Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1067 ( Monday 16 May 2016 )


1) Social Media i helpim fridom kampen blong West Papua

Updated 16 May 2016,
Caroline Tiriman

Social Midia i helpim gut tru bikpla wok blong ol pipal blong West Papua long luksave long laik blong lukautim ol iet na lusim Indonesia.

Ol pipol blong Timika long West Papua ibin protest agensim rul blong Indonesia
Despla em toktok blong Ronnie Kareni, wanpla West Papua Activist long Australia husat ibin stap long West Papua long wanpla mun na emi kam bek tasol long Australia last wik.

Taem Mr Kareni ibin stap long Jayapura, emi bin  lukim ol Indonesia military na polis ibin kalabusim 1,800 ol protesta em oli bin wok long mas long sapotim International Parliamentarians for West Papua miting long London.

Em itok planti pipal long wold nau i sapotim ol, long wonem social midia isave hariap tru long stori long wonem samting isave kamap long hap, maski sopos igat tambu long ol foran Journalist long go long West Papua.

2) Full membership for United Liberation Movement of West Papua’ amongst agenda for MSG Leaders Summit

10:57 pm GMT+12, 12/05/2016, Vanuatu

An agenda for the upcoming Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Leaders’ Summit in the Papua New Guinea capital Port Moresby is a motion for the elevation of the membership of the United Liberation Movement of West Papua’s (ULMWP’s) membership of the MSG.

Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare who is the current Chair of the MSG made the assurance when a delegation of ULMWP leaders met with him in Port Vila yesterday requesting him to favourably consider two issues for addressing by the MSG.

The issues are the granting of full MSG membership to ULMWP, which currently holds an Observer Status, and MSG’s pursuit of an urgent intervention by the United Nations in West Papua to neutralise the genocides committed against humanity in West Papua by Indonesia.

Prime Minister Sogavare addresses the meeting with the delegation of leaders from the United Liberation Movement of West Papua in Port Vila.

The delegation expressed its highest appreciation to Prime Minister Sogavare for the MSG’s accordance of Observer Status to ULMWP upon taking up the MSG Chairmanship position in June 2015.

However, it said since the ULMWP was granted an Observer status of the MSG, the situation in West Papua became tenser, leaving the indigenous people now at the brink of extinction.

It said this situation has prompted it to bring their two-point petition for consideration by Prime Minister Sogavare as Chair of the MSG to take aboard as matters of priority for the MSG to address.

Prime Minister Sogavare said the fresh accounts of an ever-increasing rate of genocides in West Papua relayed to him by the delegation in their meeting with him only confirms the ongoing stories of atrocities committed against West Papuans for the last 50 years.

He said as the Chair of the MSG, he will allow the proposed motion by his Vanuatu counterpart Prime Minister Charlot Salwai has his full backing and will be tabled for discussion during the MSG Leaders’ Summit.

Prime Minister Sogavare said the Vanuatu Prime Minister told him that he will be traveling to New Caledonia next week to meet with the Spokesman of the FLNKS Victor Tutugoro in an effort to also secure his for the support for the motion.

On the issue of urgent UN intervention in West Papua, Prime Minister Sogavare said Indonesian President’s apparent rejection of the resolution reached by the Pacific Islands Forum leaders in Port Moresby in 2015 for the deployment of a fact-finding mission in West Papua as well as the Indonesian President’s refusal to meet with him in his capacity as the MSG Chair to explain the position of the MSG on the issue of West Papua are very strong grounds warranting the MSG to take the matter up to the next notch which is the United Nations.

He said Indonesia was granted Associate membership of the MSG to allow for dialogue between Jakarta and the MSG Leaders on the issue of West Papua and the Indonesian President’s refusal of my request to meet with him regarding MSG’s position on West Papua is a clear indication that it has another reason for joining the MSG.

Prime Minister Sogavare said Indonesia’s refusal of his request for dialogue gives him all the reason to take this matter back to the MSG, adding that ‘Indonesia has crossed the line so we need to take some tough stance.”

The membership of the delegation of ULMWP leaders who met with Prime Minister Sogavare includes Jacob Rumbiak, Andy Ayamiseba and Edison Waromi, Mama Yosepha Alomang. The delegation was accompanied by members of the Free West Papua Association in Port Vila.

The delegation came to Port Vila-the initially planned venue for this year’s MSG Leaders’ summit- with intention of presenting the two-point petition to the MSG Leaders.

However due to the change of venue and dates for the summit as well as the opportunity accorded to them by Prime Minister Sogavare’s presence in Port Vila for the 2023 Pacific Games Bid presentation, the delegation met with him and presented their petition to him.


3) PNG oppose MSG director’s appointment

6:25 pm GMT+12, 15/05/2016, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea stands firm on its Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) decision.

PNG’s decision for the appointment of the Director General of the Melanesian Spearhead Group was to be made only after the Special MSG Leaders’ summit.

Foreign Affairs Minister Rimbink Pato reaffirmed PNG’s position and that of Prime Minister Peter O’Neill after welcoming his counterpart from Solomon Islands Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade Milner Tozaka who visited Port Moresby from May 9-11.

Pato said the purpose of his visit concerned the pending.

Minister Tozaka was tasked by the chair of the MSG and Prime Minister of Solomon Islands, Manasseh Sogavare to visit the MSG capitals on the question of the appointment of the Director General and find amicable understanding. However, Pato explained the position of the Papua New Guinea Prime Minister O’Neill has taken and reaffirmed that protocol and due process of appointment were not observed nor was there any consensus.

“Whilst we acknowledge the credentials of Ambassador Yauvoli, we do not recognize his appointment as the Director General for the MSG Secretariat,” Pato said.

As a way forward, both Ministers agreed that the appointment should only be made after the special MSG leaders’ summit.

PNG is expected to host the deferred summit on the margins of the 8th ACP Leaders’ Summit from 30 May – 1 June whilst the senior officials meeting will be held in Port Vila from 18-19 May 2016.


4) Jakarta turns to Britain to explain Papua situation

An Indonesian government delegation has travelled to Britain to talk about West Papua to local MPs and church leaders.

