Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1064 ( Wednesday 13 April 2016 )
1) MELANESIAN DISARRAY
Posted: Tuesday, April 12, 2016 8:00 am
By Royson Willie and Godwin Ligo
The Government of Vanuatu has expressed its disappointment about the appointment of a new Director General of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG), saying the proper process was not followed.
Yesterday the Office of the Prime Minister of Solomon Islands, Manasseh Sogavare, who is the current MSG Chairman, announced the appointment of Fijian diplomat, Amena Yauvoli, as the new DG after he signed his contract also yesterday in Honiara.
While Mr Yauvoli signed his employment contract yesterday, and he is expected to arrive in Vanuatu today, his appointment was announced by the Foreign Minister of Fiji last week around Friday in Fiji.
The stand of the government of Prime Minister Charlot Salwai is that MSG Constitution may have been breached.
In a letter reportedly sent yesterday by Mr Salwai to the MSG Chair, PM Sogavare, the Vanuatu Government said that Article 15 of the MSG Constitution was clear that the Director General shall be appointed by the Leaders’ Summit.
The same letter informed the MSG Chair of Vanuatu’s nomination being Ambassador to Brussels in Europe, Roy Mickey Joy, that was endorsed by the Vanuatu Council of Ministers on Thursday last week.
“While I am aware that article 15 of the MSG Constitution is clear that the Director General shall be appointed by the Leaders’ Summit, I wish to submit this as my Government’s nomination.
“All our Governments value and respect that this legitimate process has always been based on a fair, open and transparent competitive process which will ultimately lead to the leaders’ consensus on the most eligible Melanesian Citizen for this position.
“My Government hopes that the MSG Chair and the Secretariat shall enlist all names for consideration by the leaders at its next Summit meeting as required by our organization’s Constitution.
Any deviation from the Constitution and established processes will run the risk of bringing disrepute to our image.
“I thank you and hope that the true spirit of dialogue and Melanesian Spirit will prevail among us as we uphold the process for this highly important matter to our very own organization,” the letter by the Prime Minister of Vanuatu, Charlot Salwai stated.
Earlier on March 24 the Prime Minister of Solomon Islands as MSG Chair wrote to Prime Minister, Charlot Salwai, announcing his intention to appoint a new Director General, citing discussions held during Mr Sogavare’s visit to Vanuatu in February this year.
The letter did not mention any candidates being nominated but was a formal consultation for the appointment of a Director General of the MSG, Daily Post has been told.
It is understood the MSG Secretariat had advised against the appointment being made but this advise was ignored.
Daily Post has been informed the process of the appointment of a new DG under the MSG is as follows:
(i) The position of the DG is advertised upon the expiration of the incumbent’s contract;
(ii) A panel comprisiing of the current Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) Chair, past SOM Chair and next SOM Chair be established to over-see the recruitment including shortlish and interview applicants;
(iii) The Panel to shortlist and interview applicants within three months after advertising the DG position;
(iv) The Panel recommends to SOM the best candidate for the DG position for subsequent consideration by Foreign Ministers Meeting and approval by Leaders;
(v) A Special Leaders’ Summit be convened for Leaders to formally appoint the DG allowing for smooth transition; and
(vi) The process for the recruitment of the new DG may take up to six months during which time the Deputy DG is Acting DG.
The former DG of the MSG, Mr Peter Forau, resigned about four months ago.
Meanwhile, MSG Leaders are expected to meet next month in Port Vila.
Earlier this month an Indonesian envoy visited Fiji and Papua New Guinea and later announced that it has won the backing of both countries for its bid to be a full member of the Melanesian Spearhead Group.
Just last year during the MSG meeting in Honiara, Solomon Islands, Indonesia’s status as an observer was elevated to Associate member of the MSG, while the West Papuan United Liberation Movement for West Papua’s bid to be member in the sub-regional body was placed at being just an observer.
While confusion reigns in the MSG, it remains to be seen how Melanesian solidarity, if such still exists, will stand against the challenges it faces.
2) Head of Roman Catholics from PNG, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu under heavy security on their visits to West Papua
11:27 pm GMT+12, 11/04/2016, Indonesia
Heavy security surrounded a visit by Roman Catholic bishops to West Papua over the weekend.
Archbishop Adrian Smith of Honiara and his counterparts from Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands visited Jayapura to hear first hand accounts of the situation in the Indonesian-annexed territory.
The Conference of Catholic Bishops in Papua New Guinea and the Solomons heard from women and youth of human rights abuses by Indonesian security forces.
The visit came after repeated requests from members of the Pacific Conference of Churches and their concern over reports of torture, killing and gradual genocide.
Sources said the bishops travelled under heavy escort from Vanimo on the border with PNG to the Kristus Raja (Christ the King) Cathedral in Jayapura.
At the cathedral they met seminarians, women and young people before attending Mass and being escorted back to Vanimo.
The bishops are expected to prepare an independent report on their visit.
SOURCE: ISLAND BUSINESS/PACNEWS
4) Indonesia Human Rights Group: No Improvement In Papua
Abuses ‘as rampant as they were under previous governments’
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, April 11, 2016) – Indonesia’s leading human rights organisation says there has been no improvement in the area of rights in the Papua region since president Joko Widodo took office in 2014.
President Widodo has pledged more focus on a socio-economic approach to resolving issues for West Papuans.
However, Haris Azhar, the co-ordinatorof the Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence, or KONTRAS, says the abuses in Papua are as rampant as they were under previous governments.
“I checked the data in my office. It showed the number last year of more than 1,200 people suffer from harassment, killings, torture and ill-treatment,” he said.
“We haven’t put the other issues into this number – the economic and social rights issues.”
Haris Azhar says these abuses are often made by security forces against Papuans for exercising their right to freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and movement.
Radio New Zealand International
7) Samoa’s Speaker of Parliament spared
9:08 pm GMT+12, 11/04/2016, Samoa
Samoa’s Speaker of Parliament, Leaupepe Tole’afoa Fa’afisi, is a relieved man.
The Member of Parliament for Aana Alofi No. 1 West will serve out the rest of the Parliamentary term following a village meeting Monday where a decision was reached to withdraw a petition against him.
Filed by former Member of Parliament, Aiono Tile Gafa, the petition accused Leaupepe of corrupt election practices, alleging that his agents committed bribery with the purpose of inducing voters.
The meeting was attended by Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, who also holds the Aiono title. Speaking during the meeting, Aiono Tile expressed his frustrations and what led him to file the petition. He said he was more concerned about the future of the constituency because he found out that many names on the election roll do not belong there.
Aiono Tile said this is hugely disappointing and he felt that something has to be done for the sake of transparency and good governance.
“My concern is that the future of Fasito’o-uta will be determined by people who don’t belong here,” he said. “Although it was a difficult decision (to file a petition) but I wanted to correct this wrong.”
Nonetheless, Aiono Tile said he had accepted the advice from the village and that he would withdraw the petition Monday.
He also wished Leaupepe all the best not only as the M.P but also as the Speaker of Parliament.
He urged him to lead with love and always think about what is best for the people of their constituency.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa praised Aiono Tile’s decision.
“Thank you Aiono,” he said, “you are a true hero.”
Tuilaepa said the decision could only be achieved through the leadership of villages who are strong and united.
He thanked Aiono for having a kind heart to forgive and forget, and for stepping up to support the return of their Member of Parliament, who is now the Speaker of the House.
Tuilaepa also thanked the village mayor and village council.
“Today is the result of your work,” Tuilaepa said, referring to the mayor of Fasito’o-uta, Ape Leusogi and the village leaders.
During an interview with the Speaker of the House, Leaupepe said he was extremely grateful.
“I am very thankful that we have reached an agreement,” he said. “Aiono is a brother to me and we always do things together, in the village and in the church as well.”
One of the village chiefs, Su’a Iosefa, said the outcome of the meeting was only possible because of God.
Su’a said the differences between the two political candidates could have led to a split in the village because both men are well respected and are very influential in the decision making.
During the March General election, Aiono polled 446 votes while Leaupepe had 570 votes.
Aiono’s petition was one of six petitions before the Courts at Mulinu’u.
The hearing of the petitions are scheduled for this week.
The petitions involve:
• Maualaivao Pat Ah Him vs Faumuina Wayne Fong
• Ale Vena Ale vs Lealailepule Rimoni Aiafi and the Office of the Electoral Commissioner
• Palusalue Faapo II vs Leaana Ronnie Posini and Manualesagalala Enokati Posala
• Anae Misa Pita vs Taefu Lemi
• Lafaitele Patrick Leiataualesa vs Aliimalemanu Alofa Tuuau .
SOURCE: SAMOA OBSERVER/PACNEWS
9) Rains this week in drought-stricken Palau
11:14 pm GMT+12, 10/04/2016, Palau
Rain forecast this week is likely to bring relief to drought-stricken Palau.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) April 10 weather forecasts, Palau would be experiencing “mostly cloudy with isolated showers and thunderstorms.”
