chip card issuers and its customers. This is something we want to emphasise that BRED Bank in its long-term approach will proactively look at solutions for the benefit of our customers.”

He says they also communicate to their customers on security management such as using only secured internet site for their purchases.

Environmentally, he adds their greatest challenge is the payment card environment.

“Banks are slowly coming to this technological advancement that will assure customers protection against skimming.”

For customers’ awareness, he says another challenge is to communicate to customers so that they are able to protect themselves and as a consequence protect the payment system.

“BRED Bank and BPCE Group has been in existence for more than two centuries and will continue to build its infrastructure for its customers and stakeholders.”

For example, he states they have instant alert tools with their direct/internet banking platform that generates an automatic instant email as soon as a transfer is made from the customer’s account.

“Innovation is the difference and we will continue to bring in new solutions for our customers.”

44) Exporters feel the brunt

Shayal Devi
Thursday, March 24, 2016

THE devastation caused by Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston on fruit and vegetable production could result in some exporters closing down shop because of a lack of supply and escalating costs.

This is the view of produce export treatment facility, Nature’s Way Cooperative Ltd.

CEO Michael Brown said exporters were feeling the pinch as the supply of commodities was on a slump in the aftermath of Severe TC Winston.

He said farmers and suppliers in the Western Division had been the hardest hit and were struggling to cope with the demands of the export market.

“Farms have either been damaged or completely destroyed and in addition to the losses faced by farmers, many exporters are facing a number of increased costs which threaten the viability of continuous export consignments,” he said.

Mr Brown said the extent of damage to farms had resulted in exporters having to source produce from a larger number of suppliers to get the same volume of exports.

This, he said, affected labour and transport costs associated with buying produce as well as biosecurity related registration costs.

“Due to the reduced supply, exporters are sending smaller volumes of fruit, however, their overheads remain the same and therefore the overall cost per unit has increased significantly.

“The local market price for high temperature forced air produce has increased, which means that exporters also have to increase their buying price to secure their volumes.

“Exporters also have to spend much more time grading produce which increases labour costs.”

Because of increased costs, Mr Brown said, there was serious concern that many exporters would be forced to cease exports for a period of time.

“This will have serious consequences for the supplying farmers, service providers including Nature’s Way and our overall market position.

“Furthermore, there is the possibility that some exporters may completely go out of business if they run for many weeks without any income,” Mr Brown said.Fijitimes

45) Solomon Airlines to resume Honiara-Nadi service
00:26 am GMT+12, 22/03/2016, Solomon Islands

Right on cue for the busy Easter travel period Solomon Airlines has announced it will resume its Honiara – Nadi services from this weekend (26 March 2016) onwards.

Announcing the news, Solomon Airlines’ General Manager Operations & Commercial, Gus Kraus said the carrier had made a decision to suspend its Fiji services on the weekends of 12 – 13 March and 19 – 20 March 2016 in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Winston and a related downturn in travel between the two countries.

This downturn, Kraus, said had also affected other regional airlines.

Moving forward Kraus said Solomon Airlines’ Fiji flights were once again available for sale with the first departure ex-Honiara taking place on Saturday, 26 March 2016.

The return Nadi – Honiara service will be operated on Sunday, 27 March 2016.

Solomon Airlines is currently operating its Honiara – Nadi service using a leased Qantas Boeing B737-800 aircraft while it waits for its flagship Airbus A320 to return to service from a full maintenance schedule taking place in Singapore.

“The Airbus is undergoing a complete cabin refit including refreshed upholstery, carpets and curtains for added passenger comfort and all that goes with ensuring that when the aircraft returns we will be good to go for another four-year extended lease,”  Kraus said.

Solomon Airlines operates its Honiara-Nadi services as follows:

Saturday – Flight number IE 702   HIR 1415 – NAN 1815
Sunday – Flight number IE 703   NAN 1000 – HIR 1200.


46) MMF defends Ports

Published: 22 March 2016


Malaita Ma’asina Forum (MMF) has rubbished claims by some of the largest foreign companies investing in the country that they have been affected and incurred losses as a result of the ongoing reform by Solomon Islands Ports Authority (SIPA).

President Charles Dausabea speaking to the paper yesterday argued that National Fisheries Development (NFD), Solrais and Guadalcanal Plains Palm Oil Limited (GPPOL) are earning huge profits from their operation in the country and continue to send their money to the mother companies overseas.

He claimed MMF had done a thorough research on the websites of those concerned companies and found out that these firms have maximised their profits at the expense of SIPA to fund their headquarters overseas.

Mr Dausabea explained that Solrais parent company is Sunrice Australia with the headquarter in Australia and is an entirely owned subsidiary of Sunrice Australia.

He claimed Solrais earns revenue of SBD$500 million, which is more than the un-tax profit of Sunrice Australia that stands at SBD$412 million during its financial year.

Mr Dausabea said, Solrais’ media attack on SIPA CEO is a smoke screen to retain its revenue stream.

“When Solrais stops selling rice or generate lesser revenue from Solomon Islands Sunrice share price will plummet and shareholders overseas will earn less, which is the real reason why Solrais is doing all it can to stop SIPA from selling rice.”