The Coordinating Minister for Politics, Luhut Pandjaitan, led the delegation.

Its visit was organised hastily following the highly-publicised International Parliamentarians for West Papua summit in London two weeks ago which resulted in a call for an internationally supervised vote on West Papuan self-determination.

Following the summit and its airing of concerns over ongoing human rights abuses against West Papuans, Jakarta has been anxious to explain its side of the story about Papua.

To that effect, Mr Luhut’s delegation met with a member of both the House of Lords and IPWP, Lord Harries, to talk about conditions in Papua.16/5/16 RNZI

5) PM Salwai may have to testify against Natuman; NISCOL to be restructured to end political interference

Posted: May 16, 2016 Author:  | Filed under: The Daily Digest 

Vila Times has a curious headline today saying that PM Salwai may testify against DPM Natuman in what is now being labelled a conspiracy case to be heard on 6 June. It is no longer a mutiny case and came about at a time when Natuman was PM and Salwai his Minister of Internal Affairs in the coalition. Former Police Commissioner Maralau and the DPM face conspiracy charges. Disunity in the forces was already being experienced at the time. The futures of certain police officers are likely to be affected. Vila Times understands certain police investigators who were witnesses against police prosecutors in an expatriate’s court case and had lost are amongst those developing the conspiracy charge against Maralau and Natuman. The present coalition is not thought to be under threat of any kind.Work is proceeding to restructure the NISCOL stevedoring company which has seen income misappropriated. Minister Alfred Maoh told Radio Vanuatu that the intention is to avoid political interference. Good management and skills are very much needed, he said. The Minister was able to report large cash payments having now made their way to the provinces concerned which are the four northernmost, as well as to Luganville and the government, from NISCOL.

The groundbreaking for the new PM’s Office is fully covered on page 1 of Daily Post today with a photograph of Chinese Ambassador Liu Quan and PM Charlot Salwai surrounded by the country’s leaders in front of an artist’s impression of the restored old (French Residency) building and the greatly enlarged SLO building behind. The President of the Malvatumauri, Chief Senimao Tirsupe, performed a custom ceremony to Chief Mantoi Kalsakau III of Ifira. A ceremony of this kind in changes of land usage is expected by the chiefly body to “guide our daily walk in life”, the Malvatumauri Chief said.

Work is beginning on the new Luganville Correctional Facility which saw the foundation stone laid last week. Justice Minister Warsal hoped the necessary funding for the operational costs would be budgeted in the next sitting in June. New Zealand is helping with building costs to the extent of a very generous Vt 187 million vatu. Work should finish in June next year. (Radio Vanuatu)

Radio Vanuatu reported sheep being imported from Fiji to make available to the farmers of the country after a breeding programme is completed. Senior Livestock Officer Nambong Moses reported 100 ewes and some rams coming for the purpose. He was speaking at the Yoku Farm at Rentabau on the opening of the Year of Small Livestock.

Director of Livestock Lonny Bong also told Daily Post that the Year of Small Livestock Farmers is seeing a small livestock population of a million chickens, a million pigs and 500,000 goats in the next 15–20 years. This is what he sees as a result for the National Sustainable Development Plan being prepared.

Vanuatu is celebrating two Information and Communications Technology (ICT) days, tomorrow and Wednesday, in the first major event in the new Convention Centre. The public is encouraged to participate. Free buses are laid on for visitors from Mele and the Teouma areas. Happy ICT Days everyone.


6) Cook Islands Inflation Rate Goes Up
ADB cites weaker NZ$ and higher alcohol and tobacco taxes

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 14, 2016) – The Asian Development Bank says the Cook Islands’ inflation rate accelerated to three percent in the 2015 financial year.

Its Economic Outlook 2016 report says the increase was because of higher alcohol and tobacco taxes, and a weaker New Zealand dollar.

A local economist, Vaine Wichman, says the country’s inflation rate usually hovers at or above that of New Zealand.

The bank’s report projects that inflation will fall to 1.8 percent this financial year, and rise to two percent in 2017 as import prices rise.

An advisor at the finance ministry, James Webb, told the Cook Islands News that the use of the New Zealand dollar means the country has relatively low inflation, making it less volatile than other Polynesian countries.

Radio New Zealand International

7) Japan helps Tongan village with water supply

A Tongan village now has access to clean water following a grant from Japan to restore the supply.

Matangi Tonga reports the 731 residents of Puke village on Tongatapu have been asked to maintain the system with care, following the recent upgrade.

The Japanese Ambassador to Tonga, Yukio Numata, was at the village to commission the revamped supply and said it would become the basis of further development in Puke.

In 2005 the piping system was installed with Japan’s help, and now it has solar-powered units and new water tanks.16/5/16 RNZI

8) Foreign Exchange Levy To Help Pay For Pacific Games In Tonga
New levy to go into effect on June 1, 2016

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, May 12, 2016) – Half a seniti of “the bank’s spread” of every pa’anga that is bought and sold through Tonga’s foreign exchange services will be charged, starting 1 June 2016, after a foreign exchange levy was endorsed by Tonga’s government to help fund the 2019 Pacific Games.

The half seniti levy applies only to the bank’s spread which is the amount of money the bank makes and not the amount of the whole transaction. (The spread is simply the difference between the price at which a dealer will buy a currency and the price at which the dealer will sell a currency.)

Tonga’s largest source of foreign exchange inflow are remittances. For the month of January, the National Reserve Bank of Tonga recorded remittances amounting to $17.3 million pa’anga [US$7.5 million].

In a statement released by the Tongan Government today, the new legislation directs every financial institution, bank and money transfer operator such as Western Union and Money Gram to collect the levy from every purchase or sale of foreign currency in Tonga. The amount collected will be paid to government on a monthly basis.

The Minister for Finance and National Planning, Hon. ‘Aisake Eke said the proceeds from the levy are included in the 2016-17 budget and will help the Tongan government finance the 2019 South Pacific Games.

“This levy will be repealed at the end of June 2020 after the games,” he said.