The isolated shower and slight chance of thunderstorm, according to the forecast will last until Friday.
But the drought is far from over yet. An April 1 Drought Information Statement from the National Service in Guam stated that Micronesia would continue to experience “the strongest El Nino events in recorded history.”
The report said that the drought could last until June. “Drought conditions are worsening across much of Micronesia, below normal rainfall is affecting the Mariana Islands, the Republic of Palau along with Yap, Chuuk and Pohnpei States in The Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and the Republic of Marshall Islands (RMI),” the statement said.
Palau’s reservoirs remains at a critical level that residents should not except immediate relief from water rationing which was implemented since March 14.
SOURCE: PACIFIC NOTE/PACNEWS
10) Island of Chuuk looking to break free from Federated States of Micronesia – The Federated States of Micronesia may be set for a split as its most populous island, Chuuk, seeks independence. There is an independence push that could see the break-up of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) in the North Pacific. The move, which claims more than 50 per cent support to end 30 years of nationhood, is coming from some of the leaders of Chuuk, one of four island states that make up the FSM.
12) Palau President Remengesau proposes $8.50 hourly minimum wage
5:43 pm GMT+12, 11/04/2016, Palau
Palau’s President Tommy E. Remengesau Jr., is pushing for another minimum wage increase with a one-page bill delivered to the Senate at the end of the day last Friday.
The bill’s formal introduction is expected in this OEK’s April regular session.
The last time a legislation was passed to increase minimum wage was RPPL No. 9-1 signed into law on April 30, 2013. “On October 1, 2013, every employer in the Republic shall pay a minimum wage of US$2.75 per hour. On October 1 of each subsequent year, the minimum wage shall increase by US$0.25 per hour until it reaches US$3.50 per hour,” RPPL No. 9-1.
This time President Remengesau proposes US$8.50 hourly minimum wage for Palauans set for October 1, 2016.
“On October 1, 2016, every employer in the Republic shall pay a minimum wage of US$3.50 per hour. On October 1, of each subsequent year, the minimum wage shall increase by US$0.50 until it reaches $8.50 per hour. Except as provided in subsection (5) of this Section, all employers shall pay minimum wage to their employees, including employers in the hotel, motel, tourist, restaurant, or other industries whose employees may customarily and regularly receive tips for direct personal customer service. Service charges, tips and other gratuities given to an employee shall not be used as payment or credit toward payment of the minimum hourly wage.” said Remengesau’s proposed minimum wage legislation.
Along with the minimum wage bill, President Remengesau is also proposing a measure to amend the Foreign Investment Act to promote development of high-end hotels and accommodations. The measure is also expected to be taken up this April session.
SOURCE: TIA BELAU/PACNEWS
13) Hagere i fosim papa-mama long salim pikinini meri blong kisim kaikai
Postim 12 April 2016, 14:55 AEST
Wanpla ripot igo insaet long drought long Papua New Guinea i soim olsem despla bikpla san na sot long kaikai ibin fosim sampla papa-mama long ol longwie ples long Highlands rijan long salim ol pikinini meri long kisim kaikai.
Wanpela peles long PNG highlands ibin drai nogut long wanem ibikn nogat ren long longpela taim
Despla ripot ibin bihaenim wanpla wok painimaut em sampla mansave ibin mekim wantem Uniting Church long Kandep Basin long Enga Province na tu long Panduaga Valley long Hela Province.
Oli bin mekim despla wok painimaut namel long namba 22-24 March.
Dedspla drought we ibin stat long 2015 nau i pinis, tasol planti pipal long ol despla ples iwok long bungim bikpla heve long sot long kaikai long wonem planti gaden kaikai blong ol ibin bagarap long bikpla sun na tu bikpla kol.
James Komengi husat i wanpela long husat i wokim dispela wok painim aut i tok sampela man blong narapela hap i save go tu long ol komiuniti we i gat heve, na save givim liklik moni long kisim pikinini meri blong ol.ABC
14) Stil pasin insaet solwara blong PNG
Postim 11 April 2016, 15:26 AEST
West New Britain Gavana i autim wari blongen long stil pasin i wok long kamap bikpela insaet solwara long Papua New Guinea.
Gavana Sasindran Muthuvel i askim National Gavman long apim wok blong polis long lukautim ol pipal isave ron long solwara na stopim ol raskal isave stilim ol liklik bot na bagarapim ol pipal.
Gavana Muthuvel i mekim despla askim bihaenim ol ripot olsem pasin blong Piracy oa stilim ol samting blong ol pipal long solwara nau iwok long go antap long planti hap blong kantri.
Long despla wik Assistant Commissioner Police long Northern-Momase Command, Peter Guinness i tok despla kaen pasin nogut iwok long kamap bikpla long rijan blong en.
Long 2011 sikispla scientists blong Institute of Medical Research ibin lus long ol solwara blong West New Britain Provins, na ikam inap nau oli no painim ol iet.ABC
15) Sengketa Batas Laut Timor Leste-Australia Dilaporkan ke PBB
Terbit 11 April 2016, 17:32 AEST
Timor Leste akhirnya melaporkan sengketa batas laut negaranya dengan Australia ke PBB untuk bisa dicarikan solusinya berdasarkan ketentuan UU Kelautan Internasional.
Timor Leste sudah lama memperselisihkan perjanjian batas maritim mereka saat ini dengan Australia yang diklaim telah membuat mereka rugi miliaran dolar dari keuntungan eksplorasi kilang minyak dan lapangan gas lepas pantai di Laut Timor.
Bulan lalu, ribuan massa berunjuk rasa diluar Kedutaan Besar Australia di Dili mendesak Australia untuk mau menegosiasikan sengketa ini.
Dalam pernyataannya, Pemerintah Timor Leste mengatakan meski ada aturan sementara mengenai pembagian sumber daya bersama di Laut Timor, namun Australia dan Timor Leste tidak memiliki kesepakatan mengenai batas maritim.
Oleh karena itu Timor Lester akhirnya mendekati PBB untuk memulai proses konsiliasi resmi yang akan dilakukan oleh panel ahli independen.
Australia telah menarik diri dari Konvensi PBB mengenai Yurisdiksi Batas Maritim dan Hukum Laut (UNCLOS).
Timor Timur percaya jika batas maritim ini berhasil diputuskan di bawah UNCLOS, sebagian besar cadangan minyak dan gas di Laut Timor akan terletak didalam wilayah mereka.
Lokasi perbatasan maritim dalam kaitannya dengan bidang minyak dan gas multi-miliar dolar di Laut Timor merupakan pusat skandal mata-mata yang mengguncang hubungan antara Timor Timur dan Australia.
Australia telah dituduh menyadap kantor kabinet Timor Leste selama berlangsungnya proses negosiasi perjanjian yang akan membagi pendapatan dari lapangan minyak dan gas Greater Sunrise senilai $40 miliar.
Perjanjian ini menyepakati pendapatan dari ladang minyak Greater Sunrise akan dibagi secara merata antara kedua negara.
“Menetapkan batas maritim permanen ini merupakan masalah prioritas nasional untuk Timor-Leste, sebagai langkah terakhir dalam melepaskan kedaulatan kita sebagai negara merdeka,” kata Perdana Menteri Rui Maria de Araujo.
“Di bawah UU internasional, Australia berkewajiban untuk menegosiasikan secara permanen batas maritimnya dengan Timor Leste namun Australia menolak melakukannya meski kami telah berulang kali mengundang untuk duduk bersama membahas masalah ini,” tambahnya.
“Dan dengan demikian kami hanya tinggal memiliki satu opsi saja,”
“Proses ini memberi jalan bagi komisi PBB untuk membantu kedua negara kami mencapai solusi mengenai batas laut permanen,”
Dr Araujo mengatakan negaranya berusaha mendapatkan solusi yang adil dan merata mengenai apa yang menjadi hak mereka berdasarkan ketentuan hukum internasional.ABC
Brèves du Pacifique – mardi 12 avril 2016
1) Les Palau récupèrent chaque goutte d’eau qui ne s’est pas encore évaporée.
17) Seasonal work in Australia ‘a con scheme’: PNG Minister
8:28 pm GMT+12, 10/04/2016, Papua New Guinea
Australia’s seasonal workers scheme for Pacific Islanders has been described as a “con scheme”.
Papua New Guinea Petroleum and Energy Minister Ben Micah said the relationship between PNG and Australia has been bad when it comes to talk about visa requirement by a former colony unlike the treatment Fijians receive from Britain and France offers to South Africa.
He was speaking during Grievance Debate in Parliament last Wednesday.
Micah said all bilateral relationship with Australia needs to be reviewed because many opportunities exist for Papua New Guineans in Australia like education.
He said Australia’s visa requirement on its former colony is very restrictive while citizens of former colonies of Britain and France can enter Australia easily.
“Over 40 years and the relationship with Australia in terms of visa requirements have not been good. For example the seasonal worker scheme is a con scheme while other Pacific Islanders are working there. They should treat us like a sovereign nation and a former colony,” he said.