The president said, another grieving company GPPOL has its board known as New Britain Palm Oil Limited (NBPOL) with headquarter in Papua New Guinea (PNG) and is wholly owned subsidiary of Sime Darby Plantations Sdn Bhd.

“The MMF findings show that NBPOL consists of eight directors from PNG, United Kingdom (UK) and Malaysia.”

MMF said from its finding it shows that revenue by GPPOL is around SBD$82 million and profit before interest and tax is SBD$6.3 million and net earnings is SBD$4.3 million.

MMF president stated that SIPA charge for 5 months is SBD$404,899 which is the fraction of the profit after tax of -0.000095 of 1%.

In the case of NFD, MMF claimed it found out that they generate a revenue of SBD$6.9 million with a profit after tax of SBD$138 million.

“NFD parent company is Tri Marine with headquarter in the United States (US).”

MMF president said it is a multi-national company which have its operations located in North America, Latin America, Asia, Oceanic and the Indian Ocean.

Dausabea said SIPA charge for five months is SBD$6.7 million, which is 4.85% of Tri marine profit after tax.

He pointed out that this is exactly the same situation, which this foreign investors wants to maximise profits at the expense of Solomon Islands, to fund their profit target set by their head office abroad.

Mr Dausabea calls on all foreign investors to play fair and spend their money here in Solomon Islands, rather than complaining about their own faults and on sending their profit overseas.

MMF has thrown its support to the reform by the ports reform since it was implemented under the management of Collin Yow as CEO.

By AATAI JOHN/Solomon Islands Star.


47) Bauerfield works currently on schedule: Gov’t

Posted: Wednesday, March 23, 2016 8:00 am

The Government in collaboration with the Works Contractor, Fulton Hogan, and all implementing agencies are confident emergency repair works will be completed by mid-April.

Previous communication updates on the emergency repairs highlighted this, and that the overall construction programme remains on schedule with the New Zealand Contractors fully committed to working within their contractual period of 56-days.

The Government reiterates that there are no adverse delays and the Contractors are contractually bound to complete the project by mid-April, but not May as portrayed internationally through various travel agents and airlines.

This statement is being issued in light of this conflicting information being circulated through foreign media and travel agents about the Port Vila Bauerfield airport emergency repairs.

So far 72% of the runway has undergone surface enrichment sprayed treatment (SEST) with the remaining areas recommencing after Easter, in order to accommodate an increase in flight movements over the holiday period.

Crack sealing has been performed to 40% of the project area and all required paint markings have been reinstated.

The Contractor, together with members of Airports Vanuatu Ltd, the Vanuatu Government, the Pacific Aviation Investment Programme and Air Vanuatu have been working collaboratively to identify operational windows which enable works to proceed with minimal disruptions to aircraft operations.

The developing progress of the short term pavement works brings with it a reduction in airline serviceability concerns and the overall improvement in the confidence of continuing operations.

48) Repair work starts on Madang-Usino Highway

The National,Wednesday March 23rd, 2016

THE Works Department in Madang has started repairing the badly affected sections of the Madang-Usino Highway.
Works provincial Manager Andrew Kendaura said funds had been allocated for the work and all machinery had been moved to the selected locations along the highway.
Kendaura said a team stationed at Tapopo would repair the deteriorated sections of the road between Biribiri and Walium.
He said the road condition had affected PMVs and trucks transporting passengers, goods and cargos between Madang, Lae and the Highlands.
He said team two was now based in Walium and would work on the road sections between Walium and Asas.
He said one part of the Bokia Bridge in Kesewai near the Walium government station collapsed last Saturday but quick response by his team enabled  to reopened the road.
He added that people in the Usino area had diverted the flow of water from the drains near the road onto the road which caused cracks and potholes so they could get money from motorists by pulling their vehicles.
He said the locals usually piled up stones in the nearby drains to divert water onto the road.
“I myself have removed the stones three times and has informed police about this,” Kendaura said.
He urged the people to stop others from causing any problems for the road and the travelling public and to look after the road.


49) Drugs at the border

Ropate Valemei
Friday, March 25, 2016

AT least $45million worth of drugs have been confiscated at our borders but traffickers are resorting to desperate ways of concealing even inserting drugs in body cavities.

In the past two years, the Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority (FRCA) recorded 12 cases of hard drugs worth $45m.

“You’ll be surprised when it comes to drugs concealment, this is getting complex every day. It goes to the extent of body strapping, body insertions, luggage and anything you can think of,” FRCA acting CEO Visvanath Das said.

A recent case was of a man who inserted a condom filled with hard drugs in his body cavity.

He says this was detected through the x-ray machine installed in airports.

With the introduction of two portable hand-held drugs scanners yesterday, Mr Das said their capacity to detect more drugs had improved.

The state-of-the -art scanners, he said had the ability to detect drugs as well as explosives.

Mr Das said they were grateful to their Australian counterparts who had generously donated two scanners which would assist them in monitoring such activities.

“With the introduction of the first defender technology FRCA will be indeed in the forefront apprehending the would-be traffickers.”

The scanners would be used at international ports from tomorrow.

“These scanners are highly chemically selective and reliable and have proven very successful with Australian, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea customs.