The statement also stated that the Ministry of Finance and National Planning conducted consultations with key stakeholders since April last year to ensure the levy is applied and collected properly.

The Foreign Exchange Levy (Amendment) Act 2016 will be Gazetted to be effective from 1 June 2016 after it was granted Royal Assent by His Majesty’s Privy Council on 28 April 2016.

Matangi Tonga Magazine

9) American Samoa’s Governing Duo Seek Re-Election
First declared candidates, ends speculation of split ticket

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 16, 2016) – American Samoa’s governor and his deputy plan to seek re-election in November’s elections.

The announcement by Lolo Matalasi Moliga put to rest speculation in the territory that he would not run on the same ticket as lieutenant governor Lemanu Peleti Mauga.

In an advertisement in the Samoa News newspaper, they said they still had a lot to do to better the lives of people in the territory, but they did not provide specific details.

No other candidates have come forth for the gubnertorial race.

American Samoa will vote on the same date as the United States presidential elections, which American Samoans cannot take part in.

Radio New Zealand International


10) New Research Into Ways To Stop Betel Nut Chewing

Efficacy of betel nut cessation programs

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 16, 2016) – New research in Micronesia is hoping to lead to a programme that helps people quit chewing betel nut.

The University of Guam’s Yvette Paulino said despite links between the narcotic and cancer, there had been very little research done on betel nut cessation programmes.

Dr Paulino said people are being recruited in Guam and the Northern Marianas to take part in the trial that would be modelled on similar programmes to help people quit tobacco.

She said there had been campaign-style interventions around the world, but never direct interventions.

Dr Paulino said there was a real need to help people stop as the habit evolved.

“Betel nut chewers tend to develop a tolerance to Betel nut chewing and so some of the evolutions that we are seeing taking place is the addition of tobacco to the quid and then now we are seeing younger generations spike the quid because the quid is not giving them the same effects so they would soak it for example in rum or vodka.”

Radio New Zealand International

11) University Of Guam President’s Contract Extended For Two Years

Robert Underwood sees $5,000 annual salary increase

By Haidee V. Eugenio

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, May 13, 2016) – University of Guam President Robert Underwood’s contract has been renewed for another two years, with a $5,000 increase in his annual salary.

Underwood said his extended contract is from June 2016 to May 2018.

The UOG Board of Regents made the decision during a board meeting Thursday afternoon.

“In my discussion with the board, they like the progress we made,” Underwood said, adding there is stability in leadership, enrollment at a record high, initiatives like the Good-to-Great Initiative rolled out, and that the overall pace of development is “good.”

Underwood, a former Guam delegate to U.S. Congress, said he looks forward to this year’s start of construction for a School of Engineering Annex, and the renovation and expansion of the UOG Student Services Center. The combined price tag is $21.7 million, courtesy of a loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Underwood’s annual salary will now be $215,000, after the $5,000 increase.

He became UOG’s 10th president in 2008, and his contract has been renewed every two years since then, making Underwood the longest serving UOG president.

Pacific Daily News


12) Logging loa i spoelem laef blong pipol long Solomon Islands: Premier Kiloe

Updated 16 May 2016,
Sam Seke

Premier blong Choiseul Province hem se Forest Resources and Timber Utilisation Act blong kantri hemi out of date an hem gohet fo spoelem laef blong olketa pipol blong olketa rosos ona  risos ona long Solomon Islands.

Lukluk go ap long Mt Veve Kolombangara Island wea olketa stopem logging long hem (Christopher E. Filardi, Ph.D)
Premier Jackson Kiloe hem se disfala loa olketa kamap wetem long 1969 ia, hemi wanfala long olketa loa blong Solomn Islands wea hem olfala tumas an gavman hemi nid fo senisim.

Hem se andanit long disfala loa, gavman hem lusave olsem ona blong graon an ona blong olketa risosis antap graon ino sem. Premier Kiloe hem se, loa ia hem garem land right and narafala hem timber right.

Mr Kiloe hem se disfala loa hem barava no mekem eni sens long iumi long Melanesia from iumi lukim save se traeb we hemi onam graon hemi onam tu olketa tri an evri samting long graon.

Hem se diswan hemi save mekem olketa landona i save gohet fo faet melwan olketa an insaet olketa famili tu wetem olketa logging kampani, and hem save kosim trabol long olketa komiuniti.

Mr Kiloe hem se plande taem, hem save mekem olketa landona lusim evri gutfala tri blong olketa and afta long logging, olketa stap pua nogut.

Hem se nasinol gavman hemi luk save long diswan, bat olketa no garem politikol will fo duim eni samting fo senisim.ABC

13) CEO blong PNG NDBI i laik long ol yangpel i go insait long wok bisnis

Postim 13 May 2016,
Sam Seke
Chief Executive Officer blong National Development Bank Investments long Papua New Guinea i enkarejim ol yangpela long kantri long go insaet long sait long wok bisnis blong ol yet.

Sampela long ol husat i stap long Young Entrepreneurs Roundtable toktok long Port Moresby
Desmond Yaninen i tok ol yangpela imas go insait long bisnis long wanem, edikesan sistim blong kantri em i nonap givim wok long olgeta we i lusim hae skul.

Mr Yaninen i tok 80% long ol yangpela we i lusim hae skul bai nogat wok oa chance long gohet moa wantaim edukesan blong ol – maski sapos oli gat ol gutpela grades.

Em i mekim dispela toktok long dispela  Young Entrepreneurs Roundtable toktok long Port Moresby we i hap blong PNG-Australia Bung Wantaim-Yumi Poroman Week, we Australian High Commission i kamapim wantaim Lowy Institute.

Mr Yaninen i wanpela long ol 4 pela spika blong PNG na narapela 4 pela spika blong Australia we i toktok long Tunde long sait long hau long kamapim ol bisnis.ABC


14) Brèves du Pacifique – lundi 16 mai 2016

Mis à jour 16 May 2016, 19:40 AEST

Élodie Largenton

Il y a encore de l’espoir pour les backpackers qui veulent passer une année en Australie. 