“It is about time we review the bilateral agreements. It is about time to flex our muscles,” he said.
Micah said for over 50 years PNG failed to open up dialogue and established strong trade and bilateral relationship with Indonesia, where more than 15 million Melanesians live.
However, he said a break through was made through the Bali Democracy Dialogue in 2013 that paved way for an equal footing relationship and dialogue that was opened to strengthened the bilateral relations established since independence.
He said unlike Australia, Papua New Guineans can travel anywhere in Indonesia without a visa while other countries who are members of the APEC also recognises PNG as a regional player and offers visa on arrival like Singapore.
He said so far 11 agreements were signed between Indonesia including trade and one of them is the direct flight to Jayapura by Air Niugini and PNG Air that will make a direct flight from Mt Hagen.
SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS
18) Pacific Islands face lower growth: ADB report
The National, Friday April 8th, 2016
A REPORT released by the Asian Development Bank says Pacific island economies face lower growth and tighter fiscal conditions due to low commodity prices and the severe cyclones.
The 2016 Asian Development Outlook report projected that Pacific economies would grow by an average of 3.8 per cent this year due to pressures faced by PNG and Fiji.
It said Fiji faced economic difficulties in the aftermath of Cyclone Winston.
Early assessments indicated that total damage and losses from the cyclone would exceed US$500 million (K1538 million)
This was expected to have a major impact on growth this year, particularly in sugar production.
ADB’s Pacific Department director general Xianbin Yao said effects on the country’s economic performance were significant and likely to last.
“Once again, this underscores the importance of international help to Pacific countries to enhance their resilience to disasters,” he said.
“ADB, together with other development partners, are stepping up our support to countries in the region to develop climate-proof infrastructure, build fiscal buffers and expand access to disaster risk financing.”
The report said growth in the Solomon Islands economy was moderate to 3 per cent this year and 2.8 per cent in 2017, with expected declines in logging exports and development assistance.
19) Pacific countries struggle to shake tax haven reputation
12 April 2016
Leaked documents showing several Pacific Island countries to be tax havens have come as little surprise to some experts, while Samoa’s government has come to the defence of its financial regulations.
Millions of documents from a boutique Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca — now known as the Panama Papers — were given to several media organisations around the world and have revealed the firm’s involvement in setting up shell companies in offshore jurisdictions, which has allowed the world’s richest people to avoid paying taxes.
The documents have implicated a number of Pacific Island countries, including New Zealand, Samoa, Niue and Vanuatu.
They revealed that Samoa was an active tax haven, with hundreds of shell companies operating through the country’s branch of Mossack Fonseca. The company set up in Samoa in 2004, reportedly after it was pushed out of Niue, and leaked emails showed that Mossack Fonseca had urged the Samoan government to stall Australia’s request to sign a Tax Information Exchange Agreement, an agreement which Samoa did eventually sign.
They also showed that Samoa’s High Commission in Australia was involved in setting up shell companies.
A political scientist and security analyst said the revelations came as no suprise as Pacific countries have long been regarded as tax havens, and there is ongoing concern that the region’s countries are being used for money laundering and other unsavoury activities.
Paul Buchanan, a New Zealand-based security analyst, said there has long been a general concern that in the Pacific Islands, and New Zealand, there is a very loose regulatory regime.
“Not only in the financial sector, but in other sectors as well, for example the creation of shell companies as opposed to legitimate businesses is very much a concern throughout the South Western Pacific,” he said.
Dr Buchanan said this was part of a more general problem with a lack of regulation on financial transactions and other forms of commerce.
Malakai Kolamatangi, the Pacific director at New Zealand’s Massey University, said this type of activity had been going on for a long time in Samoa, Niue, Vanuatu, Cook Islands, Tonga and Nauru.
However, he said the region was required to clean up its act after the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, which raised questions over whether money laundered in the Pacific had links to terrorism.
He said the dilemma was that the Pacific had in the past shown itself to be vulnerable to some questionable schemes.
“That’s the problem we’ve got in the Pacific, is the lack of the ability to generate income,” Dr Koloamatangi said.
“So why I say that is, if there is remnants of these tax havens or tax avoidance and tax evasion schemes still in the Pacific, I wouldn’t be surprised.”
In a statement on Monday night, Samoa’s government said ten licenced trustee companies, including Mossack Fonseca, currently operated under its international financial centre.
It said the practice was legal, and common, and that Samoa prided itself on leading efforts to ensure the conduct of businesses was regulated and supervised in compliance with international standards.http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/301257/pacific-countries-struggle-to-shake-tax-haven-reputation
20) Multi-billion dollar climate fund approves Vanuatu Readiness proposal
5:34 pm GMT+12, 11/04/2016, Vanuatu
Vanuatu is the first Pacific island to have a Readiness proposal, to support project development, approved from the multi-billion dollar Green Climate Fund.
This follows the recent announcement that the Cook Islands is the first Pacific Island Country to have received a Readiness grant from the GCF to support institutional strengthening to access climate finance.
“We’d like to congratulate Vanuatu and the Cook Islands for these huge achievements, we recognise the amount of work that has gone in to seeking this Readiness grant of the GCF,” said SPREP Director General, Kosi Latu.
SPREP, is the only regional organisation accredited as a Direct Access Entity to the GCF, and was part of the team working with the Government of Vanuatu to enable them to secure the Readiness grant. This brings Vanuatu one step closer towards accessing millions in much needed climate change funding.
“This is really good news for Vanuatu and we look forward to working with the SPREP team in progressing the project proposal forward to build the resilience of Vanuatu,” said Mr Jesse Benjamin, Director of the Ministry of Climate Change of Vanuatu.
“I wish to assure SPREP and its partners of our full support and cooperation of the National Advisory Board and the Ministry of Climate Change and Natural Disasters in the implementation of the project.”
The Green Climate Fund was established to respond to climate change by investing in low carbon and climate resilient development. Countries have agreed to jointly mobilise USD$100 billion each year by 2020, and as of February 2016, the Green Climate Fund has raised USD$10.3 billion in pledges from 42 state governments. It is expected that up to USD 2.6 billion will be programmed to finance climate change projects this year.
In order to access the funds both the public and private sector must meet certain conditions and criteria. SPREP, as one of the 33 institutions globally that have been accredited to the GCF, can access grants of up to USD50 million on behalf of Pacific countries.
SPREP is currently working with over five Pacific island countries on project proposal development or Readiness grant processes in collaboration with a number of partners, including civil society, the private sector and sister CROP agencies.
“We’re building our capacity at SPREP to help service the regions climate finance needs. This year we’ll definitely see significant progress in climate finance flowing to the region to support resilient, and low carbon development,” said Latu.
Other great strides with the Green Climate Fund include the announcement of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat as an Observer with the Green Climate Fund. This further strengthens the Pacific regions representation and coordination with the Green Climate Fund to help ensure unique Pacific Small Island Developing States priorities are considered.
In 2015, USD$31 million was approved by the Green Climate Fund as an Adaptation Grant for the Fiji Urban Water Supply and Wastewater Management Project, one of eight projects announced to receive the very first tranche of funding from the GCF. There are now five Readiness proposals for Pacific island countries that have been approved by the GCF.
“These positive outcomes for our Pacific island region are hopefully just the start of further funding and actions on the ground to address climate change, to come. I know that in the spirit of Pacific partnership and through collaboration and cooperation further benefits will be forthcoming as we all work together to achieve greater strides in the GCF,” said Latu.
5:03 pm GMT+12, 10/04/2016, Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea Prime Minster Peter O’Neill has made a minor reshuffle, appointing two new ministers.
Kundiawa MP Tobias Kulang was appointed Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister and Bougainville Regional MP Joseph Lera Bougainville Affairs Minister.
The Prime Minister led a team of Cabinet Ministers to Government House last Friday to witness the swearing-in of Kulang and Lera to their new ministries.
He later announced that Sports Minister Justin Tkatchenko will also take over as the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) Minister for PNG leading up to the 2018 APEC Leaders’ Summit.
Tkatchenko took over the Tourism Ministry in January this year and made some significant changes, one of which was the amalgamation of the National Cultural Commission and the National Museum and Art Gallery, later appointing Colin Taimbari as the acting executive director of this amalgamated entity.
PM O’Neill however said that the minor reshuffle was important to maintain administrative flexibility as the global and economy evolved around such and to make sure ministerial skills and capabilities were targeted.
He thanked Tkatchenko for looking after the Tourism Ministry until the vacancy was filled last Friday and congratulated him for accepting the APEC Ministry role.
“APEC needs a very good attention because it is a first time we will have world leaders of standing and we cannot afford to lose that opportunity to show case our country and that is why it is a very important ministry,” O’Neill said. He also thanked Minister Kulang and reiterated that he had the experience as he was a strong performer in the parliamentary proceedings and a significant leader in his own right.
Hagen MP William Duma, who is also the Party leader of United Resources Party was there to witness the swearing in of Lera, a fellow URP MP.