This offering is the state-of-the-art device in the market for identification of unknown substances and chemicals.

It can identify explosives, toxic industrial chemicals, warfare agents, narcotics, white powders and even chemical signatures related to narcotics, distributions and manufacturing.

This technology, he says can test chemicals right on the spot and identify if it drugs or not.

“I’ll send a simple message to the would-be traffickers out there to don’t underestimate the Fiji customs capabilities to detect drug trafficking.”Fijitimes

50) Domestic violence a concern: Magistrate

The National,Thursday March 24th, 2016

By Elizabeth Vuvu
DOMESTIC violence has become a concern for magistrates in East New Britain.
Kokopo District Court senior magistrate Samuel Lavutul told a recent provincial leaders’summit that, in 2015, the district court registered 166 applications for interim protection orders
“Not only females are coming but also some males are seeking protection from court,” Lavutul said.
He said the district court was heavily involved in family counselling programmes since 2010.
“The Magisterial Services in East New Britain ( ENB) is the only court in the country that has a counselling service readily available,” he said.
“We initiated a counselling service at the courthouse, unlike all the other courts in the country, meaning that if there is a case that comes to court and we see that there is a family involved, we push the case for counselling.
“We set up counselling service so to ‘kill so many birds with one stone’.
“If somebody comes in with an adultery case, surely down the line they will come in with a maintenance case.”
Lavutul said last year, 160 cases were referred for counselling with 145 successful cases while the remaining 15 saw the couples keen to reunite.
Lavutul thanked the community development office in the province for assisting volunteers who conduct counselling by paying monthly allowances.

51) Hundreds march over violence against women in Vanuatu

In Vanuatu today, several hundred women, men and children marched in Port Vila and Luganville to demand an end to violence against women.

The marches came after tourism industry worker Florence Lengkon was abducted, assaulted and verbally abused for publicly expressing her views about the aggressive behaviour of some bus and taxi drivers at Port Vila’s wharf.

The Daily Digest reports that in Port Vila, the protesters marched from the seafront to Parliament House, currently in session, where they were met by MPs from government and opposition.

Earlier, a woman taking part in the protest, Lora Lini, said they hoped the march sent a strong message.

“We hope that this march is going to put the message through to all those that are affected and especially to those that are suffering from this violence and we hope that this message is sent home through this march, thank you.”

At the parliament, Florence Lengkon presented a petition demanding stronger action against gender-based violence to Minister for Justice Ronald Warsal.

The Parliament subsequently passed a motion to adopt Commonwealth parliamentary procedure and allow the petition to be presented, and in a first for the country, the petition was read out inside Parliament.23/3/16 RNZI

52) Support firms up for Solomons police rearmament

The Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands says people living in the Western Province have expressed support for the staged limited rearmament of the police.

RAMSI said the people who contributed to the discussions supported the rearmament because their trust and confidence in the force is growing.

The government is keen to rearm the police and consultations have been underway since 2014.

RAMSI said a clear majority supports a staged and limited rearmament if appropriate safeguards are in place.

The prime minister Manasseh Sogavare first proposed rearming the police during his last tenure as in 2006, but was then opposed by RAMSI and by trade unions.

RAMSI collected all weapons when it was deployed in 2003.24/3/16 RNZI

53) Vanuatu Acting Police Commissioner removed

02:40 am GMT+12, 23/03/2016, Vanuatu

Vanuatu President Baldwin Lonsdale Tuesday removed Superintendent John Taleo as the Acting Commissioner of Police.

In exercise of the powers conferred on him by subsection 7C(3) of the Police Act [CAP 105], President Lonsdale made the Order on the advice of the Commission and after consultation with the Minister.

The Order of Removal is effective as of the day it was made and was published in the Official Gazette on the same day, March 22, 2016.

Subsequently using the power conferred by subsection (1) under the same Act, the Head of State appointed Colonel Robson Iavro as the Acting Commissioner of Police.

Colonel Iavro who graduated with a Bachelor of Management at the Laucala Campus in Suva, Fiji, also completed an 18-month Masters Degree programme in Public Policy at the Australian National University and was posted to various senior appointments at the Vanuatu Police Force Headquarters and Vanuatu Mobile Force (VMF).

He was appointed Commander of the Vanuatu Mobile Force (VMF) in November 2015.

There was no reason(s) cited for Taelo’s removal.

Meanwhile, less than two weeks ago, the amendment to the Police Act [CAP 105] passed by the Natuman-led government before it got ousted, and pending under the Kilman-led regime was finally published in the Official Gazette (March 11, 2016).

This amendment allows the post of the Commissioner of Police to be advertised internationally and allows a foreigner to be recruited for the police top job.

The amendment accommodates the following provisions in subparagraphs 7A (7): (a) “he or she must have served in a senior position in the Police Force in Vanuatu or in any other country for a period of seven years or more”; and

(b) “preferably has a tertiary qualification in the area of policing, military, management or Law.”.


54) Solomon Islands develop freedom of information legislation

02:42 am GMT+12, 23/03/2016, Solomon Islands

The Solomon Islands Government has embarked on yet another measure that will aid in its fight to reduce corruption.