D’après les informations recueillies par ABC, le gouvernement fédéral annoncera bientôt qu’il reporte la mise en place de sa « taxe backpacker ». Les jeunes routards détenteurs d’un visa vacances-travail sont aujourd’hui exemptés d’impôts sur les premiers 18 200 dollars qu’ils gagnent. Leur taux d’imposition est ensuite de 19%. Il y a deux semaines, le gouvernement a présenté son budget, avec un changement majeur pour ces backpackers : leurs revenus seront taxés à 32,5% dès le premier dollar, et ce à partir du 1er juillet prochain. Mais cette date va donc probablement changer. Barnaby Joyce, le ministre de l’Agriculture, devrait annoncer d’ici quelques jours que la taxe ne sera pas introduite avant la fin de l’année 2016, le temps de créer une nouvelle catégorie de visa. « On a écouté attentivement les communautés rurales, qui nous ont fait part de leurs préoccupations », déclare le Premier ministre, Malcolm Turnbull. Depuis plusieurs semaines, les agriculteurs et les professionnels du tourisme font pression sur les autorités, craignant que la taxe ne fasse fuir les backpackers. Le gouvernement espérait engranger 540 millions de dollars sur trois ans grâce à cette mesure.
La Conférence des évêques catholiques s’invite dans la campagne électorale en Australie. Dans un communiqué publié aujourd’hui, l’institution met en garde contre la légalisation du mariage homosexuel, qui « saperait la dignité et le caractère unique du mariage, union à vie entre un homme et une femme ». La Conférence des évêques catholiques estime s’exprimer au nom des sans-voix, de ceux que l’on n’entend pas dans cette campagne, selon elle.
Le parti travailliste promet que s’il remporte les élections, il légalisera le mariage entre personnes de même sexe dans les 100 premiers jours de son mandat. La coalition libérale-nationale promet, elle, la tenue d’un plébiscite sur la question.
Les Samoa acceptent une grande partie des recommandations de l’Onu dans le domaine des droits de l’homme. À l’issue de son dernier examen périodique universel, l’archipel s’est vu recommander de faire 129 changements. Les Samoa ont l’intention d’accepter 91 de ces recommandations, mais il y a certains points sur lesquels elles ne sont pas prêtes à s’engager : la décriminalisation de l’homosexualité et la lutte contre la discrimination fondée sur l’orientation sexuelle, notamment. Peseta Noumea Simi, du ministère samoan des Affaires étrangères, explique qu’il faut prendre en compte « la culture et le tissu social » de l’archipel. Parmi les recommandations que les Samoa vont accepter, il y a la lutte contre les violences sexuelles, la ratification de la Convention des Nations unies relative aux droits des personnes handicapées et la protection des droits fonciers des communautés indigènes.
Jarryd Hayne, ancienne star du rugby à XIII, renonce au football américain pour disputer les JO avec les Fidji, en rugby à VII. Depuis un an, Jarryd Hayne faisait partie de l’effectif des 49ers de San Francisco, mais l’appel des JO est plus grand, affirme-t-il. Il ne pourra peut-être pas réaliser son rêve, prévient toutefois l’ancien directeur de l’agence anti-dopage australienne : les athlètes doivent subir des tests avant les compétitions, or la ligue de football américaine ne respecte pas le code mondial antidopage. Précisons que Jarryd Hayne, né à Sydney, en Australie, d’un père fidjien, a disputé deux coupes du monde de rugby à XIII, une fois avec les Fidji, la seconde fois avec l’Australie.
À propos des JO de Rio, les athlètes australiens seront équipés : ils vont recevoir des préservatifs anti-zika. Le plus souvent, le virus se transmet par la piqûre d’un moustique Aedes, mais il peut aussi se transmettre par des rapports sexuels. L’Australie tient donc à ne prendre aucun risque, d’autant que deux sociétés australiennes ont mis au point des préservatifs novateurs, enduits d’un gel censé être antiviral. « La santé et le bien-être de nos sportifs sont notre priorité, on adopte une approche de bon sens », commente la chef de mission du Comité olympique australien, Kitty Chiller. Les Jeux olympiques se dérouleront en août prochain (du 5 au 21) au Brésil.ABC


15) Protests in Manus and Nauru as Australia ‘stalls’ on policy

Asylum seekers and refugees at the Manus Island centre in Papua New Guinea are staging the biggest protests there since a mass hunger strike in January 2015.

As protests at the other Australian-run detention centre on Nauru enter day 56, those in the Manus Island centre have holding signs and chanting “Freedom, Freedom” and “This place is illegal”.

The centre in PNG was ruled unconstitutional by the country’s Supreme Court, prompting the Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, to vow to close it.

However the Australian authorities said this might take some time and repeated that the refugees and asylum seekers would never go to Australia.

One asylum seeker, Behrouz Boochani, said they were determined to have their human rights respected and Australia had exiled them by force to what they describe as a hell.

An estimated 200 – 250 people have taken part in the protest.

It started in Delta compound, where people who have already been determined as refugees are housed, and spread to Oscar compound.

A few people from Mike and Foxtrot compounds joined the protest too.

Mr Boochani said reports that people in the centre are free to move around in the Manus community are incorrect.

He said there are restricted opportunities per day to catch a bus to visit friends at Lorengau, where the refugee transit centre is, but that few people travel on the buses.

Many of the refugees and asylum seeekers are afraid to go out in the Manus community because they feel their security is at risk.

Ian Rintoul, the spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition, said the Turnbull government was stalling and trying to drag things out until after the election, but the offshore processing regime was collapsing.16/5/16 RNZI

16) PNG visa on arrival for Australian tourist

5:33 pm GMT+12, 12/05/2016, Papua New Guinea

Australian tourists will receive visa on arrival, a decision announced by Minister for Tourism Arts and Culture Tobias Kulang..

This decision stems from Prime Minister Peter O’Neill’s earlier decision to withdraw Australia Visa on arrival he announced in an earlier ministerial meeting at the press club in Sydney.