The ministry of Bougainville was held by late Steven Pirika Kamma, a URP Member, and the party being a major coalition partner was given the same ministry.
SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS
26) Warning on election abuse
The National, Tuesday April 12th, 2016
BY CHARLES MOI
HEADS of government departments and provincial administrators have been told that it is their responsibility to ensure that public servants do not use Government resources to contest the general election.
Department of Personnel Management deputy secretary (policy) Ravu Vagi stated this during an election update meeting in Port Moresby yesterday.
“Before the writs are issued, we have to ensure that malpractices are not carried out in the organisations,” Vagi said. “It is our responsibility as department heads and State officials to ensure that we minimise with zero tolerance officials contesting the election using the time, facilities and resources of the State.”
He said there could be people intending to be candidates already “using the resources of Government to prepare himself or herself” before the writs were issued.
“After the writs are issued, it is obvious there will be closer scrutiny. But before the writs are issued, we have to ensure that malpractices do no emanate out in the organisations,” he said.
Vagi said the department would issue a circular on compulsory resignation prior to the issuing of writs, and the prohibiting of the use of government facilities by public servants contesting the election.
“The Organic Law on the conduct of the national election requires the secretary for the Department of Personnel Management to provide assistance to the electoral commissioner in the preparation and conduct of the elections,” Vagi said.
Nominations for candidates wishing to contest the general election will close on April 27, next year. The elections will be held on June 24, 2017.
27) First negotiator’s certificate issued
Tuesday, April 12, 2016
PORT VILA – Vanuatu’s Minister of Lands Ralph Regenvanu has handed over the first negotiator’s certificate to be issued for a lease application for rural customary land.
The certificates, which have been established under new land laws, give the green light for potential leasee to negotiate with customary landowners on the terms of a lease agreement.
Mr Regenvanu handed over the first such certificate to the Vanuatu Football Federation for development of a futsal field along with an existing football field at Paunganisu, north Efate.
“So they applied to the land management planning committee, and the shefa provincial government council, which is the local authority responsible for that area as well as all the government departments that were relevant, all agreed that it was possible to do a lease for that purpose. And then the custom land management office went down to the village, found out that the land was in dispute, that there were four parties already in court disputing the land. It consulted each of the four parties and they all agreed that they have no problem with this lease going ahead.”
Ralph Regenvanu said the VFF would now go and meet with the four landowning parties to seek agreement as to the terms of a lease, before forwarding back to the Lands department for registration of the lease.
This certificate was one of three issued late last week for applications to lease rural customary land.
The other two were for residential leases at Matantapua and Pango.
The government has a stated aim of seeing 15 negotiation certificates issued within its first 100 days in office.
28) Pres Rilis (8 Eprel 2016)
BUK BLONG MALO KASTOM LAND LOA I KAMAOT
Namba 3 Eprel 2016 hemi makem wan narafala histri long Malo Aelan after we MP blong Santo Rural, Minista blong Intenol Afeas Hon. Alfred Maoh, i handemova buklet blong kastom land loa blong Malo i go long Paramaon Jif blong Is Malo mo kaonsela blong Is Malo blong oli go givim long Malo Aelan Kaonsel blong Jif.
Malo Aelan Kaonsel blong ol Jif i bin mekem wok blong divelopem kastom land loa blong Malo plante yia finis i pas, stat wetem sam jif we oli mekem fes draft long 1970’s finis. Lonjing blong Malo Kastom Land Loa i bin tekem ples long 18 Disemba 2014 long Avunaleleo Vilej we Minista blong Lands Hon. Ralph Regenvanu nao i bin mekem lonjing ia. Minista Alfred Maoh, MP blong Santo, hemi yusum alokesen blong hem blong pablisim fulap kopi blong buk blong Malo Kastom Land Loa ia blong ol jif raon long Malo Aelan oli save yusum. From : MP Ralph Regenvanu & Vanuatu’s Minister for Land.
29) Pacific journalists to attend forum
Tuesday, April 12, 2016
Update: 11:04AM SENIOR journalists and government communication officers from 13 Pacific island countries will attend a regional human rights and media forum which starts in Nadi tomorrow.
Among the key messages at the three-day meeting will be “giving voice to the voiceless” and “championing the rights of all people”.
The forum, which will be held at the Tanoa Skylodge Hotel, aims to strengthen media capacity in “rights-based reporting” to reflect the realities and aspirations of Pacific island communities for equality, development and social justice.Fijitimes
30) Installation of satellite dishes to boosts TV coverage
The National, Friday April 8th, 2016
DIGICEL Play says it will to make television programmes more accessible to people in PNG and the Pacific after installing two new satellite dishes in Port Moresby.
The two dishes, which took 18 months to design and develop, would boost coverage of Digicel Play in PNG, Fiji, Nauru and Tonga.
Digicel Play chief executive officer Nico Myer said the installation of the two satellite dishes was a huge milestone for the broadcaster.
“Digicel Play is always looking at ways to improve television availability and quality for our viewers and these two dishes highlight this commitment to customers,” he said.
“The two new satellite dishes are more powerful and cost effective than the ones we used previously, which will help make Digicel Play channels more affordable to access going forward.”
It also has a new television studio at the same location which would broadcast local content to PNG residents. Digicel Play was launched 18 months ago in PNG and provides a wide selection of movies, sports, news and family entertainment across PNG.
To access Digicel Play, customers could purchase a Digicel Play Box package from their local Digicel store for K69.
31) TFL Network – Telecom Fiji Limited has taken its Wi-Fi network capability further by enabling international roaming for its customers. In a statement, TFL said it has enabled outbound roaming on its Unifi product which would allow TFL’s broadband customers to use the same home account to access the internet on designated Wi-Fi networks while travelling abroad. Currently, TFL customers can use their home broadband account on any of the TFL or Connect Wi-Fi networks within Fiji.
32) US billionaire to partner Ninai
The National, Tuesday April 12th, 2016
By Gedion Timothy Lapan
IT may sound far-fetched but an American billionaire has agreed to partner with a 24-year-old Papua New Guinean undergraduate in a business venture.
Shane Ninai of East Sepik and Oro parentage said world-renowned United States venture capitalist Tim Draper had agreed to become a co-founding partner with him on a Venture Capital Company.
Ninai started the Venture Capital Company when he was at the Draper University in the famous Silicon Valley in California, USA on a three-month entrepreneurship programme last year.
It will provide seed capital to emerging technology companies in Papua New Guinea and countries in the Asia-Pacific region.
He said the business would focus on block-chain technology, an electronic transaction system to issue seed capital.
He was able to convince the billionaire with his enthusiasm and the level of commitment he had shown when he was on the entrepreneurship programme.
“Billionaire and third generation venture capitalist Tim Draper has officially agreed to become my business partner in the company as a co-founding partner,” he said.
“This company will be the regional representative for his Draper Venture Network in South East Asia and Australasia.”
He said the business would also provide PNG entrepreneurs, scientists and students direct connection to Silicon Valley.
Silicon Valley is home to many of the world’s largest high-tech corporations and thousands of start-up companies.
He said venture capital investments had the most lucrative returns of any asset class.
“Returns are talked about in multiples of investment not percentages – 10X, 100X of the initial investment,” he said
“We know we have the best possible team to do this job successfully with Tim being the best in the world.
“The overall aim is to establish the first regional cross-border venture capital fund between our region and Silicon Valley (and later, Europe, China and India).
“This is a chance to directly participate, support the entrepreneurs, shape the global ecosystem and have ownership in the companies that will populate this space and accelerate the implementation of this technology in Papua New Guinea and the region.
“It will bring global attention and credibility to Papua New Guinea as a hub for entrepreneurship, commerce and forward thinking innovation.”
He will be returning in June to the country to meet interested parties who would like to join this company before extending invitation to the Asia-Pacific region.
33) 040416 Exporting a very expensive exercise for many companies
By Joe Elijah
While the ABG is calling and encouraging many local companies to export our local produce, it has been revealed that to export any produce out of Bougainville, exporting companies are faced with many expenses to pay.
According to a survey carried out by Tambolema Holdings a Copra Export company just recently, when the ABG is preaching and encouraging local companies to go into export businesses, it is not assisting the current exporters to come up with incentives to support the current exporting companies with such things like lowering the export licenses, running short in house training for the farmers to grade the quality of produce required for the overseas markets, and better still do away with many unnecessary allowances for its public servants who travel to other ports to discharge and export their produce as they are already on payroll.
According to this independent survey carried out last week, if the ABG is prepared to meet some of the expenses now faced by current exporting companies, many local companies can generate more revenue for ABG in terms of importing and exporting our produce.
It is understood a report of the findings which will be made available in a documentary, “ THE OTHER SIDE OF EXPORTING”, that will be presented to ABG through its Bougainville Executive Council to address and assist our local companies go into import and exporting businesses.
It is also anticipated that these unnecessary expenses of transporting, accommodating and paying allowance and Overtime for these people is increasing the expenses of exporting and can be reduced if officers are located in Arawa, Buin and Buka.