The Office of the Ombudsman last week has facilitated the visit of an Anti-Corruption and Freedom of Information (FOI) specialist and Attorney, Aylair Livingstone, who has been engaged by the UNDP/UNODC, with the agreement of the Government, to develop drafts of an FOI policy and law.

A Freedom Of Information regime gives the public legal rights to access information held by government bodies (subject only to narrowly drawn exemptions), enables greater public participation in the decision making processes at the national and provincial levels, and generally facilitates greater transparency and accountability in governance.

A FOI policy and law specifically commits the Government to proactively release information into the public domain and to receiving and responding to requests for information from the public within defined time frames where the information sought by a member of the public is not already published.

The denial of a request for access can be appealed to a specially established enforcement body at little or no cost.

The move towards the development of a FOI policy and law underscores the Government’s on-going commitment to openness and transparency and will complement a number of other anti-corruption measures such as the imminent passage of an Anti-Corruption Law, the Whistle Blower Bill, the Ombudsman (Special Provisions) Bill, the Leadership Code (Further Provisions) Bill, and the National and Provincial Election (Further Provisions) Bill.

Historically, in 2005, the Government endorsed the Pacific Plan which identifies Freedom of Information as an indicator under the Good Governance Pillar.

Three years later, in 2008, the Solomon Islands hosted 10 Forum Island Countries (FICs) in Honiara for the first regional meeting on freedom of information legislation for Pacific government officials.

More recently, in 2012, the Government signed the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC).

During the week-long visit, consultations were held with a number of state actors and members of civil society to share information about the FOI framework initiative, gain preliminary feedback on the current state of government information disclosure, potential obstacles to FOI implementation such as deficiencies in records management practices and resources, the digitizing of records, and ICT implications.

With the development of a FOI policy and law, the Solomon Islands will join the ranks of Australia, New Zealand, Vanuatu, Tonga, the Cook Islands and Fiji that have either passed FOI laws or are in the process of doing so.

The Government is working towards the enactment of the FOI Law by early 2017.


55) Locals in border crime

The National,Wednesday March 23rd, 2016

THE Indonesian border town of Sota has recorded the highest number of criminal activities among Papua New Guineans compared to other Indonesian towns along the border, an official says.
MoreHead local level government official Bill Deveri said Sota town at the southern part of the border was frequented by people from MoreHead in Western.
Last year, the town recorded 75 cases of shoplifting, obtaining goods on credit from business houses through false pretences, drunken brawls, causing public nuisance and disturbing the peace.
In other Indonesian towns along the border up to Jayapura city on the border with West Sepik, Indonesian officials dealt with 10 cases of unruly behaviour by PNG citizens, Deveri said. “Our people’s behaviour has irked authorities from both countries.
“We are calling on border officials (from both countries) to address the traditional border permit issues.
“The unruly behaviours are caused by non-permit holders who don’t live in villages within the 30km vicinity of the border.”
Deveri said MoreHead public servants and permits holders from Wando, Balamuk, Wean Wewerave, Bula, Iokwa, Vearua and Kiriwo villages needed to go to Sota to buy basic food items such as rice and flour because Daru town was far.
“Such unruly behaviour from non-permit holders will force the Indonesian authorities to stop us from going across.”


56) Economies vulnerable to climate issues

Ropate Valemei
Wednesday, March 23, 2016

FIJI and other small island countries depend on the direct budget from countries such as New Zealand and Australia when it comes to climate change mitigation and adaptation.

This is because those countries and their economies are also vulnerable to climate issues.

“For countries like Australia and New Zealand, up to 80 per cent of their budget is aid.

“So you can see the vulnerabilities in climate conditions but also in the economies,” said Attorney-General and Minister for Finance Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum at the International Monetary Fund meeting in India last week.

He said technology development in terms of mitigation was critical, especially for small economies such as Fiji.

“You wouldn’t see homegrown technology being developed as the economy scale is not there.

“I met a minister in India who has agreed to help us in terms of renewable energy. That’s the type of collaboration that we need and require.”

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the economy scale does not exist in small island countries. Prev

57) Fijian PM Bainimarama to sign Paris Agreement at United Nations

00:24 am GMT+12, 22/03/2016, Fiji

Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama will be going to a high level signing ceremony at the United Nations in New York next month, for the formal ratification of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

Bainimarama, while speaking at the induction of permanent secretaries in Suva, said he was prepared to face the UN meeting with a resolution to take up the issue with industrialised nations.

He said there was a need for industrialised countries to face up to their responsibilities to small island nations such as Fiji.

Bainimarama said he would be going to the meeting with the strongest of messages that what had been agreed so far was not enough.

“It isn’t enough for them to reduce the carbon emissions that have produced this crisis in the first place,” Bainimarama said.

“As we see it, they have a clear moral obligation to use some of their wealth to help us build our resilience; in this terrifying new era that they have helped bring about.”

Last month, Fiji became the first country to formally approve the UN Climate deal agreed by 195 nations in Paris last December.

Bainimarama said Fiji intended to do all it could to put the issue of climate resilience building on the global agenda after the trauma the nation had suffered from Tropical Cyclone Winston.

He said it had been an extraordinary month last month.

“Easily one of the most testing in our nation’s history; four weeks of drama, tragedy and heartbreak,”  Bainimarama said.