“It is an impediment to attracting tourists in the country which I want to advice the Prime Minister that we will withdraw our position and reinstate visa on arrival for our Australian friends when they arrive at Jackson’s international terminal,” Minister Kulang said while officiating at the official launch of the 2016 Calendar guide book for tourist at the Owers Corner  last Friday.

He said the Prime Minister has taken that Government decision and initiative however this twist of decision was made in the best interest for the tourism industry in the country.

The Minister said the decision will be brought before the cabinet in the next mid-session of Parliament to be endorsed and will formally go through normal process to have Visa on arrival effective.

He said the number of tourist entering the country have reduced from 5000 to 3000 last year and urged that by reinstating the decision will have an impact to attracting more tourist into the country to boost the tourism industry and the GDP growth of the country as well.


17) Fijians to go through Biometric data process when applying for Australian Visa

5:35 pm GMT+12, 12/05/2016, Fiji

Fijians will now have to go through a biometric data process when applying for a visa to Australia.

This is after the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection commenced collecting biometric data as of last week.

Biometric data is collected through a process that captures a photograph of your face and a 10-digit electronic fingerprint scan.

Through the Australian Visa Application Centres in Suva and Lautoka – all applicants who are in Fiji at the time of making a visa application to enter Australia must go through the process unless they are excluded or exempted from the Programme.

Visa applicants who mail their applications to AVAC will be sent a letter requiring them to attend the AVAC in person, to provide their biometrics.

Fiji now joins 28 other countries that the process is being implemented.

AVAC will charge a service fee for the submission of applications and collection of biometrics.



18) Major Pacific planning event aiming to end poverty

10:55 pm GMT+12, 12/05/2016, New Zealand

Top New Zealand experts will play key roles in a major international sustainable development planning conference in Fiji later this year with the aims of ending poverty, protecting the environment and ensuring prosperity.

Commonwealth countries last year signed up to a set of goals as part of a new sustainable development agenda. New Zealand Planning Institute (NZPI) chief executive Susan Houston says environmental sustainability and economic development have become central issues for planners and local government practitioners facing the impacts of climate change; natural hazards, housing shortages and declining infrastructure.

The NZPI, in collaboration with the Commonwealth Association of Planners and the Planning Institute of Australia, is organising the Planning for Sustainable Development conference in Fiji from November 7 to 10.

“The links between environmental sustainability and economic development are now better understood, indicating that a good planning system is critical to effect positive change,” Houston says.

“A transformational shift to planning for sustainable development is required, it will include strengthening planning capability, enhancing government frameworks and building capacity at a national, regional and local level.

“The conference will raise and address a number of key challenges facing planners and local government practitioners around the world in achieving this transformation and shift to achieve the sustainable development goals.

“The meeting will be relevant to developed and developing nations, including small island nations, nations with coastal settlements and those experiencing growing urban pressures.

“It will be of interest to planners and policy makers but also others involved in national and local government, environmental and social development. Using the context of the Pacific, the conference will be workshop based and the output of the conference will be a structure and tool box for developing a programme of action to address the sustainable development goals, which may reflect the issues of the Pacific region but can be adapted for others.

“We will be looking at achieving sustainable development goals, planning and funding sustainable infrastructure, planning for economic development, climate change adaptation, resilience to natural hazards and capacity building for planning in small island nations.”

The Commonwealth Association of Planners is a major global institution in planning and is playing an increasingly significant role in the worldwide promotion of planning as a fundamental part of governance for sustainable human settlement.


19) Pacific Want More Say In Climate Change Programs
Greater role in decisions for Green Climate Fund spending

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 13, 2016) – Pacific countries would like more oversight over how climate change programmes are run in their communities according to a US-based academic.

A Scholar for the Islands Society, Genevieve Neilson, said climate change funding for Pacific countries is improving with the US contributing $US500 million to the Green Climate Fund, and new programmes starting in the region.

But she said Pacific states would like greater opportunity to make decisions about how the money was spent.

“If it’s being decided in a boardroom somewhere which programmes are being run or how programmes are going to be run or funded then that can really take away from the closer needs of the community.”

Genevieve Neilson said some countries such as Samoa have been good at accessing funding directly.

But she said the processes of the international climate change financing mechanisms can be difficult for small countries to negotiate, and some have missed out on the funding they need.

Radio New Zealand International


20) US election: Obama slams ‘anti-intellectual’ Trump campaign, saying ‘ignorance is not a virtue’

Updated 16 May 2016, 9:10 AEST

US President Barack Obama criticises the populist campaign of Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump, decrying “anti-intellectualism” and noting that “ignorance is not a virtue”.

President Obama has spoken little of the election campaign’s contenders. (Credit: Reuters)

US President Barack Obama has criticised the populist campaign of Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump, decrying “anti-intellectualism” and noting that “ignorance is not a virtue”.

Mr Obama did not specifically name the brash New York real estate developer during his remarks at a Rutgers University graduation ceremony in New Jersey, but it was clear he was referring to the candidate who is running on a slogan of “Make America Great Again!”

The President told students not to pine for an American golden age of years past, saying, “the good old days were not all that good”, as he pointed out problems with racial discrimination, poverty and lack of equality for women.

“The world is more interconnected than ever before and it is becoming more connected every day. Building walls won’t change things,” Mr Obama said, an apparent jab at Mr Trump’s calls for a wall along the US-Mexico border to keep illegal immigrants out.

Mr Obama noted that no wall could stop outbreaks of infectious diseases like Ebola and Zika, or help the United States remain competitive in a time of globalisation.

And then there were three

Bernie Sanders’ delegate count is approaching his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton’s, while Donald Trump is running a solo race writes Zoe Daniel.

“Suggesting that we can build an endless wall along our borders and blame our challenges on immigrants, that does not just run counter to our history as the world melting pot,” he said.

“It contradicts the evidence that our growth and our innovation and our dynamism has always been spurred by our ability to attract strivers from every corner of the globe.”

Mr Obama also denounced politicians who hold themselves up as examples of straight-talkers but shun political correctness.

“In politics and in life, ignorance is not a virtue. It’s not cool to not know what you’re talking about,” he said.