This can cut down on the cost of getting these officers to these centers when an Overseas vessel is in the area.Dawn FM.
34) PM O’Neill: Taskforce set to combat illegal trade
11:11 pm GMT+12, 10/04/2016, Papua New Guinea
There has been an influx of illegal immigrants who are conducting business and a taskforce has been established to clean up the mess, Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said.
O’Neill said since 2000 the doors were opened to illegal migrants because systems were weak and people, including those that were supposed to protect them, compromised.
He said these illegal migrants are conducting businesses illegally that are reserved for our people.
“We are promoting big investment in the country and not allowing foreigners to take over jobs and businesses for our people,” O’Neill said.
The Prime Minister said an inter-government team has been established to be led by Foreign Affairs Department to visit all provinces throughout the country to check on illegal migrations conducting businesses and also foreigners conducting businesses reserved for the nationals.
He said the exercise by the team is a cleanup process and possibly take appropriate actions on who have not followed the laws.
Meanwhile, O’Neill said PNG has an open market in the European Union market where trade is progressing and that is the kind of market PNG wants in Australia and New Zealand.
He added that PNG market is also progressing well with the current market in the PNG LNG gas while similar market is opening up in China.
The Prime Minister said when debating the ministerial statement by Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister Rimbink Pato last Wednesday.
The Prime said with PNG foreign policy “PNG Connect” the global community has been a success story as PNG was building its image in the international community.
He said as a result many people were visiting the country at a rate of about 200 000 visitors.
He added that with PNG being a regional player, it was increasing its businesses in other Pacific Islands Forum countries like Bank South Pacific, superannuation funds entering into tourism businesses, Lamana Group of Companies and many more.
SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS
35) Pacific Marine Industrial zone to start work
11:28 pm GMT+12, 10/04/2016, Papua New Guinea
Work at the Pacific Marine Industrial zone in Madang will begin after 10 years since its inception.
This was announced by the Minister for Trade Commerce and Industry Richard Maru following an issuance of a commencement order by the Government for the construction of phase one to the General Contractor, China Shenyang International Corporation (PNG) Ltd valued at US$095 million last Friday.
He said the engineering designs were rigorously assessed independently by various entities within the public and private domain to ensure that the designs comply with international engineering standards and also respond positively to sensitivities of the environment within and surrounding the project locality.
He added that the Government is now satisfied with the design that includes all other relevant permits and approvals in other areas of developments concerning the project which are all in order for construction to commence.
“As an added precaution, the government has involved Kumul Consolidated Holdings (KCH) for the final thorough review and approval of the designs which KCH did with distinction through AECOM and on Monday (last Monday) the National Executive Council has made a decision that KCH will now take over the project’s management,” he said.
Maru said the initial scope of works for the first phase will be co-financed by the EXIM Bank of China which is a concessional loan of $095million and the government of PNG (counterpart fund) at a cost that was set in 2010 however with the delay of more than five years the cost will increase.
“Therefore the Government has considered critical infrastructural components under the first phase will be constructed now while the other components will be considered as construction is underway.
The project has strong potential to generate massive economic benefits on a sustainable level for the impact communities, host province and the country as a whole and so I would like to seek the continuous support of every stakeholder as we reach another milestone for this project,” he said.
Maru stated that this marine park is intended to house fish as well as creating 10 thousand job opportunities for this country.
Meanwhile, Kumul Consolidated Holdings has confirmed that the Pacific Marine Industrial Zone project has been placed under their control and management.
KCH Representative general manager for investments Lutz Heim states that KCH has the resources to ensure that PMIZ is delivered as a transformational project for Madang and the country.
Heim, while speaking at the issuance of the commencement order for construction of phase one, said KCH has engaged respected global providers of professional technical service consultants such as AECOM, to undertake the design and specification review of the contractor’s engineering inputs for the project.
“KCH is satisfied with the support it has obtained from the contractor throughout the review process and is pleased to announce that the contractors’ designs and specification have been approved subject to the finalisation of a number of relatively minor items that will be resolved in the near future,” he said.
He said the project with a value of US$095 million to China Shenyang International Economic and technical Cooperation Limited (CSYIC) for which China EXIM Bank funding is for 78 per cent has been approved with the remainder sourced from the PNG Government that will be through KCH.
He said CSYIC will soon commence work and phase one is expected to be completed within 33 months adding that they (KCH) will be seeking other private sector involvement for the remainder of the project.
On stating that Heim also explained that CSYIC is very experienced in similar large scale projects and has been associated with the PMIZ project for many years and to date has clearly demonstrated a commitment to achieving success in the project.
And in sharing the same sentiments with the Minister for Trade Commerce and Industry Richard Maru, Heim added that the importance of the project is being built to the highest design and construction standards at which the construction will be closely supervised by a respected international engineering firm to ensure that a repeat of problems associated with the Lae Port Phase one does not occur.
SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS
36) Fiji Airways resumes Kiribati flights after remedial works – Fiji Airways has resumed flights to Kiribati after services were cancelled for two weeks due to “serious safety concerns.” The airline said the airstrip lights on Tarawa were not serviceable and there was a lack of firefighting equipment. The carrier also cited boundary fencing problems and “inaccurate information” given to its crew by airport officials.
37) Fiji’s Bounty Island resort for tender
11:29 pm GMT+12, 10/04/2016, Fiji
From time to time exceptional real estate opportunities are presented to the international marketplace.
According to Philip Toogood, managing director and partner of Bayleys Real Estate (Fiji) Ltd, this is one such opportunity.
Bounty Island, in the beautiful South Pacific island nation of Fiji, is to be sold by way of international tender closing on May 24.
The stunning 19.4 hectare island is the closest significant island to world-class Port Denarau, Denarau Island. This is the hub of Fiji tourism, being a 20-minute drive from Nadi International Airport, the point of arrival from Asia, the USA, Australia, New Zealand other South Pacific nations and points beyond.
The Bounty Island Resort, a popular small budget resort, is included in the sale as a going concern, along with the native lease for the entire island.
“The development opportunities the island presents are where the true value lies,” says Toogood.
“Fiji has seen a significant increase in development interest since democratic elections were held in September 2014, and like all tourism development destinations, islands are top of the developer wish list.
“Developers, tourism operators, and investors from within Fiji, Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Asia and the United States, again have Fiji on their radar – and we expect enquiry to come from all these locations” he says.
Fiji tourism numbers are on the rise and significant increases in international flights in and out of Fiji will support more growth. Fiji Airways is increasing weekly services to Hong Kong to five-per-week soon and the new Singapore Nadi Service commence this month.
The United States enjoys direct flights into LA and a new San Francisco direct service will further boost visitor numbers from this key market. New Zealand and Australia have become almost ‘shuttle’ destinations with frequency increasing regularly.
Bounty Island is part of the spectacularly beautiful Mamanuca Group of Islands within Fiji.
The superb climate, pristine waters, extraordinary coral reefs, and the fishing, snorkelling and diving opportunities that are presented within the waters around the island have given enormous pleasure to tourists for decades.
It is also close to world-class surfing locations, including the famous Cloudbreak.
“Development options include integrated resort rooms, villas and apartments and residential homes,” says r Toogood.
“Interest has also been shown in the possibility of adding marina facilities to enhance the new resorts and residential life style. The location and proximity to the main island of Viti Levu means true pristine tropical island living is within easy reach of transport and service amenities”.
“No other such development opportunity in the region comes close to Bounty Island. It is very, very special””
The International Tender closes May 24, at the Bayleys Nadi office, Fiji.
SURCE: NZ HERLAD/PACNEWS
38) Govt ceases deal with Skyline Group
Published: 08 April 2016
THE SKYLINE INVESTMENT GROUP OFFICE AT THE HYUNDAI MALL, POINT CRUZ.
THE Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Solomon Islands Government and the Skyline Investment Group of Companies which was sealed on 7 August 2015 has now been cancelled.
Special Secretary to the Prime Minister (SSPM) Andrew Muaki said the MOU was terminated this week.
The news was already communicated to the Director of Skyline Investment Group, Jason Tao Liu.
One of the company’s proposed plans under the now canceled MOU was to construct 5000 affordable homes for public servants in Honiara and the provinces on a Build, Own and Transfer (BOT) model.
The decision to cancel the MOU was made after the Government was satisfied with legal advice obtained on the matter.
Mr Muaki clarified, that the termination of the MOU does not mean the company is stopped from investing in Solomon Islands.
The company can continue to remain or invest in the country in line with their business and investment plans in accordance with the laws of Solomon Islands.
Last month, the Government has also canceled another MOU with the Nazar Group of Companies.
Meanwhile, the Government’s MOU with the IRIS Corporation of Malaysia for the establishment of Information and Management system of Electronic Passports and Border Control is expected to be in full operation this year.http://www.solomonstarnews.com/news/business/10113-govt-ceases-deal-with-skyline-group
41) Landslide blocks Highlands Highway
The National, Tuesday April 12th, 2016
A major landslide in Southern Highlands last Friday blocked the Highlands Highway at the Kumupulu village in Imbonggu.