“The loss of 44 of our people, many more injured, well in excess of 30,000 homes damaged or destroyed; and a total damage bill stretching into the hundreds of millions.”

He said Tropical Cyclone C Winston had tested Fiji’s capacity to weather the elements to the very limit.

“It has tested the resilience of Fiji’s people to cope with the loss of their loved ones, their homes and possessions and it had been one of the biggest tests of the Fijian character in the entire history of these islands,” he said.

“When nature unleashed its force in a way that no previous generation has ever experienced, we stood shoulder-to-shoulder as one nation, one people,” he said.

He said while Winston had been a crippling blow, with God’s help, Fijians would emerge from this ordeal stronger and even more united.




By Tom Kathoa
The quantity and quality of cocoa production in Bougainville is certainly growing according to technical officers engaged in the industry.
Mathew Kiva, a Primary Industry Officer with the Bougainville Intergrated Rural Development Corporation says, the region is naturally a cocoa growing region and has the potential to reach high levels of productivity.
BIRDC is encouraging all cocoa farmers to join the corporation by being a member of the SMEs or Corporatives in their constituencies.
The program will also be extended to Central and South Bougainville, with the establishment of Cocoa Nursery already at Red River.22/3/16 New Dawn Fm/Bougainville

59) Pacific Community defends seabed law review

The Director of Geoscience at the Pacific Community has fended off criticism of the organisation’s framework for seabed mining legislation, saying the document is just a starting point.

The NGO, Pacific Network on Globalisation, carried out an assessment of the framework with Blue Ocean Law and said it lacked indigenous and environmental safeguards.

But the SPC’s Michael Petersen said the authors could have consulted the SPC and found the framework, which was first published in 2012, was currently being overhauled.

“For a 57 page document personally I think we do cover some of the areas which the criticism is alleging that we don’t cover. We probably can improve, of course we can. But I think it is unfair to say that we haven’t at least given this significant treatment in the document itself.”

Michael Petersen said there were some valid points raised in the review but it was mostly too harsh on the framework, which was designed as a starting point and not a bench-mark for seabed mining legislation in the region.23/3/16 RNZI


60) PNG waters open to illegal fishing

The National,Thursday March 24th, 2016

THE waters of Papua New Guinea are vulnerable to illegal fishing and other transnational criminal activities because of the lack of capacity and resources.
Fisheries Minister Mao Zeming said the Defence Force “takes the lead with surveillances”.
“We don’t have facilities like aircraft and ships. That is why we are having such problems (illegal fishing),” he said.
“But we want to let you know that this Government is aware of this situation and is in discussion with some parties and countries which are willing to help us provide resources and logistics to conduct surveillance.”
Zeming said he had discussion last year in Indonesia with his counterpart and came up with an understanding to conduct joint surveillances in waters along the PNG-Indonesian border.
“The Australia and New Zealand governments are also helping us in the areas of surveillance.”
Milne Bay Governor Titus Philemon had raise the concern that six foreign-owned fishing vessel were illegally harvesting beche-de-mer in Milne Bay waters.
He said reports had been sent to the National Fisheries Authority. Philemon said foreign fishing boats, believed to be from Indonesia, had been sighted near Simsimla Islands in the Kiriwina-Goodenough electorate, the Calvados chain of islands, Woodlark and the Engineer Group of Islands in the Samarai-Murua electorate.
The fishermen were targeting the teatfish variety of the sea cucumber, which is said to be highly priced.
They also use boats equipped with diving gear such as tanks and nets, which allowed them to stay for long periods under water.

61) Alaskan firm lures American Samoa workers

Dozens of young people have turned out in American Samoa to hear about job opportunities at a salmon processing plant in Alaska.

Silver Bay Seafoods is looking for 200 workers for its summer season.

Two company representatives have been in American Samoa on the recruitment drive which attracted 200 jobseekers.

Most of those who turned up at the job fair were young people, several of whom are currently working at the canneries.

Shelly Franklin of Silver Bay Seafoods said that others were laid off from some of the local companies.

Two years ago, the firm hired about three dozen workers from American Samoa.24/3/16 RNZI

62) FFA ponders options for new US tuna treaty

A working group of the Pacific Island parties met last week with the United States to hammer out some options for a possible structure for the US Pacific Tuna Treaty.

The interim treaty, which allows US purse seiners to fish in the Exclusive Economic Zones of island countries, is to expire at the end of December

The Director General of the Forum Fisheries Agency, James Movick, told Pacific journalists at a workshop in Palau, that the small working group and the United States reps came up with several options for the treaty,

These would be presented to the full group of Pacific Fisheries Ministers and also by the US reps to their industry group.

Mr Movick said it is hoped that by July there will be a proposed treaty in place.

He didn’t disclose the options but said there was a good exchange, and by having a small informal group, the exchange was more free flowing.24/3/16 RNZI

63) Fishing Plant to operate by July

Posted: Wednesday, March 23, 2016 8:00 am

By Jane Joshua |

The Government aims to see the Sino-Van Fishing Plant at Blacksands, Port Vila, going into operation by July 2016.