“That’s not challenging political correctness. That’s just not knowing what you’re talking about.”



21) Solomons Operating Rooms Repaired And Reopened
Were condemned, crippled surgery capacity

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 14, 2016) – Two of the three main operating theatres at the Solomon Islands’ main hospital which were condemned in December have been cleared to reopen.

For the past five months the National Referral Hospital has been prioritising emergency surgery ahead of elective and non-life threatening procedures.

Its chief executive said renovations took longer than expected because of the government’s complicated tender process and the difficulty in sourcing high quality building materials from Australia.

Steve Aumanu said inspectors from the Ministry of Infrastructure gave the two theatres the all clear last Wednesday and he expected them to be officially commissioned and back in operation early this week.

“To move ahead and continue to provide the surgical services which we have been unable to do and out teams from overseas and our doctors here our surgeons here will have the theatres decommissioned and the work we look forward is going to recommence.”

Dr Aumanu said attention would now turn to the condition of the hospital’s other main theatre, which has carried the bulk of the burden while the others were condemned.

Radio New Zealand International

22) Doctors in PNG worried about state of cancer treatment facilities

Doctors in Papua New Guinea are raising their concerns over a shortage of cancer-treating drugs.

The Post Courier reported the only cancer treatment centre, at the Angau Memorial Hospital in Lae, was operational but limited.

Long term chief radiation oncologist, Dr John Niblett, said the unit was only providing limited radio therapy and chemotherapy treatment because the cobalt source procurement was limited and long overdue.

He said the centre was also short of cancer drugs and treatment machines had only recently been repaired.

Dr Niblett said in a year, there were 500 new cancer patients, with 36 patients currently in the ward.

He said the weekly cancer patient average was 50 to 60 patients, with most of them suffering from the oral cancer, followed by cervical and breast cancer.

He said the proposed amalgamation of the cancer centre with the hospital was not a good move, as there should be a dedicated focus on cancer treatment.16/5/16 RNZI


23) UPNG Students To Conduct Vote On Continuing Boycott
PNG Electoral Commission to conduct referendum

By Jerome Ikuave

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, May 12, 2016) – Students at the University of Papua New Guinea will now be given the opportunity to decide to either go back to classes or continue their boycott.

This follows the announcement by the UPNG Registrar Jennifer Popat that the long awaited Student Representative Council requested referendum will now be carried out by the PNG Electoral Commission at their two campuses.

Mrs. Popat in a Circular # 557 late yesterday evening, advised the students to gather at the Forum Square at the Waigani Campus and Quadrangle at the Taurama Campus to cast their votes.

She added that the SRC constitution, section 44, Sub Section 3 only allows full time students to vote. Therefore they must all produce their identification cards or a copy of their registration forms to vote.

Meanwhile the open college students and part time students are not eligible to vote, thus the SRC would need two thirds of the student body majority to boycott classes.

PNG Post-Courier


PNG Foreign mission funds fixed: Minister Pato

10:25 pm GMT+12, 15/05/2016, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration Rimbink Pato says the Government has rectified discrepancies in the allocation of funds to PNG missions and posts overseas.

A PNG diplomat overseas claimed that they had not been paid in the past two fortnights and that rentals for the embassies were in arrears.

The diplomat, who requested not to be identified, said funds collected from visa fees were being used by the embassies and high commissions to keep the offices operating.

The diplomat said the PNG Chancery in Jakarta had not paid rent for its premises since last year.

It is understood that the Singapore mission had been given until last week to pay the outstanding rental for the office and residences.

The diplomat said they had not received their salaries too.

Pato said certain components of the allocations to missions and posts, in particular the payment of salaries for staff which are overseas living allowances (OLA) were incorrectly amalgamated into the national payroll and wages for local staff which were not appropriated in the original 2016 Budget allocation.

“My department staff have been working closely with the departments of Treasury and Finance to have these anomalies corrected,” Pato says.

“The outstanding overseas living allowance were forwarded last week while the department’s cash ceiling for May 2016 contains additional funds required for payment of local engaged staff.

“In the absence of these funds, our overseas missions and posts had to utilise other operational funds available.”.


24) Solomons PM urged to press on with anti-corruption bill

Civil society organisations in Solomon Islands are urging the prime minister to push on with legislation aimed at setting up the country’s first Independent Commission Against Corruption.

Manasseh Sogavare suspended the passage of the 2016 Anti-Corruption Bill after its first reading two weeks ago, citing a reversal in the bi-partisan support for the bill.

But the executive officer for Transparency Solomon Islands Ruth Liloqula said the postponement suggested an internal struggle, as the government should not need the support of the opposition or independents to pass the legislation.

“We call on the prime minister to champion the bill and do something right for this country. And if it means the downfall of his tenure as prime minister I think he will be more respected for doing the right thing for the country.”

Parliament resumes tomorrow.16/5/16 RNZI

25) PNG diplomat presents credentials in Fiji, Fiji foreign minister welcomes High Commissioner

5:14 pm GMT+12, 12/05/2016, Fiji

Fijian President, Major General (Ret’d) Jioji Konousi Konrote Thursday received the credentials of the new Papua New Guinea envoy to Fiji  Lucy Blanche-Lee Badina Bogari.

The Fijian Head of State formalised the appointment of Bogari by receiving her letters of credence at State House.

This ceremony was preceded by a 25 member guard of honour by members of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces that was accorded to the new envoy.

Bogari joined the Foreign Service in 1995 in her role as the Deputy Secretary (Operations), Ministry of Foreign Affairs and worked her way up to a diplomatic career.

She was the PNG High Commissioner to New Zealand, Samoa, Tonga, Cook Islands and Niue for different periods from 2002 to 2015.

The PNG diplomat completed her Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from the Australia Asia Management Centre, Australian National University in 1997.

Bogari also has a Diploma in Foreign Service from the PNG Department of Foreign Affairs and a Post Graduate Diploma Studies in International Relations from the E’ cole National d’ Administration, France.

She has been bestowed numerous awards for her contribution to Foreign Service including the Her Majesty’s imperial Service Order-PNG’s diplomatic service and the PNG Independence Medal.