It destroyed food gardens and coffee trees.
Locals are charging K50 for a vehicle to pass through after building a makeshift pass. James Temane, a Kumupulu villager, said it was the first time such a landslide was experienced there.
He said the highway was blocked since Friday and commuters were stranded on both sides.
He said people there were shocked that two landslides took place at the same location and that was making it very difficult.
“On the site, youths are charging K50 for a vehicle to pass through an accessible road,” he said.
“But trucks with loads cannot pass and this is also affecting business houses. We are calling on the Works Department in Mendi to assist us clear the block.
“I even lost my food gardens.”
Temane said many people were affected and called on the provincial disaster office in Mendi to help them.
42) Landslip cuts off scores of Jimi people
The National, Tuesday April 12th, 2016
ABOUT 20,000 people from Middle Jimi in Jiwaka are affected by several landslides that cut off their only link to the outside, buried six houses and destroyed cash crops and food gardens.
The landslides occurred two weeks ago, with about 20,000 people from four tribes – Maipkai, Mejigale, Tolika and Arakai – around Jimi Mountain, Lakaile, Sigaropa and Barliwa villages, badly affected.
People from 18 council wards in the Lower Jimi LLG council area who depended on the road to travel into Tabibuga district station and then on to Minj, Banz, Mt Hagen and Chimbu were cut off by seven landslides, blocking roads between Jimi Mountain and Lower Jimi.
Nevil Selo, a member of the district peace and good order committee from Jimi Mountain, told The National: “Our food gardens, cash crops like coffee and peanuts are covered and destroyed.”
Selo said that six houses at Maipkai village were destroyed but no casualties were reported.
He said the people from Lower Jimi who used to travel past his village were cut off.
He said they walked more than 40km into his village and jumped onto vehicles to go to the district station at Tabibuga then to Banz town.
Selo said some landslides were cleared by a DDA owned bulldozer .
43) Nabouwalu Jetty maintenance work to begin from today – Maintenance works to the Roro Ramp Nabouwalu Jetty in Vanua Levu is set to begin from today. Fiji Roads Authority Maintenance Works Manager Aram Goes says the Roro ramp will be closed to ships and traffic for the next six weeks. He said vehicles cannot be loaded or discharged 1.5 hours before and after high water as the ramp incline to the main wharf face is too steep for safe embarking and disembarking of passengers.
Fiji TV News 6pm
44) Solomon Islands PM encourages citizens to report family violence
8:25 pm GMT+12, 10/04/2016, Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has strongly encouraged Solomon Islanders to report cases of family or domestic violence to law enforcement agencies as the country now enforces its Family Protection Act.
Parliament passed the Act in 2014 to combat the high rate of family violence in the country and to ensure all homes and communities are peaceful and safe for members of the family.
Solomon Islands is rated fifth in the world and second in the pacific region for its high rate of family violence.
Recent Studies have shown that 2 out of every 3 women or girls have experienced violence from an intimate partner or a male family member.
For so long, occurrences of family violence have been muted for fear of retribution by perpetrators or to some extent cultural beliefs or practices.
Speaking at the formal launching of the Act on Friday in Honiara, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare said the State and its partner institutions can only help victims of family violence if cases are reported to relevant authorities.
Sogavare said for far too long, Solomon Islanders have tolerated, excused and justified domestic violence which means that for a lot of people, accepting violence in the family is entrenched in them – resulting in violent crimes going unpunished and perpetrators walking free.
“This is unacceptable and violence in the home must be stopped! Victims must be protected! Perpetrators must be punished,” he said.
“Let us rise up and stand with the Family Protection Act by encouraging our family members and those in our communities to report any incident of abuse against them or a family member”.
“We can carve out and enjoy the best systems in the world but if we are not willing to report cases of abuse, the church, custom or state will not be able to deal with you,” Sogavare said.
The Act makes domestic violence an offence that is punishable by fine or a prison sentence if perpetrators are guilty of unleashing their anger on any member of the family, or abuse a family member through other forms of violence.
The Act also ensures there is adequate protection for affected family members and to facilitate enforcement, and ensure sustainability of such protection over time.
The Prime Minister hoped that implementation of the Family Protection Act will be supported in every way possible and that Solomon Islanders will use the Act to stand for their rights to be assured of a present and a future that is peaceful, secure and prosperous.
45) PNG’s Attorney-General Ano Pala arrested by country’s fraud squad over misuse of funds
Updated 12 April 2016, 23:10 AEST
By Papua New Guinea Correspondent Eric Tlozek
Anti-corruption police in Papua New Guinea have arrested the country’s Attorney-General, a day after they arrested the Prime Minister’s lawyer and a Supreme Court judge.
Local media reported Ano Pala was picked up and taken in for questioning by PNG’s National and Anti-Corruption Fraud squad at Jacksons International Airport in Port Moresby on Tuesday afternoon upon his arrival from Brisbane.
Police allege he misused money intended for his electorate.
“The charges related to him abusing his office and power to apply public funds earmarked for Rigo District in the Central Province for his own use,” Papua New Guinea police said in a media release.
“This arrest is a result of ongoing investigations involving District Services Improvement Program (DSIP) Funds and further arrests will be made soon.”
This is the second time PNG’s fraud squad has arrested the Attorney-General.
Last year, they charged him with perverting the course of justice for his role in frustrating their attempts to arrest Prime Minister Peter O’Neill for official corruption.
On Monday officers arrested Supreme Court judge Bernard Sakora and the Prime Minister’s lawyer Tiffany Twivey Nonggorr.
They charged Sakora with judicial corruption and Twivey Nonggorr with attempting to pervert the course of justice.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2016-04-12/pngs-attorneygeneral-ano-pala-arrested-by-countrys-fraud-squad-over-misuse-of-funds/1568724
46) 040416 Haku People face severe food shortage
By Joe Elijah
More than 18, 000 plus people of Haku are facing a severe food shortage in their constituency.
The food shortage is basically due to the current continuous LaNiNa rainy season which is affecting most areas of the Region.
Chief and Spokes man for the Caritas Haku community Mr. Joe Kuk, says continuous rain in the area for the last month has greatly affected most of their kaukau gardens, the people are now surviving off bananas, fish and Singaporean taro.
Mr. Kuk added that the community of Haku are meeting today to address the situation and need be, they will submitted a proposal to their constituency member to take up with the ABG respective authorities.
According to a recent survey carried out by the Electoral Commission, Haku constituency has the largest number of population of 18, 000 plus women, men and children, if the situation is not addressed immediately, many lives could be lost because of food shortage.
Mr. Kuk said, Only those that can afford other means of buying rice and other food items have already shared their food with their relatives, they do not know when this LaNiNa season is going to continue, their only hope is through their relatives living outside Bougainville and by sharing food with one and other if the Government does not step in to address the situation soon.Dwnfm
47) Ratify Paris climate deal or face exclusion from decisions
9:11 pm GMT+12, 11/04/2016, United States
Countries should move fast to sign and ratify the Paris climate agreement or could lose the power to determine how the new deal works, a UN legal official has warned.
An eight-page advisory published on the UN climate body’s website says governments who have joined the deal “will enjoy certain rights and privileges” including the right to approve decisions.
“Parties to the Agreement are responsible for governance, oversight, leadership and decision-making over the Agreement,” says the document, authored by UNFCCC legal chief Dan Bondi Ogolla.
Those who have not completed the process of ratification “cannot, however, participate in decision-making” it warns, although they can make “interventions and submit textual proposals”.
Over 130 governments are set to sign the new climate deal on 22 April in New York, with the US, China among those promising to officially join the deal by the close of 2016.
Once 55 countries covering 55% of global greenhouse emissions have approved the agreement it will become operational, a possibility UN officials and observers think could occur this year.
That could potentially leave the EU, which is unlikely to corral its 28 members to get their Parliaments to authorise the deal before 2017, stuck outside the talks.
Despite hailing the 2015 UN deal as a major diplomatic success, countries still have to develop a transparency framework, and work out how a system of five-year climate policy and ambition reviews will work.
Still, the document adds that countries could decide to suspend talks on the development of the deal if only “a minimal number of Parties” had joined.
“This would allow many more Parties to the Convention to ratify the Agreement thereby enabling them to participate in decision-making at the resumed session,” it says.
A veteran climate lawyer, speaking off the record, told Climate Home they felt it was unlikely countries would try and develop a deal without the presence of key parties.
Recent discussions at an informal meeting of negotiators in Tokyo had ended with a consensus to target a “pragmatic approach” to early entry into force, they said, without excluding anyone.
SOURCE: CLIMATE HOME/PACNEWS
48) East Timor-Australia maritime border to be negotiated before United Nations after protests
11:29 pm GMT+12, 11/04/2016, Timor-leste
East Timor is taking Australia to the United Nations to solve the dispute over its maritime border under international maritime law.
The island nation has long argued current arrangements mean it is missing out on billions of dollars in revenue from offshore oil and gas fields.