The Sino-Van Fishing Plant been idle since it was opened by then Prime Minister, late Edward Natapei and former Chinese Ambassador to Vanuatu, Cheng Shuping, in 2009.

Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries, Forestry and Biosecurity (MALFFB), Matai Seremaiah, confirmed this during Day 2 of the budget session in Parliament yesterday.

“The Government wants to see the Sino-Van plant operate by July,” said Minister Seremaiah.

“The Department of Fisheries and Ministry sees this as a priority with ongoing efforts to make this happen.

“Just last week an agreement was reached for an offshore development, to build a temporary pontoon for tuna to be unloaded at the Fisheries Department.

64) Fishery bloc looks to ‘enhance control’ as officials prepare to meet in Kiribati

02:34 am GMT+12, 23/03/2016, Marshall Islands

As the Pacific’s dominant fisheries bloc gears for its annual policy meeting in Kiribati later this month, the over-riding theme for the 10-day gathering is “how to enhance control of the fishery,” said the group’s chief executive officer.

In recent months, the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) has seen its management system for the multi-billion dollar tuna fishery in the western and central Pacific criticised by some governments and industry.

This has focused on the Vessel Day Scheme (VDS), an “effort” control system that has stabilized fish catches in the zones of the eight PNA members, while increasing revenue for the islands from US$60 million in 2010 to an estimated US$400 million last year.

While the New Zealand government is currently funding a study on fisheries management for the region and has promoted switching from an “effort” to a “quota” management system for the huge and multi-species PNA fishery, a detailed new study on the VDS by an independent New Zealand fisheries consulting firm will be a key part of the PNA discussions in Kiribati.

“The purse seine VDS is a very successful fisheries management regime by any real world standard,” concluded the report commissioned by the PNA Office in Majuro. The report adds: “There is no clear benefit from changing the VDS from a day scheme to a catch scheme now or in the near future.”

The eight PNA members control waters where half the global supply of skipjack tuna is caught, and also significant tonnage of yellowfin and bigeye tuna.

PNA CEO Dr Transform Aqorau said the new report on the VDS, to be tabled in Kiribati, is helpful in light of last year’s decision by Pacific leaders urging a move from an effort to catch-based management system. “If island leaders want to move to a catch-based system, then they need to understand the implications and do so carefully,” said Dr Aqorau. “The VDS is a package of integrated systems that include a fishery information management system, on-board observers, tracking of fish aggregating devices (FADs), the Marine Stewardship Council certification (of free school caught skipjack and yellowfin), and other measures. Dismantling it will have huge consequences.”

Significantly, too, PNA has extended the VDS to the longline industry beginning last year as part of its effort to control and sustainably manage fishing activity in its zones.

The newly-issued report by Toroa Strategy Limited of New Zealand goes into detail on the key issues of the VDS effort system and compares it to quota system management.

Another important report that will be presented in Kiribati to PNA officials concerns “effort creep” in the fishery. Prepared by the Pacific Community, this analysis will “help us understand where in the fishery it is happening,” said Dr Aqorau. But, he added, effort creep — a term that refers to increasingly sophisticated fishing technology, bigger boats and so on — is “not necessarily bad. We want vessels to be efficient and profitable and to get rid of the inefficient boats.”

These reports on the VDS and effort issues will underpin PNA members discussion of the “total allowed effort” for the entire PNA fishing area, as well as the allocation of VDS days for the individual members, which is known as the “parties allowed effort.” The PAE — which provides each of the eight member nations with a certain number of fishing days to sell for the year — is the basis for how they earn revenue through the VDS.

PNA’s fishery management is moving to develop harvest control rules governing stocks. These include setting “limit reference points” in order to maintain tuna stocks at sustainable levels and “target reference points,” which are a guide for triggering measures to ensure the size of the tuna stock is not reduced. The meetings in Kiribati will review draft harvest control rules. The aim, said Dr. Aqorau, is to present these harvest rules to the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission for review and adoption at its annual meeting in December.

Because of the WCPFC’s inability to adopt measures promoted by PNA and other countries to enforce greater control of high seas fishing, Dr. Aqorau said PNA intends to focus greater attention on national management programs of its members and PNA sub-regional arrangements.

The annual meeting in Kiribati, which starts March 28 and runs through April 8, is focused on maintaining sustainability of PNA’s fishery management system and expanding island control of the fishery, said Dr Aqorau.



65) New Caledonia clash a rare international foray for Vanuatu

Vanuatu host New Caledonia tomorrow afternoon in their only international match before May’s Oceania Nations Cup football tournament.

The national squad have played a couple of local friendly matches in recent weeks but haven’t played an international since beating Fiji in November.

The local-based players have been training together since last month and the squad will be close to full strength, with Bill Nicholas arriving from New Caledonia and Solomon Islands-based trio Brian Kaltack, Kensi Tangis and Daniel Natou already in town.

Head coach Moise Poida said the clash with Les Cagous at Port Vila Stadium is a valuable hit-out in their preparations for the Nations Cup.

“New Caledonia just at the last minute they proposed to come and play here so now we change the focus to prepare or to tactically, technically to be ready in the next Nations Cup in PNG. We’ve prepared only in Vanuatu. That means we train here twice a week – the players are focusing on their clubs – so maybe after the game against New Caledonia we might have some idea which players will be in the final squad to play for Vanuatu in PNG.”