High Commissioner Bogari will be based in Suva.

Meanwhile, Fiji’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Ratu Inoke Kubuabola welcomed High Commissioner Bogari to Fiji.

Bogari thanked Minister Kubuabola for the warm Fijian welcome she received and said she looked forward to her assignment in Fiji.  She expressed her sympathy and condolences for victims of Cyclone Winston, and said the PNG Government was committed to realising its pledges of support for rehabilitation efforts.

She said the Fiji-PNG relationship was ‘symbiotic’ and both countries could always learn from each other.

Minister Kubuabola said Fiji looked up to PNG, as a country that had always stood by Fiji’s side in difficult circumstances.



26) Pacific TV Audiences Get Access To More NZ Content
Part of NZ government initiative

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 16, 2016) – New Zealand television sports, drama and news is starting to be relayed through public broadcasters in the Pacific as part of a New Zealand government initiative.

The broadcasters will be able to draw down content from a so-called warehouse of publicly funded New Zealand programmes.

New Zealand’s Pacific economic ambassador, Shane Jones, launched the initiative last week in Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea.

“It’s an attempt on our part to improve the offerings, to provide both information and entertainment material and knowledge about New Zealand to further broaden and deepen our footprint among our Pacific neighbours.”

Radio New Zealand International


27) Bougainville plans to retain GST
6:37 pm GMT+12, 15/05/2016, Papua New Guinea

The Bougainville Government will now retain some goods and services tax from all major companies operating in Bougainville to develop infrastructure and economy on the island.

And the same will now be applied to all PNG SOEs operating on Bougainville, but that will not happen until both Governments agree on the matter. Autonomous Bougainville Minister for Economics, Trade and Commerce Fidelis Semoso confirmed he has instructed all major business entities operating on the island to adhere to instructions that were given to that effect.

They have been instructed to pay tax to Bougainville and the same will also be given to all major SOEs of PNG now operating on the island. “Yes I have given them instructions,” Semoso said.

All major companies like Ela Motors, SP Brewery and Pristine 101 to name a few have been given instructions. given until end of this month to give back to us or adhere to instructions paying tax to Bougainville (tax retained to Bougainville) and the same is now being done for all SOEs (but will wait for JSB this week) as per my advice to the ABG Cabinet and the Government,” he said.

“We cannot wait for money to come to us, we have to create money for our future Bougainville,” he said.
He confirmed giving the warning when announcing that a high powered delegation led by the Ela Motors Brisbane based managing director Kato San and a three man team who arrived in Buka last week held meetings with leaders after receiving instructions on the tax issues.
More companies are expected to visit Bougainville this month. Semoso said that this will also be discussed in the upcoming Joint Supervisory Body Meeting in Port Moresby this week.


28) PNG govt and central bank reassure over economy

Papua New Guinea’s government and Central Bank say there is no need to panic about the state of economy.

Reassurances have been given by the Bank of PNG governor Loi Bakani this morning in Cairns at the Australia/Papua New Guinea Business Forum.

The annual business meet comes as reports from PNG indicate deepening foreign exchange woes and signs that the government could be preparing to make more cuts to cope with ballooning debt.

While acknowledging the foreign exchange shortage, Mr Bakani said the Bank and the government are seeking foreign currency facilities from external sources, and that expected resource sector inflows should soon turn the situation around.

PNG’s Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Ben Micah, said that the government was taking measures within its means to manage the current economic difficulties.

“Papua New Guinea, contrary to what doomsdayers are saying, is not about to sink or is not about to go bankrupt tomorrow,” said Mr Micah.

“All the issues of shortage of foreign reserves in the banking system and issues that are affecting our economy – because of the drop in oil prices and the not very bullish price of minerals – are only temporary things, issues that are cyclical. And we will bounce back at the appropriate time.”

Ben Micah said PNG had very large reserves of natural gas and minerals as well as abundant fishery and agriculture resources which, combined with its strategic location, stood its economy in good stead for the future.

Speaking at the Cairns event on the fiscal difficulties facing PNG, Mr Bakani blamed social media for spreading misinformation about the economy.

“Medium to long term prospects and outlook for PNG economy are positive and strong,” read Mr Bakani’s powerpoint presentation on the PNG Economic Summary.

The Central Bank governor said that foreign reserves at present were $US1.7billion or 10 months total import cover.

However PNG Today reported that the country’s foreign exchange situation was so bad that the Bank of PNG had been rationing foreign currency by limiting how much people could send out, and that many foreign suppliers were waiting to be paid for goods they had sold to PNG-based importers.

Furthermore, the Central Bank’s efforts to borrow foreign currency from the International Finance Corporation were understood to have been unsuccessful.16/5/16 RNZI

29) Fiji sugar sector vital says EU
6:34 pm GMT+12, 15/05/2016, Fiji

Despite the devastation caused by TC Winston, the sugar sector still remains a vital component for many in Fiji.

This was highlighted by EU’s sugar coordination Manager Michael Parker.

Parker hopes Fiji will make a steady progress through the EU programs and close engagements with all the sugar industry stakeholder’s.

“Looking at the raw data, in terms of the competitiveness, in terms of the US sense propound of producing sugar and is it viable, we are very close to having a competitive industry and we believe it is a very important industry for Fiji.”

The European Union says that more than two hundred thousand people in Fiji still depend on the industry at one level or another.

EU’s Ambassador to Fiji, Andrew Jacobs says sugar funding will be given to the Fijian Government to allow it to use the funds where they see fit.



30) Vanuatu Plans 100% Renewable Energy By 2030

Supported by number of new renewable energy projects

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 16, 2016) – Vanuatu’s climate change minister says the country is working towards having 100 percent of its electricity generated from renewable energy sources by 2030.

And the prime minister also announced a number of new renewable energy projects that were in the pipeline for the country.

Radio Vanuatu reported that at the commissioning of a new solar farm funded by the United Arab Emirates and New Zealand, Charlot Salwai spoke of another 1.5 kilowatt solar farm at Devil’s Point.