Last month, thousands of protesters gathered outside the Australian embassy in Dili calling for Australia to negotiate.
In a statement, the East Timorese Government said while there were temporary resource-sharing arrangements in the Timor Sea, there was no permanent maritime boundary between Australia and the small island nation.
It has now approached the UN to begin a formal conciliation process conducted by an independent panel of experts.
Australia has withdrawn from the maritime boundary jurisdiction of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
In a statement, a spokeswoman for the Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Australia was disappointed East Timor had decided to take the matter to the UN.
“We stand by the existing treaties, which are fair and consistent with international law,” the spokeswoman said.
“These treaties have benefited both our countries and enabled Timor-Leste to accumulate a Petroleum Fund worth more than $16 billion (US$12 billion).
“Timor-Leste’s decision to initiate compulsory conciliation contravenes prior agreements between our countries not to pursue proceedings relating to maritime boundaries.”
East Timor believed if the maritime boundary was decided under UNCLOS, most of the oil and gas reserves in the Timor Sea would lie within their territory.
The location of the maritime border in relation to a multi-billion-dollar oil and gas field in the Timor Sea is central to a spying scandal that has rocked relations between East Timor and Australia.
Australia has been accused of bugging East Timor’s cabinet office during negotiations for a treaty that would divide the revenues from the $40 billion (US$30 billion) Greater Sunrise oil and gas field.
That treaty ruled revenue from the Greater Sunrise field would be split evenly between the two countries.
“Establishing permanent maritime boundaries is a matter of national priority for Timor-Leste, as the final step in realising our sovereignty as an independent state,” Prime Minister Rui Maria de Araujo said.
“Under international law, Australia is obliged to negotiate permanent maritime boundaries with Timor-Leste but it has refused to do so, despite all our invitations.
“This has left us with only one option.
“This process allows for a commission to assist our two countries to reach an amicable solution on permanent maritime boundaries.”
Dr Araujo said his country is seeking a fair and equitable solution to what it argues it is entitled to under international law.
Agio Pereira is the Minister of State, Timor Leste’s second most important Cabinet position after the Prime Minister.
“It’s really time to draw the line to give more certainty for East Timor and to consolidate more or less the sovereignty,” he told the ABC’s PM programme.
Pereira argues that East Timor will be a safer, more secure country if the boundaries change.
“The sovereign access to natural resources is a very sacrosanct principle of UN member states,” he said.
“(A) sovereign nation state, without that, does have a lot of constraints in terms of full development of its own capacity, and that definitely will give Timor much higher certainty and better understanding of its potential.”
This is the first time in the UN’s history that the world body is being asked to step in.
Pereira said Australia must abide by the UN’s findings.
“Australia has been trying hard in the last few years to be as best of a citizen in international community as possible.
“I think Australia cannot go on lecturing other countries about respecting international law in the limitation of maritime boundaries, and yet look the other way in its closest neighbour, Timor Leste.”
Pereira made the case that Australia was behaving like China in its approach to the domination of the South China Sea. But he chose his words very carefully in pushing that line.
“It’s in various fronts. I think Australia also played a very important role in other international issues, and that’s very important. But you must lead by example.”
But he said he was “not necessarily” comparing Canberra with Beijing.
“We see the foreign policy of Australia as a complex one in geopolitical sense, in its regional security sense, in economic sense. We respect that,” he said.
49) Pogera mining, workers agreement praised
The National, Tuesday April 12th, 2016
AN agreement signed between the Allied Workers Union and Barrick (Niugini) Limited has been described as “the best ever”.
Union president Dassil Mangapen said the agreement signed on March 22 was an achievement for the workers.
It reviewed five areas and contained the bulk of the initial agreement signed in 2013.
It has two new clauses added, including a proposal to implement the Medical Insurance Care, a five percent adjustment to allowance and supplements, another five per cent increase to the base pay, and an increase in the education assistance.
Department of Labour and Industrial Relations deputy secretary Maria Lavaga said it was very encouraging to see how Porgera had managed its industrial issues focusing on human resources as the most important capital asset.
Industrial registrar Helen Saleu told both parties to build on the good partnership.
Executive managing director Greg Walker commended representatives of both parties for the leadership displayed throughout the negotiation process.
The Porgera Gold Mine is a large gold and silver mining operation in Enga.
50) 050416 TWO LICENCE COMPANIES
BY Tom Kathoa
Two Gold Dealer companies have already paid for their licenses in compliance with the new Bougainville Mining Act of 2015 to buy and sell gold and other minerals in the region.
They are the Eastern Minerals Gold Limited and Nickel Gold Mine Limited who received their licenses from the Minerals and Energy Resources Minister, Hon Robin Wilson in Buka today.
Minister Wilson in congratulating the two companies said they are free to conduct their business in the open, with the full knowledge that they are legally protected by the law.
The mining minister has also called on other companies and groups wanting to enter into such a business to get a licence before the grace period is up on the 21st of this month.Dawnfm
51) 040416 Tambolema exports first copra shipment to the Philippines
By Joe Elijah
Tambolema Holdings the mother company of two other subsidiary companies including New Dawn FM saw the shipment of its first copra exported to an overseas buyer in the Philippines over the weekend.
The copra which was shipped out from Kieta main wharf, brought in many smiles and happy faces to the communities of Wakunai, Numanuma, Aropa and Kieta, because copra exporter Tambolema, was buying their produce twice the price other exporters were buying their copra during the Easter period.
Tambolema Copra Exporter is the second exporter company based in the Central Region, it is understood, as soon as Tambolema secures copra shed in Buka, they will move to Buka.
With the shipment of Copra leaving the shores of Bougainville this week, ABG internal revenue is likely to increase its internal revenue through its tax income, ABG is calling and encouraging more companies to go into exporting our produce to bring in foreign currencies to boost the economy of Bougainville.Dawnfm
52) PNA members confirm: Vessel Day Scheme is here to stay
11:17 pm GMT+12, 10/04/2016, Kiribati
A Pacific island fisheries bloc has unanimously decided to maintain a management system that has increased revenue to the islands by over 500 percent in the past six years.
Despite criticism by countries outside of this western and central Pacific fishery of a management system used to regulate the tuna industry, fisheries officials from the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) agreed at their annual meeting in Kiribati last week to recommend to their fisheries ministers that the system be maintained.
This decision followed review at the annual meeting of an independent study of the PNA’s Vessel Day Scheme (VDS), which manages a multi-tuna fishery by controlling fishing effort.
The independent review by Toroa Strategy Limited of New Zealand compared the effort-based VDS to a quota limit system and concluded: “The VDS is a fully functioning fisheries management regime without peer for its class of fishery…There is no clear benefit from changing the VDS from a Day scheme to a catch scheme now or in the near future.”
“No one in the PNA is asking to change the VDS,” said PNA Chief Executive Dr. Transform Aqorau. “It is coming from countries outside of PNA. The VDS is not something we are going to give away. This is a system with a value of US$450 million annually — why would we replace it with something we don’t know?”
PNA controls waters where 50 percent of the global supply of skipjack tuna is caught. Its members are Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Federated States of Micronesia and Palau. Tokelau is not a full member, but has joined PNA in enforcing the VDS in its fishery.
The independent review of the VDS provided to the PNA annual meeting last week made note of recent debate in the region over the merits of effort and quota systems, observing that a “detailed examination of this issue has been pre-empted by the (Pacific Islands) Forum and an associated announcement from New Zealand Prime Minister John Key in September 2015,” in which Key stated “Pacific leaders have endorsed ‘A Roadmap for Sustainable Pacific Fisheries’ which promotes a move toward a catch-based management system for tuna by 2025.”
These statements, said the review, put the cart before the horse.
“The Forum leaders and the New Zealand government have therefore precipitately endorsed a ‘solution’ to a ‘problem’ that has not been clearly identified by either the Review or PNA,” said the independent review, which praised the VDS as “a fully functioning fisheries management regime without peer for its class of fishery.”
After detailing pros and cons of both effort and quota limit systems, the independent review said: “There is no evidence that, for practical purposes, the present sustainability performance of the VDS is inferior to the quota management system given the nature and current state of the tuna fishery.”
The current total catch level in PNA waters “is sustainable” and the management system in place “provides a simple and robust compliance framework for the fleet,” said the review. “The purse seine VDS is a very successful fisheries management regime by any real world standard.”
The message to other countries in and outside the region from the PNA annual meeting is straightforward, said Dr. Aqorau: “Learn to respect different legal arrangements that govern different fisheries. Only the parties to the Palau Arrangement (which established the terms of the VDS) have authority to change the VDS. The Pacific Islands Forum and the Forum Fisheries Agency have no legal authority to change the VDS. By the same token PNA has no authority for other fisheries systems that have their own governance arrangements.”
Dr. Aqorau said the VDS is “an instrument that creates self-reliance for PNA members and means they do not need to rely on donor aid.” Since full implementation of the VDS in 2010, fisheries revenues to PNA nations have risen from US$60 million to an estimated US$400 million last year.