The last time Vanuatu played New Caledonia was during the 2012 Nations Cup in Honiara, when Le Cagous prevailed 5-2.

The New Caledonia and Vanuatu B teams will also go head to head this afternoon before tomorrow’s main event.25/3/16 RNZI

66) PNG Hunters change kick-off times after security concerns

The Papua New Guinea Hunters rugby league team have brought forward the kick-off times for two home matches in response to concerns from supporters about security.

The Hunters beat Tweed Heads on Saturday night at the National Football Stadium in Port Moresby in their first home game of the Queensland Cup season.

That match started at 6:30pm but the club says they have received feedback that games finishing mid-evening would cause security concerns for supporters using public transport to and from games.

The Townsville Blackhawks and Redcliffe Dolphins have agreed to play their upcoming matches in Port Moresby in the afternoon, with both games brought forward to a 3pm kick-off.

The round seven match against the Norths Devils will remain a 6:30pm kickoff on Saturday the 16th of April, but arrangements have been made for transport to be available for fans to travel home safely.

Any changes to game-day schedules can only be made if agreed by all parties and Hunters Management is continuing dialogue with other teams due to play in PNG.

The Hunters are one of only two unbeaten teams in the Queensland Cup after winning their opening three games.

They play away at Sunshine Coast Falcons on Sunday afternoon, with the Pacific Allies Cup again up for grabs.

The Falcons are the current holder, having won the corresponding match last year.24/3/16 RNZI

67) Rugby brawl

Maciu Malo
Thursday, March 24, 2016

SIX players were seriously injured after a free-for-all brawl erupted during the Lautoka Rugby Union club competition at Nadovu Park on Saturday.

The six injured suffered broken noses, swollen eyes, broken jaws as fans joined the players during the scuffle.

Sticks were also used as weapons during the brawl causing major injuries to some players.

The hockey fence near the ground was also partly damaged because of the fight as three teams and their fans were involved in the brawl.

LRU secretary Sefanaia Scholte said those involved in the brawl would be severely penalised.

He said the union did not condone such action and those found guilty would frace the full brunt of the law.

“I really cannot disclose the details of the teams involved as they have requested not to do so but the only thing I can say about it is that players got hurt in the process as sticks were used as weapons in the process,” said Scholte.

“A concerned club that was involved had six of their players seriously injured, some with broken noses, black eyes and broken jaws, and some other injuries.

“The LRU judiciary committee is looking into this matter very seriously as this is not the first time. A similar incident happened during first round of the club games.

“LRU will come down hard on this issue as it is serious in nature.”

Scholte said the union had requested the assistance of the police to have their officers present on game day.

“We have requested police presence for our club games,” he said.Fijitimes

68) Rugby 7s courses set

Published: 22 March 2016

The Solomon Islands Rugby Union Federation (SIRUF) will this week run two technical courses in Honiara for rugby sevens coaches and match officials.

The courses will be held at the Solomon Rugby office at Town Ground stadium on Thursday 24th and Saturday 26th March 2016 respectively.

Thursday’s session will be a Rugby 7s Level 1 Coaching workshop, followed by a Match Officiating or referees course on Saturday 26th March.

The courses will start at 10:00am of each day and is open to interested coaches from schools and clubs in Honiara. Interested individuals or persons representing other sporting bodies or organizations are also welcome to join.

Teachers from both secondary schools and primary schools in Honiara who are involved with rugby or who are planning to be involved in rugby this year are highly recommended to attend these first level courses.

To be registered to attend these courses, intending participants can contact and confirm their names to Nick Hatigeva of SIRUF from now until the courses begin on Thursday via mobile phone number 7488930, or via email address .

Intending participants can also call in at the Solomon Rugby office at Town Ground stadium to register their names. Limited spaces are available for those interested, so intending participants must register quickly.Solomon Star

69) Fiji Warriors crowned Pacific Challenge champions

00:44 am GMT+12, 22/03/2016, Fiji

The Telecom Fiji Warriors claimed their sixth World Rugby Pacific Challenge title Monday night.

A clinical display by the brave Warriors helped the side thrash Samoa A 36-0 at the ANZ Stadium in Laucala Bay, Suva.

Fiji Warriors scored four tries and a penalty try also helped seal the impressive win. The tries were scored by right winger Nacani Wakaya, left winger Lepani Raiyala, lock Mataiasi Ucutabua and inside centre Frederick Hickes.

Fullback Kitione Ratu was successful with two conversions. Captain Peni Ravai’s boys displayed quality rugby to demolish the Samoans. Fiji Warriors led 16-0 at halftime.

The first 40 minutes was a close exchange with livewire halfback Henry Seniloli setting the pace with quick deliveries. Fiji was ferocious in defence but there were about five knock-ons. The side kept putting in the big hits and defended well for several phases, also forcing turnovers.

A penalty try was awarded after two scrums in front of the tryline before Wakaya’s specular dive in the corner, created by two chip-kicks by Raiyala and fullback Kitione Ratu.

Head coach Senirusi Seruvakula was happy with the win.