He also said a 48 kilowatt biofuel system at Sola, funded by the European Union, would supply electricity to the Torba provincial headquarters area and a 144 kilowatt system would supply 200 households at East Ambae.

Mr Salwai said a 75 kilowatt hyrdro system on the Talise River on Maewo, funded by Italy, would supply some 260 households, and there were other projects in the works for Brenwei and Sarakata.

Radio New Zealand International


31) Case Vetting By PNG Fraud Squad ‘Suspicious,’ Lawyer Says

Procedural breaches alleged after anti-corruption office reopened

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 13, 2016) – A lawyer representing Papua New Guinea’s police fraud squad says conditions around vetting “high profile” investigations is suspicious.

PNG’s police commissioner Gary Baki has allowed the fraud squad back into its office after he had the office closed for three weeks following a series of high-profile arrests by the squad last month.

Accusing fraud squad head Mathew Damaru and his colleagues of alleged procedural breaches, Mr Baki was asked by the national court to allow the squad to get back to work.

The squad has been directed to present all high-profile cases to a vetting committee before arrests can be made.

Mr Damaru’s lawyer McRonald Nale said the vetting committee condition was unconstitutional.

“Now you’re actually discriminating against citizens. The law should apply to everyone but now you say you have a vetting committee for high-profile (cases), so how do you define the word high-profile? The public prosecutor’s an independent office, the police men are independent, so why do you have to pretend to vet? It’s unconstitutional to have a thing like that. A policeman should be trained properly to be able to make that assessment, whether it is to arrest a person or not,” said Nale.

Radio New Zealand International


32) 2017 Mini Games in Vanuatu on track following govt assurances

The Pacific Games Council says preparations for next year’s Mini Games in Vanuatu are back on track after the country’s Olympic Committee had threatened to withdraw from hosting.

Two weeks ago, VASANOC said it would ask the Council to withdraw the 2017 Games from Vanuatu if urgent action by the Government was not taken to release promised funding.

The President of the Pacific Games Council, Vidhya Lakhan, said all parties are now on the same page.

“We’ve got a new government – a new Prime Minister has been in office for maybe two months – so I’ve had two meetings with him and he now fully understands what the commitments are (and) what a host contract is all about. He opened the General Assembly (of the Pacific Games Council in Port Vila) for us and made the commitment of his government to support the 2017 Games so it’s full steam (ahead for preparations).”

The Mini Games will be held in December 2017 after the start date was pushed back by three months earlier this year.16/5/16 RNZI

33) Pools drawn for HSBC London Sevens finale
10:39 pm GMT+12, 15/05/2016, United Kingdom

World Rugby has announced the pools for the tenth and final round of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in London, to be played at Twickenham on 21-22 May 2016.

Cup winners Samoa head pool A and face three tough matches against the series’ second-placed side South Africa and north American rivals USA and Canada.

Paris runners-up Fiji face Australia, the hosts England and another of the Team GB sides Wales in pool B.

After impressing on home soil in Paris, France start at Twickenham with matches against Kenya, Scotland and Portugal in pool C.

The pumas of Argentina head pool D and will play group stage matches against New Zealand, Russia and Olympic hosts Brazil.


34) Hayne flying in to join Fiji for Rio tilt
10:35 pm GMT+12, 15/05/2016, United States

Jarryd Hayne will travel to London on Monday to join up with the Fiji Sevens side ahead of the series finale at Twickenham.

The former NRL star and San Francisco 49ers running-back will join Ben Ryan’s side on Monday when series leaders Fiji land in London for the 10th and final round of the 2015-16 season.

Having taken a step closer to a second successive HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series with their performance in Paris, coach Ryan is looking to further his options before naming his squad for the final round at Twickenham and also for the Olympic Games in August.

“I’ve had a few conversations with Jarryd and followed his career in the NRL in Australia, in the Bati with Fiji, and more recently with the NFL as a running-back for the 49ers,” said Ryan.

“He got a taste for sevens when he was with the boys in Sydney and that sowed a few seeds, and that has just got bigger. He has had a chat with the 49ers and his agent, and I have with everybody else to make sure he is on our accreditation list and to ensure he ticks our boxes, he is a Fijian passport holder, all those sorts of things.

“I have no promises he is going to make the 12, but we will see how he goes. He will then come into Fijian camp for the Olympic period. It is a huge challenge for Jarryd but if he gets into the squad it is only going to be on form, because he is a blinding rugby player. If he doesn’t make it, is just shows how good this Fijian sevens side is.

“It is a no lose situation for me. It is no lose for Jarryd either, he gets himself into the possibility of being a part of this journey, and the boys are all going to learn off him as well. He comes in with an A* but it is up to him to hang onto that, it’s really exciting and really what the Olympics is all about.”

Hayne made 176 appearances for the Parramatta Eels in the NRL before making the move to the NFL and has represented both Australia and Fiji at Rugby League World Cups in 2013 and 2008 respectively.

The running back has been released by San Francisco ahead of the London Sevens and the road to Rio. Rugby sevens makes its debut in the Olympic Games this August in Rio and Fiji will be aiming to win a first-ever medal for their country. A squad of 24 will assemble in June for Fiji’s training camp before the coach name’s a final 12.

“I think any coach would say they’d happily take my job. It is a good challenge to have,” added Ryan. “I want to create this depth and I like to be challenged, you don’t just want to keep skating along. I want someone to come in, who is going to see things differently, I am going to have to make Jarryd is up to speed and I haven’t fogotten things.

“It’s like the overseas boys in Paris. I am checking their technique is right at the breakdown, it keeps me checked as well so I like bringing new players in. It doesn’t make my life any easier but for good reasons it is for us all to get better.

“The camp will be like Britain’s Got Talent or the X Factor, boys are going to get chopped until we get down to 12, it will be like a shootout. All these stars are going to be back, everyone will be fighting hard. I have seen a glimpse of it this week, there is no space to play the competition is so high, it’s always at 110%. We are going to have that for six or seven weeks. I need to get that balance right, but I will stay true to my values and pick on form.”.



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