The VDS is an integrated management system that is tied to a fisheries information management system that provides detailed catch data from both vessels and independent fisheries observers on board purse seine vessels. “This integrated system allows us to know how much fish is being caught and where it is being caught,” said Dr. Aqorau. This robust data collection, which is now largely electronic, has been developed by PNA members as an essential foundation of VDS management of the PNA fishery, he said.
“Everyone in PNA is supportive of the VDS,” said Dr. Aqorau. “The recommendation from the annual meeting to PNA fisheries ministers is to stick with the VDS.”
A resolution endorsed unanimously at last week’s meeting in Kiribati stated, in part: “The VDS constitutes best practices on fishery management and development in the Pacific Region and across the globe.
53) Girls face more prejudice
Tuesday, April 12, 2016
GIRLS in the country face greater discrimination for being young and female and are often left vulnerable, says the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement (FWRM).
FWRM, which runs the Grow, Inspire, Relate, Lead, Succeed (GIRLS) Program to empower young girls to tackle violence and discrimination, says girls often face discrimination in the various intersections of race, age, sexual orientation, gender and expression.
GIRLS program officer Lillian Delana said it was important that the country strived to empower girls to be part of the call to action against gender-based violence.
“Girls and young women are the experts of their own lives and must be heard as part of all community decision-making structures, be it formal or informal,” Ms Delana said.
She said girls were part of Fiji’s vibrant and growing youth population.
“The program was designed to raise awareness of often sensitive issues such as gender-based violence and bullying by encouraging girls to express their opinions and thoughts from an early age.”
Ms Delana said since 2013, FWRM introduced a three-year theatre program as a platform to advocate the rights of girls and create dialogue to address issues deemed relevant to the life of the girl child.
“The girls visited schools and communities in Tailevu to highlight topics such as bullying, violence against girls, gender discrimination and empowerment.”Fijitimes
54) Fiji Has Very High Rates Of Violence Against Women
64% of women suffer sexual, physical violence in their lifetimes
By Nasik Swami
SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, April 12, 2016) – While Fiji has an image of itself as a society that values family, children and community, a Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre survey shows that of the 3193 women surveyed, 15 per cent have been beaten during pregnancy, and one-third of these were punched or kicked in the abdomen by their husband or partner.
The shocking revelation was made in the centre’s 2013 national survey on women’s health and life experiences titled Somebody’s Life, Everybody’s Business.
According to the survey, Fiji’s rates of violence against women and girls are among the highest in the world.
“A total of 64 per cent of women who have ever been in an intimate relationship have experienced physical or sexual violence by a husband or intimate partner in their lifetime, and 24 per cent are suffering from physical or sexual partner violence today,” the survey said.
It further stated that of the total women surveyed, 61 per cent were physically attacked and 34 per cent were sexually abused in their lifetime.
“Rates of emotional abuse are also high. Fifty-eight per cent of ever-partnered women experienced emotional violence in their lifetime, and 29 per cent in the previous 12 months before the survey.
“Overall, 72 per cent of ever-partnered women experienced physical, sexual or emotional violence from their husband/partner in their lifetime, and many suffered from all three forms of abuse simultaneously.”
According to the survey, 69 per cent of women had been subjected to one or more forms of control by their husband or partner, and 28 per cent were subjected to four or more types of control.
The survey also revealed that 39 per cent or two in every five women had to ask permission from their husbands before seeking health care for themselves and for 57 per cent, their husband or partner insisted on knowing where they are at all times.
The survey also stated that the complex web of control, intimidation, humiliation and multiple forms of violence needs to be recognised by all service providers who aim to prevent violence and assist women living with violence.
Fiji Times Online.
55) More awareness needed on drug, alcohol abuse
The National, Tuesday April 12th, 2016
JUVENILES need to be educated on the harmful effects on their bodies of drugs and alcohol, an official says.
National Capital District Commission Yumi Lukautim Mosbi programme coordinator Lucy Totil said the consumption of drugs and alcohol was increasing among young people.
The NCDC and the National Youth Development Authority conducted a drug and alcohol training for juveniles at Bomana prison yesterday. She told the juveniles that some of them would become future leaders because they had the potential.
Acting Chief Superintendent Haraha Keko, the commanding officer of the Correctional Service, said the programme was important because drug and alcohol issues were experienced worldwide.
“Situations on drug and alcohol have gone out of hand and one aspect of controlling this is to run such programmes,” Keko said.
56) Soccer: Hekari leads Suva at half time
Tuesday, April 12, 2016
Update: 2:06PM THE Vodafone Suva football team trails Papua New Guinea’s Hekari United 2-0 at half time in their second match of the 2016 OFC Champions League at QBE Stadium in Auckland, New Zealand.
According to the Oceania Football Confederation website, Suva is finding hard going into the opposition territory while midfielder Madhwan Gounder is toiling hard to give balls to his striker.
Striker, Samuela Drudru makes a return from his injury and he is making his presence felt in the attack.
Suva coach Gurjit Singh made an early change in the match, replacing defender Poasa Bainivalu with Epeli Leiroti.
If Suva fails to win the fixture, then they can bow out of the tournament depending on the outcome of the AS Lossi and Team Wellington match scheduled for 3:30pm today.Fijitimes
59) Fiji win big in Hong Kong!
3:27 pm GMT+12, 10/04/2016, Hong Kong
Fiji have won the Cathay Pacific/Hong Kong sevens after beating New Zealand for a second year running at the prestigious tournament.
Ben Ryan’s side walked away with the Cup following a bruising 20 minute encounter with the All Blacks Sevens in front of packed out stands in Hong Kong. Pita Ahki got Sir Gordon Tietjens side off to a flying start when he turned Jerry Tuwai inside out and ran in under the posts. However just minutes later Tuwai got his revenge as he sniped over the New Zealand line from three metres away. With the rain starting to fall, handling errors were plentiful from both sides and the first half ended 7-7.
Kitione Taliga scored early on in the second half for Fiji after Semi Kunatani made a striding break through the stretched New Zealand defence. At 14-7, Fiji then turned up the pressure even more as Pio Tuwai turned over possession on Fiji’s 22 and let Amenoni Nasilasila loose, who eventually offloaded to send Semi Kunatani under the posts and secure the victory.
Elsewhere in the competition South Africa edged Australia to finish third, England beat USA to take the plate, Argentina beat Scotland to the bowl and Russia overcame Canada to lift the plate.
Fiji extend their lead in the HSBC World 7s Series standings with 128 points, New Zealand is now in second place with 123 points, South Africa drops to third place with 122 points while Australia is in fourth place with 105 points.
SOURCE: WORLD RUGBY/PACNEWS
60) Draw announced for HSBC Singapore Sevens
3:20 pm GMT+12, 10/04/2016, Hong Kong
Following on from the drama and excitement of the Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens, World Rugby has announced the draw for round 8 of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in Singapore next weekend.
Hong Kong Cup winners Fiji head up pool A and will face England, Samoa and Portugal, while Hong Kong’s beaten finalists New Zealand will play USA, France and Canada in pool B.
South Africa will play Kenya, Scotland and Russia in pool C and in the fourth of the pools Australia will face Wales, Argentina and Japan.
After seven rounds of the series Fiji have stretched out to a five-point lead at the top of the HSBC, now ahead of New Zealand who are one point clear of third-placed South Africa. Australia and USA remain fourth and fifth travelling on to Singapore.
SOURCE: WORLD RUGBY/PACNEWS
61) Toulon down in quarters
Tuesday, April 12, 2016
LONDON – Toulon, winners of the European Champions Cup for the past three years, lost a dramatic quarter-final 19-16 on Sunday to Racing Metro, who will now meet Leicester Tigers.
Leicester, comfortable 41-13 winners at home to Stade Francais, will have the advantage of playing the tie in England, at the City Ground, home of Nottingham Forest FC on April 24.
The all-French game in Paris was not decided until the final minute when Maxime Machanaud kicked his third penalty.
Juan Imhoff had scored Racing’s try in the second minute, before one by Charles Ollivon six minutes later when the holders were 10-0 down.
Level by the interval, they led briefly 13-10 before being pegged back and then overhauled in the exciting finale.
Leicester went ahead in only the second minute of their game, with a try by Manu Tuilagi.
Two tries in three minutes just after the half-hour by Fiji international Vereniki Goneva and Freddie Burns then helped them towards a 24-6 lead at half-time.
The visitors, in poor form domestically, never looked like threatening Leicester’s outstanding home record, which has now been extended to 13 wins in 14 games.
Former Leicester man Julian Dupay scored their only try in the second half but further scores by Goneva, Mike Fitzgerald and Telusa Veainu had the packed Welford Road crowd celebrating long before the end.
The line-up for the other semi-final was decided on Saturday when Saracens beat Northampton Saints 29-20 and Wasps had a dramatic last-kick victory over Exeter Chiefs 25-24.
The Saracens-Wasps tie will take place at the Madejski Stadium, Reading on April 23.