“I’m proud of the boys,” the former national rep said.

“A lot of guys have stepped up. We stuck to the game plan.

“We’ve learnt a lot playing at this level. It’s a big step up. Most of the boys are new to the Warriors (program).

“There were mistakes but we got to learn from it. A lot of things we did right and also a lot of things we can work on.

“We need to work on our discipline and play according to our pattern,” Seruvakula said.

Captain Ravai, tighthead Mesake Doge, lock Joseva Levula, Wakaya and number eight Eremasi Radrodro were Fiji’s top performers.

Samoa captain Greg Foe was gracious in defeat.

“I thank the Almighty Father and credit to the Fiji Warriors. They beat us in two games,” he said.

The Warriors will be back in camp after three weeks to prepare for a tour to Uruguay.


70) Guam closing in Asian Cup football berth

The Guam national football team can move closer to a historic berth in the Asian Cup with a positive result against Oman in Muscat tomorrow morning.

Despite being out of contention for the 2018 World Cup, the Matao are fourth in qualifying Group D and could finish as high as third if other results go their way.

Head coach Gary White said their strong qualifying campaign, which included historic home victories against Turkmenistan and India, has been one to remember.

“For being the smallest country in the Asian Football Confederation and to be currently ranked 25 thoughout the whole qualification in AFC is such an amazing achievement. This game against Oman -it should set us up nicely for us to go straight into group play for the next round and final qualification round for the Asian Cup, so it’s been an amazing experience and just continue to grow.”

Finishing third in their group, or as one the four best fourth-placed teams, would put them into the third and final round of Asian Cup qualifying, otherwise they will take part in the qualifying play-off round.

Gary White said they’re in a great position.

“We’re already guaranteed into a pre-qualification but because of our standing right now it looks like we will go straight to the (Asian Cup) group stage if we can get a point and even if the games go our way from the other fixtures – and we stay on our current points – we could still get in because we have one of the highest points for a third/fourth placed team. It’s either a case of getting a point or trying to snatch a win obviously, or it’s a case of being competitive and sitting back and seeing what happens with the results around us.”

The eight group winners and four best runners-up will join Asian Cup hosts United Arab Emirates in qualiying directly for the 2019 tournament, which will feature an expanded 24 teams.24/3/16 RNZI

71) Georgia to play three rugby tests in the Pacific

The Georgian rugby team will play Fiji, Tonga and Samoa in June in an historic test series in the Pacific Islands.

The mid-year test window marks the beginning of Rugby World Cup qualifying for the three Pacific nations, who failed to earn direct entry to the 2019 tournament last year.

With only a three-week June window, Georgia and the three Pacific teams will play each other over consecutive weeks.

The top two teams from the new-look Pacific Nations Cup over the next two years will qualify for Japan, not including the European Nations Cup champions.

Georgia finished third in Pool C at last year’s World Cup, beating Tonga in pool play and are ranked 12th in the world, between Fiji and Tonga and three places clear of Samoa.

World Rugby has released a busy schedule for tier two teams in June, with Scotland also travelling to Japan and Italy to play Canada and the USA.24/3/16 RNZI

72) Socceroos closer to 2018 World Cup qualification with 7-0 win over Tajikistan

24 March 2016, 23:15 AEDT

The Socceroos take Tajikistan apart with a dominant 7-0 win in Adelaide that sees them all but move to the next stage of 2018 World Cup qualifying.

The Socceroos were several classes above Tajikistan. (Credit: Getty Images)

Greek-born Apostolos Giannou has made an instant impact for Australia in a 7-0 drubbing of Tajikistan that has all but rubber-stamped the Socceroos’ ticket to the next stage of the World Cup qualifiers.

The Australians need only a point from Tuesday’s game against Jordan to advance from the top of their group after treating the Tajiks as training cones in a Thursday night romp at Adelaide Oval.

Giannou had four assists on debut, substitute Tommy Rogic and Nathan Burns potted a brace each, while Massimo Luongo, Mile Jedinak and Mark Milligan also scored.

Giannou, who described his recent decision to opt for Australia over Greece as the hardest of this life, laid off a pass for Luongo’s scorching second-minute strike which set the tone of a lopsided fixture.

The central striker then earned two penalties – and both were converted by captains: Jedinak in the 12th minute and his half-time replacement Milligan in the 57th.

Attacker Burns added another in the 67th minute when given gold-plated service from Aaron Mooy, who toyed with the Tajiks in a masterful midfield display before 35,439 spectators.

Rogic then came on and scored twice in a three-minute span with sweet strikes – though one of them denied Giannou a goal.

Rogic’s 70th minute blast just cleared the line before rebounding to Giannou, who belatedly tapped in.

The Greek recruit later hit the bar from close range – one of four Australians to strike the woodwork – before Burns put the icing on the Socceroos’ cake with a headed goal in the 87th minute.

Australia recorded a whopping 38 shots to one from the Tajiks – and that was kindly credited by statisticians as it was a hopeful kick from almost 40 metres out which ended up dribbling just inside the corner flag.

The right result against Jordan will see Australia join 11 other Asian nations in the next qualifying phase for the 2018 World Cup in Russia – the draw will be held in April for a stage starting in September.



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